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Discussion Starter #1
I know this forum isn't hardcore into audio but if anybody cares, I've been working on a special big build for my brother in-law who recently got out of the military. On discharge, he had the MS3 shipped directly to me so I could build it. The main purpose of showing you guys this is that the ST and MS3 have a lot in common. Hopefully some of the ideas help spur others to make cool stuff too.

The picture build-log is here https://trevorms3build.shutterfly.com/ but here's some highlight pictures of the process (and as of now 10/17/15 , it is about 80% done.)


The car arrived to me with an install already performed by someone else, reported to be a "professional" shop in Hawaii. If I ever meet them, I'll kick them in the nuts. Anyway, these serve as "before" pics


[imghttps://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a5d733b3127cceea4de26487d500000030O00AcOWjRo1btGQPbz4C/cC/f%3D0/ls%3D00204754449820150913024112687.JPG/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D720/ry%3D480/[/img]


I stopped taking pics of their stuff after I realized it really doesn't matter...lol

OK, so I started with heavy deadening and barrier work, these are the highlights































[continued]
 

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Next, I had to run 1/0 through. This is the plastic grommet thing behind the glovebox, very similar to the ST

Installed a grommet to the grommet



Speaker wire (large gauge Monoprice w/ CL2 sheathing + techflex for protection and looks run through the frame of the car and out the access plug by the Molex. The ST is extremely similar, this works great on the ST as well








These are the power wire and speaker wire run paths, zip-tied and stuck down at regular intervals, and it roughly follows the factory looms









This isn't done yet, but this is the path through the engine bay, sorry for the fuzzy pic


[continued]
 

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This is a test-fit of the tweeters, more on these later and when I get in replacement sails, I'll glass them in or whatever. This is just to get a quick visual



This is the passenger door being worked on for a set of Stereo Integrity TM65's


Double baffle got it done






Sub arrived


Some in-progress pics of the trunk as it is coming along



Building the box











Since the box is made of oak ply, I decided to deaden it internally more than I normally would




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This ground point is the passenger rear seat back bracket




OK, now for a very fun part, installing 12 gauge carbon steel perforated sheet! This one took a while






Panels cut for sides





Insert cut, this was shaped and beveled, and a groove (rabbet) is cut on the underside for plexi.


and vinyled


That's my stopping point for now. Tomorrow I hope to have the rest of the trunk complete. I am still waiting on LEDs to come in, and then I can light this sucker up with a helluva light show.
 

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Oh and if people are curious, here's the tools that are making this job possible:

This is a JessEm router lift, equipped with a Bosch router, and sitting on a 1" router tabletop, which I installed to a Craftsman stand. The router lift is the "Rout-R-Lift II" model, only ~$200. The router is the Bosch 1617 model.



The table saw is a DeWalt high rip capacity jobsite saw, the DWE7491RS model.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
x2
I would however like to know the reasoning behind running the power cable all around the engine bay like that...
Much like our car, the driver's side is jam-packed and inaccessible both on the engine side and the cabin side. On our car you have a rail back in the engine bay there to run wire by zip-tying free and clear. On the MS3 there's nothing like that (that I could see.) Therefore, unless running under the car (possibly an option), the best route I know of is the one I have here. Granted you're seeing it in unfinished form so it probably looks worse than it will end up.
 

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Looking good. What is the reasoning for using oak ply vs MDF or HDF for the enclosure?

Thanks for sharing!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Looking good. What is the reasoning for using oak ply vs MDF or HDF for the enclosure?

Thanks for sharing!
Great question! Mostly, it is weight. MDF weighs a great deal compared with decent plywood. It can resonate more so it pays to deaden it, use thicker baffles, add extra bracing etc. but it still ends up being much lighter. Because the enclosure is so big, I opted to mostly use this plywood to keep the trunk from making the car too heavy to be fun to drive. It is a Speed3 after all.

If I were doing it again, I'd use some high-ply (like 13 layer) Pine ply I saw on my way out the door of the store, AFTER I had this expensive piece cut up to fit in my Durango. That pine ply weighs a little bit more than this oak ply, but because it is very high ply, it works great for boxes. It was situated outside of the typical place for this type of wood, so I didn't see it until it was too late.

MDF still is the king for making shapes and bevels and all that, but if you can handle the higher propensity of splintering and such (by hiding it), these plywood variants work well in thicker sizes. I wouldn't use it for many things below 3/4" thick though. Sometimes if you need to make a big false floor, 1/2" ply with some reinforcement underneath works OK but that's about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Here's some update pics

hide panels cut and carpeted. I'm using very minor bevels on the top side (for a little depth and separation of each panel), and a minor rabbet on the underside of each panel to better fit the carpet, so it doesn't throw off the final height.



I used heat shrink tubing, cut into a small sliver, and stapled on the backside to serve as a pull handle


My lighting parts came in, so I was testing them out. My son was in awe. lol. Oh and disregard the misalignment in the panels, this was just for testing.
 

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Looking pretty good. Not news to you, Lanson, but for everyone else out there - the attention to little details like edge beveling removable panels and adding a rabbet to the underside to fit carpet make all the difference to the final fit and finish.

Lanson looks like you've maybe gotten a little inspired during this install, man! Cheers to you for the hard work, and thanks for sharing the journey so far!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This is 100% true. I've always known how to do it but without the proper equipment of a router table (and in my case, my lift helps a bunch in getting it dead-right), it is pointless and dangerous to try to do these things without one. Having the proper stuff has made this build much better than my previous ones, and my previous ones weren't bad but they were decidedly more simple.

Thanks for the love!

Looking pretty good. Not news to you, Lanson, but for everyone else out there - the attention to little details like edge beveling removable panels and adding a rabbet to the underside to fit carpet make all the difference to the final fit and finish.

Lanson looks like you've maybe gotten a little inspired during this install, man! Cheers to you for the hard work, and thanks for sharing the journey so far!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If I ever get the urge to get a nice system installed in my car you'll need to head to Portland for a few days... :)
Well, I'll throw it out to you this way: If you are ever in Vegas we might be able to arrange something. But I have to be around my equipment to be any good at this, driving up with a jig saw and a plan isn't going to cut it. :)
 

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Well, I'll throw it out to you this way: If you are ever in Vegas we might be able to arrange something. But I have to be around my equipment to be any good at this, driving up with a jig saw and a plan isn't going to cut it. :)
Having worked at a custom woodworking shop for a while I unfortunately get that. Being able to work with the proper tools really does make a difference. That's why if I ever find myself become rather wealthy I'm going to have a full shop with a CNC machine so that I can have fun.

But really, damn good work you're doing here.
 

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OK, been negligent about updating this, so here goes:

This is the factory battery's multi-wire connection, a weird fused/unfused thing



I cut those off


My solution was to install a small fused distribution block in place, and route a 4 gauge wire up to the battery terminal


Just a quick pic of my preferred way to crimp my bigger cables. This little guy has certainly paid for itself.


I took the factory ground point and skinned it, and then installed a more robust cable to the ground terminal


So a big part of this install was lighting, and being a new item for me (my previous stealthy builds largely eschewed luxuries like lighting), here's some pics of how I handled it. Here I'm using 5050 LED's, really nice multicolor units from eBay. I chopped them up and used the adhesive backing to attach them to the wood


I wired them (ignore the sloppy wiring, I was learning how to solder these tiny things), and powered them off a trickle charge 12v supply




Test fitting, this is their final destination but some wiring needs to be cleared, and obviously stuff is in the way.







This is how the wiring is for the front end, now that it is all done and ready




This location of main fuse was where a previous installer drilled holes to mount, so I had to reuse and it isn't a bad spot overall


Some of you (in PM and on here) were asking why I routed the way I did. True there may be another route, but this is what I understand the MS3 platform to require, since it has unique and difficult spacing on the driver's (battery) side. It is almost like the car was made for right-side drive to start. Hmmm.




Next up, and I didn't take tons of pics of the process as being coated in body filler and fiberglass dust is not really good for the camera/phone, I built some sail panel tweeters to fit the monstrous tweeters chosen.

What you see here is after I created some 1/4" thick MDF tweeter rings (very carefully with a hole saw, mind you!), epoxied the rings to a scuffed-up factory plastic sail panel, and applied some short-strand reinforced filler to bond the two as one with a basic shape. This pic is after the first layer of body filler on top of that reinforcement.



After a few hours of repetitive body filling and sanding, I got something decent




Test-fitting. Not quite perfect yet but getting there. I have to be careful not to over-file the tweeter hole, because it will be a press-fit (with hot glue on the backside)




And clearly, you can't take pics of the vinyl-wrapping process as you'll ruin your phone from the glues and you'll ruin your project stopping in the middle of a fabric lay-down process, so this is the "after". And "after" painstakingly wrapping this very awkward-shaped piece, I felt like I ran a marathon.





You can see the next project in the background, tee hee



Note the little "wrinkle" (which is not one, but an illusion from stretching and then compressing the carbon fiber-embossed vinyl) in the top part of the piece is completely hidden by the door sill as the door is closed. I tried many times to avoid this little niggle, but it is just the nature of the material to compensate for the weird shape.




Next is the driver's door, some final wiring concerns, and test/tuning and then final delivery.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks man, this car has been a bear to deal with on the trunk and doors, but its coming together finally. I just hope the test/tune side goes quickly, the car has been with me forever and deadlines loom.
 

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So to update (minor), I finished with the woofer install in the left door,



You can't remove this item completely, but you can move it out of the way and get your hands in to lay deadener


Put back together and sealed up, and double baffle created




But really, the weekend was mostly handling this mess, this paint! This poor car sat outside for more than a year while the owner was deployed overseas in Bahrain.



I was able to polish it in three stages, and got it to about 90-95% perfect which for him is probably ideal, because those last "R.I.D.S." in the paint that make up the remaining 5-10% would take twice to three times as long and likely take the clear down more than I'd be comfortable doing.


You can probably tell by the pics that it ain't perfect but it isn't bad




Side note Easter-egg found while removing the front plate, check this out



So one thing that is bugging me is a popping speaker sound from the LF. I can't tell if I've got a defective speaker, if I have a door panel contacting the speaker at high excursion, if I've got an EQ setting (MS-8 auto-EQ's, can't tell what's going on exactly) that is causing something, etc. I need to simplify and test-test-test to find out. My initial setting was pretty bold but I figured these speakers I installed were ideal for something aggressive: 60hz cross @ 12dB/oct sub to woofer (no overlaps or underlaps in an MS-8 tune), mid to tweeter cross at 2150Hz @ 24dB/oct. The mid and tweet sound fairly happy, there's a little bit of cone resonance from the mid at this level and I'm going to experiment with lower cross points as these special tweeters can handle it. But the low point is really f'ing with me. I was testing with some Tech 9ine "Speedom", some Moonbeam episodes, Matt Darey, and some 80's music and I noticed that the LF woofer kept sounding like it was bottoming out. The right one was just pounding away, so that's weird. I took off the door panel thinking it could possibly be excursion contact, but still got the pop so now I'm not sure. I re-tuned again at 65, then 70, then 75 and still I could get the pop, but progressively at higher volumes which is expected if it is truly bottoming out. And yes, I was playing the system at high volumes for this to find the limit.

Not sure what's up. I'm going to try one more re-tune at 80hz and if it goes away, leave it at that but if it keep happening I think I'm going to try another one of these woofers, I have two more sitting in a box. I'd really rather not break into the door again and again, the door tree clips are starting to fatigue so I'll need to replace them if I get in there again. Grrr...
 
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