Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 20 of 222 Posts

·
Registered
2016 3.6R Limited
Joined
·
348 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I had enough pieces together to get started with my car stereo install this weekend. I've decided to document the process 1) for my own records and 2) to help others who might decide to do the same.

*DISCLAIMER* - I don't do this professionally nor do I assume any liability if you go and muck something up :D

I will try to be as comprehensive as I can. Step by step guides are hard to find these days. Maybe I'm just a bit slow. :eek:

Tasks/Goals
  • Change out the speakers
  • Run amp wiring to the back
  • Figure out where/how to mount my amp for the subwoofer
  • Swap out the stock stereo for a Pioneer AVH-P4300
  • Retain steering wheel controls
  • Integrate an HD radio tuner
I started with the door speakers. I've never removed a door panel before in my life but it wasn't too bad. Let's start with the front doors.

Pop off the plastic piece that covers the wiring to the side mirror. It literally just comes off if you pull on it.



There are two screws that need to be removed. They are both hiding behind plastic pieces. One is by the door handle, and the other is by the door cubby (what you pull to close the door). Take a small flat head screwdriver and pop the plastic covers off. You'll need a phillips #2 screwdriver to take the screws out.




After you've put those screws somewhere safe, it's time to start prying the panel off. On the bottom of the door panel, by the light, there's a gap built in between the panel and door frame. It's about 2" wide. You can slide a trim tool, a flat head screw driver, or anything that'll fit and start the process. I put trim tool in about 2" and applied moderate pressure until I heard the plastic rivet pop out. It's very audible, so you'll know when it happens.





Start making your way to the front of the door panel popping the rivets as they come, and then make your way to the back of the panel. You should have the entire bottom section of the panel free now. You can use your hands once you've gotten 2 or 3 rivets out. After the bottom section is good, work on the front starting from the bottom and making your way to the top. Then get the back section again, bottom to the top. After all that you can just lift the panel and it'll separate itself from the door frame.




Don't drop the door panel just yet. It's still attached! In order to get the panel free from the frame you'll have to disconnect a few things. Let's start with the locks and door handle. There are two metal wires that run through sleeving and terminate with metal balls. Pop them out just by lifting them from their plastic guide. You may have to maneuver them a bit so they release. Just so you remember, the blue one is your lock. If you need to lock your door, pull on the ball. If you need to open the door, pull on the other wire. Remember to pull on the wire itself, not the sleeve.





There's two wiring harnesses that need to be disconnected. There's the fat one that connects to the power window and lock switches. Then there's the power wire for the ground light. Both release by pressing in on the plastic tab and pulling out at the same time.




Upon completing that, huzzah! your door panel is free!



Let's examine that stock speaker. It's secured in an integrated mounting basket so the woofer cone doesn't sit parallel with the door's sheet metal. It's offset at an angle. The basket uses 3 screws to secure itself to the panel. Standard aftermarket speakers mount with 4 screws, so that means your spacing angle is completely off; 120 degrees instead of 90.




After removing the speaker we can see that's basically a piece of **** (not that your ears couldn't tell you that already). The magnet is the size of a quarter. Not to mention the impregnated paper spider is super stiff. I'm replacing them with Polk db6501 (92dB @1w). They were $105/pair shipped. Not very deep mounting depth and have a power handling of 100w RMS and 300w peak. This is not all that relevant as I plan on using the integrated amp in the headunit. 14w RMS is plenty imo. 92dB @1w translates to 103.4dB @14w RMS with headroom for transients.




You can see that the magnet on the db6501 is considerably bigger. This is meaningful to us because of the stronger B (magnetic) field. The permanent magnet is what the voice coil (electro magnet) pushes on as the signal changes. Stronger B field means better control of the cone and less distortion as you get non-linear feedback once the voice coil starts leaving the B field (the reason why they make progressive spiders). Heck, the db6501 even sticks to the door frame with just the magnet, and that's WITH a metal plate on the back as well.



If you plan on adding sound "deadening" materials to the door as well, keep reading, otherwise you can skip this bit.

There's going to be a big plastic sheet on the door. It's the vapor barrier. It serves to block water from getting to the inside. Most newer basements have one. My house is almost 100 years old and does not... that in addition to poor grading in my back yard gives me vapor transmission through my foundation, causing bricks to spald and paint to bubble. But I digress...

Let's rip it all out! ;)

Hint. Wear a pair of disposable gloves while doing this. I didn't and the black adhesive, goop, tar, caulk, whatever it is, is now stuck to my hands. It's some gnarly stuff.



After you've finished junking that plastic you'll be left with a clean door frame to start adding more crap to.



People "deaden" their door frame to stop rattling and improve the sound coming from the speakers. How does this work per say? Well the door's sheet metal is like the face of a drum. It will vibrate at certain frequencies (fundamental to the mass and size of the object). By changing the mass of the object we can shift its resonant frequency. That's what that Dynamat stuff does. It's sticky (asphalt base) and heavy. I ordered a pack of RaamMat for $90 and that should cover all 4 of my doors. The other piece to this is laying foam on the door frame as well. Any closed cell foam will do as it serves two purposes 1) it's waterproof and is our new pseudo vapor barrier 2) it absorbs errant sound, making your interior cabin quieter. Didn't you notice the sheets of white open cell foam already present behind the door panel? Same idea, absorb sound.



I'm no expert in putting this stuff on. I've seen some crazy installs where people covered every single exposed inch and then went back for a second layer. Not I. 80% of the results in 20% of the effort :) I just slapped it on where I could. I did however, try and bulk up the metal panels right next to the speaker cut out. I slapped some on the exterior panel, the backside of the interior panel, and frontside of the interior panel. I think I went through 5 sheets.






It only took me about 5 minutes for each door to get the trim panel off. Laying strips of sticky aluminum takes much much longer. I got through 1 door and decided to take a break and ride the motorcycle around town since the afternoon was gorgeous.

The next issue is how to mount the new speakers? I know some forum members have built new mounting plates out of wood. 'nikbrewer' even has a cnc machine in garage so he fab'd up a new bracket in no time flat. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I don't have a cnc machine in my garage (I can keep on wishing can't I?). I decided to reuse the old crappy plastic baskets. That involves ripping out the old speaker, trimming the top flush, and then adhering the new speaker to the basket.

I used a razor blade and raw man strength to pulverize the pathetic stock speaker cone. Cut out the foam surround and then rip the cone out. I used a dremel to cut through the 'spokes' that attached the magnet to the basket. While going through the rear set of speakers I found out a pair of tin snips is 5x faster (I'm sure heavy duty shears could work too). I also used the dremel to cut out the lip on the top. I did this so the new speaker could sit flush where the old cone was.



Here is the basket all prepped up.



You can see that even with the new speaker in it, it's not as deep as the older stock speaker.



I used RTV (room temperature vulcanizing) silicone to adhere the new speakers to the old baskets. Silicone is sticky, durable, and relatively cheap. The smell of vinegar during curing is acetic acid (lovely) and is normal. I also picked it because I had a tube of it on hand. I use it primarily for high heat applications; exhaust system on my motorcycle and securing power LED heatsinks to a custom tail light. You can get it at any hardware store for a few bucks.

If you choose to go this route. Lay a thick bead on the surface of your basket and then immediately set the speaker down on it. Since the front's are slanted I raised them by the basket tabs so the weight of the speaker would compress the silicone as it was curing.




I should be able to stick those back in tomorrow.

Also found a spare grommet in the firewall... not sure if I can use it to route the amp wire but will find out later. I think the next step will be getting the doors finished as far as applying raammat and closed cell foam.
 

·
Registered
Black 2010 OB 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
1,411 Posts
I'll Add to this. Something that you can also do, is get some 10 foot, 3/4 inch foam weather striping(costs 3 dollars at Walmart!) and go around all of the wires and put it on anything that might rattle. It helps out alot with little rattles you will get when the bass hits. Due to its low price its a no brainer!
 

·
Registered
2016 3.6R Limited
Joined
·
348 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
@combatmedic - when you installed your front sets, how did you hook in your tweeter? did you run new wiring or dig out the wire behind the dash and break it up?
 

·
Registered
2019 Forester Sport. Love the Orange.
Joined
·
4,016 Posts
Excellent photos. Great info on removing door panels. In most DIY's the first picture shows everything already taken apart. Can't wait for the rears and sub.
 

·
Registered
Black 2010 OB 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
1,411 Posts
@combatmedic - when you installed your front sets, how did you hook in your tweeter? did you run new wiring or dig out the wire behind the dash and break it up?
Well i didnt want to run new wires to them. To much of a PITA...screw that. So....*takes a deep breath*
Alright so in the foot well you will have to remove some trim in order to find this. Find the speaker wiring coming inside of the car from the door(easier said the done really). But if you find one that you know is it, youve found the other due to it being right next to it. Sooo pull them out as much as you can to get some slack on them. Cut them. Leave an inch for each so you have some working room. Strip 1/2 inch of the 1 inch of wire. SOOO now you have your wiring needed.

But you could always take off the front panel and hook up the crossovers up behind the stereo and everything. Would most likely be easier. I have a REALLY hard time taking off the front panel to the stereo with out screwing it more and more eveytime i do it.

Now Attach 3 feet of wiring to both(depending on where your putting the cross overs or if you even have cross overs).... 18G will do... The wiring coming fromt he car is the main power and the cords coming from the door is for your the speaker cross over. Thread the tweeter speaker wiring through and hook it up to the cross over and your done!

If you dont have cross overs a quick splice connector will work just as good for non oem tweeters if you have an AM head unit.


LOL....do you even have a new head unit?!!!? If you dont have a new HU then all you have to do is cut the wiring that is up there already for the OEM tweeters and hook up the tweets to that. Use a needle to pry up the tweeter grill on the edge Or a skinny nail works as well.

I need more information.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Well done Taiguy! I want so badly to replace the audio mess in my outback. Its threads like these that make it possible for a guy like me to do so! Looking forward to the rest of the install.:D
 

·
Registered
2016 3.6R Limited
Joined
·
348 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Well i didnt want to run new wires to them. To much of a PITA...screw that. So....*takes a deep breath*
Alright so in the foot well you will have to remove some trim in order to find this. Find the speaker wiring coming inside of the car from the door(easier said the done really). But if you find one that you know is it, youve found the other due to it being right next to it. Sooo pull them out as much as you can to get some slack on them. Cut them. Leave an inch for each so you have some working room. Strip 1/2 inch of the 1 inch of wire. SOOO now you have your wiring needed.

But you could always take off the front panel and hook up the crossovers up behind the stereo and everything. Would most likely be easier. I have a REALLY hard time taking off the front panel to the stereo with out screwing it more and more eveytime i do it.

Now Attach 3 feet of wiring to both(depending on where your putting the cross overs or if you even have cross overs).... 18G will do... The wiring coming fromt he car is the main power and the cords coming from the door is for your the speaker cross over. Thread the tweeter speaker wiring through and hook it up to the cross over and your done!

If you dont have cross overs a quick splice connector will work just as good for non oem tweeters if you have an AM head unit.


LOL....do you even have a new head unit?!!!? If you dont have a new HU then all you have to do is cut the wiring that is up there already for the OEM tweeters and hook up the tweets to that. Use a needle to pry up the tweeter grill on the edge Or a skinny nail works as well.

I need more information.
Yea. Putting this guy in.



Should add a parts list to the post as well.

I've been looking at SVXdc's posts and it seems like all of the aftermarket wiring harnesses don't contain the correct or at least a complete set of wires. Will validate that statement. I imagine that could be difficult if I want to integrate the steering wheel controls.

As far as popping the front dash plate off, 'nikBrewer' said in his thread that if you remove the passenger console trim and then reach up behind the front dash and push on the cubby it just comes out real easy.

I'm hoping the tweeter wires are easy to find behind the dash and not hidden somewhere stupid like behind the instrument cluster. I'd be trying to fit two crossovers, the HD radio unit, and the steering wheel unit back there in addition to the already huge head unit. Hoping there's space. The other alternative is to chop up the front drawer and use that as additional rack space.

Speaker silicone gasket is about halfway cured but already it feels solid. I can pick it up from the basket and the speaker is attached very well.
 

·
Registered
Black 2010 OB 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
1,411 Posts
Yea. Putting this guy in.



Should add a parts list to the post as well.

I've been looking at SVXdc's posts and it seems like all of the aftermarket wiring harnesses don't contain the correct or at least a complete set of wires. Will validate that statement. I imagine that could be difficult if I want to integrate the steering wheel controls.

As far as popping the front dash plate off, 'nikBrewer' said in his thread that if you remove the passenger console trim and then reach up behind the front dash and push on the cubby it just comes out real easy.

I'm hoping the tweeter wires are easy to find behind the dash and not hidden somewhere stupid like behind the instrument cluster. I'd be trying to fit two crossovers, the HD radio unit, and the steering wheel unit back there in addition to the already huge head unit. Hoping there's space. The other alternative is to chop up the front drawer and use that as additional rack space.

Speaker silicone gasket is about halfway cured but already it feels solid. I can pick it up from the basket and the speaker is attached very well.
the tweets are pretty easy to get threaded through and everything, best thing to do is use a flash light at the bottom, you get out of your car and look down into it and thread it like that. I did that and it wasnt to hard.

Now that i know your running crossovers. While your putting in your new stereo it would be wise to put in the cross overs then vs what i did.

There is plenty of space back there. Once put my little alpine 445 amp back there im going to finally get the cross overs back there! :) I wont run that amp till i run my Alpine m-500 for my sub.
 

·
Registered
2016 3.6R Limited
Joined
·
348 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
So the silicone has cured and it's made a nice seal between the speaker basket and the mounting basket. :)

Since I plan on using the stock wiring in the doors and the stock connectors, I could sacrifice the included hookup wire that came with the Polks.



As far as wiring goes, there was a question in another thread that somebody asked which wire was positive and which was negative. I looked at the wire colors going into the stock harness in the door. There doesn't seem to be any sort of common ground color :(. It really doesn't matter which wire is positive and which is negative so long as we're consistent with hooking them up. If we hooked it up "backwards" it'd just be 180 degrees out of phase with anything was "regular".



There's the connector. I'm calling the pin that's next to the groove (bottom of pic) the positive pin moving forward. I can't imagine subaru (or any other company for that matter) not being consistent with their own connectors.



That's one of the speakers hooked up to the stock connector.

Left to Left and Right to Right.

Updated the first post to include a photo of the door slit where you start prying the door trim panel off.
 

·
Registered
2016 3.6R Limited
Joined
·
348 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I decided to do my first test and put all 4 speakers back into the car. Only the front doors have raammat applied. The back doors still need to get covered (it takes me about an hour per door).

All 4 speaker baskets fit perfectly. Not surprising since they were the original baskets that were chopped to accommodate new speakers.

I hooked the battery back up. Oh and something I noticed the last time. After reconnecting the battery and trying to start the engine, the engine won't start! :eek: On the 2nd try it starts up effortlessly though. This has happened both times. I made sure the negative lead was clamped on tight to the battery post as well. Can somebody else please verify this behavior as well?

After turning on the car and tuning the radio to a local station I found out only one speaker was playing. The driver door speaker is the only one producing sound at all. No good. :gasp:

To start ruling out speaker issue, I swapped the working speaker (speaker A) out for one (speaker B) that wasn't producing sound. Speaker B works in Speaker A's spot (driver door), so it doesn't seem to be a speaker or wiring (on the basket) issue.

What in the world??? :confused:

Does the stock radio kill sound to doors that aren't hooked up? I guess I could try plugging the door panel controls back in to one of the other doors (without mounting it) and see what happens.

This is a bit disheartening indeed. I don't want to go through and put everything back together on faith that it'll work and find out it's still bunk. Aside from disconnecting the door's as shown in the above post I don't recall disconnecting anything else....
 

·
Registered
2016 3.6R Limited
Joined
·
348 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
ok, so after some troubleshooting it looks like I have one dead speaker. :mad:

3 of them work and I've swapped them around. the speaker I had mounted in my front passenger door looks like it has a bum connection somewhere in the coil. The other working speakers measure a DC resistance of 3.2 ohms. I've got an open circuit on the busted one.

Jesus. Of course I find out after I glue the **** thing in. Time to cut it out and get a replacement.
 

·
Registered
Black 2010 OB 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
1,411 Posts
Dam man...Ya need some help with anything? :D all i need it beer.
 

·
Registered
3.6R Premium
Joined
·
34 Posts
Taiguy,

Where were those pictures when I did my stereo!?! I just winged the whole thing. New HU and speakers. Your basket idea was about the time I smacked my face with my palm and yelled "Doh!". That was smarter than me just re-drilling the doors (which I now have to watch for rust). Anyway, I never had a problem with the car not starting after I hooked the battery up. And I did it many times. Always acted just fine.
 

·
Registered
2016 3.6R Limited
Joined
·
348 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
have a replacement set on the way. Guess I should get started and start taking apart the dash and floor trim while I wait. Only trying to contain my mess a bit since I don't have a proper garage and the girlfriend doesn't appreciate me putting my car inside the living room.

Will go ahead and test the connections on all of the speakers as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
I hooked the battery back up. Oh and something I noticed the last time. After reconnecting the battery and trying to start the engine, the engine won't start! :eek: On the 2nd try it starts up effortlessly though. This has happened both times. I made sure the negative lead was clamped on tight to the battery post as well. Can somebody else please verify this behavior as well?
This is normal. Unplugging the battery resets the engine's computer and you have to let it crank a bit for the computer to figure out where the engine is on the firing cycle. Throttle response and shifting will be off a bit until the computer re-learns as well.
 

·
Registered
Black 2010 OB 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
1,411 Posts
This is normal. Unplugging the battery resets the engine's computer and you have to let it crank a bit for the computer to figure out where the engine is on the firing cycle. Throttle response and shifting will be off a bit until the computer re-learns as well.
Good answer!:29:
 

·
Registered
2016 3.6R Limited
Joined
·
348 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
So the replacement speaker is sitting in the basket letting the silicone cure. FYI, this stuff comes in 10oz tubes at walmart for ~$4, more than enough for this project. I ended up getting a 3oz tube for $3. Had the fight the value ***** in myself and save the extra dollar.

Decided to get the wiring harness connected. Below is the harness that I ordered from AutoToys. It doesn't have all the wires that SVXdc has on his harness but I'll figure the rest out later :cool:. On the package it says it's mean for Nissans. For those who have never installed a car audio head unit, these wiring harness plugs into the car's harness (what was attached to the factory radio).



Here's the other end that needs to be connected to the harness. This is the harness end that connects to the Pioneer AVH-P4300DVD. In the photo below I ended up separating the clump of wires into speaker vs non-speaker wires. Pretty easy. Find wires that are the same color (each pair will have with a black stripe down it).



Next you have to do some color matching! From one harness to the next match the same color wires. Green to Green. Green/Black to Green/Black. Purple to Purple. You get the drill. There are several different ways to join wires. I prefer soldering. Soldering is one of those skills that I believe all functional adults should be capable of. If you don't know how, google it and watch some youtube videos.

To make this easy for myself I stripped the wire ends and then bent the ends so they hooked into each other.



After soldering, there's a nice strong joint.



FYI. As I stated earlier, all wires that go to speakers come in pairs (one with a black strip, the grounding wire). The red wire is the accessory wire that turns the radio on after the car is turned on (or to accessory). The yellow and black wires are power and ground. The blue/white wire is a remote turn on wire. This is going to go to the antenna amplifier and the power amp in the back (so in this case I already know I'll have to undo the electrical tape and join a 3rd wire). The light purple goes to the reverse gear wire; I'll have to find this in the car. The light green wire goes to the parking brake; which I plan on bypassing with a relay. The orange wire is for illumination; I've never seen it used for a practical purpose although it's supposed to dim the display when your headlights come on.

You can see I have almost all the wires soldered and wrapped in electrical tape. For the ground wire, one harness terminated with a fork. I decided I should probably keep that just because having another grounding option is always good. I ended up splicing the other harness's ground wire into it so we've got a Y going on.



Pretty much everything done.



Aside from that I could also mount the new radio to its mounting bracket. Easily done.





 
1 - 20 of 222 Posts
Top