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2018 Explorer Speaker Install


Elite Explorer
January 13, 2019
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
2018 Explorer Limited
I have decided to document the install of my new speakers. I just received them today from Crutchfield.

Kicker 3 1/2" for the center - Kicker 43DSC3504 DS Series 3-1/2" 2-way car speakers at Crutchfield

Rockford Phosgate R165-S for the Front doors and tweeters - Rockford Fosgate R165-S Prime Series 6-1/2" component speaker system at Crutchfield

Rockford Phosgate R1675X2 for the Rear doors - Rockford Fosgate R1675X2 Prime Series 6-3/4" 2-way car speakers at Crutchfield

I also ordered door sound proofing, tape, and roller tool from Amazon.

The work area:

Work Area.jpeg

I plan on doing the rest this weekend so I will update this thread. I need more light and it is getting dark here earlier and earlier.

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Of course I had to install something today so I installed the center speaker.

The install took maybe 30 minutes or so. I took my time.

I took off the two side bezels very carefully with plastic pry tools. Then I took of the four screws holding in the radio panel. I popped it off from the bottom and worked my way up. I just moved it to the side so I could remove the center speaker grill, which popped off easily with the pry tool.

Here is a comparison of the new (left) and old (right):

Compare CTR.jpeg

Here is the bottom with the connector (Left). I had to break the connector off the old speaker, which has the + and - wire connected. On this speaker the green is the + and the brown with green stripe is the -. I soldered the new wires from the new speaker to it and and used heat shrink (Right).

CTR Bottom.jpeg
New Wires.jpeg

I screwed the new speaker to the grill using the same two T-20 screws that was on the old speaker, I added two bigger washers so it would be more secure. I also added some foam around it and used some metal tape to secure it.

Install Tape.jpeg

I secured the speaker wires with a few zip ties and reinstalled everything in reverse order.

I think it sounds way better.

Did the rear doors last night. It took me a few hours, but I wanted to take my time.

I started by taking off the side plastic piece on the outside edge. It has 3 clips. Just used a plastic pry tool to get it off (Left).
I took off the two 7mm screws off from the bottom of the door. I then popped off the plastic piece behind the handle, behind there is one 10mm bolt. (Right).

Plastic Clip Piece.jpeg
Handle Plastic.jpeg

I then pried up the window button piece. I just pried up enough do I could get to the one 10mm bolt behind it. Didn't take a good pic of that.

Window Piece.jpeg

Next was the prying part. I started on the top where there are two clips that pop out. I used my plastic pry tool. Then I started pulling from the bottom and worked my way up. It took a little force but everything pulled out. Then I lifted up on the door piece because it hangs on a metal piece at the top of the door.

Panel Off 2.jpeg

I unclipped the window harness and just rested the door without taking the locking mechanism apart. I wanted to, but I was careful with it.

I took out the three 7mm bolts that held the speaker in the door. Didn't like that it was a little wet in there, but it has been raining here like crazy the past few days.

It took me a bit to attach the new speaker to the mounting brackets, but got it done.

I then took it to dry fit. I realized that the wire harness from the car was on the outside of the door. The new speaker connections would be on the inside of the door. I had to come up with a solution. I decided to use the new speaker wire and solder it to the harness. This would allow me to connect to the speaker, come through an access hole and plug the harnesses together.

New entry point (Right)

New Harness.jpeg
Wire Entry.jpeg

I bolted the new speaker in after I tested it. All was well.

A few things.....

The first time I put the door panel back on I thought I had rested the top in the metal groove of the door. I tightened everything and thought it looked funny. So I peered in and saw I missed the groove. Had to reinstall.

Didn't realize that I did not plug the window harness back in all the way after reinstalling the second time. The window didn't work. Today I had to take it off again and fix it.

I like the sound. It is better in my opinion. They are less wattage the the OEMs (which are 50w).

Maybe next time I'd get bigger wattage, but I don't rock out all that often. But the Beastie Boys Hello Nasty sounded pretty good!!

Also, no pics of the other side, it was the same.

New Rears.jpeg


New Fronts:Tweets.jpeg

Did the fronts and tweeters today. I was ready by looking around to see what others have done.

Process is similar to taking off the rear door panels. Two 7mm bolts on the bottom, a 10mm blot behind the handle after that plastic piece is off, and a 10mm bolt after the window switch is pried up, which I took off this time. It was easier and I should of done it for the rears.

Handle Piece.jpeg

Window Switch.jpeg

The top plastic piece by the front has 3 clips that need to be pried out. However only the top one comes out, then this piece stays on the door panel. The bottom two clips are taken off after the door panel is off, I used some needle nose pliers to pinch it from behind to remove the piece from the door panel. Just be careful.

Top Plastic Slots.jpeg
Top Plastic.jpeg

I then popped the clips all around and pulled the panel off. This time I unhooked the locking piece because I had to get the tweeter out and figure out wiring.

Panel Off.jpeg

The old tweeter popped out after pushing in a few tabs, there are three. I unhooked it from the harness. I did not use that factory harness for the new tweeters. This speaker set is component. It has a place to plug the tweeters in to the new 6 1/2" speaker.

Here's the new speaker ready to go.

I did do a test to make sure everything worked and it did. Again, like the rears, I had to wire the speakers and come through a hole to get to the wire harness. I also held back the speaker wires by zip tying to a screw.

Back New Speaker.jpeg
New Speaker.jpeg

Luckily with these tweeters they snapped into the door perfectly.

New Tweeter.jpeg

I did buy that sound proofing material. It was not big enough to cover the big hole that has the clear covering. So I just cut small squares and replaced the foam coverings that were on there and taped up that clear piece.

Door Sealed.jpeg

I put the panel back and and all was well...then I tackled the other side.

The speakers sound fantastic. I couldn't be more happy. The sound is clear and louder than it was with the old speakers.

Doing this made a huge difference. I'd say go for it for less than $200.

Some tips and other misc. pics.......

When I popped the panel off most of the white pins stayed in the panel. On all doors it seemed as if the same few stayed in the metal part of the door. On the rears I didn't do anything about this. I wished I would of. I still might take those panels off and fix them.

On the fronts I actually got the pins out and reinserted them into the panel. Then the panel fit back perfectly.

Pins Out.jpeg

Here is a shot of all the old speakers. I "can confirm" (Letterkenny quote) that the fronts and rears are 50w speakers.

All Old.jpeg

Here is a pic of the whole family I replaced.

Whole Family.jpeg

Some misc pics I took.

Antenna Con?.jpeg
Amp 1.jpeg

Amp 2.jpeg
Back Seat View.jpeg

Found a gas funnel.


Some more info (10-18-19)

The front door and rear door speakers are 50w.
The center and D-pillar speakers are 25w.
The depth of the factory sub is 3 3/4" from the mount plate bottom.

Rear D-Pillar.....

Here are the speakers I bought.


Installed these today as well.

Since the bottom was open to install the new sub it was not a difficult process.

There is one 8mm bolt to remove from the top panel. Then it just pops off after pulling on the clips.

I unhooked the speaker power from the harness. Then I had to unclip the speaker wire from the panel. There are two T-20 screws that hold the speaker to the panel.

Back Speaker.jpeg

I then had to use the new speaker wire and solder it to the wires from the old speaker. The same way as the center speaker.

New In 1.jpeg

I screwed it back in with some washers. Plugged it in and it worked. Then I reinstalled the top panel, then the bottom panel. Everything went back together ok. Had to look at the other back door rubber weather stripping to make sure I did it right.

I would highly recommend doing the D-pillars and the sub at the same time. It is a lot of work just to do the D-pillars.

Here is the sub I bought. Amazon put that label there.

New Sub.jpeg

I started out by taking off the small panel by the seatbelt bottom. Then I had to remove the plastic piece by the rear door foot well. It popped up easily. There is one of those plastic screws to pull out as well.

Then I had to remove the plastic piece by the tail gate. There is one plug I unplugged then removed the piece. Then I unscrewed the two hooks for the netting.

I also thought I would have to remove that hook for hangers on the top tight of the tailgate...you do not!

Back Off.jpeg

Then I started popping out the clips from the back door of that right side panel. Then I went back to the tailgate and did the same and met in the middle. Then I slid the panel out. I decided not to uninstall the seatbelts (as you can see).

Panel Down.jpeg

I unplugged that green clip for the sub. There are three 8mm bolts to pull the box out. I pulled the box from the bottom and lifted out. There is a hook on the top bolt. Of course I took the 8 philip head screws out first. Don't do that. Take them off after removal of the box. There is also one 8mm bolt holding the sub in from the back of the sub box.

Here's a pic of the sub box out.

Sub Box Out.jpeg

Pics of the old sub front and back.

Sub Front Old.jpeg
Sub Back Old.jpeg

The old sub had 4 wires. 2 on the top and 2 on the bottom. They are labeled + and -. Made it much easier to install on the new sub. I cut the clips off each wire. I took off some sheathing and twisted the wires. I put the wires in the same spots on the new sub. I call top and bottom because the Pioneer logo was upright.

Bottom - White/blue stripe - & White +
Top - White/light gray stripe - & White/dark grey stripe +

I had enough wire to clip the clip into the sub box and reach the harness to plug it in. I stuffed the box with some poly stuff I had here for better sound. I also put a piece of metal tape over the hole in the back of the box. The sub box is big and empty. However where the sub goes is shallow. I would not go more than 3 3/4" so it doesn't hit the back. I also put foam tape around where the sub screws in to the sub box. I had to drill some new holes in the sub box for the new sub. I used all 8 screws that I took out.

Sub In Box.jpeg

I tested it and it worked. Then I reinstalled in reverse order.

The sound is way better. I'm glad I upgraded.

I'm considering eventually upgrading my speakers as well. Keep me posted on how it sounds - I was wondering if just upgraded speakers would be enough.

Got all those 7 speakers in. Let me know if you have any questions or want to see other pics.

I have decided to attempt the D pillar speakers. I ordered Kicker 3 1/2" from Amazon to do this. They are the next step up from the center speakers I bought.


I might also look into buying a sub speaker to replace the factory one. I have asked on some old posts to see what others have done.

Very nice write up !!

Makes me want to upgrade mine...

Good write up and good photos. I had not thought of mounting the center speaker to the grille. With my 2013 and 2014 Taurus the center speaker had to be mounted under the tab. I Dremel tooled a very small notch at about the 5’O clock position of the speaker opening. Attached two anchor clips rotated counter clockwise to align the OEM openings. Used two medium self tapping screws (1/2”) with a washer that provides support and drew the speaker up to the bolts. The fit on the grille was that tight so with the speaker in the above dash mounting the center voice coil would be too high and not allow the speaker grille to be inserted flush. I used the other 3.5 center speaker for the center of the rear deck. Tapped into one of the rear door speakers as a power source.

Do you have the SONY system in your 2018? I had read and still want more research but read that the Clear Live Acoustics of the 2018 SONY system makes changing door speakers not as noticeable difference as the previous years. I am all for new speakers and either a SUB or a Under seat SUB/AMP combo. I want to make sure that changing the door speakers will make that much difference first.

The general theory at least for me was on previous years the weakest link appeared to be the speakers, maybe because they were the easiest to replace. Maybe they improved the design over the years and got some decent speakers.

As with any stereo system whether it be base OeM or even the upgraded systems, BOSE, B&O, HK, SONY etc.....the system can be all the bells and whistles but if all that technology is being pushed through $4.99 paper speakers, then that’s what your going to hear.

I was a Kenwood man myself on the Taurus but had Kicker 3.5 for the centers and sounded great.

Stephen, I saw your explanation about your install. I thought it would a been a big job.

But it was not hard at all.

Sub and D-pillars installed.

Just wanted to say thanks to all those who posted before me about their installs. Their info helped out a lot.

I hope this helps others.

Now order your speakers and get installing!

Good write up and good photos.

Do you have the SONY system in your 2018? I had read and still want more research but read that the Clear Live Acoustics of the 2018 SONY system makes changing door speakers not as noticeable difference as the previous years. I am all for new speakers and either a SUB or a Under seat SUB/AMP combo. I want to make sure that changing the door speakers will make that much difference first.

Wanted to add more.

Yes I do have the Sony system. I am not a huge audiophile, but to me the sound is night and day. The 9 speakers and 1 sub I replaced definitely made a difference in sound. I am happy I did it.

I could of purchased way better speakers, but I am happy with what I bought, they're not the cheapest and not the most expensive.

The $75 sub is a huge difference. I did ponder the Kicker sub for $125, but it had 1 ohm. I guess I wanted 4.

Im Running into issues with my 2019 install. Can anyone tell me if the factory HU has Crossovers. Im tapping the lines right out the deck into my lcq-1. Kept factory tweeter which are being changed pretty sure i fried them lol i know what i did wrong. But im having tuning issues. Does anyone have a XLT wiring schem without the sony system.

Check your messages.

Great write up. I have pondered doing an upgrade to our Ex so this is most helpfull:)

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It was not expensive to do. Took some time though. I like the difference in sound.
Just joined to thank you for the write up. Ordering parts to do my 2019 Sport.

Went with Rockford P165-SI for the front and P1650 for the rear doors.

I am debating on doing the rear pillars and sub but I am stuck.

There are two options that I could go with but I am not sure what will work best with the stock Sony amp.

They are the Pioneer TS-A2000LD2 which is dual 2ohm coils and then there is the Kicker Comp 43CWRT81 which is dual 1ohm coils.

Which would work best with the stock amp? Or would I be better off doing the polyfill mod with the stock sub. Did you happen to notice what the ratings on the stock sub where?

How are you liking all the changes that you made?