Stereo Upgrade

The Sambar only came with two tiny speakers up front, and nothing else. I initially replaced these with a set of Pyle 4×6″ speakers, hoping it would make enough of a difference that I wouldn’t have to do any further stereo work. They were somewhat tricky to install, mainly because the sheet metal flange was too wide to fit, but after some creative work with my angle grinder, I got them in there.

I wish WordPress would stop automatically rotating this image to be horizontal.

Unfortunately, while the new speakers were louder, they still didn’t pack enough of a satisfying punch. No bass whatsoever, and very harsh at higher volumes. More drastic measures were required.

I ended up deciding to mount an amplifier, two new large speakers, and a subwoofer under the hinged rear seat platform. I designed and built a 32″ wide enclosure out of 1/2″ pine plywood, and mounted a pair of Skar 6×9″ speakers and a Pyle 6″ subwoofer in it. I wrapped it in some gray carpet material which was just the right size for the job, gluing it to the wood with Gorilla glue spray and stapling it at the edges with some T50 staples. It’s a very tight fit, almost miraculously so. If I had built it to be 1/4″ taller, it wouldn’t have fit at all. I attached the enclosure to the front half of the platform, and in the rear half I installed a Boss 5-channel amplifier.

Up front, I removed the blank switch cover under the rear window defrost switch and mounted the remote subwoofer control knob in it. I glued the knob PCB to the backside of the cover with RTV silicone. This really turned out well and looks great.

The wire routing, starting from the front, goes something like this: down the center of the front footwell area, up into the center console along the passenger side, takes a right turn under the front passenger seat, then a left turn down behind the seat and then up the left hinged leg of the rear seat platform. I grounded the amp to the main bolt that attaches the left hinged leg to the deck of the vehicle. For power and ground, I bought a black 4 gauge ground wire from my local auto parts store and an amplifier install kit from Amazon which included a really nice red 4 gauge power cable and an enormous 80 A fuse and fuse holder.

In total, passing from the front to the back, I have all of these wires:

  • 4 ga power
  • 6x RCA cables
  • Blue power signal wire (turns amplifier on when head unit turns on)
  • Remote subwoofer control knob wire (phone cable)
  • 2x 16 ga speaker wire for front left and right speakers
I had to cut a slot in the battery cover for the new 4 ga red power cable to pass through. Not pictured: I also replaced the main battery ground wire with a new 4 ga one, as the old one was definitely much skinnier than 4 ga.

This was a really long and complicated job, and a detailed write-up would be a whole book on its own. Hopefully I’ve posted enough photos here to communicate what I did so that someone else can figure it out and learn from it.