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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The method I a describing works will all stock Ford sound systems. It is basically a way to run a powerful sound system with or without a sub, while leaving the stock head unit and RCU in place.

With this approach, you can run as much power as you wish. If you are going to run over 300 watts per channel, plan on running heavier gauge speaker wire, but for less than that, the stock wire is more than adequate.

The things you will need:

Line out converter(s) and an amp of your choice or an amp with built in line inputs You will need at least 1x 4 channel amp or 2x 2 channel amps. (I personally prefer running line out converters and a separate 4 channel amp)

RCA cables (for running from the line out converters to the amp and for running to the subwoofer)

An amp installation kit (a second kit will be needed to run a subwoofer)

The speakers you wish to use (make sure they are the correct sizes and that their RMS is sufficient for the amp)

A subwoofer (optional)

Either gold plated crimp connectors or soldering iron, solder, and heat shrink tubing

A wiring diagram for your car, specifically the stereo wiring diagram

Wire strippers

Masking tape (for labeling wires)

Permanent marker or pen

Multimeter or 12v LED test light

The first thing you will need to do is run the power hookups for the amp from the battery to the location where you will install the amp. The best routing is to run under the carpet or under the door trim. You will probably need to cut a hole in the firewall, be careful where you drill so you don't damage any wires or lines. The amp should be installed near the stock RCU. If you are running any extra accessories such as an iPod or auxillary inputs, run that wiring as well. You should also get the amp mounted, or at least pre-drill the holes. If you are going to run a sub, run the power hookup for it as well.

If you are going to run new speaker wires, route those now, and make sure they are clearly labeled.

Next you need to locate and label the speaker wires and a suitable power trigger. The amp won't turn on unless it knows your stereo is on. You will need to connect the blue wire to the power trigger you select. I have not tested this, but I understand that the power antenna is an ideal power trigger. If you are using multiple amps, connect the second amps trigger to the trigger terminal on the first amp. If you are running a sub, connect its trigger terminal in the same manner. Use a Multimeter or 12 test light to verify that you have selected a good trigger source. It should indicate ~12v power when the radio is turned on.

Now would be a good time to connect your ground as well. Find a suitable bolt near the RCU that grounds to chassis. Test your ground with the test light or multimeter.

Using a wiring diagram, locate and label the speaker wires. I recommend keeping the wire pairs together, both the positive and negative wires from each speaker should be kept together so that you don't cross them with a wire from another speaker. Label them as "RCU Right Front", and "Speaker Right Front", "RCU Left Rear", etc. You will need to cut the wires. Work with them one at a time to prevent them from getting switched. Try to make your connections as clean and professional as possible. You can crimp them, if you do try to use gold plated crimp connectors. I recommend soldering them and sealing the connection in heat shrink tube.

If you are using a line input to RCA converter, run the wires from the RCU to the input converter. Make sure you keep track of which speaker wires go where. Connect the front left and right speakers to the #1 or A input and the rear left and right speakers to the #2 or B input. Make sure that you don't cross the left and right speakers. Then route the RCA cables from the line output converter to the amp, it is a good idea to label them as well. I recommend that these RCA cables be no longer than needed. Label the RCA cables as Front and Rear

If you amp has built in line input converters, just route the wires directly to the inputs on the amp. Make sure you connect the front left and right wires to the #1 or A inputs, and the rear left and right speakers to the #2 or B inputs. Make sure that you don't cross the left and right speakers.

If you are using 2x 2 channel amps, use one amp for the front speakers and one amp for the rear.

Next you need to connect the factory speaker wires to the outputs on the amp. Make sure you connect the correct speakers to the correct amp outputs. Also make sure the speaker wires have not gotten crossed.

Once all the connections are made and everything is properly labeled, tie the wires up so that they don't get caught or damaged, and the installation looks as clean and professional as possible. This will make it easier to check your work, you can show it off to your friends, and if someone else has to work on your system, they can easily see what is going on, or if you forget what you did, you can see whats going on.

If you are going to run a sub, make your connections. The sub should plug into the RCA passthrough on the #1 or B output or the rear amp if you are using 2 amps. also make sure the sub has the correct crossover selected.

Once your speaker wires are all connected and all your speakers are connected, it is time to run a test. Turn the amps all the way down, and set the radio to about half volume. Slowly turn the amps up until you get satisfactory results. If you don't hear any sound, recheck your connections. If the sound is playing out the wrong speakers, it means some of your wires have been crossed, recheck your connections. If the amp fails to turn on, recheck the power, trigger, and ground connections.

This guide is not intended to help you select which components you should use. I have left certain details are vague or generic, because I don't know which year you have, and it is possible for changes to occur from year to year.

Most of the parts for doing this conversion can be found at audio shops.

One of the benefits of this setup is that if your amp were to fail, the new setup is modular, and the components can be easily replaced with new ones. If you decided you wanted even more power, you could add it. If you decided to run more speakers than stock, you can simply run another amp off the line outputs from the existing amps.
 
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