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  1. #1
    override's Avatar
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    How to - Installing speakers in mirrors!

    Mods if this is in the wrong section feel free to move it.

    This is both kind of a how to and project documenting on how I approached installing audio on my XLT1200. All the riding I do where I live is lakes and usually involves riding to a spot, stopping, having a drink, move to a new spot, stop, drink....repeat. So music is usually ideal for me and whomever I am with, my first ski years ago I installed a generic $40 shark motorcycle audio system onto and it worked just fine. This ski I wanted to get a little more involved and do something a bit more custom, possibly try to get something I could hear at speed, so what better than to install speakers into the mirror housings!

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    Parts Needed:

    Poly-Planar or similar 3" speakers (make sure mounting depth is good for your housings)
    Amplifier, so many to choose from so find one that suits your application. (Shark is cheap but also cheap quality)
    12x12x1/4" Sheet of King Star Board (if your confident in your cutting skills then an 8x8 sheet should be sufficient and a bit cheaper)
    JB Weld Plastic Bonder (Auto Parts store) or alternative is 100% silicone $8
    Stainless Sheet metal screws (#4 x 3/8") $.50
    Hand Drill and Hobby drill bit set (7/64", 3/32", 5/64")
    16 AWG speaker wire or similar (really 18 gauge is ideal and easier to work with)
    Butt Connectors
    Male/Female Bullet Terminals
    Ring Terminals (big enough for battery posts)
    SPST Switch (will need to make some sort of bracket to mount)
    Ski Length of 16-18 AWG Double strand wire for power to amp (you can use speaker wire if you want)
    In-Line fuse holder
    Heatshrink
    Jigsaw or similar
    60 to 120 Grit sandpaper
    Bench Vice
    Wire loom (if you want to get fancy)
    Wall Hanging clips (Wal-Mart)
    Soldering Iron and soldering skill (or just wire crimp everything)

    I originally ordered this shark motorcycle audio setup SHKC400-BK (got it for $45 if I remember correctly) and just tear down the speaker components and mount them to the king starboard. After looking at things I figured this was not the best route. The grills would protrude past the mirror housings about 1/2-3/4" and the screws would have to come in from the back side of the starboard (inside the mirror housings) into the grills. Considering I am making this a permanent sealed system, if ever I needed to change a speaker or fix the wiring I would be screwed (no pun intended haha).









    I did not get pictures of all the materials together in one shot but instead you will see all the materials used through out the build and explained in the step descriptions. I apologize for this as the parts and ideas of how to approach this was over the period of rebuilding the ski and after I got it on the lake and running it in my limited spare time. Follow the build and if you decide to take this project on yourself feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer them!

    After getting all the supplies I thought I would need in I started with getting the main power wire harness built. I opted to go with an in-line fuse holder (amp is not fused) and a 5a fuse to start with, I had about 30 ft of double strand 18 AWG jacketed wire laying around and the inline fuse holder from a previous project and utilized this for building the harness.





    Next I took some aluminum angle and cut it down to make a mounting bracket for the switch. I bolted it up to the dash bracket just underneath the front hood. The tab you see is so the bracket does not swivel from the ski pourposing or jumping wake on the water. I also mounted the switch so that the on position is down, again so the switch will not get jolted to the off position while bouncing around or jumping wake out on the water. Once I had the switch mounted I ran the power wire through the ski and routed it behind the dash bracket, decided where to splice into for the switch, crimped ring terminals on, adhesive heatshrink (black) and then regular heatshrink (red) over top. All together it came out nicely and is out of the way of the front bucket but easily accessible while on the water or at the ramp.















    Next up I decided where I would mount the amp and finished up the wire harness by crimping the amp leads onto it and using adhesive heatshrink to keep the connections from getting moisture in them. Looking back on things after I mounted it all up I actually wish I would of put the amp on the opposite side of the fuel tank filler hose, that amp generates quite a bit of heat after being on for some time, I left enough spare wire on everything that I will eventually move it to the other side of the hull.





    Ok, next things next...REMOVING THE MIRRORS I tried my best to remove them without breaking the mirrors (which I'm positive can be done) but alas I did not have enough finesse and broke both of them. It took me some time to figure out how they actually are held into the housings, after shattering the first one I was able to see how it was all put together. In the picture you can see on the plastic shroud for the mirrors there is a small hole, this hole is big enough for a 3 to 4 mm allen key which ideally you could use to help pop the mirror out of the retaining area. They are held in with double sided tape and trust me they are easy to shatter!! Once you get the mirror out you will find this assembly holding it all together.



    Once you have the mirrors off and out you should be ready to trace the housings onto the starboard and decided how your going to mount everything up. Get your jigsaw out, mount up a scrolling blade preferably with a fine cut, I used a wood scrolling blade and it cut just fine through the starboard. Mount up your jigsaw into your bench vice (upside down) and scroll around your outlines as close to center line or even inside of the line as possible. You will go back after with sandpaper and fine tune the shape so that it fits perfect into your housings, any small imperfections can filled in with epoxy or silicon later in the install. NOTE: If your wondering what the cardboard cutout is for, I traced the housing onto the cardboard and then cut it out and trimmed it down little by little until it fit into the housing the way I wanted it too. I then used the cardboard to retrace the cutout marks on the starboard, in the end it saved me from a lot of sanding but doing this you want to be quite a bit more precise with your initial cut.



    Move to a clean work area and get all your hand drill tools, your marker and a machinist ruler or similar ready. Measure your housing out and decide where you want to put your screws, mark your holes and then push your starboard into the housing and get it just barely recessed. The way I went about this was I measured about a 1/16th past 1/8th inch from flush with the lip of the housing back, popped a small 1/16th inch hole through the housing where the top middle screw would be. I then put the starboard back in and centered it with that hole, marked it, pulled it out and checked center on my mark with the starboard itself. Once I was satisfied I measured all the rest of the holes the same, evenly spaced around the mirror housing. I used 6 screws total per housing, 3 on top, 2 on bottom and 1 on the inner side of the housing (closest to the hood). NOTE: The bit size I used for the initial housing holes was 5/64" and once I was satisfied they were all where I wanted them I enlarged the holes too 3/32". The holes I drilled into the starboard were 5/64" to give the screws a bit more bite into the plastic and in the case I rounded out a hole they would still fit snug.







    If you go onto Poly Planars website you can find a printable sheet that gives you the specs of the speakers and also a cut out diagram, if you print 1:1 it should be the exact hole size you need for your speaker. Use this sheet to mark your hole center and outline, check and double check your alignment as once you cut this hole if your off to far in any direction you risk not getting your speaker mounted flush as the starboard will be slightly recessed into the housing once installed. Once you have your outline traced you can pop a hole in the center and scroll the rest out (like I did) or you can spend a little extra money and go buy a 2.85" hole saw (if they even make that exact size).









    Check the fit of your speaker and then double check the fit into your housing. At this point a deburring tool (like used in the aviation industry) comes in real handy to clean up your cuts and the speaker hole. You should have already needed to sand down the starboard to get a better fit, if not now is the time to do all that fun jazz!











    Once your satisfied with the fit and finish of your starboard and the speakers dropped in it is time to mount the empty mirror housings back onto the ski. I used a 1/4" bit and popped a hole center of the mounting bolts, through the hood, straight on into the mirror housings. It does not have to be exact but try to get it as straight and lined up as possible as to not drill out of the housing or mounting area of the mirror housing. After you have drilled those holes you can take the housings back off the hood, clean up the holes and any plastic bits that are left behind from drilling.







    This next part I actually took the hood off to drill the hole through the hood hinge and hull. You do not have to take the hood off but it does make it easier, its somewhat of a PITA to get the hood aligned back properly so that it closes and opens freely though. Where I opted to drill the hole allows the excess wire to not get hung up in the hinge or smashed by any of the moving parts, I also opted to go through the hinge as it will help add rigidity to the hole going through the hull (not that it structurally would probably affect anything but I am paranoid AF). I used a 1/4" bit for the initial hole and reamed it out to a final size of 11/32" but 3/8" will work just as well and also give you a bit more room for the wiring.





    Once that hole is done, put your hood back on if you took it off, mount your mirror housings back onto the hood and get ready to start running your speaker wire. I ran the wire through everything, cut it a bit long on both ends and then pulled it back out. I soldered the amp connectors on and then cut wire loom and slipped it onto the wires, ran them back through the hood hinge, put some heatshrink where the wires came through the hole. Then cut wire loom to length for the left and right speaker, heatshrink over the end of those and then ran the rest through the mirror housings. At this point I put my starboard in, using the screws to hold it in place I cut the wire to length and crimped my bullet terminals onto them. At this point I also dropped the speakers in, aligned them and marked the holes to be drilled. I used a 7/64" bit for these holes, although poly planar calls for 1/8" I wanted the screws to have a tight fit, you will also notice I used the wall hangers I picked up from wal-mart to run the wires neatly along the hood.













    Prepare your speakers in the same fashion, I soldered the wire to the terminals and used clear heatshrink over them for future inspection in the event of corrosion or a breaking terminal. Crimped bullet terminals on and then tapped up with some electrical tape to help keep the terminals from moving around and eventually breaking.



    Once everything was how I liked it I pulled the starboard back off the housings and prepped it for epoxy. King Starboard requires heat from a torch and a urethane based epoxy to get it to adhere to anything properly and even with the correct epoxy the manufacturer still recommends mechanically mounting the stuff with screws, which Is why I went the extra step with the #4 screws through the housing. Another thing you may have noticed is that these epoxies that are recommended are high dollar! 3M, Tap-Plastics and Lord manufacturer these epoxies and none of them are readily available on a shelf...BUT I found through some research that JB Weld also makes a urethane based epoxy that will work with Polyethylene plastics such as starboard, it is called "Plastic Bonder", is $8 and is readily available in most auto parts stores such as O'Riellys. I did a test on two scrap pieces just to make sure the stuff worked and after an hour of set time I could not separate the two pieces with my hand and a pair of pliers. NOTE: While I used Plastic Bonder, after talking to a company that works with starboard they said 100% silicone would of worked fine to seal the joining area of the starboard and housing since I used screws to hold it in place. Had I know this before hand I surely would have gone that route as it would not be as permanent and could be removed down the road if needed. Not to mention the JB Weld dries a tan color so you can see the bead of epoxy after it dries.

    Whichever way you decide to go, you will need to take the manufacturers recommended steps for applying the epoxy or silicone, I leave this up for you to decide...So on to the pictures!























    Thanks for looking, I know I talk a lot but its all in good measure! I hope this helps someone to save some cash if ever installing an audio system into your mirror housings, the starboard can be found cheapest on eBay and the speakers either eBay or Amazon. The amp from shark motorcycle audio is not the best but it works and is cheap, I would recommend actually going with a better amp if you decide to do this install. At speed you cannot here the speakers without getting distortion, at idle or beached and just floating around they are plenty loud for you and anyone in the surrounding area. I am going to work on getting improved components to have this setup be able to be louder without distortion, which will either be a different amp, different speakers or possibly drilling into the starboard to allow the speaker to vent some and loosen up the bass (which is what is creating the distortion). I'll post my findings as they come for anyone interested in doing this project.
    Last edited by override; 09-14-2016 at 10:33 AM.


  2. #2
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    Tip for next time. It is OK to spread the project and photos over multiple posts. Makes it easier to scroll through and read in segments.

    Regarding the wiring, I will point out that unlike a boat, the wiring inside the hull of a PWC is supposed to be ignition proof. That means no exposed electrical connections that could potentially loosen and create a spark.

    The reason is that in the event that a fuel leak creates a combustible atmosphere of gasoline fumes inside the hull, the fumes will not ignite or explode since every possible source of spark is enclosed. This is one of the reasons all factory electrical connectors are fully enclosed and sealed. Even if the contacts spark inside the connector, they are not exposed to any fumes inside the hull.

    The power switch wiring looks to not be ignition proof, nor does the switch itself.

    Is the switch marine rated/sealed for exposure to moisture?





    The power connections at the amp should also be sealed.

    Last edited by K447; 09-14-2016 at 10:06 AM.

  3. #3
    override's Avatar
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    I just realized I never mentioned how I am hooking up phone, mp3 player, ipod etc to amp.....I simply ran an aux headphone cable up through the steering column and out through the dash area. You can see the cable in the video below!



    Also if anyone is interested and maybe on more of a budget build the shark speakers can work just fine, you can remove the speaker from the grill and mount it. Only downside I can see if you would not have anything protecting the cone, unless you could find some cheap universal mesh grills. It wouldn't be hard to do so here is what the guts of those speakers look like I used these for an entire day at the pool running off a lithium pack from my RC stuff and they worked great, I actually think the shark speakers may give better sound because they don't seem to create as deep of bass, which means less distortion at higher volumes. These speakers are also intended to be in a sealed enclosure where as the Poly Planar speakers may not be, which could be why the bass is distorting on the Planar speakers at higher volumes (hence why I may try venting them).



    Last edited by override; 09-14-2016 at 06:06 PM.

  4. #4
    override's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K447 View Post
    Tip for next time. It is OK to spread the project and photos over multiple posts. Makes it easier to scroll through and read in segments.

    Is the switch marine rated/sealed for exposure to moisture?
    I had thought of splitting it up around the half way point and didn't, I'll take note of doing this next time.

    The switch is an automotive switch and is not sealed, it's what I had on hand at the time of the install. The wiring I agree with, I had intended on heat shrinking the terminals of the switch but at the time did not have any heat shrink left that was big enough to go over the screws and the terminals together. I plan to go back and fix that and you do make a valid point! All of the other contact points, crimps, solders etc. have adhesive heat shrink over them though and the power connector for the amp also still needs some sort of adhesive heat shrink.

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  6. #5
    override's Avatar
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    UPDATE: After messing with things a little bit today I found that cutting out a piece of open cell foam (egg crate foam used for packaging etc.) to the shape of the housing and pushing it to the back helped reduce the bass distortion, it doesn't quite make sense to me since the housings should not have more than the amount of air space these speaker need to work properly. My guess is it just absorbs some of the vibrations coming from the speaker in the cheap plastic due to loading up with bass.

    Also I play most music from Pandora which has no EQ built into the app...I found that music played from iTunes under the "off", "acoustic" and "bass reduced" or "flat" EQ's produced much better, louder, clearer sound and I was able to crank the amp up quite a bit more yet still achieve good acoustics for these small 3" speakers. Next time I am out, if I catch another day before the cold weather starts setting in, I will put a variety of music on my phone and test out more genres of music and different variations of EQ bands, get some video of the differences and chime back in.

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