Body – Front Speaker Replacement

Have you ever wondered what a bad speaker looks like? Well, here’s one of the Mark Levinson tweeters I pulled from my 2005 GX470:

Notice how the cone has separated from the rubber surround? That’s not good. Time to replace!

First, remove your door panel. Once that’s done, you can begin the process of replacing the mid and tweeter speakers that live in the panel. If you’re going to replace these with factory parts, it’s a trivially easy process. Remove old speakers, install new speakers – done.  I didn’t want to do that, so I bought the following, courtesy of this post on IH8MUD:

HiWave BMR12 Compact 2″ Full-Range Square Speaker 12W 8 Ohm

Dayton Audio AMT Mini-8 Air Motion Transformer Tweeter 8 Ohm

Other items I used included philips and standard screwdrivers, wire strippers, needle nose pliers, a soldering iron, 60/40 rosin core solder, some #4 machine screws/nuts (and M3 washers, because Lowe’s didn’t have #4 washers), heat shrink tubing/heat gun (not really necessary), scissors, Gorilla tape, and some aluminized butyl flashing.

I first removed the mid-range speaker. It looks like you’ll need to pull the padding off of the door in order to reach all the screws, but you don’t. Lexus conveniently located cutouts throughout the insulation panel so you can reach every screw without damaging the insulation.

If you have a cat, be prepared.

Once you have the mid-range speaker bracket removed, unscrew the speaker from the bracket and disconnect the factory wiring. Disconnecting the white plastic clip on the harness isn’t really necessary, but I like keeping OEM bits unmodified when possible so I made the effort to remove the clip. I wasn’t able to desolder these so I just broke them off of the speaker terminals with a pair of needlenose pliers.

The terminals on my new speakers were much farther apart, so I stripped back the insulation on the harness and prepared a small piece of heat shrink to seal the cut when I was finished.

Solder and heat shrink complete! Typically, the smaller terminal is negative and the larger one is positive. I did not verify by hooking up a battery and checking which direction the speaker moved, so hopefully these follow standard wiring practices.

Next up was to mount this square speaker into the round hole in the bracket.

In a perfect world, I’d cut out an appropriately sized plastic fill plate and make a perfect adapter, but alas – my world is not perfect. Enter the aluminized butyl tape!  I positioned the speaker in such a way that two machine screws were just inside the preexisting speaker hole – this allowed me to drill two holes into the bracket instead of four half-holes along the edge of the opening.

My goal was to fill all of the gaps between the factory bracket and the aftermarket speaker. Here you can see the screws in place and tape on the back side of the bracket.

I mounted the speaker with the face contacting the back side of the bracket, instead of inserting it from the front.  This allows the speaker grill to fit completely flush — when I installed this speaker on the other door, I put it on the other side of the bracket (effectively sitting it inside the OEM speaker location) and the speaker grill does not fit perfectly. I will go back and fix that eventually.

Removing the speaker grill, you can see how all openings around the speaker have been sealed on both sides, with care taken to avoid blocking the holes needed for the locating pin and screws for the bracket and grill.

Once you have satisfactorily mounted your speaker, slide the assembly back under the insulation on the door panel, screw everything back together, and reconnect the wiring harnesses.

Next up – tweeters! These are also in a plastic bracket.  Disconnect whatever wiring harnesses are necessary in order to remove the tweeter assembly from the door.

The tweeter is glued into the bracket. There’s a plastic tab alongside – you can place a standard screwdriver between the tab and the tweeter and rotate the screwdriver to break the tweeter free of its glue. We are removing this tab later anyway, so don’t be too concerned about damaging it.

Break the glue, pop the tweeter free, and gently remove the wiring from the clips on the bracket.

Desolder the old harness and solder to your new tweeter. I had to use a small amount of wire on one of mine, because the wire off the capacitor was too short to reach. The other side was fine without any extra wire – go figure.  I redid this one with a short bit of stranded copper to give me a smidge more length. I found it helpful to bend the tabs on the tweeter a bit more towards flat, instead of the aggressive outward angle they had when I got them.

Remember that plastic tab in the bracket? Cut it out.  I used a pair of kitchen shears to snip it. You can use whatever you have handy. You can see here (top left corner) where it’s bent over, ready to be removed entirely.

Next up, pop your new tweeter in place and thread the wiring through the clips. I used a small bit of Gorilla tape to make sure the tweeter doesn’t escape the bracket – you could also use hot glue, super glue, or whatever else tickles your fancy.  When you’re done, reinstall the tweeter assembly and reconnect all harnesses you disconnected during removal.

When you’re done, it should look nearly OEM!

Install it back in the vehicle and enjoy!

 

The adventures of a Lexus