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10-19-2004, 03:45 PM #1
Tech- Add-on subwoofer install into 03 Cobra Vert using factory Mach 460 stereo
O.k. guys..as promised here is my abbreviated write-up. I'm going to comment on the key issues here rather than basic stereo setup stuff that you can read about on numerous forums. It goes without saying that this write-up is an addition to the mustangworld.com article that includes lots of good pics.
Also, see the Mach 460 schematics:
Good forum sources for support:
(extra special thanks to THE FLASH, BIGBOYE, and JCAYER, and AUTOLYCUS for all their helpful advice and support)
My write-up includes specifics relating to installing an aftermarket powered subwoofer (or amp + sub) to a bone stock Mach 460 setup w/6 disc in-dash changer. It took me about a week of Q&A on various forums to get it right, but once you know how it’s very easy. I will take the guess work out of it so that any of you can enjoy deep bass in your cars without having to pay someone big bucks. Also, NO installer would follow these simple instructions, and instead would charge hundreds more to rewire your stereo system. The Mach 460 has even been 'black listed' by my local Circuit City store, because of the incompatibility of its wiring.
Okay, here are your required parts:
1. Aftermarket Sub+ Amp (I used the Infinity Basslink= best bass for the buck in a very compact space, IMO)
2. 5 (18-14 guage) 'clam' wire splice connectors (These are connectors that can be bought at any auto parts store. They clam over an existing wire and allow you to splice in another wire without cutting the existing wire).
3. 1 Line Output Converter. (I used a PAC Converter. This will allow you to connect an RCA cable to the existing speaker wire).
4. 1 3ft. RCA Cable (Buy a good one for car audio application)
5. 1 15-20ft Power Wire (Use 4 gauge so you never need to upgrade)
6. 1 15-20ft Remote Lead wire (12v rated wire from auto parts store will do)
7. 1 3-5ft Ground Wire (I used 4 gauge)
8. 6 terminal connectors for your 3 wires ends (power, ground, remote lead)
12. Socket Wrench + Sockets (can't remember exact sizes)
Good option: SOLDER AND TORCH for all the wire-ends. I suppose you could CRIMP but that is not very reliable with 4 guage wire.
Disclaimer: I don't know much about car stereos. I'm sure some guru has a better way to do this, but in the mean time the method I used works great and I've had zero probs so far. So this is a guide, but follow at your own risk!!
Okay, here are the real key things you need to know:
FIRST STEP IS TO DISCONNECT THE NEGATIVE TERMINAL OF THE BATTERY. –Do this now so you don’t forget later. The black battery wire can be disconnected by using a small socket on the terminal. Don’t reconnect until you are ready to test power on the subwoofer.
You need to remove the trunk lining in the trunk that hides the convertible when it is retracted. This is pretty easy, there are only 3 plastic screw retainers holding it in that you can pry out with pliers and a screw driver. If you break these off, you can buy more at auto parts store for $1, but I was able to re-use all of mine.
Once you have the trunk lining out, you will be able to see the mach 460 amps and also the convertible top motor. I have no camera, but there are plenty of pics of this on various mustang boards online.
The next step is removing the back seats (top and bottom cushions). This took me a while to figure out, so read what I say. You need to remove the bottom cushion before removing the top cushion. There are TWO plastic clips that are located under the rear bottom cushion. You need to kneel down and pull up a bit on the bottom cushion to see them. They are white. Once you see them, push a flat head screwdriver into each clip and pull up on the cushion. This will unlock one side of the cushion. Do it to the other side and the bottom cushion will now come out of the vehicle.
Once the bottom rear cushion is out, you will be able to see the 2 bolts holding in the top cushion. Before removing the nuts holding the bolts down with a socket wrench, you should unsnap the rear seat-belt plastic brackets that are snapped in behind the top rear cushion. They just pop out and will keep the seat belts out of the way during the install. Once the seat belts are popped out and the nuts at the bottom of the top cushion are off, you can pull up on the top cushion and it will come right out.
(In case you haven't figured it out by now, it’s MUCH easier to perform this install with the convertible top down. You can 'jump right into' the vehicle this way.)
The other piece that is optional to loosen, but I highly recommend, is the rear back-seat drivers side panel, that houses the stock speakers in the back seat. This is not too bad to take off; it’s held in by a plastic screw retainer in the top-back, and a few snap buttons near the door jam. You should be able to wrestle this loose, just be careful with it like anything else. Note: you only need this piece loose and do not need to remove it. You do not need to disconnect the rear woofers.
Once the back seat is totally out of the vehicle, you can look down where the drivers side rear bottom cushion used to be, there will be a bunch of wires (20 or so) taped together and covered by a piece of black plastic and a bunch of black tape. You need to cut through this black plastic protector and the black tape to expose the wires. This is where you will splice in. Be careful here as to not cut any wires!!!
OF ALL THE WIRES, THE ONE'S THAT I USED ARE 2 BLACK/WHITE STRIPE (-) AND 2 BLACK/GREEN STRIPE (+).
Now that sounds pretty easy right? That's all they write in the mustangworld article. Only problem is that there are at least 4-10 of each color wire!!! Which one do you use?!?!?! Okay, using some twisties or something to separate the wires temporarily...
First, isolate all the black/white stripe, green/white stripe wires. You may need to tie off wires in groups at a time to eliminate the one’s you won’t be using. Once you tie off all the non-necessary wires, you should only be left with 8 wires. 3 of each color. Now, of the 8 there are 4 stand alone wires and 4 wires that splice down to 2 wires, like a “Y”. You want to use the wires that do not splice together. There will only be 4 wires there that run all the way through without consolidating/expanding to less wires.
Note: Based off the schematics (you can google onine), these wires may be speaker level, and not the ‘data’ wires coming from the receiver to the amp as the mustangworld article references. To be honest, it took so long to get the wires that brought sound to my sub that I didn’t care. These wires work great. Feel free to try different wires if you have the time.
Okay, using the 4 wires, you will need to splice these in using the ‘clam’ connectors you bought from the auto-parts store. You will splice these to the speaker wire included as part of your line-out converter. Remember black/green stripe is positive. Connect all 4 to the converter using the converter’s directions. You should not have to cut any wires. Just use some pliers to make sure the connectors are on tight.
Now you have a line out converter that will pick-up sound. You can now hook in the 3ft rca cable to the converter and that will connect to your subwoofer.
Next, power. This is pretty standard. Run the power wire (I used 4 gauges) from the trunk down through the driver’s rear panel that you loosened before. Remember to make sure that the power wire does not get in the way of the convertible top mechanism. This wire should be run down the drivers side trim (just pry it up by hand) and through the front left kick panel on the driver’s side… I ran mine through where the ‘hood release’ lever opening is. From here you will need to get it through the firewall. There is a factory grommet that you will see under the dash that other wires/harnasses travel through. You will have to pry this open with a screwdriver from the hood-side in order to get the wire through. Pry hard to get that sucker open enough for thick wire… or have someone else hold it open for you. Once you get the wire through and into the engine bay, you can buy some silicone sealer to droop around the power wire and close up the grommet hole. No big deal.
From here, you should have a fuse for the power wire (this would come with any standard amp wiring kit, or else buy from walmart), and then the cable can run into the accessory terminal next to the battery. You can see this clearly from the mustangworld article. As I noted above, I highly recommend soldering your terminal connections. Especially if you never want to worry about power.
Okay, your power is run, now you need a good ground. I MADE A BIG MISTAKE HERE. I ran a ground to a bolt in the trunk area near where the rear lights are attached. This ground sucked, and it took me hours of troubleshooting wondering why I had low power. Turns out, the best ground is the metal seat belt bracket bolt sticking out of the chassis where the rear seat cushion goes. You can’t miss it, very thick bolt. Only thing is that I did not want to loosen that bolt, as it holds the seat belt in place. I did not want to loosen that nut as I'm sure its torqued to spec. Instead, I used an old nut I had that fit the bolt, connected the ground to the bolt, and tightened the nut on top of it. A ‘sandwich’ if you will. If you have a fluke or sensor device, I would check the sub now to ensure its getting around 12 volts of power. (Temporarily reconnect the negative battery cable to perform this test). If its not, chances are you have a bad ground. Make sure you take care of the power issue now because you’ll have to tear the car apart again later if you don’t.
e. Remote Turn-On Wire
From here, you should have a good power and ground connection to your sub, and your rca’s should be plugged in to your amp according to the manufacturer’s directions. The only thing left, is a remote lead. This lead will sense power when the ignition is turned, and only turn the amp on when the radio is on. Remember, if you just ran constant power to the sub it would always be on and drain your battery overnight. This way it comes on only when you want to listen to the radio. Before you wire the remote lead, lets again make sure we have a good power connection. Find some sort of ‘jumper’ wire lying around, or you can even use a wide screwdriver. Make contact to the remote wire terminal and power terminal of your amp, and see if the amp powers up. If it does, your good. You should continue to run little tests like this over the course of the install to eliminate potential problems if you have to troubleshoot later.
You should run the remote lead wire the same way you ran your power wire.. down the driver side and through the ‘hood release’ area. HERE is another spot the mustangworld article lacked clarity. That guy ran the remote lead into the fuse box. After screwing with my fuse box for about 2 hours, I concluded I had no idea how he did this. I could not get the thing out and hot wires were sparking all over the place. I decided there had to be an easier way, and there is. You should run the remote lead directly to the in-dash receiver itself. You can do this by prying off the shifter bezel with a flat-head screwdriver (be careful not to scratch it, I pried counterclockwise starting on the upper right hand side). Once the shifter bezel is off, you can remove the center bezel that houses the radio, vents, etc. Disconnect the harnesses for traction control, fog lights, defrost, and lighter during this process. They just snap in and out. Once both bezels are out of the way, the stereo receiver comes out really easy, as it’s only connected with 2 bolts. Use a small socket on the bolts and gently remove the receiver. Look at the wires going into the receiver in the back. You'll have to cut away some black tape here. FIND THE BLACK/PINK STRIPE WIRE. This is the wire that you will use the 5th ‘clam’ connector to splice in your 12v remote lead wire. Run the remote lead wire under your dash and up behind the stereo so that it doesn’t stick out. Connect it good and then reinstall the stereo, bezels, etc.
Now, reconnect your negative battery terminal and turn the ignition!! You should have bass!!! If you don’t, re-read this guide and troubleshoot accordingly. Chances are you either have a bad ground, or spliced into the wrong wires, or screwed up the connections to your amp/sub. I think I did all 3 of these at least once during my install. If you get it all right the first time, then maybe this write-up helped!!
Once you sort it all out, all you have to do is put your car back together exactly how you took it apart. Remember to hide the wires and don’t get anything in the way of the convertible top. Retract the top a few times back and forth before you close everything up. You will now have to mount your sub permanently, so take some time tuning it and positioning it to where you think the sound is the best. I’m still getting some rattle in the trunk that I need to take care of, so that is expected.
Phew... your done. You got ‘er done!!!!2003 10th Anniv. Vert
10-19-2004, 04:12 PM #2
- Join Date
- December 2003
- chi town
can you guys post pics of installed systems in convertibles pleaseturbo cobra for sale http://www.svtperformance.com/forums...d.php?t=375232
03 Cobra Drop top 10K miles
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10-29-2004, 12:54 PM #3
10-29-2004, 01:08 PM #4
- Join Date
- January 2003
- Chicago, IL.
How does it sound to you? What speaker mode do you use to make it sound best, All Seats, Rear Seats???
10-29-2004, 01:18 PM #5
i've been using a slight fade to the rear. it sounds great to me from the inside. to be honest the 460 is a decent enough system once bass is added. i personally don't think its worth changing out the whole system and getting rid of the nice in-deck changer.
anyway, my only real problem right now is getting rid of the trunk rattle. but that is a general problem with these cars and not exclusive to my install
10-30-2004, 08:40 PM #6
Still working without any problems?
Thanks for the write-up.
12-10-2004, 04:48 PM #7
Great write-up and great links... Pretty much all the info you would need right thereSean
2009 Honda Accord EX-L Sedan
2003 Ford SVT Mustang Cobra Coupe (Gone, but not forgotten)
2001 BMW 330ci Convertible (gone)
2000 Ford Explorer XLT
Proud Member of the Mid-Atlantic Cobra Association (MACA)
12-10-2004, 05:10 PM #8
Indeed a great writeup. This is much better than what is offered on Mustandworld.
I would suggest two changes/additions to this install for safety reasons.
1. Make sure that the 4 gauge power cable is not touching the chassis at the firewall. Over time the vibration can wear through the cable insulation and cause a short.
2. Connect the power cable directly to the battery + terminal. This will insure the least resistance (voltage drop) from the battery to the amp. Fuse the power cable within 18inches of the battery + terminal (USACI rules).
Last edited by ALA G8R; 12-10-2004 at 10:57 PM.
12-12-2004, 01:53 PM #9Originally Posted by ALA G8R
While I did wire mine up to the Accessory terminal, I may change it next Spring when the car is out of hybernation.
And to i8u.. it's working flawlessly!! Unless you reallly love the fine audible details, this setup is more than enough and extremely cheap. I love being able to keep the in dash changer, and now that the wiring is in, I could change to a more expensive amp/sub in literally 15 mins. It's plug and play once your done
12-13-2004, 01:46 PM #10Originally Posted by ALA G8R
12-13-2004, 01:56 PM #11Originally Posted by KNGOBRA
12-13-2004, 04:35 PM #12
I am assuming you've never done this install in a coupe, so this might be a stupid question, but...
How much easier is this to do in a coupe?
What would need to be done differently?
Let us know man...
12-13-2004, 04:41 PM #13Originally Posted by Blk03SVTCobra
Well, the real question that I think should be asked is 'have i ever done this in a cobra'??
The answer is obviously yes, and that is relevant because for some reason our cars are wired differently than GT's or V6's. Some people would argue this, but my car didn't take to instructions i received from others and the only diff was that mine was a cobra (2003+)..
that said, the coupe should be EXACTLY the same.. except possibly easier. The only potential diff is where you would splice into the wiring. It's been said that for coupes the cables can be spliced right up next to the amps. If not, you just need to follow the wiring down towards the back seat until you see the black plastic shield (6 inch long piece covering the wires). That's the only thing that could be different for installation purposes.
You can follow these directions and be fine. I can also help. It's a great mod!!
01-06-2005, 05:25 PM #14
If I can remember, I'll post lots of pics tonight of this setup being used on an 02 GT with a Mach460 system...
Bass is nice, but the four 2.5" speakers that play mids and highs are pretty inadequate with as much bass as two 12" subs will add in the trunk.2.8", 100mm aux. idler, PA 130Amp alt, 3.2" metco pulley, billetflow idlers, Gates K080760
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01-16-2005, 01:51 PM #15Originally Posted by wjfawb0
That is true for 2x12'a. For me though, the 1x12 infinity is very compact and has a great low punch that compliments the stock speakers. Plus, I turn the bass on the stock speakers almost down to zero, and filter it all to the sub. This should add years to the life of my stockers.
Unfortunately to change the stock speakers you have to re-wire your entire stereo due to the 2 vs 4 ohm setup. That really sucks.
02-23-2005, 05:05 PM #16
Just got finished installing my basslink and it's the perfect balance of bass and space. I followed these instructions and installation was a breeze! Thanks for the how-to.2000 BAB Faleen Fobra (04 Cobra drivetrain)
2008 Escape Hybrid 4x4
08-24-2005, 11:27 PM #17Originally Posted by Jpjr
I am about to fit a JL stealthbox with a 350W amp and was planning to replace the stock speakers to get a better sound all round.
What rewiring is required when replacing the stock speakers?
I researched this on Crutchfield and they list a fair number of compatible speakers including the Kappa series and various Polk systems among others.
They all appear to be the right impedance (if the Mach 460 is a 4ohm system) so why couldn't I just swap the stockers for the aftermarkets?
Last edited by hmwave; 08-25-2005 at 12:11 AM.
08-25-2005, 08:41 AM #18
You can do a search on this.. but basically the stock impedance isn't 4 ohm like most aftermarket speakers are, and the stock crossover levels aren't optimized for anything but the stock speakers. I know a guy who just replaced his stock speakers with Kappas and adapters and blew them in 2 days.
The MACH 460 is a great stock system, but unlike the rest of the car.. totaly useless to mod. Even my instructions for the subwoofer install are totally redneck lol.
08-25-2005, 03:48 PM #19
Shame as I wanted to try new speakers then change the head unit later.
I'll 'redneck' in the JL Audio sub first and try the system like that. If the restored bass works I'll probably just leave the Mach 460 with the stock speakers and be done with it.
If not I'll install all aftermarket speakers and a new head unit all at the same time.
The Alpine M350 I'll be using has speaker level and line level inputs. I happen to have an Audiolink PL2 line level convertor (http://www.crutchfield.com/S-7Xk9Fu8...roup.asp?g=721) but seems I don't need it as I can wire the M350 using its own speaker level inputs, right?
Reason I ask is there's some doubt in Post #1 of this thread if the patched into stock cables are speaker or line level. Which is it?
08-25-2005, 04:35 PM #20
They are line level. I just wasn't sure if they were the 'data line' cables referred to in the original mustangworld 'how-to' article. A converter provides a better connection anyway over speaker level. Do you have a vert or a coupe?
FYI, I've been running the stock+sub setup since I started this thread, and have loved it. I have no desire for aftermarket speakers, the stock system has no distortion (in part because I turn the bass way down on the stock speakers thanks to the sub), and plenty of power. I also love having the 6-disc changer. In fact, I will probably only go for a full new system when the changer stops working, which I hear is a common issue.
08-26-2005, 01:35 PM #21Originally Posted by Jpjr
The original post states
3. 1 Line Output Converter. (I used a PAC Converter. This will allow you to connect an RCA cable to the existing speaker wire).
but the wires you connected to are, as you quote, line level.
If they are line level why do I need the PAC convertor?
I have a vert.
08-26-2005, 04:46 PM #22Originally Posted by hmwave
maybe i'm just not up to speed on my stereo vocabulary
i don't call these speaker cables because they are not going to the speakers. they are the 'data' or whatever cables coming from the receiver to the amps. the cables going to the speakers are the one's that expand into "Y's" that i reference above. you need the coverter in order to clam on to the wires and use RCA (red/white) connections from the coverter to your sub. you could probably due with just speaker wires, but from all my research prior to this install, it is better to use RCA connections rather than speaker wire.
08-26-2005, 06:24 PM #23
So if the wires you connected to are indeed line level (so not the wires connected directly to the speakers) I'm thinking these can be spliced into and then connected directly to the RCA line level inputs of the amp with no need for the line level PAC convertor.
Flipside, if they are in fact speaker level wires the PAC connector will be required to reduce the voltage down so the line level amp inputs can be used.
However in that case I should be able to splice these directly into the speaker level inputs on my M350 amp, so either way for me I shouldn't need a separate line level convertor anywhere (even though I have one already).
Maybe I'll borrow an oscilloscope and prove this one way or the other.
08-27-2005, 09:55 AM #24
- Join Date
- October 2004
- West Coast-FL
I just had this done on my car. It's the perfect addition to the 460 system. I used a JL 10w6 and an autotek 400watt amp that I had laying around. The shop also added a volume control so that the sub level can be adjusted independently from the head unit. That way I don't have to crank up the bass on the head unit. It sounds really nice.
Last edited by BiZ; 08-27-2005 at 10:04 AM.
08-27-2005, 10:10 PM #25
Biz- Glad to hear it worked out for you. I've got a volume control for mine as well, which allows me to run very low bass on the stock system and therefore extend speaker life.
hmwave, your probably right. either way, anything you can add to the write up, i would embrace. like i said, i'm not an expert just trying to save some people all the time and reseach that i needed to get the job done. send me your results and i'll be happy to edit my post to your credit.