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are factory speakers good enough


Elite Explorer
December 3, 1999
Reaction score
City, State
Penobscot, Maine
Year, Model & Trim Level
'92 XLT
Hey guys, this is my problem. I have a 91 explorer with the premium stereo(toggle volume and rear 6.75 sub). I installed a Pioneer CD player(45X5 max) by myself and had some questions reguarding the stock setup. I have been reading about distortion caused by the ford amp, however I have had very little or no distortion, and I know I didn't bypass the amp, what does this mean.
I'm just intrigued, not upset with no distortion. Also will my CD deck hurt my speakers at high volume. I have turned it up only to 20 out of 30, the speakers sound great, but can I go higher without hurting them. In other words what is the RMS wattage on them. The CD player is like 22watts RMS. Also I'm looking to upgrade my system. What is the best way to go. Replace the four 6x8's or get an amp with a set of full range boxes for the back and keep the stock speakers. Both would cost about the same. Any imput would be appreciated.


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Just an opinion, I replaced my factory 6X8's with aftermarket and it made a dramatic difference. The factory speakers were OK, but with the new ones, it sounds much cleaner. Bass is tight and strong despite having no sub. The highs are clear. Just overall better sounding.

One thing to keep in mind is that you want clean midrange and highs up front to set the "sound stage". Good speakers in the back will help, but you don't want to lose the image of having the music all around you. I think you'll be better off replacing your 4 6X8" speakers first.

Keep in mind that strong bass is what really sucks the power out of your amp. You can get pretty good volume from the midrange and highs with your 20 watts. You'll run into distortion problems if you try to thump the bass without a sub amp. But since you have the factory sub setup, you probably don't have to worry about that unless you want to go extreme. Dead Link Removed

I've got the later model (1999 Explorer) premium sound without the sub, I beleive it has 20 Watts RMS X 4. It seems to be matched very well with my Pioneers. I don't think that yours has too much power for the factory speakers, since it is pretty close to factory power. Factory speakers are fairly rugged, especially since they don't have tweeters in most cases. Anyway, you'll know when you overdo it.

As far as hooking up the sub amp, I don't know the particulars of what it has as far as inputs. Someone else here familiar with the factory sub setup could help you there. All I know is that if it has line level inputs rather than amp level, you'll run into distortion problems with it if you try to run the full power signal into it.

Take this with a grain of salt, others here have much more powerful systems than I do. I just don't crank it up like I used to, so my opinion of high volume may be different than that of others. I remember when car head units only had 4-6 watts RMS. Now that was kind of weak. Dead Link Removed

99 Sport 4x4
Auburn Rear & Gerald's old Shackles
265/75-R16 BFG AT's that weren't supposed to fit

i have a pioneer deh-1000 w/factory speakers and i've turned the volume up to about 10 (with loud on) and i think i was listening to a song with a LOT of bass and i blew it sounds like $hit everytime it has to play the slightest bass, and of course i dont have any money for new speakers right now...i'm gonna get the new pioneer 6x8's with the little spiral thingy in the middle when i get the $$$$ (which hopefully will be soon Dead Link Removed )

'93 explorer sport 4x4

this is what i have done to my premium sound system in my 91 model 4dr. the rear sub was blown so i replaced it with a Kicker brand 6.5" sub. which sounds 10 times better! even with the stock radio, i then added one of the new ( or was new, but you know electronics. if its a day after production its old ) JVC Elkameleon CD player. i dont remember the power it has. and that enhanced the sound greatly and the clearity of it all. the door speakers sound better then with the stock radio but i will be adding some new Infinity Kapa's to the doors to help out with the mids and highs. good luck the sub was about 70bux at your loacal audio store. Later

1991 Eddie Bauer 4x4
K&N drop in filter, Modified air box.
3" lift 31x10.50's
Dunlop R/V's.
Sway bar quick disconects disc.

Skippman to the rescue. Dead Link Removed

I would replace the speakers. Alpine makes some wicked 6X7's and 6X9's that replace the factory ones. Personlly however I would go with some componets speakers like Boston Accousitcs or MB-Quart. That would require a REAL amp however.

As for the factory sub, MTX makes a wicked replacement that can be found at.. Dead Link Removed
that sounds great and will go in REAL easy.

Any other questions, E-Mail me...

Justin "Skipp" Hoyer

93' Mazda Navajo
BF-Goodrich Trail T/A's

yeah those mtx thunderforms are sweet but if they weren't so dang expensive...

'93 explorer sport 4x4
splitfire wires
bosch +4 plugs
hella 530 foglights

I have a '94 with the JBL sound in it. My factory head unit went bad (literally, the head unit said "bad" in the display) last september and I replaced it a Sony MobileES unit, left the stock speakers though. I am able to turn it up almost all the way with little to no distortion. I wish the sub would thump a little more, but the sound is excellent.

Just my $.02, but I think that if you have the JBL sound you have a pretty good setup now, assuming of course the previous owner (if there was one) didn't blow any of the speakers.


Big Dave
'94 XLT 4x4
modified air box
K&N airfilter
"Take her easy, and if she's easy take her twice.." (The trail I mean..)

Thanks for all of the input.
I think I'm going to replace at least 2 of the 6x8's and also the rear sub with a 6.5inch. This was my first post and was very excited to see all of the replies. You guys are great.


I just replaced my head unit in my '93 with premium system with a Sony ES CD receiver. I bypassed the amp and was hoping to reuse the factory sub. When I saw the connections I decided I didn't know how I would connect the sub to my pre-outs in the Sony. (I like simple connections) So I bit the bullet and bought the MTX Thunderform sub. It does sound a lot better (it should for the money). I think it should sound cleaner than it does when I crank it, so I just bought 4 Pioneer 3-way 6x8's to finish it. They should show up tomorrow. Crutchfield's adaptors do make everything pretty easy. My receiver replacement turned into a bigger expense than I expected, but hey, I'm worth it.

93 Explorer Limited 4x4
K&N Filter, Borla exhaust, performance mass airflow sensor

Congrats on a job well done. Sony's head units are excellent mid range units. I'm using one now, waiting on my next pay check for my Alpine CVA-1005.

Did you set frequency limitations for the sub on the amp (crossover)? That makes a BIG diffrence. Also, remember that systems are scaleable. If it becomes to much of a problem then just replace the sub (not the box).

Again, congradulations man. Dead Link Removed

Justin "Skipp" Hoyer

Your stock speakers should be replaced anyways, b/c they are not very good or powerful. However, there is a risk of burning the speakers with the facotry amp, but it is a very small risk. The risk is not from the speakers, it is from the amp. The factory setup feeds the amp with a low level signal from the deck which is then ampped by the amp and fed to the speakers. However, if you use an aftermarket head unit you are sending a 22x4 RMS signal to the amp which is not designed to support that kind of load. The amp has to filter that signal and still feeds the speakers with the same 15 RMS power it always has. What happens is that the extreme power going into the amp sometimes is too much and caused the amp to screw up and feed too much to the speakers or in too large bursts for the speaker to handle, thus burning them.

When you bypass the amp you disconnect it and make a direct connection b/t the aftermarket head units speaker outs and the speaker oouts from the amp thus driving the speakers from the head unit. This is what aftermarket decks are designed to do and is the standard setup in the sound world. It leaves the ability to easily upgrade at any time.

Hey everyone talks about bypassing the stock amps if you are adding new speakers. Can't you just take them out?? You would have to rewire the speakers to the head unit and everything but if I was adding speakers (which I am very soon) I would want a quality speaker wire in there too. If I took out the 2 stock amps I have would that mean I couldn't use the stock sub?? I plan to add speakers with in a few weeks and 2 subs with 1 or 2 amps before the end of summer. (Oh by the way I already have a pinoeer 4100 up front.) Thanks

factory speakers are not good enough

I went with the 3-way pioneers,and that made the biggest improvemnt,compared to the rest of the upgrades thgat I have done to the system,alpine amps,q-logic sub(j-L speaker),kenwood head unit and 10 disk cd-changer.changing the speakers should be first,I am very happy with the 3-way pioneers.......:D