2002-2005 Thunderbird Aftermarket Stereo Build Thread

Alright guys, since there does not seem to be much info on our stereos here's a tread to log all my aftermarket stereo work I am doing. So far I installed the Alpine head unit. This unit gave me the bluetooth functionality but I think the audio sounded like crap so I decided to put 4 Infinity 6x8's (2 front and 2 back). These improved the sound quite a bit but being one of those dumb guys that is never happy I have decided to take the car apart and install amps and subs. The factory subs are just not that great!

I will say the 6x8 speakers are a good drop in alternative. The Infinity has a few mounting options and on the front door I had to bend a tab on the flange. Nothing bad I did it by hand. The front speakers have a nice "baffle" that remains in place even when you remove the crappy factory enclosure so I will just run a wire from there to the amp in the trunk. This is probable the part that worries me the most as running wires through the rubber loom on the door is a PITA...

I am going to build about a 1/4" spacer on the rear housings to allow their use with my speakers as my speakers are a bit too deep. In order to do that I am going to switch the mount of the housing from the front to the back of the metal wall they are factory mounted to as there is not much space in there for another 1/4" to stick out.

Next, I am pulling the factory subs and going to try to stick 8" subs in there with wires going to an amp in the trunk... The factory housings seem nice ang big enough. May need some type of adapter to fit an 8" and may be some reinforcement of the plastic. We will see. Below are some pics of the progress....

First, I am tackling the rears. I took a 1/4" piece of MDF and glued it to the OEM plastic housings after gutting the crappy factory speakers. The spacer is needed since the new speakers are a bit deeper. BTW, the plastic front plate is held in place by screws from the back hidden in the foam gasket. After prying at it for a while, I figured this out. Also, there is a flange on the front of the housing that I ground down with 80 grit and final sanded with 150 grit.

Here are the rear pics:

Infinity-Spearkers j.jpg Rear Speaker Back j.jpeg Rear Speaker Basket j.jpeg Rear Speaker Enclosure 2 j.jpeg Rear Speaker Enclosure Ground Down j.jpeg Rear Speaker Munting Hole j.jpeg Rear Speakers 1.jpg Rear Speakers 2.jpg Rear Speakers 3.jpg Rear Speakers 4.jpg
 
Nice job... it’s great to see Bird Lovers that take the effort to make their Birdies... theirs. When I was younger I would have loved to upgraded my audio but with 60 knocking on the door it’s not that important any more. I have the FM transmitter that works OK but the volume is an issue with it. Sometimes I think it would be nice to upgrade but I always find something else to do with the $$$. Thanks for sharing.
 
Update. Rears and fronts are finished. The passenger side front was a real pain. There is a fuse box and wiring located behind the kick panel and I had to remove 3 nuts to get it out of the way, Then using coat hanger, I fished the wire through. Works better if you remove the rubber wire loom from the car end and kind of squish it in. Overall this was the hardest side. The driver side was actually quite easy!
Finished Front door. I was able to use the factory plastic housing with the 1/4" spacer. Finished Passenger Door.jpg
Hard to access passenger side!

Passenger Hard to Reach 2.jpg

Passenger side 2
Passenger Hard to Reach.jpg

Finished rear. The housing with the spacer fits but very close to the plastic panel. I may have to do something about it.
Rear Speaker 1.jpg

Passenger wire run... What a pain!
Wire run.jpg
 
Some more progress. The System will be composed of:
The Alpine unit
2 Older JBL amps since I have these sitting in the garage
Infinity reference 6x8 front and back. Depending on the sound I get I may switch the front to components and install tweeters in the sail panels
2 Rockville 6x9 subwoofers since the fit in the factory sub housings. I wanted to adapt the housings to 8" subs but 8s are too big.

Here are some pics of the bottom and the rack I fabricated. The other amp will be on top of this one and both amps will fit in the trunk inside the rectangular piece that slides under the area where the top folds down.



AnyConv.com__Amp 2.jpg AnyConv.com__Amp Rack.jpg
 
OK, so my idea of using 6x9 subwoofers in the factory enclosures was a failure. There is not enough depth for them to fit. Plan B, make a small enclosure to fit behind the seats and put 2 8" subs in it.

I am going to try to place 6.5" subs in the factory enclosures and see if those work!
 
Here is the almost finished amplifier install. I am thinking about building a cover for it to really hide things. If I was to do it over from scratch I would have gone with a couple of the newer model micro amps to make them fit all nice and easy in the space. I had these sitting around so in they went!

So far the front and rears are done. I did get rid of the factory housing for the rears as the spacers made them contact the plastic trim panels. I went with a foam baffle instead. All that needs to be done is to finish the 8" subwoofer box and wire power and ground. While at was at it, I removed the Alpine and cleaned up all of the wiring. Amps j.jpg
 
OK, so my idea of using 6x9 subwoofers in the factory enclosures was a failure. There is not enough depth for them to fit. Plan B, make a small enclosure to fit behind the seats and put 2 8" subs in it.

I am going to try to place 6.5" subs in the factory enclosures and see if those work!
@350xfire , I have been down the road you are traveling. This past summer I replaced the stock audio system in my '03 Tbird with a Pioneer head unit, Morel Hybrid VIRTUS 2-way 6.5" 602 woofers in the doors (tweeters mounted at base of windshield posts), Morel Hybrid Integra 2-way 6.5" 502 woofers in the rear behind seats, Morel MXR 300 3-way mid-range crossovers (center console), a Morel MOS 5.950 950 watt 5 channel amp (mounted near rear speakers behind panel), and a JL Audio 10TW3-D4 10" thin line subwoofer. I originally planned to install 8" subwoofers under each seat, but could not find a model thin enough to fit. My solution was to have an enclosure built/installed behind the seats, just as you are contemplating. However, I was advised by the custom audio shop that did the work that one 10" subwoofer would sound much better than two 8's in the custom enclosure. You will need a thin line model to minimize the amount of space the enclosure consumes behind the seat (mine ended up being ~ 5" high).

In the end, I feel the project was a huge success, and the audio the system puts out is unbelievable. There is nothing like cranking hi fidelity tunes with the top down at 70 mph, feeling like you are front row at a concert.

Hope this info helps. Best of luck!

P.S. If you have and want to connect your steering wheel controls to the head unit, you will need a separate module (~$100 + install).
P.S.S. To minimize cable clutter with the Pioneer head unit and Apple CarPlay, I replaced the stock cigarette lighter with a 2-port USB socket. The top port is wired to the head unit, which allows me to connect my phone mounted via magnetic mount on dash directly to the unit via a short usb cable. Works great.
 
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@350xfire , I have been down the road you are traveling. This past summer I replaced the stock audio system in my '03 Tbird with a Pioneer head unit, Morel Hybrid VIRTUS 2-way 6.5" 602 woofers in the doors (tweeters mounted at base of windshield posts), Morel Hybrid Integra 2-way 6.5" 502 woofers in the rear behind seats, Morel MXR 300 3-way mid-range crossovers (center console), a Morel MOS 5.950 950 watt 5 channel amp (mounted near rear speakers behind panel), and a JL Audio 10TW3-D4 10" thin line subwoofer. I originally planned to install 8" subwoofers under each seat, but could not find a model thin enough to fit. My solution was to have an enclosure built/installed behind the seats, just as you are contemplating. However, I was advised by the custom audio shop that did the work that one 10" subwoofer would sound much better than two 8's in the custom enclosure. You will need a thin line model to minimize the amount of space the enclosure consumes behind the seat (mine ended up being ~ 5" high).

In the end, I feel the project was a huge success, and the audio the system puts out is unbelievable. There is nothing like cranking hi fidelity tunes with the top down at 70 mph, feeling like you are front row at a concert.

Hope this info helps. Best of luck!

P.S. If you have and want to connect your steering wheel controls to the head unit, you will need a separate module (~$100 + install).
P.S.S. To minimize cable clutter with the Pioneer head unit and Apple CarPlay, I replaced the stock cigarette lighter with a 2-port USB socket. The top port is wired to the head unit, which allows me to connect my phone mounted via magnetic mount on dash directly to the unit via a short usb cable. Works great.
Thanks for the feedback. I did build a rectangular box for 2 8s and decided to build more of a wedge as the rectangular box is too large. I am waiting for some connectors to finally get the system powered up. Everything is pretty much done except the sub box. I will have it done this week.

I did get the steering wheel control module as well.

Do you have any pictures of your sub set up you can post?
 
So I've been quiet for a while still working on the stereo. I found out my 4 channel amp had a bad channel so ended up taking the opportunity to order a 5 channel one. This way the install will be nice and clean.
Here's a picture of the dual 8" subwoofer box I am working on. Used the Cricut to make a few stickers for the top and cleared over. Fits nicely behind the seats. Sub Box.jpg
 
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