Tuesday, May 2, 2017

SC430 Audio system planning and upgrade.

I've been meaning to do this write up for awhile but haven't had the time to till recently. I could not have done this without the guidance of 919 Motoring here in Raleigh North Carolina. So hearing a couple of speakers etc I fell in love with the Arc Audio black series. I am by no means an audiophile but these speakers sounded very clean and crisp to me. These are the components I used:

Head unit - Kenwood 9903s
Speakers - Arc Audio Black 6.2
Subwoofer - Black 12V2
Amplifier - XDI 1100.5
Sound deadening - Focal Bam 
Wires - Focal RCA's, speaker wires etc
Trim kit - Beat-Sonic MVA-11FB
Additional wiring harness - Beat-Sonic MVA-13L

I started off by running all the lines and doing the sound dampening with the factory unit still inplace. This is because I did this is stages and worked on the car when I had a chance to so I still had some sort of sound till it was all done. 

Inner and outer door skins dampened


Rear seat were removed and I'm not planning on putting it back in. Wanted to create a more factory looking sub install which I'm hoping it will turn out as I planned once my interior is done. Rear seat area, quarter panel and sides were all dampened as well.


Falls floors setup and then planned out the how the sub should sit. The amp and the crossovers sits under this falls floor. I wanted to keep the rear storage cubby which is why it is open in the pic below to make sure there was enough room for it to articulate open and close. 



Fleeced, resined and fiber added on the inside.



Pretty happy with how it turned out.




On to the head unit. Removed the factory unit and setup the Kenwood 9903S. The unit and brackets were mocked and modified to make sure the door would still close without any hindrances.


Made the speaker pods out of 3/4" poly carbonate and the factory tweeter pods were modified to fit the new arc tweeters. 



Shaun at 919 Motoring pretty much built my box for me and I want to thank him for all his help, guidance and for tuning my system. It sounds awesome and I am very happy with it!! 
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

C300 Facelift Steering Wheel Swap DIY

This DIY is for those that have a 2008-2011 Mercedes C300 and they want the look of the steering wheel from a 2012-2014 C250/C300 facelift model.

I have a 2009 Mercedes C300 Sport.  I bought a red stitching steering wheel off ebay for $220 shipped.  I got the air bag for it as well off ebay for $250 shipped.  Total cost, $470.

Make sure you get the right air bag, it's very easy to get the wrong airbag, so refer to this thread for details on what steering wheel and air bag to get: http://mbworld.org/forums/c-class-w204/541142-diy-fl-steering-wheel-swap.html

Here's my original steering wheel:


Here's the new steering wheel I got:


To remove the old steering wheel, you can follow the original DIY instructions.   But here's what I did:

1) Disconnect your battery (negative side and make sure it sets aside and can't make contact)
2) Loosen up the two torx screw in the back of the old steering wheel with a T30 torx bit
3) Remove the airbag, it should just pop off after you remove the screws.
4) Then, using a big ratchet or torque wrench, remove the center bolt (I used a 10mm Hex bit that attaches to my ratchet).  You definitely need a lot of leverage, so make sure you have something strong and make sure to not strip that center screw.
5) Take note of where your wheel aligns, make sure to take a picture of it.  Mine doesn't line up perfectly and there's a reason for that.  I messed up the first time around trying to line everything up perfectly, turns out, there was a reason for the offset because my steering wheel was crooked.  I had to pop it off and match it to what the alignment was with the old steering wheel.

Notice how the tick marks don't line up perfectly, it's like that for a reason.


6)  I tried installing the new steering wheel and airbag on hoping that everything will just work.  Needless to say, it didn't work at all, nothing worked.  Buttons, horn, paddle shifter, nothing worked.  So I then realized I have to do a chip swap.  So on with the fun!

*Please note that the chip swap is not a requirement on some models.  On cars like mines, it is required though.

7) The chip swap wasn't too bad, there's just not a lot of information on how to exactly do it, so I am here to help.  The first thing you need to do is take your old air bag, flip it over and remove the 4 screws with a T30 torx bit.

Only remove the four big screws, you don't have to remove the little ones.


8) After you remove the 4 screws, the pressure plate will come off.  Flip it over and you'll see the box that houses the control chip.

There's a bunch of clips that holds the cap on, so you kinda have to pop it off one by one until the cap comes off.


9) Once you get the cap off, you can now see your control chip.  Unhook any plug and you'll end up with this:


10) Now you're ready to take the control chip off the new steering wheel.  The control chip on the new steering wheel is on the steering wheel part and NOT the air bag.

So on the new steering wheel, you'll see a few screws all around it.  First you have to remove the two black screws holding down the chrome bezel with a T20 torx bit.


11)  Then flip the steering wheel over, there's an additional 2 screws on the back.  You can use the T20 torx bit for removing those screws and every other screws from here on out.


12) Once you remove all 4 screws holding down the chrome bezel, you should be able to just pop it off and unhook the two control plugs from it.  There should be a green plug on one side and a black plug on the other.

13) After removing the chrome bezel completely, now you can remove the pressure plate.  There's three screws you'll need to remove and a black screw holding down the brown ground wire.


14) After you removed the pressure plate, you'll see a black plastic piece.  Pop this off, behind it is the new control chip.


15) Remove the cap and you'll see the new control chip:


remove this chip:


16) Now, you can see the difference between the new chip and old chip.
Make note of how the big brown plug is connected to the new chip, but there's no brown plug on the old chip.


17) You need to go back to the old air bag and remove the brown plug from it:


18)  Connect the black plug on the other end of the big brown plug to your old control chip:



Make note of how it should connect back.  There's numbering on there.  This picture shows you how to hook it up:


19) Now there's two plugs on the old chip with yellow wires.  You'll need to hack these plugs up a little bit in order to get your horn to work.  The first thing you need to do is get a little super thin flat head screwdriver and push down on the metal pieces on the opening of the plug:


After you push it down on one side, flip the plug over and push down on the metal on the center opening on the other side as well.


If done correctly, the plug will just slide off and look like this:


20) After you remove the yellow wires from the plug, here's what you can do to avoid having to do any soldering.  Take a needle nose plier and flatten the metal ends like this:


You should end up with these flaps.  Just cut the flaps off with some wire cutters.


21) Once you cut off the flaps, you can take the needle nose plier and crimp the metal ends in half to make it look like this:





22)  Make sure each of your yellow wires with the modified ends can plug into this slot here:


23) Now you wire up the yellow wires like so:


24) After you hook up the yellow wires, fold them over 90 degrees and make sure they don't touch each other.  I put electrical tape over them to make sure they stayed in place.

25) Now, plug the control chip into the black plastic backing piece.  I popped off some of the paddle shifter wiring to make sure it connects to my control chip, but I douldn't figure out how to get the paddle shifters working, so I gave up.  Maybe someone can figure this out later.

I ended up using more electrical tape to cover the control chip because the cap won't fit back on.  It's not a big deal since you'll pin it between the steering wheel once you screw it down anyways:


26) After that, you can re-assemble everything back.  Put the black plastic piece back on the steering wheel and assemble it with the pressure plate.  Make sure you run all the plugs and wires through the middle.  You don't want any wires between the pressure plate because you need it to spring up and down for the horn to work.  And don't forget to screw the brown ground wire back on as well.

27)  Now you're ready to put the chrome bezel back.  The two black plugs will need to be plugged back.  Please make sure that you plug the black plugs back into the right spot.  These plugs have to criss cross each other when you connect them.  I made the mistake of not doing this, and none of the controls worked.

Also note that one side will plug right in, while the other side, you'll have to cut off the bump on it to make it plug in.

28) Lastly, put everything back and test out to see if everything works.  Make sure you disconnect the battery each time before you remove the air bag.  Also, don't tighten everything down until you make sure that your wiring works.

29) Pro-tip, make sure you tighten the negative on your car battery very well before turning on your car to test the steering wheel.  I made the mistake of not tightening it well and thought my battery died lol.  Just kidding, this is not a pro-tip, I was just not thinking straight.

The End:

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

SC430 Alternator swap and Big 4 upgrade.

Cranking up the car one morning, well it didn't, jumped the car with my handy jump starter battery pack and got on my merry way. Didn't really think twice on why, jut figured it was cause I hadn't driven it in weeks and and didn't have my trickle charger hooked up to it. Anyway, drove around and stopped for coffee and noticed when I was cranking the car there was a hesitation and when my compressor for my air ride came on there was a huge drop in voltage almost stalled the car. So I have an optima yellow top and is a deep cycle battery, from past experience I know that once a cell goes bad on it (jump starting an optima does that I feel) you just warranty it out. I had the alternator checked too, just to be on the safe side, no sense putting a new battery and then finding out the alternator is gone which can pretty much ruin the battery as well. The alternator failed the testing process and I wasn't really shocked, the SC is an 02 and it was the original alternator on it. It had a good run but time for a new one. I chose to go back with a Denso alternator before I replaced the battery and while I was doing that I wanted to do the Big 4 upgrade. 

The Big 4 upgrade I wanted to do in preparation for my sound system. For those that don't know the Big 4 is adding wires to  allowing more current to flow easier to all components. The Big 4 consists of 4 wires:
1 - Battery positive to Alternator Positive
2 - Ground alternator to chassis
3 - Ground negative battery to chassis
4 - Ground engine to negative battery or chassis


The alternator is fairly easy, I'm not doing a DIY on this because it is well documented, I didn't remove the bottom splash guard just the 4  bolts in front that hold it up and managed to get the alternator out that way. 



The alternator off the mount and chilling on the splash guard.


Move the alternator more towards the right of the engine bay and it'll plop out from the bottom like the pic above. I did not have to put the car on jack stands etc, as I said this alternator was fairly easy. 


My big 4 wires, I chose to do 4GA the longest one was from the alternator positive to battery positive. The shortest one was from alternator ground to chassis. The other two, one was the battery negative to chassis ground, and the other was from engine to chassis.

Changed the battery out the next day and it is as good as new, no voltage drops, no dimming, no hesitations starting. Awesome!
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Sunday, April 12, 2015

SC430 with LS400 brake upgrade

Over the week I was experiencing a vibration between 40 and 50mph and I could hear my brakes squealing occasionally. So on Sunday finally had time to deal with it. I already had LS400 brakes and rotors ready to be put on, this just forced me to do it. 

I'm not going to go in depth on the installation since it's been well documented but I'll post a few pics during the process and a pic with where I cut the heat shield for reference.

These are the calipers that are going on. I did rebuild them and made a blog post on it earlier.Also had them painted, shout out to Jeremy from the body shop for this.


This is the RCA spacer I used, one piece aluminium. CNC Speedshop in Zebulon, NC made these for me, comes with class 12.9 bolts and washers. Fit was perfect. 


Used a m12x1.25 tapping tool and wd40 to clean out the bolt holes on the knuckle where the ball joint bolt goes through. Cleaning it is crucial because any debris or dirt can falsify torque specs.


Pic of the threads all cleaned up.


This pic is for reference, might help somebody else wanting to do this upgrade. The pink line denotes where I cut the heat shield, I was trying to take as little of it off to keep as much of the functionality of the heat shield. 


This is the heat shield cut and the hub after the surface rust was removed and coated with high temp paint. 


I was getting late at this point so didn't stop to take pics. Torque spec on the bolts with the RCA is 85ft-lbs, stock torque spec is 83 ft-lbs but the class 12.9 bolt will have no problems at that spec. Everything else is like stock, install rotors and screw on the loaded calipers. I did replace my lines with some stoptech stainless steel brake lines, front and back. Also did a full brake fluid flush with Amsoil Dot 3 brake fluid. 

I'll post pics of the completed job later on.
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

SC430 Tint redone!

With summer right around the corner I wanted to get the tints on my car redone, they were faded to an ugly purple. Steamed the tints off and got rid of all the excess glue. I don't understand people who drive around in expensive cars and cheap out on tint! Why would you not spend the little extra to and put good tint on and not use the dye based tint!! You can see that the tint started off black and has faded to a bluish purple!! Please use a ceramic, hybrid or metal based films. 

Anh-tuan did the rear window's, don't know why we decide to do random stuff at night. Well it was dark and chilly but we got the tint off with minimal glue residue. Stopped with that and I let my tint guy do the rest.




Went up to my tint shop and put some samples up. Gonna drive around and see which one I like.


I think I'm ready for the summer. Picked out a tint which has a slight reflectiveness to it to flow with the color of the car. Black tint IMO would've stood out a little. I'm happy with it, have to give it a couple of days and go back to get the rears windshield a once over to get some air pockets out around the defroster lines. 





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