It is time to do something about the terrible radio output so that one can actually understand what people are saying. A few years ago I was forwarded an article that documented an approach to better audio that really appealed to me. The first step was to decide on the proper speakers. Since I am completely ignorant on properly selecting speakers, the article was used as a crutch. Luckily for me the same speakers used by the author were still available and oddly at the same price. I ordered them over the internet and started a materials list for the speaker box.
As the box is designed to lie on the package try behind the seats it automatically takes that shape by default and measures approximately 33 inches long by 12 inches wide and 3 ¾ inches in height. The space inside the box is 2 ¼ inches high which is enough space to mount the speakers ¾ inches below the top surface. This should afford the speakers at least some measure of protection from damage.
When the speakers arrived, a check of the instructions indicates that the woofers are better housed in a closed chamber by themselves. The box has partitions separating woofers from tweeters. As the mounting for the tweeters is less demanding, that area was left open to accommodate easier access if needed.
A trip to Lowes resulted in a selection of a piece of ¾ inch plywood that had been cut for something else but provided enough material for a top and bottom. Also purchased was an 8 foot piece of 1” X 4” pine of good quality. Laying out the holes for the speakers and cutting out for the seat belts as well as getting some semblance of curve at the back to fit bulkhead was enough work for one day.
The next task was to decide on ripping the 1 X 4 to the needed width and the size selected was 2 ¼ inches. This is where I got a nice surprise. A year or two ago I loaned my table saw to Dewayne to do some work on a couple houses, one he was moving from and one he was moving to. When the saw was returned the blade was a mess but there a brand new one that I finally unpackaged and used today. Man was that a sweet cutting saw. A carbide ripping blade that cuts better than anything I have ever used.
A lot of head scratching went in placement of holes and partitions. The speakers ended up being placed as far forward as possible the idea being that more sound could get out without being blocked by the soft top in the down position. So at this point in the story the box is built and tasks that remain are to run the wiring to the radio and make a cover for the box. Instead of the type of cover used in the article I have decided to use black carpet in the hopes it will blend in well with the original look.
On Friday I stopped at the carpet store in Owasso to check out the availability of carpet to cove the box. Things didn’t look too good until I was on the way out and spotted some carpet used on one of their displays. I casually said, “That is what I need, right there.”
It was available, black but in an indoor/outdoor version with a different pile than the rest of the carpet but at least black. I think it will do fine but they had to order a small piece so that will go on whenever it comes in.
Saturday it was time to install the speakers in the box along with a gizmo that goes in between the radio and the speakers. I don’t have a clue what the two gizmos are but two wires go in, four come out, two for the woofer and two for the tweeter on one side. The gizmos had small ears on each side sized for a wire tie so in went a piece of scrap wood with a couple of notches in one side to accommodate the wire ties. The gizmos are quite secure with plenty of wire to reach each set of speakers.
The speakers went in as planned and the bottom of the box was replaced to cover everything up. The speaker covers were already on the tweeters but the big ones for the woofers had to be installed on the outside of the box.
Before putting the box in the car the wires were cut about 8 inches from the gizmos and bullet connectors were installed so that if need be the box could be removed without messing with the wires that run to the speakers. The wires were placed under the carpet and fed to the back of the radio where the connections were made.
Naturally a road test was in order to check out the sound and there was no point that what was being said could not be understood. It does not sound as good as the factory jobs with up to 20 speakers but what was to be accomplished, was. The radio is now functional, mission accomplished.
What is left to do is to fetch the carpet when it comes in and try to cut it to size to match the curve of the panel that covers the gas tank in the back, the sides to run to the wheel wells but leave room for the seat belts to retract and the front at the bottom so the transition to the existing carpet is of minimal visual impact. Once trimmed, it will be attached to the box using carpet snaps. They work well and there is no glue to mess with.
On Sunday I went to the shop since it was too wet to mow and got the carpet from its resting place and un-wrapped it. Naturally I had to buy twice as much as required to get what I needed but it was not that expensive anyway. The first cut was for width and a simple straight cut that went fine.
The second cut was the most difficult, the one that had to match the arch of the back panel. Some chalk was used to make marks for the starting points and I started guessing where to cut. Yes a cardboard template would be great but I had no cardboard. Anyway, errors were reserved for leaving more material than was necessary so it was just a matter of continuing to trim until it fit well enough to do what I wanted. What the heck, if it was messed up there is still more material, right.
Next came snaps. There were plenty of carpet snaps left over to do the job and they make service easier. Three were installed across the arched area across the back. At this point a measurement was taken for the length and the cut made after which the last three snaps were installed.