Some of you may remember my first install
where I put the Empeg in my car with an FM modulator. I decided recently the sound quality could be a bit better, so I decided to upgrade. When I made this decision I didn't know what I was getting myself into!
After buying a cheapish Kicker amp and subwoofer, I started doing some more research on the topic and decided to go with some higher quality components. I knew I had to replace the factory head unit in my car, but I didn't want to have a flashy dash (no dolphins). The Nakamichi CD400
was the perfect HU for me, it has both AUX in and subwoofer out, detachable face and looks like a stock head unit. For amps, I got the Nakamichi PA-1004 and PA-1002
to drive the front speakers and subwoofer. For front speakers, I bought 4 MB Quart DKE-116
After weighing my options, I built a custom amp rack under the rear deck of the cargo area, just above the spare tire. This rack is hinged to provide access to the spare tire, and vented through to the cargo compartment. I have fans in the cover, but I need to slow them down a bit since they are too loud at full power.
I also built a custom subwoofer enclosure for just behind the wheelwell. The enclosure sticks into a compartment where the jack used to be and bolted in to a bracket that I made to hold it there. I bought some close-matching carpet at a car interior shop, and carpted the enclosure. I am glad I got some decent carpet since it allowed me to flex around the curves of the enclosure well.
All the wiring for the audio system is new. I wired 1/0 into the engine compartment, replaced all the engine grounds with 1/0 and installed a breaker by the battery. The amp remote line from the head unit is fused and runs through a relay to switch both amps and provide power to the fans. The speaker wire is all brand new, it was a pain to get it through all the doors, but enough WD-40 will fix anything. The interconnects are quad shield RG-6 with crimp-on RCA connectors, made up for me by a friend. Everything is crimped and soldered, then heat-shrunk or taped. The ground is a grounding block screwed to the floorpan of the cargo area. Even with all of these precautions, I still have a tad bit of alternator whine, but it's hardly noticable except when I crank the levels on the amps.
I'm glad it's finished, and it sounds great! I still need to dial the levels in, but so far I'm very happy with the install. Here's a pic of the completed dash with the Empeg and Nakamichi in place. After the pic is a link to the full gallery with construction pictures and installation steps. Almost everything I did in this install was a first for me, so I learned a ton (fiberglass, amp wiring, carpet, etc).Gallery of the full install