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My Latest Project

 
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:57 PM
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My Latest Project

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Old 07-25-2012, 10:20 PM
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Not bad, pretty stealthy V1 install... How James Bond of you . I'm sure Q would be proud
 
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:22 PM
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that's pretty darn impressive Karl.

i too am looking at getting a radar/laser detection system installed. i am looking at the passport 9500ci with the control module to be installed in the exact same compartment. i'm just nervous about letting someone take stuff apart inside my car but if someone with your apparent skills were to do the work, then i think i'd be ok.
 
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:42 AM
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How about an explanation of what's going on in the photos? I, for one, would like to understand the process of what you did. If it weren't for the post below the photos, I wouldn't have had any idea what I was looking at.
 
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:00 AM
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Nice
 
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by XJRS Owner View Post
How about an explanation of what's going on in the photos? I, for one, would like to understand the process of what you did. If it weren't for the post below the photos, I wouldn't have had any idea what I was looking at.
I wanted to post the pictures first and see if you guys could figure out what I had done.

I was interested in mounting my Valentine 1 Radar Locator somewhere in the cabin but I didn't want any unsightly wires hanging down to the power source. Also, I was concerned about having the suction cups on the mounting bracket fail (due to the Florida heat) and having it damage the piano black facia. So I decided to make a new custom enclosure for the map lights and conceal the unit in there. The controls are replicated in a concealed display that is mounted in the ashtray.

I made the enclosure out of fiberglass. It was the first time I had ever fabricated something like this. I used sculpting clay to make the mold and the laid the fiberglass on that. The final piece is covered in the exact same alcantara suede that is on the car's headliner.

The unit is powered via the OBD2 port so it switches on and off with the engine. Because it interfaces with OBD2, it is aware of vehicle speed and can be set up with a threshold speed below which no radar alerts are given. I currently have it set up not to warn me if I'm traveling under 30mph.
 
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:37 AM
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Great project KF. Not really one for radar, but if I were, I'd want to do something like this!
 
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:57 AM
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Sorry, still don't understand the sequence of photos. Explain the entire fab process WRT the photos. For example, I can't see how you duplicated the light locking features, like the slots, etc. How did you go from the 1st photo to photo #5? The in between photos don't seem to get me there.
 
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:11 AM
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Nicely done! How long did it take??
 
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by cret View Post
Nicely done! How long did it take??
Thanx. It took me about a month. However, I had never worked with fiberglass before and I could only work on it during weekends and some evenings.
 
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:23 PM
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Did you put in more powerful lights? The ones in my car are as powerful as a firefly...
 
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Old 07-26-2012, 03:48 PM
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A while back I replaced my lamps with LEDs instead. There is a thread on here that discusses which ones to get. They are plenty bright.
 
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Old 07-26-2012, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by XJRS Owner View Post
Sorry, still don't understand the sequence of photos. Explain the entire fab process WRT the photos. For example, I can't see how you duplicated the light locking features, like the slots, etc. How did you go from the 1st photo to photo #5? The in between photos don't seem to get me there.
The first thing I did, was to purchase a spare map light from a wrecked car from eBay.

I then made a mold using sculpting clay of the shape that I wanted by wrapping the clay, first around the radar detector itself and then onto the old map light unit. That is what you see in the first picture.

I laid about 5 or 6 layers of fiberglass strips and resin over this mold. Picture 2 is the fiberglass part after I popped it off the mold.

I used a short strand fiberglass filler called DuraGlass to thicken, strengthen and shape the part even better. The filler can be filed and sanded to a smoother shape. I then filled-in holes and smoothed it even more with Bondo, then sprayed the part with a filler primer. This is picture 3.

Making an accurate shape for the map light cutouts would have been very cumbersome. I used my spare map light part as a sacrificial piece to make the job easier. I carved out the cutouts from the spare and grafted them onto the new part. More fiberglass and Duraglass gets you to picture 4 and Bondo and filler primer gets you to picture 5.

Picture 6 shows a test fit of the lights in their new home.

Picture 7 shows the cutout I made to fit the V1. It also shows the countersunk holes and rivets I used to fasten a custom bracket to the front of the part so that it can be held in place on the car. I also installed brackets to hold the V1 in place.

Picture 8 is the part with all internal brackets installed and painted with a black primer.

The next 3 pictures show the part after I wrapped it in alcantara suede to match the existing headliner.

Picture 12 shows what my finished new part looks like next the original part I removed from my car. You can see that it is very similar other than being "deeper" to accommodate the V1.

Picture 13 shows the new part wired and mounted. It looks more bulbous in this image than it really is because of the angle of the picture. In reality, the part does not extend below the bottom edge of the rearview mirror so it's not too noticeable. My goal was to make the part look as close to OEM as I could within the limits of my ability.

Some additional notes:

I routed the wiring along the inside of the front header rail, down the inside of the driver-side A-pillar, and under the dash where it plugs into the OBD2 connector using a V1 Savvy and a V1 Remote Unit. From here, a wire also goes down the center tunnel to the ashtray to connect to the V1 Concealed Display unit as seen in the last picture.

One of the trickiest parts of the install was that the part I bought from eBay and the one from my car were not identical. Both are for a 07MY car, but the mounting brackets were substantially different which required a bit of engineering improvisation.

There are still two improvements I would like to make to my install, The first is that the remote unit is under the dash next to the OBD2 connector and thus the alerts aren't very loud even at full volume. The second is that I'm still not 100% satisfied with the location of my concealed display. It's not ideal to have to keep the ashtray lid open to see the alerts—there just aren't that many places to tastefully mount and hide it inside the Vantage. Also, I "cheated' a bit by removing the concealed display's enclosure which makes the unit a lot smaller—most of the unit is just an empty box. I was thinking of mounting it on the beveled face on the front part of the ashtray so that it faces me at a better angle while driving. However, the ashtray is made out of a solid aluminum extrusion and would need carving out in order to mount it there. I don't like making any non-reversible mods to my car, so I may have to locate a spare ashtray I can cannibalize.

Hope that gives you enough info.
 

Last edited by karlfranz; 07-26-2012 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:44 PM
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That is really cool KF!
 
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by macksamus View Post
that's pretty darn impressive Karl.

i too am looking at getting a radar/laser detection system installed. i am looking at the passport 9500ci with the control module to be installed in the exact same compartment. i'm just nervous about letting someone take stuff apart inside my car but if someone with your apparent skills were to do the work, then i think i'd be ok.
I have the 9500ci on my DBS and highly recommend it. However, the install is not for the weak of heart. With the laser jammers front and rear, my car was stripped during the installation. I really wanted the mute function to work (during alert), and that was an exercise in itself (the fiber optics of Astons complicate things). You need an experienced professional to install the 9500ci, but the results are worth it.
 

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