1992 Ford EB Falcon Stereo + Carputer install
Being an Auto sparky by trade, I've always had a great interest in car audio and electronics. I got into car audio with a friend when we were in high school when his dad gave him a car to do up for when he got his license. He was a couple of years older then me. His cousin owned a stereo shop at the time, and we were always blown away by his installs. He used to let us help out, which is what got us into it.
I've wanted a proper carputer for many years, after having an old ****ter running off an inverter into a Clarion in dash tv in my subaru which worked... just... being a tv, resolution was non existent, making text hard to read, and touchscreens at the time were really expensive.
The TV was $1400 in those days, so you can imagine what the touch screens were worth. There wasnt much (if anything) in the way of wireless/bluetooth gear around at that time either (1999/2000ish) and HTPC's and their associated small form factor, mini keyboards, etc hadnt even been thought of at that stage. At least not commercially available anyway.
I ended up going with a J&W minix motherboard, AMD2 dual core 2.9ghz CPU, 2gb Corsair DDR2 Ram, 500gb samsung 2.5" 7200rpm SATA HDD, External USB samsung DVD burner and an Aywun mini itx case (which is pretty cheap in build quality and might end up being too rattly once I put the subs in. Its going to be mounted in the boot so I'll have to wait and see.
This was about the most powerful, decent, yet cheapish setup I could run happily off the M4-ATX and still have headroom for GPS, bluetooth dongle, and a few other USB goodies.
I already had a xenarc 700v-v touchscreen sitting around that was taken out of a taxi, which they thought was dead, and were going to throw out, which actually had nothing wrong with it after inspecting and testing it. I even got the whole wiring loom with it, as they threw a whole new kit into the car. I have a feeling that there was no fuse in the fuse holder as there wasnt when I got the loom. They probably raided the fuse for something else that had blown in the dodgy taxi.
The system cost about $700 all up including shipping from 3 different places, and a copy of windows 7 pro 64bit.
I bought a heap of ATX pins to shorten the cable for the M4, but havent bothered sitting down to actually do it yet.
Sadly, I had lost my license for 6 months, which gave me a lot of time to do some research into what I wanted.
Now that I have it back (FINALLY) I picked up the EB from my girlfriends dad for cheap when he bought a new car.
I mainly bought it for the engine (injected 302 windsor v8) to put into my TC Cortina project car. But its a cool cruiser and I started having second thoughts about stripping it.
Anyway, for now I've decided to go all out on the stereo, I have a pretty good system in my subaru but I killed the gearbox in it and just left it to sit out the front for the last 2 years as money was tight back then. To get it back on the road I need a new gearbox, 4 new tyres and two new batteries (was running dual battery setup to run the amps.)
The best thing about doing a new system, is that I can always rip it out if I do decide to go with the cortina. or fix the subaru. or whatever.
Next was starting to collect the stereo gear. The car already has a decent panasonic head unit in it, which I will test with the oscilloscope to see what the preouts are like, voltage and clipping point etc. If I'm not happy with it, I'll find something else. I still havent ruled out the 5.1 setup via the PC, but once again will have to check the outputs.
So far, I've got a pair of Polk Audio DB6501's for the front stage, and a Soundstream STL4.500 amp to run them. I Was going to get a second set for the rear, but now I've decided I'm going for a SQ system, so rears arent necessary and just make tuning harder. I'll just bridge the 4ch to run them. Depending how they sound, I might ditch them and get some Focal's, Morel's or Dynaudio's. I've got an STL1.1200 monoblock and a pair of Soundstream Reference DVC 12s sitting there waiting for me at the shop when I've got the money to pay them off.
I've got all the installation goodies ready to go, which most I was able to source through work. We have just brought out our own range of installation accessories which apparently come out of the same factory that makes Stinger. We also deal with another supplier of audio gear, so I could source the other bits I needed through them.
All the stuff is platinum plated, which I think doesnt look as tacky as the gold stuff that has been around for years. I've got battery terminals (which I might have to drill out to take 0ga as they only take 2x 4ga and 2x 8ga in), 3 ANL fuse holders, 2 normal and one with a LED voltmeter on it (one for each amp and one for the carputer). a 200a circuit breaker for up front, 4 sets of Triple shielded RCAs, Front, rear, sub and aux. I decided to get a 20m roll of 0ga and a 100m roll of 16ga speaker wire as a) thats how its sold, not cut to lengths and b) i'll end up using it in the future. One of the sets of RCA's were part of an amp wiring kit, which I got for the 4ga power and earth to use for the amps from the distribution block via the ANL holders.
I found a stinger 0ga in to 3x4ga out distribution block in a forsale section of an Australian car audio site (not sure if im allowed to promote other sites/forums on here, so it will remain nameless ;) ) for $10. bargain. Total for the install goodies is somewhere around the $400 mark including cable. Being able to source it through work has made it a heap cheaper.
Next I went out to buy some fibreglass supplies. I have never done glassing before, so I decided now is the time to learn. I got 6m of 225gm chopped strand matting, 4L of resin and catalyst, 500ml of acetone and a roller thing. $157 total. I'm thinking I'm going to glass the 12s into the corners of the boot and make an amp rack and a mount for the carputer. behind the back seat. Not entirely sure of the boot layout yet though. I want to retain boot space in this car, because in the subaru wagon the sub box took up most of the boot. I also want to make it look factory too.
On friday during my lunch break, I went out shopping for the fibreglass supplies, I bought a fascia from a wrecker to hack up to mount the screen behind.. Then On Saturday morning, I headed over the a mates place with a big garage. I was using a cutting tip on a little gas soldering iron for the job, which was going well but stinking us out and taking a while, so we got out the drop saw to cut the main section out. first cut was perrrrrfect, no filing or sanding required. Next we flipped it over to do the other side.. Then the saw grabbed and shattered it into half a million pieces, some of which I think are in orbit somewhere now.. Was pretty damn funny actually. Luckily we were in the other side of the garage, not doing it on the bench coz all the fragments would have showered my mates 2 week old FG F6 ute. That would have sucked. This put a halt on things for the rest of the weekend. Time for a drink or 5.
Today I went out and bought 2 more fascias for $10 each. I had to pull them out of the cars myself, and ended up with glass in my hand as the donor cars were wrecks sitting on top of each other with broken windscreens and side windows. I had to stand on the drivers door of a car beside these two to get up to the top one, and lean across and into it. It Wasn't fun with muddy boots on smooth surfaces. OH&S would have had a field day there...
The fascia shouldnt be too big a job, I've Just gotta cut the pocket out and the bar going across it, so I can curve it to make it look factory. HOPEFULLY there will be room for the head deck underneath, where the ashtray and lighter current sit. From memory there should be enough depth there. Otherwise I'll have to get the 1lb persuation tool out to make room :)
Its like minus 3959258 degrees in the garage tonight, so it might have to wait for tomorrow. Definately No drop saw this time tho.
Now I need a new alternator too.... I've got the bits at work to rebuild it, or 3 brand new ones on the shelf (I work for an A/E parts wholesaler) BUT they are only 95amp. The monoblock I'm getting is going to draw over 100a at full noise so the stocker is out of the question. I have found a mob in the states that sells a 170amp unit (120a @ idle) for about $300us landed within a week with a lifetime warranty, so the payday after next I'll order it. (this coming one is bill week, so no play money :( )
Anyway, thats enough for tonight. It's getting late, and now its raining outside so i'm not going out there to grab the box of stuff out of the car to take photos.