After upgrading our radio unit, the next smart move was to upgrade our speakers. We ordered our Transit with the basic factory radio which includes 1 speaker in each front door; and they’re not that great… we’re not audiophile or something; in fact we’ve been using the same small portable stereo in our house for the last 10 years, but we quickly got bored of the flat sound of the Transit’s factory speakers.
Based on reviews and popularity, we chose the JBL GT7-6C (http://amzn.to/2eMYXoO) speakers. The JBL GT7-6C includes 6.5″speakers (for bass and mids), tweeters (for highs) and crossover (the crossover sends the low frequencies to the 6.5″ speakers and the high frequencies to the tweeters). We also took this opportunity to install some Thinsulate in the front doors, because we’ll hit the Rocky Mountains in a few days and winter is imminent…
The upgrade is not difficult to perform, just follow our instructions below! Make sure to read “On Second Thought” at the bottom of this page for our review on this upgrade!
TIME SPENT ON THE JOB: 8 hours
TOTAL COST : About 130$ USD
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- JBL GT7-6C Speakers (Buy from Amazon)
- Front Doors Ford Transit 5.75″ I.D. Adapters for 6.5″ Speakers & 4 Linear Feet of Thinsulate Insulation (Buy from eBay)
- 3M VHB 4991 Tape (Buy from Amazon)
- Black and Red AWG 14 wires, approximately 5 feet each (Buy from Amazon)
- Quick Disconnect Female (speaker positive disconnect is .250″, speaker negative is smaller .125″) (Buy from Amazon)
- Front Doors Panel Removal, Video by Hein: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdG71h4Zn5w
- Front Doors Thinsulate Installation, Video by Hein: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_igBQnMINI&t
- Hein’s thread about his Transit Conversion on Fordtransitusaforum.com. Speakers installation starts at post #97
HERE WE GO!
Door Panel Removal
There are 8 screws to remove the panel:
To access the screws, the clips must be removed using a small plastic scraper:
Now that the clips are gone, remove the screws. Pay special attention to the one behind the reflector: there is a black hole in the plastic trim that will swallow the screw FOREVER. We blocked that hole with tissue, because we’re smart (and we lost our first screw in the passenger door…).
Unclip the panel as follows (be careful, there are some wires and cables attached underneath; keep reading…):
Let’s remove that factory speaker:
A-Pillar Interior Trim Removal
The tweeter will be installed in the A-Pillar trim, so we have to remove that. BE CAREFUL NOT TO DISTURB THE AIR BAG!
First, remove the cup holder. Just pull up (don’t be shy!):
Then, pull in the direction of the arrows:
We’re not there yet, the A-Pillar is retained by a small plastic cord and 2 metal clips:
NOTE: The passenger door A-Pillar is retain by the handle. Just remove it (there are two screws under the clips) and then pull the A-Pillar away. It’s much easier than the driver side. You’ll figure it easily.
Okay, the A-Pillar is out of the way. Great!
We have to run a wire from the crossover (door) to the tweeter (van). Here’s how.
See that rubber shield?
We have to run the wires in it. First, remove the rubber lips as follows:
CAUTION! For the next step, be careful not to damage the electrical wires with the sharp edge of the van’s cutout!
Then, remove the plastic plugs. There are clips above and below:
The wire will go through the plastic plugs, through unused pin holes. But first, we need to enlarge the pin holes to be able to run the wire in them. Drill as follows:
We used a drill:
Okay, now it’s time to actually route the wires!
First, route the wires from the dash to the door:
Then, run the wires through the first plug:
And through the second plug:
Still with us? Good! Now, the wires have to be run through the rubber shield. It’s tight, so try to go in a straight line. It’s not that easy, but you can do it!
From the rubber shield, the wires are routed to the door’s speaker cutout. (no picture, you’ll figure)
Now, re-connect the plugs, re-install the rubber lips around the plug, then push the plugs back into the van:
6.5″ Speaker & Crossover Installation
We fixed the crossover with 3M VHB 4991 tape (http://amzn.to/2wLvLCS). It’s the same tape we used to fix our solar panels and few other things too. Clean the back of the crossover with Isopropyl Alcohol and apply the tape to it:
Clean the door with alcohol and stick the crossover to it:
Before connecting the wires to the crossover, crimp a quick-disconnect (http://amzn.to/2eHrNTy) to the positive door’s speaker wire (large disconnect) and to the negative door’s speaker wire (small disconnect):
Connect the door’s speaker wires in “W” terminals and the tweeter wires previously routed in “T” terminals.
It’s now time to install the door’s speaker. We’re using Hein’s adapter (Buy from eBay) for that (Hein is also making super-useful roof fan adapter that we used as seen here, and other unique van-conversion related stuff. Make sure to check out his eBay Store)
Clean the speaker cutout periphery with isopropyl alcohol, peel the protective tape from the speaker adapter, then screw the adapter in place using the screws we previously removed:
Connect the wires to the speakers (reminder: that’s the wires connected to the “W”) and screw the speaker into the adapter using the screws provided with the speakers.
Then, cut away to factory speaker connector and connect the positive (+) and negative (-) to the crossover. Use the secret color code below:
ONE LAST THING!
There is a button that says “+2DB” on the crossover: if activated, it will make the tweeters louder. It’s a personal taste, but we much prefer it setted to “0DB” so that the tweeters are not too loud.
Before we re-install the door’s panel, we installed thinsulate to it; this will provide thermal & sound insulation. Our entire van is insulated with Thinsulate, check out our Thinsulate Installation Article! We followed Hein’s video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_igBQnMINI&t) so here’s the final result:
- Make sure to watch the video to ensure you make cutouts for the latch mechanism and electrical harnesses!
- Unfortunately, the amount of Thinsulate provided in the kit is not enough to cover the passenger AND the driver’s door in two full pieces, so we had to make stitches with aluminum tape (this is what we had in hand).
Finally, re-install the door’s panel.
We used 3M VHB 4991 tape (http://amzn.to/2wLvLCS) to stick the tweeters to the A-Pillar. DISCLOSURE: we’re not sure if it will last in the long run, but we’ll report on that later!
Before going any further we ran the wires through some neoprene tape (http://amzn.to/2wLCZH6) we had, in order to protect the wires from rubbing against the sharp edges of the cutout:
Crimp quick-disconnect to tweeter wires previously routed (positive = large disconnect, negative = small disconnect), connect them to the tweeters (isolate the connections with electric tape to avoid shorts!), re-install the A-Pillar and ENJOY!!
ON SECOND THOUGHT
We first installed the door’s speakers only and we were a bit disappointed… then we finished the installation with the tweeter and were quite impressed with how that sound! The sound is much more “deep” than the factory speakers. There is more bass, more high, the sound is just clearer. Nice! Totally worth it!
However, we had to fine-tune the radio unit equalizer; there was just too much highs to our taste. We still have to find the sweet spot, but so far this is how we’ve set it:
THANKS for reading!
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Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!