Upgrading the factory Audio in my 2000 Cruiser - Pt 1

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I'm having someone I trust, a professional installer, doing the Audio install this summer. I'm starting to prepare the vehicle for a real SQ system.

The first step was getting the inside of the thing deadened a bit. There is a lot of steel in this vehicle, and therefore a lot of induced noise. With the third row seats removed there are a number of large holes through the back carpet that lead directly to the steel bed - with many of the exposed holes leading directly through the bed to the outside.

I picked a couple of rolls of Raammatt and about 6 yards of Ensolite. The two rolls of Matt was more than enough to do the entire floor of my cruiser, the rear wheel wells, the walls behind the rear wheel wells and the tail gate. In fact, I did two layers on the rear wheel wells and the front driver and passenger floor boards. I have enough to do the rear passenger doors and probably the headliner, too.

I ran out of Ensolite before I could line the walls of the rear wheel wells. I ordered some more and will have it in sometime next week.

After completing phase one of the deadening, I have to say that I am very pleased with the results. Very noticeable improvement. The tailgate has always had a tinny "ping" sound upon opening and closing. Its now has a solid and commanding thud as I lined both the skin and the inside with Rammatt. All of the holes have been sealed and the back deck is much quieter. The factory system also sounds much better - probably a combination of less intrusion from the road noise and the deadening on the front floor boards.

My wife (1st grade teacher) who was only mildly aware of this project noticed a difference in the sound when she borrowed my truck on Friday. She drove it to school and back and asked if I did something to the speakers or the stereo, as it sounded better in there.... ;)


The plan is for a stealth install that will allow me to continue to load in a full cargo area. I'm a scuba diver, photographer and musician - so I'm constantly moving in wet gear or very heavy Anvil cases of drums and PA in and out of the back.

Its going to be a fun road to summer - and I can't wait. IH8MUD has helped inspire me to several recent improvements and fixes in my rig, and I'm really excited about what's going to come. I'll update this thread as I move down this road.

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Ken


BEFORE

This is what I started with. Note the big holes through the carpet directly to the metal













DURING

This is the back end stripped. There is some factory deadening, but, well, you know....



This Cruiser has the rear AirCo unit. I wanted to leave that in, as its a hassle to tear out, resale one day, etc, etc. So we're (not "we're" as much as my guy is) going to have to work around it for the install.



This is the factory sub woofer. as you know, they sort of made a box that took all available space on that side (you should see the shape of this thing!), ported it and added a couple of 4.5's. Its a funky, honky plastic box. It'll be hitting eBay soon ;)



RAAM ON! Tail gate and back deck.



Applied to the skin as well as the wheel wells. What is under that round "hatch" at the top of the pic?




I've read that this stuff is messy. IT IS!!!!!!!!! I was getting black goo all over the place. I tracked it onto my floors in the house, onto my desk, my keyboard and mouse... it gets everywhere. There is that round hatch again. I worked all of the material so I could retain access to the hatch. I opened it, but didn't recognize what I was looking at. Anyone know what's under there????



I was a couple of hours into this project when the sun came over the back of the house. Not a problem, except that I'd just turned the back of my cruiser into an Easy Bake oven with all that foil... Solution? Put up a high tech sun blocker before I moved to the front!




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Upgrading the factory Audio in my 2000 Cruiser - Pt 1a

Moving to the front.
I pulled out the seats and the console, peeled back the carpet and went to work!



You can see the fuzz from the carpet and some of the factory deadening. Acetone is my friend. Removed the fuzz as well as all the black residue from the Raammat that found it way onto everything.






Now fully Raammed, I started from the front and moved backward with the Ensolite. Two layers of Rammatt and two layers of Ensolite on the front floorboards. I wanted to get the truck driveable as quickly as possible, which is why I completed the front first (even though I started the back first!) As it turns out I didn't need it that afternoon, so I was able to complete the job.



I ran out of Ensolite before I could complete the skin behind the back wheel wells. As soon as I get my order in, I'll finish those. HEE HEE!!! Note that I now have the sun-blocker windshield thing up. Guess this job is taking awhile, as the sun has moved from the back to the front now....










AFTER

This is the rear "after" shot. Note that there is no longer exposed steel. Mucho more quiet.




I should correct that - its not that its "more quiet" as I'm sure the DB level is about the same. Its that there is less objectionable road noise and intruding wind noise from the holes. I'm also confident that on a rainy day - when rain water is kicked up into the wheel wells and stuff - that's when the real benefit of the added deadening will be fully realized.

Next up is the pillars, rear doors and the headliner. The Installer specifically asked me to steer clear of the front doors and A Pillars - essentially anywhere he'll be working on. I cheated and did the rear wheel wells... ;)

This is not a small job. Fortunately I work from home, and I read that I should expect 15 to 20 hours to complete it. It took me about 4 or 5 hours the first day, and a solid 8 or 9 for day two - that's without the doors or headliner. There is a lot here, and as I've never had one of these apart before, it took me longer to figure out how to get it all apart and back together. I can report (with great pride) that not a single clip was damaged in the filming of this episode. Not a one. :)

I've been leasing for over 20 years, so I haven't torn apart one of my trucks for decades. There is something very satisfying about stripping a vehicle down to the wirelooms again. You find all kinds of treasures when you take a previously owned vehicle down to the bolts. Apart from the french fry bits under the seats, I came away with 24 cents in coinage and a $6 pre-paid card for American Golf good for range balls. Now if I only golfed....

All of you on this board are a part of this job. Thanks for the encouragement and tips (console removal, panel removal, antenna mast installation, cladding R&R and so much more....)

More soon.


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Ken

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Wow, that looks like a serious undertaking. Excellent photos, now I know what is under all that interior. Thanks for keping us aprised on your transformation.
 
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so how much total of each product do u think you need to do the whole truck, floor, doors, and headliner, and pillars

2 rolls of Rammatt is all I should need. Unless the doors take tonnage (acreage?) I should have enough. I didn't break into the second roll until I got to the front floor boards - so that means one roll covered:


  • Back deck from tail gate to console
  • Back Wheel wells
  • Back wheel well skin
  • Tail gate
  • tail gate skin
Thats nearly all of the non-door space. I'm sure I'll have enough for the back doors and headliner.

6 yards of Ensolite is not enough. I have a couple of square feet left. I ordered another 4 yards so I can cover the skin in the rear wheel wells, the back doors (skin and panel) and the headliner.

I'll have more pics when I tackle the rest of this.

Thanks

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Ken
 
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Thanks for the detailed report.

Mo2,

Based on your experience, can you think of any reason I wouldn't get the same intrusive noise reduction in a rolling tin can like an Acura RSX-S?
 
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The difference should be even more dramatic

Mo2,

Based on your experience, can you think of any reason I wouldn't get the same intrusive noise reduction in a rolling tin can like an Acura RSX-S?

I knew when I started this project that I was starting with a luxury SUV - probably the quietest factory vehicle this side of a Lexus or Mercedes. The 2000 Cruiser is a very quiet vehicle.

When I drive my wife's matrix, its silly loud in comparison. Her new Rav 4 is much better, but still tinny.

You will see the most impact where the metal pieces are largest, the least enforced and the closest to the sources of noise (exhaust, engine, wind, road shmootz) - that's usually the door panels first, the wheel wells second, and the floor boards third. I wasn't motivated enough to get under and do the fire wall, although most serious Audio tweaks do.

In an Accura - where the doors lean more towards Ping than Thud, you'll notice a very large difference, IMO.

This stuff will make a noticeable impact. We're not talking miracles, but we are talking improvements.

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Ken
 
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Wheels & Tires

Nice write-up, and great pics! What kind of wheels are you rollin on?

Not exactly mud shoes :rolleyes:, but the closest I get to off road are gravel roads for flyishing and sand at some of our dive sites.

The Wheels are 20 X 9's. "Monster Black XD" made by KMC Wheels. I wanted to dress up the rig a bit, but I didn't want something shiney and bling.

The Tires are Falken P275/55R 20's. I replaced the stock 16's with these.

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Ken










 
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Those are sweet rims. I got the 18x9 monsters in black and have been hesitating putting them on my 2000 LC until seeing your rig, they look sweet!
 
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Dude! Thanks, man

Those are sweet rims. I got the 18x9 monsters in black and have been hesitating putting them on my 2000 LC until seeing your rig, they look sweet!

It was a big decision for me. I live in SoCal - so its all about how things look out here.

Most of your LC drivers fall into one of 3 categories out here:


  • Posers - they add all the cheezy Pep Boys tough gear to try to make it look good and tough, but they have no clue what real, working, off roading cruisers look like.

  • Soccer Moms - I bought mine from one of these. 31,000 miles in 7 years. I got a steal and I love it. Soccer moms drive them cuz they're safe. That's all good.

  • Executives - the guys who go fishing two or three times a year in either Alaska or BC. The money demo. These cruisers stay stock, stay clean, are garaged, detailed and serve as urban camouflage for the semi-active C-level guy.
Me? I'm very active - doing 270 dives a year, shooting 20,000 or 30,000 images a year, playing out (drums) dozens of nights a year, fishing all summer, camping all winter, etc. I don't off road, but I drive and haul quite a bit.

So I wanted something that said active, serious, and dressy. I've never purchased aftermarket wheels before - so this was a big decision.

I didn't want MTV Pimp My Ride chrome. So I went with black.

Thanks for the kind words. When I see them, they're such a departure from the stock 16's and those fluffy Dunlops.

Oh my, what a difference in the ride, too. These things ride so much better than those tall stock tires I had on here.

Appreciate it.

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Ken
 
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Hey Pint - its quite noticeable

Nice work! How much does it help on basic road & vehicle noise getting in? Is it noticeable?

I noticed it immediately. Although I had a noisy cruiser because of all of those big holes in the back that went right to the steel.






Plus, I've bent my tailgate so it doesn't shut correctly. And because it doesn't shut correctly, the drop gate doesn't sit correctly on the left. All of the heavy cases in and out, sitting on it with very heavy tanks, etc. You can see it in this shot - the left side just doesn't close right (errr correctly...). I've tried everything short of replacing the hinge on that side (which may well be the cause...) So I get some noise intrusion there, as well.



Also, the rear wheel wells are an issue. They are steel with nothing over them but that plastic. They are noise monsters. I'm going to line the inside of the plastic covers next.

The biggest difference I heard is in the bed area, and in the cockpit where I loaded on 2 layers of Rammatt AND two layers of Ensolite onto the floor.

Even my wife noticed it and offered an un-solicited comment on the stock stereo sounding better!

Yeah, it matters. Its not night & day. But its surely dusk & dark.

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Ken
 

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