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My "budget" SQesque build in my '12 Cruze

2406 Views 25 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Blasirl
I figured I'd transfer my build log over here just in case it can help someone out. I've accumulated just about everything I need to "finish" the build and now begins the process of getting it into the car and making it look decent. This is going to be my first real build, I've installed decks, amps, and speakers before, but that was 20 years ago and in factory locations. The build will be all over the place and I'm going to end up having to pull panels two and three times since I am doing this in my free time and need to leave the garage open for the boss lady to park overnight.

This build is going to be done in three stages, as funds allow.
Stage 1 - Get the stereo up and rolling. I had a couple of circa 1999 Fosgate amps running some Infinity Kappa Perfects and they decided to just stop working, so I have been without a radio for close to 5 months now.
Stage 2 - Sound deaden everything. I know this should probably be done first, but see stage 1. I bought a box of CLD tiles to do the trunk and will get to the rest of the car as soon as possible.
Stage 3 - Upgrade the stuff I installed in the beginning. I'm old enough to know being happy with what was installed to begin with is a farce. I already know I want new subs and a better DSP, but I don't have the $1,200-$1,300 to do that right now. Also, see stage 1.

Here is the list of what is going into the car to start.
(2) Zapco ST-4X II
Zapco ST-1000XMII
Dayton Audio DSP-408 (with new remote and Bluetooth module)
AudioControl LC2i
Peerless BC25 SC06
Dayton Audio RS75
Silver Flute W17RC38
(2) Dayton Audio Ultimax 8"

I am awful at taking pictures along the way, but will do my best to get some shots that are worthwhile.

I will be running the left channel off one amp, tweeter, midrange, and bridged midbass, and the right off the other amp.
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I used XT60 connectors for all of the speakers in the hopes of making future removal a little easier.
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The mids are mounted in a 3D printed pod I designed, but have since decided to take the plunge and try my hand at fiberglassing and integral pillar pod.
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The tweeters are being mounted in sail panel pods I found for a couple of dollars shipped from China. They received an inline capacitor to help protect them as best as possible.
Wire stripper Wood Gas Electrical wiring Tool


After that was wrapped up I moved on to getting the wires run. I bought the new DSP remote and designed and printed a remote mount to fit into my coin holder. It doesn't look like much, but it is a perfect compression fit so I can return it to stock with zero issues. There is a slight possibility of me lowering the mount a little bit to make it more flush, but since I printed this my printer took a crap and I am waiting on parts from China to fix it.
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I then tore apart my dash and installed the LC2i to give the DSP a fighting chance to get a clean signal. I am running coaxial RCAs to the trunk and into the DSP.
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On to the next post.
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
After the RCAs, remote, and DSP remote wire were run, I moved to the power wire. I again designed and 3D printed a mount for the fuse block. It borrows the two mounting locations of the ECM. Prior to this being done I installed the Big 3 using 4 gauge wire. You can see one of the wires on the left side of the picture with the mount in place.
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I have the rest of the power and ground wires done, but haven't installed them.

I then moved on to the trunk in preparation of building the amp and sub boxes. I bought a single box of CLD tiles and went to town. I am very familiar of the law of diminishing returns, however, if there is one complaint I have about this car is the amount of road noise from the trunk. It is just one giant tin can. Again I have little to no pictures of this process. I laid tiles along the entire rear quarter panel, the floor, and the trunk lid. I am still researching if I want to add CCF and MLV to the trunk or just call it good.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I played hooky from work yesterday and was able to get a good portion of the amp rack done. I have cut the beauty panel, but have not cut the openings for the amps. I need to get my track saw back from a friend.

I found two pre-existing holes to add a couple of rivnuts to hold the amp rack.
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I then cut the board and dropped it into place to get an understanding of the opening and where the amps would fit it.
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Textile World Wood Rectangle Landscape


Between this picture and the finished product, I build a structure to enclose the amps and mount the beauty panel to and cut the holes for all of the wires. After cutting the holes for the wires I ended up not taking into consideration the length of the power and ground reducer I have and need to enlarge the cutouts. I was still pretty excited to see where I landed so I threw it in. I plan on wrapping it in black material to match the interior.
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This is where I am today. My next steps are running the speaker and power wire to the trunk to wrap up wire routing.
 

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After the RCAs, remote, and DSP remote wire were run, I moved to the power wire. I again designed and 3D printed a mount for the fuse block. It borrows the two mounting locations of the ECM. Prior to this being done I installed the Big 3 using 4 gauge wire. You can see one of the wires on the left side of the picture with the mount in place.
View attachment 296537
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View attachment 296539

I have the rest of the power and ground wires done, but haven't installed them.

I then moved on to the trunk in preparation of building the amp and sub boxes. I bought a single box of CLD tiles and went to town. I am very familiar of the law of diminishing returns, however, if there is one complaint I have about this car is the amount of road noise from the trunk. It is just one giant tin can. Again I have little to no pictures of this process. I laid tiles along the entire rear quarter panel, the floor, and the trunk lid. I am still researching if I want to add CCF and MLV to the trunk or just call it good.
View attachment 296540
View attachment 296541
I like the mount idea. What are the chances you could post a link to the stl and cad files?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I feel as though I got a decent amount done over the weekend, although still far from being close. I completely ignored my own thoughts and decided to work on speaker enclosures instead of wiring. My thought process was, if I didn't know exactly where the speakers were going I wouldn't be able to get the exact length wire.

This is my first time ever doing body work and I will say that it was not a whole lot of fun, however, I am decently happy with the outcome.
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This was after my first sanding and I then went on to do about 15 hours worth of Bondo and sanding.
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I blew the focal point of this photo, but you should be able to get the gist of what I was going for.
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The way I have been paying for this stuff is with my side job, woodworking, so having all of the necessary tools at my disposal I quickly threw together two boxes for the future subs I am going to buy. Now that I have this all laid out I feel comfortable moving towards the wiring.
Tire Wheel Car Automotive tire Plant

I laid the DSP between the two boxes to get an idea of how I wanted to mount it. The thought is to create a floating mount 1) to display it when you open the trunk and 2) if and when I want to go to something better I will be able to just swap out the mount and not need to rebuild the hole beauty panel, etc.
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Wow, I didn't even know Zapco still made stuff.

My '81 Z28 is full of 80's-era Zapco stuff. I need to go through it and get that all working again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow, I didn't even know Zapco still made stuff.

My '81 Z28 is full of 80's-era Zapco stuff. I need to go through it and get that all working again.
Oh yeah, they are still making stuff and innovating. The plan is to upgrade the DSP, eventually, and I have been researching theirs. Their low end stuff, which is pretty much what I have, provides more than rated and is really efficient.
 

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Good to hear. It's going to be interesting to get this back up and running. Conveniently, it is mounted on the underside of the (custom) rear deck in the car (which has a pair of SEAS 4.5" mids and Pyle 8" woofers - there are a pair of JVC ribbon tweeters in the doors up front), so I get to lay in the trunk. Not pictured is the Zapco equalizer that takes up the entirety of the center console bin.

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There are all sorts of coils of wires and what not, so this thing was legit - I just need to make sure I keep an eye on what I'm doing. I'm well versed in home and car audio, but I'm used to things...a bit newer.
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That stuff is speaking my language. When I was getting started that is what I was using and I love it. It was built well, did what it said it would do, and sounded great. No need for 5,000 watts.
 

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It'll be interesting to see how it sounds whenever I get it working again. Apparently it used to cause quite the draw, so I'd like to avoid that. And I'd also like to update the '80s high-end Kenwood tape deck for a double-DIN with Android Auto (there's a...rather convenient way...to switch the vent location and radio location that I will likely utilize). But that's all pretty far down my list of things to do regarding that car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
After a back injury that led to back surgery, I am finally working on the project again. I completely flubbed taking photos, but an absolute ton of work was done over the weekend. The first step was getting the sub boxes finished and permanently mounted in the trunk. I sealed all seams on the inside, cut the hole in the front panel, installed the binding posts, and created two angled brackets to mount to the back of the box and to my trunk floor. A beauty panel is going to be made to cover all of this up.

Light Black Blue Wood Audio equipment


I then moved on to the wiring. Starting with the driver's side I ran the power wire through the firewall and towards the trunk. I then moved on to the midrange wiring running it through the dash. After that was laying CLD on the driver's door. It was put anywhere the door made a sound and it now makes a nice thud when closing. After that, I ran the wires for the tweeter and midbass through the door wiring harness. I used my drill and Dremel to cut out all of the blank spaces in the connector. Lastly, I tucked the speaker wires into the plastic channel and the power wire into a small void between the carpet and body. My wonderful mess of wires. The next step is to cut a couple of small slits in the trunk liner and run the wires to the back of the amp mount.

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Once that was one I turned my attention to my a-pillars. I mixed up a batch of "milkshake" and poured it into the pods. I messed up one of them and poured way too much in and now have to take a finger sander and clean out the epoxy. Remember this is the first time doing this and I know it looks like ****. Luckily, it is on the backside of the pillar and no one will see it. After that is done I will be spraying them with SEM paint.

Brown Wood Trowel Gas Brick


The next thing I will be working on is the passenger side. I have CLD to lay down and speaker wires to run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I was able to get the passenger side door covered with CLD and ran the wires to the trunk. This was WAY worse than the driver's side. My biggest issue is I now have a "Door Open" warning that popped up after I did the work. Part of me thinks it's the door plug, even though it was completely seated and clasped. I have a feeling I am going to need to reverse this to get it perfect and the door open fixed.

Here is a shot of the door. It's not 100% covered, but in the big spots where there isn't CLD I ended up putting it on the back side of the panel. I also have HDLP sheets to create block-off plates for the large openings in the door.
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I was able to get all sorts of stuff done over the weekend. All the wires were run to the back and laid out the best I could, remember weekend warrior and not a professional. I wired in my power and ground distribution block, fused accessory distribution block, and MiniDC isolator. I only have a couple of connections to make and I will be done with wiring. The speaker wires and remote wires are just run to the amps and not connected. I will then need to solder the power, ground, and remote in on the DSP and that'll be done.

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Since I have a feeling I will be upgrading the DSP, it only has 8 channels and I need 10, I left the speaker level wires connected and will be leaving the most amount of cable possible on the harness. I got the box in and mounted it with all the RCA cables running to the appropriate locations. Of course the picture I have is not installed so I will have to get a better one when I have time. Also, these subs will not be staying. I'll be upgrading ASAP.
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The last thing I worked on was getting the midbass and tweeters installed. I made a plastic speaker ring to mount to the door with Roadkill speaker rings. I also got the Peerless tweeters into the pods and on the door. The tweeters do not fit well at all and I am going to be replacing those ASAP. Even if they sound good I hate the way they look and the sail panel pod doesn't really clip in all that well.
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As I said above, I have a couple of wire connections to make and then I will be ready to tune. This will allow me to listen for rattles, etc. and then I will need to take some of the car back apart to lay CLD and possibly CCF. I will also be able to get some better pictures.
 

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May I ask why the rear facing subs?

I found it best to have my dual twelve box pointed forward and pushed back against the trunk. If the box was another 4" shallow the resinence would be in the driver's seat instead of the mirror lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Because I am only running 8", for now, I needed to be able to give myself the most pronounced low bass possible. If I faced them forward I would be missing out since the wavelength would not travel as far.
 
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