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Author Topic:  Lanson's 2013 Flex build log - ongoing  (Read 10031 times)

Offline Lanson

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Lanson's 2013 Flex build log - ongoing
« on: July 28, 2013, 02:11:20 AM »
Hello folks,

This build log will be for my 2013 Flex, this one is a NON-Sony setup and as such has a significantly different build strategy compared with my 2010 Sony setup I had prior.

This build thread will include the Optima battery install I did prior to starting the official build, and we'll start with that.

The factory battery terminal setup and corresponding battery does not lend itself to easy swap out




Battery out, the first unique thing I spot is what looks to be an amp meter, via this loop sensor I'll call an amp clamp. 



Battery is out, fuse box is open, and I've got the intake part-way taken off for access.



Intake box is out, and these pictures were taken to remind me what the wiring loom looked like "before".



This is the factory ground point, found on the driver's side fender.  This is pretty weak!


I decided since I was already this deep in the wiring to go ahead and wire in my HID kit as well.  Here's the wiring to the fuse box for power (right up top on the power take-off nut), and the in-line fuse that comes with the kit pokes right out underneath the fuse box itself, just in case it needs to be accessed.



The factory wiring loom had to come apart to make this work.  This was fun!  The reason for this was because the factory ground wiring was too short and too bundled for me to use it properly. 



Test-fitting the battery.  Fits just like it did in the 2010.


continued..
I don't have an EB but I am an avid modder and happy to help the community and learn/grow.  Pretty good with audio and wheels, my build and discussion threads are here in the forum.  2013 Flex AWD N/A

Audio:  Dayton Reference home speakers in front stage, incl. 2-way passive custom pillars 2.5" mid, 3/4" tweet, 2-way passive custom center channel 5" mid, 3/4" tweet, 8" midbass in doors, Vibe UK amps, JBL MS8 processor, Optima Yellow-top custom-wired, Exile subs in spare tire well

Mods: H&R, K&N, 22x9 & 22x10 3 piece forged wheels 265/35-22 Toyos, SCTX4 w/ 91 oct. Torrie tune

Offline Lanson

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Re: Lanson's 2013 Flex build log - ongoing
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2013, 02:28:09 AM »
To replace the too-short cables on the power side, I made this.  This is the main power wire that will come from the distribution block to the battery.


This is hard to photograph so please forgive that.  What you see here is a fused distribution block that will serve as the replacement for the factory fused terminal that is proprietary and impossible to use with the Optima's terminal placement.  Specifically, there is a Green / Red stripe wire connected on one distribution point on this block, the right side of the block which you can barely see.  This was one of the wires the factory terminal had fused to start with. 


Here's the fused distribution block now with the other side connected.



Here it is, safe in its position.  Turns out its the exact right size to fit between the battery and the tray with zero movement.  The stiff factory power wires that are connected to it hold it in position perfectly.



This is the factory ground now ground down to bare metal, and enhanced with an extra 4 gauge wire.  This was later hit with some paint to protect it.


Here's a close-up of that amp clamp sensor thing. 



Here the factory ground wiring and my augmented ground are passing through that amp clamp.  Not sure what it does or how it measures, or what importance it has in being on the car, but I see no reason to not use it.  Also in the shot is the factory wiring loom is partially re-wrapped with friction tape, similar to the factory tape that was on it. 



That completes it!  These are great terminals, very happy with them and I like the covers they come with as well.  I got them off eBay from a 4x4 shop, they are "mil-spec" designed and were a great deal for what they do and how well they are made.



I don't have an EB but I am an avid modder and happy to help the community and learn/grow.  Pretty good with audio and wheels, my build and discussion threads are here in the forum.  2013 Flex AWD N/A

Audio:  Dayton Reference home speakers in front stage, incl. 2-way passive custom pillars 2.5" mid, 3/4" tweet, 2-way passive custom center channel 5" mid, 3/4" tweet, 8" midbass in doors, Vibe UK amps, JBL MS8 processor, Optima Yellow-top custom-wired, Exile subs in spare tire well

Mods: H&R, K&N, 22x9 & 22x10 3 piece forged wheels 265/35-22 Toyos, SCTX4 w/ 91 oct. Torrie tune

Offline Lanson

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Re: Lanson's 2013 Flex build log - ongoing
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2013, 02:50:02 AM »
Next up, running the main power wire.  Unlike my 2010 where I drilled right through the firewall by the brake booster (pucker moment), I decided to go a different route.  Member "Pushing Spokes" from fordflex.net was taking pics of his build a shop was doing for him, and they came across a great way to do it.  I'll illustrate this for you now.

First thing, you need to remove your wipers to get this cowl off.  First remove the dust cap over the wiper nut, I used a small pick tool.  Then remove the nut.  The wipers are held on with spline shafts, so some force is required to remove them.  I wrapped a pair of vice grips in a microfiber cloth, and put one set of teeth under the wiper while putting the other set of teeth on the wiper shaft.  Then I slowly clamped until the wiper came off with a bang. 


Once the wipers are off, the rubber trim on each side of the cowl can be lifted off its tabs with just a simple light pull.


The cowl is held on in the engine bay area with two piece push clips.  Lift the center out of the clip with a pick or a screwdriver or similar, and then the rest of the clip will come out easily.


The windshield side of the cowl just pops off its tabs with a pull


Cowl off, now is a good time to disconnect the washer fluid tube.  Just pull to disconnect.


Under the cowl is a two piece part of plastic that the cowl mounts to.  Just remove the driver's side by pulling up on the clips.  Don't lose any, I had to fish one out of my engine bay at one point


A good time to clean them up


So, now that the cowl and plastic thingy below the cowl are out of the way, the false firewall made of flimsy metal will be easy to reach and drill through.  I used a step bit to do this but as you can see, I slipped a few times and scratched up the surface.  If you're doing this, start with a tiny pilot hole to prevent this mistake.  Another thing to watch out for is that big wiring harness right behind there.  I drilled while using my other hand to hold the harness up and out of the way.  After the hole was drilled I deburred the opening with a simple file.


This is a hard shot to get.  Right under the windshield wiper mechanicals on the driver's side, there is a huge grommet that is horizontal and goes right into the cabin.  This is our destination.  I simply cut a slit in that grommet and pushed my 1/0 welding cable (sheathed in techflex to protect it) right through.  Because the false firewall is not a real firewall and therefore not really important to be water-tight, I just used a simple plastic 1/0 grommet and not a full blown waterproof type.


I decided to mount my 180 amp circuit breaker to the fuse box directly.  I secured it with two screws that self-tapped right into the plastic and are very secure.




The plastic bit and cowl went right back on as did the wipers, and everything was good to go.

I don't have an EB but I am an avid modder and happy to help the community and learn/grow.  Pretty good with audio and wheels, my build and discussion threads are here in the forum.  2013 Flex AWD N/A

Audio:  Dayton Reference home speakers in front stage, incl. 2-way passive custom pillars 2.5" mid, 3/4" tweet, 2-way passive custom center channel 5" mid, 3/4" tweet, 8" midbass in doors, Vibe UK amps, JBL MS8 processor, Optima Yellow-top custom-wired, Exile subs in spare tire well

Mods: H&R, K&N, 22x9 & 22x10 3 piece forged wheels 265/35-22 Toyos, SCTX4 w/ 91 oct. Torrie tune

Offline Lanson

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Re: Lanson's 2013 Flex build log - ongoing
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2013, 03:10:16 AM »
Now that the hard part of running 1/0 gauge wire through the car was done, the rest of the system just begged to be installed.

I made a set of ground cables




The Vibe amps fit perfectly under the passenger side seat.  Under them is 1/2" board of MDF with butyl rope holding them in place and cushioning the boards and amps from the floorboard.  Impossible to photograph but extremely easy to make.  The top side photographs easier!


The passenger inside front seat bracket bolt hole is ground down to bare metal, to make a solid ground for both amps and the processor.


I needed to get to the radio's backside to reach the plugs and tap into the factory wiring, but I ran into a snag.  I pulled the center console's side panels off and started to disassemble the topside of the console.  It simply would not budge, and I could feel that I was not going to get it out without breaking something big and expensive.  So, I decided to try and go around the problem and reach up and behind the radio, through the center console.  And sure enough, I was able to reach the connectors and free them.  It looks like this


The big one to the left can be ignored, it is attached with a plastic tree to the center console innards and looks to be for the video screen.  The smaller one floating on the right is the one we need.


Carnage shot.  I've run power wire through the center console, through one of its many openings that goes right to the other side



Gangster lean mod


I shuffled the wiring connector to the driver's side since it appeared to have a bit more slack, and I started my soldering process.  I'm a stickler for doing this correctly (at least as correctly as I've learned by myself over time) and I'm using high grade solder, heat shrink, and techflex where possible.  The first connections were from the heat unit output to the MS8 processor's input.  I used LF, RF, LR, RR, and Center all to the MS8 so it can properly sum the entire signal.  Since I have no clue what processing this Non-Sony system uses and it appears to not be defeatable in the menu settings anywhere, making the MS8 do the work sounds good to me.




I don't have an EB but I am an avid modder and happy to help the community and learn/grow.  Pretty good with audio and wheels, my build and discussion threads are here in the forum.  2013 Flex AWD N/A

Audio:  Dayton Reference home speakers in front stage, incl. 2-way passive custom pillars 2.5" mid, 3/4" tweet, 2-way passive custom center channel 5" mid, 3/4" tweet, 8" midbass in doors, Vibe UK amps, JBL MS8 processor, Optima Yellow-top custom-wired, Exile subs in spare tire well

Mods: H&R, K&N, 22x9 & 22x10 3 piece forged wheels 265/35-22 Toyos, SCTX4 w/ 91 oct. Torrie tune

Offline Lanson

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Re: Lanson's 2013 Flex build log - ongoing
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2013, 03:32:39 AM »
This is the factory A-pillar cover.  It is held on to the A-pillar itself with a plastic lanyard, which probably keeps the pillar cover from becoming a projectile when the side airbags deploy.  This can be removed if you want to but it turns out to be just fine left connected, and the pillar cover just rotates up and out of the way to be worked on. 



This is what we're here for.  Compared with the Sony setup in my 2010, this tweeter looks much more weak.  Also, the mounting spot is enlarged and seems to hold a bigger tweeter than the 2010 Sony unit.




This will be its replacement.  It is a Bravox tweeter that came out of the Carbon Fiber 5x7 component set I used in my 2010 Flex build.  In that one, the factory Sony tweeters were used instead of these because I felt the Sony tweeters were high quality and good sounding.  These then were available and look a lot more appealing for this particular build.


To mount, I didn't want to get aggressive and start cutting holes in the A-pillar.  That might come later if I go upgrade crazy.  But for now, I opted to keep it stealth and place the Bravox tweeter inside the factory location.  I used butyl rope to create a secure mount with some flexibility to it, so I was able to angle the tweeters up and toward the cabin slightly while still locking them in place.  I also used more butyl rope to seal off the chamber the tweeter sat in, since it didn't have the stock shape and gasket.



I ran 16 gauge 2 conductor sheathed wire through the A-pillar area on both sides, and soldered this to the Bravox wiring.


This is the MS8 output wiring harness.  With the input done and out of the way, this then reconnects to the factory wiring as well as my custom wiring to the tweeters.  Specifically, the MS8's internal amps power the LR, RR, and LF tweeter, RF tweeter.


More carnage.  Specifically what is happening here, is the input and output harnesses are being routed, while the add-on wiring from the tweeters is run.  Also, extra wiring from the amp location to the factory wiring is added, so the LF woofer, RF woofer, and Center all get amplified power.





The amps are wired and just about ready to go


So is the processor side


RCA wires run between the two sides.  This is a temporary run, I've already ordered 90 degree bend RCA's from overseas in the UK, apparently one of the very few places available to purchase such things. 


Factory oversized all-weather mat fits, which was a design requirement.




For now, that's all the pics I have.  I've decided to put the MS8 processor's display panel in the glove box just to be there whenever I need it.  In my 2010 build, I mounted it in the center console under the radio but I almost never used it or looked at it, so it seemed silly to go through the trouble again.  This time I just ran the display cable through the glove box with some slack built in, and when I need the display I just pull it out and use it, then put it back in the glove box when done.  This works, and its one less thing to worry about being exposed for thieves or whatever.  Also, I threw in my 2010's spare tire well subwoofer box, and got it functional.  Clearly I've got more work to do to make it pretty and perfect, but for now I've got my bass and the car sounds great as-is. 

To reiterate, right now the system is running the stock door woofers all around, and the center is stock too.  This will all likely change as the build progresses, but right now I'm at a point where I'm happy with the sound and I'm enjoying the enhanced clarity, power, and dynamics even with stock speakers.  Heavy deadening/sealing will also come in pretty soon, and that will all be documented as well.
I don't have an EB but I am an avid modder and happy to help the community and learn/grow.  Pretty good with audio and wheels, my build and discussion threads are here in the forum.  2013 Flex AWD N/A

Audio:  Dayton Reference home speakers in front stage, incl. 2-way passive custom pillars 2.5" mid, 3/4" tweet, 2-way passive custom center channel 5" mid, 3/4" tweet, 8" midbass in doors, Vibe UK amps, JBL MS8 processor, Optima Yellow-top custom-wired, Exile subs in spare tire well

Mods: H&R, K&N, 22x9 & 22x10 3 piece forged wheels 265/35-22 Toyos, SCTX4 w/ 91 oct. Torrie tune

Offline Lanson

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Re: Lanson's 2013 Flex build log - ongoing
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2013, 01:09:31 AM »
Per my JBL review thread,

GT Mat Quadro and Onyx installed in the front doors, also done but not pictured was Quadro added to the trunk area under my spare tire box.  I like how the Quadro cushions and decouples the box.









Not pictured (because I forgot) is the 25-26 gauge sheet steel I cut with tin snips and shaped to fit the door openings.  This was messy work, but it went pretty well I could only fit one of the holes, the one closer to the part of the door w/ the handle, I'll call it the rear of the door.  The other hole which is more in the middle couldn't be fitted with steel (though I tried), because the door card's inner bits go inside this hole.  So I took a piece of 12x12 Quadro and mounted it to the door card, exactly where this hole is.  The Quadro was press-fit and appears to work, because there are no rattles from the door as far as I can tell.  It was a bit frustrating to make metal seals and not be able to fully use them, but I'm still happy with the results. 

JBL Power P8662 coaxials installed in front


Decided to take some shots of that spare tire well cover I made, since I forgot to last time





The 3.5" center should be in tomorrow, and that should be an easy install.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 01:16:20 AM by Lanson »
I don't have an EB but I am an avid modder and happy to help the community and learn/grow.  Pretty good with audio and wheels, my build and discussion threads are here in the forum.  2013 Flex AWD N/A

Audio:  Dayton Reference home speakers in front stage, incl. 2-way passive custom pillars 2.5" mid, 3/4" tweet, 2-way passive custom center channel 5" mid, 3/4" tweet, 8" midbass in doors, Vibe UK amps, JBL MS8 processor, Optima Yellow-top custom-wired, Exile subs in spare tire well

Mods: H&R, K&N, 22x9 & 22x10 3 piece forged wheels 265/35-22 Toyos, SCTX4 w/ 91 oct. Torrie tune

 

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