Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Car Stereo, Amplifier and Gauge Wiring on the SAAB c900

I'm relocating the stereo from its position up high in the dash to down in the center console. I got a Metra adapter for my new Kenwood stereo (Excelon X-998) which will adapt the Kenwood plug to the SAAB factory plug.

Here's the harness I made with the Kenwood plug at one end and the Metra (same as the SAAB female plug) at the other end. Basically you connect the B+, ground, lighting, dimmer, etc., wires on one to the equivalent wires on the other. It's nice because I like to solder wires together whenever I can, instead of just twisting them together and using wire nuts.

Here's the radio connector end. Kenwood puts labels on the wires so you know which is which - and then you just connect them to the Metra adapter's wires for the same functions.

I also tapped out the B+, ground, and illumination wires at each end. I'll use these at the radio end for a map light and an outside air temp gauge in the future.

On the other end, which will be up behind the dash, I'll use those wires for the voltmeter and the gauge lights.

I decided to go with Autometer gauges this time around rather than VDO. Just a change.

I'm putting a voltmeter and mechanical oil pressure and water temperature gauges in the DIN slot at the top of the dash formerly occupied by the radio.

On my other 900, my gauges are in the same location, and they point straight out. This time I decided to angle them toward the driver (also known as me). Autometer sells a set of mounting rings that will let you angle them on a horizontal or vertical (or both) angle.

You can see in the picture above, they'll stick out a bit, so I trimmed them at certain spots so they'll slot into the dash properly. We'll see that after they're all installed.

For some reason, I forgot to take a picture of the harness I wired up for the gauges. At any rate, you can see some of the wiring here...the gauges are wired into the radio harness taps for 12v and illumination, which actually come off the car's factory plug.

Other than three small wire nuts which were unavoidable, every connection on the stereo, gauges, and speakers are all soldered or have connector plugs for good reliability.

I was actually running the front speaker wiring when I took the shot above. You can see my helpful "hole for wiring" finder (aka Mag-Lite) pointing into the DIN slot. Shine a light in and you can see possible places to run a wire.

The oil pressure and water temp lines have to go into the engine compartment. This is the water temp sensor, which is permanently attached to the gauge via a stiff line. The blue bolt is 7/8 of an inch (about 20mm) around, so we need to drill a fairly big hole to run this thing through.

I was ready to drill a hole with a hole bit when I discovered this existing hole and grommet running from the driver's side kick panel into the engine compartment.

It will be large enough the run my gauge sending lines through! Whoo hoo.

Note the factory grounds - more proof this car was built by human persons. Say no to robots. Just say no.

I popped out the grommet and opened up the center to get more room for the 2 new lines to run through. I also had to slit it so I could get it out and back on.

New lines in place. I was still messing with getting the grommet fully seated at this point, but it is back in the hole as I write this. (It will keep the lines from chafing on the sheet metal if they move around any).

The larger black hose at the top is for the water temp, and the white nylon hose is for the oil pressure.

This worked out well - no new holes had to be drilled.

Here's where the new lines wind up. They come up from the corner of the firewall and up near the fuse box.

I'll eventually tap into the water hose that runs from the engine block to the "in" on the heater. The oil pressure gauge will tap into the threaded hole where the oil sender currently lives.

I'll finish that up when the weather is better, but I needed to get the wiring all in place while I had the dash apart.

Back to The Dungeon to finish up the last part of the speaker install - the front speakers.

Here are the two old speakers - you don't need a sharp eye to see they were different! One was a Pioneer TS-A1090 and the other one was a JBL GT42TO.

I'll keep them for future experiments...bwahaha.

The new speakers are nice Focal 4 inch models with adjustable (rotating) tweeters. This one is about the go into the dash opening. You can see the 2.2uF crossover capacitor and coil right on the back of the speaker.

I'm putting an amplifier under the passenger's seat. So I ran a 4 gauge cable from the battery through the passenger side of the engine compartment, along the same path as the old factory speaker wiring.

You can see that old wiring in the white box running along the sill.

There's a big 'glove' rubber grommet between the passenger side kick panel into the engine compartment. Cut a slit in it to run wiring into the engine room. Easier than the driver's side!

Here's all the stereo wiring ready to connect to the amp.

You can see the B+ cable, the speaker wiring, the interconnect cables and the power amp turn on wire.

I kept the B+ away from the others as a hum-reducing's the amp builder in me :-)


Post a Comment 5 comments:

  • Sven Nyström said...
    January 31, 2015 at 4:10 PM
    It's like reading ancient Greek poetry - I don't understand anything but still it's vaguely beautiful and captivating.
  • Marcin Dymczyk said...
    September 15, 2017 at 7:21 AM
    Hi, which Focal speakers did you exactly? How easily do they fit in the original space under the dash? And finally, what your impressions of the system? :)

    I was planning to install something very similar!
  • Yr Fthfl Blggr said...
    September 16, 2017 at 9:38 AM
    Hi - They are Focal 100CVX. Polyglass cones, with a coax tweeter and built-in crossover. I got them here:

    They are a bit of a squeeze into the factory speaker cutouts on top of the dash as I recall, mainly because they are deeper than most speakers. But they will go in with a bit of maneuvering.

    I used the stock factory speaker grilles. They work, although in my car, there is a bit of 'curve' in the grilles now due to the tweeter in the speaker pushing the grill up. It's possible to easily remedy this but cutting back some of the plastic 'rib' on the grilles, but I didn't bother. They look fine. Only you will know!

    As for the sound, it's wonderful. I really wanted more clarity and headroom, and I have that. The amp is plenty powerful. I listen to classical music primarily and there is a great amount of clarity and detail. Things like solo piano is very clear - on a good recording you can hear all sorts of 'growl' in the bass and hammer striking on treble.

    On things like cymbals and bells on orchestra music, there is a wonderful clarity and airiness.

    My system goes down to about 60Hz. Not a lot of bass, but it's fine for me. I've considered a subwoofer, but I think it's overkill. This isn't a home system, it's still a car and there are compromises. But overall, I am very happy!
  • Marcin Dymczyk said...
    October 4, 2017 at 7:30 AM
    Thanks a lot for your answer. Knowing that you could fit Focals 100CVX there helps a lot. I'll probably look into some component systems and mount the tweeters on top of the speaker grilles. I'll report back once it happens.
  • Yr Fthfl Blggr said...
    October 23, 2017 at 6:48 PM
    Sorry for my delayed response.

    Don't forget there are there is a spot in the factory holes you could knock out and mount tweeters in - next to the defroster hole.

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