El Camino Central Forum banner

1970 El Camino 350 Daily Driver Project - Lots of modern Modz

47187 Views 492 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  sdcerreta
I am new to this forum. I am hoping to share some of my modz and project work while gaining some insight from others as well.

I have been building a new 2019 Subaru Forester Sport for the past year or so since buying it. I am glad to learn that the El Camino Central forum uses the same forum engine. Should be easy transition.

I am known for posting detailed build projects with lots of photos and hope to do the same for this project. I will share a little about this car and then I will move forward with some projects.

This car belonged to my father-in-law. He bought it in about 1990. It was his pride to work on. He did a restoration himself including the paint. There is nothing original about this car. It does not have matching numbers. He built it the way he wanted to drive it and he was proud of that.

Before his passing, the car had sat untouched for about 3 years. We fired it up and in his last year of life we spent some time working on the car together. Since he has passed, I slowly began moddifying this car in about 2015 to become a daily driver. Like him, I wanted this car to be what I wanted to drive and enjoy. I also want this to be a car to remmeber him by and one that my wife will drive and enjoy as well, especially since it was her father.

Since 2015, my wife feels scared to drive this car. My pursuit has been long but continues with the premise that I want to convert this car into something with a modern and reliable feel. I have no interest in keeping this car original at all. Therefore, this project build is all about performance, comfort, and reliability.

And away we go . . .
  • Like
Reactions: 2
1 - 20 of 493 Posts
Welcome to the group and I'm certainly interested in your efforts. I also have a 1970 El Camino.

  • Like
Reactions: 1
Awesome. Do you have a project build page as well? I would love to see and get ideas from others as well.
Welcome from a '70 on the west coast.

Do you know of things that cause your wife to be uncomfortable driving the truck?

I know that there were things I needed to change on mine before I began to be more comfortable.

The first was to install 3-point seatbelts including shoulder harness.

At 5' 9" I am average height. However my 28 inseam legs are short,. The seat needed to be corrected to get to the pedals. Yoohoo, we ended up not needing to add those wooden blocks to the pedals.

The engine mods caused limited vacuum and huge inconsistencies in the feel of the brakes. So the brake system changed quite a bit.
This site has a good FAQ Frequently Asked Questions section.
Read this FAQ thread to navigate new ECC Forums.

Or you can get there by:
You can also navigate by clicking the 3 vertical dots.
Then select FAQ

See less See more
That's very cool to build in honor of your father in law and for your wife's needs in remembrance of her father. Have fun with it and the community.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Awesome. Do you have a project build page as well? I would love to see and get ideas from others as well.
Yes, there are several of us with long term projects for our EC's. My project is winding down to completion but these 50 year old vehicles are never really finished.

Thanks guys for the support.

Old Bear, there are several things that made this very uncomfortable to drive:

1. Steering is loose and not very responsive. A new steering wheel surprisingly corrected some slop.

2. Inconsistent braking and at times a hard pull to the right with braking. I never thought about the vacuum, makes sense.

3. Unreliable starting especially in the cold. Added FiTech EFI. On my second EFI body since the first was junk and caused me 2 summers of frustration and a ton of money and time beefing up the fuel system as FiTech refused to replace the EFI body until all the other components met their satisfaction. I'm still bitter over their crappy customer support.

4. Bouncy at speeds over 60 mph. Very loose suspension and very boaty feeling. Old car geometry for sure.

5. At 5' tall my wife does crank the seat forward, but it is comfortable for her, a little cramped for me as the passenger since it is a bench seat, but really no complaints about the interior or seating.

The 1970 El Camino is a two-tone blue and silver single stage paint. My father-in-law painted this himself at the Air Force base paint shop. It is special to me, but is in pretty bad shape and really needs new paint. The motor is a 350 small block with TH400 auto transmission. Interior is in decent shape and has a combo of medium blue and dark blue pieces. Most of this interior came from the bone yard and was hand selected by my father-in-law. It is in pretty good condition, so I plan to keep most of it as-is. The dash pad is old and cracked, so that is on the upgrade list for right now, actually.

Here are a few projects I took on in the past few years:

1. Replaced rear end from 2.73 highway gears to a Yukon posi 3.08. This took me about 3 days and was really hard, but got it done. Also replaced rear shocks, springs and some other suspension parts.

2. Replaced 4bbl carb with FiTech Go Street 600 EFI kit. Also replaced fuel tank with drop in Aeromotive electric fuel pump and regulator with dual gauges for rear and under hood and all new high pressure hoses and Tanks float-less 90 ohm fuel sender. The car is still “learning” and will stall at times, so I am trying to get it dialed in before the summer is over.

3. Flex-a-Lite Extreme electric fans setup in a puller fashion. I wanted to install as a pusher for more engine compartment room, but it would not fit without major changes to the radiator supports.

4. Summit Racing High Torque Starter. I just did this a couple weeks ago. Also lubed the ignition switch. I tried to replace it, but bought the wrong one, so I just cleaned up the old switch and it seems to work better. Time will tell.

5. Hedman headers with new exhaust pipes and Magnaflow mufflers and tips.

6. Replaced windshield washer pump and reservoir.

7. Slowly but surely, replacing sections of old wiring with new and black woven wire loom.

8. Removed AC system and added AC delete box.

9. Window and door seals. I did this one with my father-in-law.

10. Optima Red Top battery. Just did this a couple weeks ago.

11. Custom sound system. This is one of my specialties. All my rides get some attention in this department. I installed an Alpine UTE 62BT head unit with a custom built 12" subwoofer in the cubby section behind the drivers seat. Fitted with Alpine SWS Refererence sub with LED lighting and two new-school PPI amps. These amps sucked. Not like the old school PPI amps I used back in the 90s. I custom painted OEM Med Blue kicker panels with 6.5" Dynaudio midwoofer and 1" Alpine Reference tweeters and 3" Soft Dome midrange Dynaudios in the dash. Imaging is okay, but not great. I will be doing another upgrade shortly. More details to follow.

12. Dakota Digital VHX 70 dash cluster. I installed this about 4 years ago and have had a ton of trouble with this the past two years as well. I have been mostly fighting with the EFI and this summer I will be working to get this fixed. More details to follow.

13. HID headlights. I do not remember the kit I bought, but I love these. They look stock but perform like modern lights.

14. Replaced the bed deck with a single sheet of metal. I kinda miss having access to the extra space under the trap door, but the bed was pretty rotten and I did this project with my father-in-law so I am leaving it this way. I do want to add in a bed mat and maybe get the whole bed sprayed with bedliner material.

15. Replaced side mirrors and rear view mirror with higher quality OEM style replacements.

16. Replaced radiator with 2 row Cold Case aluminum radiator.

17. MSD 6AL Ignition box with Street EFI distributor and MSD spark plug wires.

18. Upgraded wheels and tires. Went with 17” black/chrome wheels from DT. These have old muscle car look but will work with the upgraded disc brakes in the front and eventually rear.

Here are a few projects on my list:

1. Replace dash pad with OEM style Dark Blue. Timing is good because I am upgrading the sound system and replacing the Dakota Digital VHX cluster. The old one is cracking and stiff. One side is bowed and can no longer be held in place with the factory screw.

2. Dakota Digital VHX gauge cluster. I am actually in the middle of working on this now. DD really stepped up as of late. About 2 years ago, I sent them the control box and they tested it and said everything was fine, yet I continued to have major fluctuations of the gauges, resetting of the clock and blinking lights and erratic needle movement on the speedo and oil pressure gauge. So, they sent me a whole new kit. I replaced the control box first and no go. I then replaced the gauge cluster and all the wiring to the sensors. I did not swap the sensors since this is pretty difficult compared to running new wires through the window and under the door to the tranny. I think it is working again! I need to check it out some more tomorrow and go for a test drive.

3. Front end upgrade. I actually bought this a few years ago with the rear end suspension package, but that project was so hard that I lost momentum for doing the front end. I actually bought this entire suspension kit from Mark Savitske at SC&C after reading his book on How to Make a Muscle Car Handle. I bought the Touring suspension package with Baer 13" Track 4 Disc Brake kit. This kit should fix the geometry problems known with GM A Body cars and correct many problems that my wife dreads with driving this car. It sure would be nice to get this done this summer.

4. Replace blower motor and get the heater working again.

5. Paint the engine compartment interior with black paint.

6. Bed mat and tannuea cover. Does anyone sell these for the 70 Elky, I cannot seem to find one.

7. Spray bed with bedliner material to include over the edge rails.

8. Paint job with glossy medium gray single color with black bumpers and trim. I have been talking to the wife and debating the past five years on paint color and overall look of the vehicle. I am a big fan of gray and I really love that new Toyota Truck medium gray color. I think this would look great with no chrome trim. The extra trim will be removed and any chrome trim I retain would be painted black. Not sure how to do this, so if anyone has ideas, that would be great. I will have the car painted, but I plan to do the trim work myself, most likely. If I could buy black chrome pieces, that would be awesome too. Any help here would be appreciated.

9. Lee power steering box and pump with new hoses.

10. Sound system upgrade – Saved the best for last. I removed the JL Audio XD amps from my Subaru and plan to use these in the El Camino. These amps are quite old but they still perform pretty well and produce clean power. I have the XD600/1 mono subwoofer amp and the XD600/6 amp. The old PPI amp ran the 6 speakers with 2 channels and a 3 way passive crossover. With the upgrade, I plan to run dedicated channels for each of the six speakers. While Dynaudio is pretty sweet stuff, I really need some more range in the dash speakers to improve the imaging. This car is pretty difficult to tune properly due to the interior size and dimensions. For speakers, I am going with Critical Mass. I actually just bought these today. I have a full CMass setup in my 2019 Subaru Forester Sport and it has the absolute most incredible sound ever. I am such a fan. I will be using the 6.5 inch carbon fiber component set for the kick panels and the RS3, 3.5” drivers for the dash. These are super impressive coaxial speakers with a range of 315Hz to 20kHz. They are amazing in the dash and I hope to improve the center staging with this setup. It was really hard to justify upgrading the subwoofer with the current amp I have, but since I was a kid I always wanted the legendary CMass UL12 subwoofer. So, I splurged. Most likely I will need to buy a CMass amp in order to power this monster subwoofer, but I am hoping the JL amp will suffice, at least for now. I am very, very excited for this upgrade.

I’m sure there are more modz on my list, but this is all I could think of on the fly. This thread is boring without photos, so future posts will be loaded with photos as I begin work on the new projects and even do some back tracking on some completed projects. If you guys need to see or hear about anything I already did, let me know and I will do my best to recall those project details and do a post for you.
See less See more
Sounds like a lot of nice modifications.

6. Bed mat and tannuea cover. Does anyone sell these for the 70 Elky, I cannot seem to find one.
Bed mats can be found at the larger online El Camino Parts websites.

Hard bed covers are very expensive and tough to find.
Gaylord still makes them.

There is another bed cover that some here use made by Craftec.
It is not water proof, yet it is light and quickly removes.

There are some good threads about the Craftec covers on this site.
The www.elcaminocentral.com website has a nice advanced search feature near the top.
See less See more
Thanks for the suggestions on the tops. I really like the Gaylord's lid. Trying to get a quote.
Here are a few photos of the Elky.


This is the replacement Dakota Digital VHX gauge set. It has blue backlight and a retro black/white face. A little modern touch and big improvement over the sweep gauges.

Under the hood you can see the deco plate, FiTech EFI body, MSD ignition and more.

Here is a look at the custom built sub enclosure that fits into the smugglers box. The amp rack fits on top. Note that all the covers are off and all the electronics are exposed. I am in the middle up upgrading speakers and rewiring the amps. So, more photots and details to come.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 3
Gauges and Audio System Updates​

I did a little work today. I have the JL amps mounted and then ran additional wire sets so each speaker has its own amp channel. I still have the Dynaudio speakers installed. I will swap these ou to the critical mass next week. Here is the configuration:

JL XD 600/6 - 6 ch amp powers 6 speakers at 4 ohm each for 75w RMS each. The CMass speakers will be 2 ohms for 100w RMS each.

Ch 1 - Left Front 6.5" woofer - LP 200Hz - Kick Panel
Ch 2 - Right Front 6.5" woofer - LP 200Hz - Kick Panel
Ch 3 - Left Front 3.5" mid/high - HP 315Hz - Dash
Ch 4 - Right Front 3.5" mid/high - HP 315Hz - Dash
Ch 5 - Left Front 1" tweeter - HP 500Hz w/passive crossover at 3000Hz - Kick Panel
Ch 6 - Right Front 1" tweeter - HP 500Hz w/passive crossover at 3000Hz - Kick Panel

JL XD 600/1 - mono amp powers one 12" Alpine Reference DVC running at 2 ohm for 600w RMS

I also installed the replacement set of Dakota Digital VHX gauges. It turns out that the control box did not fix the sporadic gauge movement on the speedo and oil gauge. It did not fix the clock reset or random blinking of hte lights either. So, I pulled the dash pad and replaced the gauges and ran all new wiring. I did this without changing the sensors, which will be my last step if necessary. After this change it seems to be working. I need to go for a few more test drives, but this seems promising.

Lastly, I installed a new dash pad from Resto Parts. This is a great color match and well built. The clips fit fine and it pushed right in. The only prep work I had to do was trim the extra vinyl material inside the long vent holes.

Here are some photo details:

Audio Install-1 JL Amps and Stinger Pro Digital Capacitor are mounted to an LED lighted amp rack that sits behind the driver seat and above the subwoofer.

Audio Install-2 Here you can see the sub box is made of MDF. It is a custom built ported enclosure that sits above the floor and tucks into the smugglers box. All the wiring is routed neatly under the amp rack for a clean look.

Audio Install-3 Here is the rewiring running along the driver side channel. This will be under the carpet. Cloth tape helps keep the wires from moving.

Audio Install-5 One final look at the back wall before the panels get placed.

Audio Install-6 Spare tire and tools are fitted behind the passenger seat and the trim panel was custom made of MDF with threaded screws. This panel goes on first. You can also see the fiberglass contoured subwoofer panel has been placed. All of these panels are painted with OEM Chevy Medium Blue paint color. This is just pressed in and held in place with friction. The bottom cut-outs give me a little room to store items under the subwoofer. Blue LEDs run across the underside of the metal shelf to add accent lighting.

Audio Install-7 Now the amp cover is in place. It is also made of MDF. This goes on second and sits over the spare tire panel with a ½” overlay. It gives a nice fitted appearance. The cutout is fitted with black grille cloth so the accent lighting shines through and you can get a glimpse of the amp rack and electronics.

Dakota Digital VHX-4 Now I am moving on to the Dakota Digital install. I used to wedge the control unit and shifter unit in the small cubby hole above the brake assembly. It was always a PITA to get this in and out. So, after reading some ideas from Rick, I decided to make a simple mounting plate. I had a scrap piece of acrylic that I used for testing black undercoatings. It was a perfect fit to wedge up in this space. I used simple Velcro to mount the control unit on top and Velcro holds the shifter unit underneath. This fits very well and does not move around at all. I was now able to tuck the wires into that cubby hole and it is now pretty easy to take this in/out when I need to work on it.

Dakota Digital VHX-5 Plate has been mounted and you can see the simple Velcro at work.

Dakota Digital VHX-6 Finished look at the interior with gauge set before I reinstall the bench seat. In this photo you can also see the new dash pad in Dark Blue. I was afraid it was too dark, but it is perfect. It seems that the car has a mix of medium blue and dark blue pieces.

Dash Pad Replacement Here is a look through the glass on the fit of the dash pad. It went in very easily and all the screw holes lined up pretty well. I could not be happier with this Resto Part product.

That is it for now. I need to do some test drives and see if I can dial in the EFI unit a little better. It still runs rough at idle, tends to idle low after warmup and the exhaust smell is horrible. I can barely breathe in the garage. I think it may be running too rich. Also, I notice right above the EFI unit it sounds very noisy like there is a vaccum leak. Any thoughts on what may be causing these two problems?
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I finally got the car back together last weekend. The Dakota Digital VHX gauges are working again. Perfectly, actually. I am quite excited about that. I got some great customer service from DD, as they sent me a whole new system instead of me sending everything in for repairs.

It turned out that the control box was not the problem. So, I replaced the gauge cluster and all the wiring at teh same time since I had half the car apart. This combination fixed the problems I was having. Very happy.

Once the car was back together I spent most of Sunday reviewing tuning videos and instructions for the FiTech GoStreet 400 EFI. I set the IAC, idle controls and several other things. The car was a little easier to start, but the idle continued to be a little jumpy.

I took the car out for a drive to the local Autozone to dump some oil. All went well adn the car idled fine at all the stops. So, then I headed out for a 50 mile drive to get the ECU to do some learning. I was thrilled! The car ran great. I had a ton of power and did some nice burst passing by dropping into second gear, reving up to about 5k and passing with authority.

As you could imagine, I was happy. I turned around and head back into town. About 2 miles from home, the problems started. The car would bog down and stall. It was hard to resart. This happened about 6 times. It ran rough inbewtween the stalls.

Again, this FiTech is brand new. It is a replacement for the first one that failed. I have less then 100 miles on this unit and I am still having a hard time getting it dialed in. So, I was starting to think it may not be me. Aftger doing some online reviewing, it turns out that many people are having the exact same trouble I had. EFi will stgart off fine, then fail quickly. Tech support is poor and techs are often rude and prefer you invest thousands of dollars into yoour car before they replace or repair thier poorly made product.

So, I sent an email out to tech support to setup a phone consultation for this Friday, and no reply. I am just sick and tired of this product and this company. I decided to fix this problem once and for all. I will unbolt it and throw it in the trash can! I hate this thing sooooo much. The last three summers have been wasted on this crappy product and I hate it.

I woudl love to get opinions and experiences from others that have used a FiTech or other EFI products. Please share your experience. I am moving on to somthing else.

Right now, I really like the Edelbrock Multiport Pro-Flow 4 XT. I am thinking that TBI style EFIs are inferior products and some of my probelms from the FiTech may just be from poor design. While my engine temps remain around 180deg F, it just felt like the fuel was evaporating or not getting to the right place in the motor.

All I want is a turn-key system like a modern day car. I want to turn the key and have the car start without having to press the gas pedal. I want it to idle immediately and I want to back teh car out of the garage and drive away, without waiting for the car to warm up for 5-10 minutes before driving. Am I being unreasonable? I had muscle cars in my youth and I don't recall any of them performing like my El Camino. They didn;t perform like a modern day car either, but I just don't remember working so hard to start it up and waiting so long to drive it.
See less See more
Here are a few photos of the FiTech controller.

Once I started tweaking and learning about programming, I realized that I need to drive with the controller mounted somewhere that I can see it. Typically I just use the controller in the garage then park it neatly in the ashtray drawer.


FiTech Adjustments-1 Here is a look at the controller on the seat. I was programming the IAC. This is with power off.

FiTech Adjustments-3 With car running, I adjusted teh screw until I was in teh ideal range between 4-10.

FiTech Adjustments-4 This is a small magnet mount that was perfect for the Elky. I did not want an obtrusive window mount and the vents are really loose, so I did not think a vent moun woudl work either.

FiTech Adjustments-5 I can pull the controller out of the ashtray and stick it to the magnet mount. When not using the controller, I can toss my phone up there too. I really like this little magnet mount.

FiTech Adjustments-6 Closeup of the controller in the mounted postion. It is easy to see and even use while driving. But, don't tell anyone.
See less See more
I have read good things about a Holley Sniper EFI . . . .

I have to say that I read quite a bit about aftermarket EFI systems and it seems as if you’re not alone in your contempt for FI Tech customer support. I went with the Holley Sniper Stealth on my 454 just a few months ago. I’m glad I bought it through Summit because the first unit was defective out of the box. It would start, but the A/F would constantly read 35.6% and it ran very poorly. A quick ‘net search told me that 35.6% was like the magic number for a defective ECU. I called Summit and they sent me a new one right away. A quick swap and it has been trouble free ever since. I agree that the port systems are probably better than the throttle body systems, but a wanted a carburetor look. At a glance the Stealth looks just like a 4150.
any4xx, thanks for the feedback. I too heard good things about the Holley sniper, but I really want to get away from the TBI style EFI. I also like the look of the RAM XT, but even if I were to stick with a traditional look, the Edelbrock 4150 is still a multiport injector system. It just seems like I will have better luck with this style of EFI.

Time will tell. I am still researching. I really want to keep my MSD ignition box and distributor, and I may have to give it up with the Edelbrock system.
Critical Mass Speaker Upgrade​

I made the audio system upgrade over the past two days. I always like to estimate how long it will take me to do a project before I start. My wife makes fun of me and says, whatever you estimate, just double it. She is usually right. J

For this upgrade, I will replace the 6.5” woofers and 1” tweeters in the kick panels and 3.5” dash speakers. I will also change out the Alpine 12” sub for the Critical Mass UL12.

I estimated 4 hours for the front 6 speakers and 4 hours for the subwoofer with some potential mods to the enclosure, grill guards and possibly modifying the fiberglass covers. Like usual, the wife was right on the front speakers. This took about 8 hours and required significant mods to fit both speakers.

The speaker hole pattern was different for the woofers as well as the cutout was too small for the CMass woofer. The tweeter hole was actually too big for the CMass tweeters so I had to fabricate some spacers on the back side so I could cinch the nut in place.

All in all, the project is done and it came out great. The subwoofer only took me one hour, because the hole pattern was the same and the JL bar grille was too big to fit, so I just omitted it, which save a bunch of fabrication time.

Here is the photo journey:

Audio CMass Upgrade-1 Here is a comparison between the Dynaudio 6.5” woofer and the CMass woofer. Notice the size and shape of the CMass basket is much bigger.

Audio CMass Upgrade-2 Fitting the CMass woofer in the kickpanel hole was too small. I debated awhile on the best tool for the job and decided a drum sander worked the best, it took me about one hour to do the first kick panel and about 10 minutes on the second, once I had everything figured out.

Audio CMass Upgrade-3 Here is a comparison between the Alpine Reference Tweeter and the CMass tweeter. The CMass is smaller and has a fixed position.

Audio CMass Upgrade-4 Here is a look at the ring nut that threads onto the back of the CMass tweeter. It slips through the hole. Therefore it will not hold the tweeter in place. So, I fabricated some rings out of thin carbon fiber sheet. I just happened to have some lyong around from another project, but it worked great.

Audio CMass Upgrade-5 Cutting rings can be difficult to do well. I have made my fair share of bad rings in the past. Technique is very important here. Step one is to clamp the material to a workbench and never move it. I did not want to cut into my workbench so I added a ¾” plywood sheet scrap under the carbon fiber material. I also find that cutting rings is easier with a hand drill rather than a drill press because it is harder to secure the base material to the press. Step 2 is to cut out the smaller hole. Step 3 is to cut out the larger hole. This order is critical. You will also need to use the pilot hole from the first cut as the pilot for the second cut. This will assure that your ring is perfectly symmetrical.

Audio CMass Upgrade-6 Viola! Pretty little rings.

Audio CMass Upgrade-7 Now you can see the ring on the back side of the kickpanel and the ring nut is applied and everything stays in place.

Audio CMass Upgrade-8 Now I moved on to using the drum sander to enlarge the hole for the CMass woofer. This took a little time and practice to get right.

Audio CMass Upgrade-9 Here is a final look at the front side of the kick panel before I added the speakers.

Audio CMass Upgrade-10 The speakers are mounted. The Cmass tweeter had a built in grill. The CMass woofer did not come with grilles, but I was able to reuse the aftermarket grill from the Dynaudio woofers. Since the speaker holes do line up on the grill, I used hot glue to keep them fixed to the speakers.
See less See more
Audio CMass Upgrade-11 Here is a look at the backside of these two speakers. I will connect this to the JL XD600-6. One channel per speaker. The JL crossover will be used for each speaker except the tweeters. I retained the two way CMass passive crossovers for this purpose.

Audio CMass Upgrade-12 Now moving on to the dash speakers. I replaced the legendary Dynaudio 3” midrange speaker with these tiny CMass R3 speakers. The reason is frequency response. In order to get good staging in car audio, you must have well positioned speakers and a very wide range. The CMass R3 is the best speaker I have ever used. It is just amazing! It is a coaxial speaker with a movable tweeter. I have a set of these in my Subaru. In fact, the new set I bought went into the Subaru and the set from the Subaru went into the El Camino. I set the High Pass frequency at 315Hz for the R3. This range really helps with the sound stage. There is no arguing that the stage in my Subaru is much wider and deeper compared to the El Camino, but hell, this car has a tiny dash and an oddly shaped small front windshield. Nonetheless, I can get a pretty strong center stage for vocals using a little time correction on the Alpine head unit.


Audio CMass Upgrade-20 Here is another look at both speakers in the dash. I also took this time to change out the antenna and I dropped the steering column to replace the ignition switch. This switch works much better and it is easier to turn the key now.

Audio CMass Upgrade-13 Comparing the Alpine SWS 12d2 Type R to the Critical Mass UL12. You can see the CMass is much taller. It is actually lighter and features neodymium magnets. The cone and surround are much larger as well. This subwoofer has an amazing 3” two-way cone excursion. It moves a ton of air.


Audio CMass Upgrade-14 Here is the side view comparison. From technical point of view, the Alpine sub has dual voice coils, 2 ohms each. They were wired in series for 4ohms to be compatible with the JL XD600-1 amp. The UL12 has DVCs at 1.5ohms each. I also wired these in series for now for a 3 ohm load. I will likely upgrade to the CMass CM-AUE2.5K mono amp. This is designed for the UL12 and pushes 2500watts at .75ohms. I just gotta try it. J I have never had this kind of power before.

Audio CMass Upgrade-15 I was hoping to use some kind of speaker grille, but this beast has a huge surround. I put the Alpine grille in place and you can see the surround touches the grille, and it is not even moving.

Audio CMass Upgrade-16 Here is the subwoofer wired in series for a 3 ohm load. The XD600-1 can play down to 2ohms. I really need a CMass amp to play this speaker at .75ohms.

Audio CMass Upgrade-17 Here is a look at the internal construction of the enclosures. I actually had this built, so I never knew the specs or have seen inside it before. I took advantage and recorded the internal measurements. You can also see how the small section extends into the smugglers box. The enclosure has an internal volume of 1.87 cuft. The port is 3” x 10.5” long. The box is tuned to 29Hz.

Audio CMass Upgrade-18 The subwoofer swap was way easier than I imagined. The screw hole pattern was identical. So, no drilling and filling the old holes. I was also afraid the sub was too long and would hit the back of the enclosure. This would have been awful and required some major construction to the box and fiberglass panels as well. Luckily, it just bolted right up.

Audio CMass Upgrade-19 Here is a look with the panels back in place. Nice looking sub!

I am not getting full power out of my XD600-1 amp. When I measured the SW input voltage, it was very low. So, I am thinking there is a problem with the Alpine head unit RCA line. The deck has 4volt output so that shoud be plenty, but I am not measuring that. So, I bought a new Alpine CDE-175BT. It should be here next weekend. I will be sure to report back if this fixed the problem. However, the sub did have some movement and sounded okay, but the cone movement was about ¼” when playing Turn Down for What. So, we all know something aint right.

More later.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Well, I have not been able to start the car for the last three days. I freakin hate the Fitech. It is junk and I just can't take it any more. I'm going to buy the Edelbrock Pro-Flo 4 system. I called and talked to the tech support today. I sure hope I have better luck with the new EFI system. I have been unable to drive this car reliably for the past three years. I had better luck with a carb.
1 - 20 of 493 Posts