The "real" Big Build Thread!

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Gadget Tech' started by zigger215, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. zigger215

    zigger215 Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    Hello and welcome to my build thread, so first thing is first, small bit of history. My name is Charlie and I have been installing since I was 16, I am currently 24. I have worked in two different shops and have done an extensive amount of projects on my own in my own shop. Currently I am an apprentice in the IBEW trying to get a grip on the AC world, I am also going to school for my Electrical Engineering Degree. I have 1 year left in the apprenticeship and 2 remaining in my Electrical Engineering studies. You could say I have an unhealthy addiction to all things electrical but my main passion is and probably always will be the installation of mobile electronics.

    This thread will be broke down into three segments… The first will be about the sound system, the second will be about the auto start and the third will be about the complete conversion of my interior lighting to LED (this has been a hot topic on the forum so I hope this thread helps out)
    On a side not I wanted to say that I have been a part of the NASIOC forum for a long time and I have to say, this forum is WAAAAYYYYY friendlier and actually pays off as a help resource to GM enthusiasts.

    first and foremost, i feel the need to introduce you to my assistant, it has given me quite the unfair advantage over my projects.
    my assistant.jpg

    So first off, the sound system. I have an eclectic taste in music so when I went about designing my system I had to keep this in mind. Since I listen to everything from Johnny Cash to Pandora to Eminem and Lil Wayne I decided to go with this list of equipment.

    -2 set of KS 6.5 component speakers (kicker)

    -1 set of KS 5.25 Coax speakers (kicker)

    -1 ZX 350.4 amplifier (kicker)

    -2 L7 10” subs (kicker)

    -1 ZX 1000.1 amplifier (kicker)

    -1 custom enclosure built by me (fits nicely under the seat)
    I would have preferred to save time here and buy a prefab sub box but since they do not make one that houses subs like the L7 I decided I would have to bite the bullet and build…

    -1 set of Q-Logic kick panel enclosures (fits 5.25” speakers but I did some cutting and made the 6.5s fit)

    -1 power distribution block

    -2 Audio Force 250 power cells

    -1 Audio Force 900 power cell (under the hood)

    -1 Interstate Optima battery (for start up and other stock electrical functions)
    I decided not to isolate any of the batteries, yes I am aware of the risk of a draining battery but I just didn’t really care… lol that’s the only excuse I have for not isolating the optima, don’t be like me, isolate your main battery! J

    -2 dynamat bulk kits (approximately 72 square ft)
    For wire I used 1/0 as my main power feed to the distribution block as well as upgraded all of my power and ground wire under the hood (crucial because DC current is a loop that travels from negative to positive and only flows as much current as the smallest cable in the system will allow, you can run bigger wire all day long but if you do not increase your stock grounds and power feeds from your alternator and chassis then you area accomplishing nothing….Big 3 is a good solution but I just built my own grounding system)

    -1 JVC 7 inch screen. I wanted to go with Kenwood but because this system is so indepth and will amplify bad signal I decided to go with the screen with the highest line out voltage which is the JVC with 5volts preout on the line outs (RCAs) As it turns out, I am in love with this deck haha. It is fully equipped with blu-tooth and then I also added the SWC mod by pac parts which allows me to retain my steering wheel controls.

    -1 OS-2Bose/Onstar. This is a spendy harness but you will retain everything including your chime. This harness is only for trucks equipped with Bose and Onstar. Use a GMCO if you have a standard package truck.

    -Misc carpet, fuse holders, matched and rated fuses. SOLDER EVERYTHING!
    The first step I did was ripped out my interior…all of it. From here I started out dynamiting everything and looking at how I wanted to route my cables. Lucky for us GM owners, there are nice channels in our kick panels and running boards, I highly suggest using them, I ran my 1/0 down the drivers side running board. Down the passenger side I ran a run of 12awg power and ground (I will explain why later)

    Ok so the dynamiting…it is important to do it in a nice clean fashion, making it look like the truck came from the factory that way. I use a sharp razor and a roller. A tape measure is also a handy tool for this tedious project.
    stripped down 2.jpg stripped down 1.jpg dynamatted.jpg

    After the dynamat, I started reinstalling my interior in pieces…what I mean is, the carpet and headliner went back in but the seats and center console all stayed out to make running cables much easier. Plus I needed access to my factory amp wiring under the center console.
    back wall.jpg amp rack 5.jpg

    Using 9-wire I tapped into the factory speaker wire at the amp under the center console, from here I ran the 9 wire back to the ZX 350.4 and wired it up accordingly. Some people prefer to run all new speaker wire and upsize it while they are at it. This is not a bad practice at all but I am inclined to say, 9 wire which is 16awg wire has more then the need current carrying capacity of this particular system, which is more then you will see in your average system.

    amp rack 6.jpg
    Now lets get back to the reason I ran a run of 12awg down the passenger running board. Common power and ground locations mean everything in noise reduction. The point of installing such a large system would be lost if in the background of your amazing sounding music you had white noise or an alternator whine. So you want to make the power and ground on the head unit common with the amplifiers. Thus, do not power up you deck with the aftermarket harness, power it up from the power and ground terminals of one your amplifiers, preferably the amp power the mids and highs. This is an old school trick on eliminating noise and signal interference in your system.
    amp rack 4.jpg amp rack 1.jpg   amp rack 2.jpg amp rack 3.jpg
    Next up is the power distribution, short and sweet, 1 run of 1/0 in and 4 runs of 4awg out. The runs of 4awg power both amps and both batteries in the back, simple as that. Onto the grounding, its self explanatory as you can see in the picture. Make all you grounds in a common spot where you have ground off some paint, it looks ugly I know, I’m sorry lol.

    power distribution.jpg grounding.jpg
    Ok onto the box (these descriptions are really not detailed well but I figured questions from readers could address individual concerns or curiosities) That and you guys aren’t idiots when it comes to your trucks, these are just my ideas and tricks….Right, the box. Ok like I said I wanted to skirt on time with this one but L7s are big subs to try and get under your rear seat so no one makes boxes for them. This box I have found through time has been an excellent fit for a Silverado or sierra and I is so loud. It is a sealed box that gives each sub a little over 1 cubic ft of air space and a shared chamber in the center (for manipulating sub impedance). The subs fire up and I put protective grills on them to keep the surrounds of the sub from wearing on the bottom of the seat. I ran 12awg wire from the amp to a signal termination point on the box (my subs come together in the box at 2ohms)
    interior 1.jpg

    The back doors, the 4x6s suck, we all know this, common fix is hacking away at the doors and putting in 5.25 coax speakers, they make a huge difference. Enough said

    rear door.jpg
    The front speakers. Because our ears are going to be more focused in the front of the vehicle this is where we want the magic to happen. I installed a pair of KS 6.5s in the door and then another pair in the kick enclosures. I wired the cross-overs to the same channels on their respective sides so basically my front doors are wired at 2ohms which is within their power handling range and the ZX 350.4 can do either 2ohm or 4ohm, the tuning WILL be different though. In short, this setup sounds F+++ing amazing!
    front door.jpg interior 4.jpg   interior 3.jpg

    Head unit, so with this its pretty self explanatory, all I hooked up to from the super expensive harness kits was the chime and the acc. Wire, everything else is already handled, speakers, power and ground etc.. I also wired in the SWC module and the blu-tooth mic. Plugged in all the RCAs and called it a day there. I also installed a mount for my iphone.

    screen wiring.jpg finished screen.jpg
    Ok so now to the battery upgrades. Like I said I am currently operating on a total of 4 batteries. Three act more as cap cells, quick recharge, quick deplete. They absorb the abrupt call for power that the amps demand at certain frequencies and decibels. The optima is used for the electrical system that came factory with the truck. The batteries are not isolated from each other. A smart idea is to isolate them from each other or at least isolate your audio batteries from your start up battery. I am very confident in my battery selection and hook up so I opted not to isolate them. Made sure to upgrade the power and grounds on the entire charging system. It installed in this picture but I just installed a 240 amp stinger alternator. Should handle the demand with ease if I did my math right on the truck.

    batt upgrade parts.jpg batt upgrade 1.jpg batt upgrade 2.jpg
    This is the sound system in brief, I hope the pictures were easy to look at, I have trouble getting my iphone to focus so I am sorry for the blurry photos.
  2. zigger215

    zigger215 Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    look for part 2 in a serperate thread, it covers my auto start and security system as well as an LED conversion of my interior lighting
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  3. silverhobey

    silverhobey Rockstar 3 Years 500 Posts

    holy crap've got one big project on the go....good luck, and I will definitely read more as I have time.

    You see, us up here in Canada, have to get ready for the snow !!!! Brian
  4. dsfloyd

    dsfloyd Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Awesome write up and build:great:. yeah none of the pics showed up in the second post for me.
  5. zigger215

    zigger215 Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    Thanks guys I appreciate it
  6. Clint16

    Clint16 Member

    that is awesome and is very interesting to see looks great... nice sled too man!
  7. zigger215

    zigger215 Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    Haha thanks Clint. That thing is fun!
  8. reggiecab2000

    reggiecab2000 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    whoa ****! nice thread man!
  9. Enkeiavalanche

    Enkeiavalanche Loving the Outdoors Staff Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    Nice job there Jr..... Very nice and to the point install......I'm glad to see that you upgraded all the wires under the hood too Alot of people forget to do that..Keep an eye on the RMS rating on those amps.. You could have gone to bigger amps all around. as for the Head unit JVC and Kenwood are the same Co now but still make everything sep. After selling and installing them both for over 20 years I would have gone to the Exalon Kenwood head units..Better sig to noise Ratio and tuner.. Keep up the good work....
  10. zigger215

    zigger215 Member 2 Years 500 Posts

    Thanks Enke, it was a pretty tough decision on the deck, I ended up going off line-out voltage. As for the amps, I agree but I'm trying to figure out how I want to dial in the system, I dont like all the bass in the back with all the mids and highs in the front, it's too sectional. I was thinking of giving the front speakers their own amp, changing out the rear mids to 6.5s and then adding a stealth sub under the center console ran off it's own amp. I could also change up the zx 1000.1 with a 1500.1. Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

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