Journey to the Heater Core Ep. 10
aka: Return from the Heater Core
I was just thinking, the heater core’s been in since mid-September. I’ve been on the journey back from the heater core for over two months, now. In The Hero’s Journey, once the hero defeats the final boss, they take the spoils of victory back home with them to share with the others. We’re deep into those woods now.
I swear there’s at least 60lbs/27kg worth of sound insulation in the truck these days. And I’ve still got another 20lbs/9kg to go on the roof skin once the “ground floor” is all done. I started on the passenger side. Initially, I sat in the back of the truck, and got on my knees (on a gardener’s foam kneepad, of course) to apply smaller sheets of Noico that I cut one-at-a-time. It was tedious, but it turned out pretty okay.
Silent Lucidity I
One night a couple weeks ago, waiting to pick up P from rehearsal, Silent Lucidity came on Pandora. I hadn’t heard it in years. It sounded fantastic on the 12-speaker Bose system with all the fancy digital signal processing in the Mazda. I doubt I’ll be able to match it in terms of fidelity, but it’s a target and I joked that I couldn’t wait to hear that old Queensryche jam on Fezzik’s 9-speaker upgrade.
It Gets Easier—But You Have to Do It Every Day.
I mentioned “rehearsal”. P was in her first play earlier this month. I tried making the most of her schedule for the six weeks it ran. “Tech Week”, the week of the show, rehearsals ran 6-9pm Monday through Thursday, and then she did shows Friday night, two on Saturday, and one on Sunday. For the better part of two weeks, I was in the garage almost nightly, putting in time on the truck.
When I went back to Noico the driver side rear fender and floor, I had a new technique.
I stood at the back bumper and pre-cut all the sheets down into smaller strips before I climbed in. This allowed me to both user larger pieces of material and cover more surface area more quickly. The leverage alone while cutting made life easier. I did it for both the 80mil butyl and 160mil foam layers.
Notice how little (effectively none) sound insulation came from the factory. Now we know why, in some countries, they refer to these as “J-tins”. You pull out the interior and Fezzik wasn’t much more than a glorified tin can. It was very satisfying to put down all this insulation. (You can see how I did a better job the second time around, too.)
No pictures of the final rear floor layers, but it’s entirely covered, from the second row to the tailgate sill. I’d like to pick up another roll of the DEI Carpet Lite mat like I have under the front rows. Should really finish things up nicely back there.
Down In Front
The front speakers were even more trouble. First thing you notice in these pictures is how much exposed metal was left on the doors after I ran out of Noico a couple years back. Next thing you might notice is the big air gap behind the speaker. I’d also like to point out the lower dash trim with the speaker hole below the steering column. It had to come back off to install those speakers.
I don’t have before pictures of the front door speaker mounts, but I had to cut away about half the total surface area to fit the new 6.5-inchers. And then I had to use nuts for standoffs to keep the speaker magnets off the windows inside the doors.
I also don’t have pictures of how I opened up the tweeter pods to fit the new tweeters too. Captain Half-Ass was there, and showed me how to hold oddly-shaped parts with one hand while using a jigsaw in the other. Or a 1-inch hole bit. #stupiddangerous
One of the tweeter pods had a piece break out, but I was able to glue it back and kinda hide it. By the time I realized I needed special brackets for the 3.5-inchers in the lower dash—and decided I was done pressing my luck with fingers within inches of a jigsaw blade, I remembered I had a Father’s Day Harbor Freight gift card and bought myself a $35 Black Friday special.
8V Lithimum-powered cordless rotary tool in full effect! I used Dad’s leftover Gorilla wood glue and clamps to double up rough cut wooden brackets, then sanded things down nice and tidy with the new tool before wrapping the wooden mounts in more Noico. (No pictures of this, though.)
PS: Did you see the little gray heater under the steering wheel? I forgot Noico needs to be applied at or above 70°F/21°C to ensure the adhesive works. It hasn’t been that warm in the garage for weeks, so I’ve been keeping a 1500W heater running inside the truck with the windows mostly up for a few days. It’s keeping the interior a nice, toasty 80°F/27°C. Last thing I want is a bunch of Noico falling off behind the trim!
What’s going on here? It looked like things were so close a minute ago, right? That’s what I was thinking, too. Man! So this was the third time I had to reinstall that lower dash bar on the driver side. If you’ve ever R&R’d one of these, you know how much of a PITA it can be.
See those two, larger arch-looking things sticking up under the steering column in the first picture below? A decent sized, 12mm bolt goes through each of them at the peak, mounting them to the internal dash bar structure. They mount to the fascia trim via little machine screws at the bottom (tucked inconveniently behind the hood and fuel door pulls), and via 10mm nuts that pinch the lower edge of the upper dashboard.
If you don’t tighten any of them down, things don’t line up and it fights you. If you tighten any of them down, things line up even worse and it fights you. In a perfect world, you’d install the brackets, then hang the trim from the pinch nuts and install a couple screws. In reality, you muscle the whole fucking thing into place and hold it with your shoulder while you carefully slip a socket extension through a small trim hole and angle the bolt just right to thread into the internal dash bar. And it fights you.
And then one of the bolts shears in the hole and you decide to spend a couple days playing with speakers instead.
Silent Lucidity II: Android Auto
Finally catching up with Phil on this front! I picked up an Ottocast 10.25" touchscreen. It’s got a webcam I won’t be using (because it’s too low to see over the wipers and I already have a front-facing Garmin up behind the rearview) and is hardwired to switched 12VDC under the center console and to the AUX port on the front of my deck.
It takes about a minute to boot into Android Auto, and it doesn’t pause/stop with the deck being on/off, but otherwise, it’s pretty close to what we’ve got in the Mazda. Not entirely sure the AUX output is particularly high quality, but I can dial in the EQ on the deck to adjust.
The OE gauge pod enclosure almost fits, so I’ll be playing with that over the winter, methinks. In the meantime, I’m itching to get the rest of the lower trim installed so I can start daily driving Fezzik again.
BONUS: Triple Black ND2 Mazda Miata Cup
Black on black on black with BOSE, Recaro, BBS, and Brembo goodies. So. Much. Want. US$37K, though. If I put 10% of that into the CX-50…
Good question. I need to do some more thinking, but it feels like:
- reconnect speedometer reed switch (so speedo works)
- remove sheared bolt & install lower driver’s dash panel
- r&r/troubleshoot dead 12VDC outlet
- install switches for second row outlets
- pre-wire second row seat heaters
- install first row seat heaters
- paint/install rear interior trim panels
- install amp power/ground blocks in amp box
- install sub on passenger rear wall
- fabricate/install rear cargo cover
- test ceiling mounted house circuits
- pre-install fiber optic light unit
- r&r sunroof
- Noico ceiling
- bleed brakes
- replace reverse lights
- mount ditch lights
- fabricate/install splash guards & mud flaps
- wire up all aux lighting switches