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Discussion Starter #21 (Edited)
Quick Load Bike Mount (11.21.14)

I came across Pipeline Racks, they made a bike holder that was faster than the RockyMounts in terms of load/unload, it’s basically a cradle that holds the front wheel of the bike. When I saw that they made a version that bolts directly to the UtiliTrack called a “Rail Rack”, I ordered one up and installed it the night before a ride on M-Trail in Riverside, CA. I kept the RockyMounts on the rail but moved them to either side of the centered Pipeline Rack, which ended up being perfect for when we needed to shuttle the bikes up to the top.


Installed the Pipeline Rack at night, you can also see another view of the UtiliTrack LEDs I installed previously.


I can carry 3 mountain bikes in the bed now. Mine is in the middle.


Photo taken after the ride back at home, tires are dirty – and another view of how the Pipeline Rack is installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #22 (Edited)
Full Audio Upgrade, part 1 – New Amplifier and Subwoofers (02.07.15)

Two months into 2015, my brother showed up one day with his Tacoma and he had installed a full sound system in, consisting of JL Audio components, Alpine amp and an Alpine Type-R top-of-the-line subwoofer. He was pushing 250-watts into a single 10”, and I was surprised at how much bass he had compared to my 300-watts + low-end pair of Kickers. Since I like my music on the road, at that moment I decided I was going to go “all-in” and upgrade my entire sound system.

First – the subwoofers; Out went the mediocre Kickers and in went a fresh pair of JL Audio 10TW1-4 subwoofers. The volume required by the new (and bigger, and heavier) JL’s were pretty close to the sub box internal dimensions, but I went ahead and added about 0.5-pounds of polyfill to increase the “volume” that the subs would see.


New JL Audio subwoofers mounted in the subwoofer box. These subs are a lot more stout than the original Kickers.

Second – the amplifier. Since I knew I was going to change the main speakers as well, I decided to go with a class-D multi-channel amp because it still had to fit under the seat, and I didn’t want to run more than one amp cable from the battery to the interior. I found what I was looking for in the Alpine PDX-V9 5-channel amplifier (side note: I had to remove the old amp cable because it was only 8-gauge, and the new amp needed 4-gauge). The amp is conservatively rated on the box at 100-watts x4 + 500-watts x1… but Alpine actually bench tests each PDX amp before packaging and places a “Verification Certificate” inside the box showing the actual output of that particular unit (more on this later.)


New Alpine amplifier mounted under the passenger seat, replacing the Audio Control Epicenter. Very compact but very powerful.


View of the amp how it sits with the passenger seat bolted down. This view is from the front passenger footwell.


View of the amp face and controls. It sits back far enough where it is behind the floor vent, out of harms way.

With the new amp, I had two control knobs for my system – one for the Audio Control Epicenter Processor, and a new knob (Alpine RUX knob) for remote bass level control. After surveying the interior and imagining where I would like to reach the controls, I custom mounted the two knobs (and Epicenter LED indicator) in the lower center console area, to the left of the “4WD” knob. In this position I could easily reach the knobs while driving, and it blended in with the center console “look” because the two black knobs actually brought some symmetry opposite the two OEM 12v black receptacles on the right side of the lower console.


Alpine bass level control knob on top, Epicenter LED and processor level knob underneath.

Speaking of the Epicenter, it got relocated to under the driver’s seat.


My stereo system bass processing happens under my butt, technically.

Oh yeah – about the PDX-V9’s “Verification Certificate” – here it is. The actual output of my particular amp at 14.4v is 138-watts x4 @4-ohms for the main channels + 564-watts x1 @4-ohms for the subwoofers. That meant a significant boost on the low end compared to the old setup, plus now I have 4-channels of high power for the main speakers. The only bad part of this was that it basically kickstarted a 1 ½ month-long obsession of installing audio-related components every weekend until my audio upgrade project was complete.


Do the math… that’s over 1,000-watts (1,116-watts to be exact, woo hoo!).

So now I had A LOT more bass than I had imagined, and it's great. Because of the way the subwoofer box vented the sound downward into the angled floorboard and then directly into the cabin (as opposed to not going through back seats like in a car with the sub box in the trunk) let me tell you - it's really loud. So loud that things started to rattle everywhere - which meant the next step to my audio upgrade was sound dampening.
 

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Great build here!

For some reason your pictures do not show on the autoguide app. They show fine on the mobile site and full site. Are they interlaced jpgs maybe?
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Great build here!
For some reason your pictures do not show on the autoguide app. They show fine on the mobile site and full site. Are they interlaced jpgs maybe?
Thanks! As for the pics not showing... maybe it's your app ::wink::

If your avatar was any indication, I would have guessed that you had named it, "Harley." Nice work on the build!
Thanks! The name was just by default "Keira" because I never actually sat down and said, "okay, what am I gonna name my new truck?" like it was a baby or something.

Harley. Sounds like a motorcycle. Wait... ::laugh::
Harleen. Hrm...
 

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
Full Audio Upgrade, part 2 – Front Noise Reduction. (02.15.15)

With the Alpine amp feeding over 550-watts to the pair of 10” JL’s, bass output was awesome when I turned it up. Also awesome was how much metal and plastic was buzzing with every bass hit! I did the "knock test" on my brother’s truck - where you first knock on a stock door panel (and it sounds hollow with a high pitched “ding”) and then knock on a panel with sound damping installed (and it sounds solid with a low “thunk”) - and I understood immediately what Dynamat does. I ordered up two bulk pack boxes of Dynamat Xtreme to begin this portion of my audio upgrade.

First I took some baseline SPL readings for comparison later. To measure the sound levels I used a miniDSP Umik-1 calibrated microphone and Room EQ Wizard’s SPL meter function on my laptop. I had the mic positioned in the center of the vehicle, approx. 4 inches above the center arm rest. Idle test was taken at a dead end industrial street on the weekend to ensure that there was little chance of extra outside noise clouding my measurements. The 30 and 60mph tests were done on a quiet stretch of road in the same area. Note: pretty sure there’s a more scientific way of doing this but I didn’t get all complicated with it since I only took measurements out of curiousity:

BASE MEASUREMENTS (C-weighted)
Idle = 49.7-db
30mph = 59-db
60mph = 72.7-db

When I was doing the 30-mph and 60-mph tests I realized that there was some extra noise being caused by the window deflectors and my Firestik CB antenna, but I didn’t remove them since that’s how I daily drive so I figured the results would be more representative of what noise there is normally.

So… back in the garage, it was time to begin the actual installation. After pulling out all four door interior panels and the door weather barriers, I started cutting the Dynamat to shape. The rule of thumb is 30% minimum coverage, but I went for full coverage.


The cutting begins. Here’s I’m cutting the Dynamat in mirrored shapes to cover both sides.


Here’s the layout going inside the left-front door. Extra square at the bottom is to double-up behind the speaker position.



Here’s the layout going inside the right-rear door.

Before beginning the install I used denatured alcohol and a shop towel to wipe down the inner and outer skins of the doors to promote good adhesion... and received a lot of little cuts and nicks on my knuckles. I then took each piece, positioned it inside the door (not fun), peeled the backing off, and then warmed up the Dynamat’s adhesive with a heat gun before using a rubber roller to press the Dynamat in place... that and my fingertips were close to getting burnt by the hot foil lining the Dynamat. For the tight spots inside the door that were too small or angular to get the roller in, I enlisted one of my tire tools from my bike kit – using the rounded ends to press down the edges of the Dynamat.


Here’s the Dynamat install finished on the left-front outer door skin.


Here’s the Dynamat install finished on the right-rear outer door skin.

After finishing the outer skins of all four doors, I turned to the inner skin. I also went for full coverage here to seal most of the door up, turning the entire door into an enclosure for the front speakers.


I used the OEM weather barrier to trace an identical shape for the outer skins (the interior side of the doors).


Here’s the right-front door with the second layer of Dynamat on the outer skin. Note the speaker wire I installed for future use.

After re-installing the OEM front speakers, weather liner, and door panels I went and rechecked the decibel numbers for comparison:

AFTER INSTALL - MEASUREMENT #2
Idle before = 49.7-db / after = 47.2-db (-2.5-db)
30mph before = 59-db / after = 56.6-db (-2.4-db)
60mph before = 72.7-db / after = 70.5-db (-2.2-db)

Not bad at all – dropped approx. 2.5db just by adding Dynamat to the doors! It took an afternoon to get it all done (I took my time) but I’m not done yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
how much is that. noise wise?
like lol, is that a horn honk, or a mouse squeak
Couldn't tell you what 2.5-db is. I mean, it's not like going from say my truck (before Dynamat) into a Luxury SUV, but for sure there is a noticeable reduction in noise level and tone.

What I can tell you for sure is that:

1. Much quieter inside with the engine off and the windows closed
2. Doors close with a solid, lower sounding 'thunk' with no more hollow sound
3. I don't hear anything rattling in the doors with the sub turned up
4. Midbass sounds different (better)
5. Wind noise at speed seems the same, but I think that's because of the direction it comes from when driving - meaning all hitting the windshield/front part of the truck, not so much directly into the sides of the doors
 

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Nice build thread! I'm really interested in more details regarding how you wired in your tailgate lock. Did you have to buy a kit or some assembly? More info please!
 

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Discussion Starter #30 (Edited)
Nice build thread! I'm really interested in more details regarding how you wired in your tailgate lock. Did you have to buy a kit or some assembly? More info please!
if you're basic level mechanically inclined (as in you can use a drill and splice wires) then don't get the $90-ish kit, it's way too expensive.

Search Amazon.com for "Universal Car Power Door Lock Actuator 12-Volt Motor (2 Pack)" for about $9 (it's a little cheaper if you don't go Prime and can wait for delivery) and some regular hookup wire (about 50-ft. so you have extra, about $5 at a local auto parts store)... so under $20 total - provided you have the tools (drill with bits, wire stripper, heatshrink, soldering iron if you choose to solder).

All the parts you need to install come with the actuators: the bracket to mount the actuator, the screws to bolt to the tailgate, and the actuator rod to attach to the tailgate lock lever. The only time consuming part was getting under the truck to run the wires along the frame rail from the tailgate to the cabin, to connect to the door lock wires on the left-passenger side B-pillar (where the door lock harness can be found).

For install you basically splice 2 wires and drill a total of 3 holes (5 if you're like me)... 1 hole in the tailgate lock lever, and two (or 4) mounting holes for the bracket assembly that holds the actuator in place. the actuator doesn't have to be in a specific spot - it just has to be somewhere where it can push/pull the actuator rod. You really don't need any relays for this kind of install, it's just a low voltage, low amperage door lock actuator.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Totally doing this. Since I have to replace the tailgate handle because I'm a moron I may as well!
It's really easy. There was a different thread where some people were making it out to be some super complicated thing to do, or some super critical thing where they'd rather get "a kit" then piece it together. That's fine - do what you want to your truck... and sure - for some projects a pre-built or complete "kit" may make sense, but for this?

IMO this is like getting two pieces of bread from one container, a piece of cheese from another container, and some ham from a third container in the refrigerator. Put it together (toast the bread if you have it) and you got yourself a delicious ham and cheese sandwich for what probably amounts to about $1.50 in ingredients.

OR go to a restaurant and buy a "pre-built kit" sandwich for $9.99.
::wink::
 

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Order placed for $16. I just copied and pasted your description and it pulled it right up. Thanks for the advice! One question, do I make the sandwich before or after the installation? Just kidding.
 

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Discussion Starter #34 (Edited)
Full Audio Upgrade, part 3 – Rear Noise Reduction (02.21.15)

Drove around for a week and noticed that I was hearing some vibration at the rear of the cab, and traced it to the rear wall. With the new subwoofers the rear wall would vibrate like crazy – I could hear it better from outside the vehicle, the noise coming from the gap between the cab and the front bed wall. So, that meant continuing with the Dynamat installation the following weekend.

It was time to turn to the rear end and floor. Already aware of the road noise I could hear from the back wall, that was my first target. It took longer than I thought to get to the back wall since I had to remove the whole rear seat assembly first. With bare metal showing, I first thought that installing the Dynamat here would be so much easier because I didn’t have to reach into door assemblies; however the rear wall was not flat, but had a series of bumps and dips the entire width of the wall, making it an exercise in patience and a lot of roller usage. I also did small sections of the floor, underneath where the front and rear floor mats sit, just to change the floor "frequency" a little bit. The rear floor was easy since I already had the rear seats out, but the front floor meant peeling back the carpet from the foot well end so I didn’t have to pull the seats out again.


Rear seats and rear interior panels removed.


…and the “after install” pic, again going for full coverage.

Once again after re-installing the rear panels and rear seat, I went and rechecked the decibel numbers again at the exact same locations and at roughly the same time of day:

AFTER INSTALL - MEASUREMENT #3
Idle before = 49.7-db / after = 45.5-db (-4.2-db total drop)
30mph before = 59-db / after = 55.1-db (-3.9-db total drop)
60mph before = 72.7-db / after = 69.1-db (-3.6-db total drop)

So with the Dynamat on most of the large vertical areas of metal in the cab area I cut down interior noise by 4.2-db at idle and an average of approximately 3.75-db when moving. Maybe one day I’ll tackle the roof for even more noise reduction, but 4.2-db quieter is definitely noticeable; I don’t have to turn the volume on the stereo up as much, and there’s less noise overall when driving. Speaking of the music, I started noticing the lack of clarity on the higher end, and at higher volumes I was lacking a lot of midbass punch. At this point I wanted more.
 

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Just out of curiosity, do you have an idea as to how much all that dynamat weighs? I ask because I've been thinking about doing some but was concerned with the added weight since my truck is already a bit on the hefty side.
 

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its pretty heavy, but from what i can see im guessing thats roughly 100-130lbs max of weight added.
its well worth the weight.
I've heard it's pretty heavy but I guess it also depends on which type you use. 100-ish lbs isn't too bad but if it's gonna be another 2-300 that could be a deal breaker.
 

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Discussion Starter #38 (Edited)
Just out of curiosity, do you have an idea as to how much all that dynamat weighs? I ask because I've been thinking about doing some but was concerned with the added weight since my truck is already a bit on the hefty side.
its pretty heavy, but from what i can see im guessing thats roughly 100-130lbs max of weight added. its well worth the weight.
Not even close.

Dynamat Xtreme is about 1/2-pound per square foot (0.45-lbs. to be exact)... so:

1x Bulk Sheet (18"x32") = 4-sq/ft. per sheet = 2-lbs. per Bulk Pack Sheet
1x Door Kit Sheet (12"x36") = 3-sq/ft. per sheet = 1.5-lbs. per Door Kit Sheet

I used a total of 10 bulk sheets and 6 door sheets = 29 pounds of Dynamat Xtreme. That's what, less than the weight of the OEM spare?
 

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Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
i guess it weighs way less than it used to??
i did literally half that amount about 5-6 years ago in my 240 and ended up at 45lbs.

well crap now that i think about it i used rat trap, i think .85-.90 mil?
What? I did the same thing to my 240 around 05' and now that I think about it, I kinda remember it was a lot heavier back then. But there was no "Xtreme" back then, just the heavy blue foil stuff IIRC

What's more weird - Dynamat being lighter than we remember, or that we both had 240s and now the same trucks?

EDIT: Looked it up, Dynamat Xtreme is .44 mil
 
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