My stock system consisted of the basic delco stereo with some crappy 6.5" fronts and 4x6" rears. My goals for the upgrade were to maintain/improve upon the sound quality I had in the previous vehicle (see my 90' Safari)and increase overall spl. The challenge was to accomplish this without any major modifications to the interior panels or removing the rear bech seat as I had before (I never saw it again).
Here's some pics of the stock front area. Notice the storage pocket just below the cup holders, it's the first to go!
I decided to fabricate a center console that would house the following components:
Sony ES cdx-c90 indash cd
Sony ES cdx-848 10 disc changer
Sony mv-101 slot load dvd player
Sony xt-40v tv tuner
The goals for the build were simple:
1) easy access of all source equipment
2) keep the stock look and flow of lines
3) make it stealthy
Using fiberglass and mdf, here's what I came up with.
The only mod. was unscrewing the storage pocket which can always be put back in place!
For upfront video I fabricated an aluminum bracket to mount a 7" headrest monitor in place of the 1.5 din stereo. ABS inserts were cut to fill in the spaces on either side. No mods. of the factory dash panel were required!
Next I turned my attention to the speakers. I wanted amazing sound quality and stupid loudness without having to mod. the door panels. I also refused to use anything less than an 8" midbass as this is what I've used in my last 4 systems. After much thought I decided to use HLCD's under the dash and 8's in the kickpanels. I chose the following gear:
Illusion Audio CH-1 horns.... 793hz and up
Phoenix Gold Ti Elite 9" mids..... 78 to 793hz
The horns were secured under the dash using metal back straps. I built sealed fiberglass kickpanels providing the 9's with .25 cubic feet of airspace each. This required removal of the parking brake (who needs it anyways!).
At this point my amps and dsp were simply mounted to a board in the cargo area (I'll spare you the pics) so that I could check the sound and imaging. I was so pleased that I decided to take a break for a few weeks and enjoy!
Of course, before long I started to crave the missing low end and grew tired of seeing wires running everywhere; so I started the designing the sub enclosure/amp rack/display.
My goals for this part of the install were to have everything neatly out of the way but also visible for show reasons. I wanted as much as possible to be mounted/displayed in the rear hatch area without removing the rear seat.
Sounds easy enough but look at what I still had left to install:
Sony ES xdp-4000x digital eq/crossover
Sony xt-xm1 xm satelite radio tuner
three US Amps:
usa-200 horn duty
usa-1000x midbass duty
usa-2000x or de-3000 sub duty
three JBL w15gti subs ( I absolutely love the sound of these!)
two Optima red tops
all the wiring/power distribution.
So after many sketchings and much brain-storming I came up with a fiberglass/mdf design that met all my goals. The processor and xm tuner went under the rear seat.
The amprack is flushed into the front of the box and the battery tray/power dist. is flushed into the back. The amps are "floating" with all wires almost invisible. The seat still folds down, which allows access to the fusing.
On a funny note, I had to add an air ride load support kit to the rear suspension to handle the weight of the system. I don't have pics, but the van actually dropped about 4" with it loaded up. The air ride has a dash mount pressure gauge as well as inflate and deflate controls. It did the trick and actually improved ride quality.
rear seat video
rear stage speakers for show purposes
grills for the horn drivers
neon/led lighting inside the amprack and power dist.
I'm proud to say that although it took me over a year (mostly because of laziness) I completed all custom fabrication and installation by myself. As you all know, it's never completely done, but this is as close as I have ever come to finishing my vision.
I kept this system for basically two years unchanged, however, like I said, it's never done. The next couple of pages show changes that were made in March of 2007.