A E150 is not typically a vehicle we work on for stereo upgrades… But when the driver is in it for many many hours at a time, why WOULDN’T he want to listen to good quality sound?! We had one such customer recently, and there were many goals he wished to achieve. Here we go!
First, we replaced the very basic factory radio. We installed a Kenwood DDX419 multimedia receiver in the dash, since the customer also wanted to have a backup camera integrated into the system. This unit also gave him DVD, Bluetooth, full iPod/iPhone control, and an aux input for his portable satellite radio unit. The DDX419 has a 6.1″ touch-screen, and the entire screen shows the backup camera’s image when the vehicle is in reverse. The camera we installed was an Echomaster VM11S, which produces a very high quality image even in low-light scenarios using infrared technology.
Before we went any further with the stereo, we and the customer decided SOMETHING needed to be done about road noise… This vehicle was very loud on the inside since there were basically no interior panels or sound deadening materials anywhere from the front seat back to the rear of the vehicle. We solved this issue using many sheets of Hushmat Ultra Damping padding. We basically covered every inch of the cargo area of this van… The roof, the walls and the floor. Words cannot describe the improvement this made. The droning vibrations and road noise were drastically reduced. We also installed Hushmat in the front doors, to help improve the sound of the speakers and eliminate more vibrations.
The powerhouse for this stereo was a JL Audio XD600/6 amplifier. We installed the amp under the front passenger seat. This amp is a lot of power in a small package! It’s 6 channel outputs allowed us to power front and rear speakers along with a subwoofer as well, all while taking up VERY little space. The speakers we chose to install in the front doors were German Maestro Concept Series CC6808. These speakers skyrocketed the sound quality in the vehicle. There were no factory rear speaker locations, so we installed two small 6×9″ enclosures towards the rear of the cargo area and used the same series German Maestro speakers (CC6908). This gave the stereo a very well balanced sound.
In order to add bass to the stereo, we needed to come up with a solution that would take up very little space. The customer transports an enduro-bike in the back of this van, so a traditional subwoofer enclosure was out of the picture. His bike and gear took priority here. To solve this issue, we installed a 8W3 ported enclosure made by JL Audio. This enclosure is only 18.6″ wide by 11″ tall and has an incredible amount of output. You really have to hear it to understand. No one believes us when we say “Yes, it’s just a single 8!” This enclosure was mounted securely on the sidewall of the cargo area directly behind the drivers seat, and the space lost was minuscule.
Now that the stereo was up to par, we accomplished the customers other unrelated hopes and dreams. We installed a Compustar CS600A alarm system to protect the valuables kept in the vehicle. This alarm comes with a shock sensor, and is triggered by all points of entry (front doors, rear doors and hood). We also installed Hella replacement headlight assemblies and PIAA Xtreme white headlight bulbs. This made driving the vehicle at night much safer, being able to see more clearly and further away. This combination will provide a brilliant cool white light that will light up road hazards and street signs long before a normal halogen bulb. Both Hella and PIAA make very nice products and we have been selling them for years.
The stereo in this E150 went from one extreme to another… We were very impressed with the sound quality and output of this package. It had plenty of highs, and plenty of low end to fill the cargo area. The Hushmat really accentuated all the speakers and reduced any interfering exterior noise. We were ecstatic to present the finished product to our customer! Another job well done!