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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
2020 Escape B&O sound improvements

Over the course of 3 weekends I was able to dramatically improve the sound of the B&O system in my 2020 FE Ti EB. When I first picked it up (4/24/21) anything at or above level 15 would rattle the rear right fender. I also had some nasty buzzing from the doors. Since I already did this with my 2018 FE Ti I had an idea of how I was going to attack this.

I bought a box of Sound Deadening Material (SDM) on Amazon. They didn’t have what I used 3 years ago (Ballistic Hollow Point) so I went with something I thought was similar (Kilmat 80 mil). The Kilmat is definitely thinner than the BHP. It is however, easier to work with, and pop holes in for the various fasteners and guide holes. I also picked up some Poly-Fil from Walmart for the sub enclosure.

I read VladOhio’s excellent write-ups, so I had an idea as to what was in front of me with this model.

Crutchfield’s Instructions are worth the $10. A decent set of trim removal tools will help you get certain panels/covers off easily.

Sub-Woofer Area

The first weekend I started in the rear since that appeared to be the biggest source of buzz/vibration. The first thing I noticed was how many bolts were not tightened well enough. I went through all the exposed bolts and tightened them up a bit.

Another source of the buzz was the taillight assembly. This is held on with just plastic clips and there was some play where I could push it into the car a little. Adding the SDM on the inside helped with this somewhat as well.

I used the song another poster recommended (Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am”) and some of my own ripped MP3’s as well as an Android App called PA Tone. This allowed me to set the frequency with, as another posted mentioned, 65 Hz being the real test. With the panels off I played some songs and used the App to force some deep bass. Then I kept touching and pressing on things until the buzz changed or went away. I marked those areas with a sharpie.

I applied the SDM to the sub enclosure and put a thin layer of Poly-Fil in the enclosure as well as the “Port” behind the fender. The Poly-Fil worked wonders on my ’18 so I did the same here. Seems to clean the bass up quite a bit. I also applied the SDM to the inside and outside of the enclosure. (I had some Hollow Point left over).
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I used rubber washers on the speaker screws and the bolts that mount the enclosure to the car. I also used some SDM on the metal clips that the screws fasten to.
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I then attached SDM anywhere I could reach within the fender cavity.
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I don’t have a pic of this but I also put a lot of SDM on the plastic panel itself to make it more solid. I think this also helped as it reduced the vibration even further. This was done the 3rd weekend and I could hear the improvement compared to after the first weekend.

After finishing the Sub area the first weekend, the buzzing and vibrations from the front doors became much more apparent now that it was not being drowned out by the sub vibration.

Front Doors will be in the next post so I can attach more pics...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
FRONT DOORS
** Caution ** Be very careful taking off the window switch assembly. It is very easy to break if you pull up too hard. Luckily, I didn’t break either one.

Skin removal was pretty straight forward. The door handle and lock cables click in so they were easy to remove. You may have to play with the handle and lock lever to line them back up when putting things back together.

I did the driver’s side on Saturday and Passenger’s side on Sunday.

I did the same thing as far as trying to pinpoint the buzzing. I also had to tighten up some bolts as well.

They use a cable system for the power windows. This cable is attached to pulleys on the inner plastic door panel (with all the white fasteners) so I didn’t remove that panel; I just loosened all the white connectors (Torx 25 – ¼ turn). That allowed me to get behind it; at least the lower half of the door. You’ll have to pull out the rubber grommet on the lower right of the door to gain more access and pull the plastic panel out further.
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On the upper left, you’ll have to push the rubber grommet (where the door handle and lock cables go through) through the panel as well.

I started applying the SDM behind where the speaker mounts to the door.
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I used a little piece of SDM behind all the white Torx fasteners to reduce any vibration.
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I also applied SDM to the plastic inner door panel. Not pictured is the SDM I applied directly on to the power window motor. This was also vibrating… or more specifically, got quite when pressing on it. I may add more below the speaker.
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I bought a couple sets of Roadkill Foam rings. I used silicone caulk to adhere the disc to the outer door panels. I used the rings both in front of and behind the speakers (front not pictured). I had to cut the disc down and into a T so it fit in the grove AND allowed the window to close. There’s not much clearance with the window down.
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After finishing the Driver’s side door. I went for a test drive. It was definitely quieter, clearer and I went from only being able to set the volume to 15 max (before anything was done) to being able to go to 19 comfortably. There was still a little buzz on the Driver’s door and now I heard the passenger’s door more buzzing (I was making progress). It was Saturday night that I remembered I had the speakers from my ’18 (Focal ISS-165). The crossover on these is at 60hz so I decided to give them a try (woofer only; left the factory tweeters installed). I don’t know where the factory speakers crossover but I’m thinking maybe a little lower than the Focals as there appeared to be slightly less bass in the doors (a good thing as far as vibration goes) as well as less buzzing. I did not get a sense of less overall bass however. I see this as a plus leaving the sub to handle the “heavy lifting”. I haven’t measured frequency response so I don’t know where the sub cuts off but I would bet anywhere from 80-100 hz.

Sunday I did the Passenger’s door... Basically the same thing except I used my Focal speaker. I noticed a different, for the better, and put the Focal in the Driver’s door. With the Driver’s side door skin off I unclipped the cloth liner from the door skin and applied SDM across the whole inside of the door skin (not pictured). This helped even more.

Overall it was more than worth the effort. This B&O system has A LOT of potential IMO. I just wish Ford made the enclosure (the car itself) better able to handle the sound. Too much thin metal and squeaky plastic.

I have a little more to do. I still have to apply SDM to the passenger’s side door skin as well as covering the window motor on that side.

I can now bring the volume up to 27 with few issues (depending on the song). I can keep the bass at 50% comfortably. If the song has deep bass I go down (left) one click and I’m fine.
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I didn’t do anything to the back doors. The volume in the back is way too low. I like the sound to be all around me and not so front forward. If I can figure out a way to make the rears louder (perhaps using ForScan?) I’ll Sound dampen the rears but right now it’s not necessary

Center Channel

This one is interesting… The center speaker adds some nice high end and clarity, at least to my aging ears. It does seem to effect separation somewhat. The problem is that it’s too loud. I tested a bunch of songs with the center covered with a rubber mouse pad on and off. I’m thinking if I can set the volume of the center speaker to say 70-80% it would be a nice mix. I’m not sure if I can use ForScan to set that volume separate from the rest OR maybe putting an inline volume control. Crutchfield sells the Russound ALT-126R. I may try that and run the wire to the glove box.

Overall I have this sounding much better than I was able to do on the ’18. All told, the cost of materials was under $90.

Overkill? Perhaps… But the results speak for themselves…
 

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That's an impressive amount of work. My system has the same problem with the sub and I was going to have the dealer look at it, but it seems like the correct fix will have to be done by me or a stereo shop that's a shame. Thanks for all the pictures very helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was going to do the same. In fact, I showed my service dept the vibration/buzz and WAS going to have them address it when I bring it in for service next week. However, with all the failed service attempts posted on here I figured, I did it before (on the '18) so I'll do it again. No need to get frustrated over the service dept's temporary fixes. Plus, all this (work) addressed more than just buzzes and vibrations. It actually improved the sound dramatically. No service dept will do that for you.
 
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...set the frequency... 65 Hz being the real test....I kept touching and pressing on things until the buzz changed or went away. I marked those areas with a sharpie.
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Excellent process for identifying problem areas. I see in the second pic that the module responsible for my rattle is not present. It would be useful to know if you found a single source for the "rattle" as distinguished from the many other buzzes and resonances. Not everyone, myself included, is willing to go to the lengths you have. Was there a "big bang for the buck" improvement, as I found?

And the first pic is something you may want to change. If installed as shown, you "put a sock in the port" to use home theater jargon. The port, from the driver cone to the resonance chamber in the fender, must be clear for the bass tuning to work. The fill over the port mouth impedes air flow substantially. You shrank the subwoofer enclosure, which trades extended low bass for peaky mid-bass, aka "false" bass. Some folks like it...

My recommendation remains to fill the fender cavity (mouth visible in second pic) with loose fill, but with NO FILL VISIBLE so there's nothing to impede air flow into the resonant cavity in the fender. Fill in a sealed subwoofer box has two benefits. It extends bass response lower in frequency, while smoothing mid-bass response.

The Eilish song is great for problem demo, I use "Light Through the Veins" (Jon Hopkins) for its low bass melody in the intro. I don't expect the 6x9 driver in the car to keep up with the HT, so I know the song is dancing on the bass limit. I'm impressed with how much comes through!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Excellent process for identifying problem areas. I see in the second pic that the module responsible for my rattle is not present. It would be useful to know if you found a single source for the "rattle" as distinguished from the many other buzzes and resonances. Not everyone, myself included, is willing to go to the lengths you have. Was there a "big bang for the buck" improvement, as I found?

Good catch on the missing module. I forgot to mention that. Yes, I don’t have one.

That’s a good, valid question; albeit a little tough to answer... I’ll say this. There isn’t one major source of rattle; but many “minor” ones throughout the car. One of the first things I noticed before even taking things apart were the taillight assemblies. Those were buzzing like an active beehive. They have a lot of play. The left side is much looser than the right. Applying the SDM to inside of the fender definitely tighten the right side up. I didn't take the left side apart.

Tightening certain things up, like within the sub area, exposed other issues, like the doors. I can comfortably say that adding SDM to the rear panel and inside the door skin reduced vibration noticeably. Adding rubber washers to both the speaker screws and enclosure bolts may have helped. Again, it’s really hard to pinpoint what helped the most as I knew going in what I was going to do so I didn’t do something, stop, test it, then continue… for the most part anyway. I will also say, check ALL bolts you can see and touch (including the 2 under the amp) and give them a little snugging down. I’m also not a fan of the honeycomb pattern on the sub. I may be hearing a slight buzz coming from that.

Of course, my OCD tends to take over, hence the (potential) overkill.

Overall I’d sum it up as each thing I did contributed to the overall improvement.
AND, just like on my ’18, the SDM helped the most. How far you want to go with it is up to you and how much time you’re willing to put into it. Sorry I couldn’t be more specific here.


And the first pic is something you may want to change. If installed as shown, you "put a sock in the port" to use home theater jargon. The port, from the driver cone to the resonance chamber in the fender, must be clear for the bass tuning to work. The fill over the port mouth impedes air flow substantially. You shrank the subwoofer enclosure, which trades extended low bass for peaky mid-bass, aka "false" bass. Some folks like it...

I definitely did not apply any type of Speaker Enclosure engineering to my modifications. I’m also pretty sure Ford and B&O didn’t FULLY engineer this system as well as they could have either. I’m pretty sure I pushed the Poly-Fil further into the fender. Perhaps air pressure pushed it back up to the opening as air does flow through that area. Also, the pics don’t reflect this but within the “enclosure”, is just a thin single layer of Poly-Fil. It’s not stuffed in there. FOR ME, this sounds excellent. Deeper bass may expose more vibration.

I’m getting clean, deep bass; not muddy or boomy in any way. Again, this works really well for ME, or more specifically, my aging ears. YMMV. If I do end up taking the rear panel off again, I may adjust the Poly-Fil or even add more but for now, it’s working quite well. Again, I didn’t measure frequency response (yet?) so I have nothing scientific, except my ears.


My recommendation remains to fill the fender cavity (mouth visible in second pic) with loose fill, but with NO FILL VISIBLE so there's nothing to impede air flow into the resonant cavity in the fender. Fill in a sealed subwoofer box has two benefits. It extends bass response lower in frequency, while smoothing mid-bass response.

I hear you… I really don’t see this as a sealed system as there are vents to the outside within the fender.

When you say fill the fender cavity, roughly how much material are you talking about?


The Eilish song is great for problem demo, I use "Light Through the Veins" (Jon Hopkins) for its low bass melody in the intro. I don't expect the 6x9 driver in the car to keep up with the HT, so I know the song is dancing on the bass limit. I'm impressed with how much comes through!

HT ?

I relied more on the Tone Generator App for troubleshooting and songs for testing. The constant sound of the app made it much easier to pinpoint problem areas.
 

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All in all- how do you find the B&O system vs. prior Ford products that had been using Sony for several years? I believe my Taurus had Mach 4. I just got an SEL that had the B&O as an upgrade and haven't used it past 3 much yet on Sirius.

Over time I will work in my own music collection via my phone (which most of it was coded at 128mps so I might go off the streaming service instead).

I was used to Sony for classic rock as besides the car had a soundbar by them (switched to a Yamaha last year and it has the EQ I like for what I listen to)
 

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Thanks for the detailed response, @sjfphoto. In reverse order...
  • my tone generator is bass-limited to 33Hz, so I needed other media
  • I used about 8 oz. of fill, pushed into the cavity away from the mouth as described
  • the cavity is formed by the interior body panel and wheel well roof, so I think sealed is a safe assumption.
  • I see horn loading of the back wave into a Helmholtz resonator, perhaps a bandpass system? It's more fully engineered than we may appreciate, albeit with certain faults in implementation!
  • glad you got a good result for all your effort!

Note that I used Vance Dickason's Loudspeaker Design Cookbook to research potential modifications. Adding fill is nothing new among DIY speaker builders.
 
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