Serious Sound

Our Hot Ride Gets Some Cool Tunes

Tim Hendrickson Mar 2, 2005 0 Comment(s)

Since the Goodmark Camaro is going to be SUPER CHEVY's tour car for 2005, we thought it needed a serious sound system. After all, it is kind of hard to hear tunes with meek components when you are rockin' to the tune of 588 horses pounding the pavement. Hopefully, by the time staffer Tony Kelly hits the road in 2005, his son should be able to teach him how to actually work the top-of-the-line Clarion system installed in the Camaro!

Goodmark wanted the best people around to install the stereo system since this was not going to be a "just put a stereo in the hole and a couple of speakers in the back" type of job. They headed toward Dan Hayes and his company in Buford, Georgia, called Traffic Jams (an appropriate name for the Atlanta area). Traffic Jams was voted one of the Top 100 installers in the U.S. by Mobile Electronics magazine, so they seemed a good choice. Fortunately, the guys at Traffic Jams jumped at the chance to modernize the sound system for the Goodmark Camaro.

The first step in doing anything correctly is to come up with a plan. After much discussion, the Clarion DXZ945MD stereo was chosen because of the quality and sound for the price. It also didn't hurt that the Clarion touch-screen head unit happens to be one of the coolest on the market today. The plug-n-play designs on all of Clarion's product line make its systems easy to install and to build onto their systems if you ever want to.

With today's "mega" systems, it is very common for the rear and the trunk area to be filled with speakers. Because the Goodmark Camaro is going to be driven around the country, it was important to figure a way to have space for signage and luggage in the car. We decided to mount the system using the "dead" space in the back of the trunk under the package tray.

With the system completed, the car retains much of its original appearance, but the sound is simply stunning. We can't wait to hit the road in this acoustical wonder.

5

Before the car left Dale Etheredge's shop to have the sound system and the interior installed, Dale ran Dynamat throughout the car. Although it is really cool to ride along the road and listen to the engine, sometimes you just want to kick back and listen to some tunes instead. By installing Dynamat on the floor, roof, and doors, the stereo should sound really great.

Dale also threw the Auto Custom Carpet into the car to settle into position before installation

Although we had two subwoofers, we chose to use a single Clarion XW1200 1000 watt 12-inch speaker for clarity instead of trying to set the world's highest decibel level in the car. This was fitted to the area in the back of the trunk under the package tray area. A box was built to hold the subwoofer and bolted to the floor from the inside of the box. This gives a clean installation since there are no external hold-downs.

There is space on either side of the subwoofer box. A cover is built to go in front of the subwoofer box. This board follows the contours of the trunk and will allow Traffic Jams to mount two Clarion APA4320 640-watt low-profile amps off the floor. This will provide more trunk space and give a focal point in the trunk.

With this system, wiring gets a little more complicated than a single speaker in the front and cutting a couple of holes out of the package tray to mount some speakers yourself. Because we are dealing with a serious stereo system, heavy gauge wires are run from a circuit breaker under the hood through the car. The carpet was pulled back a little to run wiring.

Wiring was run into the trunk along the channel designed for the original wires.

Pre-amp layout and hole layout are decided. Holes are drilled for speaker wires to run through too, but the holes will be covered when everything is installed.

The wires are pulled through the predrilled holes for the amps

The rear panel has been test fitted and is ready for installation. The subwoofer is installed and the rear panel will go over it. Tim Henrickson does the installation.

One of the amps for the system was going to be installed upside down to make the layout look good. Because they paid attention to detail, the guys at Traffic Jams took the time to remove the Clarion label and reinstall it so matched the other amp.

It's getting time to get serious now. After separating the speaker and power lines, it's time to install the amps.

The first thing that is done is to install a distribution block. This takes one size wire and converts it to other sizes. We started with a 4-gauge wire and split off to 2- to 8- gauge wires for the amps. Keep in mind that if the amp has an 8-gauge power wire for example, the ground wire also needs to be the same gauge.

The amps are going to be installed at an angle to give a little interest to the trunk area. To control vibration, 1/2-inch rubber spacers were installed to control vibration.

The speaker wires, remote wire (yes, this Clarion system does use a remote or touch screen), the ground, subwoofer and RCA hookups must be done.

The same process is repeated for the other amp.

Installing the CD changer is the last thing that gets done in the trunk area. Holes are drilled in the upper part of the floor pan for mounting brackets. Once again, the guys at Traffic Jams uses rubber O-rings to help stop vibrations. All that had to be done to finish the installation was to plug in one cable.

Rather than install the 6x9 Clarion 280-watt rear speakers (SRR6985) on plain mounts, the guys at Traffic Jams decided to be creative. They cut two Chevrolet Bow-Tie emblems out of wood , which would be covered in vinyl by the upholstery shop and mounted on the rear package tray.

Instead of installing the radio in the stock location because of the depth of the new radio, a console was built by the Traffic Jam guys to mount the radio in.

This would be covered by vinyl by the upholstery shop and screwed to the floor.

We decided to go with two front speakers in the dash, rather than a small speaker in the front, and two in the doors because of the electric windows and the door panel style. The Clarion SRR1685 speakers at 180 watts each should do the job.

The last important step is to mount a circuit breaker in the engine compartment. A template is drawn to mount the breaker toward the front of the right fender.

The template is traced onto black abs plastic and cut out.

The circuit breaker is mounted on the plastic using rubber O-rings to help with any vibration and to protect the paint on the car.

With all of the wires checked, and everything installed, the last thing to do is to make sure that everything is tuned correctly. The Goodmark Camaro will be taken to the upholstery shop where the trunk panel, bow ties on the rear package tray and the console will be upholstered. The car will come back to Traffic Jams for the final tune up.

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