A Car Repair Tip…

…having remarkably little to do with Land Cruisers.

One benefit of the Land Cruiser purchase was its stereo. I didn’t need it in the truck, but the one in our 1998 Honda Civic was tired and just about dead, so the Bantha donated its. (Damn, the Bantha is a good and generous car!)

With a much improved stereo in our Honda, then, it started to irk me that one of our front speakers was blown (it had been so for years, but I couldn’t really be bothered enough to fix it). A quick Google search revealed that the factory speakers were 6.5″ models, so I purchased some half decent replacements from Costco. Unfortunately, it turned out that the molded door panels just wouldn’t take these aftermarket speakers; they were about 1/4″ too big, and I didn’t want to cut up the door panels to make them fit. Rats.

I returned those speakers and then put the project on the back burner. But, while looking for some other computer parts online, I found a good deal on some cheap 5.25″ speakers from NewEgg. At $17 for the pair, I figured that I might as well give the repair another shot.

With these new, smaller, speakers, two problems presented themselves immediately: 1) though the speakers now fit the door panels, the mounting holes were just a smidgen too close together to find solid plastic to screw into; and 2) the wiring connector was all wrong, and wouldn’t connect to the blades on the new speakers.

The factory speaker, with its cover removed. (Note that it has three mounting screws.):

The replacement speaker, which fits the door panel, but is just small enough that it can’t be mounted securely with more than two screws through any of its four ears:

The factory speaker connector plug:

A flash of inspiration (and a bit of a destructive impulse) then struck me: I’d sacrifice the old speakers to make brackets for attaching the new speakers. It was a simple plan, only requiring screw drivers, tin snips, and a soldering iron. Here’s how I did it.

Step 1: Remove the cone, magnet, and connector from the old speakers.

Cutting off the magnet with tin snips:

The only parts of the old speakers that I care about (the outer ring, and the connector):

All of the important parts (the mounting ring and electrical connector from the old speakers, the cheapie new speakers, and the wires that came with the new speakers):

Step 2: Solder lengths of speaker wire onto the factory connectors to make pigtails.

The pigtails, with their standard blade connectors attached to the speakers and the factory connectors hanging free, ready to attach to the plugs in the car’s doors:

Step 3: Install new speakers, using the outer rings removed from the old speakers to clamp them into place.

The new speakers, ready to be installed. I could have removed more metal from the inner edge of the old speaker’s outer rings, in order to give greater clearance for the new speakers’ cones, but chose instead to flip them so they wouldn’t interfere at all. The gasket visible on the outer ring on the left would have originally faced outward (into the cab). However, I chose to reverse it to hold the new speakers without cutting their cones (as shown on the right). The gasket serves no obvious purpose, and this didn’t affect clearance, so I see no downside to doing it this way.

The new speaker, installed and secured by the ring from the old speaker, using the original screw holes:

The finished job. Note that I didn’t have to cut the speaker cover or door panel for this fix:

So how does it work? Pretty good, so far. Granted, the sound isn’t as strong as I might like—but, really, what would you expect from $17 off-brand 5.25″ speakers with thin wires? It still sounds WAY better than crackly noise from one side and silence from the other. Hopefully, if you’ve also blown a speaker on your Civic, this little tutorial will help you repair it on the cheap.

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