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Thread: Returned because the car might change...

  1. #1
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    Returned because the car might change...

    I currently have a '03 Dodge Neon SRT-4 Stage 3R (380hp+) and as much as I would love to keep it, I have two years left on my loan and I don't see anything that appealing becoming available by 2010/2011 that I could afford.

    This being a complete "buyer's market" for new cars, I was informed I can get massive discounts on just about anything and have my car payment remain roughly the same, give or take a few dollars.

    So keeping with the SRT theme, I am considering a '08 or '09 Caliber SRT-4

    Its dash layout offers the chance to consider a CarPC again after I abandoned the idea for a JVC KD-NX-5000 Hard Drive Navi DVD head unit in my Neon.

    I retired my Dell 4550 series Desktop PC in favor for a much faster home-built AMD 64x2 Media Center PC. So I have a fair amount of "spare" parts available.

    To put "pressure" on me to make the change, I have come to back to MP3car forum to see what is now possible.

    My goal is to "beat" the available from Dodge MyGig Navi system and Kicker 13 speaker, 522w (peak) system which runs around $1900 total. I figure I can do a Car PC for less and have more options, features and a more stealthy install.

    I wanted to base my system around AMD's 780G chipset as it supports acceleration of MPEG-2 or OTA HD streams. A short search, I came up with the Jetway ITX board that is fairly affordable. I would power this with one of AMD's 45w CPU's since the GPU accelerates just about all video codecs without issue.

    The Caliber's dash layout allows for a Double DIN touchscreen display (finally!), I found a double din kit and now here's one of my first questions -

    Could I use a RAW LCD Module since most people take apart other screen to be able to integrate them into the dash more seamlessly???

    Still pricing out stuff, so if you have any other suggestions on a case or anything feel free to let me know.

    Also the SRT-4 doesn't come with a spare and there's plenty of space to mount the things I need -



    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I might buy the car tomorrow, I might opt for a lightly optioned car, we shall see.

    If so I won't have any need for Chrysler's $1700+ Navi/MP3 player and its available "MyGig" low speed bus units go for $1795 on Ebay! Plus another $600 in options to unlock all its features (like address input while in motion).

    The main advantage to using factory upgrades is its completely PnP and if I opted for the Kicker "Living Loud" system for the car and added the larger dual 10" sub enclosure with 200W more additional power over the standard single 10" 200W setup and another 366W of full range speaker power, bring the total system power to somewhere over 700W!

    Will it play as loud as the loudest dual 10" setups with purely aftermarket parts? No and nobody should expect it too, but is it one of the loudest and best sounding OEM based systems available? - Yes

    Total cost would run -

    Kicker System factory installed as an option - $1395 (Component Speakers in factory locations, 2 way 3.5 speakers in Musicgate and Single 10" powered Sub Enclosure)
    Upgraded Amp - $176 (Online)
    Dual 10" 400W Powered Sub Enclosure - $794 (Online)
    Chrysler "MyGig" AM/FM DVD based Navigation with 30GB HD Built-In Sirius Tuner, Bluetooth and USB input - $1795 (via Mr CD on Ebay)

    $4160! Holly Cow! and that doesn't include the "LockPick" to unlock all the features in the unit, Bluetooth Adapter or Backup/Forward Facing Cameras!

    Actually I just added that up for the first time so I'm just as shocked as you are...(For those actually reading my thread)

    Surely I can put together a carPC for at least half that if not a 1/4 of that cost...

    Thus far I want to keep this simple as I don't want thousand hours of downtime and rather take maybe a day to put the PC together, run it on Prime95 for 12 hours and install in a little more than a day with all the parts needed available at the time off install (say 2 days total).

    Procuring all the parts is the main issue. Mini ITX boards are fairly hard to find locally, but not impossible, here's the system I have decided on -

    Jetway 780G
    AMD 64x2 (4850e)
    Silverstone Low Profie CPU Cooler
    512MB DDR2 Memory (800Hz)
    4GB Card Flash (Boot Drive)
    32GB Card Flash (Media Storage)
    8GB USB Flash Drive (Media Storage)
    Addonics Dual CF Hard Drive Adapter
    MSC Automotive Case
    M2-ATX 160 Watt Power Supply
    Linksys WiFi USB Dongle (Free) with USB extension cable (Free)
    (Until Somebody Comes Out with Tethering Software for the T-Mobile G1)
    Sirius Tuner with Mitch's USB Adapter
    Earthmate GPS Car Antenna (Came with MS Streets and Maps 2004) (Free)

    I decided on Compact Flash as my storage medium mainly because my commute to work is so short (about 22-28 min one way) and even on trips across the country I doubt I would run out of things to listen to or watch over the entire trip; I have been a Sirius user since 2003 as I used to drive for JB Hunt.

    For my Head-Less front end, that has proven to be a bit more diffcult to sort out but I think I have it figured. I need the Caliber Navi bezel since the regular opening would support Double DIN but leaves those silly cut-outs for the radio knobs for standard OEM head units.

    I think I'll go with a pre-installed Lilliput EBY701 in a ByByte Frame. Seems reasonably priced to me, so why not?

    The factory provides steering wheel controls for the OEM radios, maybe I can tap into that...

    I'll have to measure the storage well of the car, when I get it. I looked at one the other night and it looked fairly deep. I can go look at a local Caliber SRT-4 and take some measurement since the dealer I am likely to purchase it from it around 40 miles away and this one is the around the corner but not nearly as aggressive with pricing, Internet Car Sales FTW!

    I haven't decided on amps as I missed my chance to buy Rockford's 25 to Life Limited Edition Punch 45, Punch 75 and Punch 150 amps. I might try to track those down as there are few available still here and there. I'm gravitating towards Class D power, low current drag, small form factor are the main draws.

    I plan on putting the mobile PC and all amps down in the storage well, out of sight of prying eyes.

    For the components, I might opt for the Kicker separates available from some online Dodge dealers. They totally PnP, reasonably priced and from a quality manufacturer, why not?

    For the sub woofer system, I would like to design something similar to the Kicker upgrade available from Mopar -



    Haven't decided on drivers yet however, I will keep those interested posted.

    Well that's it, I'm looking at my aftermarket options and I'll compare features and pricing before I make a decision.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by djfourmoney View Post
    This being a complete "buyer's market" for new cars, I was informed I can get massive discounts on just about anything and have my car payment remain roughly the same, give or take a few dollars.
    Does that mean you will pay the exact same amount of money for just two years and then you own the car? Because right now, you own your current car in two years and then get to bank the car payment.

    So, if you are paying $1000 a month for the next 2 years, it will cost you $24,000 to own your current car. If you are going to pay $1,000 a month for 4 years to get the brand new car, you will pay $48,000 before you own it. The net is you have agreed to pay $24,000 more than you would if you kept your current car for transportation over the next 4 years. That $24 grand could go towards paying down credit card debt or mortgage debt or as savings for a down payment on a house.

    It's your life and your money but it sounds to me like you are agreeing to extend your monthly payment in perpetuity. If that is true, then just be sure you understand the implication.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    Does that mean you will pay the exact same amount of money for just two years and then you own the car? Because right now, you own your current car in two years and then get to bank the car payment.

    So, if you are paying $1000 a month for the next 2 years, it will cost you $24,000 to own your current car. If you are going to pay $1,000 a month for 4 years to get the brand new car, you will pay $48,000 before you own it. The net is you have agreed to pay $24,000 more than you would if you kept your current car for transportation over the next 4 years. That $24 grand could go towards paying down credit card debt or mortgage debt or as savings for a down payment on a house.

    It's your life and your money but it sounds to me like you are agreeing to extend your monthly payment in perpetuity. If that is true, then just be sure you understand the implication.
    It does sound like that doesn't it? For a second I'll ignore this is a CarPC/Car Audio forum and this is an internet examination of my financial decision making.

    It seems some in Western Culture value having a "payment holiday" or look forward to a day where ultimately you pay your debts to completion and either save the money you would otherwise spend or you would go back into debt in some other fashion.

    Right now as I see it, my current car is just fine. I love it! It makes 380+hp, runs the 1/4 somewhere in the 11's and gets 32+mpg@70+mph.

    But I'm missing some of the features of my '01 Neon R/T (Cruise, Sunroof), plus there's some maintenance that needs to be performed -

    a) front tires

    b) belt tensioner

    c) A/C condenser because mine has a hole it in...

    d) Recharge said A/C system

    e) Right Brake Caliber "grabs"

    f) Multi-Funtion Switch needs to be replaced (typical on Chrysler products)


    A few more tiny issues that won't effect its resale value. I'm at a point to where some of these issues are less important than others and I would really like a sunroof, cruise control, new warranty, new car smell, zero miles and no previous owner.

    I would pretty much break even in terms of payments and outlay of cash.

    In some respects it would make sense to finish paying off the car (early 2011) and then make a change, but after seeing what will be on the market around that time, I'm not overly impressed with it. Nor am I under the illusion of paying myself after this car is paid, to pay for the next car in cash and avoid payments period.

    Alas there is no mortgage and less than $5,000 in any debt (if you don't count the car payment). I paid the price (you could say) for having bad credit. If I was extended any credit it was at outrageous fees and interest rates that I wasn't going to fall into that.

    I don't see my lifestyle changing much in two years and I already have down for property, I just haven't plunged into the market and not sure I can even stay in Southern California, so until I figure that problem out, I can stay where I am.

    In the meantime I can continue the same payment roughly and end up with a new car and only extend my obligation by a few more years.

    The issue is mainly returning the car back to stock as all the mods are bolt-on but I no longer have the stock turbo housing or stock exhaust system.

    As a fellow SRT owners states in his signature -

    "I sport the no mortgage, no girlfriend, no wife, no kids modification"

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    Off topic, but...

    How do you pass inspection in CA running an aftermarket or modded stock turbo and aftermarket turbo-back exhaust system (when you don't have the stock pieces to swap with)??

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmbickham View Post
    Off topic, but...

    How do you pass inspection in CA running an aftermarket or modded stock turbo and aftermarket turbo-back exhaust system (when you don't have the stock pieces to swap with)??
    Not off topic at all really....

    S1, S2 and S3R does pass, everything that was in place as stock is where it should be, nothing has been relocated. Its alot easier when the car started life being turbocharged from the factory.

    Quiet as kept however that Mopar never applied for the CARB process which is very expensive.

    But S3R has passed California Inspection with flying colors as another owner of S3R got popped for overtly loud side exit exhaust and had to visit the ref and all he did was put the stock air box back in. The larger S3 turbo looks stock, its in the stock location and if you hadn't seen the stock turbo before you wouldn't know it wasn't what was put there originally.

    Now S3R with Toys does create a CEL which because the part of the PCM that controlls the adjustable boost and 100 octane fuel maps use to control the lockup of the converter on Automatic Neons. So in turn no converter, you get an embedded CEL, no light is present.

    To eliminate that, you have to buy/build a simulator to "fool" the PCM into thinking there's a automatic transmission in the car.

    You see no boost on the smog dyno, even more vacuum with S3R (larger turbo) even under load.

    Now You Know....

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    Update -

    I updated the specs, some of changed the main ones haven't.

    I think going with this audio spec -

    Kicker-Mopar 366 watt 8-channel (depending on application) amp - $176
    Audison Hertz 6 3/4 Components - Free (from the Neon)
    Kicker-Mopar Optional Rear Speakers (2 way 6x9) - $96

    This is pretty much solid. I am still working on what would drive the subwoofers and what subs to use. I'm looking at two drivers (10") and about 500watts in Class D mono power.

    I am also considering triple 10" drivers....

    This is actually turning out to be much more affordable than I thought...

    $270 for the Monitor pre-installed in ABS bracket
    $520 for the PC from Case to Motherboard
    *$800 for sub system + amp
    $150 Misc BS (Lighting Audio or StreetWires, USB cables, Hubs, etc)

    I'm still researching front ends, I would like OBD-2/Gauges monitoring in addition to the usual supported hardware. Free is of course the best way and it looks like Freeway and Road Runner are leading the way now. Centrafuse is a costly option and Street Deck (which got me first interesting in using a Cap CP specific front end) is somewhat cheaper, but still not totally affordable. I rather donate to a worthy cause and support open source front ends, I have a T-Mobile G1 Google Phone -

    For sound I might use a Maya 44 USB - DJ Standard for Digital DJ's and excellent sound quality. A bit pricey ($100+) but worth it.

    I might do this or I might not, this is not practical for my 1 din Neon dash, I will not mod it and one of the reasons I want to upgrade to the Caliber SRT-4 is the double DIN opening. Other reasons include more creature comforts and changing of priorities in the Sport Compact World.

    Brief Rant -

    Import/Compact Drag Racing has fallen on hard times. The NHRA abandoned its series and sold its rights to NOPI Group who at the start of the financial downturn and hurricanes that hit the southeast went under after a couple of events sighting the economic climate and its own financial problems and Number 1 Parts closed its doors for good earlier this summer ending a chapter in Sport Compact history.

    The lack of a class for truly street driven cars as soured my taste for going to local events. Running 11's just won't get it done, when the class I would end up running heads up, the cars all now run deep into the 9 second zone and aren't even remotely street driven. Many of these $40,000 race cars never see street duty due Honda continue domination of the car thief market and possible lost of investment and man hours in a major fender bender.

    They are trailer queens!

    I don't like running brackets and I'm tired of lobbying BOTI and others to be more inclusive. One possible home for me is PSCA, but I can't afford to make the speed and safety changes needed to be competitive. So I'm willing to give up my quest for 500+hp with a shot of nitrous and 10 second ET's as I don't know how I'll afford to go that quickly since my car still needs suspension work and I have been unable to afford that up to this point.

    End of Rant ~

    The Car PC will likely come together part by part so I'll be using my 8" Bazooka tube if I do pick up a Caliber SRT-4 since the factory Boston system is WEAK on output and lacks any solid bottom end.

    Well anyway more information to come...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by djfourmoney View Post
    Not off topic at all really....

    S1, S2 and S3R does pass, everything that was in place as stock is where it should be, nothing has been relocated. Its alot easier when the car started life being turbocharged from the factory.

    Quiet as kept however that Mopar never applied for the CARB process which is very expensive.

    But S3R has passed California Inspection with flying colors as another owner of S3R got popped for overtly loud side exit exhaust and had to visit the ref and all he did was put the stock air box back in. The larger S3 turbo looks stock, its in the stock location and if you hadn't seen the stock turbo before you wouldn't know it wasn't what was put there originally.

    Now S3R with Toys does create a CEL which because the part of the PCM that controlls the adjustable boost and 100 octane fuel maps use to control the lockup of the converter on Automatic Neons. So in turn no converter, you get an embedded CEL, no light is present.

    To eliminate that, you have to buy/build a simulator to "fool" the PCM into thinking there's a automatic transmission in the car.

    You see no boost on the smog dyno, even more vacuum with S3R (larger turbo) even under load.

    Now You Know....

    That's good to know as I'm doing some job hunting and getting a position in California is a good possibility. However, all of the CARB B.S. relaly made a car enthusiast like myself not look forward to not being able to mod in CA.

    So this is good news... as long as it looks stock, no CEL and passes tailpipe check, then it's all good. Cool...

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmbickham View Post
    That's good to know as I'm doing some job hunting and getting a position in California is a good possibility. However, all of the CARB B.S. relaly made a car enthusiast like myself not look forward to not being able to mod in CA.

    So this is good news... as long as it looks stock, no CEL and passes tailpipe check, then it's all good. Cool...
    Several conversations with CARB peeps up in Sac gave me insight...

    Stock looking rules! Mod carefully. Things like 240SX's with SR20T swaps aren't going to get it done.

    But newer WRX engines in older Imprezas, Turbo 2.3L Ford engines in anything build before 1990, etc, etc.

    If you have a Mustang or F-body there's enough smog legal parts available to make tire melting horsepower, there's no need to get off road only parts.

    There's a guy on the Ford Muscle Forum that has a 347cid Supercharged 5.0L H.O, all smog legal parts makes 600+hp...

    You can have your cake and eat it too in California, just pick a car with many smog legal or at least stock looking upgrades...

    BTW, I just wanted more power than the stock turbo could provide but there are cars with modified stock turbos that push well over 300+hp at the wheels and almost 400lbs of torque and look completely stock under the hood, save for the CARB legal cold air intakes.

    The Caliber has 285hp and Mopar just released Stage 1 which pushes output back to where they wanted it originally - 300+hp

    In fact with the Mopar/AEM cold air intake and Mopar Exhaust - 330+hp at the wheels dyno confirmed.

    I believe the aftermarket has already cracked 400hp with the Evo X, well the SRT-4 has the same engine, at least $20,000 less price tag and better mileage (no AWD).

  10. #10
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    Well I can't give to much insight to your decision, BUT....

    I rented a caliber when I was on vacation a couple months ago. The VERY first thing I noticed when I got inside was how PERFECTLY it was set up to put an LCD in place of the radio! It was just screaming to have a CarPC installed in it

    The only thing I could see that may be a concern, are the "wings" coming off of the stock stereo. (Where the knobs are outside the standard radio size)



    I didn't measure it, but I wonder of a 10" screen would fit in there (Width wise) as there is plenty of vertical room by losing the coin holder.
    Front End of Choice: Ride Runner (Is there anything else??? ) & Powered by the DFX5.1 Skin Available in the Mobile App Mart

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