Subwoofer installation on 2012 Camaro Convertible

I’m going to fragment up various parts of fixing the stereo in this car.  I wish they just had a “real” premium sound system from the factory so I wouldn’t have to deal with it nor have the liability of theft. But, I digress.  This article covers the way I chose to replace the stock subwoofer in the Camaro and my principles for why I did it this way.

The stock sub hardly moves, causing a dampening of low frequencies that boarder-line clips low end. But, if it did move (even the little it does)…  it is in a free-air chamber. the sub fires through a port between the seat cushion, yet the back of the sub is in a big metal chamber with holes in the front, tops, sides and back.  All of which, in the convertible, are also within the interior compartment. That is right, behind that structure is the inside where the convertible top tucks. This is bad, as all the sound waves from the back of the sub get pushed (delayed and reflected) back into the interior to mess with all the sound waves making a muddled mess rather than the one sound source you want.

JL audio has a stealth enclosure that works to defeat this issue a bit (at the cost of already rare trunk space) by placing two tens that fire in the trunk and use a port that goes through the rear wall carpet and stops at the port between the seats.  This is better… but it still has a number of air channels pounding bass waves A; the port pushes pressure waves B: the subs in the trunk make every other air opening between the trunk and the interior cabin pound waves. Oh, and they want ~900$ plus you get to cut the rear carpet and liners up a lot.

So, I took a cheaper and, in my mind, a better approach. I sealed up the left two thirds of the area behind the seat with tape, filled the other 1/3 with poly batting, then lined the 2/3 side with expanding foam sealant to prevent serious air movement.  This “kind of” gives me a sealed enclosure and should seriously assist in deadening rogue sound waves.

Incidentally, in retrospect, the car now has considerably less road noise from the rear of the car. I was a little depressed that i don’t hear the exhaust note as well as I once did. So, it does help block rogue sound transmission.

Here is the factory location:

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Love those holes! How about the inside looking at the side?

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Taping up the inside (that foam is sticky/expanding)

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I cut a plexiglass panel and used noise batting above to protect the control box.

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Poly batting filled the drivers side (which left access to the harness, including battery cables etc.)

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Now sealed up behind tape

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After the rear and sides were taped up over all connector ends, clips, and holes I applied the carefully controlled layer of Great Stuff expanding foam sealant to the rear and sides.  The front will be done after, so that we can maintain access. 🙂

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Then the front gets a light coat, followed by a protective wax paper piece.

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I let it sit a little while and cure.  Then after it is no longer sticky, I used my finger tips to carve / peel pieces out that over expanded. This left me with a nice sealed area.  Note: I didn’t make it perfect, frankly, odd textures will help disperse sound waves better than flat.

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Wala… now for the speaker.

The factory sub uses two voice coils, so it has two pairs of wires going to it.  They are plenty big for the power I’ll be pushing, this isn’t trying liquify my spinal cord.  What I did was salvage the connector from the factory speaker, took both positives together and both negatives together. I can do this because I am NOT keeping the factory Boston Acoustics amp.  This will give me twice the wire size of a single pair to my new mono subwoofer amp channel. (rocket science there).  I then attached that to the paralleled dual voice coils on the new kicker subwoofer (two 4 ohm in parallel is 2 ohm load, for the amp, perfect.)

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Well, crap. The adapter board I picked up has an air gap. Probably should have just rebuilt the factory metal plate from the original sub.

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So, rubber to the rescue!

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Now, connect to the factory harness and screw!

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UPDATE: The kicker sub was disappointing. I should have known better. It had a low sensitivity rating.  I replaced it with another driver that fits the space, has the same power rating and should sound (it does) about 70% louder, as it is more efficient.

I removed the MDF panel and used the factory metal bracket, drilled for the new mounting. The reason that I did this, is that the plastic port in the back of the seat is intended to seal / conform to that exact contour.

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