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Not dune related but have to share

Post by jhitesma » Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:31 am

So last week I bought my first car. I've had motorcycles, a van, and trucks...but never a car before. No radios mounted in the motorcycles...the van I had my old TW-4000 dual bander with a through the glass antenna but that was back before PL tones became common. The trucks I've never had a permanant radio installation in since I didn't want it to dissapear due to poor locks :D

So with a "new to me" 99 Pontiac grand prix GTP (the supercharged model) sitting in the drive and looking near showroom fresh with 72k miles on it I wanted to install my TM-733 dual bander...but I didn't want to drill any holes.

I also wanted it to look clean and professional - just tossing the remote head in the cup holder was not an option :D

After about an hour of sitting in the car trying to figure out where the head unit would fit and the holes would be unobtrusive I found the perfect solution. There were two dash panels that join together right under the controls for the heads up display. If I could just make a bracket that mounted behind the panels I'd be set.

My first try didn't go so hot. I discovered that the bends needed were compound and beyond my abilities. And the aluminum I had was too brittle and fatigued while being bent. So I called a friend :D

I showed him my failed attempt and what I was trying to do...he loved it and jumped right in. He first bent up a thin strip of very thin and easy to work aluminum to test the angles. With that looking good he then transfered it to a piece just the right size and thickness as well as proper temper...which he just happened to have on hand.

The best part. We didn't even have to drill any holes inside the dash! Right where I wanted it mounted there was a mounting clip for the panel, and a small pre-existing hole. So we used them to mount it.

This is the final bracket:
Image

I then riveted the custom bracket to the remote face mounting bracket:
Image

With the lower panel off you can see the pre-existing hole and slot for the clip:
Image

A small bolt in the hole with a square nut worked perfect, the nut fits right against the bodywork and is captured in place so only a screwdriver from the front is needed to attach it. (This was an earlier test fitting before I rivited the two brackets together...and before I ditched the second part of the stock bracket which turned out to not be necessary.):
Image

The one minor modification I had to make to the car was to shave down this tab to make room for the bolt head...but it's hidden away inside the dash so I didn't mind:
Image

With the lower panel back in the install is VERY clean...these were also taken before I rivited the two brackets together:
Image

Image

Image

I didn't get a shot of the final install but it's a little nicer since getting rid of the other half of the stock bracket positioned the head unit where it wasn't in the way of the HUD controls and got it further away from where my keys dangle. It also has a slightly better angle.

It's a little hard to read while driving since the steering wheel blocks most of the view...but I don't normally fiddle with my radio while driving so that doesn't bother me.

The body of the radio is stashed under my drivers seat and just held in place by the heavy duty velcro the previous owner had put on it. The mic runs up and is stashed into a cubby in the center console while the control cable for the face is routed inside the dash down into the center console and then back out under the seat entirely hidden.

The only remaining problem was the speaker. Having it under my seat was less than optimal. I found a little external speaker at Radio Shack that was a near perfect fit for a rather useless opening on the dash to the left of the steering wheel. It's just a friction fit but works for now, eventually I'd like to remove the body from the speaker and make a custom panel to fit it entirely in the hole:

Image

Now all that's left is to find a less obtrusive antenna. I'm running a 1/4 440 magmount and a 5/8 wave 2m magmount on the trunk right now. But they give the car too much of an undercover cop look. Going to have to make a roadtrip up to PHX or over to SD and hit a good radio shop to find a better less ugly and more permanant dual band antenna. But for now it's just nice to finally have a nice reliable vehicle with a radio in it :D

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Post by LoBuck » Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:43 am

All those pics and not 1 of the whole car? :shock:

Good job on the install. :D
Glenn Montgomery - KE7BTP
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Post by jhitesma » Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:00 am

Well this is the radio forum so I was posting about the radio not the car :D

But since you asked:

Image

Image

Image

The previous owner detailed the engine himself and something he used caused those white spots on the black plastic. I'm not sure what to try using to clean them off since they kind of bug me :D

It's a fun little motor...but I don't have to tell Lobuck that, it's an updated modern descendant of the motor in his jeep :D

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Post by LoBuck » Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:34 am

jhitesma wrote:Image

It's a fun little motor...but I don't have to tell Lobuck that, it's an updated modern descendant of the motor in his jeep :D
If you hear wrenches klinking outside your house some night, don't worry, it will probably be some kids dragging cans down your street. Yeah, that's it dragging cans. No one would want that engine for thier Jeep. :^o :wink:

Nice looking car. 8)
Glenn Montgomery - KE7BTP
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Post by jhitesma » Thu Nov 02, 2006 11:39 am

LoBuck wrote: If you hear wrenches klinking outside your house some night, don't worry, it will probably be some kids dragging cans down your street. Yeah, that's it dragging cans. No one would want that engine for thier Jeep. :^o :wink:
Did I mention it even has the security system :D

With the meager budget I had I was expecting to end up with a low end economy car with a buzzy four cylinder and a tape deck in the dash. I was pretty hyped about finding this, it's got every option except the sunroof and the heated seats. Sunroof would have been nice but I can live without heated seats here in Yuma :D

Though funny enough I just added heaters to the seats in the Manx. But that's because it has no roof or heat and I wanted SOMETHING for those cold nights here in the desert!

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Post by ddjthomas » Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:59 pm

Jason,

Looks like you did a great job! I am very interested in you radio. I have some mounting challenges of my own and that radio looks like a good solution. Can you give me some info on it :?:

Thanks,
Donny
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you gatta love that

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Post by jhitesma » Thu Nov 02, 2006 2:37 pm

What kind of info do you want?

It's a Kenwood TM-733 that I got used for around $170. The power button is a little funky, and the MR button on the faceplate doesn't work (But there's one on the mic and it does work so it's no big deal.)

The separation kit was a little hard to find since it's discontinued (as is this model of radio) but a few months of patientially watching ebay found me one for about $30.

Most of the mobiles on the market today have separation kits available and it's pretty simple to remote mount the face. I really like this TM-733 and use it a lot for cross band satellite operations since it can RX on VHF and UHF simultaneously or you can set it for two VHF or two UHF channels at the same time. It can also do cross band repeat which is a fun trick. The newer kenwoods are a little more modern looking and offer a few more memory channels but other than the D700 with it's built in APRS they don't add much that this one was lacking.

I need to find another radio now though...I was going to mount this one in the manx. Now that it's found a home in the Pontiac I need to find something else for the manx...time to start watching ebay and listening to the local friday morning swap meet again I guess :D

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