Speakers Upgrade

JBL-GT7-6C-Review-1920

Speakers Upgrade

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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MATERIAL:

  • 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)

 

 

RESOURCES:

 




HERE WE GO!

 

Door Panel Removal

There are 8 screws to remove the panel:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade - 8 screws

 

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…).

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0408
Fill the hole with tissue or something

 

Unclip the panel as follows (be careful, there are some wires and cables attached underneath; keep reading…):

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0409
Pull this side away
Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0411
Then this side
Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0413
Then pull the whole panel UP so it slides out of the door lock rod

 

There are electrical harnesses to unclip (3 on driver side, 2 on passenger side) and 1 cable to remove. Each ones is clipped, so scan with your fingers and you will find how to un-clip it!Ford-Transit-Speakers-Upgrade-0414

 

SUCCESS!

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0415

 

Let’s remove that factory speaker:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0418
Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0419 Adios Amigos

 




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!):

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0422

 

Then, pull in the direction of the arrows:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-423

 

We’re not there yet, the A-Pillar is retained by a small plastic cord and 2 metal clips:

Align the plastic thing with the slot in the A-Pillar, then pull down, Turn 90 degrees, then pull down.
We were able to unclip them, but we’re not exactly sure how… by using a combination of force, pulling in every directions, swearing, etc.

 

 

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!

 

 

Wire Routing

We have to run a wire from the crossover (door) to the tweeter (van). Here’s how.

 

See that rubber shield?

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-

 

We have to run the wires in it. First, remove the rubber lips as follows:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0429

 

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:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0430Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0431

 

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:

 

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-
Please enjoy this out-of-focus picture

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-

 

We used a drill:

IMG_20170906_101422

 

Okay, now it’s time to actually route the wires!

First, route the wires from the dash to the door:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0438

 

Then, run the wires through the first plug:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0439

 

And through the second plug:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0440

 

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!

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0441

 

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:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0443

 

 

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:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0447

 

Clean the door with alcohol and stick the crossover to it:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0450 Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0451

 

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):

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0453

 

Connect the door’s speaker wires in “W” terminals and the tweeter wires previously routed in “T” terminals.

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0455

 

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)

That’s the speaker adapter

 

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:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0458

 

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:

PositiveNegative
Driver SideWhiteWhite/Brown
Passenger SideWhite/VioletWhite/Orange

 

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade--2
Cut away the factory speaker connector

 

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0459
Final Result!

 

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.

 

Voilà!

 

Thinsulate Installation

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:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0448

NOTES:

  • 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.

 

 

Tweeter Installation

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!

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0463
We had to put 3 layers of tape, to clear the tweeter’s dome…

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0460

 

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:

Ford Transit Speakers Upgrade-0464

 

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:

Equalize this

 

 

THANKS for reading! 

 

If you just got here, you might be interested in this article:

Radio Upgrade

 

 

 

 

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ABOUT US

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!

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Speakers Upgrade”

  1. Hi Antoine,

    How do you run the radio when not driving? And you have you ever brought speakers to the back of the van, your know, for those romantic evenings? Do you just have the ignition on, or just use earphones or something when not driving. (In my ’78, I had a three way switch in the back of the van that would power the radio/tape (yes) deck.)(You are not old enuf for tape decks I think…)

    Cheers, and your site is endless and fun.

    Don

  2. Hi Antoine, your site is a tremendous resource. Thanks for so thoroughly putting all these pieces together. It’s a big help. Just purchased our 2016 Transit from someone who modeled much of his install after yours. We’re customizing to our needs. Have just ordered a Pioneer AVH-2300NEX and will order the JBL GT7 speakers. In your instructions above, I can’t tell where you threaded the wires to the stereo. Did you just splice into the existing wires or did you run them from the A pillar directly to the stereo? is there a tube or cavity that runs behind the speedometer? Thanks for clarifying.

    • We’re using the wires from the factory radio and the wires from the factory door speakers; no need to route the wires behind the speedometer.

      Good luck 🙂

    • Yes first winter ahead. We plan on following nice weather (by going south down to Sedona) and then, by December or January, drive to Utah for snowboarding. Hopefully the heater works all winter!

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