Tech: Upgrade Your Audio

Okay folks, this is a complete experiment. This is a repost of an article that I did for the Galaxie Club of America Gazette a few years back. If you want more tech articles like this comment below or contact me here to let me know!

Upgrade Your Audio

A few years ago I decided to replace the horribly installed speakers in the rear deck of my Galaxie. The person who’d put them in had used pennies for washers among other sins of installation plus the speakers weren’t all that good. It was time to install some new ones and get rid of the ugly aftermarket speaker grills that were perched on the rear deck. Now I must say this, I am no pro installer, you’ll notice that when you see how straight my cuts are…

 Car Show

As you can see in Picture 1, a previous owner had decided to cut out the factory rear deck wood and vinyl to install a pair of 6×9 speakers. I have to say I HATE to see speaker grills in the rear deck area of a car, 9 times out of 10 they are ugly and out of place.  The older (maybe factory) center 6×9 grill is pretty ugly as well, so let’s fix that! The goal for this part of the install was to see if I could put these speakers in without leaving any permanent changes to the car.

In Picture 2 you can see the factory rear deck metal, I have removed the rear seat bottom and back so that I could remove the upholstery that covers the rear deck. I won’t go into detail on how to get the panel out since each model of car is different. Lucky for me, Ford left 4 large openings plus the center 6×9 mount. Since stereo sound works best in the car when you have the most separation between left and right speakers, I am going to install the rear speakers in the far outside openings.

Picture 3 & 4 shows a tool that I have had for years…. And I have no idea what it’s called. It’s an adjustable curve that you can pick up at Hobby Lobby. I use it to copy complex shapes in the car. Here you can see it wrapped around the inside of one of the openings in the rear deck of the Galaxie. Simply fit the curve to the shape you desire to copy, then lay it on a piece of 1/8th masonite and trace the shape. This tool comes in very handy when making cardboard templates for patch panels when doing body work as well.

My idea to build the mounts was to use the small ledge in each opening to my advantage. I built a 1/8th masonite plate that fit into the indented part of the metal, then put another masonite plate under the rear deck and used small bolts to cinch the two pieces together tightly to hold them in place in the rear deck. The speakers will be mounted into the bottom panels. Picture 5 shows the rough shape of the panels with holes for the speaker in each panel. I have also drilled holes for the bolts in the panels at this point. The panel in front is the one that goes on top of the rear deck metal, the square-ish one behind goes below the metal and gets the speaker mounted to it. Next I painted them black so that the wood would not show through the final upholstery. I also used speed nuts to attach the speakers to the bottom panel so that I could remove the speakers from the panel without having to unbolt the panels from the rear deck.

Picture 6 shows the rough fitting. Everything is assembled and loose in the rear deck for adjustment. It should be noted at this point that if you have holes in the upholstery panel over any of the center 3 openings that you should cover the openings so that the sound waves that come from the rear side of the speakers do not come through into the passenger compartment. The rear side of the speaker produces a sound wave that will partially cancel out the sound from the front side so this is very important. I will be building a subwoofer setup that will fill these openings so it is not an issue in my case. Since the subwoofer setup will not be ready until down the road I covered the backside of the speakers with foam baskets to keep the back wave contained.

Picture 7 shows the finished project. The beginning idea of getting rid of the ugly holes and speaker grill and ending up with a clean looking rear deck has been accomplished.

The speakers sound much better and have been providing years of enjoyment now.

See you at a show,


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