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Kegobeer's 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis Build

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  • Kegobeer's 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis Build

    I decided to take out my carpc and screen, and re-do everything. Although I thought my work in the trunk was pretty good, I didn't like the layout of the pc and the amp (pc is bigger than the amp, so side-by-side didn't look good), and I didn't like the el cheapo amp I bought, so I knew I had to rip it out and start fresh. I was never happy with the way I mounted my Lilliput 7" 669GL 5 wire (no double din frame for it, so I had to put it behind the dash), so I decided to buy a 4 wire already in the frame from Chris at mo-co-so and mount it properly.

    Ok, so this time I decided to start with the screen and the dash. My 99 GMQ doesn't have a true double din space, it's really just a 1.5 din. Plus, my duct work runs through the opening towards the back, which means even less space than that. The stock opening is just a bit too small for a double din frame to actually fit where a standard radio would normally just slide in. After doing a lot of mock up work, I decided to trim the back section of the dash so I could flush mount the frame behind it, using a Metra 95-5817 Dash Kit. I used one of my large files to remove a good amount on the edge, and used a small hacksaw blade to slowly cut out the majority of the pieces. I didn't want any melted plastic, and I wanted to be precise, so I went with slowly sawing by hand.

    Once that was done, I fitted the dash kit to the frame and slid it into position. I wanted the frame held flush against the dash, so I did some sanding to get the right amount of plastic removed to achieve my goal. Once I was satisfied, I ordered the double din 669 from Chris. Once it arrived I put it into place to see how everything would look. Notice the rough trim work on the Metra kit? That's because of the 1.5 din + duct work behind the dash.

    Everything looked good, so I marked sections of the frame that needed to be removed, then carefully cut them out and drilled two extra holes for my mounting screws. After a little sanding, I put it back on to the dash and made sure everything looked good. Now it was time to glue the Metra directly to the dash. Without gluing it to the dash, it would wiggle around and I know it would end up causing damage to the screen. Plus, I already have two other dashes, so if I get tired of the computer or decide to sell the car, it's easy to swap the entire dash. I used Plastic Welder from Autozone - it comes recommended by other GMQ/Crown Vic owners, so I figured it would definitely do the trick. I taped off the front of the opening to prevent any glue spillage, then glued in one of the Metra pieces and clamped it down for about 30 minutes. The glued pieces can be handled in about 15 minutes, but I wanted to make sure things were a bit more solid before I glued in the other piece. I removed the tape and cleaned up what little squished out between the dash and the Metra piece, then went to the other side and repeated the glue process. It turned out pretty good. The glue achieves maximum hardness after 24 hours, so it was time to put everything up until the next day.

    Just a small amount of fab work on the dash went a long way. Tomorrow I should post the results of today's work. Looks pretty good so far.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by kegobeer; 01-01-2012, 05:44 PM. Reason: Corrected the Metra double din adapter info
    1999 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with: ASRock E350M1 w/4GB RAM, 80GB Intel SSD, Opus DCX3.120, Visteon HD Radio + HDR-USB, PL-18N wifi, OBDLink Scan Tool, BTA6210 BT, BU-353, Win 7 Ultimate, CF 4.0, Alpine MRP-F240 + MRP-T220, RF Punch 1572s, Kicker 8" Comp.

  • #2
    Day 2:

    Now that 24 hours has passed, I could fit the frame into the dash. The frame almost snapped into place and didn't move around much at all. I secured the frame to the dash using four screws, and I put on two cable clamps for the monitor power and SKS cables. Once that was done it was time to fire up my carpc using my 12v test bench to see how it looked. A little more recessed than a normal dash would be, but the placement had to be there so I didn't weaken the dash by removing too much material. I'm throwing in a shot of my disassembled carpc so you can see what I'll be putting back into the trunk later.

    Now that I'd verified everything worked, I installed the dash into my car to make sure there were no fit problems. And, of course, there was one. It turns out that there's a hard plastic piece that goes between the radio opening and the vents. The screws were sticking out and preventing it from going in all the way. A quick reversal of the screws and I was in business. Today I drove it to do a shake, vibration, and heat test to see how the glue held up, and to see if the screen would move around and vibrate loose. Even with no air conditioning and 95 degree Florida heat and humidity the glue and screen held up just fine.

    After work I decided to put my carpc and amp in the trunk (temporarily) so I could test the sound and how the screen looks and performs from the drivers seat. She sounds and looks great. I picked up that Alpine amp used on eBay for about $45, and it sounds so much better than the cheap amp I bought on Black Friday last year. For the ultimate test, I brought out my youngest son so he could run it through it's paces. I got the big thumbs up! I'm going to drive it around for a couple of days then disassemble the dash and make sure nothing worked itself loose. Then it will be time to visit my local automotive paint shop and get some dark denim blue paint and finish the dash.

    I picked up some large craft paper today so I can make a template of the trunk, so I can start cutting plywood for the amp/carpc rack. I'm still not certain if I want to lay everything flat on the bottom of the trunk or perhaps mount them vertically against the fuel tank. What do you think?

    Thanks for reading.
    Attached Files
    1999 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with: ASRock E350M1 w/4GB RAM, 80GB Intel SSD, Opus DCX3.120, Visteon HD Radio + HDR-USB, PL-18N wifi, OBDLink Scan Tool, BTA6210 BT, BU-353, Win 7 Ultimate, CF 4.0, Alpine MRP-F240 + MRP-T220, RF Punch 1572s, Kicker 8" Comp.

    Comment


    • #3
      Nice to see it coming along. I'm subscribed. My cousin has this same car and I thought about how good it would be for a carputer, and I admit the dash would need only minimal modifications to fit a screen there but I decided that it wouldn't be very good for the touch screen because of how far the double din opening was from the drivers seat. I must say, it does look quite nice though. By the way, I'm curious if your camera can take pictures in a little lower resolution. Every time I want to view the whole picture I have to scroll the window to the right because it cuts off about 1/4 of the picture. It may not do this on 16:9 screens but mine is a 4:3 and it does it.
      Originally posted by Lincolnman
      Your English is fine, don't apologize. You're doing better than most Americans.

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      • #4
        I like the recessed look actually, it flows. I take it you still have to redo or clean up the trunk, the mess of wires gets me .
        Current Worklog: TBA - '05 Rav4 (Mobo Dead).
        www.rav4world.com - Forums for Rav4 owners
        www.flavorfeasts.com - Cooking website/forums
        -Basic forums live atm, come contribute!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by detlion1643 View Post
          I like the recessed look actually, it flows. I take it you still have to redo or clean up the trunk, the mess of wires gets me .
          Definitely. I just put the amp and carpc in there temporarily to test out the system. I'm either going to properly mount it flat or vertically, I just haven't decided yet. The wires will all be hidden, and if it's flat mounted I'm thinking about installing a hinged cover panel using a pair of hood struts for the hinges and maybe a servo actuator to open/close it electronically.
          1999 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with: ASRock E350M1 w/4GB RAM, 80GB Intel SSD, Opus DCX3.120, Visteon HD Radio + HDR-USB, PL-18N wifi, OBDLink Scan Tool, BTA6210 BT, BU-353, Win 7 Ultimate, CF 4.0, Alpine MRP-F240 + MRP-T220, RF Punch 1572s, Kicker 8" Comp.

          Comment


          • #6
            I too have subscribed, having an 03 Mercury Marauder with a CarPC. With a million plus Panther platform cars that haven't changed in the last 14 years, I really expected to see more installs. Yours is coming along nicely.
            Action figures sold separately

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            • #7
              Looks good Kegobeer! Nice job on the screen fit. keep the updates coming!
              My 2007 Ford F350 Work Log located HERE

              Comment


              • #8
                Day 3:

                After one full day of driving around and testing the system, everything works great. The screen is holding firm, with no jitter or movement at all. I'll know more when I remove the dash and prep it for paint.

                I stopped by a local automotive paint shop and dropped off my old dash so they could match the paint. They'll have everything ready by Friday, so this weekend I'll be painting the dash and completing the screen installation.

                After pondering placement of my carpc and amp, I decided on mounting it vertical against my fuel tank. I'm thinking of using some 3/8" plywood on top of a frame of 1x4s, so I can run my wiring underneath for a clean look. My spare tire already sticks out, so putting the carpc and amp there makes sense. I'll probably make a cover to protect the equipment, with some plexiglass flush mounted over the pc and amp for a nice look. I have a huge roll of trunk carpet I'll be using to cover everything. Right now I'm undecided on how to mount the plywood. Since I can't drill into the trunk right there, I'm thinking about cutting the plywood and form fitting it so it won't move around.

                I had a few spare minutes after work, so I installed my HD radio and got it up and running. Just like before, it runs great. I only wish I had some HD radio stations, but Panama City Beach is a small town, which means I get exactly one station - public radio. Whee.

                Thanks for reading.
                1999 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with: ASRock E350M1 w/4GB RAM, 80GB Intel SSD, Opus DCX3.120, Visteon HD Radio + HDR-USB, PL-18N wifi, OBDLink Scan Tool, BTA6210 BT, BU-353, Win 7 Ultimate, CF 4.0, Alpine MRP-F240 + MRP-T220, RF Punch 1572s, Kicker 8" Comp.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for the words, everyone.

                  kolton: I can resize my photos to 800x600 so there's a little less scrolling. If the detail disappears, I'll probably switch back to 1024x768.

                  TMF: I'm a regular over at crownvic.net, and I'm surprised that no one but a few of us have installed more than a head unit. It seems like the only thing discussed is how to swap the duct work to make a true double din opening and install a run-of-the-mill head unit.

                  Phil: Thanks! I've got some neat things planned for the carpc, software wise. I really like e-speaking, so I ordered a Jawbone Icon so I can experiment with it. I don't remember the thread, but there's a guy that has a cool video of him using it. I'm also going to mount two aircraft 2.4ghz antennas on the trunk (I circled them in one of my pictures) for some kick-*** wifi. I'm really looking forward to expanding my original equipment and setup!
                  1999 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with: ASRock E350M1 w/4GB RAM, 80GB Intel SSD, Opus DCX3.120, Visteon HD Radio + HDR-USB, PL-18N wifi, OBDLink Scan Tool, BTA6210 BT, BU-353, Win 7 Ultimate, CF 4.0, Alpine MRP-F240 + MRP-T220, RF Punch 1572s, Kicker 8" Comp.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kegobeer View Post
                    kolton: I can resize my photos to 800x600 so there's a little less scrolling. If the detail disappears, I'll probably switch back to 1024x768.
                    Cool. I was playing with my resolution a little bit today and I bumped it up a little bit more to 1152x864 and now almost the entire image fits now. I can just read the text then scroll it to the right and the whole image fits but the text gets cut off but no big deal. Thanks
                    Originally posted by Lincolnman
                    Your English is fine, don't apologize. You're doing better than most Americans.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      looks really good!! i like how the display is kinda sunk in-- the less visible the better.

                      Originally posted by kegobeer View Post
                      TMF: I'm a regular over at crownvic.net, and I'm surprised that no one but a few of us have installed more than a head unit. It seems like the only thing discussed is how to swap the duct work to make a true double din opening and install a run-of-the-mill head unit.
                      i think that is pretty standard across most vehicle platforms. most people are not pc-savvy enough to even consider it most times..
                      My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                      "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


                      next project? subaru brz
                      carpc undecided

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
                        looks really good!! i like how the display is kinda sunk in-- the less visible the better.

                        i think that is pretty standard across most vehicle platforms. most people are not pc-savvy enough to even consider it most times..
                        I'm really digging the sunk in look, plus it helps cut out some of the direct sunlight. Once my build is complete, I'll be starting a thread on the crownvic forum and hopefully get some of my fellow Panther owners to jump into the fantastic, fun filled world of carpc's.
                        1999 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with: ASRock E350M1 w/4GB RAM, 80GB Intel SSD, Opus DCX3.120, Visteon HD Radio + HDR-USB, PL-18N wifi, OBDLink Scan Tool, BTA6210 BT, BU-353, Win 7 Ultimate, CF 4.0, Alpine MRP-F240 + MRP-T220, RF Punch 1572s, Kicker 8" Comp.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Here is a shot of the dash on my Marauder with the flat panel installed. I have not done the paint and trim yet because I am not happy with how I have it mounted and need to secure it better. The Alpine controller for the media center expander is just below the monitor in the trim.

                          Ignore the shifter console, LOL.

                          Action figures sold separately

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Day 4 (of the build, not actual time elapsed):

                            I removed the dash to see how things held up, and to remove everything and prep it for paint. I was surprised by what I found. I immediately noticed that the piece that holds the screen in place was pretty warped, probably from the summer heat. The top of the frame was also pretty warped, but just the top of the frame and not the bottom or the sides. Upon closer examination I discovered that one side of the support piece (H frame) had warped enough to pull out from under the screws. Also, one of the four screws was much smaller than the others. It's not one from the original 669 frame, that's for certain. It may have contributed to the frame slipping out from under the screws, but I can't say for sure. Definitely not a good sign for how well this will hold up.

                            Luckily I had a 669 modified H-frame (the plastic one available from bybyte, not the new one that uses the original frame and just has a metal bracket screwed to it) so I went ahead and swapped out the whole assembly. I hope it holds up better under the heat than the last frame. After I reassemble the dash I'll wait a week and check things out.

                            The dash is now prepped for paint. NCS matched the paint for me. I can't say enough good things about those guys - very helpful and they have great prices. I'll be painting this weekend and hopefully I'll have the dash reassembled by Sunday night.

                            That's it for now. Thanks for reading.
                            Attached Files
                            1999 Mercury Grand Marquis GS with: ASRock E350M1 w/4GB RAM, 80GB Intel SSD, Opus DCX3.120, Visteon HD Radio + HDR-USB, PL-18N wifi, OBDLink Scan Tool, BTA6210 BT, BU-353, Win 7 Ultimate, CF 4.0, Alpine MRP-F240 + MRP-T220, RF Punch 1572s, Kicker 8" Comp.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              wow, i haven't seen one get that warped before-- it almost looks like you applied a heat gun to it...
                              My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                              "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


                              next project? subaru brz
                              carpc undecided

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