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ArtHughes

Badlands
Well-Known Member
First Name
Art
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Beaverton, Oregon
Website
www.arthughesphoto.com
Vehicle(s)
2023 4Dr Bronco Badlands w/ Sasquatch
Your Bronco Model
Badlands
Below is the stereo system upgrade for my 2023 Badlands. I got it with the base stereo knowing I’d be replacing the whole thing since even the upgraded B+O option is pretty weak in the Broncos. This upgrade was done as part of a rear seat delete and camp platform buildout that I just posted (linked below), so the amplifier and line output converter location won’t really be applicable for anyone else. Hopefully the rest of the installation might help others looking to do the same thing.

Camp Buildout Post:
https://www.bronco6g.com/forum/thre...r-system-build-for-4dr-bronco-badlands.88850/

The primary equipment list is as follows:

· JL Audio XD1000/5v2 5-Channel Amplifier
· Hertz Mille PRO 6.5” Midbass Drivers and Crossovers (MPK165.3 Pro)
· Image Dynamics IDMAX V4D4 12” Subwoofer
· JL Audio ZR650-CSi 1” Tweeters
· Hertz DCX 100.3 4” Coaxials
· AudioControl LC7i 6-Channel Active Line Output Converter w/ ACR-1 Wired Remote

I started by installing a pair of Blue Sea Systems 7720 Fuse blocks on the fuse panel cover in the engine bay. Ford did a great job providing accessory wiring studs on the battery terminal, and a spare grommet in the firewall, so this can be wired cleanly. I ran a 4awg line (w/ 100amp fuse) back to the amplifier, and a 6awg (w/ 60amp fuse) back to the rear passenger footwell to connect to my DC-DC charger as part of my camp battery setup.

Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-1
Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-2


Next was running a 9 conductor, 18awg speedwire for signal from the back of the factory 12” headunit, down the passenger sills and to the rear cargo area. The headunit end of that wire was soldered to a PAC LPHFD31 LocPro T-Harness to pull the factory signal from the headunit. The opposite end was ferrule crimped and connected to the AudioControl LC7i Output Converter, to convert the signal for the low voltage inputs on the amplifier.

Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-3
Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-4


Speaker replacement required some custom mount rings and a custom tweeter plate since the factory system uses an odd 4" dash speaker without a true tweeter. I drew up a 3/4 MDF trim ring in CAD for the 6.5s so they bolt up to the factory hole locations. I also made the tweeter mount plates out of G10 (a composite fiberglass material) to drop into the factory 4" locations in the dash using the factory bolt spacing. A quick run on the CNC and both were ready to drop in. I did also run new 12awg speaker cable for these runs since the factory wiring wasn't sufficient for the increased power draw of the new equipment. The Hertz crossovers for the midbass/tweeter were mounted in the dead pedal on the driver side, and up under the glovebox on the passenger side.

Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-5
Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-6

Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-7
Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-8

Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-9
Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-10
Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-13


The amplifier and line output converter were mounted to a 1/2" Baltic birch rack I integrated into the rear camp platform, so the wire runs to here were fairly straightforward. I did add a new 4awg ground to the rear of the vehicle since the seat was removed, which is the only hole I drilled into the chassis for this entire build. That was tested and verified to provide identical resistance to the chassis ground at the battery, then sealed with primer and paint after being through-bolted to the chassis. You can see that next to the +/- runs just above the rack in the pic below. I also ran the remote volume knob for the subwoofer from the LC7i, back up under the driver seat where I can easily reach it to dial in the low end for different source material.

Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-11


Once that was wired up, I installed the new 4" Hertz coaxials in the rear pods and reinstalled all the removed vehicle trim. These were a drop in to the factory location after you cut 2 off the 4 mounting tabs of the new speakers. These are a dramatic improvement over the terrible stock speakers out back, even though they are just for fill.

Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-18


Then it was just a matter of finishing up all the wire routing and speaker wire terminations at the amplifier. All the connections were ferrule crimped and epoxy heat shrink was used where required. The LC7i RCA output and the JL Amplifier output gains were dialed in using an oscilloscope and system test tones to maximize output without signal clipping. Volume level 23 on the factory Ford head unit was verified to be clean, with slight clipping above that level, so that was my max source volume when dialing in the amplifier gains.

Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-19
Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-22


Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-20


Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-17

Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-15


Then it was onto the subwoofer which was already in a 1.5 cubic foot enclosure that I built for my previous truck. It happened to be the perfect size for the Bronco platform so no changes were necessary there. It straps down to tie down points on the new platform and is quickly removable since I pull the subwoofer and replace it with a 12V fridge for camping/overlanding trips. The Image Dynamics IDMAX is my favorite subwoofer of the many I've tried over the years, so I didn't consider using anything else for this build. It is extremely accurate and plays incredibly low and loud for a single driver (assuming its adequately powered). This is a dual 4ohm version. The top cover for the amplifier rack was machined with a pattern of hexagonal air vent holes (because just drilling normal holes would be quite lame ;)), which completed the install.

Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-24
Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-25

Ford Bronco Bronco Badlands Full Stereo Upgrade Project Complete Badlands Stereo Install-23


I didn’t bother covering the removal of all the factory trim, sill, dash panels etc. since I think that has been documented to death already, but feel free to message me if you’d like photos/tips for any of that.

My system in my previous truck was built around a 3-way component setup up front with a fully active crossover network, aftermarket head unit, DSP and sound deadening lining the entire vehicle, so I had modest expectations for the sound quality I could achieve in the Bronco without going to that extreme. I have to say that I am really pleased and surprised just how good this sounds now, even using the stock head unit as a source. It is on a completely different planet compared to the weak stock system and was totally worth all the effort. It is a different vehicle now, especially with some uncompressed source files loaded on USB through the Sync system.

Let me know if you have any questions about the equipment choice or buildout.
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HotdogThud

Big Bend
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mk6 gti, '21 MoarDoor
Your Bronco Model
Big Bend
Clubs
 
Well done again!

Question, where'd you tie your ground into for the amplifier in the back? (Am just going through the motions of this myself and looking to save myself some time)
 
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ArtHughes

ArtHughes

Badlands
Well-Known Member
First Name
Art
Joined
Jan 7, 2024
Threads
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47
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Location
Beaverton, Oregon
Website
www.arthughesphoto.com
Vehicle(s)
2023 4Dr Bronco Badlands w/ Sasquatch
Your Bronco Model
Badlands
Well done again!

Question, where'd you tie your ground into for the amplifier in the back? (Am just going through the motions of this myself and looking to save myself some time)
Thanks bud...

I drilled a new ground point to ensure I had a perfect ground, since inadequate grounds can ruin a stereo install and create a system noise nightmare (or worse).

You can see in the center of this image (zoomed in from the original post) that there is a bolted 4awg ground wire in the middle of the frame. Its primed and sprayed black once finished to protect from corrosion, but the paint was completely removed from that spot, then scrubbed w denatured alcohol to remove any residual contaminants. This is a perfect spot to add one since that crossmember has other holes in it that give you access to add a nut and through bolt the connection, instead of just relying on self tapping screw that could loosen over time with vibration.

Just be sure that you put a multimeter on whatever ground point you use and check that there is no additional resistance compared to the battery ground in the engine bay.

Hope that helps

Screenshot_20240218_195129_Chrome~01.jpg
 

RC Bronco

Black Diamond
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Rob
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Kansas
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'22 Ford Bronco, '97 Geo Tracker
Your Bronco Model
Black Diamond
Clubs
 
Very nicely done and a great writeup too!

thanks for sharing
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