Ford Transit: Adding Speakers To The Headliner

Ford-Transit-Speakers-Headliner-DIY-Audio-Heading-(1920)

Ford Transit: Adding Speakers To The Headliner

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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Portrait

Time Spent

0 HOURS

Total Cost

$ 0 USD

Material

ItemDescriptionQuantityLink
Rockford Fosgate 6″x 8″ SpeakersPunch P1683, 3-Way Full-Range Speakers (Pair)1Amazon
Speaker Wire14 AWG, 30 feet1Amazon
Heat Shrink Disconnect (Female)To connect the speaker wire to the speakers2Amazon

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

1- Unclip the dash panels around the radio:

1.1- Pull up the unclip the top panel (no screws).

1.2- Pull forward to unclip the front panel (no screws) and detach the airbag & the hazard plugs.

2- Remove these 4 screws to detach the radio unit from the dash:

This is to facilitate the routing of the speaker cables.

3- Unclip the panel under the steering column:

Just pull forward, there are no screws.

4- Unclip the A-Pillar trim:

4.1- Pull up to unclip the cup holder (don't be shy!).

4.2- Pull forward to unclip the A-pillar trim. Don't take it completely apart as it is retained with a plastic cable; just take it about 1" away that's good enough.

5- Detach the headliner:

5.1- There are two screws on the driver-side and two screws on the passenger side.

5.2- There are 3 clips in the center. Push them forward, then down to unclip (it's tricky; be patient and you'll get it!). You can now lower the headliner a few inches, but don't try to remove it completely as it is still attached in the front.

6- Now that everything is out of the way, let's route the speaker cables!

6.1- We started just above the cup holder:

6.2- Then under the steering column, up to the radio head unit:

6.3- Along the A-Pillar and the headliner (be careful not to disturb the airbags!):

6.4- At last, all the way near the final location:

6.5- Crimp the disconnects to the end of 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:

7.3- Marking the cut line on the headliner:

7.4- A carpenter knife with fresh blade will cut through the headliner like a hot knife through butter:

8- Install the speakers to the Ford Transit headliner:

8.1- We used the clip provided with the speakers. They're inserted only through half of the headliner, because they're not meant to be installed on such thick material:

8.2- Secure the disconnects to the speakers (+ and - are marked on the speaker):

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:

8.4- Sweeeeeeet!

9- Re-install the radio and snap the panels back in place.

We did it!

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:

That's it folks! Hope that helps!

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about us

Nice To Meet You.

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!

7 thoughts on “Ford Transit: Adding Speakers To The Headliner”

  1. Hello,
    I noticed that you have a cover for the black styrofoam airbag covers, did you make them or buy them? They look a lot better than the factory black ones!

    Reply
  2. I saw on your forum thread you started with a Joying head unit and it seems you have switched to a Pioneer. I am thinking of installing a Dasaita Android head unit and wondered why you switched and your thoughts on the Android head units.

    Thanks
    Berkeley
    @getvangone
    2016 Ford Transit

    Reply

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