Let’s recap: in our quest for the perfect audio experience, we upgraded the Ford Transit factory radio to a Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX aftermarket radio (faroutride.com/radio-upgrade) AND we upgraded the factory front speakers to JBL GT7-6C aftermarket speakers (faroutride.com/speakers-upgrade). It definitely improved the sound and we were pleased with the results. We enjoyed that setup for two years, but then we couldn’t help but push our quest even further: how can we make the audio even better? Indeed, because the front speakers are located in the doors close to floor-level, the sound quality was not as good under loud ambiant noise (driving under heavy rain or wind, or when cooking in the van). So here we are today, adding Rockford Fosgate speakers to the headliner; and this, my friends, complete our quest for the perfect audio experience. It’s exactly what we were looking for!
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But first, why?
Why 6"x 8" Rockford FOsgate Speakers?
We like bass, but not to the point where we want a subwoofer (~12″). So we first looked at 6″x 9″ speakers, but they most likely wouldn’t fit in the headliner because of their thickness (the gap is about 3″-4″ between the headliner and the van’s ceiling, AND we have Thinsulate insulation in there). So the next size available was 6″ x 8″ which are not as thick (we confirm: they fit!). Then we read a lot and these Rockford Fosgate have amazing reviews (we confirm: they rock!).
Why add speakers to the headliner?
1- It’s the ideal location to complement the front speakers, creating a rich and surround sound! When driving, the speakers are about 2 feet above our head, so ambiant noise don’t really affects them.
2- It’s the ideal location when we’re in the kitchen or the bedroom, because the speakers are closer to us and there’s nothing in the “path” of the sound (as opposed to the door’s speakers which are somewhat muted because of where they are).
How to add speakers to the Ford Transit headliner
5- Detach the headliner:
6- Now that everything is out of the way, let's route the speaker cables!
6.6- Because we didn't have rear speakers, we are connecting the headliner's speakers into the REAR SPEAKER OUTPUT (the door speakers are connected into the FRONT SPEAKER OUTPUT). Check out our "Radio Upgrade" article for the color codes and all:
7- Make the speaker cutouts in the headliner:
7.1- Marking the center points:
7.2- We created a cutout template using the foam from the original packaging, or the cutout templates can be downloaded here:
8- Install the speakers to the Ford Transit headliner:
8.3- We used the screws provided with the speakers. It's a bit of trial-and-error to align the screws into the clips... You can partially install the screws on the left and slide the speaker in. For the two remaining screws, use your free hand to go above the headliner and help you "feel" what's going on:
10- Adjust audio settings:
The Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX has a bunch of neat advanced audio settings; take advantage of them to successfully complete your quest to the perfect sound! So sit down, put your favorite tune and adjust the fader (front/rear balance), the equalizer (amount of high VS low frequency) and other advanced settings... This is highly subjective, but here is what we have so far: