Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Year of the Cat… Again

I had a great moment the other day. The TR6 is in my garage at the new place (finally) and since then I’ve done a lot of time with the big door open. Most of my neighbors have Lexus SUVs and I just like to turn their crank a bit with the Power Wagon in the drive way and the Six in the garage. I like to represent something they’re never going to fully get.

Anyway the great moment came when I was walking down my driveway to the mailbox (big door open of course) and a fellow walking by commented “is that a TR3 or 6?”

I held back – and tried very hard not be a smart ass as I’ve confused Ford Broncos for International Scouts on more than one occasion – but a 3 and a 6? Google a TR3 – talk about a car that looks nothing like a TR6.

Anyway – I just replied “It’s a six.”

And he replied “Well it looks to be in pretty good shape”.

“Thanks,” I said.

No one – would have said that about that car over the last 20 years. The comment I got the most over the last few years has been – “Looks like a lot of work”.

It has been a lot of work – although I have to admit with farming out the engine rebuild to Mike and the paint to Tony my contribution has resembled something closer to Paul Jr. and Vinnie than Jessie James. Still… it’s been a long haul.

I’ve got the garage close to the level I want it. I still have too much stuff but I’ll figure it out. I think there is a garden shed in my future. It was a lot fun setting up my tool box. Most of my tools have been in storage for the last two years. I was very surprised to see what I actually have.

I had a week off last week with Hayden’s birth and when he and Krista slept I was able to sneak out to the car and get some work done. So far I’ve installed the new hood latches along with the new hood pins, rubber shims, hood release cord and emergency hood release cord.

The emergency hood release cord is an item highly recommended by long tem TR6 owners. I guess when that cable breaks it’s a real bitch to try and get the hood open. There is even one early six in a yard in BC with a hood in two pieces as someone sliced it to get it open – what a waste.

Emergency Release Cord location

I’ve also installed the door handles and have started the dash pad installation. One other thing I’ve done is install the new tach cable which – low and behold - brought the tach back to life. The speedo has the same problem and I’ve installed the new cable for that but haven’t had a chance to test that as I have neither a jack nor jack stands at the house yet.

I’ve been fiddling with the new plastic tranny cover also but I’m not going to install it until I’m sure the speedo issue is resolved. I suspect the cable will clear it up but it could be in the head.

I wasn’t sure I was going to talk about this yet but I might as well. I’ve done a complete 180 on my no stereo resolution. I’ve decided to add a stereo. The idea of driving through the mountains without tunes haunted me. So I thought hard and came up with a solution I could live with.

I’ve been following the forums on 6-pack concerning stereo issues and solutions closely to see what others have done and short of Miata seats (with speakers in the headrests) and sound bars at the back – there isn’t much people are happy with. Those two solutions do not appeal to me at all.

To me the underlying criterion of this car is simplicity – jump in and go. My stereo solution had to incorporate that plus it had to have adequate sound.

Here’s what I’ve decided:

I’ve purchased a Sirius Stratus 7 radio. It’s very, very small. It can easily fit in a front jeans pocket. I’ve also purchased a Blaupunkt ema260 2 channel amp new from EBay. With the amp I purchased two Blaupunkt GTx542 5.25” 2-way Coaxial Speakers. Finally I’ve purchased a Scosche EFX Car Amp Level controller.

If you haven’t figured it out yet. What I’m going to do is mount the sat receiver above the dash using a suction glass mount. run the wiring through a hole in the bottom the ashtray, connect the Sat receiver to the level control unit using a 3.5mm head phone to RCA stereo crossover cable, mount the volume knob in a yet to be determined location near the driver’s reach, connect the level controller-out to the amp-in using a straight RCA cable, mount the amp under the passengers seat, then the two 5.25 inch speakers are connected to the amp and located in the kidney pads as British Leyland intended.

The amp will be grounded to the body. Power from the battery and the remote switch will be run to the original (keyed) 12 volt power take-off for the car stereo. A blanking plate installed where the radio was and that’s it. When not needed the sat radio is disconnected from the windshield and wires are tucked into the ashtray.

Being that there is a 3.5 mm din connection for the Sat radio this gives you the option to connect an IPod/IPhone if desired.

It may not sound like it but it’s a very simple system which I’m hoping will put out a fairly decent sound.

Have I gone a long way to not put in a modern head unit? Yes, yes I have.

Why didn’t I use a Retro Sound solution? Well, I hate terrestrial CanCon-filtered radio and they don’t have a Sat option that doesn’t utilize the 3.5mm jack on the front. That and I’m not in love with their 80’s alarm clock display and the plastic-y fit and finish of their knobs. The knobs remind me of the Audiovox radios from Canadian Tire in the ‘90s.

Yes, I’m picky. AND yes I ordered all Blaupunkt components where I could because the car originally had a Blaupunkt - that’s the way I am. I have strong feelings about some things and I feel European cars should have European stereos.

Most of the parts have arrived – everything except the level controller. This is an untested setup but it works in theory – I’ll keep you posted.

In other news Krista and Hayden are going great. There’s not much to report yet. It’s going to be awhile before he starts mowing the lawn. We’re just starting to get a decent amount of sleep at night – the first few days were tough. I’ve started him out already listening to all the music he must know to be my son. He seems to like it so far.

Yesterday I started to bike to work again. Today makes my second day. November seems like such a long time ago now as my body (especially my ass) is just killing me. I suspect by next Monday I’ll be back into the stride.

…Stay tuned.

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