The Running of the Benz – Part 2

Now that I’d fixed the valve cover gasket leak, I decided to make the cabin a nicer place to stay for the better part of 2000 miles. The original Becker Europa unit wasn’t giving me anything to work with, though I admittedly didn’t check the mono speaker to see if that was the issue. Ultimately I decided to put my trusty Kenwood KDC-352U in it’s place. My first step was to pull the center console and remove the original Becker unit.


Removing the Becker Europa.


Once it was out I looked at all the wiring. Optimally, I didn’t want to butcher the stock wiring so that it would be easy to place the old unit back in if I, or a future owner, ever wanted to go back to original. Luckily, I was able to use the barrel connector from the old unit as my 12 volt positive for the new unit. I also used the same ground point, after verifying it would work with a simple light probe.


IMAG1893


Next I needed to run a power wire so that I’d have a 12 volt constant that would keep my setting and time in line. The old unit didn’t use one, so I needed to run a new one or steal some power from the fuse block. After looking at the available fuses, I opted for the first option. I grabbed a fuse that would be enough to do the job, found a place to run the wire through the firewall, and made my own fuse holder out of two spade connectors.


Showing how I ran my wiring.
My battery terminal connection.
Battery terminal connector to fuse, all hooked up.


Once I had that all connected I did a test run to make sure the radio would work before I started working it in to the center console. The old unit is just held in by the knobs and two cantilevered metal pieces on either side that held things in place. For the Kenwood unit, I used a sleeve we had lying around to make sure I could set everything before the unit itself went in. I also used it as a mock up to make sure it wouldn’t hit any wires in the back or anything.


RcA pairs run, ready to put Kenwood in the center console.


After insuring it all fit well, I slid the Kenwood unit in and buttoned everything back into place. Happy with how everything fit, I fired it up to make sure that I hadn’t pulled any connections loose. I was greeted with the standard demo mode and everything seemed to be working.


Kenwood unit in and working.


So now that I’ve got tunes, it’s time to get the speakers all hooked up so I can get some sound.
First, I made a plan for where to run all the wires. I wanted the power wire to run on the passenger side of the car, and RCA cables run on the left side. I don’t know if it would make a noticeable difference, but I didn’t want to find out I was messing with the signal by running power near the RCA. Since I already knew where I’d be running power through the firewall, I took the back seats and carpet out to look for a place to pass wires through.


Removing the back seats to figure out where to run wires.


I found all sorts of interesting stuff that had fallen under the seats, including some coins. Who says project cars don’t pay? I also found chewed up evidence that some rodents had left behind and some other cool stuff like a wallet sized photo from 1963.


An assortment of random stuff stuck under the seats.


After a bit of cleaning up I started investigating places to run wires. I found a hole to run the power wire through on the passengers side, and found another area where I could make a hole to run the RCA cables and speaker wires.


Back area all cleaned up.
This is where I ran my RCA cables.
Shot of the engine bay with all wiring in place for amps.
Amps and sub in place.


With a little less trunk space, and a totally solid amp mount, it was time to run some speaker wire and find some place to put speakers. The car originally came with one, right in the center of the dash. I grabbed some old wire I had from previous projects, some shrink tubing, and some spade connectors and starting laying everything out.
I figured out that the front speakers (Polk MM461p) had large enough magnets that they hold themselves in the foot wells well enough that I didn’t have to create a permanent solution.


Front speaker held in foot well by it's own magnet.


With that figured out I crimped some spade connectors on, grabbed some shrink wrap, and made everything look nice. I used spade connnectors because we didn’t have any butt connectors, and I like having the option of disconnecting and easily swapping in different speakers for troubleshooting and the like.


Shrink tubing over the spade connectors.


After the front speakers were all set, I once again turned the new Kenwood unit on and played some of my favorite music to make sure they sound fine. Satisfied, I headed to the back to set those speakers up. Unfortunately, there isn’t anywhere to mount speakers in the back and I’m not sure I want to cut the rear deck to make space. For now, the speakers sit on top of the rear deck, but I don’t like the idea of taking a speaker to the back of the head in the event of an accident so I’ll be trying to find something a bit safer.


The tools I used to wire up the rear speakers.
Using my Sanrenmu 7056 to cut back the wire casing for connectors.
The rear speaker all wired up and ready for some action.


Again, I tested the speakers with some excellent music from William Bolton & Marco Mestichella to make sure they were hooked up correctly and working as I wanted. I was happy with the sound so I left it at that for the day.
In my next post, I’ll be going over putting in new shocks, mounting tires, and installing new valve stems. Stay Tuned!

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About Justin Marwitz

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