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Took a trip down memory lane looking at my old build, decided to start a new thread since I am apparently dipping my toe back into car audio. 
 

My Mazda 3 now retired

 

I had to cut the Mazda loose. 240,000 miles of good service and it was showing its age. My family also outgrew it, and with us taking more camping trips I really needed a truck. I’ve always liked Toyota’s....
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2015 Toyota Tacoma Build Thread

2007 Mazda 3; 5000K HID's, Kenwood Excelon KDC-X997, Infinity Reference 6.5 comps in front and coaxials in the rear doors, JL 320.4 four channel, Rab Designs built ported enclosure with an SA12, Kenwood monoblock, Redline Leater shift boot/e-brake boot/center console cover, JBR short shifter/shifter bushings/rear motor mount.

Build Thread

 

1996 Mazda Miata: Kenwood Excelon HU, Alpine speaker in the doors, Clearwater (miata specific) headrest speakers. 

 

1994 Mazda Protege: Kenwood Excelon HU, Infinity Reference 2 ways all around, 2x RF Punch 10's in ported boxes. 

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It didn’t take me long to start making little tweaks, just not the audio. 
 

 

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Obligatory “TRD Pro” grill. Reminds me of the late 80’s trucks before they had the badge on the grill and spelled out TOYOTA. 

 

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Relocated the seven pin from the bracket hanging under the truck (just waiting for something on a trail to remove it and rip up wiring) to a hole I chopped in the bumper. 


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Molle panel on the ceiling. I use this to keep first aid, a spare flashlight, batteries, and an Element E50 chemical fire suppressant in easy reach. 


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I scored a used OEM roof rack, paired it with a Maxxhaul basket and roof bag, and bolted an 8’ awning onto the side. I remove this whole setup minus the OEM rack between camping trips for less wind noise and drag, but the bag is loaded with tent/sleeping bags/shoes/etc when we go out to the woods. Somewhere around here I also upgraded fog lights to Diode Dynamics and headlight bulbs to Vosla. The headlights have a bit brighter high and low beam, fog lights are a LOT better and help cut through fog and dust. 


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This is how the truck usually sits. At a campsite, tailgate used as a table to hold the grill, tent beside it. This is why we got the truck in the first place, but every time I hop in my wife’s Grand Cherokee Limited, I realized how AWFUL the factory Toyota sound system is. 

2015 Toyota Tacoma Build Thread

2007 Mazda 3; 5000K HID's, Kenwood Excelon KDC-X997, Infinity Reference 6.5 comps in front and coaxials in the rear doors, JL 320.4 four channel, Rab Designs built ported enclosure with an SA12, Kenwood monoblock, Redline Leater shift boot/e-brake boot/center console cover, JBR short shifter/shifter bushings/rear motor mount.

Build Thread

 

1996 Mazda Miata: Kenwood Excelon HU, Alpine speaker in the doors, Clearwater (miata specific) headrest speakers. 

 

1994 Mazda Protege: Kenwood Excelon HU, Infinity Reference 2 ways all around, 2x RF Punch 10's in ported boxes. 

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The factory head unit actually isn’t awful. USB input, Bluetooth, backup camera, doesn’t have the Nav but that’s about all it’s missing. The real issue is the lack of power (another owner reported something like 5 watts output on the front speakers, less for the rears) and awful speakers. Unlike old builds, I’m prioritizing factory appearance, so I’m keeping this head unit if at all possible. 
 

6DFBDF82-EE09-40C6-B016-175198336082.thumb.jpeg.5f7d181fe357a64260557ccf5b75eb95.jpeg

Of course I can’t find any finished shots. Infinity 6x9 component set in each front door, along with a fistful of Dynamat behind and all around each speaker. 6 1/2” Infinity coaxials in the rear doors, and more sound deadening. Running on deck power, I wasn’t expecting miracles but they did sound better. This was all ground work for later. 

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Initially I bought a Kicker Key 180.4, wired up a short T harness using some Metra plugs and the Kicker harness, piggybacked the factory radio’s power and ground, and stuffed the 180.4 into the dash behind the factory head unit. The factory radio circuit is almost cartoonishly overspec’d for the factory head unit, and handles the extra load of the amp without issue. The Kicker Key’s auto DSP actually managed to make a half assed decent sounding system, install was simple, hitting high on the “cost per smiles” scale. 
 

So, why are there two amps on ABS if I installed this in the dash?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Toyota Tacoma Build Thread

2007 Mazda 3; 5000K HID's, Kenwood Excelon KDC-X997, Infinity Reference 6.5 comps in front and coaxials in the rear doors, JL 320.4 four channel, Rab Designs built ported enclosure with an SA12, Kenwood monoblock, Redline Leater shift boot/e-brake boot/center console cover, JBR short shifter/shifter bushings/rear motor mount.

Build Thread

 

1996 Mazda Miata: Kenwood Excelon HU, Alpine speaker in the doors, Clearwater (miata specific) headrest speakers. 

 

1994 Mazda Protege: Kenwood Excelon HU, Infinity Reference 2 ways all around, 2x RF Punch 10's in ported boxes. 

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1 hour ago, philrab said:

The factory head unit actually isn’t awful. USB input, Bluetooth, backup camera, doesn’t have the Nav but that’s about all it’s missing. The real issue is the lack of power (another owner reported something like 5 watts output on the front speakers, less for the rears) and awful speakers. Unlike old builds, I’m prioritizing factory appearance, so I’m keeping this head unit if at all possible. 
 

6DFBDF82-EE09-40C6-B016-175198336082.thumb.jpeg.5f7d181fe357a64260557ccf5b75eb95.jpeg

Of course I can’t find any finished shots. Infinity 6x9 component set in each front door, along with a fistful of Dynamat behind and all around each speaker. 6 1/2” Infinity coaxials in the rear doors, and more sound deadening. Running on deck power, I wasn’t expecting miracles but they did sound better. This was all ground work for later. 
 

330A38E5-01BE-48E5-BEC9-86AA927BD304.thumb.jpeg.e713e66a27a4fda21ee0969507198116.jpeg

Initially I bought a Kicker Key 180.4, wired up a short T harness using some Metra plugs and the Kicker harness, piggybacked the factory radio’s power and ground, and stuffed the 180.4 into the dash behind the factory head unit. The factory radio circuit is almost cartoonishly overspec’d for the factory head unit, and handles the extra load of the amp without issue. The Kicker Key’s auto DSP actually managed to make a half assed decent sounding system, install was simple, hitting high on the “cost per smiles” scale. 
 

So, why are there two amps on ABS if I installed this in the dash?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've been very interested in those kicker key amplifiers and if the auto tuning actually worked well. 

Works pretty good huh? 

2011 Chevy Silverado under construction

My build log here. Check it out! 

 

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7 hours ago, Dafaseles said:

I've been very interested in those kicker key amplifiers and if the auto tuning actually worked well. 

Works pretty good huh? 

Does it work? Yes. 
Is it a replacement for a full Monty DSP and a talented hand? Not even close. 
 

is it worth $200 to jazz up a factory system? I think so. So far, my biggest gripe is the amp being noisier than I’d like, probably a victim of the price point this thing is manufactured at. It won’t hold a candle to my older JL amp I have in my collection, but it’s 1/3 the size and takes 1/4 the power (class B vs class D amps).

2015 Toyota Tacoma Build Thread

2007 Mazda 3; 5000K HID's, Kenwood Excelon KDC-X997, Infinity Reference 6.5 comps in front and coaxials in the rear doors, JL 320.4 four channel, Rab Designs built ported enclosure with an SA12, Kenwood monoblock, Redline Leater shift boot/e-brake boot/center console cover, JBR short shifter/shifter bushings/rear motor mount.

Build Thread

 

1996 Mazda Miata: Kenwood Excelon HU, Alpine speaker in the doors, Clearwater (miata specific) headrest speakers. 

 

1994 Mazda Protege: Kenwood Excelon HU, Infinity Reference 2 ways all around, 2x RF Punch 10's in ported boxes. 

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Two things happened. 
A. I was never 100% satisfied simply shoving the amp into the dash. The amp has a higher than desired noise floor, but being in the dash it became a major production to tweak any of the amp settings, like remove dash panels production. 
 

B. I NEED bass. The Infinity speakers on 45 watts rms did pretty good for mid bass, but I had the high pass set for 65 hz and even then, when they dig low they don’t sound happy. 

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I made the decision to pair the Kicker Key 180.4 with their 500.1. Similar technology, auto dsp/bass restoration, 500 watts rms at 1 ohm, not much larger than the 180.4. Perfect for fitting under the low front seat of a Tacoma. 


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I took my original T harness, clipped all of the leads heading to the 180.4, and extended the signal side with some 9 conductor speed wire. For the amp output, I didn’t want to use 18 gauge wire in the speed wire, so I looked four runs of 14 gauge OFC with some Techflex, and ran back into the factory wiring behind the head unit to feed the door speakers. This let me build and solder the whole harness on the bench, then drop it in when complete. 

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I also gave working with ABS plastic a try. Kinda different from wood, and this isn’t my cleanest work but it’s a learning experience. In the future, I think I need to keep my speed up and not let the blade melt the plastic before it cuts, and set up my router to smooth things out. I built this based on a cardboard template from the floor of my truck, seat bolts secure the back legs, and I zip tied a “toe protector” to the back to guard the wiring. It’s removable for when I need to get to the controls. 

2015 Toyota Tacoma Build Thread

2007 Mazda 3; 5000K HID's, Kenwood Excelon KDC-X997, Infinity Reference 6.5 comps in front and coaxials in the rear doors, JL 320.4 four channel, Rab Designs built ported enclosure with an SA12, Kenwood monoblock, Redline Leater shift boot/e-brake boot/center console cover, JBR short shifter/shifter bushings/rear motor mount.

Build Thread

 

1996 Mazda Miata: Kenwood Excelon HU, Alpine speaker in the doors, Clearwater (miata specific) headrest speakers. 

 

1994 Mazda Protege: Kenwood Excelon HU, Infinity Reference 2 ways all around, 2x RF Punch 10's in ported boxes. 

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One day during the week I snuck outside between showers to fab up this circuit breaker mount from some scrap ABS and a bolt that fit a factory threaded hole. May go back later and make a larger mount to house an additional breaker and fuse panel. 


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This past Friday after work, I attacked the truck. I pulled the driver seat, entire center console, radio and trim panel. This was all necessary to route the harness I built on my bench. The amp legs of the harness snake down from the radio, following a factory harness, behind the AC controls and down through the center console. 

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Ultimately, I made the legs about 2’ too long. This was actually on purpose to make sure I had sufficient length to route them where I wanted, but I may go back later, cut and resolder the connections to shorten them and make wiring a little tidier. 
 

Once installed...there’s nothing to see. Factory head unit is sitting in the dash, amps are all under the driver seat, Infinity speakers in the doors, and it all looks bone stock. It does not sound stock however. 
 

Still working to tune the 180.4 to my liking, and may rerun the auto-DSP since the speakers have broken in a little bit. Waiting on a box builder to get my sub enclosure done (first time in years I didn’t build my own) so I can drop my Sundown SD4 into it and start wrapping up for now. 

2015 Toyota Tacoma Build Thread

2007 Mazda 3; 5000K HID's, Kenwood Excelon KDC-X997, Infinity Reference 6.5 comps in front and coaxials in the rear doors, JL 320.4 four channel, Rab Designs built ported enclosure with an SA12, Kenwood monoblock, Redline Leater shift boot/e-brake boot/center console cover, JBR short shifter/shifter bushings/rear motor mount.

Build Thread

 

1996 Mazda Miata: Kenwood Excelon HU, Alpine speaker in the doors, Clearwater (miata specific) headrest speakers. 

 

1994 Mazda Protege: Kenwood Excelon HU, Infinity Reference 2 ways all around, 2x RF Punch 10's in ported boxes. 

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More stuff that isn’t related to audio, my wife helped me route some wiring for LED bed lights. I couldn’t cram my big ass meat hooks and forearms between the frame and gas tank, hers fit. Comes in real handy loading and unloading at dark campsites so we don’t have to hold flashlights in our teeth. 8EDC7C2C-5B6A-4A82-8E1C-55D422DD8A2D.thumb.jpeg.221854c503a412a1a869823d818dcc16.jpeg646824CE-9B2B-49B3-98EC-A29E8ECAFB3E.thumb.jpeg.e43f7e57ec57a4670c4aefc569755931.jpeg7E0C9A2E-5FF7-44E0-8D5A-B1A0DCEB34D7.thumb.jpeg.03b23ff866c69c93ebc88559ada5b067.jpeg

2015 Toyota Tacoma Build Thread

2007 Mazda 3; 5000K HID's, Kenwood Excelon KDC-X997, Infinity Reference 6.5 comps in front and coaxials in the rear doors, JL 320.4 four channel, Rab Designs built ported enclosure with an SA12, Kenwood monoblock, Redline Leater shift boot/e-brake boot/center console cover, JBR short shifter/shifter bushings/rear motor mount.

Build Thread

 

1996 Mazda Miata: Kenwood Excelon HU, Alpine speaker in the doors, Clearwater (miata specific) headrest speakers. 

 

1994 Mazda Protege: Kenwood Excelon HU, Infinity Reference 2 ways all around, 2x RF Punch 10's in ported boxes. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ain't nuttin' like the wife being down for the cause!

2000 Toyota Solara SEV6, 200 amp alternator, Jensen VX7020, Hifonics American Warrior Taurus X, Hifonics American Warrior Centurion X, JBL Club 6500C, Power Acoustik XP2K-4102, Coustic Power Logic HT-612 in a BP4.

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