car stereos & components?
2001-07 Ford Escape
2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007
|2001 Ford Escape (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
As an American compact/crossover, the first-generation Ford Escape (2001-07) received mixed reviews. The Escape was able to keep up with its competition and sold well throughout its first seven model years. At the time, Ford manufactured most of its vehicles in collaboration with Mazda and, as a result, the initial Escape was based on the Mazda 626 frame mated to either a 2-liter Zetec engine with a manual transmission, or a 3-liter Duratec engine with the vehicle’s automatic variant.
The Escape's first-generation entertainment package was generally acceptable, while being vanilla to a fault. As a result, you should have a lot of fun upgrading your entertainment system, since the Escape allows for a lot of burnishing all around.
Factory Audio System
The Escape came with two entertainment options: the basic system and the Mach system. The options changed a little from 2001 to 2007, but in general the Mach system added an amplifier, a subwoofer built into the rear side panel, and (starting in 2004) tweeters in the front doors.
Replacing Your Factory Stereo
|Basic factory stereo (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
The basic system
The basic Escape radio package centered around an AM/FM/cassette/CD receiver through 2003, then switched over to an AM/FM receiver with a built-in 6-disc CD changer in 2004.
The opening in the dash looks like a double-DIN slot, but is actually a little smaller. A single-DIN aftermarket car stereo fits right in there with the help of a mounting kit. A double-DIN kit is also available, but you'll need to modify the Escape’s sub-dash to accommodate the new receiver. As a result, you will not be able to re-install the original Ford radio after making these modifications.
Taking the receiver out of the dash is pretty straightforward, and doesn’t require much effort aside from insuring that you don’t mar the plastic dash trim as the pieces come off the dash assembly. Once you have the receiver out, the dash cavity offers better than 9" in depth, so almost any car stereo will fit in here. However, bear in mind that the heater box does offer some obstruction at the back of the cavity, so take care when you're shoving everything into place.
You'll need a set of DIN tools to remove the original radio — you poke these U-shaped tools into the front of the Ford radio and it'll pop right out. A harness is also available that lets you connect the new car stereo without having to cut off the plug that connected to the Ford radio. (The mounting kit, DIN tools, and harness are free with most car stereos at Crutchfield.)
|Factory radio in the 2004-up Mach system (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
The Mach system
Replacing the radio in the Mach system is just about the same as with the basic system, but the amplifier in the upgraded system adds a couple of wrinkles. First, you'll need the right harness to connect your new car stereo to the Ford amp (this harness is included free with most receiver orders from Crutchfield). You'll also want to select a car stereo that features dedicated subwoofer preamp outputs in order to get the best performance from the Mach system's factory subwoofer.
Finally, the Ford amp is used to getting a 5-volt signal from the stock radio, so the 12-volt signal from a new stereo will cause an audible (and annoying) thump every time you turn on the vehicle. You'll need an inexpensive 12-volt to 5-volt adapter to cure this problem, and it's worth every penny.
Tools needed for stereo installation: Small flat-blade screwdriver, DIN tools
Replacing Your Speakers
|Front door speaker location (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
The front and rear doors hold 4-ohm 6"x8" speakers, located way down low in the door panels. There are only six steps required to get the front-door panel off the door, then remove and replace the front speakers. You have plenty of room in those doors, so a wide selection of speakers will fit. You can also install 5-1/4" speakers with the help of a mounting bracket. Harnesses are available for both doors so you don't have to cut off the factory plugs. (These brackets and harnesses are free with your Crutchfield speaker order.)
Since the speakers are down by your feet, you should consider component speakers up front to raise the soundstage to a more satisfying level. Installing the tweeters in the sail panels involves a bit of customization, but it's worth it. It'll sound like someone removed a blanket from your speaker system.
|Factory speaker in the front (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Speaker replacement is identical to the non-Mach setup, except that Ford added a 2-5/8" tweeter to each of the front doors beginning in 2004. You can pry off the sail panels with a panel tool, so removing the tweeters is pretty simple. You'll have to fashion some kind of mounting bracket to hold the new tweeters, but that's not difficult. We suggest getting a couple of our universal backstraps to help with the job. They can be bent or cut to the size and shape you need. A wiring harness isn't available for this tweeter location, so you'll have to cut off the factory plugs to attach the wires to your new tweeters.
|Factory tweeter location in the 2004-up Escape (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Tools needed for speaker installation: Phillips screwdriver, small flat-blade screwdriver, panel tool, 7/32" socket, ratchet and extension
Bass Options for your Ford Escape
|Factory sub and amp location (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
In the Mach system, you'll find an 8" subwoofer in a plastic enclosure behind the rear quarter panel. Replacing it is easy, but you'll need to drill some new holes for the mounting screws. The factory sub is a dual 1.3-ohm voice coil model, so you'll lose a lot of volume if you replace it with a DVC sub with a higher impedance. If you're going to go in that direction, you should also replace the sub's amplifier.
|A closer look at the sub and amp (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
You'll find several custom-fit subwoofer choices for the Ford Escape from MTX and JL Audio. The MTX ThunderForm is a loaded enclosure carrying a 12" woofer that fits right into the driver's side rear quarter panel. JL Audio’s StealthBox is a loaded enclosure carrying a 10" woofer that drops right in the same spot. MTX also offers an unloaded enclosure that will hold a 12" woofer of your choice.
JL Audio Stealthbox (Photo courtesy of JL Audio)
Security Systems: Installing a security or remote start system in the Escape is pretty straightforward. You'll need a transponder bypass if you're installing a remote start system, and the FlashLogic FLCAN module is especially good with this Ford. Shop for car security systems for your Ford Escape
iPod® Adapters: If you're keeping your factory radio, most (but not all) models work with Peripheral's iPod adapter, so you can use your Ford radio to control your playlist.
Cell Phones: You can use a Parrot adapter cable and phone kit to connect your Bluetooth® cell phone to the radio in any non-Mach system. Once installed, your Ford radio will mute when a call comes in, and you'll hear your caller through the Escape's speakers.
Good, Better, Best
Good: The Ford speakers sit very low in the Escape's doors. Pick out some nice speakers and you'll notice a big difference. If you're keeping the factory amp, go for speakers that are especially efficient, preferably with superior dome tweeters. And you won't regret installing component speakers in the front doors when you hear all the musical details front and center.
Better: Once you've upgraded the speakers, look for a nice receiver with Bluetooth connectivity, Pandora® Internet radio controls, and other modern features.
Best: To cap off your system, add an amplifier and a subwoofer. If you've installed components in the front doors, consider a 4-channel amp to drive them and the rear speakers, and then add an amplified custom-fit sub in the back.
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