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Interior overhaul and stereo upgrade

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Interior overhaul and stereo upgrade

Old 12-20-2018, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by YoungMike85 View Post
Yeah, I'm happy with the prices on all the audio gear. Some stuff was acquired on Craigslist, other stuff at local shops and online - all new, but either open box, scratch/dent, or refurbished. Never pay retail price if you can help it!
I've bought tons of electronics on Craigslist. Never had a problem. Although I don't possess an account myself, I hear that the Facebook Marketplace is putting CL out of business. That's sad. I love CL.
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Old 12-27-2018, 12:07 PM
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Hey guys, time for another update. I've finally got the carpet in, but that alone has taken up a lot of my vacation. Hoping to get the rest of the interior put back in this week, and probably get the amp and hu installed soon after that. Then the sub! Woot.

Finished putting MLV in the floor pan, used a bit of leftover CLD to help the MLV fold better:



Also put a patch of MLV in the bottoms of the A and B pillars:





Then, after much cussing, sweating and bleeding, carpet was in:





I went with a super thick essex mat with MLV backing. Since the original carpet was cheapo cutpile, it was much harder to get the cuts made and the trim to fit back into place. Also, if you look at the driver side, it doesn't look like the mold is as "tight" as the passenger side. Not sure if this was a mfg flaw or me, but it's not too noticeable-just made fitting it a bit harder. I'm going to try to use a steam machine to soften the carpet, hopefully it will mold better. If anyone has a better idea, I'd love to hear it.

Also, before I put the center console back, I drilled a hole in the pocket and added a USB/Aux input port to run to the head unit:



That's about it for now. More to come, and thanks as always for your feedback/suggestions!
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Old 12-27-2018, 01:59 PM
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so does the carpet needs steamed to get all the lumps and wrinkles out?
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Old 12-27-2018, 02:05 PM
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That's what I'm hoping for. It fits pretty well on it's own, but like any aftermarket product, it's not a 'factory fit'. And, it's a thicker carpet than the original, so that's also causing certain areas to not lay flush with the contours in the floor pan.

My thought is the steam will soften the backing of the carpet so I can "iron out" the lumpy parts and push them into the contours. Again, I'm open to suggestions. I've never installed carpet, so I'm just thinking of ways to get it to fit.
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Old 12-27-2018, 08:11 PM
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Fabulous! Looking good! Where did you get the carpet?
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Old 12-29-2018, 09:39 AM
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Rockauto
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Old 01-03-2019, 03:44 PM
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Updates yay!

With the carpet done, I was able to get most of the interior put back in. I cannot express how glad I am be done with f#!king with carpet. Also happy that my car is not exploded into 100 different plastic panels scattered throughout the house. With that done, I can wrap up the trunk.

Finished adding MLV to trunk floor, using leftover CLD to seal gaps/adhere flaps:



The original piece of fiber board that covered the spare tire was shot. Also, the wheel well had about an 1 1/2" gap between the top of the tire and the floor the trunk. To fill that space, I used a piece of kaizen foam that I had laying around from another project. I stripped away the inner layers of the foam to fit snug with the rim on the spare, and it made the floor flush. I then trimmed a new piece of masonite to fit on top.









With these items done, I can now work on the fun stuff - installing the audio gear! I've been waiting patiently for this, and it seems like it's even harder now to take my time, knowing I'm so close to hearing that sweet music!

I wanted to mount the amp to the roof of the trunk, where the old factory IB sub was. My amp was too small to cover this gap by itself, and the mounting surface was uneven. I made an "amp rack" (lol) out of 3/4" mdf, and used different sets of nylon spacers to mount it flat. Then added the amp, and started wiring it up. Quick question for Theslaking - where did you ground your amps? I was thinking about using the same bolt hole that is shared with the metal trim piece that forms the baffle between the trunk and the rear seats. It's the bolt inside the trunk, that bolts to the floor. Good spot?







SO CLOSE



In the meantime, I've been able to put in some time on the sub enclosure. You'll have to excuse the crappy cutouts for the sub and the port - I have just rough cut them with a jigsaw at this point:



That's all I've got for now! As always, feedback, comments, tips and tricks appreciated!
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Old 01-03-2019, 03:56 PM
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Looking great! I hate the feeling of being on the home stretch and battling the urge to slap the rest together. Keep a steady pace and do it right! I always regretted being in a hurry at any point during a project. I'm really interested in your gas strut fab. What brackets did you use and how did you attach the ball sockets of the struts? Can the ball screws be purchased? I need to do that!
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Old 01-03-2019, 05:34 PM
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You said it - just gotta keep patient, trying to rush it only makes it worse. I kept adding my spade terminals and crimping them down before adding my heat shrink - ruined three good terminals in the process.

As far as the struts, I bought brackets with a 10mm ball stud attached, and then mounted those to the frame. If you go back to earlier in this thread, you'll see pictures where I attached the brackets to the trunk lift supports and the back wall of the trunk. I used 1/4", grade 8 bolts, locking washers and nylon lock nuts for all points.

I got these mounts on
Amazon Amazon

Then, I swapped out the screw on ball mounts for quick release fittings, also on
Amazon Amazon

I got the lift supports from Lift Supports Depot

These supports are rated at 547 n, and honestly they are a bit too strong. If I let the trunk open under the force of the struts, they push the lid up so hard it's starting to bend the back wall of the trunk just a tad. I'll probably have to get something a little less forceful before I forget about that glitch and let the trunk fly open...
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Old 01-03-2019, 05:38 PM
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Perfect, thanks for the links! I was just going to grab another set of hood struts and use those. Not sure what the rating is, but now I know to look for <547n. Great work!
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:19 PM
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Ya, I bought these one the recommendation of another user here who did a write up. His write up did mention needing to support the additional weight of the factory spoiler, which mine does not have. I didn't think it'd be that big of a deal, since those lids are surprisingly heavy on their own.

I snapped a few more pics so you can see how I bolted the mounts to the trunk lifts:





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Old 01-03-2019, 08:08 PM
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Thanks! Looks solid! I'm putting together my parts list now.
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by User1 View Post
Thanks! Looks solid! I'm putting together my parts list now.
I'm the other "user on here". I just told the Lift Depot what car it was for, that it was for the trunk, and the length I needed and they suggested what model lift to get. Mine are perfect. I can let go of the lid in any position and it just stays there. I can even drive down the road with it open and no movements. It's one of my favorite upgrades to any car ever.
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Theslaking View Post
I'm the other "user on here". I just told the Lift Depot what car it was for, that it was for the trunk, and the length I needed and they suggested what model lift to get. Mine are perfect. I can let go of the lid in any position and it just stays there. I can even drive down the road with it open and no movements. It's one of my favorite upgrades to any car ever.
Sweet! So what model piston do I need? Mine is SE with the spoiler.
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:48 PM
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I can look to see what model mine is tomorrow. I also mounted mine completely horizontal, maybe even a little upward angle.
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Theslaking View Post
I can look to see what model mine is tomorrow. I also mounted mine completely horizontal, maybe even a little upward angle.
Nice, thanks!
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Old 01-04-2019, 06:34 AM
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incredible dude ! very nice ! great details
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Old 01-04-2019, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by YoungMike85 View Post
That's what I'm hoping for. It fits pretty well on it's own, but like any aftermarket product, it's not a 'factory fit'. And, it's a thicker carpet than the original, so that's also causing certain areas to not lay flush with the contours in the floor pan.

My thought is the steam will soften the backing of the carpet so I can "iron out" the lumpy parts and push them into the contours. Again, I'm open to suggestions. I've never installed carpet, so I'm just thinking of ways to get it to fit.
i've only seen 2 brands selling on ebay for the 5th gen. which one did you get? oh wow never thought about converting the trunk to gas shock!
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Old 01-04-2019, 10:45 AM
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You mean brands for carpet? I didn't get mine on eBay, I ordered a custom fit from RockAuto - brand was ACC.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:40 AM
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this thread is WOW ! YoungMike85 this is top notch work my friend keep it up, I didn't want this thread to end! im going thru the process of audio currently and it has been annoying to say the least which is now resulting in me running new wires for the whole stereo after just running all the wires for the sub :/
but this is phenomenal homie great work.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:02 AM
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Thanks for the feedback, Prophecy and Danmack! Glad ya'll are enjoying the thread. I've enjoyed the time spent on the car and the org. I'd have more done sooner, but then I'd probably have to live in the car after the wife kicked me out of the house lol
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:54 AM
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Question for you about the bit when you're done, how does one accurately "tune" your speakers? Such as the gains and such. I'm taking it Full or HPF and adjust from there but is there a instrument to use or is it the way ive been doing it with just a ear for what it should sound like? ive always had the ability to have the stereo at max volume and "go for broke" I guess but is there a right way to do it? That's really the only thing I hate about doing my audio components is the fine tuning bit.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:23 AM
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Oh man. You've just opened Pandora's box! How deep down the rabbit hole do you wanna go?! Or, how much time/money do you want to spend?

There's nothing wrong with tuning by ear. In fact, that's the most important thing to keep in mind - your stereo should sound the way you like it! Why do all the work of upgrading your gear, installing components for weeks, and then tune it the way someone else says it should sound and then hate it?

Tuning speakers "accurately" or "the right way" is a very subjective process. Of course, you can get devices to measure your amplifier's output, and devices that measure the sound coming out of your speakers; you can get software designed to process all this data and give you graphs and charts; and there is literally a million pages on the internet about using this gear, interpreting this data, and making changes based on data (rather than your ear) to tune your stereo. But, like I said, you can go through this whole process and hate the way it sounds - even if the whole internet swears up and down your stereo is "tuned accurately".

I'd highly recommend spending some time here: diymobileaudio.com - to learn more about the options for tuning your stereo. They will do a much better job than I could explaining some of the basics of tuning, as I'm still learning myself. Good luck!
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:29 AM
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So what I see after reading that is just keep doing it by ear I haven't blown or popped anything ever so unless im gonna enter a sound comp (which I never will) ill bang it out by ear. Gracias sir, cant wait to see how everything together and carpeted looks !
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:51 PM
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danmack34 if you want some starter help with the stereo tuning start a new thread listing your DSP function availability ie: which hu, speakers, crossover, eq bands, etc. No need to clog up this thread.

User1 - almost forgot

​​​​​​
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Theslaking View Post
danmack34 if you want some starter help with the stereo tuning start a new thread listing your DSP function availability ie: which hu, speakers, crossover, eq bands, etc. No need to clog up this thread.

User1 - almost forgot

Thank you!
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Old 01-09-2019, 09:33 AM
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More progress! This project is getting very close to being done. Here's what I've been working on lately -

I had three different molex plugs in my factory HU. Plug 1 had +, -, ACC and the front speaker wires; Plug 2 had rear speaker wires and Plug 3 had steering wheel controls. I don't need any speaker wires, so I taped Plug 2 off, and I de-pinned the speaker wires from Plug 1. Since I only need two wires from Plug 3, I de-pinned those two steering control wires and put them back into the (now) open slots in Plug 1:

Stock plugs:



Plug 1, de-pinned:



Plug 3:



New Plug 1, with steering wheel controls:



After moving the in-dash pins, I re-configured the molex-to-aftermarket pins, adding the ASWC-1's wires:





I connected the power for the ASWC on to the same wire as the HU, and grounded it to the same grounding point on the chassis.

And now for the best part - after doing all that work, the ASWC isn't working. Yay! It powers on and goes through the setup procedure as normal, but then it gives the slow red/green flashing; indicating the ASWC cannot detect the vehicle. Not sure where I went wrong, but if it means wires are mixed up, I probably won't go through the process of moving the pins around again. I'll just cut and splice - I'm over it.

More to come!
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Old 01-09-2019, 10:46 AM
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While working on the harness, I sent the driver's side seat to get repaired at a local shop. Previously, it had all the problems a 16 year old leather driver seat would have, plus a huge rip that somebody tried to (poorly) repair. I got the seat back, and was able to finish putting the interior back together:

Before:





After:



Just looking at those two shots makes me giddy...anywhoo...

Also, I did use a steam machine to work out some of the kinks in the rear carpet. It definitely made an improvement, and I was able to put rear seats back in after that:





HU is in, but as I mentioned earlier, I still have some tinkering to do so I haven't put the last trim piece back:





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Old 01-09-2019, 11:06 AM
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Because working on the interior and radio harness at the same time wasn't enough, I decided to steam ahead on the sub enclosure. I've made the initial enclosure out of 3/4" mdf, glued and screwed. I will go back with 1/4" hardwood to use as veneer. The veneer will add that finished look while hiding the screw holes and glue stains on the mdf. Gluing it on top means not using finish nails, so you'll only see the finish I've chosen and not the heads of the brads that always seem to show up in the end...

I've chosen an Infinity Kappa 10" sub, and using the selectable impedance, I'm setting it for 2 ohms.

Initial construction, with threaded inserts to mount the sub:



Painted the port to match veneer, then added my binding posts and clipped the wire inside the box:





Rough cut, pre-stained veneer panels:





Veneer stained, test fit to box:



Next, I'm going to use a high gloss epoxy to seal and finish the veneer panels BEFORE I glue them to the box. Once the epoxy has cured, I can attach the panels to the box, and I'll use a thin bead of epoxy at each butt joint to ensure snug fit and smooth finish.

Until then, test fitting the sub in the box:



Good fit! Now let's see it in the trunk:





Crap! Bye-bye trunk...lol

Luckily, this is not the baby wagon or the grocery getter - but I definitely suck at estimating available space...ha! Honestly, I'm thinking about getting a smaller sub to swap with when I need more trunk space; ideally something that can fit against the rear seats - like a shallow mount 8".

As a consolation prize, I'm happy to report that this thing hits HARD. Doing a very rigorous scientific evaluation, I opened the dB meter app on my phone, shoved it in the port of the box, and blasted Emalkay's "When I look at you" and got 130 dB. Doing more research, I cranked up the bass boost on the amp, cruised down I-40 at 70 mph to the same song and can honestly say it hurt my ears. I've never said that about a sub, or a car system that I've personally encountered. Science!
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Old 01-09-2019, 11:17 AM
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YoungMike85,
Not something I'd do (time or skill), but I've been following and this is amazing. Thank you for sharing!
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Old 01-09-2019, 11:20 AM
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A year ago, I never imagined MYSELF doing a project like this! I'm not sure what changed between now and January of 2018...I guess I was so sick of the musty smell and the crappy sound system I finally snapped...and this was the result!
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:00 AM
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Very nice! Did the upholsterer re-cover the entire seat bottom? How much did that run you? That seat looks great!
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:28 AM
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Thanks bud. He only replaced the side panel that was torn, and the piece just above that. The rest of the seat bottom is in surprisingly decent shape for it's age. Cost out the door was $165.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:41 PM
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Looking amazing! Also great to see people still taking such good care of their 5th gens. I have new leather on the seats and steering wheel on mine, but I'd love to do some sound deadening and rattle control in the near future, and I'd definitely like to replace the carpet. A full quart of new motor oil opened up in my passenger rear floorboard, and any object that makes its way over there gets a nice sheen on it now
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:55 PM
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Thanks man. That's part of the reason why I created this thread - to show that there are still plenty of sharp 5th gen's out there and being well cared for! Yours definitely falls under that category - I've lurked your page and was impressed, lol.

Sorry about your carpet...that sucks!
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:19 PM
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Will you be doing any anti sound treatment to the roof? Can't wait for first drive report! It's going to be more silent inside than an MBenz!
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:49 AM
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I chose not to do anything on the roof. Since higher frequencies of sound are directional, it's safe to assume that there is not much noise coming down on top of you through the roof. Ultimately, I just did not see the advantage of it compared to the cost - both money for materials and time to disassemble/ reassemble the liner.

I did do a road test the other night after putting all the seats back in. Since it's been over 7 months since I've had it on the freeway, I can't say what it was like before. Also, I did not take any measurements of the cabin before the project. I took a dB measurement in the cabin the other night, got 85 dB at 70 mph, which is about average for a car at that speed. It's definitely not as quiet as a Benz. But, that wasn't my goal - I just wanted to reduce vibration and road noise, and increase performance of the door speakers. Subjectively, I feel like the mid-bass in the doors has improved, and that I can hear my own voice (and cabin conversation) better than before. So, in that way, I can say "mission accomplished". But I don't have any data to support that.

I also need new tires, so with those swapped I should see a drop by a dB or two after that. All in all, I'm happy with the results.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:35 PM
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Nice job! I'll be doing the same thing soon!
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Old 01-12-2019, 01:24 PM
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Top notch work and detail. My poor wallet couldn't afford a third of this right now lmao
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Old 01-16-2019, 07:16 AM
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i wish I lived closer to sit in that master piece once its done and hear how crazy its going to be! even if you take the epic stereo out of the equation think about how quiet the ride is going to be rolling down the street with all that sound deadening!
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