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Ford Truck Stereos

hawkpilothawkpilot Posts: 75
edited March 1 in Ford
This is a place to discuss the stereos in ford
trucks and vans, from the factory units and
problems, to upgrades and what works/fits in these
vehicles. Harness adapters, subwoofer enclosures,
CD changers, speakers, or whatever.

Those who have done something cool, share your
experiences, and those who are looking for answers,
go ahead and ask.
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Comments

  • stanfordstanford Posts: 606
    Well, let's see. I'm currently building my IASCA system for next year (see ya at the finals, I hope)... its going into my '99 F350 CC DRW 4X4.

    Head unit:

    Undecided, either Eclipse or (prob.) Alpine

    Front speakers:

    a/d/s 325is seperates. The mids are going into
    the doors after building custom fiberglass
    enclosures for them, and the tweeters are going
    into custom pods in the kick panels.

    Amplifier: A single Alpine MRV-F405 running in
    4 channel mode, bi-amping the seperates.

    Rear speakers:

    a/d/s 325im. Same as the 325is, but with the
    tweeter integrally mounted over the midrange.

    Amplifier: Kicker ZX120 in stereo

    Front subwoofer:

    JL 8W6 mounted in custom center console, firing
    down, ported forward. 3 ohm stereo load.

    Amplifier: Kicker ZX120 in stereo

    Rear subwoofers:

    4 JL 10W1 in custom box mounted behind the rear
    seat which remains in stock position. These
    are wired to present a 2 ohm stereo load. The
    box will probably be vinyl or leather, dressed
    up but in factory Lariat colors, with the dark
    brown as an accent (probably for the speaker
    grilles.

    Amplifier: Kicker ZX600 in stereo

    The Alpine amplifier is located under the back seat, along with miscellaneous 1/3 octave equalizers, maybe a processor, et cetera. The three Kicker amps will be mounted on the floorboards between the front and rear seats. With the carpeted cover on, most people won't notice the lack of legroom too badly. I'm using the endcaps and joins to make it seem like one long Kicker.

    As much as possible I'm trying to match the stock truck -- all speaker grills will be the dark brown Lariat accent color, and the box and console will match the lighter brown of the seats.

    The entire system carries an IASCA spec of 580 watts. The way I'm loading it it will actually put out just under 1300 watts RMS (or 2600 watts peak if you like large numbers).



    Right now, I have the 10s in a quick-built box, with the ZX600 driving them. I also have all 4 corners with the a/d/s in them, but without the custom enclosures. They're being driven by the Alpine F405 right now, not bi-amped. I just need to make a final decision on the head unit and find a time when I can be without my truck for the 3-4 weeks to complete the install.

    Future plans include adding navigation and video to the center console, but not by the start of the '99 season.
  • Whew! Pretty serious system for a serious truck!
    You mentioned a lot of custom enclosures, but since you are deep into this, maybe you know of some ready-made ones, like for kick panels, etc.?
    I am not looking to enter competition, and my 'glass work is better left unseen :-) but I would like better sound than stock.

    I remember seeing some of these, made of plastic, I guess, in Crutchfield's catalog once. Dunno if they had any for the f-series, though. Are those just total crap, or would they be ok for a day-to-day truck?

    Also, if I wanted to retain the stock head unit, does anyone make adapter harnesses for both sides?
    I'm thinking of putting amps between the head unit and speakers, and retaining as much stock wiring as is practical.

    I am not really sure just what I want to do yet, but once my truck comes in, I figure I'll start by just replacing the stock speakers and then seeing what I need to do from there, depending on the sound. I'm open to suggestions.

    It is great to have someone who obviously knows his stuff join the topic!

    HP
  • stanfordstanford Posts: 606
    I wouldn't bother with relocating your speakers. I think the ones you're thinking of were the 'Q-Forms'. They move both the tweeter and the midrange, and the kick panels in these new Fords are not that big -- you'll probably end up hitting them a lot. I wouldn't move 'em for anything less than a competition system. I'm just moving the tweeters, and they're going into the factory kick panels behind a little custom grill -- they won't extend into the footwell at all.

    As for the head unit, any line out converter will step down the current (I'm using one now as a matter of fact). Some amplifiers also have built in converters. I'd recommend something like the Alpine F352 if you want a nice low-key system. It has 30 watts x 4 channels (which is plenty, don't compare that number to the ratings you get on cheap radios) and 150 watts x 1 for the subwoofer. It also has speaker level inputs.

    For a good sound, you're better off with even an inexpensive aftermarket radio rather than the speaker level input solution however. With the latter, you're taking the signal, amplifying it, reducing it, and boosting it again. I'm running that way right now and its bearable (well, for a month or two), but you'd see a big difference with a real line-out system.
  • stanfordstanford Posts: 606
    You didn't mention what sort of truck you had. If its an F150 extended cab, I'd take a serious look at the JL Audio Stealthbox for it. This is a very nice system and still leaves room under the rear seat for your amplifier. In fact, combining this, the Alpine F352, and some decent mid/high speakers (I'd spend ~$200 for the fronts, $100 for the rears) would give you a very nice system indeed for around $1200 (+- based on the cost of the stealthbox). I have no idea what your budget is of course, but you wouldn't be disappointed with the results.
  • Hey, the JL stuff looks pretty cool. I could use either one on that page, I'm getting a 4x4 supercab, but with Elec. Shift 4wd and auto trans (so the floor hump in front is clear).

    I understand audio, and have put in quite a few systems for myself and others, but never for competition. It is pretty amazing how much has changed since I began over 25 years ago. (Yeah, I've installed a couple 8-tracks ;-) I haven't really kept up that much with car audio for the last 6 or 8 years, (and just looking around on the web and in magazines convinces me I missed a lot), but I am looking forward to making my new truck sound as great as it will look!

    The Alpine looks like a good choice to drive all 4+1. You're correct, 30W RMS/ch of clean power is plenty for the mid/high end, with the 100W sub filling in the bottom. But it looks like the line converters would be required, (for use with the stock head unit), I don't see spkr level inputs on the diagram. input is listed as 0.2-4.0 v.

    I know you've got the superduty, but do you know what size the stock speaker mounts are in the '99 F150? Seems like Ford has used some pretty odd shaped speakers in the past (5"x9" or something?) It has been a while since I put a stereo in a ford.

    Are the stock speaker wires very heavy, or are they the typical 20 ga (or so)? I'd like to use them if possible. I guess the size is less important if I just run mid/high signals through them and pull new fat wire for the sub. Thoughts?

    As for relocation, one thing i did in my nissan truck that made a big difference was putting some piezo tweeters up in the corners of the dash, firing up at the windshield. The tweeters in the 6.5" coaxials I had in the door panels kinda got buried, firing right into your legs. The piezos sometimes made the sound a little "bright" especially off of a CD, but dropping the treble 1-2 dB took care of it. With FM they sounded just right.
  • one other thing - Are there any good magazines and/or websites that you would recommend, for general info and how-to's & tips? Thanks
  • stanfordstanford Posts: 606
    You're right -- that amp doesn't have speaker inputs (although it does come with a crossover) -- I guess I was thinking about something else. Also note that those ratings are conservative -- my F405 is rated at 40x4 12V and the birth certificate that comes with it has it running 52x4 at 12V before the rated distortion hits. At 14V (more realistic) its more like 60x4. I'd still recommend stepping up to a decent head unit with preamp outs for the best sound.
  • Yeah, but I'll likely do things in phases to keep the cash flow down! I'm about to start making my first vehicle payments in about 8 years, and need to take the upgrades somewhat slow until I get used to budgeting again...

    I can swallow the $50 or so for a pair of converters when I buy the amp easier than $500 for a new head unit at that time.

    Speaking of which, do you have any idea on the cost of that Alpine? I looked on crutchfield's site (nowhere as good as their printed catalog, BTW) and they did not list it, nor did I see any 4+1 channel amps. Not that I am that hot on buying from them, but they generally provide a good place to start shopping. My area is quite limited with respect to autosound shops.

    HP
  • stanfordstanford Posts: 606
    That Alpine runs $450 at my local shop, less during sales. Crutchfield will generally have more expensive prices than any 'real' car audio shop. Circuit city is sometimes more expensive even than Crutchfield. It is a nice place to browse, though.
  • dodgeramdodgeram Posts: 202
    What do you think of Cerwin vega subwoofers, "accurate image group" and stroker subs, I heard that they are the best of the best> stroker. Are they better then MTX SUBWOOFERS?
  • stanfordstanford Posts: 606
    For the best sub, I always go with JL Audio. Consistently the winningest subs in IASCA competition. To be honest, I don't have much recent experience with anything else -- then again, I hear a lot of them quite often and nothing's come close to making me switch.
  • cdeancdean Posts: 1,110
    in my experience, MTX is a lower quality speaker, and Cerwin Vegas are excellent speakers. Cerwin Vega is much bigger in the home stereo department, but i've heard excellent demos from them. MTX's never have impressed me.

    i agree with Stanford on the JL's. I have a pair of JL's myself, the same pair for the last 4 years, and they sound just as awesome as the day i bought them. Rockford Fosgate also makes one hell of good sub.

    you get what you pay for in the subwoofer department. the only real bargain busters i've been impressed with is JBL. JBL is usually 20-30 dollars cheaper than the high dollar competition, and quality wise, i think they run with the high dollar boys.
  • dodgeramdodgeram Posts: 202
    You should hear the stroker, 30lb magnet, dual spiders, and cone excursion of 2.5inches, thats light years away from the nearest competion. I do beleive that this sub has the world record in bass decibles, the only down side price is out of this world, go to www.Cerwinvega.com, to see specs.
  • dodgeramdodgeram Posts: 202
    "correction" I meant 1.5" excursion, and 3in voice coil. Also 1600watts continuous power handling.
  • stanfordstanford Posts: 606
    I looked at the site. Lots of pretty pictures, not much in the way of hard numbers. Anyway, they're really going after a different market (db drag) than I'm interested in (sound quality). Heck, IASCA caps db points at 140. I'd be interested to see a frequency response chart with actual (ie: electrical not mechanical) excursion limits for that stroker.
  • You guys are "speaking the Greek". Maybe you could help a person out in English. I have a new 150 SC arriving in a few days. Never paid much (any) attention to the audio quality of whatever Ford puts in these trucks. Mine's coming with the "premium AM/FM stereo, single CD player, premium sound" system". What's that? I am neither into competition nor blowing the shakes off of the house next-door. I am, however, into quality sound reproduction, fidelity, "cleanness", clarity, etc. Is this system going to cut enough Mustard? Is there such a thing as upgrading a notch or so in order to feel more satisfied with the stereo system? Maybe what's already in there will suit me just fine. Then again maybe I won't know what I'm missing. Looking for opinions and info here and would appreciate any and all I get.
  • mp1mp1 Posts: 7
    I'd like to see this topic stay active....so I'll throw out a couple of questions...

    (1) I'm considering putting 1 10" sub in the back of a 99 F150 supercab (still waiting for it to come in). All I want is a little bit of tight, clean, bass. I was told that 1 10" would be better than 2 8"'s since the 2 8's introduces dynamics if they're mounted in the same box (i.e., they sort of "compete" with each other). Any opinions? Does the fact that it's a supercab PU introduce any special considerations?

    (2) Does anyone want to share plans or describe an enclosure that I could make for hiding the sub underneath the rear bench seat? I do know that I can't afford one of those Stealthboxes. I'd like to build my own...

    (3) While I have the doors panels off of the truck to put in door speakers, and while I'm running wires, etc., would it be a good time to add some extra soundproofing? Will it make a noticable difference on the new F150's?
  • dodgeramdodgeram Posts: 202
    I don't know about soundproffing your doors, but i might be able to help you out on speaker and box. I currently just made my system for my 87 voyager, short version, and its got about the same amount of room that would be in the back aof your super-cab. I to wanted just some good tight bass.
    SO I went out and bought a 10" Cerwin vega Accurate Image Group subwoofer, $150 canadien price, and built the box for it myself. I started it and thought I make a ported box, so i did. The box is 2.4ft by 12Inches deep, with the sub dead in the middle. I packed it with pink fibreglass around the back of the box 3inches out, and around the sides, about 1.5 inches out. After it was done, I hooked it up to my system, IT sounded crappy, very little bass. Wasn't impressed with the sub. I was wrong, it wasn't the sub, it was the ported vent, If I put my hand on it the bass would come out very clean and hard. SO I covered the hole by screwing down a peice of wood over top. WOW what a difference. The bass is amazing its clear even and especialy at lower volumes. I would recomend this sub for any one who is starting out and wants good bass. My deck is a pioneer, and the 6x9 are 150w 3 way pioneers, and the fronts are two 5 1/4 inch panasoncis two way speakers. Put it all together, it sounds incredible. Perfect for driving around, and not pounding out your ear drums, but it still deleivers awasome bass for just one sub. Also I would get a amp that can put out 200watts continous power, for this sub to perform well.
  • stanfordstanford Posts: 606
    Let me try to answer some of your questions:

    1) First of all, 2 8s will work very well for tight bass. As long as they're recieving the same signal, you won't get any 'competition' and if you were told that by an audio shop, I'd find another one. The enclosure I'm designing will have 3 compartments, each with 2 8s in it.

    Two 8s will also hit harder than one 10. For punch, think of the total air moved -- one 8" sub has just over 50 in2 surface area, and one 10" has just under 80. Of course, this assumes that they're equal quality well powered subs. The 8s will also be easier to mount (less depth).

    For tight clean bass I agree with dodgeram, you should certainly go with a sealed enclosure. They are a little power hungry compared to ported ones though. I've also heard stellar ported enclosures -- if you port you have to be very careful with your box and port dimensions though.

    I'd probably build an enclosure to go under your rear seat. With 2 8s you wouldn't even have to move the seat up any. With some nice matching carpet, you wouldn't even notice the box if you weren't looking for it.

    As far as amplification goes, you'll want a single amp bridged mono, so there's only one output signal. 2 SVC 8s will also let you run a 2 ohm output, so that should help your power.

    2) Hmm. If you're on a budget, you may wish to reconsider and go with one 10", or even one 8". Its well worth getting a smaller amount of good quality equipment IMO. As far as the box goes, find out from the sub manufacturer (ie: someone like JL) the recommended space for your speaker. Remember that 2 speakers don't need twice as much space as one in a single enclosure. Build it out of 3/4" MDF and don't forget that the space needed will be inner size, not outer.

    3) If you're on a tight enough budget not to consider the stealthboxes, you may wish to avoid soundproofing for a while. It would make a noticable difference, yes, but not one that would be worth sacrificing on the amp or woofer purchases.

    My standard procedure would be to take off the door panels and weatherproofing film, then spray ~1 can of spray-in dynomat (or whatever brand you prefer) all over the inside of the door. Then cover the door with a solid sheet of dynomat film. Makes a huge difference.

    If you're any good at fiberglassing you should really consider building enclosures for the door speakers (don't forget to make sure the window can still roll down). If not, at least build baffles for them (a full plate so that there are no air gaps around the speaker).

    Are you going with 5 1/4" or 6 1/2" in the front? Picked out any brands yet? What kind of head unit will you use?

    Whatever you go with, take all advice with a grain of salt. Remember that its your system, and make sure that its one that you want rather than anyone else!
  • cdeancdean Posts: 1,110
    subwoofer sound is totally dependent on the box shape, it can really make a big difference. a sealed box is a little easier to make sound good, ported ones take more skill. for best cost, i would buy a good sub (one 10") that only needs small air space, like a JL, and build your own sealed box to meet the air space requirments. Maybe look at a stealthbox for ford to get an idea.
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