I was tired of having a sub box attached to my back door that was housing my 6.5 JL subs. Wanting that space back, but also wanting to keep the subs and full passenger space I decided to break out the fiber glass again and build a new sound bar. Here is a step by step to rebuilding the sound bar from a 1998 Jeep Wrangler to accommodate two 6.5 JL Subs, two Pioneer 6.5 speakers and replace the dome light with in this case neon's (at the time it is was all I had). I am planning on building some more with other lighting and speaker setups. Also, to power the subs I modified my center console allowing me to fit a 300 watt Alpine amp in it while at the same time not really losing any space in it.
Check it out.
Parts / Tools:
MDF (a few sizes will help keep the weight down, 1/4, 1/2 & 3/4, also you can try to search locally for lightweight 3/4 MDF)
CA Speed Glue / Activator (I use E-Z Bond awesome products and great prices)
Duramix 4040 (or something similar)
Router or jig saw
Table saw might be helpful also
Sandpaper / Sander
Fiberglass (I use stitched mat, easiest to work with forms awesome to contours)
Polyester fiberglass resin / Hardener MEPK
Some kind of bondo (I use Rage Gold, its light weight and sand very easily)
Air or electric staple gun for 1/4 staples (I use the Porter Cable US58)
Drill / Drill bits
Dremel might be helpful
Some kind of light if you want a dome light
Ok here we go.
Start by unzipping and taking your sound bars cover off. Leave the factory wiring in place so you can reuse it. You will find some foam padding like shown below...remove this also. Warning the glue the factory used is some sticky stuff. Don't worry about getting it all off the speaker side of the housing most of it is getting cut off anyway. On the top side get as much off as you can.
Next lay out some masking tape for guide lines or use a silver sharpie. Cut what you need to. As you can see in the picture I kept the edges that meet up with the roll bar and the strait part of it allowing it to still have some strength from the factory metal. The curved side unhooks.
After those are cut off, you can start to cut your masonite to the shape you want to match up with your needs.
You can also make up some speaker rings for test fitting your speakers to your desired angle.
Next you want to take a very small drill bit and run a line of holes the whole length of the sound bar nice and tight together. This will allow the glue something to grab onto attaching the fleece to the bar.
Now it's time to build out your frame structure for your speakers, their housings and the dome light. I made most of my frame out of 3/4 light weight MDF and two pieces of 1/2 MDF to separate the subs from the speakers. As you can see the speaker rings have an edge to them this it for the fleece later on to have a place to be stapled down into. Test fit everything you don't want to get the thing glassed and have to cut your project up. In my case I used neon's I had laying around the shop, I backed them with blue plexiglass to reflect all light forward and out. Before you use your Duramix (or whatever you find to use) make sure the metal next to the roll bars on the inside is all sealed up, because your fiberglass will not be covering that part. After that, it's time to glue your frame together....get to it.
Now that the frame is glued up and ready to go, it's time to wrap your project. Defiantly test the stretch of your fleece as to which direction it is going. Start by gluing the long metal side of the sound bar. Take your time to make sure your glue sets up. Work your way long keeping things nice and tight.
Next stretch your fleece over the sound bar and start to staple everything down following your edging on your frame.
Next mix up a batch of fiberglass resin. However much you think you will need your going to need more the fleece really soaks it up. If this is your first time working with fiberglass resin you are better off mixing it a little less hot then normal to give yourself some working time. Don't forget the heat and humidity will affect its dry time.
After your sound bar is nice and dry, it's time to add a layer of fiberglass. Here is a close up of what stitched mat looks like. You can see both sides here. It's very strong and doesn't fall apart when you start to add your resin. I cut out strips of fiberglass and laid them out on my sound bar. This way you know before you start with your resin if you have enough or not. After you know you're good....glass it.
After the resin dries you can give it a quick sand to take off the pieces of fiberglass that are sticking up. Then you can try this little trick if you want. Mix up a small batch of bondo and fiberglass resin...mix them together. This give you a very runny bondo mix which is awesome for smoothing things off and filling in pin holes (this is not a necessary step). You'll get something that looks like this.
After everything is dry, add a thin layer of bondo to completely smooth everything out.