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Old 06-21-2016, 03:18 PM   #1
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Replacing Front Speakers for better Sound

This is about the installation I did this weekend to replace the El Cheapo speakers over the driver & passenger seats in my G'Town. The radio is almost unlistenable even on talk shows under power so the goal was better sound on the road...and good sound in the parks.
First...I'd like to give props to Dan-Nickie who inspired me some months ago with his Berkshire installation. Budget Berkshire Speaker Upgrade

Much of my install will be similar but hopefully will be more pertinent for G'town owners. This can all be seen and read about on my Flickr album here, if you want to bypass the commentary! https://www.flickr.com/photos/438005...h/27506153620/

I selected the 6.5" Polk Coaxial speakers DB651 with rotatable tweeters which were $60 for the pair on Amazon. I have a professional background in car/home audio and have long felt these are the best choice under $100 for a sound upgrade because:
1. They are efficient and play LOUD with less power so the cheap radio doesn't have to be driven into distortion to make it loud enough to hear.
2. They are well made with butyl rubber surrounds, poly (not paper) cones for long service life and weather resistance and a rotatable silk dome tweeter that provides excellent highs that can be directed to your seated position.
3. They are tight and controlled with natural sound and low distortion.
What they don't develope in THIS type of installation (and neither will ANY other speaker)...is deep bass. You'll need a subwoofer for that. My G'town has a crappy OEM one that all of a sudden sounds better because it doesn't overwhelm the new speakers. Still...it will also be replaced eventually.

Along with the speakers, I bought TWO PAIRS of Metra 1" thick trim rings which when stacked, gives me the 2" clearance I need to mount these speakers to the ceiling. If you get other speakers...make sure the mounting depth is 2" or less. So here is what I started with:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/438005...7669901587726/

I was troubled by the Metra kit pictures on line as the BAG says it fits up to 6" speakers and the instruction sheet says up to 6.5" speakers. I bought... hoping I wouldn't have to drill new holes...and I didn't. Note that the same spacers are also available in 1/2" thick versions for different needs.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/438005...7669901587726/

As you can see...the trim rings match the speaker holes exactly as does the grill. The foam ring may be discarded for THIS installation. https://www.flickr.com/photos/438005...7669901587726/

Here's how the fully assembled stack will look when bolted to the ceiling.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/438005...7669901587726/

Despite how it looks...the original speakers are removable in ONE piece with the removal of the two screws. Just pull down on the whole assembly and then clip off the attached wire CLOSE to the body of the speaker to give yourself plenty of excess for the new speakers.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/438005...7669901587726/

To do the job, all you need tool wise is a crimper, a phillips screwdriver and a wire cutter/stripper. (often found on crimpers). A power screwdriver or drill with bits is useful as is a better ratchet crimper...but not needed.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/438005...7669901587726/

Bad focus... but you can see two different width crimp connectors here which need to be purchased along with 8 ea. of 3" #10 screws for mounting. Note that you have bare wire coming from the radio...and virtually ALL car speakers use narrow and wide push on terminals to keep + & - straight. The white wire with black stripe is negative and gets the NARROW crimp connector. The white wire is positive and gets the wide one. Given FR variability...if YOU have different color wires...anything with black in it will be the negative AND if there is no black....just pick one! It will still sound fine as long as you pick the SAME negative wire for both speakers!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/438005...7669901587726/

Here's the stack from the side again...I decided it would look better hanging from the ceiling if I painted the trim rings almond to match the coach interior. Used spray paint...2 coats... but wanted to make the point that since the plastic has a gloss finish...you need to buy paint specifically for adhesion to plastic. You do not need to rough up the trim rings if you get such paint in the color you want. https://www.flickr.com/photos/438005...7669901587726/


You can see how I've tilted the tweeter to direct the highs in a particular direction. With the Polks...this can be done AFTER the installation to direct the highs to the seated position, even with the grill on, which make it easier to install.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/438005...7669901587726/

This is to show you how much speaker is still below a single 1" trim ring...if you have an extra inch of depth inside your ceiling AND don't mind enlarging the 2" hole from the old speakers, you can get by with one trim ring...BUT please check for any nearby wiring before you start enlarging the ceiling hole. https://www.flickr.com/photos/438005...7669901587726/

So here is the finished install. Note that the wire must be connected to the speaker...so the trim rings need to have the wire passed through them before doing so...then attached to the speaker...then adding the grill...then pinning it all in place with the four 3" long screws. Sounds easy but it is a bit of a juggling act with one person! What I did...
1. masking tape inside the trim rings held them together so I only had to deal with 1 ring
2. used 2 screws to lightly pin them to the ceiling where I wanted them...then passed the wire through them.
3. attached the crimp connectors to the speaker and let it hang gently by the wire.
4. placed the grill properly on the speaker and the two other screws through the holes to keep it aligned.
5. Removed the screws from the trim ring and placed one through everything, and screwed in place. Then rotated the assembly so that the other screw hole was aligned and screwed that in place...then added the final two screws. Tightened all into the plywood so I can do chin ups on the assembly!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/438005...7669901587726/

6. And a last picture to give a better idea of the location in my coach and why rotating tweeters are a good idea!
https://www.flickr.com/photos/438005...7669901587726/

Hope this is helpful to some of you. Took less than 1 hour to remove and install everything and it was all done for less than $100. Anyone can do this upgrade. DW is happy...so am I !
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Old 06-22-2016, 03:03 PM   #2
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Nice job! Those look really good, and I'm sure they sound 100X better than the crap that came with the coach

Thank you for posting.

Garren
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Old 06-22-2016, 09:26 PM   #3
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Nice job, I would like to do that mod too, but can't because the slides will hit the new speakers.
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Old 06-22-2016, 09:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SS396CV View Post
Nice job, I would like to do that mod too, but can't because the slides will hit the new speakers.
Bummer. Those are beautiful coaches. I assume you have the drop down bunk over the driving seats and your speakers are ceiling mounted FLUSH a bit further back where the slides cover them when on the road?

Regardless...one thought on how to do something without leaving a hole would be to temporarily remove the existing speakers. Then figure out how close you could put a stack like mine without slide interference then without too much trouble you could fish some NEW speaker wire through a small hole you drill at the new location from the old location. Clip the old speaker wire off the old speaker...and and crimp it to the new wire. Replace the now unconnected old speaker to preserve cosmetics...then surface mount the new stack and connect the new wire.

Don't know how your interior works but maybe that will give you some thoughts for the future...without having to run new wire from the radio.
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Old 06-23-2016, 01:02 AM   #5
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Thanks Cam, that could work. I will yank one of the speakers and see if I can extend the wire. Depends if the ceiling joists (or whatever they are called) are in the way. I only need to mount 6 inches forward of the original speakers. It looks like the slide itself will clear, it's the wood molding on the top of the slide that would hit.
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