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Thread: How to install component speakers into a E46.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Default How to install component speakers into a E46.

    Hey there everyone,

    If you’re a member of other car forums you may have seen our ‘how to’ threads regarding component speaker installation. To that end; since the demise of DTM I've received emails aplenty asking if we could post a tutorial up here for installing component speakers into the E46. So without further ado; here we go.

    As a side note; these images are taken across numerous installs if you’re wondering why the differing colours. Also; although this is only one particular E46 the concept is the same across the entire range.

    Step one: Take one original door complete from factory. Give them a nice clean and remove any debris and dust.

    Step two: Apply sound deadening to the entire outer skin.

    Step three: Add diffuser panels behind the speaker to combat wave reflections. Now it’s important to note that this is only necessary if you’re using deadening with an alloy skin. Products like Focal BAM already have a foam layer installed so it’s acts as a diffuser.

    Step four: Run your aftermarket speaker cables through the loom tubes into the doors. This ensures you have adequately sized cables for higher current flow as the factory speaker cables are not overly large.

    Step five: Make the baffles in a similar shape to the factory drivers. These must locate through the factory holes to avoid damaging the door, thus meaning when you sell the car the factory speakers can go right back in. Our baffles are usually constructed from timber but we've made them from Perspex or even 6061 alloy depending on application. If they’re timber then they should be painted with polyester resin and black paint to avoid absorbing water and being seen through the factory grille. Now the E46 baffles are a little departed from the norm because the speaker mounts to the door trim itself, ergo they hold the speaker down from the rear like a clamp.

    Step six: Sound deaden inner skin and remove all air bubbles. Make sure you leave enough clearance for door handle and lock control rods to move freely.

    Step seven: Screw the baffle onto the door trim, sealing the speakers’ front face with foam gasket tape. Make sure you also install a gasket between the speaker and the spacers because air leaks out here too (ever tried to run your car without a head gasket)?

    Step eight: Solder the trimmed speaker wires onto speaker. Don't use crimp terminals because their two best traits are falling off and creating resistance.

    Step nine: Heat shrink around the terminals to protect them. Unlike electrical tape, heat shrink will not fall off after a couple of months.

    Step ten: When it comes to the smaller driver; we tend to machine up a small bracket to hold the drivers in place, attaching them via the original mounting point.

    Step eleven: Sit back and enjoy your new found midbass. This is what the door looks like when complete:

    So there you go folks; that’s how you do a component set installation on the E46. Using this method you have about 63mm of mounting depth in the doors. Any deeper than that you’ll find the speaker surround will impact on the door trim and the magnet may foul on the door metal its associated mechanisms.

    If you’re a serious sound quality enthusiast though, and are looking for the ultimate staging and imaging; then you might still want to consider making a set of custom a-pillars to mount your tweeters and midranges on. Because whilst the factory location is more than adequate, especially if you’re running a processor; you will discover that firing directly into the windscreen does pose certain sound azimuth and dispersion issues.

    If you wish to read more about what sound deadening, diffuser panels and sealing does click here.

    If you wish to find out more about staging, imaging and how our ears relate to them both click here and click here.

    I hope that helps you guys out.
    Last edited by Fhrx; 9th May 2018 at 06:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Thanked 50 Times in 45 Posts


    nice one, and nice choice of speakers.

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