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Old 15th January 2008, 03:03 AM   #1
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Default car stereo "installation disasters"

Hello. I am looking to hear from members about installation disasters. Want to stir it up a bit here. An installer in Phoenix told me about a high end install in an older vehicle. Deck, Amplifiers, Subwoofers and speakers. The customer left his vehicle at the shop. He left a contact number. It was to be ready the next day.The Next day passed, no customer. No one answered the contact phone number. Now this shop had a small install bay. Each day the vehicle was taken out of the bay and put in the parking lot. At night it would be driven back into the bay. One week passed, no customer. The way it worked back then the installers got payed when the customer payed the shop. Installers did not get paid very well in the 80's. The store thought maybe they were being set up for a clever thief. Suspect the equipment was removed. The owner thought the owner might show up during the day and drive the older vehicle away without payment. The car sat in the store's parking lot the whole next week, nothing happened. The installers were mad. No one had been paid for their work. They thought they spoiled a thief. One more day passed. One of the installers jumped on the roof of the vehicle and dented it. Another busted the headlites. Next day the installers broke all the windows. What a mess! Guess what. The very next day the owner showed up! The owner had a death in the family and had to leave for his familys emergency.
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Old 15th January 2008, 04:19 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Bristol, UK

That's a lot worse than my schoolboy error or wiring up too many speakers in parallel and blowing the output stage on my amp....

I did hear of a Limo going up in flames due to a bad install tho... Amazing to think a fuse might have saved the day.
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Old 15th January 2008, 04:26 AM   #3
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Default Up in flames...

An old friend of mine installed his existing setup in a new car at the time. He managed to run an amp under the front passenger seat, not taking proper care of wire location. His girlfriend moved the seat, and poof, followed by a fire.
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Old 15th January 2008, 06:39 AM   #4
MadMutt is offline MadMutt  Australia
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Back in 1992 ish.
Customer brought in a second hand, but newish low milage, merc 500sl (~2 Years old).
We fitted a mobile phone (analogue), no probs, went away a happy chappy.

Two weeks later he came back, "please remove phone".

Why ????

In that two week period he took it in for servicing at merc.

When germany saw the parts request for this car they wanted to know what was going on.

Parts list included;
Various ecu's, hydrolic lines, vacuum lines, control soliniods and actuators.
This was just the start of the list.

Turns out previous owner had someone 'improve' the car by disabling the traction and abs modules, modifing the engine ecu, altered the mileage, crimped some vacuum and hydrolic lines, etc.

Butchered, no other way to describe it.

Merc germany told the local dealer that this car was never to see the road again, and to payout or do a swap for the guy.


Installer had done an full system into a commodore sedan.
head unit, two amps, front and rear speakers, sub box.
Apparently he'd done a suberb job, just had to put the amp board in place and secure it in the side of the boot.

Grabed some screws and screwed it in place.
Walked around the car and Hello !!, self tappers sticking out the side of the car panel.
By several inchs at that.

Boss told him to "trim them off and use some touch up paint.


Same shop.

Salesman sold a pair of 6x9's to a guy with a datsun 720 ute (very thin door cavities).

No way they would have fitted without thick spacer rings.

Installer cut through the interior panel with a jigsaw.
Just happened to be a long timber blade that went through the outer skin too.

Within two hours they replaced the whole door with a different colored one from a wreckers and painted it themselves with a can from the hardware.

Paint was still wet as the customer drove out.
No they didn't tell him....


I've seen alarm power wires strung from the battery through the firewall (NO grommets) that tight that the alarm would go off over bumps in the road.

Screws through ecu's, both engine and gearbox.

Loooong screws though center consoles.
As in that long they stopped the gear lever from moving.

Screws through petrol lines/tanks.

Screws though gas (LPG) tanks.
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Old 15th January 2008, 08:41 AM   #5
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Location: Bristol, UK
It's amazing that places like that can carry on trading...
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Old 15th January 2008, 07:24 PM   #6
ppia600 is offline ppia600  United States
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Louis y ana
One of my installers (obviously doesn't work with us anymore) actually drilled an amp into the fuel tank of a lexus, of course fuel was soaking the trunk by the time the customer came back complaining of fumes.

The next one that got canned drilled through the roof of an suv installing a screen.

That's about it, they're both no longer working with us.
Don't worry... you can always turn the gain down!
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Old 15th January 2008, 10:20 PM   #7
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Join Date: Aug 2005
When working in Tucson Az. I visited a shop named Installation Professionals. Nice shop. I noticed a new installer. I asked him where he previously worked. He told me the name of the shop. It was a Very well known shop. One of the top in the USA. It's no longer around. I asked him, "why would you go from one of the top install shops in the US to this smaller not known shop?" He replied," Well I was doing an install in a Custom Cruiser Boat." " I used a 6 inch hole saw to mount some speakers in the cabin and it went right through the hull." "I was fired."
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Old 15th January 2008, 11:04 PM   #8
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Back in the day there was a competing shop (the guy used to sell refurbs and pull the stickers.but that is another story all together).

This guy used to talk all kinds of smack and how he was going to beat me with less power, smaller speakers and less money.

He had 12-12 powered by 6X autotec 333s. I had 12 kicker 15 powered by 6 zr 1000s (11 1000cca batts).

At the next event he pulled a respectable 155. I managed 160+ and pegged the meter (only went to 160 C weight). I also earned a cracked windshield and cheers from about 50 of the peps he invited to watch me go down.
That was a good day.

This same guy went out of business about 6 months after this because:

He did an install on a new vett and did not grommet the firewall or the sheet behind the seats that separated the trunk from the interior. Needless to say after about a week of rubbing the 4 gauge cable wore through and damn near cut the car in half. The owner was able to get the fire out but the car was gone.
The insurance company went after him with a vengeance.

I still laugh about these days gone by.
Good times......but always remember grommet the hole.

True story.
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Old 16th January 2008, 12:08 AM   #9
MadMutt is offline MadMutt  Australia
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If I can't use the factory loom holes and orig grommets/seals.
I always a big diameter grommet, tape the wire for several inchs either side, and try to use some sort of insulated tubing.

I take NO chances.
It only takes someone else to replace the fuse with something stupidly big to cause potential problems later.
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Old 16th January 2008, 04:25 AM   #10
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I forgot to mention that there was NO fuse on the power cable to the battery!!!!
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