How to Install a Subwoofer With Built in Amp

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To create a truly powerful car audio system you need to have a wide ranging speaker set-up and the proper power to drive those speakers. Most vehicles are equipped with a series of door panel and rear deck speakers. Optional stereo systems often come with subwoofers and amplifiers. If your vehicle is not equipped with an upgraded audio system, you can install amps and subwoofers yourself. To save time and space a popular solution is a powered subwoofer. A powered subwoofer is a sub that comes with a built-in amplifier. Powered subwoofers are easier to install and saves space in your trunk or rear cargo area.

Things You'll Need

  • Pliers or adjustable wrench
  • Wiring harness adapter
  • Amplifier wiring kit
  • Trim panel removal tool
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Lift the hood of your vehicle to access the vehicle's battery. Disconnect the grounding cable and attach the ring terminal from the amplifier wiring kit. Loosen the bolt that holds the grounding cable to your vehicle's negative battery lead with pliers or an adjustable wrench. Move the cable away from the lead. Remove the bolt from the positive lead and connect the ring terminal. Replace the bolt and remove the fuse from the fuse holder of the ring terminal.

  • Connect the power cable from the amp wiring kit to the ring terminal. Feed the cable into the interior of the vehicle through the opening in the firewall.

  • Remove the stereo from the dashboard of the vehicle. Removal procedures vary among vehicles. Commonalities among these procedures include removing the dash panels that cover the stereo mounting dock. Use a trim panel removal tool to remove the panels and a screwdriver or socket and drive to remove the screws (or bolts) holding the stereo into the stereo mounting bracket. Consult your owner's manual for exact procedures.

  • Disconnect the stereo wiring from the back of the stereo and connect the wiring to a wiring harness adapter. Plug the wiring harness adapter leads into the back of your stereo. The wiring harness adapter creates a universal platform for connecting the aftermarket amplifier wiring that will connect to the powered subwoofer.

  • Plug the patch cables from the amp wiring kit into the free leads of the wiring harness adapter. The patch cables carry the stereo signal from the radio as well as provide instruction to the sub to power on.

  • Feed the patch cables through the back of the stereo mounting dock. The cables will need to connect to the sub from the floor area of the vehicle.

  • Replace the stereo into the dashboard of the vehicle. There is no another reason to access the stereo wiring so replace any panels that were removed to access the stereo wiring.

  • Route the power cable from the battery and the patch cables from the stereo to the location of the powered sub. A common location for a powered sub is in the trunk of the vehicle. For SUVs and vans, the rear cargo area is a likely mounting location. Lay the cables beneath the carpeting of the vehicle. Consult the repair manual of your vehicle for instructions on safely lifting the carpeting to provide a path to the rear of the vehicle. Replace the carpeting once the cables have been routed to the powered subwoofer.

  • Plug the power cable into the power outlet on the subwoofer.

  • Plug the patch cables into the appropriate outlets on the sub.

  • Connect the grounding wire from the wiring kit to the subwoofer. Connect the grounding wire to a bolt or screw directly connected to the frame of the vehicle.

  • Place the grounding cable clamp onto the negative battery lead post. Screw the bolt on the cable's clamp clockwise to tighten the clamp around the lead post.

  • Replace the fuse into the fuse holder on the amp wiring kit's ring terminal. Close the hood and test the powered subwoofer.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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