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Solved Tony407's Ultimate DIY Audiophile Audio Build

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Well-Known Member
July 13, 2014
Reaction score
City, State
Portland, OR
Year, Model & Trim Level
2017 Ford Explorer Sport
Hey, everyone!

Just wanted to share my audio build. I've been doing my own systems since I was 16 years old in 1987. I've done 5 entire system replacements and dozens of substantial updates to every car I've owned. My 2001 Nissan Maxima and I were featured in CarDomain magazine back in the day, and I sent myself through a custom car audio fabrication school at The Install Institute in Florida. I feel like I know more about car audio than pretty much anything I know anything about, and I humbly attest there's still a lot I don't know.

This project started in 2018. I spent seven months in my spare time putting in a no-compromise SQ system in my 2015 Explorer Sport. Then in 2020 I was involved in a head-on highway-speed collision that the other driver and I were lucky to walk away from. My 2015 was totaled so I bought a 2017 Sport and transplanted everything into it. Needless to say, I know my way around the inside of this generation of Explorer! Having said that, I'm not a professional and if there is anything you want to try on your own based on my work here, keep this in mind please.

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys this and gets something useful from it.


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A pillars.

I made custom temporary mounts so I could use a laser pointer to precisely aim my mids and tweets directly at my ears. This system will be a one-seat wonder. Passengers will never hear what I hear, and this is okay with me.


MDF mounting ring for a Dynaudio MD142 3-inch soft dome midrange.


Dynaudio 3-inch MD142 midrange, from their Esotec System 362.


Closeup of the passenger side A-pillar during test fitment. I used small wooden dowels and super glue & insta super glue hardener to precisely aim the midrange at my right ear with the laser pointer. This took awhile.


A pillars continued.

MDF mounting rings for the two Dynaudio MD102 tweeters.


This is just stretched T-shirt fabric attached to the OEM pillar with super glue.


Layers of fiberglass & resin.


After some body filler and a little sanding. There was a lot of sanding at my garage.


So I actually changed my mind mid way through making these. I initially planned on having the midranges in the A-pillars and the tweeters in the OEM locations or in the sail panels (those are the the panels adjacent to the exterior body-mounted mirrors). I later decided to have everything in the A-pillars, so I had to re-sand everything all over again. So there was even more sanding going on in my garage.



Completed A-pillars!

Ignore the airbags! This was obviously right after my collision. The airbag damaged the driver's side A-pillar when it deployed, but it was nice to see that all my modifications still allowed the curtain airbag to deploy as intended.

Driver to Passenger.JPG

Nice Airbag.JPG

As it turns out, these one-inch dome tweeter grills are AMAZINGLY rigid. I know because I tried denting one on purpose with a hammer and I was stunned to find out how strong these these suckers are! The one you see below, however, was EASILY dented by my knuckles during the sudden deceleration from the collision. Ha!

Pods 4.JPG

The collision knocked my Dynaudio emblems right off the midranges. And I was too lazy to get them back on perfectly for these photos.

Pods 5.JPG

Dynaudio MD142 3-inch soft dome midrange

Pods 1.JPG

Dynaudio MD102 1-inch soft dome tweeter.

Pods 2.JPG

Amp rack.

My four amplifiers will go here. The rack will reside in the space where the third-row seats used to be. I went with black and white & polished aluminum. There's actually two versions below. The first one successfully kept all my amplifiers in place during the collision, but it cracked in a few places so I made a new one from scratch. v2.0 is much more sturdy and better looking.

Amp rack v1.0.

Amp rack v1.0

Amp rack v2.0

Amp rack v2.0's underside was strengthened with steel and coated with a rubberized coating for stage equipment and speaker enclosures.

Amp rack.

Two MTX XTHUNDER 1200.1 mono amps for the subs.

Arc Audio Signature Edition SE2150 2-channel amplifier for the midwoofers
Arc Audio Signature Edition SE4200 4-channel amplifier for the midranges and tweeters


This was rack v1.0 during test-fitment. The contraption above it will be a false floor that covers the subwoofer enclosure, amps & power distribution. It's hinged in the middle so it can be lifted up and out of the way. When folded flat it gives the system 100% stealth OEM appearance.


Finished amp rack & power distribution.

I made my own twisted-pair interconnects.
Arc Audio Signature Edition SE2150

Arc Audio Signature Edition SE4200 amplifer
Secondary battery mount v1.0 (Damaged during the collision)

Amp and Battery.JPG

You can see how the battery mount is slightly leaning forward from the collision. It kept the 74-pound battery in place but structurally it didn't survive.

Amps and Battery and Distribution.JPG

Battery mount version 1.0.

In retrospect, I way over-engineered this thing. I may have been high. ('s Oregon, don't judge.) My secondary battery is humungous and weighs 74 pounds and there wasn't a lot of options to securely mount it to the floor behind the second-row seats because that's right above the fuel tank and getting underside access wasn't practical.


I bolted this sucker to the Explorer using threaded rivet nut inserts.



Battery mount v1.0.


Battery mount v2.0. Steel bar from The Home Depot. Much simpler!!


I cut a small notch into the sheetmetal floor where the front lip of the steel bar is inserted into and then the rear is attached to the floor using some heavy-duty threaded rivet nut inserts. It's not going anywhere.


Painted the top of the battery black & polished the steel bar.
XS Power XP3000 3,000-amp secondary battery.


Front Doors.

Honestly, you could spend thousands of dollars on speakers and all that money will be lost if the doors you install them buzz, rattle, and resonate along with your music. In my opinion, it's one of THE most important parts of the install. I spent 2 days on each door applying sound deadening materials and meticulously going over every inch where any material contacted any other material in order to make sure there's not a single peep. Which works for about 99.5% of the noises. The other .5% drives me bat crazy. But I digress...

This is the OEM Sony speaker and untouched inner door panel. Not exactly an ideal speaker enclosure.

Inside the door cavity. I used two layers of damping sheets and two cans of spray-on sound deadening per door.


Prepping the door for more sound deadening.


First time I've tried these. They're supposed to reduce standing waves inside the door cavity or whatever. I'm skeptical, but I doubt it's hurting anything.


The finished passenger door with Dynaudio MD172 8-inch midwoofer.


Finished driver's door with Dynaudio MD172 8-inch midwoofer.


MDF baffles for the front door Dynaudio MD172 8-inch midwoofers.

Before I removed the third-row seats.


After. False floor covering the subwoofer enclosure, amps, battery & power distribution. The floor is hinged so I can lift the front or rear up or take it completely out. I made my own carpet mats.

And with the 2nd-row seats up.


The subwoofer enclosure.

This was the most difficult and time-consuming part of the entire build, taking about 3 months just by itself. I made the enclosure from scratch out of MDF, epoxy, wood glue, fiberglass and body filler.

Untouched spare tire well.


I used a combo of sound deadening sheets and spray.



More sound deadening spray to the exterior of the spare tire well.


Building the subwoofer enclosure.




I used a lot of wood glue. The masking tape holds the glue in place until it dries. Mostly.


The top of the enclosure being fit into place. And I'm starting to use body filler to mold it into the exact shape to fit inside the Explorer.


The rear of the box. I totally screwed up the angle of the sides of the box so that when I placed the top on, it didn't sit flat. So I used epoxy to fill the gap. It works.


I had to install handles inside the box because it got too big and heavy to lift in and out of the back of Explorer without them. I must have lifted this in and out of my Explorer 50 times making sure each step didn't change how it fit. The finished enclosure weighs 124 pounds WITHOUT the subs!


Making inner supports.


With the supports in place. I coated the interior with Acoust-X, a sound absorbing & damping material.


Fiberglassing the front of the enclosure.


I added a second MDF top to the first for extra rigidity, for a total thickness of 1.5 inches on top. I contoured the front of the box to match the spare tire trim.


I painted the exterior with a stage equipment and speaker enclosure coating.


The finished enclosure. Painted to match the Explorer. I initially made the box so I could have ports or not have ports. As it turns out, it absolutely needed ports! I added dual 4-inch ports later.



The finished enclosure inside the Explorer. The 4-inch ports are tuned to 35Hz.


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MTX 9500 Series 12-inch subwoofer. 49 pounds each. My two MTX amps will deliver 1200 watts to each sub.