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Wow…this is going to be a long “experiences” rather then a “how-to” if you want to replace your entire stereo system. The “how-to” is still being written and pics are still being chosen. But first I need to thank some people for all of their help and advice.



Kwil – thank you for helping me through this entire process. Without you and Soup, I would still be trying to figure out how to run speaker wire!!

TomatoSoup - Thank you for being there and as always, coming up with the best, most thought out solutions, as well as some of the best help I’ve ever encountered.

Matt Potter – on Facebook, not sure if he’s here or not. But giving me quick responses when I was so frustrated I wanted to just take a gallon of gasoline and a….you get the picture. Without his quick 5 minute responses to some issues I had, I would have put it all back together and not even attempted this!

There were too many to list in the thank-yous, so thank you to everyone that gave me advice....you all know who you are!!

Okay, now on with the learning…

First and foremost. Set a budget and stay within it. I actually went over my budget 2.5x. I had little to no choice at the time. COVID had diminished supplies of most stores and online stores. Also plan for about $300-$500 in needed supplies and tweaks such as tools, speaker rings, clips, wiring, etc. Contrary to your belief, if you’re running new speaker wire, you’ll need about 100’. I did this because I didn’t want to cut any factory wires. I wanted to make as few holes and mods as possible on my car and I wanted to be able to put it back to factory quickly and easily without any visible mods should the need ever arise.

I did my install in phases and days. My goal was 7 days to get the old equipment out and new in and functioning. Not necessarily how I wanted it installed...just in and working! And that was because we had my favorite cruise coming and I wanted to get this done while we still had a bit of warmer weather and I had the time.

Day 1 –

Removed Seats, sill plates, back corners, side kick plates, gear shifter, back waterfall panel ( I had to cut my windrestrictor lines because they were quickly wired through the waterfall panel and tucked under the panels for a quick job…8 years ago…haha), radio panel, a-pillars by loosening the vanity mirror panels and removing the vanity mirrors. Then I removed the door panels, all of the see-thru plastic water-proofing and door speakers. I also removed the dead pedal and the carpet on both sides. Once the panels and carpeting was removed, I proceeded to put down a limited qty of kilmat. I didn’t go wild and do the entire car as there were very mixed reviews on whether or not it did anything in our cars. Some said it was the best thing they could have done, others said it had no effect. So rather then waste $100, I decided to just put it in the floor and door areas. I was also going to use MLV, but I was already way over budget with just my equipment…and I hadn’t even started to buy my RCA cables, speaker wire and tools. I’m glad I didn’t do any MLV, because I’ve read that MLV is a waste of money for convertibles. In order to do MLV correctly, I would have had to remove all of the factory sound deadener because of the cement in the OE stuff. Then I would have had to cover the entire floor, center console, doors and back area, as well as trunk with Kilmat. Then I would have had to have spent another $500 to buy MLV to cover everything again. Not something I had the funds to do nor wished to do, especially since I was already way over budget….

EDIT: After having to drive with the top and windows up on our final cruise of the season. I can tell everyone that it made a HUGE difference. My car had squeaks and rattles that were really annoying. With the Kilmat, I stopped about 75% of that noise. So, if you ride with the windows and top up, I highly recommend doing the Kilmat or some form of sound deadener.

Day 2 –

Added the Kilmat as stated in day 1. This took most of Day 2 because I wanted to cover the most I could with the 20 sq ft. of Kilmat that I had. I managed to get most of the floor and doors covered. I also covered certain areas that were “tinny” sounding on the back wall when I would bang on them. But, because I was mounting my amp where the old Monsoon amp was located, I needed as much room as possible back there. Kilmat was easy, but time-comsuing to install. I would figure out where I wanted it, measure it and then cut it. I bought hole punches up to ¾” so that I could make the doors look somewhat professional when installing it. Using tracing clear tape, I was able to trace the areas where I wanted the Kilmat and then cut it to fit and punch the holes. There’s a great tutorial on youtube by a guy that goes by caraudiofabrication. I watched hours of his videos to help me learn how to do things like wiring my amp as well as how to get better sound. This spring I will pull the door panels and cover the big access hole in the door with a removable panel so that I can get better sound from the door speakers. I didn’t have the time nor the tools to custom cut a plastic sheet to cover that hole.

Day 3 –

The fun begins. I ran the wire for the amp through an available grommet hole just above the dead pedal and wanted to zip tie the power cord to the hood release cable. I later decided this might not be the best way because of all of the heat from the turbo and cat as the main amp wire would have to run right over the top of that. Then I layed it out in the car. I didn’t cut any portions yet because I wanted to make sure that my amp’s final resting place would be where the Monsoon amp resided. So I ran the wiring and left it until I needed to test my setup.

** I would later move it (the next week) to up under the cowl and along the windshield until I had more time and energy to run it through the BCM grommet. My goal was to pierce as few grommets as possible. Many used the huge BCM grommet, but I wanted to stay away from that. I didn’t want to cause any unwanted later issues with water intrusion or electrical issues. Even the speaker wire, with the help from kwil and Soup was a major chore. **

Day 4 –

Ran speaker wire today. What a pain in the a&& that was!! I’ll save you all time. I ran 12 gauge…not necessary unless you’re doing competitions. I was given incorrect information from a very great online store. I had a bad sales rep. 14 or even 16 gauge would have worked fine for my install and that’s pushing 125 watts RMS to each speaker.

The doors are a big pain to run the wire. The first door took almost 4 hours to do. Then I figured out some tricks and the driver’s door took an hour. My advice is pull the S runner out and open it (see pics below). Remove the door wiring harness connectors (in the engine compartment, just in front of the S runner) to give you more room. Pull the grommet/rubber wiring cover out at the door. I used a ¼” wide zip tie that was over a foot long to fish my wires into the wiring cover. Once this is done, put the rubber tubing back into the door. Now fish the wire around the opened S cover. On the passenger side, just behind and above the battery, facing you is a 1”x1” square of silver tape…remove it. Now fish the wire through that hole, but don’t forget to put a ¼” grommet in the hole so that you don’t tear up the speaker wires over the years. It’ll come out above the BCM, behind the foam insulation on the side kick plate area, so be careful. On the driver’s side, I pierced the rubber hose/grommet going into the vehicle and fished the wire through it. This side was easy as I had already done this with my under-car LEDS on that side. Unless you’ve been zip-tying everything as you’ve been working, at this point, you’re going to have a mess of wires inside the car. Don’t worry, just try to keep them all straight.

Day 5 –

Ran the RCA cables down the passenger side of the tunnel, then later on in the day, decided to move them to the driver’s side tunnel. On the passender side, you have to remove the plate under the glove box. Once that’s out, up where the screw holds it in place, is an opening into the radio area covered by a piece of carpet. You can run tons of wiring through there…there’s a lot of room. I decided I didn’t want them next to the power wire that I was going to switch to the passenger side of the vehicle. So I ran them to the drivers side, in almost the same location. Again the plate under the dash has to be removed to access these holes. Then I ran the RCA wires under the carpet on the tunnel and all the way to the back of the cockpit. I had 2 sets of RCA cables. I wasn’t going to pay $160 for a bundle of 6, so I went with a bundle of 4 and 2. The 2 were for the subwoofer connection from the receiver to the amp and the 4 were for the highs and lows to the amp. Got those connected. Not sure how others do their work, but I wire everything first, then pull wires and tidy them up. I had a mess at this point. I was also installing a back-up camera, so I had to run the wire for that. I swear they gave me enough of that wire to use on a 40’ motorhome. And it couldn’t be trimmed as it had a video hack on one end, and the camera plug on the other. I wasn’t going to chance shortening it and creating new issues. I also had to wire the video wire to the parking brake wire in the car. This was easily done with a wire splicer and then wrapped in cloth electrical tape.

First was to install my tweeters in the a-pillars. Guess what…they were too big. This was going to require (as most will) modifications using a Dremel on the a-pillar. Hoped online and bought 2 new a-pillars. Took the ones in my car out and started to slowly open up the hole with a Dremel tool. Eventually I got it to where I could just fit the speaker enclosure into the hole and it looked factory, except they are pointing at my belly in the car. This will have to be corrected at a later date, once I’m comfortable with fiberglassing an a-pillar, or I have the means to get it to a custom shop. Once done, I installed the microphone for the phone system on the receiver to the visor and put the a-pillars back in the car. I ran the wires down the each side of the dash, which led to another issue. The wiring for the tweeters was short. So I had to splice extra speaker wire onto them…another ½ hour set-back….UGH!!!

I also started installing the other speakers and passive crossover (which I might switch!!) today so that I could test the system before moving the entire wire mess, and reinstalling the panels. I did manage to finish the doors and sub. I put a foam backside shielding on the door speakers because our doors leak so bad. Be sure to cut out the bottom of this shielding because otherwise it’ll cause issues with the bass. I also didn’t want to ruin my speakers so that shielding is a must. (I would later the next week remove the door speakers again and place foam rings around them on front and back to try to get a better mid-bass sound).

I ran speaker wire from both the short (2 feet of connected speaker to the tweeter, so I had to splice it to other wire) tweeter wires and the door speaker wire, all the way back to the passive xovers on both sides. (this still might be relocated!!) Both xovers are located behind the seats, so I have easy access until I decide where I can put them and still adjust them (if I keep them). I also left enough speaker wire going from the amp to the xover in case I decided to mount them up under the dash area later. So it’s all neatly rolled up and tied together right now. I figured I will have the waterfall off again soon to try my hand at a fiberglass enclosure. If I get rid of the passive xovers, I will have to put capacitors on the tweeters. And they’ll have to be retuned again. So not sure what I might do at this point.

Day 6 – (Friday)

Finished putting the sub in the box and sealing it as best I could. I also had to mount the amp, which was a huge problem. Mounting it to the wall under the waterfall panel. This became a 3 hour chore. Another issue I wasn’t prepared to handle. Luckily the night before I looked a bit and decided I would need some plywood and speaker box carpet. So I got the carpet…luckily….from BestBuy. I measured the amp and cut a piece of ¾” plywood to fit the mounting holes on the amp. I went to prefit the board and….another issue. There are 4 screws that protrude out from the wall where the monsoon amp was bolted down. This is going to create another issue. How do I mount a ¾” board, with a flat amp, to a 1” bolt that I cannot remove? After an hour, I decided to cut 4 2”x2” squares of ¾” plywood. I drilled holes in them big enough to fit the bolts, then I put kilmat on the backside and put the on the bolts and tightened the bolts over them. Then I traced on a piece of paper the exact location of each nut and bolt and punctured the paper, then I put double sided tape on the paper. There was a hump on the floor that came up the back wall and one over by the driveshaft tunnel. I place my board ½” away from that and stuck the sheet to the back of the board. I went and used the a ¾” drill bit and drilled the holes to fit over the nuts and bolts. Checked my work when I was done and then took 8, ¾” screws and secured the board to the 4 pieces of 2”x2” squares of wood that had been bolted over the 1” bolts that were sticking out of the wall. Then I secured the amp to the board. Then I put the waterfall panel (removing the cotton sound deadener from the back) over the amp to make sure that it would fit. I had about 1” to spare at the top of the amp and almost 2” at the bottom.

I did do a big no-no, but I don’t think I will have any issues going forward. I mounted the amp with the air fins pointing down to the bottom. I’m quite sure that in a cheaper amp this could create an issue, but during the tuning phase (later the next week) that took almost an hour and a half, the fins were just slightly warm to the touch, so I don’t think heat will be an issue.

Then I fired up the stereo. Hmmmm….very little bass. So I played a bit with the DSP on the amp. Still hardly any bass. Oh well, I’ve got a cruise on Sunday morning and I have to button everything up at this point if I want to go on that cruise. It’s my favorite.

I started by zip tying all of the RCA wires to the main wiring harness on the tunnel. I then did the amp wire along the driver’s door at the floor. The speaker wire for the driver’s side was run up along the kick plates. On the passenger side the speaker wire was run along the door and sill, under the sub, up over the tunnel (I left all of the onstar and XM modules in the car) and then to the amp. My backup camera wiring was run down the tunnel on the passenger side, over the top of the sub enclosure and out in the trunk. This would be wired after Sunday the following week.

Day 7 –

Put all of the carpeting and panels back on in the car, but left the right and left quarter panel covers off as my 3” speakers were too big. I also had to put both fenders on as they were off to do the speaker wires. This took about 2 hours by itself. All of this took up most of the day on Saturday. I was exhausted at this point, mentally and physically. I had been working 10 hours/day the last 3 days trying to get this installed and working, not too mention back together for my Sunday cruise with the Kappa Club of MI. I wanted a professional looking install and not a hooptie install. I knew if I didn’t get it done right the first time, I would never correct any big issues that I might have. I finally finished at 10pm. At this point and I didn’t even know if the car would start.

Day 8 – Sunday morning at 9am

Go to start the car to pull it out of the garage and wash it. Push the clutch in and it feels very weird. Turn the key and zip. Nada. Nothing. I quickly remember that someone else had issues with their clutch switch after having the carpet out. Sure enough, my amp wire wasn’t allowing the clutch to go all the way to the floor. A quick bend here, a twist there and voila, started right up. Sound was horrible on the stereo and I had no radio signal….hmmmmm…..

After the cruise was over, on Monday morning I called Audiocontrol to tune my amp. Got a great guy that helped me for over an hour. The first thing he noticed about the sub was that I didn’t have it bridged the best way. To bridge it, I had used the 2 outer +/- terminals on the amp. He said that with Audiocontrol amps, the bas would be richer if I used the 2 inner terminals to bridge the amp. Odd… So I switched the bridge to the 2 inner terminals and voila…bass. The session was just basic tuning and making sure that I had no clipping or distortion detected by the amp. I also noticed that I had no FM reception while I was driving. So after I got my amp done, I pulled the dash…again. I found that the instructions were very vague so as I was on the phone to Crutchfield to figure out why my radio had no reception, I realized that I had plugged the antennae into the wrong hole. After I figured it out, I buttoned everything back up. Now it was time to start on my backup camera…. I was still waiting foy my 3 ½” fill speakers to arrive.

Backup Camera Installation –

The easy part was putting the camera on my license plate (LP), just below the LP light. I ran the wire up and into the well. Now to figure out how to get it inside the trunk without drilling a hole. After many consults on the forums and facebook, I decided the quickest, easiest way would just be to pierce the large wiring grommet that connects the decklid to the inner trunk. I pierced in on the rear where nobody would see and ran it into the trunk. The wiring from the radio was already run, so all I had to do was find the backup light wiring and a ground. Luckily I remembered that my Windrestrictor was wired in the passenger side. After doing some searching for the backup light in the wiring harness, I spliced into it using a quick splicer. My camera had LEDs for nighttime to give a better view in the dark, so I also spliced for that into the same wire. I wrapped everything back up with electrical tape and tested it to make sure that it worked. Everything worked great.

AMP REDO -

I didn’t think about where I had run the amp wire initially, but at the time I was desperate to get the amp wired and car finished by that Saturday and it was already Wednesday. I thought about this issue long and hard. I had decided a week after the entire install was done that I wanted to move the amp wire. After looking at the hole I used for the passenger side door speaker wire, I realized that this just wasn’t going to fit. A 4awg wire isn’t going to fit in a hole that’s about 3/8”, so now the question rather quickly became, where else can I run this. After talking with many people I had decided that using the BCM grommet (contrary to my initial thoughts) might be the best new option. Or to drill out the speaker wire hole. However, drilling out a bigger hole on the fire wall could cause rust issues down the road. I thought I might have found a better place and that was in the oblong hole that ran in the door area, but getting a drill in there was very tight and I didn’t want to destroy any paint on the door. So, after about 5 hours of contemplation (yes, 5) I decided the best temporary place would be leaving the wire where it enters the car just above the dead pedal, but moving the engine bay portion to up as close to the bottom of the windshield as possible. So I removed the cowl and proceeded to move the wire. Not too bad… I also put heat reflective tape up there over the wire and it was a great way of keeping the wire in place since there was really nothing to zip tie it too once under the windshield. I’m going to try and figure out where to go with it during the winter months and move it next spring making sure that it enters the car on the passenger side. I’ll either use the BCM grommet or drill the hole bigger that I used for the door speaker wiring.

All in all, this was a great experience and I proved to myself that I could make things look professional and do this all on my own without paying a shop. Here is a list of costs:


Kenwood 706S receiver - $399

Audiocontrol D.6-1200 Amp - $720

Focal K2 Power 165 6.5” component set - $399

Pioneer Sub - $135 (will be upgraded this spring to a 10”

3.5” Fill Infinity speakers - $89

Backup Camera - $159

Kilmat - $90

Various tools and supplies (tape, shrinkwrap, wire wrap, speaker wires, RCA wires, adapters, etc) - $500



In all I was almost 3x over my initial budget. This was due to many retailers not having any stock left, so I had to go with a more expensive amp. The original one I wanted was $369 and the original receiver was $299. The component speakers I wanted were $199 and I hadn’t planned on the $500 in various supplies (actually I think this figure is closer to $800…but who’s counting at this point). I shopped around too for every single piece of equipment and got the best deals possible. My Focals were regularly $799, my amp was $1089. If you are going to do this project, set a budget and stick to it. Get your speaker wire from a local car stereo shop. I bought 30’ online (cheapest 12 gauge I found) for $25. I found that I needed another 70 feet after that. So I went to one of the bigger shops in my area and got 100’ of 12 gauge wire for $0.12/foot…so $12. One of my other suggestions is be prepared, or plan on several days of just waiting. Waiting for certain little electronic pieces/plugs/adapters that Radio Shack used to sell. Now they have to be ordered online for the most part and shipping takes 2-5days.

All-in-all this was a great project and a great experience for me. I proved to myself that yes, I could do a major install and mod some items in my car. Was it without grief? No. I lost more hair. But hopefully I can help people not make the same mistakes I made, but they’ll have to listen to what they’re being told. My next step few steps in this whole process is to tune the system with an RTA mic either me doing it, or a shop doing it. And over the winter I plan on building several fiberglass enclosures using the OE one as a template so that I can make and adjust the boxes according to what size sub I want to use. Stay tuned….
 

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Wow…this is going to be a long “experiences” rather then a “how-to” if you want to replace your entire stereo system. The “how-to” is still being written and pics are still being chosen. But first I need to thank some people for all of their help and advice.



Kwil – thank you for helping me through this entire process. Without you and Soup, I would still be trying to figure out how to run speaker wire!!

TomatoSoup - Thank you for being there and as always, coming up with the best, most thought out solutions, as well as some of the best help I’ve ever encountered.

Matt Potter – on Facebook, not sure if he’s here or not. But giving me quick responses when I was so frustrated I wanted to just take a gallon of gasoline and a….you get the picture. Without his quick 5 minute responses to some issues I had, I would have put it all back together and not even attempted this!

There were too many to list in the thank-yous, so thank you to everyone that gave me advice....you all know who you are!!

Okay, now on with the learning…

First and foremost. Set a budget and stay within it. I actually went over my budget 2.5x. I had little to no choice at the time. COVID had diminished supplies of most stores and online stores. Also plan for about $300-$500 in needed supplies and tweaks such as tools, speaker rings, clips, wiring, etc. Contrary to your belief, if you’re running new speaker wire, you’ll need about 100’. I did this because I didn’t want to cut any factory wires. I wanted to make as few holes and mods as possible on my car and I wanted to be able to put it back to factory quickly and easily without any visible mods should the need ever arise.

I did my install in phases and days. My goal was 7 days to get the old equipment out and new in and functioning. Not necessarily how I wanted it installed...just in and working! And that was because we had my favorite cruise coming and I wanted to get this done while we still had a bit of warmer weather and I had the time.

Day 1 –

Removed Seats, sill plates, back corners, side kick plates, gear shifter, back waterfall panel ( I had to cut my windrestrictor lines because they were quickly wired through the waterfall panel and tucked under the panels for a quick job…8 years ago…haha), radio panel, a-pillars by loosening the vanity mirror panels and removing the vanity mirrors. Then I removed the door panels, all of the see-thru plastic water-proofing and door speakers. I also removed the dead pedal and the carpet on both sides. Once the panels and carpeting was removed, I proceeded to put down a limited qty of kilmat. I didn’t go wild and do the entire car as there were very mixed reviews on whether or not it did anything in our cars. Some said it was the best thing they could have done, others said it had no effect. So rather then waste $100, I decided to just put it in the floor and door areas. I was also going to use MLV, but I was already way over budget with just my equipment…and I hadn’t even started to buy my RCA cables, speaker wire and tools. I’m glad I didn’t do any MLV, because I’ve read that MLV is a waste of money for convertibles. In order to do MLV correctly, I would have had to remove all of the factory sound deadener because of the cement in the OE stuff. Then I would have had to cover the entire floor, center console, doors and back area, as well as trunk with Kilmat. Then I would have had to have spent another $500 to buy MLV to cover everything again. Not something I had the funds to do nor wished to do, especially since I was already way over budget….

EDIT: After having to drive with the top and windows up on our final cruise of the season. I can tell everyone that it made a HUGE difference. My car had squeaks and rattles that were really annoying. With the Kilmat, I stopped about 75% of that noise. So, if you ride with the windows and top up, I highly recommend doing the Kilmat or some form of sound deadener.

Day 2 –

Added the Kilmat as stated in day 1. This took most of Day 2 because I wanted to cover the most I could with the 20 sq ft. of Kilmat that I had. I managed to get most of the floor and doors covered. I also covered certain areas that were “tinny” sounding on the back wall when I would bang on them. But, because I was mounting my amp where the old Monsoon amp was located, I needed as much room as possible back there. Kilmat was easy, but time-comsuing to install. I would figure out where I wanted it, measure it and then cut it. I bought hole punches up to ¾” so that I could make the doors look somewhat professional when installing it. Using tracing clear tape, I was able to trace the areas where I wanted the Kilmat and then cut it to fit and punch the holes. There’s a great tutorial on youtube by a guy that goes by caraudiofabrication. I watched hours of his videos to help me learn how to do things like wiring my amp as well as how to get better sound. This spring I will pull the door panels and cover the big access hole in the door with a removable panel so that I can get better sound from the door speakers. I didn’t have the time nor the tools to custom cut a plastic sheet to cover that hole.

Day 3 –

The fun begins. I ran the wire for the amp through an available grommet hole just above the dead pedal and wanted to zip tie the power cord to the hood release cable. I later decided this might not be the best way because of all of the heat from the turbo and cat as the main amp wire would have to run right over the top of that. Then I layed it out in the car. I didn’t cut any portions yet because I wanted to make sure that my amp’s final resting place would be where the Monsoon amp resided. So I ran the wiring and left it until I needed to test my setup.

** I would later move it (the next week) to up under the cowl and along the windshield until I had more time and energy to run it through the BCM grommet. My goal was to pierce as few grommets as possible. Many used the huge BCM grommet, but I wanted to stay away from that. I didn’t want to cause any unwanted later issues with water intrusion or electrical issues. Even the speaker wire, with the help from kwil and Soup was a major chore. **

Day 4 –

Ran speaker wire today. What a pain in the a&& that was!! I’ll save you all time. I ran 12 gauge…not necessary unless you’re doing competitions. I was given incorrect information from a very great online store. I had a bad sales rep. 14 or even 16 gauge would have worked fine for my install and that’s pushing 125 watts RMS to each speaker.

The doors are a big pain to run the wire. The first door took almost 4 hours to do. Then I figured out some tricks and the driver’s door took an hour. My advice is pull the S runner out and open it (see pics below). Remove the door wiring harness connectors (in the engine compartment, just in front of the S runner) to give you more room. Pull the grommet/rubber wiring cover out at the door. I used a ¼” wide zip tie that was over a foot long to fish my wires into the wiring cover. Once this is done, put the rubber tubing back into the door. Now fish the wire around the opened S cover. On the passenger side, just behind and above the battery, facing you is a 1”x1” square of silver tape…remove it. Now fish the wire through that hole, but don’t forget to put a ¼” grommet in the hole so that you don’t tear up the speaker wires over the years. It’ll come out above the BCM, behind the foam insulation on the side kick plate area, so be careful. On the driver’s side, I pierced the rubber hose/grommet going into the vehicle and fished the wire through it. This side was easy as I had already done this with my under-car LEDS on that side. Unless you’ve been zip-tying everything as you’ve been working, at this point, you’re going to have a mess of wires inside the car. Don’t worry, just try to keep them all straight.

Day 5 –

Ran the RCA cables down the passenger side of the tunnel, then later on in the day, decided to move them to the driver’s side tunnel. On the passender side, you have to remove the plate under the glove box. Once that’s out, up where the screw holds it in place, is an opening into the radio area covered by a piece of carpet. You can run tons of wiring through there…there’s a lot of room. I decided I didn’t want them next to the power wire that I was going to switch to the passenger side of the vehicle. So I ran them to the drivers side, in almost the same location. Again the plate under the dash has to be removed to access these holes. Then I ran the RCA wires under the carpet on the tunnel and all the way to the back of the cockpit. I had 2 sets of RCA cables. I wasn’t going to pay $160 for a bundle of 6, so I went with a bundle of 4 and 2. The 2 were for the subwoofer connection from the receiver to the amp and the 4 were for the highs and lows to the amp. Got those connected. Not sure how others do their work, but I wire everything first, then pull wires and tidy them up. I had a mess at this point. I was also installing a back-up camera, so I had to run the wire for that. I swear they gave me enough of that wire to use on a 40’ motorhome. And it couldn’t be trimmed as it had a video hack on one end, and the camera plug on the other. I wasn’t going to chance shortening it and creating new issues. I also had to wire the video wire to the parking brake wire in the car. This was easily done with a wire splicer and then wrapped in cloth electrical tape.

First was to install my tweeters in the a-pillars. Guess what…they were too big. This was going to require (as most will) modifications using a Dremel on the a-pillar. Hoped online and bought 2 new a-pillars. Took the ones in my car out and started to slowly open up the hole with a Dremel tool. Eventually I got it to where I could just fit the speaker enclosure into the hole and it looked factory, except they are pointing at my belly in the car. This will have to be corrected at a later date, once I’m comfortable with fiberglassing an a-pillar, or I have the means to get it to a custom shop. Once done, I installed the microphone for the phone system on the receiver to the visor and put the a-pillars back in the car. I ran the wires down the each side of the dash, which led to another issue. The wiring for the tweeters was short. So I had to splice extra speaker wire onto them…another ½ hour set-back….UGH!!!

I also started installing the other speakers and passive crossover (which I might switch!!) today so that I could test the system before moving the entire wire mess, and reinstalling the panels. I did manage to finish the doors and sub. I put a foam backside shielding on the door speakers because our doors leak so bad. Be sure to cut out the bottom of this shielding because otherwise it’ll cause issues with the bass. I also didn’t want to ruin my speakers so that shielding is a must. (I would later the next week remove the door speakers again and place foam rings around them on front and back to try to get a better mid-bass sound).

I ran speaker wire from both the short (2 feet of connected speaker to the tweeter, so I had to splice it to other wire) tweeter wires and the door speaker wire, all the way back to the passive xovers on both sides. (this still might be relocated!!) Both xovers are located behind the seats, so I have easy access until I decide where I can put them and still adjust them (if I keep them). I also left enough speaker wire going from the amp to the xover in case I decided to mount them up under the dash area later. So it’s all neatly rolled up and tied together right now. I figured I will have the waterfall off again soon to try my hand at a fiberglass enclosure. If I get rid of the passive xovers, I will have to put capacitors on the tweeters. And they’ll have to be retuned again. So not sure what I might do at this point.

Day 6 – (Friday)

Finished putting the sub in the box and sealing it as best I could. I also had to mount the amp, which was a huge problem. Mounting it to the wall under the waterfall panel. This became a 3 hour chore. Another issue I wasn’t prepared to handle. Luckily the night before I looked a bit and decided I would need some plywood and speaker box carpet. So I got the carpet…luckily….from BestBuy. I measured the amp and cut a piece of ¾” plywood to fit the mounting holes on the amp. I went to prefit the board and….another issue. There are 4 screws that protrude out from the wall where the monsoon amp was bolted down. This is going to create another issue. How do I mount a ¾” board, with a flat amp, to a 1” bolt that I cannot remove? After an hour, I decided to cut 4 2”x2” squares of ¾” plywood. I drilled holes in them big enough to fit the bolts, then I put kilmat on the backside and put the on the bolts and tightened the bolts over them. Then I traced on a piece of paper the exact location of each nut and bolt and punctured the paper, then I put double sided tape on the paper. There was a hump on the floor that came up the back wall and one over by the driveshaft tunnel. I place my board ½” away from that and stuck the sheet to the back of the board. I went and used the a ¾” drill bit and drilled the holes to fit over the nuts and bolts. Checked my work when I was done and then took 8, ¾” screws and secured the board to the 4 pieces of 2”x2” squares of wood that had been bolted over the 1” bolts that were sticking out of the wall. Then I secured the amp to the board. Then I put the waterfall panel (removing the cotton sound deadener from the back) over the amp to make sure that it would fit. I had about 1” to spare at the top of the amp and almost 2” at the bottom.

I did do a big no-no, but I don’t think I will have any issues going forward. I mounted the amp with the air fins pointing down to the bottom. I’m quite sure that in a cheaper amp this could create an issue, but during the tuning phase (later the next week) that took almost an hour and a half, the fins were just slightly warm to the touch, so I don’t think heat will be an issue.

Then I fired up the stereo. Hmmmm….very little bass. So I played a bit with the DSP on the amp. Still hardly any bass. Oh well, I’ve got a cruise on Sunday morning and I have to button everything up at this point if I want to go on that cruise. It’s my favorite.

I started by zip tying all of the RCA wires to the main wiring harness on the tunnel. I then did the amp wire along the driver’s door at the floor. The speaker wire for the driver’s side was run up along the kick plates. On the passenger side the speaker wire was run along the door and sill, under the sub, up over the tunnel (I left all of the onstar and XM modules in the car) and then to the amp. My backup camera wiring was run down the tunnel on the passenger side, over the top of the sub enclosure and out in the trunk. This would be wired after Sunday the following week.

Day 7 –

Put all of the carpeting and panels back on in the car, but left the right and left quarter panel covers off as my 3” speakers were too big. I also had to put both fenders on as they were off to do the speaker wires. This took about 2 hours by itself. All of this took up most of the day on Saturday. I was exhausted at this point, mentally and physically. I had been working 10 hours/day the last 3 days trying to get this installed and working, not too mention back together for my Sunday cruise with the Kappa Club of MI. I wanted a professional looking install and not a hooptie install. I knew if I didn’t get it done right the first time, I would never correct any big issues that I might have. I finally finished at 10pm. At this point and I didn’t even know if the car would start.

Day 8 – Sunday morning at 9am

Go to start the car to pull it out of the garage and wash it. Push the clutch in and it feels very weird. Turn the key and zip. Nada. Nothing. I quickly remember that someone else had issues with their clutch switch after having the carpet out. Sure enough, my amp wire wasn’t allowing the clutch to go all the way to the floor. A quick bend here, a twist there and voila, started right up. Sound was horrible on the stereo and I had no radio signal….hmmmmm…..

After the cruise was over, on Monday morning I called Audiocontrol to tune my amp. Got a great guy that helped me for over an hour. The first thing he noticed about the sub was that I didn’t have it bridged the best way. To bridge it, I had used the 2 outer +/- terminals on the amp. He said that with Audiocontrol amps, the bas would be richer if I used the 2 inner terminals to bridge the amp. Odd… So I switched the bridge to the 2 inner terminals and voila…bass. The session was just basic tuning and making sure that I had no clipping or distortion detected by the amp. I also noticed that I had no FM reception while I was driving. So after I got my amp done, I pulled the dash…again. I found that the instructions were very vague so as I was on the phone to Crutchfield to figure out why my radio had no reception, I realized that I had plugged the antennae into the wrong hole. After I figured it out, I buttoned everything back up. Now it was time to start on my backup camera…. I was still waiting foy my 3 ½” fill speakers to arrive.

Backup Camera Installation –

The easy part was putting the camera on my license plate (LP), just below the LP light. I ran the wire up and into the well. Now to figure out how to get it inside the trunk without drilling a hole. After many consults on the forums and facebook, I decided the quickest, easiest way would just be to pierce the large wiring grommet that connects the decklid to the inner trunk. I pierced in on the rear where nobody would see and ran it into the trunk. The wiring from the radio was already run, so all I had to do was find the backup light wiring and a ground. Luckily I remembered that my Windrestrictor was wired in the passenger side. After doing some searching for the backup light in the wiring harness, I spliced into it using a quick splicer. My camera had LEDs for nighttime to give a better view in the dark, so I also spliced for that into the same wire. I wrapped everything back up with electrical tape and tested it to make sure that it worked. Everything worked great.

AMP REDO -

I didn’t think about where I had run the amp wire initially, but at the time I was desperate to get the amp wired and car finished by that Saturday and it was already Wednesday. I thought about this issue long and hard. I had decided a week after the entire install was done that I wanted to move the amp wire. After looking at the hole I used for the passenger side door speaker wire, I realized that this just wasn’t going to fit. A 4awg wire isn’t going to fit in a hole that’s about 3/8”, so now the question rather quickly became, where else can I run this. After talking with many people I had decided that using the BCM grommet (contrary to my initial thoughts) might be the best new option. Or to drill out the speaker wire hole. However, drilling out a bigger hole on the fire wall could cause rust issues down the road. I thought I might have found a better place and that was in the oblong hole that ran in the door area, but getting a drill in there was very tight and I didn’t want to destroy any paint on the door. So, after about 5 hours of contemplation (yes, 5) I decided the best temporary place would be leaving the wire where it enters the car just above the dead pedal, but moving the engine bay portion to up as close to the bottom of the windshield as possible. So I removed the cowl and proceeded to move the wire. Not too bad… I also put heat reflective tape up there over the wire and it was a great way of keeping the wire in place since there was really nothing to zip tie it too once under the windshield. I’m going to try and figure out where to go with it during the winter months and move it next spring making sure that it enters the car on the passenger side. I’ll either use the BCM grommet or drill the hole bigger that I used for the door speaker wiring.

All in all, this was a great experience and I proved to myself that I could make things look professional and do this all on my own without paying a shop. Here is a list of costs:


Kenwood 706S receiver - $399

Audiocontrol D.6-1200 Amp - $720

Focal K2 Power 165 6.5” component set - $399

Pioneer Sub - $135 (will be upgraded this spring to a 10”

3.5” Fill Infinity speakers - $89

Backup Camera - $159

Kilmat - $90

Various tools and supplies (tape, shrinkwrap, wire wrap, speaker wires, RCA wires, adapters, etc) - $500



In all I was almost 3x over my initial budget. This was due to many retailers not having any stock left, so I had to go with a more expensive amp. The original one I wanted was $369 and the original receiver was $299. The component speakers I wanted were $199 and I hadn’t planned on the $500 in various supplies (actually I think this figure is closer to $800…but who’s counting at this point). I shopped around too for every single piece of equipment and got the best deals possible. My Focals were regularly $799, my amp was $1089. If you are going to do this project, set a budget and stick to it. Get your speaker wire from a local car stereo shop. I bought 30’ online (cheapest 12 gauge I found) for $25. I found that I needed another 70 feet after that. So I went to one of the bigger shops in my area and got 100’ of 12 gauge wire for $0.12/foot…so $12. One of my other suggestions is be prepared, or plan on several days of just waiting. Waiting for certain little electronic pieces/plugs/adapters that Radio Shack used to sell. Now they have to be ordered online for the most part and shipping takes 2-5days.

All-in-all this was a great project and a great experience for me. I proved to myself that yes, I could do a major install and mod some items in my car. Was it without grief? No. I lost more hair. But hopefully I can help people not make the same mistakes I made, but they’ll have to listen to what they’re being told. My next step few steps in this whole process is to tune the system with an RTA mic either me doing it, or a shop doing it. And over the winter I plan on building several fiberglass enclosures using the OE one as a template so that I can make and adjust the boxes according to what size sub I want to use. Stay tuned….
WOW!!! Quite a job! Pics to follow I hope?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
WOW!!! Quite a job! Pics to follow I hope?
Yes...this was just an experience post. The how-to is coming. With pics and videos.
 

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Am going to follow and eagerly await the how-to. I'm going to be tackling a similar project within the year.
 

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Ghost, glad to help- anytime bro. I'm eagerly awaiting the pics.

About the MLV, you really don't have to remove the factory sound deadener for the mlv to be effective. Just add a closed cell foam (CCF) decoupler right on top of it, then the mlv on top of that. Removing the factory stuff would only be helpful in that you could then apply more Dynamat (because it obviously has to be stuck directly to the panel). But Dynamat, Kilmat, and similar products don't do much at all to stop outside noise (engine, exhaust, road noise, tires). They are great though at stopping panel resonance (which is their intended purpose). MLV is what actually blocks sound waves, making the car significantly quiter (but to be effective it needs to be decoupled from the panels).

Yes, results will be less dramatic in a vert, but it still works. I can barely hear my exhaust, and don't hear the tires at all. Obviously it does nothing to reduce wind noise in a vert. So at highway speeds, yes, it doesn't do much. But at speeds under 45-50 or so, it makes a huge difference. If you ever have your car apart agin, you should consider it. I don't remember exactly how much it cost me, but it was definitely under 500. Our cabins are tiny, and there's no need to cover the trunk in CCF and MLV.

Oh, and I'm still going to try to talk you into a 12" sub lol. Why bother with an 8 or even a 10? Go big or go home. What's the old A/V saying? "I wish I had bought a smaller tv", said no one, ever. You won't regret getting a 12, but you might regret stopping at 8 or 10. Just select the proper driver in terms of required depth and sealed enclosure volume and you're golden. It's no more difficult to modify the Monsoon box (or build a new one) for a 12 than for a 10.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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Hi Ghost this is Matt Potter from Facebook! Glad I was able to help, it was quite a bit of work and a learning process for me too but I'm very thankful for it as I learned more about the car or so I feel. I never did do the sub when I did my project last year, but now got my hands on a monsoon box and getting ready to add it to mine. I was just curious if you ever found a good spot for the crossovers? I currently have mine in the door but am looking to move them while I add the sub.

Or if anyone else has some good recommendations for the crossover placement?
 
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