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Thread: Radio/GPS upgrade

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    81

    Radio/GPS upgrade

    Last year, I decided to get a GPS/stereo to make it a bit easier to find car show locations. Against my better judgment, I picked a single din radio with a pop-up screen. T-Bird dashes are so sleek that I was sure I wouldn't like the radio sticking out over an inch even with the screen retracted. I was right. It didn't look the way I wanted it to. After seeing that a couple of people had modified their dashes to fit a double-din radio, I realized that it could be done without interference from the air ducts behind the dash, so I figured I'd take on the challenge. My goal was to make it so that people unfamiliar with MN12s would not even know there was a mod. I also wanted to keep my indicator lights. I got myself a Kenwood DNX573s, 2 junkyard dash panels to combine into one, some LEDS, and taught myself some plastic welding. This is what I came up with.

    I cut out the divider and moved it up, which left just enough room for the new indicator lights.
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    I mounted the LEDS, 2 per indicator, to the plastic radio/climate control mount
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    LED test
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    Cutting the dash frame was he only mod I needed for clearance.
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    to be continued......
    Last edited by Norm-L; 08-09-2017 at 10:57 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Brownsburg, IN
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    81

    Next....

    Side by side. I didn't want to modify the original.
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    I was able to use the empty space behind the radio to build some mounts for the relocated indicator circuit board. Luckily, after drilling a hole in the bottom of the radio mount, the original harness was able to reach the circuit board without having to do any electrical work. The only thing I needed to extend was the bundle of vacuum lines for the selector on the climate control unit. I ran wires through the original bulb sockets to feed power to the new LEDs mounted above the radio. This also makes the LED assembly easy to remove if needed. This whole LED/circuit board package can be easily removed for future repair. I had a local shop print a decal based on the style of 2 of the original indicators and applied it to a piece of a cell phone screen protector I attached to the back of the dash panel.
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    The finished product
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    It took some time to get this together, but it was worth it to me. It was nice that Kenwood accommodates custom backgrounds, so I was able to use a popular T-Bird logo as mine.
    I also took this time to repair and strengthen all the mounts for the clips that hold these panels into the dash. This was definitely a weak point from the factory on these dashes. These were broken off of every panel I found.
    Last edited by Norm-L; 08-09-2017 at 11:01 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    6,360
    Awesome job!

    I've done a little plastic welding myself. Not a horrible job, but not sure I'd be ready to tackle what you did.
    Last edited by Kurt K; 08-09-2017 at 11:31 PM.
    Kurt K (e-mail)
    SCCoA Member #: 443
    '92 SC AOD -- 11.521s @ 116.748mph, 2.0 AR power
    . . . . . . . . . -- 13.547s @ 101.01 mph, only w/ bolt-ons
    '95 SC 5spd -- All Stock, except 17" Simmons wheels.
    '90 SC 35th Anny 5spd -- 3rd owner, 16k miles
    2 '89 XR7 5spd's -- on their way out, really!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Valparaiso, Indiana
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    378
    That looks incredible!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Salem, OR
    Posts
    6,285
    Respect!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Ken

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    81
    Thanks guys. I appreciate it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    225
    Outstanding. You just saved me a bunch of time. I had just starting working on how to save the VMM with a double din. Thank you sir!!
    Creighton

  8. #8
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    May 2009
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    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    81
    Glad I could help.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    St. Charles, MO
    Posts
    20,886
    Very nice job ! Hope to see you at the Shootout this year.

    David
    1991 SC AOD 4.2..2.3 Whipple..........10.910 @ 125.61
    2016 SRT Challenger Hellcat...............707HP/650TQ

    My Garage

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Herrin Illinois
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    3,383
    very nice!
    MEMBER #2488 best rwhp 504 485 torque
    2016 shootout Best of show award
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    http://www.sccoa.com/forums/garage.p...e_view&id=7152

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    225
    What plastic weld system and paint did you use?
    Bad photo but need to move Traction Assist on mine. Close but should fit where the vent is. Appears destroy in place will be best option for the micro switch. Will be able to splice in and extend the extra length wire to new relocated switch. Any thoughts welcome. Thanks!!
    Creighton
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    81
    I used a Craftsman soldering iron and cutoff pieces of plastic from the dash as welding rod. I tried to do some research to find the OEM paint used on the TBird dash, but no luck. I ended up taking the finished panel to an auto trim shop where they told me they had good luck with "Plasti-Dip" spray cans you can get at some local parts or hardware stores. I bought the cans at Lowes. You just have to be careful and don't be afraid to start a new can if the nozzle starts spitting. Plasti-Dip gives it that same rubberized feel.

    Do you have room on the shifter panel for the switch? I can't remember exactly how the automatic's panel looks. When I originally installed the single din radio, I had a small accident. The radio slipped and the corner dug into my shifter panel. I was so mad at myself for not being cautious enough. I ended up finding some switches I could install there and the damage got cut out in the process (see the pic I attached). One switch interrupts the power for the courtesy lights so I don't kill my battery at car shows and the other is for the intercooler fan. The switches used to be in awkward places that were less than convenient. Some good came out of the little screw-up.

    I don't have pics of this, but I have a performance computer I modified to fit where the vent goes. I replaced the back of the computer with part of another vent. I don't use it often, but when I want to, I just have to pop out that vent and the computer snaps into place.

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    Last edited by Norm-L; 08-12-2017 at 02:20 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    81
    David,

    I would LOVE to go to the shootout. Every year, since I did go, things have happened to make it impossible. I loved seeing so many MN12s in one place. I didn't get to meet enough members last time. I'm trying to make it happen for this year. I just don't have ready access to a trailer and I can't drive it in the rain. I know it may sound pathetic to some, but I don't have the time to address the damage the rain would cause the bare metal under the car. Once it starts rusting, it's pretty much screwed. I'm trying to get into the World Of Wheels in Indy in February. I'll have the same trailer issue then, especially being in winter.

    I'm still trying to get to the Shootout, though.
    Last edited by Norm-L; 08-12-2017 at 06:57 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    St. Charles, MO
    Posts
    20,886
    Quote Originally Posted by Norm-L View Post
    David,

    I would LOVE to go to the shootout. Every year, since I did go, things have happened to make it impossible. I loved seeing so many MN12s in one place. I didn't get to meet enough members last time. I'm trying to make it happen for this year. I just don't have ready access to a trailer and I can't drive it in the rain. I know it may sound pathetic to some, but I don't have the time to address the damage the rain would cause the bare metal under the car. Once it starts rusting, it's pretty much screwed. I'm trying to get into the World Of Wheels in Indy in February. I'll have the same trailer issue then, especially being in winter.

    I'm still trying to get to the Shootout, though.

    I understand the need to transport it on a trailer. If you have a truck the easiest solution is to rent a trailer from Uhaul. Lots of people attending do that. Hope to see you there.

    David
    1991 SC AOD 4.2..2.3 Whipple..........10.910 @ 125.61
    2016 SRT Challenger Hellcat...............707HP/650TQ

    My Garage

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Brownsburg, IN
    Posts
    81
    Quote Originally Posted by David Neibert View Post
    I understand the need to transport it on a trailer. If you have a truck the easiest solution is to rent a trailer from Uhaul. Lots of people attending do that. Hope to see you there.

    David
    I have an Xterra, which can barely get out of its own way, and no trailer hitch, unfortunately. It doesn't mean I can't drive it there if the weather is going to be good. I'll do my best. I really want to go. I didn't even get to stay a full day last time. I never got to the track to see you guys run.

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