And so it continues... 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring Edition
Hello all, I figured it was time to post some pics and info of my progress with my Car PC.
I started the process about a year ago with my 1997 Ford Taurus LX but after some major issues with the car (transmission failure, then an expensive exhaust issue...) I decided to try and trade it in.
I went to go test drive a 1999 Cadillac Seville STS, but it was in ROUGH shape. It needed some work that I really wasn't prepared to take on, and it had a lot of miles for being only 9 years old. So the dealer found me the PT, it had low mileage (12k) and more important it had a low price. I have below average credit, so that means I get to pay a whole crap load of interest, so a low starting price helped keep the monthly payments low. It still has factory warranty, and was a former fleet car, so it was maintained pretty well.
One thing I noticed was that the dash bezel looked perfect for the Dynamix 816 from the Taurus.
The deal was good, and I drove away, forever saying goodbye to the Taurus. May it rest in pieces (it was probably crushed or junked.)
The very next day, I installed the Pioneer DEH-P590iB so that I could have XM and MP3 and the better sound control. Within the first few weeks, I moved the box made for the 2 12" Infinity REF1242W's and the Pioneer Amp into the PT. It was an odd shaped box that fit perfect in the Taurus, but not so well in the PT. That led me to create this:
I designed this so that when the shelf is on the lower position:
it fits perfectly without impeding the sub movement too much. As long as the stereo is at a respectable volume, the subs don't touch the shelf. With the shelf in the bottom position, and the rear seats folded down, there is a nice flat load floor. So I now have bass without losing cargo space. I tried going without subs, and had originally planned a single 10 or 12, but I'm addicted to bass. I needed to feed that addiction with keeping the 2 12's. I do at least turn it WAY down anytime I'm near housing, but on the open road, I admit I crank it up. I'd estimate at full blast that the subs are pushing a little above 135 dB, maybe 140.
With the audio worked out for now (more on this later) I started to plan out how and what I was going to do with the PC. I originally had a PC ready to go, but there was some issues with it, and I sold it to my little brother so he could rebuild it for himself. Currently, I am looking for an inexpensive solution for a ready to go CarPC. While I wait for the cash flow, and the right opportunity, I started fabbing the bezel up.
I found the bezel on eBay pretty cheap after about two months of searching. There's not really a whole lot of these floating around, and the condition varied from perfect to horrid. Most of them weren't cheap since they usually still had the components connected. The one I bought had everything removed, and all the tabs and screw standoffs were in tact, but was scratched up a bit. No problem since I'll be cutting it and redoing the paint on it anyway. (Still deciding between the same silver or the body color like the other dash panels.)
After some measuring and marking, some more measuring and marking, and a little eyeballing, I came up with this:
I'll be moving the window switches so they are centered in between the vents, removing the clock, and the rest of the space will be the screen. The Pioneer deck will go in the little pocket on the bottom of the dash. It's out of the way, but not completely. Still not sure where the DVD drive will go, maybe under the pocket between the center console and the dash, but that will not be a priority.
I made the cuts with a jr. hack saw, one with a blade that could be adjusted to one of 6 positions to get the best angle to cut. The bottom of the window switches lined up perfectly with the top of where the screen will go, but I had a hard time cutting the thin strip above the hazard/defrost switch panel. Nothing broke though, and it will all be hidden with the ABS cement.
First, I glued the switch panel into the top with the ABS cement. Since the bezel is made from PC+ABS, I'm using the ABS cement which has MEK in it. This creates a chemical bond, which is a lot stronger than a simple mechanical bond like I would get with epoxy or fiberglass. The MEK will melt the PC+ABS and the ABS in the cement will bond as the MEK evaporates. This is ideal since this will be in a car that has a large range of temperatures (below freezing in the winter to about 100 outside in the summer,) and will expand and contract at the same rate, where as bondo, fiberglass or anything else will have different thermoelastic properties, and lead to cracking and structural failure.
The screen bezel went in after the cement on the switch panel started to cure. I left the bottom edge uncemented at first to make sure it would allow the switch panel to fit correctly. Later I will back fill with a straight edge on the top and bottom edges to create a nice straight line.
I cut the left and right edges a little too big to accomodate a nice contour that will be shaped with the ABS cement. There will be lots of sanding and filling and sanding, and it will take a while to get everything done. I am pretty familiar with the ABS cement now after trying the same thing with the Taurus. Once this layer dries and cures, I will remove the tape, and fill in the air bubbles that will be created by the chemical reaction between the MEK and the tape's adhesive. Then there will be sanding, filling, sanding, filling etc until it's nice and smooth.
I hope to have this whole project done by my 1000th post. I've only got 75 more to go, so I gotta get some work done.
Edit: Getting kind of close to the 1000th post. I spent a lot of posts on the "Solar Panels" thread, but I'm also getting close to finishing it all... so we'll see. It would be nice to have the 1000th post be the "move my thread to the SOYP forum..."