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> Howto: Install Subwoofer And Fm Modulator In S40
DaveSA
post Feb 4 2012, 03:45 PM
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Drives: 2004 S40 2.4i



Hi All,

Having been irritated with the lack of an Aux input in the S40, I've tried around 6 different FM transmitters, none of which have left me satisfied with the sound quality. The worst one by far was the Griffin iTrip, the best was a no-name Chinese one.

I also wanted to install a subwoofer, which, seeing as the S40 does not provide a sub out, is not as straight forward as I would have liked. The official Volvo subwoofer, when I got a quote, was going to cost me in the region of R8000 (approx US$1000) when I got a quote around two years ago. Being a student, this was not an option.

I drive a mid 2004 2G Volvo S40. Being in South Africa, the car is right hand drive, so some of the photos here may depict a mirror image of what it would look like in countries where you drive on the wrong side of the road (IMG:style_emoticons/default/tongue.gif) The car is fitted with Volvo Performance Sound (yes, the basic system - we got the car second hand).

In many sedans, there is sound proofing between the cabin and the boot. The S40 was designed to have a subwoofer in the boot, the result being that there are holes in the "roof" of the boot to allow sound to pass from the boot into the car. The holes are sized such that the boot becomes a resonant cavity - i.e. a very large subwoofer enclosure! You don't need a very large subwoofer in order to put quite a bit of bass into this car.

Unfortunately most of the photos here were taken after I'd finished installing everything in the car, so not all of them will show the detail I'd like. There are also restrictions as to how many images I can put in a post, so I've just linked to some of the less important ones. I installed the subwoofer and FM modulator at around the same time, so if you only want one, be selective as to what you do (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grin.gif)

I am not a Volvo technician. If I were, I would have told you to buy the Volvo subwoofer. I'm an Electrical Engineering student, and have some experience in sound engineering. I am also quite a keen music listener, and far prefer sound quality over sound quantity!

Although I have tried to ensure that these instructions are as accurate as possible, I take no responsibility for anything that may happen should you attempt to follow these instructions. Volvo might not be too happy with you making these modifications yourself, so think twice about doing this if your car is brand new.

Doing this doesn't require that much knowledge of cars or electrics, but if you get scared when you look behind your TV and DVD player, maybe it would be better if you got this done professionally. The choice is yours!

Work in progress:
(IMG:http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7161/6817526411_056feeaa0f_b.jpg)

Parts Purchased
FM Modulator
I purchased a Planet Audio PFM2 FM Modulator (http://www.planetaudiousa.com/main/567). This is a wired FM Modulator, as opposed to the USELESS wireless FM transmitters. The quality is outstanding - it's as good as a normal FM transmission. There is no hiss (you can start hearing a hiss when you turn the volume up to around 40% with no source connected - nothing worth worrying about), the frequency response is good, and you NEVER hear any crackling or interference from other radio stations. And best of all, it's pretty cheap!

There are several other FM modulators which I'm convinced (just by looking at their prices and physical appearance) are made in the same factory (such as the Boss FM-MOD), which will probably give the same quality. There are also more elegant, more expensive solutions featuring RDS, USB input, etc (I know Kenwood make a very nice one), which can be installed using the same method.

Subwoofer and Amp
I bought a sub and amp second hand from a friend at work.
The sub is an 800W (175W RMS) 10" Kenwood KFC-W2510.
The amp is an ICE Power Pro Series PL-1400 1400W 4 channel amp.

I drive the subwoofer through 2 channels of the amp, which means there is a maximum of 160W RMS going to the subwoofer.

How much power you'll need depends on whether you want to sound gangster, or just get a much fuller sound. Wanting the latter, I have the above setup with the amp's gain set at about 40%. This is perfect for my liking!

The subwoofer enclosure is just a wooden box as far as I'm concerned, however, the shape and volume of the wooden box have a big impact on the sound that comes out of the subwoofer. Speak to the people where you buy the sub and amp to find out what enclosure to get.

High-Low Converter
Due to the S40's lack of a line out of any form other than the amp's output to the speakers, you need one of these to tap off the audio signal. There are other methods which interface to the car's fibre optic system, but these, despite being more expensive, aren't going to give you sound quality much better than this will. Mine cost me R120, which is about US$15. They're probably all made in the same factory in China, so I don't think it matters which one you buy!


Background Info
Power Supply
Whether you install a subwoofer, a modulator, or both, you're going to need to power them. Running a direct line from the battery is (theoretically) the best, as you'll get less interference from the car's electrical system. However, any decent amp or modulator will have enough filters on the input to filter out noise from the alternator (this will be the biggest source of interference - I could hear the engine through my iTrip!) and the rest of the car's electrical system.

IF YOU ARE INSTALLING A HIGH POWER AMP, YOU MUST RUN A DIRECT LINE FROM THE BATTERY!

Because an amp doesn't draw a constant current, don't ever connect one to a factory-fitted power outlet, as it'll never perform at it's best due to the high impedance of the wiring to the outlet. Assuming that you don't blow fuses. Or the car's electrical system.

Volvo were very nice to provide us with a 15A power supply in the boot, intended for the Volvo subwoofer. I've used that to power my FM Modulator and amp. It's a thick orange cable with a green stripe, and can be found poking out of the wiring harness in the bottom of the boot, on the same side as the stock amp (LHS in my car). It turns on when you insert the key, and turns off a few minutes after you remove it.

I originally powered my FM modulator off the power socket in the back of the centre console, but this turns off a few seconds after the key is removed, often while the radio is still on. It worked well, but I got irritated by it turning off when the radio was still on, so it's now on the same power supply as the sub.

Aux Audio Line
You can run an aux line to the front of the car (the FM modulator will need to be installed with the antenna at the back of the car) however you like. I ran mine hidden under various things (details to follow), and made it pop up inside the centre console. That way when I'm not using it, I can just roll up the cable and shove it in the centre console. I have a standard 3.5mm audio jack on the end, so it plugs into my phone and MP3 player.

Connections
Where possible, solder your connections. Soldered connections mean that they're less likely come apart, and the wires are less likely to move against each other, eliminating sources of crackling and all sorts of other horrible noises. If you can't solder, just make sure your connections won't ever come apart!

Instructions
First off, a guy by the name of Gregg Rocheford has written a very good manual on installing a FM modulator. This is what I used as a guide to install mine. His was written for a V50, it's slightly different for a S40. Still, give it a read. It can be found at http://volvo.philipfotos.com/English_install_ver_6_5.pdf.

Step 1: Getting access to the required areas
If you've taken apart your S40 (or any other modern car) before, you can safely skip to step 2.

Most panels on modern cars, interior and exterior, just clip into place. What this means is that you can take most of a car's interior apart using your hands and sometimes a flat screwdriver to gently lever a panel off. If you need to use a scredriver, push it a few cm in and slide it sideways until you hit something, then gently lever it off. The panel will most likely pop out. You may need to repeat this until you've unclipped all the clips.

To get to the stock amp and power connections, you'll have to remove the lining of the boot on the LHS (for RHD models). Do this by removing the floor of the boot and the blocks that surround the spare wheel. Then remove all the clips which push through the lining: squeeze the tabs together with a thumb and forefinger, and pull outwards. There are 4 in my car, one of which you need to fold the back seat forward to get to. Then remove the plastic bit in the middle of the bumper by sliding your fingers under the edges and gently lifting, as shown in this photo. Then just pull the lining out, taking care to slide it over the prong sticking out at the top left of the boot opening.

To remove the C pillar cover to get to the antenna connections (you don't need to do this if you're installing only the subwoofer), just slide your fingers inside the front most edge of the cover as close to the bottom as possible, and lift it. When all the clips are undone, you'll be able to slide it forward and remove it. The C pillar with cover removed is shown in the image below.

IMPORTANT NOTE 1: Although my early 2G S40 does not have this, most later ones do - there will be a strap holding the C pillar cover to the C pillar itself. This is there to prevent the cover from flying across the car at great speed when the curtain airbag goes off. DO NOT cut or otherwise remove this strap, it's there for your safety!

IMPORTANT NOTE 2: Don't tamper with the airbag or anything that looks like it could have anything to do with the airbag!

(IMG:http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7035/6817545429_6afeb7bed1_b.jpg)

Step 2: Connecting to the subwoofer power supply (recommended for subwoofer and modulator)
Make sure that the car has been turned off with the key removed for at least 10 minutes before doing this - you don't want to risk the short circuit which will happen if you touch a powered positive wire against anything metal in the car!

Locate the positive connector - It's a thick orange cable with a green stripe, and can be found poking out of the wiring harness in the bottom of the boot, on the same side as the stock amp (LHS in my car). Cut the white connector off it, and solder on a length of electrical wire. If you're connecting an amp to this power supply, stick with the thick cable! If you're only powering the modulator, anything goes, these use next to no power whatsoever! Make sure to cover your connection in insulating tape.

(IMG:http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7021/6817532155_9b59327dcc_b.jpg)

Connect the negative wire that's going to go to your amp and/or modulator to the ground point in the boot.

(IMG:http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7154/6817533069_dd44d551d3_b.jpg)

Step 3: Connect the antenna wiring (modulator only)
The instructions for the "9 volt method" of connecting to the antenna can be found in the manual by Gregg Rocheford, which is available at http://volvo.philipfotos.com/English_install_ver_6_5.pdf.

In the S40, I used high quality microphone cable to extend the cable which came with the modulator. Although not the best wire to use, I had it lying around at home, and it seems to work pretty well. Terrestrial television coaxial cable (RG-58) would be better, and is also something you may have lying around at home.

The connector onto the rear window is right at the top of the window, along the side. See this image to see my connections. I ran the cable behind the airbag, and through a hole in the "roof" of the boot by sticking my hand through the hole and grabbing the cables.

Step 4: Connect the aux line (modulator only)
As mentioned above, I have run an aux line from the front of the car, where I have a standard 3.5mm audio jack on a cable coming out of the centre console.

Photo of centre console wiring

The cable itself runs, from the front:
- Through the back of the centre console
- Towards the front of the car, tucked under the plastic of the centre console
- Under the passanger seat
- Down the side of the car, tucked under the plastic that runs along the side
- Under the back seat, into the boot. RCA cables plug into the modulator.

The back of the centre console levers off very easily, as with all the other panels. Cables can be just pushed under the plastic around the car using your fingers, as shown below. That way, you can't see the cables, but they're easy to get to should you need to.

(IMG:http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7020/6817548227_6c6c47dc91_b.jpg)

Photo of cable under the front seat
Photo of cable under the back seat

Step 5: Connect the high-low converter (subwoofer only)
At the bottom left of the stock amplifier, there is a connector which connects the speakers to the amp. This is the plug with lots of wires coming out of it. Disconnect this plug from the amp. You're going to need to cut the speaker wires and solder in the high-low converter wires, as per the label on the high-low converter. The label should tell you which wires are for which speakers. Again, use insulating tape or heat shrink tubing to make sure you don't get short circuits! When you're done, secure the high-low converter somewhere. See my image below.

Because the sound system has delays built in so that the sound from the rear speakers get to the people in the front at the same time as the sound from the front speakers, you want to wire the subwoofer to the rear speakers.

According to the official wiring diagrams, the speaker wires are as follows (pin numbers on the connector on the amp are given - you probably won't need these unless you're trying to figure out which wires go to the centre speaker and which go to the right front speaker, as they use the same colour code):
+ Centre Speaker: White, red stripe. Pin 10
- Centre Speaker: Grey, red stripe. Pin 2

+ Left Front Speaker: White, black stripe. Pin 11 (RHD), Pin 9 (LHD)
- Left Front Speaker: Grey, black stripe. Pin 3 (RHD), Pin 1 (LHD)

+ Right Front Speaker: White, red stripe. Pin 9 (RHD), Pin 11 (LHD)
- Right Front Speaker: Grey, red stripe. Pin 1 (RHD), Pin 3 (LHD)

+ Left Rear Speaker: White, violet stripe. Pin 12
- Left Rear Speaker: Grey, white stripe. Pin 4

+ Right Rear Speaker: White. Pin 13
- Right Rear Speaker: Grey. Pin 5

(IMG:http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7034/6817535133_e337cf8f4b_b.jpg)

Step 6: Mount the amplifier (subwoofer only)
Find a place in the car to mount the amplifier. The easiest place for me was on the back of the subwoofer enclosure. That way, when I pull the subwoofer out of the car, the amplifier comes with it, saving a bit of boot space. You'll have to work out where to run wires to the subwoofer itself too.

(IMG:http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7025/6817557557_a564c47832_b.jpg)

Step 7: Wire the subwoofer (subwoofer only)
Putting power to your subwoofer should be pretty straight forward, and is dependent on your specific amplifier. I've bridged my power supply and sense lines to force the amp to turn on when power is supplied; if you're running a supply directly from the battery you MUST NOT bridge this with the subwoofer supply in the boot, you can however use the subwoofer supply in the boot as your sense line. Comment below if this is unclear.

If you, like me, want to remove the subwoofer from time to time so that you have space to put golf clubs/scuba diving equipment/girlfriend's parents in the boot, buy a high current power socket and plug, and put this inline. That way, when you want to remove the subwoofer, you simply pull out the power plug, pull out audio plugs, and slide the subwoofer out of the boot.

Audio connections are dead easy, all that you need to do is run an RCA cable from the high-low converter to the inputs on the amplifier.

Step 8: Test that everything works
If you're confident that everything is connected properly, with no short circuits, turn the key on and play some music! Slowly turn up the amplifier gain.

If you don't hear some deep bass:
- Check that the sub is getting power
- Check that the amplifier gain is turned up. Twiddle all the knobs.
- Check your connections
- Check that you weren't reading this page for the FM modulator bits only.

Next, tune your radio the the frequency which your modulator is set to output on. You should hear silence at this frequency. Plug a source in, and check that works.

Further calibration can be done later.

Step 9: Put your car back together and mount the FM modulator
This should be fairly self explainitory. Just do everything you did to take your car apart, but in reverse!

I left mounting the modulator to last, as I wanted to put it where I could get to it easily should I want to change the frequency. Because it's so light, I made a small hole in the lining of the boot with a screwdriver (the kind of hole you wouldn't notice unless you were looking for it), pushed a cable tie through the hole, and tightened it around the modulator. I then pushed the slack in the cables over the top of the lining so they're hidden away nicely.

(IMG:http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7011/6817554951_acb1a010a0_b.jpg)

The final thing: FM Modulator can be seen top left, and the antenna cables can be seen going through the hole in the "roof" above the subwoofer. The subwoofer should be fairly easy to spot.
(IMG:http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7162/6817558949_b56b94f6cb_b.jpg)

Step 10: Adjust the crossover and gain (subwoofer only)
As far as I'm aware, the easiest way to do this is trial-and-error. Trust your ears - if it sounds good, it is good.

If you want to sound like a gangster:
- Turn everything up to max, and enjoy.

If you want it to sound good:
Photo of my settings - they may or may not be useful (the lower REAR channels are driving my sub):
(IMG:http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7144/6818604019_cee5b3708d_b.jpg)
Input Selector: Low
Level (gain): 40%
Bass Boost: 0dB
HPF (High Pass Filter): Doesn't matter
X-Over (Crossover): LPF (Low Pass Filter)
LPF (Low Pass Filter): approx 250Hz
Subsonic: 10Hz

The subwoofer gives your car's sound system the audio frequencies which the car's speakers are lacking. If there is any common ground (the subwoofer and car speakers are outputting the same frequencies), your sound is going to start sounding like a muddy mess. If there is a gap between the subwoofer's max frequency and the car speakers' min frequency, you're going to have missing frequencies, obviously.

The best music to try and set up your system with is (as much as I hate to admit it) classical music, as this tends to have sound on most frequencies.

Suggested process for tuning (will vary depending on what crossover your amp has):
- Select LPF
- Turn up the crossover's LPF cutoff frequency to the highest frequency
- Adjust the gain so that the level of the sub more or less matches the level of the car speakers (you can hear the sub, but it's not trying to overpower the car speakers)
- Carefully listen to the sound (from one of the front seats). Slowly turn down the LPF frequency until it sounds like a part of the music is missing. Then turn it back up a bit.
- Make the same careful adjustments to the gain, trying to ensure that the subwoofer is not louder than the rest of the music, nor softer. Keep in mind that the subwoofer level will be dependent on the bass level on the car's sound system.

The above procedure is only a guideline, you'll probably have to make small adjustments over a couple of days. And if you're anything like me, the first time you go for a long drive with the subwoofer installed, you'll think to yourself "wow, I really do need to turn this thing down!"

End of instructions

I really hope that this article is useful to someone! Feel free to comment below if there are any questions or suggestions.
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recon
post Mar 23 2012, 04:10 PM
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Hi DaveSA
Great howto.
Maybe a stupid question but how do you know the powercable is 15A? I'm considering to install an active subwoofer from Pioneer (TS-WX610A) which can be installed in the spare wheel area. This subwoofer requires a 15A power feed.

I have a Volvo S40 (my12) with high performance audio. Newer models don't have the volvo subwoofer option anymore for the high performance/premium audio anymore which was available before, so it's possible that i don't have the cable (i didn't checked it yet).

Thanks
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DaveSA
post Apr 4 2012, 09:00 AM
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Sorry for the delayed reply.

QUOTE (recon @ Mar 23 2012, 11:10 PM)
Great howto.

Thanks!

QUOTE (recon @ Mar 23 2012, 11:10 PM)
Maybe a stupid question but how do you know the powercable is 15A? I'm considering to install an active subwoofer from Pioneer (TS-WX610A) which can be installed in the spare wheel area. This subwoofer requires a 15A power feed.

I have a Volvo S40 (my12) with high performance audio. Newer models don't have the volvo subwoofer option anymore for the high performance/premium audio anymore which was available before, so it's possible that i don't have the cable (i didn't checked it yet).

Educated guess. If you check the fuse box under the glove box, the subwoofer connection has a 15A fuse. The purpose of the fuse is to protect the electical system and wiring, so if the fuse is 15A, every other part of the wiring needs to be able to handle more than 15A - if the rest of the wiring is rated for less than 15A, the fuse isn't the weakest point in the circuit, and so won't do it's job. Also, the wire that runs to the back is thick, that cable will DEFINITELY handle 15A.

I'm not sure whether or not your car will have it then - mine came with the performance system and it came with the connector. I'm surprised that they'd drop the subwoofer option though, that's a daft move!

If your car doesn't have the subwoofer power connection already, you'll just have to run a cable from the positive terminal of the battery to your subwoofer. Put a fuse holder in the new wire, with a fuse appropriate for the thickness of the wire. You'll still be able to connect the ground to the chassis. To get the amp to turn on and off when the key turns on and off, find the 12V supply to the stock amp, and connect that to the "sense" input on the amp. If you connect the sense lead to the rear power outlet, it'll stay on all the time, and if you connect it to the front power outlet, the amp will turn off long before the radio does (if you sit in the car listening to music, for example).

Hope this helps!
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benoblest
post Oct 21 2012, 04:07 AM
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Dave,

Thank you so much for this. Thanks to your tutorial I was easily able to install both a FM Modulator and a subwoofer/amp. In case anyone else is using this, the orange/green power wire in my 2005 S40 T5 was in the same location however it had a black connector at the end not white. I was scared when I didn't see a white connector and thought I was missing the wire, but it IS definitely there, just well hidden wrapped in the tape. I also pulled this wire out from the rest of the wiring group so I could take advantage of the length and simply route it straight to my amp. I also was afraid of breaking the plastic harness when pulling out the wires from the amp, so instead I just wired the hi-lo convertor farther down inline off the rear speaker wires.

Dave, I just had two quick questions for you if you don't mind. I believe you stated in the previous post that there is indeed a fuse inline on the 15A power wire, is this correct? I am safe without putting in my own inline fuse correct? Also, I am running a JL 500/1 which is rated at 500 Watts RMS. I believe that the 15A wire is more than enough to safely power this, am I correct? Even with the gain pushed up fairly high? Thanks so much! I would have been so much more stressed without your tutorial, especially cutting wires etc..

(IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

This post has been edited by benoblest: Oct 21 2012, 04:09 AM
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benoblest
post Oct 22 2012, 12:43 AM
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Dave,

Thanks again for the great post. A quick update.. I blew the inline 15A fuse under the hood shortly after getting everything up and running. As stated I'm using a 500 rms amp. The fuse in the amp was not blown which leads me to believe that is not a problem with the load or wiring in the sub to the amp, but rather a problem between the amp and the battery. Do you have any ideas of what might be causing this? Thanks in advance!
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DaveSA
post Oct 23 2012, 08:15 AM
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QUOTE (benoblest @ Oct 21 2012, 11:07 AM)
Dave, I just had two quick questions for you if you don't mind. I believe you stated in the previous post that there is indeed a fuse inline on the 15A power wire, is this correct? I am safe without putting in my own inline fuse correct? Also, I am running a JL 500/1 which is rated at 500 Watts RMS. I believe that the 15A wire is more than enough to safely power this, am I correct? Even with the gain pushed up fairly high? Thanks so much! I would have been so much more stressed without your tutorial, especially cutting wires etc..



QUOTE (benoblest @ Oct 22 2012, 07:43 AM)
Thanks again for the great post. A quick update.. I blew the inline 15A fuse under the hood shortly after getting everything up and running. As stated I'm using a 500 rms amp. The fuse in the amp was not blown which leads me to believe that is not a problem with the load or wiring in the sub to the amp, but rather a problem between the amp and the battery. Do you have any ideas of what might be causing this? Thanks in advance!


Hi Benoblest,

Glad that it was of use!

So you found out the hard way that there is a 15A fuse (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif) When sizing fuses, you always want to have the fuse being the weak point in the circuit: if your wiring can handle 20A, then go one down and install a 15A fuse, that way if you do draw too much current, the fuse will blow long before your wiring burns out. So yes, with Volvo providing a 15A fuse on that circuit, there's no reason for you to install your own inline fuse if you're using that circuit.

If the 15A fuse blew, then something on that circuit drew more than 15A. Some scientist who lived a while ago worked out that Current = Power/Voltage. So if you crank your amp up and run it at full power, you'll be drawing about 42A (assuming your amp is getting 12V). For comparison, I'm putting a maximum of about 165W to my sub, which works out at about 14A. So a 15A fuse is fine for my setup, but not for yours.

I looked up that amp (JL 500/1v2), and, well... That is a BIG amp! In the manual (downloaded from the same site), they recommend using a 50A fuse, which makes sense. So, what you're going to have to do is to run some nice thick wire directly from the positive terminal of the battery to your amp. They recommend at least 4 AWG (I have no idea what that means - I don't understand imperial units!). Put the fuse as close to the battery as possible (but not so close that it gets in the way). You can still connect the negative directly to the chassis. The Volvo supplied subwoofer power connection - connect that to the "remote" input on the amp, that way the amp will turn on when you put the key in, and off when you remove it. And leave the FM modulator connected to the Volvo subwoofer connection, otherwise that will be on all the time.

PLEASE disconnect the negative terminal from the battery before doing any work involving direct connections to the battery. If anything that's connected to the positive terminal touches the chassis, at best you'll end up with a big spark and a blown fuse, at worst you'll end up with an exploding battery. If you've disconnected the negative terminal before starting work, you've got nothing to worry about.

Let us know how it goes! If you're unsure of anything, feel free to contact me. I'm about to start writing exams, so I can't guarantee that it'll be a prompt reply, but I'll try my best (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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benoblest
post Oct 23 2012, 03:36 PM
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Dave,

Thank you for the quick reply. You just totally confirmed everything I was thinking. I will install a 4 gauge power wire from the battery into the trunk, and I will be sure to disconnect the negative terminal! Thank you so much for all the help! Good luck with the exams. I'll let you know how it goes!


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