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The Electric Blue Upgrade Thread

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by DeedWest, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. DeedWest

    DeedWest Too Many Roadsters

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    #1 DeedWest, Mar 30, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
    As some of you may recall from my earlier days on this forum, I was always set on finding an Electric Blue Roadster. After all, this was the color that I'd always configure for hours back in 2010/2011 when the Roadster Design Studio was a thing. I could never quite get it out of my head...

    Back Story - Last year in April, I visualized my first Electric Blue Roadster in person in Sacramento, thanks to an owner that was looking into selling his 2010, VIN 523. I was completely blown away by the color, but since the car didn't have the main options I was looking for (also the price at the time was out of my range), I continued looking.

    Fast forward to present day. He'd had some unsuccessful sale attempts on the car, and decided to lower the price. Since we'd been friends for about a year now, he was kind enough to extend the offer to me before putting it back online. Regardless of the lack of options, I got the service history, battery health information, the Carfax, and everything checked out. I was hooked. I flew into San Francisco, purchased the car, and started driving it down the coast. My plan was to drive it to Los Angeles, where I usually fly for work, and have it shipped from there to Dallas. In the meantime, I'd get to see some of my team and get to meet up with some friends in the area. Win-win.


    IMG_1133.jpg
    (yes, that sunset was real...)

    I stopped to charge in Monterey at a really neat hotel. After a nice evening of rest & one heck of a breakfast, I continued. My plan was to drive down the coast as long as possible, as this too had always been a dream of mine, but a collapsed bridge (thanks to the colossal rains recently) made it impossible. I had to find another way.

    I checked the map, and there was a highway called CA 198 that looked REAL enticing. I had tons of range, and only needed to make it to the famous Harris Ranch Roadster HPWC, so I decided to do it. Oh man, was I in for a treat. That 60 mile stretch was the most beautiful and engaging experience I have EVER had in a vehicle. There were hundreds of exciting curves, heading up mountain passes, and descents into valleys. Plus, I had the roof off, of course. :) I didn't get very many photos (because driving), but I did get a couple. If there was any better way to get acquainted with my new 523, I'd be surprised.

    IMG_1145.jpg
    Here's one from the top of a mountain pass. Photos really can't do this one justice.

    Shortly after, I made it to Harris Ranch and got to enjoy some excellent charging on 64A. Then, it was time to head towards LA.

    I managed to get the car booked for shipment in a whopping 24 hours, and booked a flight back to Dallas after seeing some friends. Now, it was time to focus on the thrilling part...

    THE UPGRADES -

    For this thing to become my ideal dream Roadster, there were a few major things that needed to happen. I allowed myself a specific amount of budget for upgrades, and started my search.

    1.) Powder coating wheels to Gloss Black (like the factory option) - this one was a no-brainer. In my opinion, the car was severely lacking with the silver wheels. Certain colors on these cars seem to really "pop" when it's narrowed down to two primary colors (like Electric Blue and black). The silver being a third color just wasn't cutting it. Luckily, this was a simple solution. Being in Dallas, I was previously acquainted with an excellent wheel repair and powder coating place called Quality One Wheel Repair in Carrolton, TX, not too far from my home. This place is actually the Dallas Service Center's go-to for customer Model S wheel repair! Jon, the owner, did a fabulous job powder coating my Sig Red Model S' silver Turbines to factory dark gray back when I owned it. Naturally, I was inclined to give him my business once again!

    2.) A custom interior that has never existed (to my knowledge) - here's the cool one. The car originally had the Premium Microfiber interior. While I completely understand the functionality and appeal of these seats to some people, I was personally the least amount interested in them. They just looked...dirty. The cleanliness of the Electric Blue was piercing against the dark interior pieces...and then, here's the microfiber, adding a fourth color to the mix. Granted, the previous owner also frequently drove with his copilot - a dog, so they worked for him. Needless to say, the seats were in rough shape and needed my love. If any car was going to deserve an upgrade, it was this one.
    I was always a MASSIVE fan of the Premium Interior in Rally One configuration. However, I was always disappointed that they didn't offer a matching secondary color for all of the colors, i.e. Electric Blue, Twilight Blue, Lightning Green, etc. It seemed the cars configured in the matching Rally colors were always the best looking, in my opinion. I knew what I had to do. One day...when I found an Electric Blue Roadster, I'd have to create my dream interior myself. The plan:
    create the world's first Premium Black & Electric Blue Rally One Interior.

    3.) Upgrade the horrific 4-speaker Base Audio package - this was a huge one. My two previous Roadsters had the upgraded audio Infotainment package (both 2.5's), so I never had too much of a gripe about the audio quality. At least there was a subwoofer...albeit ANY low-end. This car, however, was the worst audio system I've ever heard. To say that there's absolutely ZERO amount of low-end is an understatement. I feel like I'm listening through a 2008 MacBook's built-in speakers. As a musician and an audiophile, I couldn't handle this. It had to change. My plan is to upgrade the head unit, add an amplifier, and install a subwoofer behind the driver's seat.


    NOW FOR THE PHOTOS -

    Upgrade #1 - The powder coating went almost too smoothly. I dropped the car off, and had it back within 30 hours. Here are some before and after photos.

    IMG_1182.jpg

    BEFORE - here's an attractive shot on the coast of Malibu. I'll admit, the silver wheels definitely look great on the Electric Blue, but still not my personal favorite.

    IMG_1321.jpg
    AFTER - this was taken outside of QualityOne in Carrolton. What a difference.



    IMG_1335.jpg
    One more. The lighting outside a relative's apartment was excellent.


    Upgrade #2 - The interior...

    I researched reviews of upholstery places around Dallas. Before even realizing what it was, I stumbled upon ASM Automotive Upholstery. Sounded familiar, but I wasn't quite sure why. I even called and spoke to Sue herself before putting it together. This was THE famous Sue from the Fast N' Loud TV show! Well, that might have better explained the raving reviews and slew of group photos with her on their Google & Yelp reviews. How could I not go with this place?

    On the initial phone call, she suggested I bring the car down to take a look, so I jumped in and headed down. After showing her a photo of exactly what I wanted (using a Tesla HQ photo of Premium Black & Red Rally One seats on a 2.5), she asked when I'd like it done. I mentioned ASAP, and she asked me to pull it into the garage. Already?!

    Instantly, she says "hey, take the passenger seat out" to one of her employees, and it began. I was pretty blown away to see it happening this fast. I had mentioned that it's my only car and my daily driver, so she said "we'll do the passenger seat and you can drive it until it's finished." Sounds like a plan to me!

    After 8 days, she called and said to bring the car in. Evidently, she had not only completed the passenger seat, but she'd duplicated the process so that she could efficiently reupholster the driver's seat in a fraction of the time. I was blown away. I took the car in, and was told they'd install both seats AND replace the door panels to my specs in just six hours! Here are some awesome progress photos I got to see before I left.



    IMG_1461.jpg
    Close-up of the removed passenger seat. It PROBABLY would have been a swell time to install some Dynamat. Oh well. Now that I've seen these things removed several times, it should be a breeze down the road.


    IMG_1456.jpg
    Okay...how cool is THAT? We found a piece of tape, likely from the original production, with my VIN on it. The inner geek in me was extremely pleased. And yes...of course I left it on there.



    This next part, I'm extremely thrilled to share. Presenting the world's first Premium Black / Electric Blue Interior in Rally One configuration.

    Before -
    FullSizeRender.jpg-45.jpeg


    After -
    IMG_1471.jpg

    IMG_1469.jpg

    The Electric Blue secondary color is almost a perfect match. The blue stitching is really the killer option, for me. These photos don't do it any justice, but I'm out of space to add any further photos on this one post. Please expect some close-up shots in the next few days.

    Of course, I made a couple of politically incorrect options here, for the fellow Roadster geeks out there.

    1.) The logos have a red S, which were (usually) only offered on Sport model cars. I've always loved the contrast of the design, and thought it would look fantastic.
    2.) The matching head restraint in secondary color is something I borrowed from the original 2008 Roadsters, back when that was a factory option. I'm thrilled to see how great it turned out!

    I'm...still speechless. Not only is it beautiful and exactly what I was hoping for, but it's more COMFORTABLE. Imagine that, on a Roadster. The upgraded leather provides some extra padding. For a car that's usually pretty unforgiving on the ride, these seats really make a difference.


    As for the audio upgrade, it's still pending. Hoping to get some of that installed next week. I'll happily update this thread with some more photos once I detail my interior and get more shots of the car in its aesthetically completed state. Hope you all enjoy!
     
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  2. Msjulie

    Msjulie Member

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    That blue interior really pops! Looks great
     
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  3. AEdennis

    AEdennis Active Member

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  4. JayBee7

    JayBee7 Member

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    Good work, please keep the pictures coming, especially the audio upgrade as I am thinking about doing the same thing on my Roadster
     
  5. jareade

    jareade Member

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    Wow, I'm speechless - that's an amazing job! So happy for you with the way it worked out!
     
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  6. josh-io

    josh-io Member

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    Wow, gorgeous! Here's wishing you many more happy miles!
     
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  7. jbadger

    jbadger Roadster #506

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  8. ion_1

    ion_1 Member

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    Fantastic! I also really like the white stitching on the seats and the door panels!

    Quick question, it is a 4 speaker base audio 2.0. Did you find that the care was pre-wired for tweeters when you pulled
    the door panels? I am not sure from looking at the pictures as I see the power window and door lock wires, but not sure
    if the tweeter wires are bundled in there, or they are the second bundle. I'm just about to pull my own panels, so haven't actually seen the wiring yet myself.I believe others have mentioned the base 1.5 audio system wires were pre-wired even though tweeters were not installed.
     
  9. jbadger

    jbadger Roadster #506

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    @ion_1 my 2.0 (#506) was pre-wired for tweeters even though it had the base audio package. I believe they all include the wiring, but be aware that the headunit may not be able to power the 4 speakers + tweeters. I lost most of the power from my rear speakers when I added tweeters so I had to install an amp.
     
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  10. ion_1

    ion_1 Member

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    Great, thanks for confirming. Will be putting in an alpine HD149BT, with possible amp. We'll see how it goes. (apologies for going off course on the thread topic).
     
  11. gregd

    gregd Active Member

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    Wow, love the results. I agree that simplifying the color scheme is very important. Didn't comprehend that before.

    Side question... How does one know which audio package is in the car? I have a 2.0 non-Sport model (#834), with the JVC Kenwood NXD-505 head unit. No clue what the rest of the audio chain is from there.

    Besides listening to it (I have nothing to compare with), how does one know what version of the audio was installed?
     
  12. DeedWest

    DeedWest Too Many Roadsters

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    It was $1,299 for both seats and the door panels. I was ecstatic to hear that!
    And, you raise a good point. I definitely thought about upgrading the silver parts, but they're also kind of authentic Roadster areas for me, so I was reluctant to pull the trigger. However...do you have a photo of yours? I'd love to see it!
     
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  13. DeedWest

    DeedWest Too Many Roadsters

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    It was my fault for not taking some close-ups, but the stitching is actually Electric Blue to match. It really pops in the sunlight. I had some higher quality photos taken today at the Dallas Cars & Coffee meet, so I hope to get those uploaded here soon!

    Also, great to hear about the doors being pre-wired for the tweeters. That might be a good point to make when I have my audio installed next week! Certainly not off topic, either.

    @gregd - your car has the Electronics Group, which is the upgraded audio package. If your car has the JVC navigation head-unit and door tweeters, that's a surefire way to tell. You also have a subwoofer behind the driver's seat. If tuned correctly and used with audio from an iPhone with an EQ active, the audio system is pretty satisfactory. If mine had come with Electronics Group, I likely wouldn't have changed anything. At least not immediately.
     
  14. DeedWest

    DeedWest Too Many Roadsters

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    #14 DeedWest, Apr 4, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
    A few updates...

    Upon removing the driver's rear wheel, we looked into the wheel well for a subwoofer location, much like @glight2000 had shown us in another thread. Photo is below.

    image.jpeg

    Thanks again, @glight2000 for this photo. You rule.

    UNFORTUNATELY -

    My car does not have the upgraded Electronics Group. My car is base audio, which means 4 speakers, a crappy JVC headunit with 200W, not the 400W system found in Electronics Group.

    Upon looking into the wheel well, I fully expected to see that giant, drilled hole. However, it just...didn't. We couldn't seem to locate it, which was surprising. Is it possible that cars without the subwoofers DON'T have that giant hole? Seems like it would be something that every car would have, especially since every car is still wired for the door tweeters, although the Base cars don't have them.
    Instead, in that position, there seemed to be a large box that looked like it was part of the ESS. And...yeah...I'm absolutely horrible for not getting a photo when it was taken off. Perhaps I'll get another soon.

    What we decided on, was a slanted subwoofer enclosure in the passenger footwell, on the right side, so that a left leg can be comfortably stretched forward, and the right leg can have a footrest. It seemed like the most comfortable and best option.

    I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts regarding these decisions / discoveries!

    Those who have custom subwoofer installs, where did you place them? Thanks in advance!
     
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  15. augkuo

    augkuo Member

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    #783 had the subwoofer in the passenger footwell in a custom enclosure but it did affect the leg room so wife wasn't too happy ;)
    Another option is to put a flat subwoofer behind the driver's seat -

    Subwoofer Location Roadster 2.0
     
  16. jbadger

    jbadger Roadster #506

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  17. MLAUTO

    MLAUTO Member

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    That large box you describe IS the subwoofer enclosure. It was removed for the pic you posted.
     
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  18. shrink

    shrink Supporting Member

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    Based on jbadger's post, I just had the Kenwood KSC-SW11 installed in my passenger footwell. It's fantastic! Thanks for that recommendation.

    In this thread: Subwoofer Location Roadster 2.0

    I noted I put a subwoofer behind the driver's seat. It was okay, but took up way too much legroom. So I removed it and installed the Kenwood above.

    Passenger footwell is a great location. It maintains ample legroom for passengers and remains pretty well hidden. The sound is pretty good, too. You can't expect much for a $100 subwoofer, but it's surprisingly punchy (and a little boomy). I think the footwell creates a bit of an echo chamber and with my hardtop on for the Phoenix summer, the bass was louder than I expected. I'm going to play with the settings and turn it down a bit.

    I still have the stock subwoofer in place, but since it kept cutting out at louder volumes during freeway speeds, I just turned on the low pass filter so it doesn't do anything when music is playing.
     
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  19. DeedWest

    DeedWest Too Many Roadsters

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    IMG_1906.JPG As promised, I'll finally get to post a detailed update on my Roadster upgrade process in early August.

    I have been extremely busy traveling around the country since early June, and never got a chance to provide information regarding my (somewhat) completed audio upgrade & subwoofer install.

    Once I'm home from this very, very lengthy tour, I'm planning on visiting some sound-deadening Dynamat upgrades, more leather wrapped interior pieces to match, and a few more speaker replacements.

    Stay tuned! In the meantime, here's a recent photo.
     
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  20. hsull8915

    hsull8915 Member

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    I had already heard all about this car and seen pictures when I had lunch with @DeedWest and this thread still blew me away. Absolutely incredible work brother! Can't wait to see this beauty in person :)
     

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