Its a shame to take a fairly light performance car and weigh it down with a lot of stereo equipment, but its even more of a shame to drive around with the average (at best) car audio stuff that comes in my GTI.  I decided to change all that.  Crutchfield and Sound Domain to the rescue. :)

In the box   Parts List   Installation Process    Final Pics    New Sub Photos

Merry Christmas to me!!!



Parts List:


Installing all that stuff:

Rather than going through a complete "How To" on the install, I'm going to just give some pointers on what I found works and doesn't works.  Everyone's installs are going to be a bit different, so this will hopefully help those who are undertaking their first install.  


I installed my amps and cap on the backs of the seats.  The down side of this is that the passenger side rear seat is extremely heavy to begin with.  With a big huge amp on the back, its even heavier.  I used this stuff called Gorilla Glue and some sheet metal screws to attach 5/8" MDF to the back of the seats.  That allows me to screw the amps right into the seats anywhere.  

Rear seats with carpeted boards for mounting amps installed

Drivers' side seat back

Amps, Distribution blocks and Capacitor installed.  

In the car and wired up

Door Tweeters

Depending on what kind of speakers you get to replace the OEM system, you'll have to find a way to mount the tweets.  I had to carve out the back of the trim panel that covers the tweeters and then mount the tweeters directly on the sheet metal.  They *JUST* fit.  

Modified Tweeter Cover.  

 Here's what mine looks like after I'm done. 

Another view of the modified tweeter cover

One more look

Last one... I promise

Tweeter installed.  I used thin double stick tape to hold it in place. 

Passenger door ready for the door card and tweeter cover. 

Another view of the passenger door

Infinity tweeter hidden behind the OEM cover. 

Sound Deadening:

If you don't have any dynamat, get some. At least get a few of the speaker packs that have 2 10x10" sheets of dynamat extreme in them. They go for about $20 per pack and they are well worth it. I used a mixture of Cascade Audio V-block and dynamat extreme. The V-Block is much easier to use on flat surfaces and works very well. The dynamat Extreme is more difficult to work with, but form fits to curved surfaces better than the V-Block. The V-Block comes with a foam sheet that is great for helping get rid of rattles. You can stick this stuff between the door release cable and the door panel and it really makes it so you don't get any door rattles at all.

For installing this stuff, you'll need a heat gun, a roll of paper towels, some denatured alcohol and some rags you don't mind tossing when you're done.

Most of the interior panels on the lower half of the car are coated on the inside with wax to help seal them from the elements and protect them during assembly. This wax is a good thing, but having it up on the inside of the door panels makes it so the dynamat and v-block won't stick. Start with the heat gun (on low) for short blasts to soften it up and then wipe it away with the paper towels. Make sure you use short blasts.... just enough to soften up the wax. It isn't too tough to burn your paint with a good heat gun. Be patient, take your time and maybe wear some cheap gardners' gloves to protect your hand from getting cut up by the sheet metal edges inside the door. Don't remove all the wax. Leave some of it down at the bottom where the metal panels meet. I figure it has some sealing properties and was put there for a reason. Rubbing things down with denatured alcohol on a rag will finish the prep work for stuff that you're going to dynamat.

Pay close attention to where you mount your crossovers. There are very few places where you can actually mount them easily. This pic shows you a good place to mount them in the doors:

Here's the door with all the sound deadening and the Infinity speaker and crossover installed

In the back, there is really no room to mount it. There is a big styrofoam piece that VW puts around the rear speaker for sound deadening. I carved out the back of that so that the crossover could fit behind it. Take your time, it will work. I also dynamatted and double sided taped the styrofoam around the speaker so there was no way it could move around down the road. Keeping things tight in there will help in the long run.

Speaker Mounting:

Make a spacer for each door mounted driver. As was evident in another thread, for many kinds of speakers you have to make a spacer so that the window doesn't hit the back of the speaker when it rolls down. For the Infinities, this may be as little as 1/4". My window barely touches the back of the speaker with no spacers. If you can, its good to put a thicker spacer in to get the speaker closer to the grill on the door card. I'll take photos of this in the near future so you can see what I'm talking about. I've read that people move them out as much as 2" depending on model. From what I've read, 1.5" should be possible with most car models most speakers. The OEM speakers had the 1" rubber cone that pressed up against the inside of the grill. They could even move closer to the grill without that cone.

Top view of spacer

Another view of the spacer

These are both made with 3/4" MDF.  I used my Ryobi speed saw to make these.  That tool RULES!!!  It cuts through MDF like it was buttah. ;) 

Modified speaker panel for the front door.  

The front speakers are riveted in.  You have to drill the rivets to get them out.  I extended the holes a little to better fit the Infinity speakers.  I also cut a small slot so that the thread inserts can just poke through and make it a lot easier to tighten down the speakers.  A sheet of dynamat extreme makes it all stick together nicely.  Nothing moves at all. 

Holes for speaker wires

With the speaker hole completely sealed, there needs to be a way to get the speaker wires out.  I drilled and sanded two holes for the driver leads.  After protecting the wires with extra shrink wrap, I threaded them through and then sealed the holes with dynamat extreme. 


Spacers Installed

Spacers installed in the door

Speaker Installed

Inside of the door card

I put a little V-block to help get rid of some dead air space next to the driver.  The other side has no dead air space thanks to the shape of the door card.  

Speaker Installed and spaced to the grill

Subwoofer Installation

Another view of my sub

My sub

Sub box parts

Sub box parts

Sub box parts

Assembled box

Assembled Box

Top of the box

Completed box... waiting for a sub.

Sub Installed in box

Sub in the back of the car.  Pardon the wiring mess... that will be sorted out soon.  

This set up rocks!  I can't believe how great it sounds. 

Head Unit Installation

Head Unit Illumination

Head Unit flash photo


Installation Hints

Beware of the metal clips. When you're taking the rear panels off (assuming you've got a GTI), there are two metal clips that attach the back of this panel to the trim piece in the trunk that your rear deck lid attaches into. These clips are not in bentley. You just need to fiddle with it and you'll figure out how to unclip it. I didn't do that well on the first one and bent the clip beyond recognition. I just got a new one from the Stealer today. I'll install it when I remove all the rear trim to dynamat the trunk area.

Power Cable Routing: 

I don't know what you're doing for amps, but if you've got to run some thick wire back to the amps, you can do so under the carpet just inside the door jam. Take up the plastic piece that runs along the door sill on the drivers side, pull the carpeting away from the edge a little. You'll see there is a big honking wiring bundle that runs along between the door sill and the front seat. I had no trouble fitting 2GA wire and speaker wire in that channel.

Interconnect Cable Routing:

Think about sending your interconnects somewhere other than up the center hump. I wanted my interconnects to be as short as possible. I got them down to a little under 10 feet by sending them up along the hump in the middle of the car. The problem is that the carpet between the back of the center console (the thing around the hand brake) and the back seats is REALLY tight. Mine wouldn't give enough for me to run 3 interconnects and the remote wire back to the amps. I was trying to use a coat hanger to pull them through and couldn't. I ordered a tool that paintless dent removal guys use to get under carpet and inside panels and that might make it easier. As it is now, there is 6" of wire that can be seen between the middle of the back seat and the back of the center console. Hopefully this tool will make it possible. It resembles a very flexible slim-jim that has no metalic memory. You can bend it like crazy and it springs back to almost its original shape. It cost $75, so I hope it works.

Removing Your Head Unit:

Go easy on your head unit. According to Crutchfield and Sound Domain and many of the posts on this site, it is relatively easy to just insert the tools you get or make and the head unit pops right out. That's not always the case with the big huge double din head units. My was a total PITA to get out. I tried the tools that Crutchfield sent. I tried the ones I bought from I tried cut up sheet metal (brass to be more specific). I even cut up a CD and used the wafers from that to try and release it (I didn't really need that New Kids on the Block CD anyways. I hardly ever listen to it anymore). Nothing worked.

The cheesy tools that came from Crutchfield.  These are more at home in a B-Movie martial arts film.

I took my car to the dealer this morning. They've got something more substantial than all of the above and it came right out. They didn't even charge me. I gave the tech all the money I had in my wallet anyways ($40)since he was majorly cool to hepp a brudda out.

Here's the kicker... I was REALLY careful while using all the above tools. If you're not, you can easily schmoizel up the pins that are inside there and then the only way to get the head unit out is to either rip it out (thus destroying the trim around the outside) or take the dash apart (including the glove compartment and maybe the panels above and below) in order to get access to the pins.

Just be careful. Don't force anything. If it doesn't come right out, take it to the dealer and let them work with it. As long as the pins aren't screwed up, it is less than a 5 min. job and most dealers won't even charge you for that.


The Finished Product:


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