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Thread: And so it continues... 2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring Edition

  1. #1
    Wants to make it harder monkeyracer's Avatar
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    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..."

    2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser TE
    Car PC Progress:
    Planning.......[---------X-] 95%
    Parts...........[---------X-] 90%
    Fabrication...[---------X-] 90%
    RR Skin........[---------X-] 95%
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  2. #2
    Wants to make it harder monkeyracer's Avatar
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    System specs and components used:

    Audio System:
    Head Unit - Pioneer DEH-P590IB In-Dash CD/MP3/etc. with iPod Direct Cable, Planning to get CAR2PC-PIO for best integration.
    Front Speakers - Pioneer TS-A1702C 6¾" Component Speakers
    Rear Speakers - Pioneer TS-A1672R 6½" 3-Way Speaker
    Subwoofers - Infinity REF1242W 12" DVC
    Amplifier - Pioneer GM-5300T 2CH 760W (190W x 2 channels @ 2 ohm)
    Power Inverter - Black and Decker PI400AB - 400w 2 x 12v port + 5v USB port (not yet installed)
    Satellite Radio - Pioneer GEX-P910XM - XM Radio Digital Satellite Tuner.

    Carputer hardware:
    HP DV5200 Notebook - 1.66GHz Intel Centrino Duo mobile, 1536MB 667MHz DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm), 120GB 5400RPM HDD, XP Pro, LightScribe Super Multi 8X DVD±R/RW with Double Layer Support.
    Internet Connection - Sprint Mobile Broadband Compass 597U by Sierra Wireless USB card.
    OBDII - researching
    GPS - Globalsat BU-353
    Screen - Dynamix 816 8" VGA Widescreen Touch Screen
    Input - Wireless mouse and keyboard, Gigaware 4 Port modular USB hub, SD reader...
    Power Supply - Probably a Carnetix P2140, waiting to purchase

    Carputer software:
    OS - Windows XP Professional
    Front End - RoadRunner, using my own custom skin (see my signature for download)
    GPS - iGuidance v3.0 (will soon upgrade to v4 or 2009)
    OBDII - researching
    Web - Sprint Connection Manager
    Shut Down Control - ShutControl v2.21
    2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser TE
    Car PC Progress:
    Planning.......[---------X-] 95%
    Parts...........[---------X-] 90%
    Fabrication...[---------X-] 90%
    RR Skin........[---------X-] 95%
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  3. #3
    Wants to make it harder monkeyracer's Avatar
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    Still to do (in no particular order) :

    - Finish fabbing the dash bezel. (Touch up) - DONE!
    - Install the Pioneer deck in the lower pocket.
    - Move the Pioneer amp to under the seat. - DONE!
    - Tint front windows to match rear windows.
    - Purchase and install component speakers in front with aftermarket speakers in back. - DONE!
    - Fabricate the bumper effects as shown in my signature.
    - Refinish the seats with leather and suede.
    - Purchase and install dual exhaust and upgraded intake.
    - Add LED turn signals to mirrors and "fog light accent"
    - Install PC peripherals
    - a whole lot more!
    2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser TE
    Car PC Progress:
    Planning.......[---------X-] 95%
    Parts...........[---------X-] 90%
    Fabrication...[---------X-] 90%
    RR Skin........[---------X-] 95%
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  4. #4
    Wants to make it harder monkeyracer's Avatar
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    This post will serve to document the mods to the car that aren't directly related to the PC project.

    One of the first upgrades will be to make the front bumper a little more aggressive:



    Something like the photochop above. I like the classic style of the PT, but I also want to mix in some modern design as well. I am considering a new rear bumper too, but that's not as important. I like the smoothie style bumper, but I'm thinking of something more aggressive to match the front.

    I also want to add LED signals to the mirrors. I tried some aftermarket mirrors, but they were poorly engineered. They didn't adjust right, I couldn't find the right angle, and they just didn't fit with the style of the car. And some LED's to the headlights (like an A5/S5) I'm looking for a little help figuring out the wiring, but I'll ask those questions once I get closer to that install.

    I also want to re-upholster the seats eventually. I'd like to do the sides in grey leather with a blue suede center. So the overall color scheme will be blue and silver (grey) inside and out.

    When it is all done, I want to have a nice, clean, stylish car. Nothing crazy like the EPIC designs cruiser (black PT 80 or so screens, search and you will find.) just something a little better than what it is now, that I won't be heartbroken to sell in a few years.
    2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser TE
    Car PC Progress:
    Planning.......[---------X-] 95%
    Parts...........[---------X-] 90%
    Fabrication...[---------X-] 90%
    RR Skin........[---------X-] 95%
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  5. #5
    Wants to make it harder monkeyracer's Avatar
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    A little more work to show:



    I removed the tape, and filled in the bubbles. I also added the straight edge to backfill the top and bottom edges:



    Once everything is cured and hard, I will remove the braces and sand everything smooth, then fill in the low spots and sand some more.
    2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser TE
    Car PC Progress:
    Planning.......[---------X-] 95%
    Parts...........[---------X-] 90%
    Fabrication...[---------X-] 90%
    RR Skin........[---------X-] 95%
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  6. #6
    Sheepdog rdholtz's Avatar
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    Looking good. Glad you're in a better ride now, especially one that should keep running without major breakdowns. This will be fun to watch.
    .
    If just enough is really good, then too much ought to be perfect.

    2006 Scion xB with in-dash Atom & Lilliput 889GL -- Worklog at http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/work...res-links.html
    .

  7. #7
    Wants to make it harder monkeyracer's Avatar
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    thanks rdholtz. The ford wasn't bad until it started falling apart. It did have 150K miles on it and was probably not maintained well. Now I have a car that I actually like.

    I ran into a small set back with the backfilling. The one layer of tape wasn't really enough to block the MEK from dissolving the piece that was keeping it straight. So when I tried to seperate it from the bezel, it started to bond to the backfill, and started pulling it away. It's not a big deal since it can be sanded back down and redone. I just need to find something better to keep the straight edge. Probably some angle aluminum I have leftover from a custom R/C truck build. I figured that would be the hardest part of it, and I never tried the backfill technique before, so I'm learning that as I go.
    2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser TE
    Car PC Progress:
    Planning.......[---------X-] 95%
    Parts...........[---------X-] 90%
    Fabrication...[---------X-] 90%
    RR Skin........[---------X-] 95%
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    Favorite thread EVER!

  8. #8
    Wants to make it harder monkeyracer's Avatar
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    I've been searching the forums, and other than zapwizard who installed a mac mini in his '06, there really isn't anyone else with an '06+ (1.5G) PT that's installing a computer. I guess that makes me the first on this site to do it with a PC.

    A major difference between my install and zapwizard's is that I'm molding the screen into the bezel. He will be able to switch back to stock easy, but I have an extra bezel, so it will stay in storage right next to the original radio and sirius tuner, when I sell the car, I just have to plug it all back in. (That won't be for a few years though)

    I should be getting to some sanding either tomorrow morning or sometime next week when I have some free time.
    2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser TE
    Car PC Progress:
    Planning.......[---------X-] 95%
    Parts...........[---------X-] 90%
    Fabrication...[---------X-] 90%
    RR Skin........[---------X-] 95%
    View my
    Worklog
    Road Runner Skins
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    Favorite thread EVER!

  9. #9
    Wants to make it harder monkeyracer's Avatar
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    Small update:

    I started sanding down the first layer of ABS cement, and started to identify the first set of low spots.



    The space where the clock used to be will take a few rounds of sand and fill. The rest will probably get two more rounds.



    The above shot shows one of the low spots on the left side of the screen bezel. After the next round of fill and sand, it will almost disappear and the contour will be closer to the final shape.

    Using the ABS cement is easy. I have these little plastic bottles that were made for cake decorating, with tiny tips so I can siphon the cement in to the bottle, then just squirt it right where I need it to be. A thin layer takes a few hours to harden, and a thick layer takes up to a few days to be fully hard. This is pretty much the same as using ABS sludge, but without the hassle of mixing it yourself. It bonds to the bezels and makes the two of them chemically one piece, so I won't run in to issues down the road.

    To sand it, I'm just using a flat pink eraser (remember art class?) with a small strip of sandpaper wrapped around it. This allows me to get into the small edges of the bezel, but still keep everything nice and flat. It's like a scale version of a sanding block.

    The next layer of cement is starting to dry right now. More pics as soon as I get some.
    2007 Chrysler PT Cruiser TE
    Car PC Progress:
    Planning.......[---------X-] 95%
    Parts...........[---------X-] 90%
    Fabrication...[---------X-] 90%
    RR Skin........[---------X-] 95%
    View my
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    Favorite thread EVER!

  10. #10
    And then I was mod. Tidder's Avatar
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    Lookin good! Coming along nicely.
    Tidder

    Try RevFE
    The best resurrected frontend I've ever used, period.

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