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  #1  
Old August 24th, 2004, 09:39 AM
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Speaker wiring advice/help

Putting in custom audio system [slowly, as everything else] and I ran new speaker wires last weekend. As a bit of an audiophile myself, it's funny having new audio challenges to tackle outside the home (mostly...I can't hear it over the top flapping) but anyways. I took a tip I read a while ago and used 12 gauge orange home depot variety extension cord as wire. Supposedly in home systems, it sounds great, but in the D90 where the wires are run underneath the truck, subject to the elements, it seemed like an even better idea. I bought a 100' extension cord for $10, stripped it and was ready to go with a $3 pack of terminations. The thick sheath makes it much more durable, and sturdier for runnning as well.

Question is here: The back was easy enough tracing wires, but for the front door speakers, how to the wires run when they go through the front sills? Do you need to remove the dash to trace these? I couldn't reach them through the bonnet or from the inside. Just curious if anyone's done something like this before.

If anyone wants more details on the stereo, let me know, this truck is kind of a mixed bag for setting up... being put together like legos makes setup rather straightforward, however the theft aspect is an interesting one to beat.

Chris
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  #2  
Old August 24th, 2004, 11:51 AM
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Jan Jurgielewicz
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Chris,
I did a complete custom install, for wire I ran new wire from the amps (under the front seats - multiple amps !!), through the center console, up under the dash, then through the door rubber seal (had to snake it), connected to the speaker. I left the old wiring in place, did not even want to think of using that wire, truly awful for sound. I installed Infinity Kappas in the doors, they sound AWESOME.

Jan
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Old August 24th, 2004, 12:14 PM
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Jan-

So you ran the wire (I'm assuming) under the mats from the center console, under the dash, then behind those two 1 1/2" x 6" metal plates that lead to the rubber tube to the doors? I removed those and thought of running the wire up and in, but the completist in me told me to remove the existing audio cables. i took out about 1/2 pound of wires from the 2 front under seat areas and center console that went NOWHERE. Literally, wires running from the battery whose other end was taped to itself. I'm hesitent to leave anything that isn't necessary.

So you have one amp under each seat? Where is the battery? I was going to run them both under one seat, hoping the chassis would raise heat by being flush with eachother.

Chris
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  #4  
Old August 24th, 2004, 01:06 PM
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Sort of related, but how the heck do you get anything up into the dash? I had to run some wires for an alarm, and that AC unit and dash itself pretty much prevent running anything but the skinniest of wires...with effort.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 02:12 PM
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Jan Jurgielewicz
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Chris,
Here is what I did, first the amps, it took a bit of research but I use Kenwood amps, as the size (but high output) allows you to mount them diagonal (this is the key) at an angle. There is only 1/8" between the amp and the metal seat compartment cover, a tight fit. One next to the battery under the drivers seat the other under the passenger again at an angle, the jack and tools were sacrificed. The amp under the passenger is the amp for the front speakers.

Now for wire location, the wires go up the left side of the compartment cover where I notched it, so then I could run the wire up into the center console (I also keep the crossover in there as in a 97' there is a ton of space in the console). If you look real hard on the right side of my passenger seat, you may see 1" of wire but you would have to look for it. Once the speaker wires are in there, I snaked them up as far as I can go. (My rule of thumb is get the wires to the point where you can't visually see them.) Then I went left and right going just under the plastic and then tucking (taping the wire to anything I can find) until the wire was at the inside of the door jam. Then there is the rubber protector, I took out, then snaked it through, then put it back on.

If you want me to send or post some pix of the amp install, let me know.

Jan

PS, an important point is that I did NOT run anything up and under the dash as I did not want to create a trainwreck, but the wires do tuck nicely under the dash / AC without being visible.
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  #6  
Old August 24th, 2004, 02:37 PM
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Ken Loy
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Torrance, Could you put everything in the dash? There's some room behind the instrument panel if the computer is small. Then run the wires into the bonnet (if you need to) through one of the penetrations that exist for the speedo cable or or heater control cable.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 02:39 PM
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Got it.
[note to self, don't post before friday, the rest of the week all I'm going to want to do is tear the truck apart]

Something else I liked about using power cables is there's 3 conductors, so I can use a full/high/ground combination... I'm cutting holes for tweeters in the door panels, and hopefully will find a slick way to get thin black wire up the roll cage to mount directional tweeters in the corners of the roll cage.

I might have to look more into the dash wiring thing, as OCD90 mentions. I'm putting in the dual battery unit and want to do a nice wire install.

Chris
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  #8  
Old August 24th, 2004, 02:43 PM
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Chris and Jan, I saw a guy who had 2" tweeters cut into his dash, at either end, near the window frames. Do you think that helps much with sound quality/quantity for a ST?
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Old August 24th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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Basically you'd want the speakers:

1) well positioned
2) sturdy
3) loud

high frequencies deteriorate the most over distance (listen to a speaker from 2' away, then 20'), thus a tweeter more around head level should really improve delivery of sound. granted I haven't tried it yet, but I'll post a report when I'm done.

If the speakers in the doors and back are loud and well anchored, you should be ok with mid frequencies, but the highs will just get lost over all that air movement.

now if i could only piece together a subwoofer box to get some real lows...
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  #10  
Old May 25th, 2005, 03:52 PM
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What do you guys recommend for an amp(s)? I currently have a sony unit plumbed into the factory amp and wiring. It has tons of distortion, etc (I know little about stereos).

I'm thinking of tackling a rewiring of the stereo and maybe adding an amp into the passenger cubby box. But I want to find something that can stand up to dampness, heat, cold, etc, and is not large. Any suggestions?
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Old May 25th, 2005, 05:45 PM
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Jim Cheney
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As for routing - the factory wires run from the fusebox out through the center hole in the firewall into the engine compartment across to each side, and snake through the door jambs and into the doors.

The dash is actually an air plenum, so you cant put anything in there. There is however a tunnel that runs downwards from the center dash cover (the one in the tray - yes the 97's have an extra cover hanging from the top) down to the fuse box. You can snake easily through it.

If running from the seat boxes, you can either run up the chassis or do the OEM thing by pulling the floor and tunnel and running wires through the loops on the passenger side of the transmission.

Lots of fun.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmarchand
What do you guys recommend for an amp(s)? I currently have a sony unit plumbed into the factory amp and wiring. It has tons of distortion, etc (I know little about stereos)

You don't need the factory amp if you're using another (hopefully better) amp.

I assume you have a non-factory radio. If so you can simply use its preamp outputs into your amp's low level inputs. The existing wiring to the speakers is more than adequate. If you must upgrade simple zip cord (stranded extension cord) is a cheap and effective solution. You certainly don't need any of that Monster Cable gauge 12 or 14!

Your Sony should have more than enough power, say 40 watts per channel - that's per speaker. That rating should be into 4 ohms. If you're getting distortion it may be because you're running the high level outputs into low level inputs (unlikely, unless you're an idiot) or are simply overpowering the speakers.

I like old amps like ADS, RF, Kenwood, etc.. They can be had for fair money and are generally better built. Just make sure you get a 4-channel one. My ADS PQ10 is a workhorse - both of them. They are relatively small and great sounding. Oh, and they're "only" 40W/channel. Just feed it with thick power and ground cables.

You should match your speakers to the amp. That is, they must handle the maximum output of the amp. If so, your chances for distortion are greatly reduced.

Finally, there's the issue of interference. You can generally solve that by adding a capacitor to the power leads
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  #13  
Old May 26th, 2005, 12:09 PM
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Hey Dave, I have been looking for a while for an amp that could handle being wet every now and then and haven't had much luck. I drowned the amps I had in mine a few times and they lasted OK, but the last time I drowned them one of them bit the dust. Most of the amps have vents for cooling that lets the water in.

We can talk all about speakers/amps/wiring and everything else at Jimmy's the weekend after next, I have some experience as my friends are car audio nuts. What I was thinning of doing was to mount the amps in a rubber maid box and leaving the top off for everyday use, then when I hit the trail I would shut off the radio and put the cover on. Although not ideal at least you can use whatever amp you want and still be safe.

What do you have for speakers? Are the "wet proof" or did you mount them in the headliner out of harms way?

Follow-up Post:

Fallow up, looks like JL makes Marine amps, but I have not found anything on their site that tells how waterproof they are. Some of my customers coat their boards and components to protect from water but I didn't see anything on thier website, I'll e-mail them to see what they say.
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  #14  
Old May 26th, 2005, 01:29 PM
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David Marchand
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Thanks Mike. Yeah, let's add that to the list of "truck talk" for Jimmy's. I have some JBL speakers and the only ones low enough (I hope) are those on the door. They aren't paper cones so it shouldn't be a big problem, since I now have six speakers... . I did see the marine amps, but I can't find any relative reviews about them being tested. I was hoping for some real world experience such as yours. I should have known! Overall, I need to move away from continuing to use the stock amp. I wanted to re-wire it prior to CO anyway.

Such a long list of things to do...

And this weather does not help.
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  #15  
Old May 26th, 2005, 04:41 PM
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Sounds good, I sent off an e-mail to JL, and now that I have thought about it, one of the VP types for JL is on another forum that I know of and I can have my friend e-mail him
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Old May 27th, 2005, 10:24 AM
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OK I got a reply to my e-mail

Quote:
Amplifiers are not "Water Proof". The boards are coated to prevent corrosion of vital parts and all connectors are stainless. I don't recommend submerging any amplifier under water.
--
Joseph Colasanti
Area Technical Director
JL Audio Inc.
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  #17  
Old May 27th, 2005, 07:24 PM
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Time for the rubber maid

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Hippert
OK I got a reply to my e-mail
Quote:
Amplifiers are not "Water Proof". The boards are coated to prevent corrosion of vital parts and all connectors are stainless. I don't recommend submerging any amplifier under water.
--
Joseph Colasanti
Area Technical Director
JL Audio Inc.
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  #18  
Old May 27th, 2005, 11:48 PM
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Yeah rubber maid with a breather up to your snorkle!!!
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  #19  
Old May 28th, 2005, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabber
Yeah rubber maid with a breather up to your snorkle!!!
I just want to be like Mike.
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