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I have always found the stereo to be under powered, its a Panasonic jobbie rated to '50wx4' but it has always sounded pretty crap and complete lack of bass.

The stereo was in it when I bought it, a couple of speakers didn't work, there are 6, one in each door (including rear barn doors).

When I did the rust on the drivers door I found the speaker was a decent spec thing. The barn doors too. The rear doors have fusion speakers but they are damaged, the covers came off and the cone was touched by my boy I guess.

I have been wanting to put an amplifier in but I didn't want to use a 24-12v power reducer because it just annoying complication and in order to power an amplifier it'd need to be a pretty high rate one. I do have a 40A one but that is all used up by the water/meth injection pump which is 12v.

24v amps don't seem to be common so I never bothered over the years.

Ali Express to the rescue though, I bought one of these 12-24v TPA3116 2.1 tiny bluetooth amps. $32USD delivered. Worth a try?

The fact that I Icould run it straight off 24v was the biggest thing.

It arrived and it's fckn tiny, how can this do the job? Why are 'normal' 12V amplifiers still so big?

I assumed it would suck.




The aliexpress reviews were good. Someone mentioned that there was no thermal paste on the heatsinks. So I took them off and yep, nothing. So I added some, can't hurt right?

I then pulled a part the dash and stereo junk. Man the install was pretty iffy and messy, quite a few of those horrible push on splice things, hate them.

I also found that a couple of the stereo output wires in the terminal screw block type things weren't even screwed to the wire core lol....it was probably pushed in far enough to touch the other wire anyway. See the pink wire with the indentation, quality work.



The manual for the bluetooth amp jobbie says it draws 3A. WTF, that's nothing?! This thing is going to suck. 

Temporarily installed after figuring out which wires go to each door and see if it was even powerful enough.

You can see how small this thing, it's smaller than the ashtray slot. Which is where I'll put it.



Tried connecting to bluetooth with my phone, no problem. 

Anyway, with just the two front door speakers connected, it has good volume. Better than the Panasonic can produce, pleasantly surprised.

The amp control knobs are a a bit weird. The red on is for overall volume, but you also have a bass volume and treble volume (and freq adjustment for each). So you have 3 volume knobs, weird.

With 24V it should be able to supply the full 50w (rms I think) per channel (only 2). At 12v it would be less, 20 or something.

So I tried it with the two good back barn door speakers connected as well, so the amp is powering two speakers on each of its two channels. 

Sounds pretty good, no distortion and the treble frequency adjustment makes a big difference. Bass freq changes weren't as noticeable. 

I have an old Fusion subwoofer and box collecting dust, it came with an old runabout about 7 years ago. I used it in that car with some cheap amp that also came with it, I remember it made good bass but it seemed to have interference at lower volume...vague memory.  I assumed it was the cheap brand amp.

So I thought I'd try it using the 100w little amp's bass output. How the fck can this little thing power that? It's like an 1/8th the size of the old amplifier it came with.

Holy crap, very impressive bass! BUT if I have the volume low it seems like the subwoofer is trying to produce sound and it comes out sounding like a broken speaker. No matter what I do with the frequency setting on the amp it doesn't stop it. At higher volume it sounds great, especially for $32USD.

I'm wonder if its the subwoofer itself, it MAY be the same sound I remember it producing in the runabout jobbie.

Otherwise it has to be the aliexpress amp. Which to me seems unlikely since the other channels sound fine.

I haven't installed it properly yet, the amp doesn't have an on off switch so I need to figure out if I can use a switch (at an apparent 3A draw...) or wire in a 24v relay with the IGN on power.

Other than the subwoofer issue, its bloody impressive for a tiny thing, is it just because technology has moved on? I mean old amps used to have 3 x 25A fuses?

EDIT: what I think I'll do is test the subwoofer output with another speaker and see if I still get the low volume noise.

The subwoofer is 12", if I had to buy another one I think I'd get a 10" for faster response. I listen to stuff which would need that. This 12" seemed to keep up okay but I assume a 10" would be better. 

Or maybe split the 100w to two 6x9's and try put them in the rear doors?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Got this jobby installed a few weeks ago, will mostly use bluetooth with my phone but have also wired the stereo output into it so I can use radio/cd/usb etc.

Pretty sure the subwoofer is blown, tested with a old shitty 8" thing from garage stereo and it didn't do the crackling thing at low volume. 

Will look out of a 10" of some sort for a decent price.


Looks pretty cool in the dash where the ash tray was.


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  • 8 months later...

Stupid driver seat frame has needed fixing twice, it’s a shit design. 

I’ve wanted to fit some wrx seats for ages, have had some gathering dust for ever, so put one in.

Fits better than the old no name brand ones (were in it when I bought it) and is more comfortable. Win.


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  • 7 months later...

Took this off the road to deal with the rust on drivers side of the roof, it was worse than I thought under the bog job that the previous owner had paid a lot of money for.... that was probably 7-8 years ago now so I guess it lasted a while.

I decided to go all out and cut any trace of rust out of the roof then paint the whole thing. 

Condensation is what gets to the roof skins on these so I sprayed lots of wax anti rust stuff in everywhere.

Decided to do something a bit different and paint the roof with 2 pack textured stuff, like Raptor liner but I used Novol Cobra stuff. 

In theory it'll hold up to scratching branches etc, some sound deadening and I don't know...it looks cool?

Also stripped the front bumper back to bare steel and coated that too.


This is just after spraying it so its a bit less glossy once dried, in person it turned out pretty cool:




Also made up some brackets to fit the passenger WRX seat, Murphy's Law meant the last bloody bolt was pre-stripped, it'll have been like that the whole time I've owned it, no way of getting it out so ended up having to cut it open to get to the stripped nut inside and weld it back up. 






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