Viewing 15 posts - 121 through 135 (of 155 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #8529
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    I’ve always been into music, and being in radio and TV have studied sound and acoustics at the university level. I understand great sound and what it takes to make it. At the same time, I did not want to cut this car up to get there, and I didn’t want to spend a million dollars, either.

    The goal was to have a great sounding audio system that played modern formats, all in a package that didn’t involve cutting any holes in the car. I also didn’t want to have to reach over into the glove box to operate a hidden modern radio.

    The head unit was the starting point. We have been installing quite a few of these Custom Autosound units in customer cars at the shop, and I’ve been very happy with the features, quality, and performance of the USA-630 models. In addition, each one is made for the particular car, so the shaft spacing and controls fit the dash without cutting, and they look the part. They are not intended to be exact replicas of the original radio, but they are close enough to not look out of place like a modern DIN style unit.

    The USA-630 shows a simulated AM dial when it is off, and then an LCD display lights through the AM scale when powered on. These play AM, FM, MP3s and WMAs via USB input, have an AUX in port, and they also control iPod and iPhone devices as well as CD changers. They have a built-in 4-channel amp and DSP EQ settings, but we’ll be using an amp to power our speakers.

    USB and antenna connectors

    iPhone and AUX connectors

    Installation is easy in these old cars, just pull the knobs and retaining nuts and unbolt the braces attaching the original radio to the dash.

    Original brace and stock power harness in the dash

    The new radio installed. Outside of the “Buick” badge, it looks pretty inconspicuous. The little notes printed on the pushbuttons are not very noticeable, but control radio presets as well as tracks on digital devices and USB drives.

    We might re-create the Sonomatic logo and affix it in place of the Buick logo to further the illusion a bit.

    We’re also going wrinkle-coat the new knobs (right) to look like the originals on the left.

    Cool texture on original knob

    Check out:
    V8 Radio Podcast: https://www.v8radio.com
    V8TV YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/V8TV

    #8530
    Jeff Holthenrichs
    Participant

    Nice, Kevin. I didn’t want to cut my dash either, so I mounted mine under the dash using a surface mount box. I’ll post pics later. I have since done the same thing in my buddy’s Chevelle. As for speakers, there are pretty much no options for our Rivs like the molded kick panel options for popular cars. And there are no aftermarket door panels or package shelves for us either. But, as I will own this car for the rest of my life I decided it was more important for me to have sound so I cut holes in the package shelf and door panels.

    I have a 4 channel amp in the trunk that powers the sub and the rear speakers and let the head unit power the door speakers.

    Last week my wife bought a top-of-the-line Subaru Outback with a Harmon Kardon stereo and the sound in my Riv blows it away. And it didn’t cost as much as people think. I also installed a head unit and powered sub in my daughter’s Saturn. Changed the speakers too. And it also sounds incredible! As you know, it diesn’t take much to have great sound, and when done right it can really make driving an old car a modern pleasure.

    #8542
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    Nice, Kevin. I didn’t want to cut my dash either, so I mounted mine under the dash using a surface mount box. I’ll post pics later. I have since done the same thing in my buddy’s Chevelle. As for speakers, there are pretty much no options for our Rivs like the molded kick panel options for popular cars. And there are no aftermarket door panels or package shelves for us either. But, as I will own this car for the rest of my life I decided it was more important for me to have sound so I cut holes in the package shelf and door panels.

    I have a 4 channel amp in the trunk that powers the sub and the rear speakers and let the head unit power the door speakers.

    Last week my wife bought a top-of-the-line Subaru Outback with a Harmon Kardon stereo and the sound in my Riv blows it away. And it didn’t cost as much as people think. I also installed a head unit and powered sub in my daughter’s Saturn. Changed the speakers too. And it also sounds incredible! As you know, it diesn’t take much to have great sound, and when done right it can really make driving an old car a modern pleasure.

    Cool deal. Someday I’ll hear it!

    Check out:
    V8 Radio Podcast: https://www.v8radio.com
    V8TV YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/V8TV

    #8543
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    I wanted to see if I could mount some 6” round 3-ways in the doors, but my options were limited. First off, this is a crank window car, so the high-mount position was out.

    I looked at the lower front corner below the armrest. Not the ideal spot, but about the right size.

    Pulled the door panel to see what was up behind the panel.

    I was thinking about here, but…

    …the lower hinge inner door support runs right behind this part of the door shell. To do this right, it would require cutting the hole in the door and lower support for the speaker, and fabricating a new inner reinforcement to support the door at the hinge. By this point, I was getting some guilty feelings about cutting this one up, so I quietly cleaned up the door and door panel and put it all back together.

    I had a set of sweet Polk Audio 6x9s that I was considering installing in the rear deck. The deck is tricky on these cars, as there is no flat spot and it is full of holes.

    This is what the deck looks like from underneath.

    Check out:
    V8 Radio Podcast: https://www.v8radio.com
    V8TV YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/V8TV

    #8544
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    Fellow Riv owner and friend Yardley sent me an extra package tray that he had laying around, and I had entertained the idea of moulding some fiberglass pods in the deck to mount the 6x9s.

    I elected to leave this area alone as well, and not cut anything up at this point. I needed a solution, and again, it looked like Custom Autosound had the answer with their System II.

    We’ve installed several of these in cars at the shop, and I am impressed with the sound and packaging flexibility. The box is an aluminum enclosure that houses an 8” subwoofer, amplifier, and crossover. The two chrome bullets are stand-alone drivers that house “twiddlers”, a midrange / tweeter combo speaker. The sub level is controlled remotely by the little knob, as you can mount the sub and amp under the seat. Bass frequencies are non-directional, meaning we cannot tell where they are coming from, and the underseat location also provides some punch in the pants!

    Custom Autosound recommends you mount the tweeters in sight so they are line-of-fire to your ears. They might pass for speakers or vents in a 1950s car, but they don’t really look right in a 1970s car. However, they mount with only 2 small screw holes, so I was willing to try them as they were straight out of the box before trying to change the appearance.

    The sub / amp controls:

    And the connections on the other side:

    The System comes with all the wiring needed for install, including ring terminals, fasteners, a power cable grommet, and even zip ties.

    I pulled the bench seat bolts and used some 2x4s to prop it up out of the way, and ran the power, signal, remote turn on, speaker, remote sub level, and RCA signal wires under the carpet down the tunnel to the passenger seat area.

    After tidying up the wires and carpeting, just before reinstalling the seat.

    Check out:
    V8 Radio Podcast: https://www.v8radio.com
    V8TV YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/V8TV

    #8554
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    After the bench seat is reinstalled, here’s the amp / sub unit under the seat. The calibration pots all face forward and are easy to reach from the front side of the seat.

    The radio display is backlit LCD, and here you see it shining through the simulated AM dial. This is in FM mode, and it will display the station name and song in alphanumeric characters as well. It is far more consistent in color in reality, these phone camera shots don’t do it justice.

    Auxiliary mode:

    The next part of the project is the Custom Autosound BLUKIT, which will allow full Bluetooth connectivity and hands-free phone usage with this system.

    The module connects to the back of the head unit and will live in the dash, it comes with the cables and an adhesive pad if you don’t want to screw mount it.

    These are the microphone and the Bluetooth button. The mic is used for handsfree calling, just pair your phone to the unit via Bluetooth, and the phone will ring through the car speakers. Touching the supplied button will answer the phone and allow a hands-free speakerphone through the audio system.

    The mic has a clip for easy mounting, and the button has a supplied adhesive pad as well. We plan to mount the mic and button out of the way in the cove of the dash cluster.

    I’m more interested in using the Bluetooth interface to stream music from my phone to the car, rather than make calls, but it is a nice feature. The phone will then act as not only a music library, but a wireless remote to advance tracks and adjust volume. Pretty slick.

    Check out:
    V8 Radio Podcast: https://www.v8radio.com
    V8TV YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/V8TV

    #8559
    Jeff Holthenrichs
    Participant

    Looking good Kevin! Your crank windows really kill your door speaker options. I’ll post pics of mine as soon as I can. However… you don’t want to run the amp power wire and the RCA wires next to each other. The static interference will be noticeable. I made that mistake before.

    #8561
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    Looking good Kevin! Your crank windows really kill your door speaker options. I’ll post pics of mine as soon as I can. However… you don’t want to run the amp power wire and the RCA wires next to each other. The static interference will be noticeable. I made that mistake before.

    Thanks Yards… the pic is a little misleading, the power feed goes to the driver side and then forward to the battery, and the RCAs are separated from it and head forward along the trans tunnel. So far we have no RF or EMI noise to speak of. I was expecting some, but the noise floor is surprisingly low. But that is a great tip, the power leads can generate lots of signal disruption, especially under high load for the amp.

    Check out:
    V8 Radio Podcast: https://www.v8radio.com
    V8TV YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/V8TV

    #8567
    Jeff Holthenrichs
    Participant

    OK. My stereo simply kicks ass. I have a Bazooka in the trunk up against the quarter panel where the jack normally goes. here is a pic of the head unit. I too a surface mount box, flipped it over, cut the rear 2 or 3″ off it, and suspended it from under the dash. Yes, it can be a PITA to reach but I almost exclusively use the steering wheel remote.

    Here are the door speakers. I had my brother make wood spacers that are angled so they tilt up just a hair. I painted the spacers silver to match the speaker base and they are unnoticeable.

    IMG_3174.JPG

    The rear speakers required some metal surgery, and there are so many braces in the rear shelf that i could only separate them just so far.

    IMG_3178.JPG

    #8571
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    Nice! Looks clean. The remote is a huge help on these types of installs.

    On another note, what do you have for gauges in the car?

    Check out:
    V8 Radio Podcast: https://www.v8radio.com
    V8TV YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/V8TV

    #8575
    Jeff Holthenrichs
    Participant

    Fortunate enough to have had a brother that was a top machinist, he machined a hunk of aluminum to fit around the column with a slot to accept a hose clamp to hold it in place. Then I mounted oil and temp gauges on it. The tach shares the same band clamp and is held in place. I can see the speedo above 35mph, which is all I need. I never look at it anyway. LOL I usually see people mount them low under the dash. Useless, IMO.

    IMG_3179.JPG

    #8583
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    Fortunate enough to have had a brother that was a top machinist, he machined a hunk of aluminum to fit around the column with a slot to accept a hose clamp to hold it in place. Then I mounted oil and temp gauges on it. The tach shares the same band clamp and is held in place. I can see the speedo above 35mph, which is all I need. I never look at it anyway. LOL I usually see people mount them low under the dash. Useless, IMO.

    Love the fact that they are right in your view on the column. These are tricky cars to add gauges to, as they didn’t have a factory rally pack or anything of the sort. Plus, if you want to make something that looks factory, all the Rig gauges are square. I agree, under dash gauges are OK for occasional monitoring, but in a racing situation you need them up front like in your car. Your brother made a cool bracket!

    Check out:
    V8 Radio Podcast: https://www.v8radio.com
    V8TV YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/V8TV

    #8584
    V8 Staff
    Keymaster

    We’ll get back to the audio install soon, but I wanted to take a minute to touch on a tip for those who experience hard starting when your classic carbureted car sits for a while between drives, and especially GM cars with Rochester Quadrajet carburetors like our ‘70 Riv. It is pretty widely known that the original lower fuel bowl plugs can leak over time, draining the fuel into the intake manifold and depleting the fuel supply for the next start. However, there is another situation that could also be at fault.

    The fuel filter might also be leaking internally, draining fuel back down the line to the tank. For this reason, there is a Fram part #CG3389 for long Q-Jet applications that features a built-in check valve to prevent fuel from leaking.

    The rubber plug on the inlet side is the valve.

    Comparing the stock type filter without the check valve.

    It’s also important to install the filter pointing the right direction – this is correct, as the we are looking at the outlet side of the filter housing. The fuel comes in the other side, and is supposed to flow through the filter media and into the carb. If you install it backward, like this (shown without check valve) –

    .. the inlet side will have the closed-off side pushed up against the fuel inlet hole in the housing and will restrict flow. Remember, the closed off side of the filter goes INTO the carb, not towards the fuel line.

    This is the correct orientation:

    We’ll report if the check valve helps with starting.

    Check out:
    V8 Radio Podcast: https://www.v8radio.com
    V8TV YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/V8TV

    #8585
    Jeff Holthenrichs
    Participant

    Good tip. Thanks Kevin!!

    #8622
    Jeff Holthenrichs
    Participant

    hey Kevin, thanks for all the help with figuring out what electric fan setup will work in my 69 Riv. Not to mention that bitchin’ tip you gave me on the shock spacers. Worked like a charm. I’ll post some pics of the disc brake swap I’m doing.

    The Riv always runs cool except in traffic with the AC on. Then it just gets temp creep and I end up having to turn off the AC and hold the RPMs up to keep it cool. Embarrassing, really.

    Nearly all my winter work is done. I put the stiffer and shorter rear springs back in it. I had them in it for about a decade and last winter wanted to make some changes as the nose was just too low. The softer and shorter ones (coupled with the softer and shorter front springs) really put on a spark show on the highway!

    Years ago when I first put the stiffer and shorter springs in it, the nose sat way too high. I guess the stiffer spring rate just wouldn’t settle much. So on a whim I pulled the front springs and cut a full coil off. Oops. it slammed it into the weeds. I had almost no front suspension travel. But it looked really badass and handled just insanely well. So this winter I got another set of the esact same front springs, but this time I only cut a half a coil off. And it STILL sat too high in the front. Oy. So I pulled the springs AGAIN and of the remaining half coil I cut 2/3 of it off. Much better but now it sat level and I really wanted a rake to it. So I pulled the springs AGAIN!!!!! and cut 1.25″ of the remaining half coil off. So I am about 7/8 of a full coil off the spring. And this time I nailed it. it has a nice rake and is about 2 full inches higher in the front. It really was slammed low.

    Also, I had to replace the rear axle bearings. And while I was doing all this I noticed a drip of coolant coming from the core support. So the cheapo Griffin Aluminum rad had been replaced with the brass 4-row I had made years ago. And while I was at it…

    The slammed front end in conjunction with the ADDCO fat sway bar made it really hard to fit end links in there. So I had to shorten them. In doing so, the angle that the sway bar fed down to the control arm was pretty steep. So I had my buddy machine aluminum spacers for me to lower the bar as it mounts to the frame. This should put the angle of the bar in a position to really bolt the end links in there tight.

    So now I have to have my buddy make me another rad cover that will fir better than the boogered factory one. The 4 row end tank that was originally a 3 row doesn’t fit well, and with the added weight of the fans I want to be sure the rad is secure.

    Man, these damn Rivieras are such a PITA once you start modifying them!!! There is literally ZERO aftermarket support. Which makes it all the more sweeter when it gets done. I hope to let you beat on it some day. I’m trying for MCACN this year. We’ll see.

Viewing 15 posts - 121 through 135 (of 155 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.