Adding Front Door Speakers

Having decided to upgrade the stereo system in my Pajero, the first thing I wanted to tackle was the front door speakers. From what I can gather, most Pajeros came out of the factory with some speakers fitted in the front doors, so it’s often a fairly easy job to upgrade the existing factory fitted ones with some more powerful ones. But my Pajero had none fitted at all so all I had was a blank panel.

Pajero Door Card

I wasn’t too bothered about the extra work involved as I had decided to add bigger than standard diameter speakers anyway, which would have mean cutting a bigger hole even if one existed from the factory. The standard size for speakers in these front doors is 5 inch diameter. So looking at the hole above, 5 inch is about the biggest diameter you can fit between the moulded lips in the speaker fitment area.

Having read up on car stereo systems I learned that having the largest set of front speakers that you can fit is very important in achieving a good overall sound. I’d also heard several people say that they had fitted 6.5 inch in these doors quite comfortably. What they mean by comfortably is that the rear of the speaker fits into the hole that is behind this door card. It’s not a massive hole, so you can only go so big with the speaker. Obviously a 6.5 inch diameter speaker protrudes over the edges of the moulded lips, but this wasn’t a concern for me – I just wanted the largest speakers I could get.

Choosing the speakers

So I knew I wanted 6.5 inches, but which ones to go for? One possibility was to go with components – a woofer in the door with a tweeter probably mounted on the dashboard. I thought about this, but decided I would prefer a full range, all-in-one unit in the door as this is my first attempt at putting together a decent sound system. I eventually plumped for a pair of 6.5 inch Infinity Kappa 652.7i speakers. I believe they’re a pretty good quality speaker without breaking the bank and having the basic technical features I wanted. A crossover and pointable dome tweeter for instance.

Now I just needed to fit them!

Removing the door card

First of all I needed to completely remove the door card from the door. It might be slightly different on your model, but here’s how I took mine off (assume you’re looking at the driver’s door):

  1. On the left of the door you’ll see two plastic circles about the size of a small coin. Use a small screwdriver to push in the centre of these circles which releases the locking mechanism of them. Then carefully pick out with the screwdriver.
  2. On the door handle you should see two plastic covers that can be removed with a small flat screwdriver or blade. Behind these lie a crossheaded screw – remove.
  3. Pull the door opening lever towards you to reveal a small crossheaded screw – remove.
  4. All that holds the door card in place now are plastic plugs that you can’t see, all around the edge of the door. Start at the bottom right corner of the door and carefully pull it away – you should feel the plugs coming out as you do so. Work your way around the two sides of the door and the bottom edge until they are all free.
  5. Now lift the door card upwards so that the hole that fits over the top of the door lock knob comes free.
  6. At this point the card should be free but you’ll have the wires to the electric window switches hanging on. There’s a plug into the switch that can simply be unplugged. If it’s stiff, try a quick spray with WD40 (works great)

Speaker wiring

With the door card removed you can have a look into the holes of the door skin itself and see the hole that the back of the speaker will fit into. You should also see some wiring.

Even though my Pajero had never had speakers fitted there was some factory-fitted speaker wiring in place ready to use. I had expected this, but as I’m building a reasonably advanced system I’d been advised to upgrade the existing speaker cables as they’re not very good quality. So now was the time to fit the new cable.

I’m not going to go into great detail with this, but basically I found the best way to do this was feed the new cable through the bodywork under the dash where it comes out into the door opening. You need to unplug the squashy rubber thing first that connects the body to the door, behind which you’ll see various wiring.

To be honest this was the hardest part of the whole job. It’s very difficult to find the hole under the dash and very difficult to get the wiring through the rubber bung. Not an easy process to describe, so I’ll just wish you good luck with it!

Cutting the door card hole

If you already had speaker holes in place this process should be considerably easier for you. Having a completely blank panel I not only had to cut a round hole of the right size, but also make sure it was positioned correctly so that the speaker fits in the door skin hole. So if you’re making a 5 inch hole bigger you should be able to hold the card in place and judge where to position you bigger hole.

The first thing I did was make a small hole of about an inch in diameter in a spot I knew would safely fit somewhere inside my finished hole. To do this I used an electric drill fitted with an 1/8th of an inch metal drill bit. If you can find a short (stub) drill bit, all the better to prevent damaging slips of the drill. I drilled a series of holes making a circle 1 inch across. Then I angled the drill to join up the holes until the circle of plastic fell out.

Please note: I’m not recommending this method of hole cutting if you’re not familiar with handling drills (I am). It’s an improvised technique and not the safest method in the world, but the only way I could do it with the tools I have.

So once I had my small ‘peep hole’ I could hold the door card up to the door skin and get an idea of where the hole behind was. This then allowed my to have an educated guess as to where the final, large hole should be.

Once I had an idea of where it should go, I used the template that comes with the speakers to mark the final hole. I used a white tyre marker pen to do this. Then I drilled many holes around this circle as can be seen below. Note that this was the second door I did which didn’t need the ‘peep hole’ as I just copied the position of the first door.

Pajero Door Card With Holes

Then it was just a case of joining up the holes with an angled drill. Please be careful if doing it this way. You’re then left with a nice hole for your new speakers as can be seen below. The edge of the hole doesn’t need to be perfect as it’s getting covered up anyway.

Pajero Door Card With Speaker Hole

The speakers I’m using came with a crossover which is the silver box shown above. I had wondered where to put this so it would be secure. Having cut the hole out I discovered I had a handy little place to place it – directly underneath where it is shown in the picture. Once the speaker is in place it can’t move anywhere – perfect.

Fixing the speaker in place

Now I just needed to fit the outer ring of the speaker in place which was done fairly easily, drilling required holes and screwing through the speaker and rings as shown below.

Pajero Speaker Fixed In Place

Then you just need to wire up the crossover (if you have one) to the speaker and prepare the wiring to connect to the speaker cables. Hold it up to the door and connect your speaker cables – ideally using proper connectors and a crimper for best results.

Rear of Pajero Front Door Speaker

Now refit the door card in the reverse way you took it off. A bit fiddly and not something that I can describe very easily.

Here’s the completed speaker with cover:

Finished Speaker

Notes

For those of you who are wondering about how far these speakers stick out, well obviously they do, but they don’t get in the way at all. And personally I don’t think they look odd at all, but you’d need to see them in the flesh to make up your own mind.

So how do they sound? Well at the time of writing I’ve still got my cheapish head unit that came with the truck in place, but the sound from it has been totally transformed. You’d expect this of course, as I now have four speakers instead of two. Can’t wait to get my new Kenwood head unit in place to really try them out!

Do you have any comments, suggestions or questions about what I’ve done here? If so, please use the comments box below:

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2 Responses to “Adding Front Door Speakers”

  1. Matt
    June 9, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    Hi – good article. I woud however remind folk that they need to be very carefull about how far thier chosen speaker protrudes into the door cavity as one can end up with the window hitting the rear of the speaker on its downward travel. I know coz this fool done it – bugger.

    • Tim
      June 9, 2011 at 9:31 am #

      Very good point Matt.

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