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Unread 10-09-2010, 09:13 PM   #1
IceKnight
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How to building a fiberglass sound bar for 6.5 subs & speakers & console amp rack

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:
Sounds bar
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)
Masonite
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
Fleece
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
Masking tap
Some kind of light if you want a dome light
Speakers

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.


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Unread 10-09-2010, 09:13 PM   #2
IceKnight
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This is a place where you have option. You can either go crazy with sanding and bondo and sanding and bondo and high build primer and then paint your sound bar or you can wrap it with some kind of un-backed speaker carpet. Here is how mine came out all mounted in my jeep. A few other things, you are going to need to run new wires up to the sound bar for the subs. What I did was get an 8 pin harness, then I cut the factory speaker lines and light, added in the new wire, soldered and heat shrunk all the connections. Doing it this way lets me remove the sound bar by just unbolting and unplugging the wire almost like stock just the plug point is down in the body of the Jeep instead. Also doing this allows the lights to work just like normal also.








Moving on to the center console amp rack.
Parts:
Factory center console sub
Amp
MDF
Duramix 4040
Dremel
Torx bit's

First, you remove the center console from the Jeep and remove the factory sub box from it. Take out the speaker and the amp on the back of the box. It should look like this.


Next mark out the area you want to cut out. As you can see I kept just a little bit of the rounded over edge to make sure it stays nice and stable. Also, you will need to cut a small part of the section off where the center console CD/glove box sits. Keep checking the height of the MDF and amp combo so you don't cut out more than needed.




Test first the amp rack once more making sure its stable and level. You can either carpet first of after its installed. I carpeted mine after I used the Duramix and a few short screws to hold it in place.



Now bolt down your amp and install back in your console like normal.



If anyone has any questions please let me know.
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Unread 10-10-2010, 08:55 AM   #3
odinseye84
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Wow is all i have to say, excellent work! Looks awesome. How do those 6.5's sound with the top off?
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Unread 10-10-2010, 10:28 AM   #4
IceKnight
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Thanks....really nice, gives it some decent low end, everyone is always surprised when I put some music on. It blends in really well, people dont notice it which is great for keeping your audio stuff safe.
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Unread 10-10-2010, 03:04 PM   #5
00WJGC
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very nice

Only thing I'd suggest is using fiberglass mat instead of cloth, & tear it apart instead of cutting it. That way when you lay resin on it the fiberglass forms a much stronger bond.
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Unread 10-10-2010, 09:02 PM   #6
IceKnight
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Thanks man, and your right there are definitely different ways of glassing that's for sure. I have been doing custom car audio for over 15 years now using many different techniques and that is certainly one of them. In this case I went this route because as you know adding a polyester resin to a poly fleece nets you a super strong housing to start with. Then adding a quick layer of stitched fiberglass the way I did saves me a lot of time with low spots and clean up, I have always found that chop mat makes a bit of a mess. After everything set up, a thin coat of Rage, I sprayed the enclosure with Feather Fill from Evercoat, it's a awesome high build spray primer I have been using for a while now. I would suggest it to anyone planning on painting their enclosure.

So, 00WJGC I have to ask...where can I see some of your work, I like checking out new work and ideas, gets my mind juices working on creating new crazy things. I'm sure you know what I mean. Hit me up man.
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Unread 10-11-2010, 09:02 AM   #7
Richd1963
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It looks awesome. Did you seal the compartments between the 6.5's and the subs. I saw during building there were passages that air could pass through and hence not have an air tight speaker compartment, even though all speakers may be sealed from exterior of cabinet/sound bar. Maybe you caulked the inside of the box? Good job looks great. Nice hands on mod.
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Unread 10-11-2010, 02:50 PM   #8
00WJGC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceKnight View Post
Thanks man, and your right there are definitely different ways of glassing that's for sure. I have been doing custom car audio for over 15 years now using many different techniques and that is certainly one of them. In this case I went this route because as you know adding a polyester resin to a poly fleece nets you a super strong housing to start with. Then adding a quick layer of stitched fiberglass the way I did saves me a lot of time with low spots and clean up, I have always found that chop mat makes a bit of a mess. After everything set up, a thin coat of Rage, I sprayed the enclosure with Feather Fill from Evercoat, it's a awesome high build spray primer I have been using for a while now. I would suggest it to anyone planning on painting their enclosure.

So, 00WJGC I have to ask...where can I see some of your work, I like checking out new work and ideas, gets my mind juices working on creating new crazy things. I'm sure you know what I mean. Hit me up man.
It is very messy, but for what you did the mat works fine. I use it from time to time too. I was just pointing out that when the glass strands aren't fraid to where they can mesh the bond will only be as strong as the resin between it. It really isn't that big of a deal until you start dealing with high powered enclosures or something that needs to be super strong.

....& this is the only pics of fiberglass work I have on my blackberry. It's an enclosure & amp rack I made for my '00 Camaro Z28. I molded the enclosure out of fiberglass to the cubby hole on the drivers side & then used 3/4'' mdf for the faceplate. Allowed me to keep the t-top storage & kept it all out of view when the divider was in place. God I miss that car




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Unread 10-11-2010, 04:02 PM   #9
IceKnight
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Hey Richd1963 thanks for the comments. And yes I did seal the subs off. If you take a look at the picture where the frame work is showing. I have 1/2" mdf going from front to back. When I stapled the fleece down it runs right along that piece sealing it off, making its own separate compartment. When everything was wrapped up, the subs have their own air space, while the 6.5 speakers in the middle share a housing with the dome light.

00WJGC - I totally agree with you, with these little 6.5 speakers although they put out good sound for what they are the pressure they create is defiantly not a issue.
Thanks for uploading some pics, and I must say, I really like your set up you had in your Z28. Crazy systems are always great, but one of my favorite things is full audio set up with no real loss of car major compartments. Very nice work.
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Unread 10-11-2010, 04:18 PM   #10
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That is excellent work. I've always had an idea to do what you just did but I have no fiberglass skills. You really ought to make molds of yours and sell the heck out of them to us Jeep owners who needs interior space. Sure beats space-robbing trunk enclosures or other less than ideal ideas.
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Unread 10-11-2010, 04:29 PM   #11
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HPJeep I hear ya...give me a little time And thanks
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Unread 10-11-2010, 09:06 PM   #12
HPJeep
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I get first dibs on the first set! I'll even mail you my old soundbar for you to chop up. Seriously this is a great money making idea. Everything in the Quadratec and 4WD Hardware catalogs has nothing like this for bass in Jeeps. I need my trunk space and rear seat free unfortunately. So what amp would you consider if I was running the four factory speakers and then the two subs on the soundbar?
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Unread 10-12-2010, 05:07 AM   #13
IceKnight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HPJeep View Post
I get first dibs on the first set! I'll even mail you my old soundbar for you to chop up. Seriously this is a great money making idea. Everything in the Quadratec and 4WD Hardware catalogs has nothing like this for bass in Jeeps. I need my trunk space and rear seat free unfortunately. So what amp would you consider if I was running the four factory speakers and then the two subs on the soundbar?
Well there are a few ways of going at it. Replacing the head unit is really the best place to start. That will net you more power to your speakers, and if you went Alpine they also make a great little amp that plugs right into the back of the head unit in line with the factory harness. Gets your head unit to put out around 45 watts per channel so when you upgrade to new speakers you'll be all set for the most part. If you are going to try and fit the amp in the center console you definitely need a small amp. If it need to be just a sub amp, then you could get something like, the Alpine MRP-M500, next would most likely be a JL Audio G2250, and I think the Polk PA400.1 would also fit in the console. If you were looking for a fully amped system, that would most likely still fit in the console then something like the Alpine-PDX 5 would be great, I currently run one in my Honda S2000.
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Unread 10-12-2010, 06:50 AM   #14
HPJeep
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Ironic you mentioned the Alpine head unit (I may go with CDA-9886) and PDX-5 amp because those are my next big purchases. All of the factory speakers were just replaced with Boston Acoustic. The factory sub blew and it was replaced. During the replacement I saw how Mickey Mouse the factory "amp" is. If I go with your soundbar I'll ditch the factory sub and put the PDX-5amp in there. If I need a sub amp I will mount it to the steering column with this bracket I saw on a website.
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Unread 10-12-2010, 10:49 AM   #15
IceKnight
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Very nice, if you do end up getting the PDX-5 that will cover your whole system perfectly. You have PM also
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