|Well, that didn't take long. After a month, I needed better sound. For 8 years I'd been spoiled by the Blazer sound project, so I upgraded to a pair of Infinity 680.9CS component speakers. I
had never installed component speakers, but I decided to go with a separate woofer and tweeter because that's what the stock system used. Not sure I'd do it again, mostly because of what I
had to do get this particular set of tweeters mounted. I'd seen some pictures on f150forum.com of guys stuffing the 680.9 tweeters into the stock tweeter location on the A-pillar, but I didn't
like all the grinding I was going to have to do in order to get the tweeter to fit flush against the hole opening. Then there was the challenge of finding a way to secure an aftermarket tweeter to
a location it wasn't designed for. I experimented a bit, then threw out the idea of using the stock tweeter location.
|I decided to install the Infinity tweeters in the door panels instead. Once I made this decision, I faced the daunting task of cutting out holes in my brand new door panels. The f150forum.com
website gave me some great ideas, thanks in part to its 135,000+ members. If you want to see what others are doing to their F-150's, that's about the best resource on the Internet. The
triangular-shaped area of the door panel seemed like the best placement, in terms of angle and direction. I tend to be a symmetrical kind of guy, so I cut out a cardboard template for the hole
I'd need to cut out and centered it roughly in the triangle section.
|According to my measurements, I was going to need to shave
off about half the thickness of the A-pillar trim around the
tweeter hole, in order to fit the Infinity tweeter in there.
|The A-pillar trim piece does come out fairly easily. There are
two clips holding it to the frame. The plastic fits like a puzzle
into the other trim pieces around the dash and the window.
|This clip didn't like being pulled out. The clip remained in the
metal part of the A-pillar and took a chunk of plastic with it. I
was able to snap it back on ok, though.
|Here is the stock tweeter. It is rather small. It was made
specifically to mount in the A-pillar trim piece. Not sure how I
would have secured the Infinity tweeter in there.
|The stock tweeter can be easily disconnected. The wiring
harness is accessible by removing a plastic panel just inside
the door on the side of the dash.
|Had I tried to stuff the Infinity tweeter in the A-pillar trim hole,
this is what is would have looked like. I wasn't real excited
about the look.
|The Infinity woofers only presented one small challenge, due to the size of the magnets. They have to be spaced out about 1/4" from the door, or else the window will hit the magnets when
rolled down. I can thank f150forum.com for alerting me to this. Otherwise, I'm sure I would have put everything back together and not been able to roll down the windows all the way. I used a
combination of washers and bolts to get the right amount of spacing.
The Infinity 680.9CS speakers do sound pretty good. I'm not sure the woofers are a huge improvement, but the tweeters make a huge difference. Some of this may be because the swivel
mounts make them better aligned with my ears. But they certainly sound better regardless. Had the tweeters been easier to install, this upgrade would have been a no-brainer. Cutting holes
in brand new door panels was a little stressful. Overall, though, I'm satisfied with the results.
|Here's the cardboard template mounted.
|Infinity was kind enough to provide their own template.
|This is the tweeter housing.
|Once I marked the location, off came the door panel. The panels are surprisingly easy to remove, in comparison to my Sonoma and Blazer. The panels are secured by 4 bolts, two of which
are visible and the other two are hidden behind plastic pieces. I also had to pop out the electric window and door lock controls, but that was pretty easy, too.
|Door panel bolt #1
|Door panel bolt #2
|Door panel bolt #3 (in grab handle)
|Door panel bolt #4. I had to pry off a piece of plastic to
access this bolt.
|Electric controls in the door have to be pried up and snapped
out of their clips.
|I'm using a bicycle tire changing tool here. It's made out of
plastic, which helps prevent scratching.
|Here's the door panel removed.
|Here's what is behind the door panel.
|Now it's time to get out the Dremel tool.
|My first "Uh-oh" moment came after I cut out the driver's side hole. The defrost duct for the driver's side window was in the way of the tweeter mount. I didn't really have any options at that
point, other than to keep on cutting with the Dremel tool. So I cut out part of the duct and patched the hole with duct tape (of course). It's a pretty redneck solution to a dumb oversight, but
nobody but me and the rest of the Internet will ever know. I still like this location the best.
|Oops...didn't check my clearances before cutting the hole.
|The duct tape solution (of course). The photo at right shows
an example of how others chose to install the tweeter. It gets
pretty close to the edge of the door panel, but I am guessing
that this guy didn't have to cut a huge notch out of his defrost
duct. The tweeter housing sits a couple inches inside the
mounting hole, so there was no other way to do this after I'd
already cut out the hole.
At left: I still like it better centered. It was a little more work to
carve out the defroster duct, but I think it looks better. Since I
bought the truck in the spring, I'll never know if I gave up any
defroster performance by altering the air flow. Sometimes
ignorance is bliss.
|I like the swivel mount on the tweeters. Lots of people mount
tweeters in this location, flush with the door panel, and they
do look good. Mine project outward more than I'd like, but for
functionally, this is about as good as it gets.
|Here's the rear view with wires attached. For speaker wire
inputs, Infinity used the smallest set screws I have ever seen.
The Allen wrench they provided is the smallest I've ever
seen. You could sneeze on it and probably never see it again.
|Passenger side view. Looks a little odd with two tweeters so
close. But both the new tweets ended up looking pretty nice.
Despite my lack of professional workmanship on the inside, I
think the final product ended up as good as I'd hoped.
|The next step was hooking up the crossovers. I was a little disappointed to see how large these things are. Some of the guys who went all-out with sound systems mounted them behind the
rear seats; others stuck them under the dash. Once again, I went with functionality and ease of installation over looks. What I like about the lower door panel storage area is that the speaker
wires can stay in the door. All I had to do was drill 3 holes through the door panel, none of which are very visible even if the crossover isn't there.
|The professional installers would gasp with horror. Yes, I
mounted the crossovers in plain sight.
|I used a cardboard template to drill the mounting holes from
the inside of the door panel.
|It was a little tricky, pushing those bolts through the
crossover and the door panel.
|For the woofers, I cut off the stock wiring harness and made my own connections. Because of the way the crossovers work, I had to run the stock woofer wires out of the door and to the input
for the crossover. Then I ran another set of wires back to the Infinity woofer inputs. So along with the tweeter wires, I had two sets of wires running from the crossovers, through the door
panel, and inside the door itself. Fortunately, Ford left many holes in the door and it was relatively easy to reroute the wires.
|Stock woofer removed...China's finest. Probably could be
had for about $10 in the aftermarket.
|More head-shaking from the pro's...yes, those are the
connectors I used.
|Here's the stock woofer prior to removal. This actually puts
out a reasonable amount of bass.