2018 Nissan Leaf SV - Amplifier + Sub + 4 Speaker Replacement

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Mar 7, 2018
Previously, I owned a 2014 Nissan Leaf SL with the Bose system, and by the time the lease was up the range had decreased to the point where it was a little annoying based on my daily commute distance (31 miles 1-way, mostly highway, so it eventually lost the ability to make a round trip without charging it at work), so I never really had an inclination to upgrade the sound system. I ended up replacing it about 5 months ago with a 2018 Leaf SV without the Bose system, and I plan on keeping this car for a while, so I figured I'd make it sound decent.

In any case, my original plan was to keep the factory speakers and just add an amp and a sub, since I'm sort of a basshead anyways. So, I ended up purchasing the following for my amp and sub setup:

Rockford Fosgate P3D4-10 Punch P3 DVC 4-Ohm 10-Inch 500-Watt RMS 1000 Watts Peak Subwoofer
BBox E10S Single 10" Sealed Carpeted Subwoofer Enclosure
Pioneer GM-D8601 Class D Mono Amplifier with Wired Bass Boost Remote
Surge F-4 Flo Series By Surge 4 Gauge 2000W AWG Amplifier Installation Wiring Amp Install Kit
Procraft 2U 12" Deep Equipment 2 Space

I picked the Pioneer amp mostly because it has auto-sensing and doesn't require me to run a turn-on wire.

On the 2014 leaf, I had the cargo organizer, so I considered getting the 2018 version to hold the amp and sub, but the trunk had so much more usable space on the 2018 leaf I didn't want the cargo organizer taking up so much space. The idea was to have the 2U carpeted rack enclosure hold the amplifier, and I would have the option of putting the sub enclosure on top of the amp enclosure or I could keep them separate.

The inside of the 2U rack was wood and not carpet so I initially mounted the amp to it with industrial strength velcro, and planned on securing it with screws after I was done with the installation, although to be honest I've been lazy and it's still held there with industrial strength velcro.

I was also planning on securing the enclosures to the frame, but based on where I ended up putting the amp and sub enclosures, they actually don't move around at all, even with aggressive turning and braking, so again I've been lazy.

Connected the power wire to the battery, put an in-line 100A fuse about 6" down, then ran the wire through the firewall. Spent a lot of time trying to figure out where to run the power through the firewall. There's actually a single point in the firewall on the driver's side (above and to the left of the brake pedal) that has a bunch of wires running through it. I ended up just running the power wire through the same point. Then just put the power wire under the carpet until I got past the rear seat. If you fold down the rear seat you can see where the power cable comes up, but with the seats up you can't see any loose wiring at all.

Pulling up the door trim and allows you to just pop off the B-pillar cover, and that was pretty much all that was required to wire the amp. For the audio input, I spliced into the wiring for the rear door speaker. I didn't mess with the wiring in the doors, the wiring to the rear speaker goes through the b-pillar, so that's where I ended up splicing into the rear speaker wire. If you do decide to use a line out converter, there's some empty space in the b-pillar to stash it, so it's a good spot for handling this stuff. I ran the remote volume control to the edge of the carpeting next to the shifter, so I could adjust it by reaching down.

Rest of the wiring is pretty standard for a amp/sub setup. Power wires hooked up to the amp, along with the inputs, speaker out from the amp to the sub enclosure. The sub had dual voice coils at 4 ohm, so hooked them up parallel to drop the impedance at 2 ohms. Sub wants 500 watt RMS, amp puts out 500 watt RMS at 2 ohms, so I was pretty much done at that point.

At this point, the bass sounded great, but the factory speakers started clipping like crazy at the volumes I wanted to play the bass at, so after a couple of months, I decided to replace the factory speakers with something better.

Ended up getting 4 Rockford Fosgate Prime 6.75" speakers: https://www.crutchfield.com/p_575R1675X2/Rockford-Fosgate-Prime-R1675X2.html?tp=78072

Crutchfield throws in the adapter bracket and speaker harness for free, so it was only $80 for all 4 speakers. The instructions for the 1st gen leafs still apply, and between the adapter bracket and speaker harness I didn't have to drill any holes in the car (although I had to drill some holes in the adapter bracket). The bracket that ships is designed for 6.5" speakers, and I had 6.75" speakers, so I had to do some extra drilling to fit it into the bracket properly. In hindsight, I would've just gotten 6.5" speakers to save me the extra work.

Sorry for the stream of consciousness post. Wasn't planning on posting anything, so I didn't take pictures as I did the work, but it was a fun project for sure, and wanted to share that doing this on a 2018 leaf isn't any harder than on the 1st gen leafs. I'll take pictures tomorrow during the day of the visible components (remote volume control, amp, sub, enclosures).
Thanks for the info. My install will take a little longer due to work and life but I'm glad I'm not the only one making leafs sound a little better!
Here's what it looks like finished:

Remote volume control

Wider angle picture

Amp and sub enclosures, with enough room for luggage when picking up family from the airport

Amp inside the enclosure, with enough room for heat dissapation
I felt like at this point I've done all I can without messing with the head unit (except maybe replacing the tweeters in the A pillar, which I didn't do because I didn't want to be poking around the curtain airbag, even though I understand it's not a big risk). If I had unlimited time and budget, I could get a high end 5 channel line out converter to clean up the signal and not rely on the head unit to amplify the signal, then add in a 4 channel amp and get higher end speakers for the doors. I'd also get a higher power amp for the subs and run two 10" subs instead of one. But, at that point, I feel like I'd be drawing too much power from the DC-DC converter, and I'd probably need to add another battery just to run that kind of system, at which point I'm taking up the entire trunk with audio equipment, and my wife will start questioning her life choices :lol: .

The only annoying thing about having the head unit be a 1-stop interface for navigation, climate control, radio, etc. is that you can't really replace it without losing access to all of that functionality. If the radio related stuff was separated from the car controls, I'd be more inclined to go all out.
Just as an added note. My install was not without its comically bad moments. For example, when I was originally running the power from the battery, I connected 6-10" of power wire to the 100A fuse, and then connected the other end to the positive terminal of the battery (without putting the plastic cover back on the fuse). I was playing around with where I was going to tie/down the fuse to when it slipped out of my hands the the other end of the fuse came into contact with ... the engine casing .... If you follow the negative terminal of the battery, you'll see that's where the electrical system grounds itself to. So, I shorted the connection and immediately blew the fuse. That's not a big deal, except I ended up having to order another fuse from Amazon and had to wait until the next weekend to complete the installation.
I haven't looked into the wiring, but the H/U in the SL like I have actually sends a low level signal out of the H/U to the OEM amp. I tested my car with an oscilloscope and a DMM, then RTA'd the signal to see its flat, clean and unclipped 3.6v output. I found a harness that I had to repin at the OEM amp and I'll use that to feed the signal to my processor and two five channel amps. Plug and play and as good as an aftermarket with all of the OEM perks.
lashlee said:
I haven't looked into the wiring, but the H/U in the SL like I have actually sends a low level signal out of the H/U to the OEM amp. I tested my car with an oscilloscope and a DMM, then RTA'd the signal to see its flat, clean and unclipped 3.6v output. I found a harness that I had to repin at the OEM amp and I'll use that to feed the signal to my processor and two five channel amps. Plug and play and as good as an aftermarket with all of the OEM perks.

When I was originally installing my sub and amp, the thought did cross my mind that, since my H/U is technically the same one as the one with the Bose system, there would probably be an line level output for the Bose amp, and, if I could find the proper pins, I wouldn't have to splice the speaker output. However, with just installing a sub and amp, it didn't seem worth it, especially since there was a small possibility that because I didn't have the Bose system, my head unit may not have a line level output. If I were doing a full two amp, 5-channel setup like you're doing, I would've probably pulled out the H/U to take a look.
Have you noticed any considerable amount of battery drain?

I currently have two 10" Rockford subs and a 1000 watt amp, however Very hesitant on putting anything in since I do not know about battery degradation and/or worsening my mileage.
Hi mate, I really hate the standard sound system of the leaf too. I have the 2018 2.zero edition which didn't come with bose either but I Was thinking about doing speaker swap. Do you know what maximum output of our head unit is? I had some old vibe black air 6 speakers lying around which need a minimum of 55w RMS just to get them going! I would need to do a full setup to get them going and I'm getting a little too old for that now! So I just want the best possible 6.5's without messing with extra amps etc. Are your Fosgates doing the job?
The radio may make 12-18 watts RMS at the most. The Bose version probably makes a small amount more but not nearly the 55 watts RMS that your speakers are rated for. You can always install them with the caveat that they will sound better than the OEM drivers but still not at the optimum performance of the driver.
True, I went and Picked up some cheap edge 6.5's they are 4 way and have max 50w RMS so existing head unit should be able to power them well. I pulled the existing speaker out and they are 20w 4ohm, quality wise they are terrible! I have started sound proofing the doors and hopefully this should be my quick fix for much better sound. I couldn't use the stock speaker bracket by cutting it out as my speakers were different but the nissan almera 06 front brackets are exactly the same part no. CT25NS01 by bass junkies connects 2. Will let you know how it sounds.
Right, new edge speakers have been in there for a week or two now and sound ridiculously good compared to the stock speakers. Still got an itch for that deep bass, just bought a line out converter and going to dig out my old sub and amp.
Can you show pics of how you connected to the battery? I was just curious because I read a different post about how there is a block of wire down the line from the battery. I just want to make sure I'm doing it right. Also have you seen any reduction in range?? Thanks for the great post.
The best way to connect to the battery and minimize questions is to connect directly to the battery post, not to the OEM post adapter. This way you don't interfere with any of the OEM fusing/circuits.
Can anyone tell me best place to ground from? I need somewhere close to the boot. I was thinking under the passenger seats?
Ideally, you would use the same size wire and the power wire and keep the ground as short as reasonably possible. Stay away from seat bolts and grind the paint away to get down to bare metal.
Thanks for the post - I just finished an upgrade of my own that was quite a learning journey for me not being a pro audio installer.
I like rock primarily but my wife and kids have different music tastes.

My approach was to keep the functionality of the head unit / hvac controls but improve the audio sound quality with a 4 channel amp plus new speakers for all doors.

Nissan Leaf SV (no Bose) with 7” lcd

I also intended to keep the upgrade as invisible as possible meaning no visible wires or obvious aftermarket hardware to get kicked or damaged when carrying stuff in the cargo area.

I ran a #4 power cable under the floor carpet and up through the firewall on drivers side.
Based on other forum posts I used the unused hole (plugged with grommet) to the left of where the hood release cable passes through the firewall.
Power wire is fused and connected to the + terminal.

I am using a line out converter (AudioControl LS2i) and taking the high level output from tapping into the rear speaker wires located in the B pillar.
I am using a 4 channel amp (infinity ref 704) to power the 4 Infinity ref 6.5” which I installed in all four doors.

Here are my outstanding issues which may lead me to reverse the install:

#1 issue - Apple CarPlay voice interaction is routed by the head unit to the front channel speakers only. I can’t hear it now, only faintly through the pillar tweeters which I left connected. This will not be welcomed by my wife who occasionally drives the car.

Should I switch my configuration to use the front channel as the source? Would mean time and effort but it seemingly would solve the voice interaction problem.

#2 Concern not an issue but I couldn’t find a good way to run the speaker cables to the front doors in a clean manner. Since I am using new speaker wire that comes from the new amp installed behind the rear seats I had to run the new wire under the front carpet and through the firewall then around the side under the foam gasket on the fender panel. Then through the rubber wire boot to the inside of the door.
Not ideal and looks bad.

Ground wire is connected to the metal bracket in the cargo area - bare metal with the paint removed from the connection points.

I haven’t done any tuning yet after hook up but it sounds good at medium to loud volumes but low volume produces no low end or mid range. This is likely something I can fix with an adjustment or by verifying all connections and solder points.

I may add a powered Bazooka tube once I get the other installed hardware optimized and working the way I like it since that would fill in the missing bass.

Overall I am pleased I finished the install because it was very difficult and I learned a ton.

# 1 lesson - Nissan didn’t think anyone likes decent audio or they want you to buy the Bose system which I couldn’t justify the several thousand dollar increase in price on top of the inflated cost for the 2018 model.

#1.b Nissan didn’t want anyone changing the configuration themselves based on how they designed the integration. I understand some of it but seriously? How much money do they save in sub par components vs. customer satisfaction?

Happy to hear input or feedback.
In my opinion, swapping to the front speaker outputs will make everyone in the family happy. It should restore the CarPlay (and maybe a similar issue with BT that's yet to be found out) functionality and may also help with the overall sound. As for the speaker wires into the doors, considering you skills, amount of power, and overall expectations, I would find where the speaker wires go into the door (in the cabin side) and tap onto them there. There isn't necessarily a risk of fire or destruction with how you've got the wires run now, but you might have an issue down the road with amp if the wire insulation wears and starts to short out the amp.

Everything else looks good. Good luck with your search for bottom end. You might have some luck with deadening the doors but it will be time/labor intensive and adding the Bazooka may be cheaper and easier.
if i run a 0gauge wire from the +12v wirh a 150amp fuse and i use a big amp for my sub... do you think i can kill the dc/dc inverter?

maybe i need to pus a 100 amp fuse to limite my draw?