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Discussion Starter #641 (Edited)
That's awfully nice of you to do all that for the person who bought your truck on the 1st.
Hey I'm a nice guy haha
 

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I spent way too long reading this thread. I’ve definitely gotten a lotta ideas for subtle things I’d like to start with like the red tow hooks. One unique thing I’m trying to do is figure out some type of rack I can use to hold my ladders and conduit I carry with me since this is a work truck, but will still look good like the off road style bed racks and roof racks I see on other peoples trucks. Any input or ideas would be appreciated. A topper would be perfect, but I’m not about to spend $2k+ on one. Maybe a tannou cover that would work with a rack? I haven’t had much luck on here finding solutions but you seem creative
I've never seen someone with a tonneau and a cargo rack... because the cargo rack has to bolt to the bedside tops, and that's where tonneau's also attach.

Raine, gotta say I agree about your write ups. Hell they are so good I can't imagine a YouTube video doing justice to the write up!
Thanks... writing vs. video has way different requirements, I write this stuff when I can squeeze some free time out of the day. We used to do writing and video at a previous job and video is very time consuming.

Do you like the TruXedo cover? I was thinking about yours or the x15. Doesn’t seem like much of a difference between the two
 

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Discussion Starter #643
Do you like the TruXedo cover? I was thinking about yours or the x15. Doesn’t seem like much of a difference between the two
I like my LoPro. The actual cover on my LoPro is a solid vinyl-type material, and water doesn't penetrate it - I've seen a pond or two on top when it was raining, LOL. Also, it hasn't faded (like I would think cloth would) and I've had the cover for years now. Maintenance-wise I just wipe it down with some vinyl cleaner once a month or so.

The X15 I believe is a cloth-type cover. No clue how it handles rain, if it repels it or absorbs it.
 

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Discussion Starter #644 (Edited)
System Refresh, Day 2 - Upholstered A/V Panels (04.04.18)

Next it was time to do some work on the amplifier and processor platforms. I ordered some grey mesh fabric material that happened to look almost identical to the seat cloth inserts of my truck, with the plan to cover the platforms with it (not happy with just plain painted platforms). I was going to use contact cement but then I saw my staple gun in my toolbox and I decided I could just wrap the platforms upholstery-style to get the same effect:


Sizing up the cloth.


Staple gun, faster than using glue.

After stapling the cloth in place, I trimmed the extra cloth and the first platform was pretty much done.


First one done.


Both platforms done.

After install I noticed that the cloth had the same mesh pattern as the seats, but the grey color was a little darker in shade. This would have bothered me if the platforms were meant to be out i nthe open, but since the platforms will mostly be in shadow underneath the seats anyways I don't have a problem with it.

More to come later =)
 

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Discussion Starter #645 (Edited)
System Refresh, Day 3 - Soundstream ST2.1000D (04.05.18)

In Day 1 of the refresh, I removed the Kenwood KAC-M3004 rear amplifier. There was nothing wrong with the amp at all, it's just that it's a 4-channel amp and I only needed 2-channels to begin with. Recently I checked out a friend's audio system and they were using a pair of Soundstream Stealth amplifiers to power their speakers and subs. Now I remember back in the day when the Soundstream brand was one of the big names in the car audio world (along with Precision Power, Hifonics, Coustic, etc.) but then they got bought out and seemed to disappear from my memory... until I saw my friend's system. Turns out that the current Soundstream amplifiers are pretty small and pretty good! After listening to all of the songs in my personal "Audio Test" playlist, I decided to take a closer look at these amps.

Doing some research I found that although the current brand products might seem to be "optimistic" about their power outputs, they did have a model that fit my needs - the Stealth Series ST2.1000D. The ST2.1000D is rated at 140-watts x2 at 4-ohms, and it comes in a chassis that measures in at a mere 6-1/2" X 3" X 1-1/2" (LxWxH). This was smaller than the KAC-M3004! I placed an order on Amazon and in a couple days, the ST2.1000D arrived:


Still in the package, next to the KAC-M3004


Look, it's smaller than the Kenwood amp


Another view showing the size difference

...and a little sneak peek at what the new rear fill amp will look like mounted on my freshly upholstered passenger-side platform:


Looks like it'll work out!

More to come later =)
 

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Discussion Starter #646 (Edited)
System Refresh, Day 4 - New Bass Control + New TWK-88 (04.06.18)

(UPDATE 04.29.19: CT Sounds control knob removed, see #847)

I was watching some random car audio vids on YouTube when I saw the CT Sounds Universal Bass Knob (UBK); it functions like any other "universal bass knob" in that you install it in between the signal source and the amplifier and you can use the rotary knob to adjust the signal strength, which in turn controls the strength of the bass. However what caught my eye with this one is that it has a built-in voltmeter and an optional on/off switch - all in a small little unit. and I ordered one from CT Sounds and it actually took 7 days to show up... which didn't make sense considering it was shipped from Inglewood, CA which is about a 40 minute drive from my house.


Small unit, nice aluminum control knob (not plastic)


I soldered a plug onto the wires in case I need to disconnect it.


Time to wire it up.

For my system, I installed the UBK in between the JL Audio TWK-88 DSP processor and my Alpine PDX-V9 amplifier on the subwoofer channel. Since this is the amplifier that pulls the most power out of the system, I connected the voltmeter to the amp's power lead to monitor the battery voltage.

The optional on/off switch works by simply pushing the rotary knob in/out, and it's supposed to be to control the remote circuit to turn the amplifier on/off. However it's a simply switch so it can be used as a toggle for anything, though right now I didn't connect it to anything yet. Pushing the knob also lets me turn the voltmeter display on/off, which might be useful since the display is pretty bright:


Fog machines and laser rays.

On a related note, my new JL Audio TWK-88 arrived... from Portland, Oregon... in just 2 days after I sent my old DSP to them. Talk about awesome customer service!

WAIT A SECOND - Did I mention earlier that CT Sounds took 7 days from 40 minutes away? LOL





Since I have all the components ready to go, tomorrow (hopefully) I can wrap up this project. More to come later =)
 

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Discussion Starter #647 (Edited)
Getting Everything Back In - Audio System Refresh, Day 5 (04.07.18)

Since the new JL Audio TWK-88 DSP arrived earlier than I expected, I could now reinstall everything back into the truck. The first thing to do was mount my Alpine PDX-V9 to the new upholstered left-side platform. Since there was no change on this side, getting the amp bolted down and back in the truck on the driver's side was pretty quick and easy:


Marking the mounting holes.


Bolting (screwing) the Alpine to the platform.


Installed and all wired up.

The passenger side platform required more work. For starters, since I switched out the Kenwood amp for the new (and smaller) Soundstream rear amp, it gave me more room on the platform, so I had one of those 'light bulb moments' and realized that with some small rearranging, I could fit 3 components underneath the passenger's seat instead of 2:


Using masking tape to mark the new mounting holes.


The tape actually kept the cloth from wrapping around the drill bit.


DSP and rear amp bolted down; middle item uses Velcro for removal.


Yay! Super NES Classic fits perfectly in between the DSP and amp.

I used Velcro to install the Super NES Classic to make it easily removable just in case. With the passenger side components mounted, I installed the platform and wired all the components back up. When I went to reinstall the passenger seat, I noticed that there was a couple screws under the seat that were too close to the top of the DSP. I'm pretty sure the added thickness of the cloth I used to upholster the platform pushed everything up just enough to cause concern. I needed to do something about those screws, or they would most likely scratch the DSP if ever the passenger seat was slid forward.

The screws were holding the seat airbag module on a metal bracket that was bolted to the bottom of the seat. I removed the bracket, used some extra brake caliper mounting washers from my mountain bike spare parts, and gained the clearance I needed:


Good thing I checked the clearance again.


Airbag module bracket, you can see how the screws stick out too much.


Dipped into my MTB spare parts for a solution.


Spacer moved the bolts upward.


Not perfectly flush, but more than enough for what I need.


All clear now.

Last thing to do was label and install the fuses for the DSP and rear amp, since I was refreshing stuff I ran dedicated power and ground from my Blue Sea fuse block to the right side of the cabin:


Dedicated power to eliminate any unwanted noise.


I ran out of fuse space, it's all full.


And all done!
 

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I spent way too long reading this thread. I’ve definitely gotten a lotta ideas for subtle things I’d like to start with like the red tow hooks. One unique thing I’m trying to do is figure out some type of rack I can use to hold my ladders and conduit I carry with me since this is a work truck, but will still look good like the off road style bed racks and roof racks I see on other peoples trucks. Any input or ideas would be appreciated. A topper would be perfect, but I’m not about to spend $2k+ on one. Maybe a tannou cover that would work with a rack? I haven’t had much luck on here finding solutions but you seem creative
I think the cheapest way is one of the racks designed for over a cap, but some are made for covers specifically...
Google image search, "truck bed cover and rack" and you will see some versions. Or, "truck cap lumber racks"

I think I found a picture of the basic concept...https://www.google.com/search?q=truck+cap+lumber+racks&client=opera&hs=6p2&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwinquWl-KvaAhVD6YMKHZXHB3wQ_AUICygC&biw=1560&bih=787#imgrc=ih8O9YdTq1ap7M:
And https://www.google.com/search?q=truck+bed+cover+and+rack&client=opera&hs=qEi&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjJqfGd-avaAhVK7YMKHYR9BtMQ_AUICygC&biw=1560&bih=787#imgdii=UOmoTfVAm_2XGM:&imgrc=trbYESu80o2WlM:

I too have been reading along, so much impressive stuff.
 

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I literally have no comprehension of most of what you say in your audio posts but I respect the cleanliness and the detail with which you have it all laid out. Plus there is a NES in that b!tch.
 

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Discussion Starter #650
I literally have no comprehension of most of what you say in your audio posts but I respect the cleanliness and the detail with which you have it all laid out. Plus there is a NES in that b!tch.
Thanks for the compliments

How would you comprehend if you never ask me anything? LOL
 

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I only seek answers to the questions that I somewhat know the answers to. For example, I am tempted to buy your amp from you, but it would be an extremely nice paperweight for a while as I figured out what the hell to do with it. I have no idea what I'm doing and I wouldn't pester you with questions on how to connect it. I would probably go back thru your thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #652
I only seek answers to the questions that I somewhat know the answers to. For example, I am tempted to buy your amp from you, but it would be an extremely nice paperweight for a while as I figured out what the hell to do with it. I have no idea what I'm doing and I wouldn't pester you with questions on how to connect it. I would probably go back thru your thread.
I don't mind questions from people who actually want to learn something - not looking for a handout because they don't want to at least try first.

The Kenwood amp would be perfect for those who insist on keeping the stock head unit but want to install aftermarket speakers and need a little more power for them. The Kenwood puts out 75-watts x 4 channels so it is a noticeable upgrade over the OEM (to give you an idea of the difference, bear in mind that the OEM Nissan speakers are rated for just 3-watts!). Pair this amp with say, a set of decent, name brand aftermarket speakers from Kenwood/Alpine/Polk/Pioneer/etc. and you'll get an improvement. It won't be as good as changing the head unit out, but it will definitely be louder than stock.
 

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Discussion Starter #654 (Edited)
So I think I’m going to order some of these components for the front and a small amp to power them. Will the tweeters got in the stock location you think? And do you think it’s worth replacing the rear speakers and powering them or is it more work than it’s really worth to power them?
1. Looks like your budget for the front components is about $150, at that price point why stick with 5-1/4" when you can get a larger mid-range in the 6-1/2" or even 6x9" size? Examples (using Crutchfield pricing, eBay may be cheaper):

Polk Audio DB 6502 DB+ Series 6-1/2" component speaker system, $119.99

Morel Maximo 6, 6-1/2" component speaker system, $149.99

Alpine S-S69C, 6"x9" component speaker system, $149.99


2. Front install notes:
  • If you go with anything other than 6x9" you'll need adapter plates for the doors, such as Scosche SA-69.
  • If you don't want to cut your factory speaker connectors off, you'll also need Metra 72-7401 harnesses.
  • Practically any tweeter 2.75" or smaller in diameter will fit in the upper dash locations
  • You might have have to make an adapter plate to mount the tweeters, here's an example of my Image Dynamics tweeters:


- Some components come with their own adapters that can be configured to fit, here's an example of when I installed my Hertz tweeters:


For all of the above, I'd recommend a small amp that's pushing anywhere from 75-150-watts/channel.

3. As for the rear doors, it all depends on if you want rear passengers to enjoy general music as well. If it's just you and shotgun then you don't "have" to upgrade the rear speakers; in fact ideally you may want to unplug them if you want better sound quality.
 

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So I think I’m going to order some of these components for the front and a small amp to power them. Will the tweeters got in the stock location you think? And do you think it’s worth replacing the rear speakers and powering them or is it more work than it’s really worth to power them?


1. Looks like your budget for the front components is about $150, at that price point why stick with 5-1/4" when you can get a larger mid-range in the 6-1/2" or even 6x9" size? Examples (using Crutchfield pricing, eBay may be cheaper):

Polk Audio DB 6502 DB+ Series 6-1/2" component speaker system, $119.99

Morel Maximo 6, 6-1/2" component speaker system, $149.99

Alpine S-S69C, 6"x9" component speaker system, $149.99

2. Front install notes:
- If you go with anything other than 6x9" you'll need adapter plates for the doors, such as Scosche SA-69.
- If you don't want to cut your factory speaker connectors off, you'll also need Metra 72-7401 harnesses.
- Practically any tweeter 2.75" or smaller in diameter will fit in the upper dash locations
- You might have have to make an adapter plate to mount the tweeters, here's an example of my Image Dynamics tweeters:


- Some components come with their own adapters that can be configured to fit, here's an example of when I installed my Hertz tweeters:


For all of the above, I'd recommend a small amp that's pushing anywhere from 75-150-watts/channel.

3. As for the rear doors, it all depends on if you want rear passengers to enjoy general music as well. If it's just you and shotgun then you don't "have" to upgrade the rear speakers; in fact ideally you may want to unplug them if you want better sound quality.
Word. I appreciate the advice. I will def go with 6x9’s. I hadn’t done much research so I just plugged my frontier into crutchfield and all the recommendations for the fronts were 5-1/4 and 6.5’s. I’m glad the holes are 6x9. I plan to eventually put a prefab box with a couple tens under the backseat so I’ll have some bass. It’s me and my tools 90% of the time so I’ll prolly just the leave the rears alone. Does a dsp make a big difference with the factory head unit?
 

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Discussion Starter #656
Word. I appreciate the advice. I will def go with 6x9’s. I hadn’t done much research so I just plugged my frontier into crutchfield and all the recommendations for the fronts were 5-1/4 and 6.5’s. I’m glad the holes are 6x9. I plan to eventually put a prefab box with a couple tens under the backseat so I’ll have some bass. It’s me and my tools 90% of the time so I’ll prolly just the leave the rears alone. Does a dsp make a big difference with the factory head unit?
Honestly - nothing will make a big difference with the OEM head unit in our trucks; the OEM head unit is designed to cut the high and low frequencies when you turn the volume knob up. So when you have the volume up you're not really getting the full range of frequencies, since the stock head unit progressively "cuts" the highs and the lows in order to protect the factory speakers from blowing out. So realistically upgrading just the speakers only (with the OEM head unit) will result in a slight improvement in volume level and sound quality WITHIN that limited range the OEM head unit is sending out... but you're not getting the most out of your aftermarket speakers' capabilities.

That's why I always tell people on the forum that everything starts with the source - even a basic $99 aftermarket head unit will output the full range of frequencies. Many people try to just do a "speaker and amp" route because they fear losing OEM head unit features such as Bluetooth, backup camera, and steering wheel controls. But the fact is, you can retain those features with an aftermarket head unit - there's every harness/adapter needed readily available to integrate an aftermarket head unit to the OEM features above.

Adding a DSP will mainly let you balance speaker output levels, route exact frequencies to each speaker location, and get the time alignment correct... but again: if you're not feeding the DSP the whole range (i.e. OEM head unit) then it doesn't do much.

However, when you have a full range source and the DSP set up correctly (it's not as difficult as it may seem) I guarantee 100% that you'll be amazed at how much better the sound is compared to just dropping in some speakers and calling it a day.
 

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This thread is almost an entire forum in it's self....Raine, you've forgotten more about truck mods than I'll ever know. How far do you plan on taking your truck, what does the final creation look like in your eyes?

There are a few builds on this forum that I hope to sort of model my own truck after, and this is certainly one of them.

Are there any mods you have done that in hind sight don't really seem worth it?

Conversely, if you were given a new truck, what would be your first mods to it?
 

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Discussion Starter #658
Before I reply to the rest of your post...

Raine, you've forgotten more about truck mods than I'll ever know.
...What? LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #659 (Edited)
if I can be Sirius for a moment (04.12.18)

This update is a quickie one. No install pics, because it's literally 1 plug. I kind of missed radio (but not the commercials) so I picked up a SiriusXM SXV300 satellite radio tuner compatible with my Kenwood DNX-892 head unit.


To easy to even have to explain.

The tuner unit is only about 4" x 2" and less than 1" tall, so I simply stuck the tuner on top of my head unit, and I used the gold antenna adapter to connect the tuner to the OEM factory satellite antenna on the roof. it took longer to wait on the phone to activate the radio than to install it.
 

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Dang Raine. Your build is awesome. I love the thought and detail. I just wish I understood electrical, like at all. lol. Your mechanical mods make perfect sense to me. But when you talk electronics and electrical, you're speaking a language I don't understand. I really like the mods where you thought outside the box. I was originally going to remove the front air dam this weekend when I did my lift. But I really like how you just cut off the part that hangs down. And kept the rest of it for a more finished look. Just one example. Thanks for the great thread.
 
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