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    Icon32 Reality Check: Help with audio upgrade.

    Took my car to a local shop for an audio upgrade because I wanted to do the "right thing" and support local business. Also the owner was willing to match several online prices.

    The plan was to install a new 5 channel amp, subwoofer, and necessary wiring (including new wires to the stock speakers), keeping the stock head unit and speakers. I actually tried to upgrade the fronts but the owner didn't think a 2-way component system would work well with the MKVI setup, the woofer is too far away from the tweeter. He recommended a 3-way system, which I may do later. This was not an up-sell, he didn't have it in stock, I genuinely felt he was trying to help me out.

    Anyway on to the point: I'm kind of freaking out about the quality of the installation but I feel like, before I go in and complain, I need a little reality check.

    Full disclosure:
    1. I'm extremely a n a l about my car, I will notice every flaw.
    2. I only paid $100 labor for the install.
    Here's a list of the problems I've discovered so far, going front to back:

    The 4 gauge power wire ring terminal is too large, see pic:



    It's also hand tight, I can easily wiggle the ring terminal. This seems super cheesy to me. Why not use a properly fitting terminal?!

    The power wire runs along the left side of the battery, resting against the intake and blocking access to whatever fluid that is tucked away down there (sorry, I'm new to this car). I don't understand why they didn't run it down the right side, with all the other wiring, straight to the grommet. Seems risky to put it next to the intake with nothing to secure it i.e. if the engine needs service, it’s in the way.

    While picking up the car (at the end of the day) we experienced static coming in the driver side tweeter. The owner asked the tech if he'd pulled the driver door panel and the tech indicated "no". At home I later thought to myself, "if you didn't pull the door panel, how did you run the new speaker wire?" Of course after disassembling the interior and checking I found no new speaker wire was installed. Now, to be fair, after pulling it apart I understand why it might be a pain to run new speaker wire. There’s a molex connector going into the door grommet. I’ve read on other VW threads that some people drill out the molex connector to run new wires, or also that there is enough space under the connector to fit 3 to 4 16 gauge wires. It also looks like the stock wiring is pretty robust. But not telling me they didn’t install new wires is what I have a problem with, given I paid for it.

    Moving on, as I was pulling apart the driver’s side panels I noticed further issues...

    Every clip on the door sill except the forward most clip was bent under the sill instead of enaged in the body. I’m talking about these clips:



    But this one really took the cake and needs no explanation I think:



    I’ll just move on from that...the speaker wire running to the sub was placed on top of the carpet, instead of under it. To me this greatly increases the risk that the wire will be ripped out when removing interior panels. Now the installer didn't know this, but my JSW is going to the dealer to have several of these panels replaced under warranty because of poor fit at delivery. I mean look at this:



    Need access to the seat belt bolt? Make sure you don’t rip the wire out!

    Lastly issues related to the sub install. This was a sub I already had, it was built for a pickup so it’s a small wedge shape. It fit and matched the JSW surprisingly well. Here’s how it looks with the seat folded down:



    Yes I know it’s firing the wrong way. This was a financial decision, I’d love to replace the sub later.

    Now, I specifically asked the owner to install it in such a way as to be removable; I specifically said please don’t install it with screws (because if you take screws in and out they eventually fail). He said it should not be a problem. Keep that in mind.

    In the previous photo note there’s a bracket on the upper-right securing the sub. Here’s how they covered it:



    I’m not sure what to say about this. What would possess you to use a piece of velcro for trim? Anyway under the velcro I was greeted with, you guessed it, screws:



    Notice again the cheesy install, the srcew doesn’t fit the bracket.

    Finally on to the rear. They installed two L-brackets to secure the bottom of the sub:



    I thought covering them with carpet trim was a nice touch...at first. Then I looked closer:



    Yes, the trim has a nice fat slice through it.

    The owner specifically told me before the install these brackets would be bolted down, to be removeable. Here’s what I found:



    First of all, hand trimmed tin is not an L-bracket! This is the right one, the screw’s going in at nearly a 45 degree angle and not seated. The entire sub is floppy if you grab it and shake. And now my interior is permanently damaged for when I decide to clean this up with something better. Probably my sub as well because, were I to replace the brackets, I’d make them evenly spaced at least so that’s a new set of holes.

    That’s where I stopped looking. I don’t even want to know what’s going on behind the radio. And the system sounds terrible. You can’t hear the sub at all, it pops when you turn the car on and off, and the aforementioned static in the left tweeter. The owner acknowledged the sound issues and wants me to bring the car back in for further tweaking.

    Ok...so am I freaking out over nothing? Is it just that I got a $100 install? I didn't ask for a cheap/amateurish install, I would have been willing to pay more for better quality. I’m so frustrated right now. I also hate confronting people, because I know I can be a pain in the *** and most customers don’t go tearing their interior apart to inspect the work. It’s just I don’t feel like this is an “average” job. I think this is crap!

    I've had so many bad experiences with service (audio, auto, bike’s, etc.) that I've done the work myself for years. But I’m getting older and I have two kids, so I don’t really have the hours to spend on a stereo install. But I * know* I could do better than this.

    Help!







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    Re: Reality Check: Help with audio upgrade.

    Were in Cali? This is better then a lot of what i have seen from local shops lol, not by much but better. Honestly you got a 100$ install, but you asked for more and they agreed without quoting you for better. That's on them.



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    Re: Reality Check: Help with audio upgrade.

    get a refund and do it yourself!



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    Re: Reality Check: Help with audio upgrade.

    I think this is an unfortunate situation where you get what you pay for.

    A low cost install here would be $55-65/hour, knowing this I can't see how a $100 dollar installation would cover much.

    I'm not justifying the installation, it just reminds me why I like to work on all of my vehicles myself.

    The best thing to do would be cut your losses, head to a reputable installer and have them correctly test and install the components of the system. Alternately if you are skilled, and can have downtime, attack each problem you may see as small individual projects from a to-do list.




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    Re: Reality Check: Help with audio upgrade.

    If you want it done right, do it yourself. You got ripped off, but not terribly, you should be able to just do a few tweaks to their install and it will be decent.



    97 4runner, 3RZ, 5 Speed

    Headunit: Alpine CDA-9887
    Mids: CDT HD-6CF
    Tweets: CDT DRT-25
    Fronts Amp: Hertz HDP4
    Sub Amp: American Bass VFL150.1
    Substage: 18" SSA ZCON
    Electrical: 160 Amp Alt, Duralast Gold, C&D270FR, 2/0 Throughout

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    Re: Reality Check: Help with audio upgrade.

    You got a $100 lesson on how you should learn to do it yourself.. He grateful I paid about 12 times that before I learned to just do it myself, and make it look 1000 better as well..




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    Re: Reality Check: Help with audio upgrade.

    Thanks everyone for your replies.

    I took the car back to the shop today. The owner admitted they did a bit of a rush job. It was also partially my fault. Because I ground him so hard on the online prices, he figured I wanted a rock bottom cost on the install also. That's not really what I was after. Anyway he said they would take care of it. The two most important issues (loose power wire, ghetto ground wire) bothered him the most. I'm not super worried about the sub install because I already have some ideas how to improve it.

    Hopefully it will all work out ok. I'll be especially far happier if the system at least sounds good.




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