1989 Chevy S10 Pioneer Subwoofer Box Install - Big Boom, Little Room
Pioneer's Slim Sub And Premade Box Will Rattle The Mirrors
From the March, 2009 issue of Sport Truck
By Calin Head
Photography by Calin Head
As cool as a standard-cab truck looks with its small cab and uncluttered lines, the interior room leaves something to be desired. No back-seat area usually means that you have to give up the dream of having thumping bass unless you build some huge sub-filled center console. Not anymore. The audio junkies at Pioneer have come up with a line of subwoofers and premade boxes to feed the need for low notes that should fit into the tightest of confines. A box is just a box until it has a speaker installed, but what do you put in this small of a box? How about a 10-inch subwoofer?
Most normal subs won't even come close to fitting in this box, but Pioneer has built a 10-inch shallow-mount woofer that will. The TS-SW2541D sub only needs 2 7/8 inches of mounting depth and a little less than 0.7 cubic feet of air space to function properly. Add the small installation parameters with features like a composite double cone and 1,000-watts max power input, and you have one impressive setup.
Keeping with the big-performance-in-smaller-spaces theme, I picked up a Pioneer GM-D4700M Class-D mono amplifier with 800-watts max power. This little amp will have plenty of juice to drive the sub without taking up a huge amount of area. To wire all of these new goodies, I picked up an 8-gauge single-amp wiring kit from Scosche Industries. This wiring kit has everything in one package, so there will be no guesswork on what wire to use and so on. To have all of the stuff installed, and to get a professional opinion on this new stuff, I went to Al & Ed's Autosound of Ontario, California, and enlisted the help of installer Darren Sprayberry.
Darren installed everything in a flash and was impressed by the system, considering how small the setup is. One thing I did find out on my drive home from Al & Ed's was that the new audio components really taxed the charging system of my '89 S-10. My headlights acted more like flashers, dimming every time the sub hit hard. To cure that issue, I picked up a high-output alternator from Powermaster. It's a good thing I did because my stock alternator had seen better days and was about to lose the rear bearing. Now that everything is copasetic, I really enjoy turning up the volume and shaking the mirrors on my standard-cab truck.
The Sub The shallow subwoofer...
The shallow subwoofer delivers deep bass thanks to features like Pioneer's IMPP composite double-cone woofer, the patent-pending M-shaped surround, and the Air Suspension Control System. This design locks in air between the main cone and drive cone, ensuring smoother movement of the cones, for superior linearity. The locked-in air behaves like a spring, so there's no need for a traditional spider structure.
The Box Complementing the...
Complementing the capability of the shallow sub, this enclosure provides the optimum inner air volume for fullsize woofer performance. The construction features sturdy 3/4-inch MDF and includes internal bracing for strength and bass clarity. The exterior is covered in black auto carpet with a star-graphite thermofoil front panel. Heavy-duty gold binding posts make connection a snap.
The Amp The Class D 800-watt...
The Class D 800-watt max power amplifier transforms very little power into heat, so a higher percentage of the power supply (67 percent) is transformed into the load. This results in a very compact amp that needs less input power to produce very high output power. The amp also features selectable 50Hz bass boost, a built-in crossover network, and speaker level inputs for those of you without the typical RCA-type inputs.
The Wire The EFX 8-gauge wiring...
The EFX 8-gauge wiring kit from Scosche has everything needed to wire a single amp. It comes with 17 feet of 8-gauge power wire, 17-foot-long G2 RCA cable, 4 feet of 8-gauge ground wire, AGU platinum inline fuse holder, and a roll of power turn-on wire. The G2 RCA cable is triple-shielded and has twisted technology to decrease induced noise.
1.To start the install, Darren...
1.To start the install, Darren Sprayberry removed the head unit to make some room so he could run the Scosche power turn-on and RCA wires. Starting from under the dash, he routed the wires up to where they would reach the radio.
2.He simply plugged the RCA...
2.He simply plugged the RCA wires into the proper connections on the back of the head unit and used a solderless union, aka a butt connector, to hook up the blue power turn-on wire. This is the wire that will tell the amp to fire up and start making juice when the head unit is turned on.
3.Darren used a small hole...
3.Darren used a small hole in the firewall to run enough of the power wire to reach the battery. Then the wires mentioned before were paired with that main power wire and run under the carpet to the back of the cab, where all of the stuff will be. These RCA wires are not like the cheapo wires we used back in the day. They feature triple shield twisted technology, so you don't have to run the RCA cable on one side of the truck and power wires on the other side to prevent that annoying whine.
4.Since the sub and box are...
4.Since the sub and box are sold separately, Darren had to pair the two parts together. First, he used the provided Allen wrench to remove the speaker grille. Then, he grabbed some speaker wire and hooked it up between the terminal block on the side and the sub itself. After that, the thin sub was dropped in and screwed down, again with the provided hardware.
5.This truck has a metal bracket...
5.This truck has a metal bracket welded to the back of the cab to hold the factory jack, but it was not being used and was in the way. Darren carefully cut it off with an air saw to make more room for the audio equipment (inset). With the bracket out of the way, a test fit of the box was made to see if it would fit between the back of the cab and the console. As you can see, it did thanks to the box's small 5-3/8-inch-wide base.
6.Darren removed the box and...
6.Darren removed the box and covered the back of the cab with some extra loop carpet I bought from ACC to match the carpet kit in the truck. Then, the box was set back in place and the location for the amp was determined. Behind the driver seat worked out to be the best. The amp was screwed directly to the back of the cab, so yes there are four small screws visible between the bed and cab. Darren was going to bond some wood to the cab and then screw the amp to that to prevent the screw issue. I told him I don't give a rat's ass about the screws showing, so just go for it.
7.Here's a look at how the...
7.Here's a look at how the wires are hooked to the amp. The top two are the speaker connections that run over to the box. The silver wire is the ground, the thick blue is the main power wire, and the thin blue is the power turn-on wire. The other end of the ground wire was screwed down to the floor panel after the paint was scraped off. This will be under the carpet so it didn't have to be pretty, just functional.
8.Here is a shot of the box...
8.Here is a shot of the box hooked up, but more importantly check out how thin this setup really is. That is a 10-inch subwoofer in a box with the proper air space, sitting on the back shelf of a standard-cab S-10.
9.Now that all of the connections...
9.Now that all of the connections were made at the back, Darren moved under the hood to finish the wiring. He chose the area right next to the A/C box to mount the Scosche inline fuse holder. This fuse will pop in the event of an overload or a short circuit, saving the amp from having a meltdown.
10.Since the battery features...
10.Since the battery features side and top terminals, we left the main cables for the truck on the side and hooked the audio up to the top post with a Monster battery terminal.
Keepin' It Charged
The new amp and sub really rounded out the system in the truck, but it was putting a high load on the charging system. The dimming headlights when the bass hit was a definite clue. To cure this issue, I contacted Powermaster and ordered a 140-amp alternator.
1.I removed the old alternator...
1.I removed the old alternator and found that it had a rear bearing issue that didn't look good at all. If you look closely at the alternator on the right, you can see there are only a few roller balls left in that bearing. I'm not sure how much longer it would have lasted, but for once I got lucky and inadvertently found the issue before it left me stranded. The new alternator from Powermaster needed to be clocked so it would mount properly in my truck. See how the plugs are in different positions compared to the mounting tabs?
2.To cure the issue, the front...
2.To cure the issue, the front case needs to be spun into proper position, and to do this the pulley needs to be removed. An impact gun will be the easiest way to remove the nut.
3.With the pulley and fan...
3.With the pulley and fan removed, the three case bolts can be removed so the back half can be lifted up and rotated. The back case and windings will move as one unit, so lift it just enough for it to rotate.
4.With the alternator properly...
4.With the alternator properly clocked, I installed it back on the motor and fired it up to make sure everything was working properly. It all checked out, and now the lights don't dim when the sub hits a deep note.
The Final Word
With everything hooked up, Darren fired it up to see how it sounded. Initially the sub sounded great, adding much- needed depth to the system. When Darren tweaked the settings, things really started to shake. He turned on the high-pass filter function on the head unit to cut the bass frequencies from the dash and side pillar speakers and cranked up the levels on the amp. We were both impressed by how much punch this little package has.