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2005 Outback L.L. Bean, 3.0 H6 @ 85k and 2000 Outback Sedan Limited @ 206k
260 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I am a bit of an audiophile and I love some good sounding music. When I bought my 2002 L.L.Bean I was told it had the McIntosh audio package...but alas, it does not. It did however have the 8 speaker set up with the 4 woofers in the doors and the 4 tweeters in the doors/pillars. It sounded pretty decent. After upgrading the stereo to a Pioneer XVH 2500bt, it sounded better. A lot better. I then Upgraded the speakers to the JBL GTO 628 in all four doors, turning down the tweeter in the speaker to use those in the original spots and acoustics lit up. The bass was increased also, and it sounded pretty good. There were just some songs, like "Background" by Lecrae or "Anchor" by Beautiful Eulogy, that rattled or lacked bass altogether.

The only logical thing to do is to add a sub. I saw under seat solutions, but I read that it isn't the best solution. My local car audio shop told me to just put a box in the trunk; it would sound great! Plus, I had trunk space.

The thing is, I have come to love the versatility of this vehicle. I can fold the seats down flat and sleep in the back, haul random things, and just have an overall ready vehicle. I didn't want to take that away to put a sub box in the trunk... So I didn't.

I came across this post where the guy made a box using fiberglass resin to make the box to fit the wheel well. I had never worked with fiberglass, but it was worth a shot!

First I taped off the area that would be fiberglassed.

I wanted to run the wiring behind he box, so to leave room for the binding posts I folded up some cardboard to match the depth of the binding posts and taped it in the back of the cut out.

After a few layers of tape, it was time to start the fiberglassing... I found out (by experience) that dipping the cloth into the resin worked better than trying to brush it on.
First layer:

Second Layer:

I took the mold out of the car after 2 coats. If I could go back and do it again, I would have done 3 or 4 coats in the car, just to help keep the shape. I ran into the problem later on because the bottom of my box began to bow, so I cut it out and used mdf.

I continued to add more layers (about 4 more) outside of the car, letting it cure in the sun. This stuff is cool...

You can see how the bottom started to bow...

There was about 6 coats on at this time. While I waited for the resin to dry, I took to the mdf face and top. Because of the failed attempt to do the bottom of the box with the resin, I then added the bottom to the mdf list. Cardboard cutouts made it very easy to get the right fit before cutting and mdf. "Measure twice, cut once" always helped growing up in a woodworking shop.

After the fiberglassing was finished (for the most part) It was time to attach the mdf to the fiberglass. I attached the bottom by drilling holes through the base of the fiberglass shell into the bottom and screwed them together, sealing it off with some silicone. I then used some scraps as supports for the top.

The reason I did it this way is because I wanted to screw the face into the sides, making the face of the box removable. I got all of the pieces sized up and fitted... Note: duct tape was only a temporary hold while fitting the pieces.

I used so old cotton cloth to make supports for the mdf, to hold it in place so I could use fiberglass to secure everything without having the face on. This helped to keep the glove-like fit of the mold. I also made outlines of mdf around the box that I could use to attach the face.

For the sub I was planning on going with an 8" shallow mount, but my neighbor is big into car audio and told me that the size of the box could fit a 10" easily. So I went and got a 10", and after measuring depths I didn't even need the shallow mount! So I went with an Infinity 1060w. Not the nicest, best sub out there, but for $56 it is very nice.

I then went to cut out the hole...

I then installed everything. The hardest part of this project was trying to figure out how to get power to the amp. I wanted to put the amp under the passenger seat, but I couldn't run the cable through the firewall. So I ran it under the car into the spare tire well, which has two rubber grommets already there. So I ended up putting the amp in the spare tire.

I ended up using the Phoenix Gold Octane-R 4.0:2 amp, bridging the two channels to power the sub. It runs very nicely with the sub, and it sounds great. I ran with it like this for a week to test everything.

After a week, it worked beautifully. It was onto carpeting the box. I ended up finding the auto trunk carpet at Walmart of all places. Some adhesive spray and a few minutes and it was finished:

It was a long project, over the course of the summer, but I can imagine a weekend warrior could knock this out if nothing else was done.

I spent about $120 on the materials for the box, $56 on the sub, and $30 on the amp which was purchased second hand. Overall for $200-250 it is a great upgrade, and I would do it again in a heart beat.

Any questions? Let me know, I would love to answer them!

2000 Subaru Outback
105 Posts
Seriously awesome dude. I am tempted to build a box just like that. Just have one question. Wont your amp overheat due to a lack of air flow to cool the fins?
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