Subaru Outback Audio Install

After owning my Subaru for a few years, I decided that it would be nice to upgrade the stereo system. I had previously installed the Empeg MP3 player in my car with a FM modulator, and I wanted a better sounding system to take advantage of the large amount of music that I had stored in the Empeg. I ended up installing two Nakamichi amplifiers, a JL Audio Subwoofer, MB Quart speakers and a new Nakamichi head unit into my Outback with a lot of custom work for the amp rack and subwoofer enclosure.

Here you can see the amplifier and head unit installation. The amps are installed in the back over the spare tire in a rack attached with a piano hinge. This allows access to the spare and a secure place to keep the amps. I had worried about the amps getting too hot and overheating, but after running them as loud as I want for a few hours they are only warm to the touch. The Empeg is a Euro-DIN sized unit, while my car is compatible with Japanese-DIN stereos. I had to hack the car a bit to get the Empeg to fit in the dash. I re-used the old stereo faceplate and glued the buttons in place to act as a decoy stereo. With the decoy in place and the rear cargo cover closed, you cannot easily tell there is an aftermarket stereo installed in the car.

Amp Rack Amps Wired Finished Deck Nakamichi HU and Empeg Decoy Faceplate

My first fiberglass project was fabricating the subwoofer enclosure. JL Audio makes a StealthBox for 2005+ Subarus, but since mine was a 2000, I had to make my own. It is similar in design to the StealthBox, but mine is a little smaller to fit into the side of the car a bit better. I learned fiberglassing from various websites, and it wasn’t as hard as I had imagined. The subwoofer is installed where my jack used to be, and the jack stored in my toolbox I keep in the car. I first created a face template out of 3/4″ MDF and a reinforced lip on the template with baltic birch plywood. The plywood is very dense and voidless which makes a solid mounting point for the heavy subwoofer. After determining the location for the subwoofer, I masked off the area with masking tape and protected the interior of the car to avoid any fiberglass spills.

Sub Enclosure Frame Sub Enclosure Frame Subwoofer Target Area Making the Sub Enclosure Mold Join The Dark Side!

I applied the first coat directly on top of the masking tape and kept adding layers until I felt the mold would be rigid enough to remove. After about 4 coats I was able to remove the mold and fit it to the face template I had made from MDF. At this point, I trimmed the mold to fit and began fiberglassing the mold to the face template by adding fiberglass directly over the edge of the MDF. The MDF is very porous and soaks up a lot of resin, creating a strong bond between the mold and the template. A few more coats of fiberglass and I was able to sand the enclosure down and spray paint it black. I bought some automotive carpet from an automotive interior shop and carpeted the enclosure. The enclosure is bolted into the cubby with a custom made bracket.

Making the Sub Enclosure Mold Sub Enclosure Sub Enclosure Sub Enclosure Sub Enclosure

Sub Enclosure Sub Enclosure Sub Connection Sub Connection Subwoofer Completed

The MB Quarts went into the doors with speaker rings I had to make from fiberglass-reinforced MDF. Typical speakers are too deep for the original mounting plates in the Subaru, so these rings had to be made to keep the speaker magnet from interfering with either the door sheet metal or the window. I soaked them in fiberglass resin to make them stronger than typical MDF. The speakers were completely rewired and Dynamat applied to the doors and around the subwoofer to reduce noise coming from outside.

Speaker Ring Speaker Rings Speaker Rings Chaos Dynamat and MB Quarts