Amp Rack 101

on 15 October 2010
Created: 15 October 2010

In this article we will be creating an amp rack for a 2005 Honda Civic. In the Spring Break Nationals program back in March we show you how to create the enclosures using the factory formed truck liners and installed 2 Tsunami 12 woofers in to the rear quarter panels of the Civic. Well it is finally time to finish the install. 

The goal of this install is to keep the spare tire and jack in its factory location and not disrupt the functionality of the vehicle and if all goes well still maintain some trunk space. 

Step 1

Place a strip of MDF onto the spare tire, the top of this strip of MDF will become the bottom of our amp rack once it is completed, it was very important the amp rack does not rest on the spare tire because it will vibrate under normal driving conditions and while the subs are playing. Next a ½” piece of MDF was cut to the size of both amplifiers, space was left all around the amps to allow for the wires and space for the side walls of the amplifier enclosure.

Step 2

Strip of ½” MDF were cut ¾” higher that the amplifiers and nailed into place with 1” brad nails. The amps were then mounted to the base of the rack.

Step 3

Next the cover had to be created and to do this scrap pieces of cardboard were recovered from the trash and cut to the rough shape of the sides of the enclosures, once they were set in the trunk a compass was used to trace the contours of the enclosures onto the pieces of card board. You might have to do two passes to get the correct fit. Once you have both sides completed but the card board up against each side and use strips of ¼” MDF and glue them to each piece of cardboard. This will hold the shape of the panel as you remove it.

Step 4

With the cardboard outline removed the shape was traced onto a ½” piece of MDF and cut out with a jig saw. With the shape cut out it was taken to the trunk for a test fit, because the cardboard was laid out correctly the trunk floor slid in no problem. Next we had to attach the amp enclosure to the trunk floor and the easiest way to do that was to center the amps rack and use super glue around the top edges of the amp rack then the trunk floor was carefully set into place and held down for about a minute.

Step 5

When the glue dried it was removed and taken to the wood shop to be reinforced with strip of MDF along the sides of the amp rack. With the amp rack secured a 1” hole was drilled thought the trunk floor into the amp rack and then taken to the flush trim bit on the table router. The end result was a perfectly centered amp rack. The amps were mounted back in and the trunk floor was set back into the car.

Step 6

A ½” piece of MDF was cut to match the amp racks opening, a ¼” piece of MDF was also cut much larger then the opening of the amp rack and centered into place. These two piece will be used as an insert to allow access to the amplifies once the rack is complete. The ¼” piece of MDF a shaped to match the contours of the amplifiers. Once the ¼” piece was routed out it was set back into the vehicle to check the overall look of the shape. 

Step 7

Because the ¼” MDF was raised above the trunk floor it had to be molded up to give it a seamless look. To do this, 2 layers of double sided tape were attached around the outside of the MDF, centered, and attached to the trunk floor. Next we mixed up some body fill and filled in the area around the ¼” piece of MDF. Once it was dry we hit it with some 40 grit sand paper popped it out and prepped it for carpet.

Step 8

With the trunk floor carpeted it was also time to suede the inside of the amp rack, gray was chosen because of the speaker rings of the sub enclosure and also because of the trim color of the amps. We also covered the ½” piece of MDF that fit into the amp rack opening, in black suede and the ¼” piece with gray suede to set a contrast between the levels.

Step 9

The last few step of the install were to cut a piece of ¼” clear plexi glass to fit inside the ½” trim piece, it was secured with clear silicone and let dry over night. With the amps mounted and wired up the install was complete. Even though the trunk floor was heavy you still have access to the spare tire and jack located under the new trunk lid.

If you would like to build your skills as a mobile electronics installer and learn from the best fabricators in the industry browse our web-site and see what the Installer Institute can do for you.

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