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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A caveat before we begin: I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, and my woodworking skills are piss-poor. That said, I've been pleased with this so far.

So, as discussed in another thread, I bought my Escape because I needed the extra cargo space for cave gear (mostly packed into plastic bins). There's no way I can sacrifice any of that space, or it would negate the reason I bought the vehicle in the first place! But I definitely wanted a subwoofer, music just doesn't sound right without anything happening below 100hz or so. And I didn't want to take a significant step down from the 2x10 setup I had in my old car, though certainly a single woofer or even a smaller 2x8 setup would probably have been okay.

First, I tried modifying my existing 2x10 sub box. I'd already cut the pockets (and some of the webbing) out of the black plastic "cargo deck" that goes back there. I had to cut the sub enclosure down from 9" deep to 5.5" deep, horribly skewing the enclosure volume numbers, and while I was able to make it work, the end result in order to continue using the back would have been to raise the plastic deck by 2 full inches. Not only would this cut deeply into my cargo volume, it made things fit a bit funny because of the angle of the rear seats and the placement of the hatch "lip."

Back to the drawing board, then. The pockets in the cargo deck sit into a recessed area of the car's body; I believe this is where the battery hides on the hybrid models. It's not very even, with a few odd raised spots here and there, which makes fabrication a bit difficult. I decided that my goal was to be able to mount speakers in this area and use the recessed area itself as a sealed enclosure. I also wanted to be able to put the black plastic deck back over the sub installation, and to be able to continue using the cargo area for my caving equipment, dog, et cetera without needing to remove the subwoofer (though I'll sure turn it off when the poor dog is back there).

Here is a photo of the black plastic cargo deck with the pockets/webbing removed. We used a combination of a dremel tool (went through a lot of cutting wheels) and a 3" cutting wheel that fits on my 18v drill. There is nothing pretty about this photo, it's just gore, but from the top side with the pocket covers in place, it still looks totally stock:



After measuring the recessed area and doing a volume calculation, I determined that, accounting for a center brace, two speakers, and the weird shape of the thing (as best I could), I determined that the total volume would be about 0.8 square feet, or roughly 0.4 square feet per speaker. This is remarkably small for a subwoofer speaker, but then again, it would have to be a specialized subwoofer to fit in an area roughly 3.75" deep anyway. After doing a bit of research, Pioneer's "shallow mount" line of subwoofers have mounting depths in the 3" range and the 10" speakers are recommended for sealed enclosures between 0.35 and 0.7 square feet, with a recommendation of 0.45 square feet. Bingo. This otherwise awkward, small space would be right in the wheelhouse of these speakers. I purchased a pair of the TS-SW251 10" woofers.

These are designed to be put in small spaces, obviously, but they're also designed to perform happily in situations where the back wall of the enclosure is close to the rear of the speaker. With a normal subwoofer, this would cause a "loading effect" with a significant negative impact on speaker performance. With the Pioneers, it's supposdly OK. There is a series of vents on the back of the speaker and it endeavors to move air sideways, not backward. Here is a photo of the rear of the speaker:



The recessed area itself is hugely resonant, seriously it's unbelievable. There is literally no sound deadening on it, inside or out. If you thump a fist on the portion of it between the braces, it just goes booonnnngggggg, boooongggggggg... some sound deadening was in order. I don't shell out for that dynamat crap when "quick roof" or similar products are pretty much the same thing, so I put two rolls (6" x 25' each, or about 25 square feet total) of the stuff in there, which deadened the resonance significantly but not totally.

Here is a "proof of concept" photo showing one of the Pioneer speakers suspended by two strips of 3/4" MDF. I wanted to make sure the clearance would be acceptable, and it is; looks to be about .75" of extra space. With the aforementioned engineering to avoid the "loading effect," this is okay with these speakers (but probably not OK with a standard full-size woofer):



Using the black plastic deck as a guide, I cut a piece of 3/4" MDF to fit it, drilled holes to use the existing bolt holes (I'll have to use longer bolts, of course), and mounted the speakers flush into the MDF. Here is another "proof of concept" photo, this one of the black plastic laying on top of the mockup:



In the finished installation, this black plastic will be installed just like this over the subwoofers, with the pocket covers in place, totally hiding (and protecting) the speakers. I don't suspect <100hz frequencies will have trouble travelling through a thin layer of plastic and carpet (especially when they routinely have no trouble travelling through trunks and back seats and so forth), though I'll have to use foam weatherstripping to prevent everything from rattling. =) This will not only make it totally "stealth" and concealed, it will only mean a 3/4" loss of cargo area depth, due to the thickness of the MDF. Everybody wins. I suspect I will have to build some kind of brace or sub-frame for the plastic deck, since i've significantly reduced its strength by cutting out the pockets and portions of the webbing.

I also had to add a small recessed portion in the MDF baffle, so there would be room for my amp, which is taller than the depth of the plastic deck. I just cut a hole with the jig saw and glued/screwed an MDF "backer" behind the hole, which bought me an extra 3/4" of space, at the expense of making the cuts for my center brace more difficult.

Now, I had to build a center brace, partly to support the baffle but more importantly to divide the speakers from one another. This was a pain in the butt, I had to carefully cut a piece of cardboard to fit the shape of the recessed area, which took several tries and revisions, and then use this as a guide to repeat the shape on MDF with a jig saw. After I had it cut to shape, I drilled holes from underneath the vehicle (which required removing the spare tire) and, after putting down a layer of caulk, screwed into the brace from underneath. I then added caulk on each side to make sure it was totally sealed. Here is a photo of the center brace completed; you can also see the sound deadening in the recess:



At this point, you're probably thinking "that's great, Jeff, but how on earth are you going to SEAL this?" Well, I have an answer for you: EPDM weatherstripping. Big gobs of silicone would probably work, too, but I decided to go with the weatherstripping. I bought the heavy duty outside door stuff, which is nice and soft and compresses well but also very tough. I ran a stripe down the top of the center brace and around the outside of the recessed area. When the MDF is dropped into place and screwed down (to the center brace and the four bolts for the cargo deck), it smooshes the weatherstripping down and creates a seal.

The Pioneer speakers also specify that a sound absorbing material be installed on the inner surfaces of the enclosure. I didn't want to go overboard, but with this in mind I spray-glued a layer of batting over the reflective side of the sound-deadening, since "reflective" is basically the total opposite of "absorptive."

Here is an IN PROGRESS photo. I stress that this is NOT COMPLETE and OBVIOUSLY NEEDS TO BE FINISHED. I need to bolt the amplifier down, carpet the MDF, and clean up the wiring. Also, as mentioned, when completed, the black plastic deck will be mounted atop the enclosure, essentially in its stock location but displaced upward 3/4" by the depth of the MDF baffle.



I know that this looks like a total mess but I swear it is IN PROGRESS and this photo is only included to show you guys the concept while I continue to work on it. You can see that the whole thing fits below the normal level of the carpet/deck.

I've had it in the car for about 2 days now and it sounds excellent, actually. The speakers are a lot punchier and deeper than my old (10 years old!) Eclipse speakers, so I had to completely change my approach to EQing/balancing the subs. I have music sounding more balanced and full than ever before, as the new subwoofers give me more definition as opposed to just mud and warmth. My amplifier is underpowered, but it was also free, and since I can't actually hear any deficiency in its performance I won't replace it until it catches fire or until I can find a better one for, like, $20 or less.

So far, so good. Will post a PART 2 thread when I've done the finish work and have everything complete.
 

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That is incredible work. When it's finished it should awesome! :wave:
Props to you bud.
 

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Looks awesome for real man...It's cool that you went with twin 10's, and I'm sure they are pretty loud in there too. What was the end result, sound wise?
 

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I love stealthy installations. I'm not a big fan of giant boxes taking up half the cargo area. They might sound good but they are usually unsightly and inconvenient. This is very nice... I have no doubt the final product will look and sound great! :thumb: :beer:
 

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Great job!
:thumb:
Hey, come on over and finish some cabinets I started for my wife's butler pantry. :angel:
 

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thats sweet :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
sound: very deep and balanced. i am going to have to search for a new amplifier that has a subharmonic filter, i think, as they're almost TOO deep for me! the sound is very balanced across the frequency range and obviously with twin speakers you get a bit more oomph with the gain from the coupling effect; hopefully this counteracts the fact that they will occasionally be buried beneath a mountain of equipment back there!

it's worth noting that most 10" woofers require an enclosure size around 1.0 cubic feet, so if using a single woofer you might be able to make the recessed area work properly as an enclosure for a single woofer. I think you'd still run into the loading problem though. this would be the route to go if one were using fiberglass, like the import guys do with their spare tire wells (which is freaky; don't they need spare tires?).

cabinets: see previous comment regarding woodworking skills =)

anyway, this was the "hard part," getting it in there properly and sized and working properly. the rest of it is just finish so it looks good, and a bit of bracing and weatherstripping so i can continue to use my cargo area as before. i'd hoped to not lose ANY space, but there's just not enough clearance if you start trying to recess the MDF inside the footprint of the cargo deck instead of beneath it; it would have put the speakers right up against the plastic. i can handle the 3/4" more than i could handle 2" or "no subwoofer."
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
mville656 said:
Waiting patiently for part II.
Haha, right? I was out of town for a week and am just getting back to it. Theoretically, Part II will just look stock =)
I have to put a "T" shaped brace in to support the plastic, and am going to use the leftover EPDM weatherstripping to isolate the braces so they don't buzz or rattle. Should be able to finish up this weekend.

I may not carpet it; if it's going to be completely concealed, as it will, that just seems like a waste!
 

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If you plan on using the factory weather proof carpet/cover you will get a rattle from that. If I'm going to turn it up I have to roll that cover up. Otherwise not much for rattles. Yours should be about perfect with all the sound deadening you used. :thumb: Looks good and keep us updated.
 

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looks pretty good so far. and more usable then my last set up. nothing more annoying then having to remove your BAB (big a** box) outta the way so you can put stuff in the back. i ended up selling all my loud stuff when i had my last blazer. i did install it so it was easy to unhook, but keeping it secure in an accident made it look kinda stupid with a ratchet strap on the box LoL. i wish i had the under body spare so i could install stealth, but i would need to make it so that i could still get to my tire. so i think i will be going no sub install in the escape.
 

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Fantastic install. I was looking at these Pioneer shallow mount subs as well, but only 1 to replace the factory 8" in the premium audio setup. I noticed you are using the Infinity Kappa Perfect 6.1 speakers in the doors. Did you have any issues in mounting them into the factory 6x8" speaker locations? I would love to put 6 1/2" components in the doors instead of the 5 1/4" woofers. Looking forward to Part II.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
tiggerthetech said:
I noticed you are using the Infinity Kappa Perfect 6.1 speakers in the doors. Did you have any issues in mounting them into the factory 6x8" speaker locations? I would love to put 6 1/2" components in the doors instead of the 5 1/4" woofers. Looking forward to Part II.
if you use the 5.25" set (which is almost as good, based on the frequency curves posted on Infinity's site), you can buy an adapter plate that puts the woofer and tweeter together in the stock location (behind the grill). if you use the 6.5" set like I did, you can only fit the woofer in the stock location (also requiring a plate) AND you will have to use a circular hole saw to cut a hole in the door panel and flush mount the tweeters!

the crossovers are large but fit reasonably well behind the arm rests on each door panel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
mville656 said:
If you plan on using the factory weather proof carpet/cover you will get a rattle from that.
yeah, i am going to have to test it once it's in. i cut a T-shaped brace this weekend (to support the plastic) and will put that in; i'm going to EPDM weatherstrip that to prevent rattling, and then i think i'll have to use the foam weatherstripping on both of the cargo pocket covers to keep those from buzzing. at that point, i can put stuff in the back without moving anything around, so while i'd like the carpet it's no longer a necessity.
 

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Nice Job! this is something i would do someday! when i get free time! :yes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Got everything in the car last night. There is no rattling or loss of bass with the black plastic reinstalled; I need to buy a $3 roll of foam weatherstripping to stop the pocket covers from buzzing a bit.

Although, ironically, you know which part of the car does have a bit of a rattle now that the sub is pumping back there (and not even particularly hard)? The freaking roof rack...

:(
 

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This looks really great Jeff! I'd probably go a little smaller with the subs, I'm a chicken!, but wow you did a nice job. I really like systems that don't interfere with the normal utility of the vehicle, particularly a Sport "Utility" Vehicle.

Any pics of the finished job yet?

John
 
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