The project is to construct a fiberglass mount and enclosure for a kick panel speaker or component set. Hopefully you have spent some time working on the best angle for the speakers you wish to use. See the speaker pages for tips, suggestions and explanations. Once the exact angle for your speakers is determined, the make and model of speakers you are going to use, and what you want the finished product to look like is, you can start work.
STEP 1: PERFECTING THE LOCATION.
You need to make sure the speaker you wish to use will be out of the way of your feet while entering and exiting the vehicle. You also want it to be as unobtrusive as possible, and cosmetically pleasing. To achieve this, a bit of work is involved. You must get the speakers magnet as deep as possible into the cars body as possible. This may require the relocation of computers, fuse panels, relays or wiring harnesses. If you chose to move these units, be sure they are still fully functional, and their operation and access is unobstructed.
Begin by selecting something with which you may attach your new kick panel to the vehicle. The stock plastic kick panel works very well in most instances. Now you must create a mounting ring for the speaker. Make sure the speaker itself fits well, and you leave a ¼" gap around the exterior of the grill. This can now be positioned on your stock kick panel using wooden spacers and hot glue. You may have to modify (cut) the kick panel to get the driver in as deep as possible. Test fit the panel and driver in the vehicle before proceeding. If all is well, and the angle of the driver is correct, you may move to step 2.
STEP 2: MAKING IT LOOK LIKE A CUSTOM SPEAKER POD.
Here's the trick you have been waiting for. Wrap the front of your kick panel with grill cloth or a similar stretchable material. Use contact cement to adhere the cloth in place. Make sure there are no wrinkles or folds in the cloth. Once you have the shape you desire, you can move to step 3.
STEP3: APPLYING THE FIBERGLASS RESIN.
You may now mix up a small disposable container of fiberglass resin mixture. I won't describe the steps involved in the mixing, as different products work in different ratios. Contact your supplier for suggestions on mixing and setting times. Now paint the resin mixture evenly over the cloth. The first layer should be fairly thin, as this will help prevent warping. You needn't paint the center of the cloth covering the speaker opening, but you'll need to get the edges. Feel free to put a coat or two on the inside of the cloth once the first layer has set up. This will add strength but not bulk to the pod. An additional coat or two may need to be applied to the outside to get rid of any imperfections.
STEP 4: SANDING AND FINISHING.
Once the resin has hardened and cooled off, you can inspect your work. If there are any major flaws, they can be addressed in two ways, sanded off, or filled in. If you must sand, I STRONGLY suggest wearing at least a dust mask, and a respirator mask would be even better. I use a small circular pneumatic grinder for this work. If filling is required, mix up a small batch of Bondo, or similar plastic auto body filler. Apply as needed to produce a smooth surface with no obvious ridges or valleys. During this step, you may remove the center portion where the speaker will be mounted. Be sure and sand the edges smooth, and test fit the speaker. Make adjustments as required.
STEP 5: COSMETIC COMPLETION
You can now finish the project. You have three basic options. Carpet, vinyl or paint. I almost exclusively use vinyl for my kick panels, but the choice is up to you. Either carpet or vinyl will require the use of a good contact adhesive. A popular one is Helmaprene. It maybe sprayed or painted on. Allow to tack up and apply your finishing material. Be sure to use a good quality carpet or vinyl - one that will stretch in at least 3-directions to conform to the odd shape. If you choose to paint the kick panel, your surface preparation must be superb. It must be perfectly smooth with no imperfections at all. I suggest then having a body shop paint it to your color specification. You might want to try Fleckstone or something similar if you are the 'outrageous' type.
STEP 6: MOUNTING
Place the panel in the vehicle with the speaker wiring hanging through the mounting hole. Screw or otherwise securely affix the panel in place. Wire up the speaker, and mount it. Now sit back and enjoy your lovely front stage.