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How to Build an ATV Audio Tube / Stereo

This is a discussion on How to Build an ATV Audio Tube / Stereo within the Can-Am Service Bulletins /Recalls / How To forums, part of the Can-Am Tech Area category; OK, here's how you build an ATV stereo, audio tube, or audio pipe. I have to say, I wish I had built this thing years ...


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Old 04-12-2011, 09:23 PM
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How to Build an ATV Audio Tube / Stereo

OK, here's how you build an ATV stereo, audio tube, or audio pipe. I have to say, I wish I had built this thing years ago. If you're in the market for one, you can't beat the quality, price and bragging rights of building your own. Some comparable ATV stereos start out around $300 with cheap components and just go up from there. I have about $250 in this one built with quality components and an additional $180 in the IPOD Nano I bought for it. If you have an mp3 player ($30 at Walmart) or IPOD shuffle lying around, the cost is a little cheaper. There are stereo systems you can buy that include a marine grade head unit. But in my build up, I couldn't see using a CD player out on the trail and the 5th generation IPOD Nano comes with FM stereo as well as mp3 and video. So, what more does one need?

Here's my final parts list, see pics 1, 2 & 3 (note the items without prices I had on hand):
- Pair of 6.5" Infinity 612M Marine Speakers (75 RMS/225 Peak watts) - $90 (internet)
- 200 watt Boss CX150 2-channel amplifier (50 RMS/100 peak watts per channel, 7.5A input) - $40 (internet)
* Optional amplifier - although I've never tried it, this amp is an alternate choice. 240 watt Pyramid PB440X. It has built in bass and treble adjustments and appears to have more clearance (credit fredgal) Cost = $30 However, fredgal says the Boss sounds better.
- 2' of 6" Schedule 40 PVC pipe (Lowes - I bought a 10' stick for about $40)
- 2 each Schedule 40 PVC 90 degree elbows - 2 x $18 = $36 (Lowes)
- 6' - 12vdc, 10A plug-in power adapter/cord w/ built in switch - $12 (Radio Shack)
- Rust-Oleum Professional Grade spray on rubber undercoating - $8 (Lowes)
- 2 each 90 degree RCA adapters - 2 x $4 = $8 (Radio Shack) Note: get the all silver-colored adapters, the gold plated adapters had clearance issues. (see pics 8 & 12)
- 6' headphone to RCA Y adapter/cord - $5 (Walmart)
- 2 each 3' x 18ga speaker wire
- misc terminals
- dielectric grease
- Roll of 1" sponge foam weather stripping - $6 (Lowes, see pic 6)
- 2x4 (~10" long) piece of wood the length of the amp
- metal wire bundle clamps (modified as straps to attach the amp to the 2x4) or thin metal strap
- misc stainless steel hardware/screws (nylon locking nuts where applicable)
- PVC primer and glue
- IPOD Nano, 5th generation (16 GB) - $180
- Waterproof/impact resistant i1010 Pelican case for the IPOD - $20 (internet)
- RAM Mount RAM-B-149-U for mounting the Pelican case to the ATV - $24 (internet)
- 4 each Velcro Velstrap (90440), 2" wide x 3' long straps to mount the audio tube - $6.50/pair (internet)

Here is my build up for an audio tube. If you're following these directions, please read through them in their entirety and look at the other pictures before starting out. Note, you can read the picture numbers by hovering the cursor over the pic. The instructions may appear somewhat complicated at first. But when you combine them with all of the pictures posted, there’s nothing hard about it and this can easily be done in a few hours if you’re not beer engineering on the fly, have everything on hand and don’t have to make 10 trips to (fill in the blank) store for something you didn’t think of or didn’t work. Of course if anyone has any questions, please don't hesitate to PM me.

1. Cut two each ~2" wide pieces of 6" PVC from opposite ends of the PVC tube to go into the ends of the PVC elbows where the speakers will mount. By cutting from opposite ends, you can use the clean, square-cut manufactured side of each piece to flush up to the outside of the elbow where the speakers will mount so your cut doesn't have to be perfectly square.
2. Position the 90 degree PVC elbows on the ATV rack to determine the desired width and cut a piece of the 6" PVC for the center section accordingly (note the PVC slides 3" into each elbow). I cut my center section at 14 3/4". This is all you need as far as the PVC goes.
3. Deburr and lightly sand all of the PVC pieces (for assembly and paint later).
4. Lay all the PVC pieces out for assembly to determine which side of the PVC elbows need to be positioned down (the elbows I purchased had raised manufacture lettering on one side which I positioned on the bottom).
5. Primer and glue one of the 2" pieces of PVC flush into the end of one of the elbows where the speaker will mount. Make sure the clean, square-cut side is facing out. Note if you have little to no experience gluing PVC, the glue will set within seconds after you put the pieces together. So, there's not much time for adjustment. Once I applied the glue, I quickly started the two pieces by hand, flipped the elbow over and used a flat surface to drive the piece into the elbow to keep it flush. Don't fret if it's not perfect. The weather seal will easily make up for any slight variances (see pic 4).
6. Repeat step 5 for the other elbow.
7. Primer and glue the center section of PVC into ONE of the elbows. You won't need the primer/glue anymore after this (see pic 4).
8. Apply a light coat of dielectric grease to the open end of the remaining elbow that will attach to the center section, press the two completely together and using a flat level surface, ensure the elbows lay flat.
9. Pilot drill and install 4 small screws in equally spaced locations on the removable elbow where the elbow attaches to the center section to lock it in place. I placed mine at the 1:30, 4:30, 7:30 and 10:30 O’clock locations (they were marked by lines on the elbow).
10. Drill two holes in the bottom (6:00 O’clock location) of the center section, 5.5" apart spaced equally between the elbows with holes big enough for the wood screws to pass through the PVC to attach to the bottom of the 2x4 which the amp will be mounted to later.
11. Drill the hole for the power wire and RCA adapter. Now in my case, I step drilled mine out to 1/2" centered between the 3:00 and 4:30 O’clock locations (when viewed from the left side of the ATV) and offset the hole 1" to the left of center between the two elbows. I did this because the RCA jacks for the amp are offset to the right and I mounted the amp with the RCA jack side toward the rear of the ATV. If you mount the amp with the RCA jacks to the front, I would drill the hole directly centered between the elbows and between the 3:00 and 4:30 O’clock location (when viewed from the left side of the ATV). If I did it all over again, I would do the latter. But whatever you do, step drill. If you start out with a large bit, it's likely to take too big a bite and split/damage the PVC.
12. Pull the screws for the removable elbow and offset it 90 degrees with one elbow turned up for ease of pilot drilling the speaker screws. You may need a mallet to loosen the greased elbow, it's that tight! (see pic 5)
13. Place a speaker on the elbow that's turned up and place a flashlight in the other end to help center the speaker. (see pic 5)
14. Center the speaker, tape it down and pilot drill it. In my case, the holes for the speaker barely cleared the inside diameter of the PVC. So, I positioned the drill bit to the outside of the speaker hole and angled the drill slightly to drill toward the outside diameter of the PVC. As I drilled each hole, I started a screw to help keep everything in check then ran all the screws down after I finished to check the fit. (see pic 5 & 7)
15. Remove the speaker. Roll the tube over 90 degrees and repeat for the other side.
16. Remove the last speaker and apply the weather stripping seal around the speakers. Note: these Infinity speakers come with a 1/4" seal but it was designed for a smaller cutout that than 6" PVC. I used 1” sponge foam weather stripping from Lowe's instead and it worked perfectly. This will give the speakers a much better seal. Just remember to drill a hole through the foam for the speaker screws before installation. It makes installation much easier. (see pic 6)
17. Cut a 2x4 the length of the amplifier. Center the amp on the 2x4. Modify, cut and drill the clamps (or strap) and use them to attach the 2x4 to the amp. I used #6 stainless steel screws/lock nuts and wood screws. (see pics 8, 9 & 10)
18. Attach terminals to the speaker wires, power wire, and the remote wire which is pig tailed off the power wire (see pic 11).
19. Disassemble the audio tube and clean out the shavings.
20. Attach the speaker wires to both speakers and install both speakers in the elbows with the wires pulled through the elbow/tube. Run the screws down a little at a time in a crossing pattern to prevent damage to the speaker bridge. Now would be a good time to temporarily wire everything up, test the stereo and set the gain on the amp before final assembly. Once the amp is installed, you won't be able to set the gain. (see pic 12) Simply disconnect the amp and continue to step 21 when you're done.
21. Run the power/RCA wires into the 1/2" hole in the center section. Pull enough wire into the hole to the open side of the center section to easily attach to the amp. Then, grab the wires from the inside of the center section, just inside the hole and tie a knot at that point. This will provide enough slack for a "service loop" and prevent the wires from being pulled through the hole after installation of the amp. (see pic 13)
22. Install the 90 degree RCA adapters on the amp (angled slightly toward the center of the amp), connect all of the wires (speaker, power, remote and RCA). (see pic 13)
23. Carefully feed the amp and wires into the tube, adjusting the wires as necessary for fit. Ensure no wires are under constraint or pinched between the wood or amp. (see pic 13)
24. If everything looks good, run the wood screws into the 2x4 from the predrilled holes on the bottom of the center section and snug the amp down. Note: pilot drill the holes in the wood if necessary but clean out the shavings before closing it up.
25. Apply dielectric grease to the removable elbow (if necessary) and install the elbow on the center section using caution not to pinch the speaker wire as you feed the two together.
26. Install the 4 stainless steel screws to lock it in place.
27. Silicone the hole for the power/RCA wires and allow to dry (optional for land lovers).
28. Wipe the outside of the tube down with an alcohol soaked rag.
29. Tape off (or remove) the speakers & paint/coat the tube with your desired color paint/coating (I recommend using Rust-Oleum Professional Grade spray on rubber undercoating) and allow to dry.
30. Reattach the speakers (if removed), mount the audio tube and crank it up!

That's my build up in a nutshell. If you decide to build your own, please feel free to post any comments, advice and pics for your build up. Got any helpful ideas? Post it.
Attached Images
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*2007 Suzuki King Quad 450 4x4 - 14" ITP SS112 wheels, 26" Bighorns, Xtreme 3" lift, RT2500 Winch, Twin Air filter, RAM GPS mount, Lowrance GPS, Plano ATV storage box, 2 - Playmate coolers and a RAM self-leveling beer holder
*2010 Can Am Outlander 650 Max - 26" Bighorns, 200 watt Audio Tube by Sooner, RAM self-leveling Root Beer holder and BRP rear storage box

Last edited by Sooner; 08-05-2012 at 04:14 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-12-2011, 09:24 PM
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Pictures 6-10
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*2007 Suzuki King Quad 450 4x4 - 14" ITP SS112 wheels, 26" Bighorns, Xtreme 3" lift, RT2500 Winch, Twin Air filter, RAM GPS mount, Lowrance GPS, Plano ATV storage box, 2 - Playmate coolers and a RAM self-leveling beer holder
*2010 Can Am Outlander 650 Max - 26" Bighorns, 200 watt Audio Tube by Sooner, RAM self-leveling Root Beer holder and BRP rear storage box
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  #3  
Old 04-12-2011, 09:26 PM
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*2007 Suzuki King Quad 450 4x4 - 14" ITP SS112 wheels, 26" Bighorns, Xtreme 3" lift, RT2500 Winch, Twin Air filter, RAM GPS mount, Lowrance GPS, Plano ATV storage box, 2 - Playmate coolers and a RAM self-leveling beer holder
*2010 Can Am Outlander 650 Max - 26" Bighorns, 200 watt Audio Tube by Sooner, RAM self-leveling Root Beer holder and BRP rear storage box
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:28 PM
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*2007 Suzuki King Quad 450 4x4 - 14" ITP SS112 wheels, 26" Bighorns, Xtreme 3" lift, RT2500 Winch, Twin Air filter, RAM GPS mount, Lowrance GPS, Plano ATV storage box, 2 - Playmate coolers and a RAM self-leveling beer holder
*2010 Can Am Outlander 650 Max - 26" Bighorns, 200 watt Audio Tube by Sooner, RAM self-leveling Root Beer holder and BRP rear storage box
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:13 AM
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hi,,im getting ready to build a pipe stereo,,,i did not consider this amp ,because the specs. its 6 1/8 wide,,,any trouble getting it into 6 inch pipe,,,thanks

Dimensions: 9-13/16"L x 6-1/8"W x 2-5/16"H
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Old 04-19-2011, 02:43 PM
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The amp by itself has plenty of room. The only clearance issues you might have will be with the 90 degree RCA elbows because they plug up on the side of the amp. The first set of elbows I bought for it was bulky and wouldn't clear. But, I later found a slimmer pair at Radio Shack (you can see a picture of it in that 2nd post) that gave me the clearance I needed.
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*2010 Can Am Outlander 650 Max - 26" Bighorns, 200 watt Audio Tube by Sooner, RAM self-leveling Root Beer holder and BRP rear storage box
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Old 04-29-2011, 03:03 AM
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cant find a 90 degree adapter on the radioshack website like you have pictured,,would you happen to have the part number,,,thanks,,,,,,, i bought some that i thought were right, but female end was too big, and not right............
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:27 AM
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I went to Radio Shack and bought 4 more just a few days ago. The info listed below is directly off the package:

"Right-Angle Adapter" "RCA (Phono) Male to RCA (Phono) Female" The back of the package says "Ideal for: Connecting RCA (phono) components easily in tight spaces." SKU/No. Cat. 274-306

I looked 274-306 up on Radio Shack's website and it was listed. However, the one pictured had a black coating over it and all of the ones I've bought from Radio Shack have been all silver with no coating.

The only other thing I got from Radio Shack was the switched Car Power Adapter. It is by "enercell - 12VDC 10A" No. 270-049

I hope this helps.
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*2010 Can Am Outlander 650 Max - 26" Bighorns, 200 watt Audio Tube by Sooner, RAM self-leveling Root Beer holder and BRP rear storage box
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Old 04-29-2011, 03:22 PM
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yea thanks,,maybe they dont sell the silver ones show in pic,,,got 2 today ,only plastic. just tried the fit and they clear,,.had mine fired up last night,sounds great,,got 2 bazooka camo speakers..,, got 2 pile marine speakers coming in few days..,,gonna see which ones sounds better..then send the other set back...,,,they do the final touches,,,almost bought one from a website,,but found out they were just screwing people,,,pretty basic to build..brother inlaw is plumber, had elbows and pipe..threw him a 20 dollar bill for the fittings... really liked your post...thanks....

i ride with alot of people up here,,and no one has ever seen a audio tube,,lol,,,they will want one.... we drink alot of beer,,with music,,holy crap...............lool
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Old 04-29-2011, 05:42 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by fredgal View Post
really liked your post...thanks....
You're welcome. I'm glad it was helpful.

Quote: Originally Posted by fredgal View Post
i ride with alot of people up here,,and no one has ever seen a audio tube,,lol,,,they will want one.... we drink alot of beer,,with music,,holy crap...............lool
X2 - Between the beer and the music, I think we spend more time breaking on the trail than we do riding. Or, we drive faster to get to the next break. I don't know. LOL
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*2010 Can Am Outlander 650 Max - 26" Bighorns, 200 watt Audio Tube by Sooner, RAM self-leveling Root Beer holder and BRP rear storage box
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