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E-Class (W124) 1984-1995: E 260, E 300, E 320, E 420, E 500 (Includes CE, T, TD models)

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Old 06-27-2008, 11:48 AM   #1
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Stereo Upgrades, W124, moderate budget

I've done several stereo upgrades in w124s, but just did a round that came out real nice and cost very little, thought I'd share here.

The black and white Sportlines got identical systems, the Cab got the same head and amp with a custom sub box:

---Alpine IDAX001 Head Unit = $650 installed with Bluetooth, XM, USB and Ipod connectivity. I skipped CD and DVDs, as I never used them and skipped NAV because my NAV head units are all too dated in just a few years.

This head unit is the begnning of true Ipod friendly head units. It is not perfect, but works almost as well as my ipod - it is a big improvement over previous Ipod controlling head units.

---PDX 5 5 Alpine Amplifier = $500 installed 75x4 and 300x1. Amp is mounted using the original bracket for the Becker receiver up inside the passenger rear fender. This is stealth mounting at it's best. PDX Class D amps: small size, low heat, low power usage, just poifect for our weak old alternators.

---10" W6 Subwoofer in a JL Audio sealed slant box = $400. This woofer box slips right into the cavity in the right side of our trunks. It leans down and points upward into the trunk. I would NEVER again consider a custom sub for these cars unless it was for looks. Tried W1 and W3 subs, skip them if you want to use just a single sub, the W6 conveys more variation down in that rumble low sound, you can hear more going on PLUS you get the thump.

This set up cost very little and hits like it should.

---SPEAKERS: I am running the stockees. The paper woofers will peel away soon enough, but for the moment, I've just done this work to 2 Sportlines and a Cabriolet (Cab details below), so I am waiting on the speakers (SUGGESTIONS APPRECIATED!!!) ZR/XR JLs? MB Quart? Focal? HexPro?

The Cab got the same Alpine head and amp, and then a custom sub box built for a tight fit under the convertible top box. It slides in tight and preserves most trunk space.

---CABRIOLET's SUB BOX: Four 8" JL Audio W3 subs in a ported/vented box. Box is split internally into 2 chambers, left pair is tuned a little higher, right pair a little lower.

The Cab already had upgraded speakers, not sure what they are, but they sound good.

When I replace speakers, I am apt to run the same set up in all 3 cars, front, doors and back. Probably will wait for an influx of car cash or a blown paper speaker.

There are a few stereophiles on these boards, if any of you have speakers in hand or ideas I might be interested in, please drop me a note!

Pics coming, camera out on loan...
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Old 06-27-2008, 05:06 PM   #2
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Headunits = The Blaupunkt Hamburg MP68 does everything that alpine does for half the price and has built in bluetooth. The Sony MEX-BT5000 has built in bluetooth and cost around $199.

Amps = The 5 channel JBL GTO, Boston Acoustics GT-50, Memphis Belle sell for way less than the alpine and give the same or more power output.

Subs = Treo SSX, RE XXX, DD 1500 series etc....

Quote:
This set up cost very little and hits like it should.
$1550 is very little for a sound system? When you buy alpine or JL your kinda overpaying for the brand not the quality.
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Old 06-27-2008, 05:23 PM   #3
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Pooping on someone else's thread ftl LOL
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Old 06-27-2008, 05:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YNVDIZW124 View Post
Headunits = The Blaupunkt Hamburg MP68 does everything that alpine does for half the price and has built in bluetooth. The Sony MEX-BT5000 has built in bluetooth and cost around $199.

Amps = The 5 channel JBL GTO, Boston Acoustics GT-50, Memphis Belle sell for way less than the alpine and give the same or more power output.

Subs = Treo SSX, RE XXX, DD 1500 series etc....



$1550 is very little for a sound system? When you buy alpine or JL your kinda overpaying for the brand not the quality.
good point but in reality $1500 is not alot for an aftermarket system either.. i know you run a car audio business too and can get super good deals on them.. but not everyone has that hook.. on the flip side.. about your alpine and jl comment.. someone drivin a honda can think the samething about our w124s.. but again they will never understand.. to each their own..
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Old 06-27-2008, 06:08 PM   #5
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Thanks for that input, and you are right that costs are relative...

Have you compared Ipod functionality of the IPOD-DESIGNED Alpine IDAX001 to the Hamburg you've suggested? (I have) The Hamburg LOSES a head to head Ipod functionality comparison. The Alpine is immediately intuitive because it is designed like the Ipod (not perfect but big step forward)

Amps:
I paid $500 for the first, $400 for 2nd and 3rd, so really, I paid $433 each custom INSTALLED. <again, mounted BEAUTIFULLY in the former Becker receiver bracket, up in the rear fender, where your suggested amps would not fit>

A quick scan of the amps you've suggested predict SLIGHTLY lower prices (boxed-not-installed) from online scalpers. (I'll take my extra $100 cost + installation, thanks!)

And Subs, well, I listened to no less than 25 subs in my cars during the last week from several audio stores. A sealed, JL W6 won the best sound contest WITH MY AMP and it fit snugly without custom effort, so I replicated it in both Sportlines.

Stereos are personal taste, I tip my hat to your knowledge base, but am glad the stereo guys I talked to asked more questions first. If we were talking together, you surely would have dialed in better to my tastes.

These are the first car radios that I've tried that make Ipod use as easy as Ipod use.

Now, aside from poopin on what I've already done, you WERE one of the guys I was hoping might make some speaker suggestions. What do you think of the ZR650CSI? What if I slipped the tweeter in my dash hole and the 6 in my door? That sounds like AWFUL placement, do these speakers sound good enough to consider this anyway?
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Old 06-27-2008, 06:11 PM   #6
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I'm not trying to poop on the thread I'm just pointing out other options for less or same money. I have a habit to look at the way i spend my money and the best options for the price. It's not about buying the cheapest products from china either. I don't use an ipod so that's kinda why i didn't look at that.

BTW - Those are online retail prices....I don't run a car audio business but i do sell wheels as a side business...

You're right it's more about personal taste and i'm not saying your system isn't good. I'm just saying as a budget system, people on the forums could use more suggestions than just JL and Alpine.

My personal taste right now on components would be to go with boston acoustics or jbl. I've tried a/d/s and focals but it depends on the type of music and if you're going for SPL or SQ.

It's going to take some work to make those 6.5" speakers work on your dash. It would be easier if you got a smaller speaker for the dash, installed the tweeter on the A pillar, and put a mid range on the door.

It sounds like you got what you wanted and got something that fit your needs, i just wanted to suggest other alternatives.
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Old 06-27-2008, 06:37 PM   #7
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Okay, good points. I was just excited because I paid about the same for everything installed as I would have paid buying these pieces online.

And the poopin comment was in jest, your expert opinion is very welcome...I should have talked to you first.

In this whole system, the one thing ANYONE here could benefit from is that Amplifier location. It's a nice small powerful amp and bolts up in a pre-existing bracket. Regardless of other components, it is a great recommendation for W124 stealth and for low power consumption for these old cars.

But again, any bolt up speaker suggestions? My stockees will fail soon, maybe I can wait a month or three.
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:15 PM   #8
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YNV is always full of good info
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Old 06-27-2008, 10:52 PM   #9
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Yeah, I know what you mean about installing it in the stock location. Most 5 channel amps I've seen are 2 feet long or more. About speakers, we are kinda limited to 4" or less on the dash and we can squeeze a 6.5" on the doors and rear with some cutting. Focal has a lot of options with their k2 series but those are more expensive. You also said something very important in your other post about matching the speakers to your amp. Another important thing you must do is to use dynamat or some kind of sound deadening material on the doors and trunk.

You can use the Focal 100kp and power them with your headunit since they are only 50w rms. The 130kp are 70w rms matching your amp great and fit with no problems. Here is a diagram of what i would do and the speakers i would use. You can also use the less expensive Polyglass 130 v1 series in the same setup.

http://img241.imageshack.us/img241/3...temdiagok6.png
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:10 PM   #10
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def interested in pics of the sub box once you get your camera back.
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:16 PM   #11
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That's why I was hopin you'd look in on this thread. I had overlooked using the head unit to power the front 4" speakers, great idea.

I've had unfortunate warranty issues with both a/d/s and Focal. I waited over 60 days before buying replacements for a 4" focal in my first 124 stereo upgrade. Swore I'd not deal with them again. a/d/s was almost as bad (believe it or not, I had a/d/s home speakers in my college days)

Guess I won't rule them out, but I had bought the Focals from an authorized dealer, and he's the same guy doing this work for me now.

Last question...
Has anyone tried placing component tweeters in the 4" hole in our dash, with 6" speakers in the back part of the front door? I assume that cannot work, but wanted to hear from anyone who knows...
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Old 06-28-2008, 12:36 AM   #12
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id buy component speakers, stick the tweeter in the A pillar and the woofer in the door location.

for the front and rears id buy some 4.25s, matching the components. it'll be a bit of a squeeze putting them in the front
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Old 06-28-2008, 01:27 AM   #13
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These are 4 W3s, with the box seperated so this is two boxes in one.

My Cabriolet's subwoofer, built yesterday (cell phone pictures):

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

Box is ported/vented and sizes were computer calculated by JL for the W3s.
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Old 06-28-2008, 01:58 AM   #14
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Has anyone tried placing component tweeters in the 4" hole in our dash, with 6" speakers in the back part of the front door? I assume that cannot work, but wanted to hear from anyone who knows...
You can cut a wood filler panel for the 4" hole and mount the tweater there but you really need the tweeter to be close to the woofer. If you really want to get custom you can have a shop fill and fiberglass the bottom part of the door panel here and rewrap it in vinyl so you can fit a bigger 6.5 speaker. Also, the door panel is a good location for the tweeters. Something like this...

Click the image to open in full size.

Also, diamond audio has pretty good subs but i've never tried their components maybe you should give them a try. I've never had a problem blowing focals or other speakers because i underpower most of my systems or turn the gains down a lot.
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Old 06-28-2008, 03:40 AM   #15
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that door mount is awsome! the only thing that worries me is the MDF weight might be to mutch for the doors... I have a CE, and I'm thinking about mounting 6.5" in the door...
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Old 06-28-2008, 08:30 AM   #16
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Here are some pics of the install in my cab. The doors are Focal 6 1/2 components, with a 10" sub in the pass footwell and 6 1/2 coax in the rear, with the amp in the trunk -- all focal
http://www.mbworld.org/forums/attach...9&d=1184586657
http://www.mbworld.org/forums/attach...8&d=1184586657
http://www.mbworld.org/forums/attach...7&d=1184586657
http://www.mbworld.org/forums/attach...5&d=1184586657

The other is the stereo I started in a 94 E320, and only got as far as the sub/rear deck. In it a 10 Pioneer shallow mount woofer. The box itself only takes appox 5" in height in the trunk
http://www.mbworld.org/forums/attach...6&d=1171721301
http://www.mbworld.org/forums/attach...0&d=1171892165
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Old 06-28-2008, 10:51 AM   #17
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YNVDIZw124: I am a fan of the Diamond Hex speaker- they make a 3 way component 6-4 -tweet, but their now HEX PRO is only 6.5.

JOEF:
I love that foot located sub, thought real hard about using your idea there.
My 89 coupe looks similar to your back deck sub, but mine looks stock after re-carpeting it.

I WANT YOUR FRONT DOORS! Actually, 4 years ago, performance had door replacements with great speaker boxes built in, somewhat like yours.

Here is a picture of that PDX 5 amp, brackets added, and fitted up inside the rear fender, behind where the stock amps usually mount, right in the Becker receiver position:

Click the image to open in full size.

and adding some brackets before mounting:

Click the image to open in full size.

I had ruled out Focal, but maybe I should get over it. They make a good looking 3 way component set I could consider. (May be months before Ido speakers)

I appreciate the ongoing thoughts here, I know it is an old topic, but each time you do a car, well, it is a new topic briefly.
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Old 06-28-2008, 01:21 PM   #18
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Nice setup joef! Just what i had in mind and im working to re doing my ac controls and mounting them in the bottom.

RHW - I forgot to mention the JBL GTi series. I've always had their home speakers but just started looking at them for the components. If you really want a budget system you can also go with polk audio. I have the now discontinued EX3 series on a mustang.
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Old 06-28-2008, 03:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YNVDIZW124 View Post
Nice setup joef! Just what i had in mind and im working to re doing my ac controls and mounting them in the bottom.

RHW - I forgot to mention the JBL GTi series. I've always had their home speakers but just started looking at them for the components. If you really want a budget system you can also go with polk audio. I have the now discontinued EX3 series on a mustang.
What do you have in mind for the temp controls. I hate the w124 temp controls. I've been slowly doing research into retrofitting something from another car like a w202 - something that's din size.
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Old 06-28-2008, 06:52 PM   #20
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I've been looking at the w201 temp controls because they are smaller in height and should fit where the stereo goes now. The switches on top i don't really need except for the a/c, heated rear window, and the emergency blinkers. I found a center wood piece and bottom plastic from the e420 or euro 230e that has two extra spaces for buttons so i can relocated those there...

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 06-28-2008, 08:29 PM   #21
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Hi,

Today I officially started participating in this forum. And again I want to thank everyone who has been active in this forum and whose knowledge and input has solved a few of the car problems I have encountered.

Today I posted the story of selling my 300ce to my sister as a gift to my nephew back in 2001 for his graduation and then my getting the car back in 2006 after it had been sitting out in Arizona Sun for a year...

The Stereo I had in it was custom, and was already in the car when I purchased it in 1997. When I got the car back, the stereo was shot, speakers rotted and amps would overheat after a short while of playing. He had changed out the head unit, but never really integrated it into the whole system. I guess some of the speakers were already bad at that time, and he just bypassed them, instead of having them replaced.

I also had a Viper Security System with remote start, anti-hijack (car would require that you enter a code after the drivers door had been opened and the car was still running, else after 20 seconds, it would turn itself off), and auto window roll-up. The Security system was shot when I go the car back, it drained the battery, and no one could find out why, It was basically useless...

I decided to pull everything out and start from scratch. I decided to install mainly Sony and MBQuart products becuase I was familiar with them having installed my own system in my Porsche back when I had it.

So I set out for EBAY concentrating on prior model year car stereo components, as they are nomally a good price deal - discontinued models. My Goal being in car Video and Ipod connectivity as well.

Since the car was sitting in my garage, needing a heck of a lot of work to get it back on the street, I had all summer into winter to gather the stereo componets and all winter to install them. I planned to do all of the work myself. (cost savings)

First I took out each and every component and wire that was found to be a part the old custom system - Stereo and Security. This in itself was a task. There was a custom woofer box in the trunk under the rear window speakers. I had to partly saw it out and make an opening for the new sub box I planned to purchase, and I left the front sides of the box in place for mounting the MBQuart Speaker Crossover Units.

Here is what I layed out, purchased and installed myself. I lost the use of my trunk until I put some sort of plexiglass cover over the components but I don;t really use this car for extended out of time traveling at this time.

These were the 2006 Winter Prices -- In gathering the MFG List Price info, I noticed the prices for these same components are even LOWER NOW, As an example the Jensen Head Unit is as low as $368 on Amazon - WOW !

The Estimated Savings is based on MFG Listed Retail Price, which I probably would not have paid, so the saving may be overstated a bit. But, the Estimated Savings does not include what my shipping cost was if I had brought the products at or near the MFG Retial Price.

I also made out big time in doing all of the Install myself.

ProductMfg Listed RetailPaid on EbayPaid ShippingIndash Jensen VM9511TS Touch Screen 7" Monitor, Tilt - DVD/CD/MP3/WMA iPod XM$1,199.99
$504.95 $39.95 UnderDash Jensen Iaux3 AV Auxiliary Input Adapter - For Video Game Systems$21.93 (Not Sure)$21.93 $8.47 Jensen XMD1000 XM Satellite Radio Module$69.99 $38.98 $9.99 MB QUART DSE-216 6.5" COMPONENT Door Speaker w/ Tweeter 400/200 Watt $319.90 $79.95 $24.90 MB QUART DSE-213 5.25" COMPONENT Rear Deck w/ Tweeter 35-90 Watts$299.00 $129.95 $22.90 Legacy Model #: 2xLW857D Rear Deck 8# SubWoofer Replacements 800 Watt Rated Power$39.00 (not sure)$39.00 $19.95 VISONIK v103bp DUAL 10" Subs 1000w in sealed box$290.00 $84.95 $46.90 2 SONY XPLOD XM-504Z 500w 4 CHANNEL AMP$215.00 $119.90 $49.80 1 SONY XPLOD XM2200GTX 1200w 2 CHANNEL AMP$249.99 $94.95 $26.90 1 SONY XPLOD XM-2100GTX 600w 2 CHANNEL AMP$199.99 $64.95 $22.90 VISONIK 30 BAND CAR STEREO GRAPHIC EQUALIZER EQ/SUB OUT$585.00 $94.95 $24.90 2 Legacy LCA150DRD 1.5 Farad Capacitors$230.74 $103.98 $29.98 VAL0R DVD ACC-RVCB COLOR REARVIEW VIDEO CAMERA$172.00 $49.95 $19.90 2 VAL0R DVD WIRELESS INFRARED HEADPHONES $29.90 $25.80 POWER ACOUSTIK HD-8GR GRAY HEADRESTS WITH 8" CAR MONITORS $1,050.00 $234.95 $27.90 $4,881.60 $1,693.24 $401.14 Total Cost - Paid + Shipping$2,094.38 Estimated Savings$2,787.22

Pictures of the Completed Install are included.
Attached Thumbnails
Stereo Upgrades, W124, moderate budget-img_0216s.jpg   Stereo Upgrades, W124, moderate budget-img_0217s.jpg   Stereo Upgrades, W124, moderate budget-img_0218s.jpg   Stereo Upgrades, W124, moderate budget-img_0219s.jpg   Stereo Upgrades, W124, moderate budget-img_0225s.jpg  

Stereo Upgrades, W124, moderate budget-img_0224s.jpg  
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Old 06-29-2008, 12:32 AM   #22
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I have a very similar door setup to Joef's... except I have a three-way setup with my tweeters mounted on the speaker grilles and my 4" speakers in the dash.

Here's a thread with all of the pics of my install. Joef's door pods turned out much nicer than mine I think- mine stick out a bit too far. But it makes an incredible difference- having a 6" driver in the door fills the midbass in. This is the biggest weakness of the w124 speaker system. no mid-bass.

I like focal, but I have also had MB Quarts in the past. I personally prefer MB Quarts.

http://www.mbworld.org/forums/showth...ghlight=stereo
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Old 06-29-2008, 10:50 AM   #23
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6" in the doors

I agree, the 6" component speakers in the door makes a big difference, I have to do something about the hole left in the door from the previous tweeter installation placement.

I wanted to go 3-way, but I ended up bypassing the dash speakers, did not know how much work it would of been to replace them. Was it fairly simple ?

I also like the door pods, makes for a real neat install. I might see about getting something like that done after tackling the remaining car mechanical problems.
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Old 06-29-2008, 07:45 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RHW View Post
---10" W6 Subwoofer in a JL Audio sealed slant box = $400. This woofer box slips right into the cavity in the right side of our trunks. It leans down and points upward into the trunk.
Quote:
Originally Posted by joef View Post
The other is the stereo I started in a 94 E320, and only got as far as the sub/rear deck. In it a 10 Pioneer shallow mount woofer. The box itself only takes appox 5" in height in the trunk
http://www.mbworld.org/forums/attach...6&d=1171721301
do you ladies have any pics of how these look from inside the trunk? what i had planned to do will require fiberglass work, which i don't have the time, energy, or experience to even begin to mess with...
cheers!
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Old 06-30-2008, 07:07 AM   #25
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Ya, I'll shoot it today and get it a pic here.

The far right side of our trunk looks optimal for a fiberglass box - I think a pair of 12s could fit, but am sure a pair of 10s would fit. And I was ready to pay for that until I dropped a JL W6 factory sealed box in there.

All the pseudo-experts I run into at car shops have a million tricks. My factory box is not as sexy, but the pseudo-sound-engineer advice from car shops probably averages out far worse than the manufacturer's factory work. (Everyone knows more than the factory guys, right?)

Also, I noticed JL has many finished/carpeted/rounded/molded-to-car sub boxes for assorted Lexus, Honda, Volvos, etc (most cars) that look close enough to fitting our cars. If a shop had them in hand, one that sizes up to our car could likely be found. I saw several that were close and I am pretty sure I'd have bought one if I could have tried a few in my car.

This was largely my point about moderate cost. Anything that can be done well without mega-cost or mega-effort in a 20 year old car...is worth serious look. (we're not talking brakes, motor, suspension, even paint!) It cost me about $850 installed to add this amp and sub.

I will add pics of the woofer, but here are pics of the amp mounted:

Click the image to open in full size.

added some bracketing:

Click the image to open in full size.

-removed the two former amps, and then removed the stock Becker receiver mounted on the back side of that same bracket.
-dynamatted the bracket on the former amp side, then mounted PDX amp using stock bracket + help. <oops, just saw I already posted these two pics>
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1994 S124 in 2012

Last edited by RHW; 06-30-2008 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 06-30-2008, 07:07 AM
 
 
 
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300te, aftermarket, bazooka, bluetooth, custom, guide, mercedes, radio, rear, sagging, size, speaker, speakers, stereo, w124



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