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Old 02-10-2007, 01:29 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: TX
Posts: 282
My Ride: 03 Evo VIII/02 325Ci
Starting my first E46 install (lots of pics)

Work in progress of course. I've been out of car audio since about '92 and got an urge to put a system in my Coupe. I had absolutely nothing to do an install: no saws, no terminals, no wire, no old speakers laying around, nothing. While I do plan to swap almost everything with higher end stuff down the road, I went on the cheap here for hardware to start because I need every last little thing, right down to electrical tape. So I am concentrating on doing a "good" install now and then it will be easy to upgrade the speakers, amps, processors, etc. later once the ground work is done.

So now that you know why you'll be seeing mediocre gear in this install...

These will eventually find a home in a sealed 2.25 cu.ft. net box in the trunk. 3 JL 10W6v2 D6s. Undecided on the amp ATM.

Getting the wiring together was yesterday's project. Since I am keeping the stock headunit, I took out the stock amp, pulled out the wires I will be using, soldered up extensions to them, ran them to a convenient strip terminal where I can connect the amp/passive crossovers.

The stock tweeter and mid wires were pretty small (~22 gauge), so I tied the + and - for each together on each side to run to aftermarket tweeter.

From this:

...to this:

Top strip is ground, remote, remote, 12V all tapped from the factory wires. I would've like to put inline fuses in the 12V wires, but I didn't have any extra holders laying around, so I may go back and redo that as soon as everything is done. The ground, one remote and 12V will be for the EQX, which I am using to interface with the stock HU for the time being. I am not sure if I am keeping the stock ground, but we'll see what happens with ground loops after everything else is installed. The 2nd remote will be for the one amp that I will be running to start.

Bottom strip is LF mid, LF tweeter, RF mid, RF tweeter.

The two channels of wire to the right are the front L/R inputs that I will be using for the EQX. I had planned on just using the high level input on the EQX, but I bought used one and it didn't have the plug for them, so I may solder them to the high inputs or will just pull the wiring apart again and make them RCAs. I only have Monster 400MkII interconnects though and it would kill me to cut one or swipe the heads just for that I can't seem to find a place local with just RCA jacks? I guess I could just cut the 6 footer in half and use each half to do all 4 input channels since I'll want fader control down the road, but damn that cable was almost as much as the EQX, LOL.

I also managed to stuff all of the wiring up into the top of the shock tower to clean it up a bit.

That brings me to today's work...

I thought about mounting the mids for like a week before I even started anything. Of course, it's best to mount them to the door and I've see a couple different ways...most include stacking 2-3 MDF rings (bottom one cut appropriately to fit the indent in the door). Logical idea, but I wanted something as solid as possible and with more mass. Depth in the door panel is not a problem, so I thought why use only rings when a bigger baffle will fit?

So after thinking about it and making cardboard templates, I cut 2 pieces of 1/2" MDF. A single 1" would've been easier, but I couldn't find anything thicker than 3/4". In any case, the main support is 1" thick. Here they are test fit into the panel, but it will be mounted to the door.

Now to move the speaker closer to the grill (I REALLY wish the grill was easily removable), a single 3/4" thick MDF ring goes on top of the baffle boards. When installed with the boards in the door panel, the ring stops on the high part of the angled plastic ring on the grill (inside of panel), so that will have to be cut, along with all the little braces that stick out.

Here is a pic of the angled plastic ring cut off the inside of the grill (pretty much to the bottom), along with all the little protuding braces trimmed down (marked in yellow). From my best measured guess, the top of my baffle would be about 3/8" back from the trimmed grill ring on the inside once mounted to the door...will be close with the top mounted mid.

Got it mounted up. Before I did anything, I used masking tape to mark the outside of the door panel on the door (outer lines). More importanly, I also used it to mark where my baffle sat with the door panel on. I installed the panel with the baffle sitting in it and then pulled the panel back just enough to mark the edges of the baffle sitting flat on the door (inner lines).

This is one of the final test fits in the pic. I had to spend some time sanding/angling/rounding over to get the door panel to go on without any hang up at all. That was a bit of a pain, but the good news mounting like this is that it either fits *perfectly* or doesn't fit at all I am also test fitting the location of the ring in this one...it would be a whole lot easier if you could pull the grill or even see through it for that matter, but again, the panel only fits with the ring in one exact spot doing it this way, so it's just a matter of fudging it around until the panel clears it on all sides (which happens to put the mid dead center of the grill).

With everything lined up and test fit a billion times, it was time to cut the holes and test fit the mid. Up to this point I still wasn't 100% sure that I wouldn't need to drop to a 1/2" MDF ring for a bit more clearance. You can see that I also made a brace to attach the right side of the baffle to the door...another brace will go on top as well to make it as solid as possible.

I haven't cut the door yet, but measuring the various depths of the indent on the door to the top of the ring, the shallowest place is 2-3/4" and the deepest is 3-1/8". I almost see no reason that a 3-1/4" deep driver couldn't go in once the door is cut. 3-1/2" might be pushing it, but I'll measure again once I cut the doors.

Yeah, you can't see it, but I promise it's in there and the panel is fully seated. Once I knew it was all going to fit with enough clearance, I took the pieces apart, glued them all together with TiteBond II and clamped them. Once I get the top brace made, both braces will also be glued to the boards.

BTW, I will be using closed cell foam to fill in the space between the back of the baffle and the indent in the door.

I was hoping to get both doors done today, but this one took way longer than I expected. I was getting pretty tired, but I whipped up a quick baffle for the tweeter. Pretty straight forward, so here are the pics. The screw holes are slotted a bit so I could adjust the exact placement of the cup in relation to the factory hole. I didn't have the right sized washers on hand, but I'll get them (and the right screws for the mid baffles) tomorrow. I just copied the stock baffle shape, but that can clearly be sized down a bit and I'll do that when it's off tomorrow.

Yes, the stock grill fits over it!

More coming as I progress....
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