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Old 03-15-2007, 12:46 AM   #1
schnitzer323ci
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E46 Custom Install... Second Iteration

Ok so this is actually the third iteration, but the first one lasted only a couple of months so I don't count it. Here's what I had previously done in the car... it was a rush job to replace the first setup so go easy on me.



Notice the huge stain in the carpet... bought the car with it, rest assured it's not going to be there after this new install.



My goal: Install 2 12" Kicker Solobaric s12d's and 1 15" Kicker Solobaric s15d into my 2000 323ci while still having plenty of usable trunk space and keeping things looking clean and showy when desired.

My first project was to seal my 6.5" component mids to the actual door rather than the door panel as it comes from the factory. Thanks a ton to RSL who provided a rather helpful template for this in his thread HERE.


Copy of the template with mounting ring.


Mounted and sealed to the door with expanding foam and closed cell foam inserts for air tight seal. Not all that pretty but it gets the job done.


Painted the cut edges in black to deter any rust or other weather contamination from occurring.


That wire loom goes to the crossovers which I mounted on the far side of the door panels. The loom also contains the wires for my LED courtesy lights and my tweeter wires. The component set is just an old RF Fanatic P 6.5" set... cheap but effective.


Driver installed ready for the door panel to go back on. I also took this time to seal up any squeaks and creaks that I used to have in the door panels before doing this mod. Makes a big difference.

Thanks again to RSL for spurring cutting into the doors and mounting baffles. It makes a huge difference, and I haven't even amplified the speakers yet. That was phase 1. More to come tomorrow... I'm tired from working on the box and amp rack for the last 3-4 days.
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Old 03-15-2007, 02:30 AM   #2
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Good work! I look forward to seeing what else you have to show us. If only I had the courage to cut into my doors.
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Old 03-15-2007, 03:18 AM   #3
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Old 03-15-2007, 03:10 PM   #4
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Nice work. I'm curious about your carpet... you say that the stain won't be there much longer.

I have a small stain on my trunk liner as well... are you replacing it, or have you found something that'll remove the stains? My car goes in for Day Two of the audio install on Saturday, and when it's done, I want my trunk carpet to look mint.
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Old 03-15-2007, 06:53 PM   #5
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Nice work. I'm curious about your carpet... you say that the stain won't be there much longer.

I have a small stain on my trunk liner as well... are you replacing it, or have you found something that'll remove the stains? My car goes in for Day Two of the audio install on Saturday, and when it's done, I want my trunk carpet to look mint.
LOL... no I'm replacing it. If you have it at an audio shop just tell them to recover your trunk liner. I removed mine altogether and built a new hinged floor for the trunk (thanks for the idea Mark).

Update tonight...
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Old 03-15-2007, 09:53 PM   #6
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Ok, phase 2... the sub boxes. I went with a .66 ft^3 enclosure for each of the 12" solobarics, which is believe it or not a recommended size as long as plenty of power is available. For the 15" solo I went with a 1.58 ft^3 box which is a tad oversized due to an error on my part... should have been 1.5. Oh well. It will get the job done.


All 3 sub boxes coming together... I know I could have made them 1 big box to save some material and some weight. Having them in 3 pieces turned out to be pretty handy during test fitting though.


I lined the insides of the 2 12" boxes with a 3m vinyl since there is a plexiglass wall going in them.


Here's the 2 12" boxes completed and air tested (for seal). Look at those sexy old school solos... brings a tear to my eye. You can also see the beginnings to my LED wiring. I mounted and soldered 4 hyperwhite LEDs into each corner of the boxes.


Testing the effect after wiring up 2 of them. Looks great with 4 of them.


Here's what it looks like with 4 of them under flourescent lights... it looks super bright in the dark.

That's all for today... will post more tomorrow. Don't make fun of the 70's carpet either, the wife and I bought it that way and haven't gotten around to changing it.
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Old 03-16-2007, 02:28 AM   #7
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looks pretty good dude. if theyre facing up id do a huge port into the cabin
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Old 03-16-2007, 12:58 PM   #8
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looks pretty good dude. if theyre facing up id do a huge port into the cabin
They're actually facing sideways, but I do have 2 huge ports into the cabin. When I tested it for sound and seal... it hits really good and clean into the cabin with minimal rear deck rattles. I will still have to dampen it, but I can only imagine how bad it would have been without the ports cut into it. More to come tonight guys.
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:04 AM   #9
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Ok now for test fitting and sound quality check, then of course the amp rack. And my little slice of hell.


This is the test fit with wire up to test the 12's sound quality since I had never mounted a sub facing the wall like this before. Turns out it sounds pretty damn good.


Another shot with more of the same going on.


Here's the very beginning of the amp rack. Basically a copy of the trunk liner/tire well cover.


Here is a shot of it hinged with a mapout of the plexiglass cutout.


More of the same.


Here you can see the hinge action in work. I actually got this to lift up to almost vertical and am going to use gas shocks like on our trunks to hold it in position for when amp adjustments/servicing is needed.


Here's a shot of the beauty board that will be seen from the trunk. Going to wrap it in black vinyl and use a piece of plexiglass with a BMW roundel done in vinyl in that circle. So all you will see is the BMW logo with the seats folded down.


Now this is the third different style of amp rack. I had worked for 2 days on a couple of different designs that I eventually dumped. One had the amps angled and one had them both mounted inverted. This one is a simpler and cleaner look in my opinion. The bottom amp is mounted over a plexi window so you can view the circuit board of the amp. That is my 2 channel 2000 watt amp that I have bridged on the 2 12" solobarics. I removed the metal plate on the bottom and cut plexi and mounted that to the bottom instead. This made the circuitry viewable.


Note the beginning of the remote relay so that I can protect my remote output from my deck and split it. I used it to turn on the LED's as well as the 3 amps. I left a couple of extra outputs for possible future updates.


Notice all the pretty wire looms. I tried to wire as much of the amp rack as possible on the table so all I had to do was run those 4 looms to their respective locations, make the connections, and call it a day.


More pretty looming. Those are the pos and neg distribution blocks.


Good shot of the relay and the layout of the amps.


This was my first attempt at an amp rack cover. I had to ditch it because it wouldn't fit in the tire well. It only took me 10 mins to build and I didn't measure so I wasn't too surprised it didn't fit.


Another shot of the amp cover. Would have been nice, and the new one that I have planned should look similar but looks less bulky. Am going to build that tomorrow.

I have everything in the car and hooked up and working now (WOW IT SOUNDS AWESOME) but I haven't taken more pictures because I was so excited to hear it. I will post more and describe more pics tomorrow. Let me know what you guys think so far.
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:52 AM   #10
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looks good bro
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Old 03-19-2007, 01:29 AM   #11
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Coming along nicely schnitzer 1 question and 1 comment: how thick is that plexi? And, it looks like that amp rack will be mounted upside down in the spare tire well? If so, check the manuals on the amps and make sure that's OK. Heatsinks need to be facing up so heat can rise and move off of them and since the tops of those amps are sinked, I am pretty sure upside down mounting is a on those. If you use some fans blowing across the sinks, it MIGHT be OK upside down, but if it's just blowing around the spare well (confined space), it will probably be an oven in there no matter what when you have the amps going full tilt. Anyway, just something to be aware of if you're not.

Keep up the good work.
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Old 03-19-2007, 07:56 AM   #12
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Depends on the amp. Some will survive mounted upside down. I have my amps upside down and they do fine. A lot of it has to do with build quality. Something like a newer RF amp will fry pretty quick.

My US Amps USA-2000x does well. If I had it right side up, I could probably go past the manufacturer recommended 2 ohms down the 1 ohm.
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Old 03-19-2007, 10:56 AM   #13
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^Thanks for the heads up RSL... but the gains on the 2 amps that are upside down are set to nil. These amps throw off so much power I never push them to even half their capability, which is what I wanted. I shoot for reliability so I usually over purchase when it comes to amps and then just leave the gains all the way down. The amps don't even get warm under there. I may install a couple of fans just to keep air moving, but I'm not too concerned at this point. I'll keep taking a peek at it after having it playing for a long time just to make sure. The plexi on the boxes are 1" thick, and the plexi layer on the amp is 1/4" thick.

I think bigjae is right... and these are pretty stout amps so I've got my fingers crossed.
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Old 03-19-2007, 01:46 PM   #14
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No problem. You're probably fine if you're using much less of the amp than it's designed for, I just didn't want you frying them because of heat if you run them full blast

Wow, the plexi on the boxes looked thin to me in the pics, which is why I asked. It sounds like you're good to go though, so carry on....
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Old 03-19-2007, 03:05 PM   #15
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looks like its coming along
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Try snooping through her things and finding out where she stashed your ballz...
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Old 03-19-2007, 03:46 PM   #16
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even the most well built amp won't defy the laws of thermodynamics

two different sized subs though? this should be interesting...
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Old 03-20-2007, 09:39 AM   #17
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^Ya but as I said, I have the gains min'd out and it's still too much bass. I had to use the sub adjustment on the HU just to get it to balance out with the fronts. I checked after listening to the subs for an hour at the highest volume I'm comfortable with and the amps weren't even warm.

The subs actually sound really good together. I am very pleasantly surprised. I have full range of bass now... I always hated either having mids or lows... now I have both. It's not tuned correctly yet though, haven't had the time... I was just so happy to get it in.
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Old 03-20-2007, 11:43 AM   #18
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it's still too much bass
No such thing
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Old 03-21-2007, 01:04 AM   #19
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No such thing
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Old 03-22-2007, 10:31 AM   #20
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So finally an update. I've actually been getting a little... ummm "tired" of working on this and being knee deep in MDF saw dust all day. But I finally got around to near completion.


So here's the box and the amp rack in with cover in place. I had to make the cover since this is a daily driver and I didn't want my plexiglass window to get destroyed.


Here it is with the cover off. Love the look of circuit boards in a stereo setup. I guess it's the geek in me.


Ahhhhh the moment every installer waits for... the beauty board. Working on this is like being on the last mile of a 20 mile run. This shows it after I cut the viewing ports and having the board shaped to the contours of the trunk. Didn't want any curtain effects like on my last beauty board. Thanks RSL


One of the view ports... I promise there's a sub in there.


Here it is completed. Man it looks sexy. I know those emblems aren't exactly straight there, I fixed it after I took the pics and noticed. I was going to go with black vinyl for this, but carpet is so much easier to work with and most importantly much more durable. The black though gives it a touch of custom show effect while still being clean.


Closer view. On a side note, the amp rack does still flip up to 90 degrees for servicing or tuning of the amps.


Here's the effect of the 4 LED's I installed a week ago... finally get to see the product of my 4 hours of soldering and wiring.


And a final shot of one of the subs through the port. It looks sweeeeet. Finally I have the system of my dreams... 3 round kicker solobarics. I did notice a huge drop in volume from the 15 with the addition of the beauty board, but I expected that (only the 12's fire into the ports into the cabin)... so I just cranked up the gain on the kicker dx700 to half and that solved the problem. So far every type of music I've put in sounds really good and clean, but I do need to buy a 60hz chipset for the dx700 on my 15". Right now there is an 80hz set in there and that's too high for the 15. Missing some lows because of it. Overall I am waaaaayyyyy happy with the result though.

Next step... battery cover and tray for the trunk. Oh ya and finishing the beauty board that shows into the cabin with the seats down.
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