2014 Audio Upgrade Inside tips

ageless1

Active Member
I have completed installing my sound system this past weekend. I have a 2014 Base (4 speaker) stereo and have integrated the following:

Rockford Fosgate Punch 6x8 speakers (Front) $120 got for $90
Polk PA660 75watt RMSx4 channel amp) $250 got for $100
Infinity Bass Link 200watt powered sub $300 got for $180
4 gauge amp install kit $90 got for $50
Miscellaneous bits and pieces around $50
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$720 for 'bout $470
Time invested: around 20 hours (1st time, ok!)

There are plenty of resources out there to show how to take the door panels off and such like this. There are a few little nuances about the job that none of the how-to's really address. For example: The factory speaker bracket may have to be modified to fit after market speakers, the door lock post trim piece did not have to be taken off, double check the polarity on the speaker harness before connecting them, the screw covers on the end of the door may give you trouble, the door handle trim piece has to be pried out from the side closest to the handle, some weather stripping or sound mat may/should be used when mounting the door speakers (but not too much)... stuff like that. The door speakers were the simplest part of the job.

The amp, on the other hand, was a pain. Partly, because of the limited space to work with, partly because of the limited space to work in, and partly because it was my first install. There were only a few areas that I would consider putting an amp.

  • Mounted to the back of the right rear seat.

This was where I ended up installing it. It was the easiest and most versatile location with regards to access and future upgrades or servicing/tuning.
  • Under the passenger seat.
This sounds like a good spot until you have to make an adjustment to the levels or find out that your brand-new car is leaking water in/around this area. The usable space is also very limited. My amp measured 8.25"x13.25"x2" and the space available under there is 9"x15"x3", not much breathing room and the connections were on both ends of my particular amp. If using up all the floor space back there is not an issue for you, it may be more viable but you may still have a water issue to watch for. Additionally, the surface is uneven because of the contouring of the floor pan.
  • Build a hanging shelf from the parcel shelf.
This is what I wanted to do but was not ready to be drilling or cutting into any metal (which I ended up doing anyways :facepalm: by the time I finished) In retrospect, I should have done it this way.

My mounting limitations were due to me trying to save a buck and would have had a few more options if I spent more for a compact class D amp but hey, I saved $150 on that amp. Those type amps could probably be mounted behind the cloth in the trunk.

There are a few things I learned from the installation of the amp and the trim removal process that is required for running a 4 gauge power wire.
  • Passenger seat removal. Removing the passenger seat will make working in the car much easier.
  • Rear quarter panel trim. If you take this out to run your power cable, go ahead and upgrade your rear speakers; at least remove the speakers and convert them to bottom mounts. This is the only necessary piece to actually remove to get to the rear speakers but, there are other trim pieces to remove in order to remove it. Also, by removing the (right, rear) fold down seat, it will make removal and installation a million times easier and you won't scratch the hell out of the trim around your quarter window, like I did.
  • Sill plates. **** you, Ford:eyetwitch:! You will probably break some or all of the mounting tabs on the plate itself and/or the mounting inserts. A great design for something permanent, but for something that is step #1 for any trim removal, it is poorly thought out. Plan on replacing it or some of the mounting inserts. I hear that the inserts are cheap from the dealer... you can find replacement sill plates on ebay for around $40 unless they are the lighted ones. I am planning on replacing the base ones with lighted ones so it didn't crush me when they broke off. Here is how you should attempt to remove them, start at the front grabbing the sill plate from the inside lip and pull up real hard but not too hard. If you hear a snap, it is likely the mounting tab starting to break. It should pull up very slightly but not really that noticeable when you let it go. Work your way to the back. now grab something to pry up from the outside edge. I used a trim removal tool (the widest plastic kind) and worked it in until the bonding tape popped free, yes, the flat part of the sill plates uses bonding tape to hold them down; the newer the car is, the easier it will pop free. With the tool wedged in and free from the tape, start working your way from the front to the back, pulling up, working your way back and sliding the tool down as you go, the plate should be loose enough to get your fingers under the inside and outside edges. Be careful, they are sharp and can cut you. Now start pulling up with both hands in short hard motions. You should look like a monkey trying to hump a football. It may feel like it is helping by wiggling the plate back and forth, but I don't think it helps. It needs to pull straight up and out of the mounting inserts. (the mounting inserts are blue plastic silicone blocks with a vertical slot in which 4 metal opposing teeth are angled in such a way that the tabs on the sill plate go in but pulling them only tightens the grip and locks the teeth into the plastic tabs, like sharks teeth or the Chinese finger traps. Perhaps the blue inserts are supposed to slip out with enough force, but the U-shaped plastic "risers" that the tabs are formed on snapped off before the silicone insert slipped out) It is difficult to describe in words but I was way too pissed to take pictures by the time I was done. I will take pics when I replace it.
  • The black bolts and nuts that are used to attach various things to the chassis are NOT conductive. I learned about the importance of a good quality ground, and using any of the black bolts will not make a good ground unless you remove all of the paint on the body and have metal connector to metal body contact. Also, the sheet metal is not strong enough to hold a screw for a proper ground (even if you use sheet metal screws). To make a good ground use the following guideline: Make it within 18" of the source. Use a nut and bolt with locking (star) washers on both sides. Get a steel wire wheel to scrape the paint off the mounting surface or sand it off but it takes much longer to sand.
  • Use only what is required to power your equipment. 4 gauge is likely overkill for my application. I could have used 8 gauge and the wire would have been easier to route (and cheaper too). The reason I had to remove so much trim was because the 4 gauge wire is too thick to just slip under the sill plate.
  • Buy more (longer) wire than you think you'll need. 25' will reach the rearmost point of the trunk even if you follow every contour of the vehicle. The kit included a 3' ground which I used for both the amp and the sub. I made the first ground cable about two inches too short (14") and the second one just right (16"). I was able to salvage the short one for the sub. When I found out that the black bolts were not working as a ground, it turned out that I will need something like a 26" wire. Oops. Really, the lengths would have been fine, but once you start cutting, one mistake can throw the whole project off track.
The Infinity Bass Link was pretty straight forward. The most difficult part of that is finding a flat, solid mounting surface in the trunk. I am still working on that part and it will be a few weeks before I actually get to it, but I will follow up on it and perhaps get you all some pics too.
 
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