Marauder - Stereo

Eclipse 5435 In-dash CD/MP3/NAV/DVD

It didn't take long before I got sick of the stock deck - it just wasn't living up to my expectations, in terms of sound quality and no MP3 support really sucked! Luckily, I was the happy recipient of a new toy for Christmas (2005):

 

Eclipse 5435

 

Unfortunately, this isn't as easy as just pulling the stock deck, and dropping the new one in... Eclipse didn't exactly make the deck to be used in cars manufactured by the North American companies :(

 

First thing to do, pull the stock deck from the location (this ends the easy part):

Stock head unit in the Marauder

 

Once that was done, I tried to pop the 5435 into the hole - but it didn't fit. Ford's design has two tabs in the hole, that needed to be trimmed off, otherwise the plastic tabs prohibit the deck from sliding in (the red bars show where they are):

Head unit out

 

After that, it took some time to fab up some brackets, and fit the Eclipse into the spot. Unfortunately, the battery in my camera died, and I'm not going through all that again, just to document what was done...

 

The whole dash had to come apart, in order to make it work. Then, once I was good and sure the deck would fit (now that the plastic was trimmed, it better!), it was time to start dealing with the wiring. The collective came in handy, once again and saved me plenty of time, and headache! shakes_26 having previously installed the same unit in his Marauder, was able to help me figure out all the Metra part numbers required (the 70-5521 wiring kit does exist, even if the Metra book doesn't have it). carfixer was kind enough to send me the wiring harness diagram, so I wouldn't have to cut the wrong wires :)

 

Here's the deck (with DVD playing), post install:

Head unit fits right in

 

You can see in this picture that the deck does stick out, a little bit. Flush would have been nice, but the vent tubing wouldn't allow for it.

Head unit in action

 

Finally, here's a picture of a DVD playing, at night with the lights off:

Head unit at night

JBL GTO5355 5-channel Amp

Once again, the happy recipient of a new toy... But this time, it's a JBL GTO5355; a 5-channel amp designed to drive and entire car audio system including sub woofers. Official specs are 55W RMS x 4 + 225W RMS Channels at 4 Ohms, or 75W RMS x 4 + 360W RMS Channels at 2 Ohms. I will be installing soon, and will add images then.

FRONT SPEAKERS

These Pioneer TS-A6867 6"x8" speakers have seen a lot of play time. They were originally purchased and installed in my old Mercury Cougar, and eventually made their way into the Marauder (Well, 2 did, and the other two went to the lighting). These speakers sound pretty good, even when they were only being pushed by the stock deck, and since the Eclipse and now amplified. Yep - they've served me well...

Speakers to go into the Marauder

First thing first, we have to remove the door panel, to replace the speaker hiding behind it. To start, remove the two screws, located on the bottom of the door panel, and the one located on the back side of the door.

Preparing for the stereo

Preparing for the stereo

Next up, pop the triangle-shaped tab off the top corner. Use a flathead screwdriver to apply pressure from the top, and ease it out (it's just a push-in type). Be very careful when doing this, it's easy to break the plastic tabs.

Preparing for the stereo

From here, you need to pop the little tab off, that hides behind the door handle (flat head, again). This exposes a torx-type screw, you need to remove.

Preparing for the stereo

Again with the flathead, you'll need to pop off the electronics panel (window buttons, etc.). Pull up from the front, it'll take some pressure, enough that I was worried I'd break something, but all was well. With this out of the way, there's one more screw to remove, before the panel can come out.

Preparing for the stereo

Cool! That's everything holding this bad boy down. Pull up, and out at the same time, and the panel comes off, really easily, to expose the speaker. For screws hold the speaker in place, pull the old out, pop in the new speaker and repeat the above steps in reverse, to put everything all back together again.

Speakers in the door

The passenger side is the exact same, and total time to do the above was about 1/2 hour. The sound quality is MUCH better, cleaner, and there's definitely more bass, as a result of going to these speakers. Definitely worth it to do again!

REAR SPEAKERS

Anyone that has a Marauder, or knows much about them has probably heard about the "farting sub woofer syndrome" that so many suffer from. Mine has this, in the worst sort of way. Any volume level above 35% causes an awful sound, that (for me) seems to come and go, for no reason. I've done the usual stuff to reduce this (like removing the foam piece, that sits on top of the factory sub). Unfortunately, the distorted sound still continued to intermittently plague me.

I went as far as pulling everything apart, to try to track the cause down. One suggestion I followed (and highly suggest for several reasons) is to tape every wire down, as there are several wires under the rear deck lid, which can cause a vibration.

Since I decided I was going to be pulling everything apart, I thought it might be a good time to try and add a little more bass. I ordered a pair of Kenwood 6.75" speakers from Etronics. The plan was to replace the stock Marauder sub woofer, with one of these (and a top secret plan for the other). Power handling is within the correct specs, and the reported frequency response goes down to 25Hz.

Speakers for the rear

After pulling much of the car apart, I replaced the sub with this speaker, and put all back together. Cool - time to test it out and play some music. Damn! The vibration came back, with a passion. Everything's gonna have to come back out, and go back to the way it was. BOO!

I slowly disassembled everything. This time, I played a very bass-heavy song after each part was removed, to try to track down the cause of my new frustration. I made it all the way back to the sub, without being able to track down where the vibration was coming from. That's when I realized the new sub had actually ADDED a new vibration! I reinstalled the stock sub, and it's gone!?! I switched back and forth, a few times. I really don't know what to say, but with the Kenwood there is a full-time vibration, and with the stock one, there is not. The stock sub woofer went back in to the original location. Time for Plan B!

This speaker is just a little too large take make it into the rear deck stock openings (6 x 8), but if it was raised about 1/2-inch, fitment would be just fine. Grabbed a slab of MDF, and out came my good friend, Mr. Saw ;) I quickly started to hack away...

First, I cut and opening in the wood, for the new speaker to go into. Then I overlay the stock 6 x 8 pattern, to be sure to cover up the entire stock opening, and add the holes for the mounting screws to go through. Pretty simple stuff, really. I pulled the Pioneer 6 x 8 out of the rear deck location, and it was time for the first test fit ting.

Speakers in the rear

Yeah - I know it's not pretty, but this was more about making sure it would function, before I spent too much time trying to make it look good. Besides, this all gets covered up by the read deck, anyway.

As you can see from the first shot of the Kenwood's, there are many holes setup for the various vehicles this could be installed in. I was able to cut the template, to use two of the stock holes for the screws holding the speak in place, as well. Now, for the power test - The speaker sounds great! I cut a second adapter for the other side, and mounted both up at the same time.

Speakers in the rear

Slowly, I put everything back together, listening the same bass-heavy song, again, to try and make sure no more vibrations. The speakers sound very nice, loud and punchy - it seems the vibration doesn't occur as much.

Now, as for the vibration, I'm completely baffled as to why this speaker sounded so bad in the sub location. All I can think of is that the sub enclosure is too small for this speaker, and now it's able to draw from all the air in the trunk.

SUB WOOFER

I finally got fed up with the sub rattles (more of a farting sound, really). I just couldn't get rid of it, it kept coming back, on an intermittent basis.  Since I listen to music that is somewhat bass heavy, this is not good.

 

I still had this old box loaded with two 10" subs, just hanging around. This box and the subs have been in a couple of cars previously, and always treated me well. Time for it to spend some time in the Marauder...

Sub box pulled from the Cougar

 

First thing - clean out the old crap. The old sub is held in by 4 bolts. Once they're loosened, it just drops right out, nice and easy.

An empty trunk

Next up, get the box ready. Since I'm still going to use the stock amp, both 10's would be overkill, and just cost me space. I chopped the box up, but left a 2.5" lip, to protect the amp. The box measurements (H x W x L) are 10 x 11/13 x 15 + a 2.5" lip.

Sub box cut down for the Marauder

It fits like a glove! Still maintain lots of space, and sounds pretty good. It's not going to rattle cars around me, or be really annoying, but it sounds nice inside the car. Even though I'm still running the same stock amp, the sub has substantially better response than the stocker, and a a little bit louder. Best of all, now I can have others in the car, and not be embarrassed by my sub woofer farting.

Sub box in the Marauder