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How To Install Speakers In An F-150

Thanks to John Meyer for allowing me to post this article. John's website is AlienMind.com This tech article was originally posted at FordF150.net. It is primarily intended for Ford trucks but most likely also applies to other Ford models.

Disclaimer: Please note that these articles are posted strictly for informational and educational purposes only. We are not responsible for any modifications you may make to your vehicle, nor the results you may have. Performing some of the procedures shown on this site may void your warranty. If in doubt, check with Ford or your local dealer for assistance.

I felt that the factory speakers that came as a part of the "premium sound" option were not all that premium. The factory units are 6"x8" oval full-range drivers with paper cones and a "wizzer cone" to help with the high end. It was not much help, since the sound was muddy and boomy.

I debated on what to replace them with and had looked at the Pioneer TS-A6813 (2-way) and the TS-A6815 (three-way), as well as some Polk and Infinity units. The decision was made easier when I talked to the guys at the local stereo shop who said they had installed some of the Pioneers and were pleased with the results. They also had the 6815's in stock, and I had some gorgeous, spring-like weather handy to ease the installation.

The Pioneers are designed to directly replace the factory units in Ford, Mazda, and Nissan, and they went in fine, using the same screw holes and openings, with no interferences from the magnets with window tracks, etc. I am happy with the resulting sound. Far more clarity on the midrange and high end, and clean bass, without the "boom" of the factory drivers. The Dynamat may be partially responsible for that, damping out the sheet metal to eliminate its functioning as an extended woofer. The sound could be better, I imagine, if you wanted to fork over more cash for amplifiers and parametric EQs, aftermarket head unit, etc., but I feel like the $99 a pair I paid for the speakers got me where I wanted to be. It is still an automotive sound system, It just sounds like a better automotive sound system.

Here are some (hopefully) helpful notes for getting your doors apart and speakers installed without breaking anything. In general, in order to get the trim panels off, one part must be unsnapped to expose the screws, etc that hold on the main trim panel. I looked these disassembly procedures up in the F150 shop manual, so as to know the correct way to do things. I decided to share the pictures to help those without the book to avoid damaging expensive plastic parts.

I provide this material as an educational service, and do not accept any responsibility for what you do to your or anyone else's vehicle. Though this is pretty easy stuff, I have to tell you to use this information at your own risk.

Let's start with the rear door:

First, unscrew the two Philips head machine screws that hold the flip-out window latch to the door frame. Swing the latch toward the window to get it out of the way. Then the upper trim panel pulls straight away from the door. You may want to slide a thin screwdriver (wrapped with masking tape or similar) between the trim and the doorframe and gently pry each clip from its slot. These clips are pretty tight, and feel like you are gonna break something when you first start pulling on the panel. As shown, there are two clips at the back (hinge side) of the door and three at the front. Just be careful and take your time. When re-installing, just line up the clips and pop them back in. a little "pop" with the palm of the hand over each one does the trick.

Rear door

This exposes the fasteners for the lower trim panel. There is one nut, two screws, and one plastic rivet. to remove the plastic rivet, push gently on the dot in the center until it just snaps in; don't push it out the back. This releases the tension on the rivet. while it is out, push the center part back out the front to make it ready to put back in. The screws and nut work in the usual way.

Rear door trim

Now, just lift up to release the tabs and the panel pulls away. Don't try to pull out on the panel until you have lifted in up enough to completely disengage the tabs (i.e. don't force it).

I chose to use Dynamat, so I had to peel off the plastic barrier. Just be careful, take your time, and the barrier will peel off pretty easily. This is how it looked after the Dynamat was fitted. I took the piece I cut out for the speaker and stuck it to the inside of the outer skin, just to help deaden any resonance that may occur.

Rear door - Dynamat

The new speaker is in, after installing the Dynamat and replacing the factory plastic barrier. To help align the barrier sheet, note that there are two little bumps in the sheet metal (at the top corners) that line up with holes in the barrier.

Rear door - New Speaker

Reinstallation is generally just the reverse of the disassembly process. Line up the tabs on the panel with slots in the door, and slide them down until seated and the screw holes line up. Reinstall all four fasteners and replace the upper trim panel. Be careful with the screws that hold the window latch! Unlike most of the screws you will deal with in this project, these go into threaded inserts that appear to be made of brass. Don't cross thread them! It may help to have someone press on the window from the outside to help line the holes up.

Now we tackle the front door. First, the trim piece at the rear of the window is popped out. It is held with two of the same type of clips that hold the rear door upper trim. Again, gentle prying may help to get this piece off.

Front door - upper

Next, the control panel and the trim behind the door latch need to come loose. If you don't have power windows, you will need to remove the crank, but I have no pictures or help for that. Note that both of these pieces have only a clip on the front, the rear of each has a tab that slips under the mounting surface. Pry up the front and rotate each away from the mounting surface, pulling the rear tab out from under the surface. To disconnect the wiring, press the release clip on each connector and pull straight out of the socket. There are also some smaller clips along the edges, but they slip easily out once the main front clip is loose. You'll have to pull the door latch handle to slip that trim piece off.

Front door - trim

The main door trim has two screws holding it, one is at the rear of the door, and the other is by the latch handle. Then the panel is lifted up so that the tabs disengage, just like the rear door trim. The marker light bulb socket is released by twisting it about a quarter turn (counterclockwise). (Note: I just realized that I drew the leader line incorrectly to the screw by the latch handle. it should point to the front of the opening (to the left in the photo below) Sorry.)

Front door - panel

Again, I removed the factory barrier/insulation in order to install the Dynamat. I also stuck the part cut out for the speaker to the inside of the outside skin.

Front door - Dynamat

Here is the completed installation showing the speaker installed over the replaced factory insulation sheet. As before, everything goes back in the reverse of the disassembly. Don't forget to replace the marker light socket, and be careful to get the door lock knob through the hole. It may help to pull the knob up first.

Front door - New Speaker

Wiring details:

I used the factory wiring. I cut off the special connector, and soldered the wires that came with the speakers on to the ends. These colors refer to the wires right at the speaker, they are not necessarily be the same as these further up in the harness, since in several cases there is an inline connector and a color change before you trace back to the radio.

I can verify the color codes for the SuperCab, but I took the ones for the regular cab out of the manual. Note that there is only one difference. Note also that the first color is the predominant  wire color, and the second is the color of the stripe on the wire.

Wire Color (super cab) Color (regular cab)
Left Front (+) Orange/Lt Green same as SC
Left Front (-) Lt Blue/White same as SC
Right Front (+) White/Lt Green same as SC
Right Front (-) Dk Green/Orange same as SC
Left Rear (+) Orange/Red Grey/Lt Blue
Left Rear (-) Brown/Pink Tan/Yellow
Right Rear (+) Orange/Red same as SC
Right Rear (-) Brown/Pink same as SC

Take your time, be careful, and good luck!