The Rack, The History – and Stuff

Re-working my woofer pods I took a look at my amp rack. I created this in 2006 at the same time as the pods and while it served it’s purpose, it had long needed a complete overhaul. It was constructed of MDF mounting two amplifiers. The problem is that it sat there and that is about it. Getting to it to do something as simple as replacing a fuse is a real pain.

Location – Location

Behind the driver’s seat is a compartment with a cover. In the base model this is simply an empty box that you can get to by removing a cover. In the higher end 350Z it contained a 10″ woofer .. part of the Bose sound system that came with the car. The one behind the passenger is a locking “Luggage Compartment”. The order is flipped for right hand drive cars. The various tabs and brackets are the same on each side even if not used.

This is where I put my amps back in 2006.

MDF Amp Rack

Here’s a front and side view of the amp rack with amps mounted and everything wired. It was made to fit the uneven interior of the compartment simply mounting with straps. It works fine for something that never has to be accessed.

Circuit Tester / Capacitor Charging/Discharging

Stopped by Harbor Freight and picked this up for $3.99 – a Circuit Tester yes – but can be used for charging an Audio Capacitor if you can’t put you hands on the charging thing that comes with your capacitor. You can risk damaging the capacitor if you just slap power through it .. you are supposed to add resistance. The tester will do that – you simply use it between the charger/battery and the capacitor. You can also use it to discharge the capacitor simply connecting across the terminals until it discharges (light goes out). Point .. always double-check the capacitor with a multimeter.

Amp Rack & Compartment

Here I am pulling the amp rack + amps. This took a while as I labeled every single piece of wire with white electrical tape and a marker. The amp rack as shown fit .. but that was by tilting the back down into the compartment and wiggling it into position.

This was frustrating as it was like trying to shove a pill down a cat’s throat. You can do it .. but you end up scratched, scarred and possibly a bit insane.

Vertical Clearance

Here’s the ‘thing’. I have the level .. sitting on the lip at the front of the compartment and .. well .. level. The ruler shows that I have 6-1/2″ of vertical clearance. That is it if I want the amp rack + amps to pull straight out like I was opening a drawer.

I should mention that this 6-1/2″ would be the maximum for the amp rack + amps. I would want some additional clearance beyond that to prevent any scraping at the top.


I created this in Sketchup – call it version 3 of the new Amp Rack. The rack is made from 1/2″ steel tubing and 3/4″ steel angle. The top amp – the AP1040 is set even on the left side with the lower amp, the CA600M but set back slightly on the front to clear the ~45° angle of the compartment opening. If the amp rack + amps are completely inside the compartment then this setup is necessary with the leading edge of the translucent shape as shown right at the leading edge of the bottom opening of the compartment. This would give a total depth to behind the capacitor mounted on the back of the frame at 18.5″ depth (represented by the translucent pink and blue.) This is of course just me playing in Sketchup .. exact fitting will come later.

If I attach the capacitor to the front of the frame like shown it may fit (again .. depending on the exact fitting in the “real world”. The area to the left is good for my RCA Jack Board and the three Distribution boxes I plan to include.


.. well .. I HOPE the last design is a good one since I cut up 3/4″ angle iron and 1/2″ sq. tube

Test Fit

Have the amp rack welded up .. more or less .. (a REAL welder might have doubts but I think It will work for me!). The amps are just sitting approximately where they will go.

The rack will be cleaned up and holes drilled and any additional tabs etc. added after which Bondo to pretty it up, primer and paint.

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