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After much thinking about the problems, the only way that I could think of was to get rid of some of the wire to allow it to be tucked inside the passenger side kick panel. Cutting down the ignition and other wires was not a problem but the RCA leads for the speakers were a bit more daunting being a central wire surrounded by a conductive sheath. I got some new connectors and tried to solder those but after I messed up two (and got some rather painful burns on my fingers!) I decided that it would be easier to cut and splice the original wires and connectors.

That proved much easier (for my skill level at least) and after the necessary modifications were complete I reinstalled everything. This time I manged to tuck the wires inside the kick panel and close that up properly. The head unit was still a pain Continue reading

I finally got the head unit installed okay and everything worked okay. My soldering went well after some practice to re-familiarize myself with it (and solving a slight issue with the solder itself – Thanks Rob!). Installing the head back into the dash was a bit of a pain as the sides of the dash area are angled inwards, so you have to pull them apart to slide the unit in (three  hands come in handy here…).

Once installed I switched the ignition on and the head unit booted up nicely. Everything worked as it should and I was very happy with the progress I’d made. Time for a couple of beers to celebrate!

After this it was time to put everything back together, something I thought should be relatively straight-forward but as with so much of this project that wasn’t to be the case. Continue reading

Worked some more on the ‘vette stereo at the weekend. I hooked it up to the car temporarily and it actually worked! Talk about surprised. For some reason I didn’t seem to have any sound on the front speakers but hopefully I can figure that out.

While messing with it I moved the head and the sound died. I checked the fuses on the left side but everything was okay. A lot of digging later I found that there were two more fuse panels and one had a radio fuse. The manual leads you to believe that these fuses are in the engine bay Continue reading

I didn’t have as much time as I hoped at the weekend but I did look at the car again.

The CDM is finally located. It’s tucked right up underneath the glove box (My car is a ’91 and I think that’s the same for ’90-92). There’s a big but though – accessibility. You can just about see the back end of the CDM if you lie down with your head at the narrow end where the door hinges are. I could see some connectors just about but can’t tell if these are the ones I need to pull to connect to.

You can also see the CDM from below. This requires contorting yourself onto your back with your head in the passenger foot-well. That isn’t the end of it though, there’s also a plastic shield of some description that you need to remove or free up to gain access to the box And even that doesn’t help a lot).

Neither of these routes has Continue reading

I unpacked the head-unit a week or so back but hadn’t powered it up because I was thinking more about getting the old Bose unit out of the car. My “buyer protection” was close to expiring though so I thought I better power it up and make sure it worked.

Luckily I had a mains – 12v transformer that was left over from an earlier car computer project that didn’t work out as planned. This was perfect for a simple plug-in test to make sure the new android unit powered up properly. After a few turns of the screwdriver to connect the main wires the unit purred (actually it was entirely silent!) into life and presented me with the main “desktop” display.

My first impressions of the unit were Continue reading

Originally I planned to install a Sony head unit to replace the dead Bose unit in my ‘vette but after thinking about it I decided to take things a step further and install an Android car computer instead. This is a bigger project but basically gives me a toy for my toy and that’s what Corvettes are about really. There are some practical reasons behind the decision:

  • I can carry my entire MP3 collection to hand (I don’t listen to the radio and CDs are just too much of a pain)
  • Built-in navigation through android apps
  • Access to any number of other apps through the app store
  • Ability to connect to OBD monitoring and diagnostic information
  • Wireless and/or 3G internet connectivity
  • Almost infinite customization possibilities
  • Not forgetting the sheer coolness of it!

The unit I chose I found through an online forum and was recommended by several people online. Things being what they are it was only available direct from Continue reading

The C4 Corvette was a big step up from earlier generations but one area that always seemed a little weak was the lighting. Even when first introduced, the lights were probably best described as “adequate.” With the great innovations seen in auto lighting in the twenty plus years since, it all looks just a little bit meager.

Luckily most of the lighting technology updates are now available as retrofit items and prices are dropping all the time, making this a relatively painless and inexpensive upgrade that can improve the appearance, functionality and safety of your vehicle.

The three main areas I am interested in are:

  • Daytime visibility
  • Night driving illumination and
  • Efficiency.

The need for daytime visibility is Continue reading

In my earlier post I discussed tackling the under-plenum updates. Here I cover the drivetrain updates which turned out to be more significant and challenging in unexpected ways. Early on Sunday we were back at Jim’s for the drive-train work. Again the WAZOO guys were in full attendance. Darrin was back too to help the transmission pull – this after working all night at his “day’ job.

Jobs for this day included: Continue reading

After the drive down to Baltimore and meeting up with David (including a fun visit to the local Tilted Kilt) we were ready to get stuck into the job at hand: updating the Dragon.

DSCF6040Saturday was warm and sunny, almost a shame to waste it on the WMD (Westminster Maintenance Day), but the WAZOO guys are dedicated to building bigger and better ZR-1s and I wasn’t going to pass up the chance to complete several of the jobs that had been on my “to do” list for far too long.

Jim’s place (the then ZR-1 Registry president) is the garage a lot of people dream of having – me included. Spacious, a  four post lift, hydraulic bridge jacks to lift one end of the car up in seconds. What else could you ask for? Continue reading

Okay, so the first stumbling block on my replacement head project arrived in the form of the Metra wiring guide (Metra 70-1857 Bose Integration Tuner Bypass) . First off, instructions are non existent with this product, which isn’t very comforting for a novice (like me!). There’s some general information and a wiring guide on the back of the pack and a tiny note inside the bag telling you where your amp’s located (which I knew).

To make things worse the bag the harness came in had been torn and taped back together, right through the wiring guide! I went to the Metra site expecting to find further help and at least wiring information (it says on the bag “for further information…”). I’m always too optimistic it seems and not only was there no further information online – there was NO information at all! With patience and help from my wife in translating the Spanish, I managed to decipher it. Just in case anyone else has a similar problem, I’ve reproduced the chart below: Continue reading

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