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Replacing the stereo

2228 Views 14 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  jetboy
Hello All,

My stereo final bit the big one. Is it very difficult to replace the stereo and speakers (in the doors)? Has anyone put extra speakers (6x9) behind the seats?
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Depending on your mechanical aptitude, it's not to awful big a job.

There's several threads around describing (even some with pictures) changing out the front speakers in either the doors or outer kick panels, and adding or modifying rear deck speakers.
I replaced my old radio with a new DIN style. It took extreme care with a Dremel type wheel cutter. My old radio was a post style. You need to mask a lot with metalic tape to stop the sparks from burning the dash. If your old radio is a DIN style, go buy a lottery're lucky. With a little cutting, you can stuff 6 1/2" speakers into the foot wells for better sound than using the doors. Just enlarge the mounting holes in the speakers, don't cut the car. Make sure the speaker is not too tall and that the grill clears the hood latch lever. Blaupunkt with Pioneer speakers sounds great. The color display is adjustable and you can match the green dash lights fairly well.:)
I just finished mine a couple of weeks back and it took some work but I wound up taking the entire dash out to cut the hole for the head unit. I carefuly used some tin snips and it came out clean. Used a draw file to smooth and finish fit the edges after cutting them too.

I put in a pioneer that was i-pod ready and 5-1/4 speakers in the kick panels. the speakers wound up being a little too deep but only onthe passenger side, ooops. I found that it worked out pretty well to make a 3/8" spacer block to fit between the speakers and the sheetmetal. Once the carpet was in place you can't tell but fitting the air conditioner back in was, well... fun to say the least. It all went together though.

I also installed 6-1/2 speakers in the rear tray. I wound up making a new tray bottom, mine was moldy and falling apart, from 3/8" plywood and putting the two speakers flush mounted on the outer edges. I had to cheat a bit though in order to make it work I moved the ignition computer under the passenger seat and moved the relays over to the left a bit. It all worked wonderfully without having to cut any wires. I used the original carpet, took all of it out of the car and died it black, and it looks pretty good for the original carpet in a 116,000 Spider that was kept in the rain with no top for a couple of years. (before I got it of course.) It all looks good, I'll try to get some pictures if anyone is interested.

While The dash was out I refinished the dash, center console, gauge pods, replaced all the bulbs.... Now I'm working on the doors. The sound still needs work though. In the back I put in some used woofers that I had and I think it really needs a full range co-axial to get adequate sound quality at highway speeds with the top down.

Just thought I'd share, I've had the car for about three months now and it is fun to drive.

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I carefuly used some tin snips and it came out clean. Used a draw file to smooth and finish fit the edges after cutting them too.
Good for you, sounds like you did things properly, unlike my PB (Previous Butcher) :mad:


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Thanks to all for sharing. Anymore pictures would be great. Sounds like this will be a winter project.
I replaced my old factory radio with a Panasonic that I bought from Crutchfield that I've been very happy with. The job was actually pretty easy if you are not running new wires from the speakers. Crutchfield's web site will actually specify which of the units they sell will fit your car without major alterations and their instructions are pretty good.

The only thing they seemed to have gotten wrong is that the wiring harness and directions they gave me actually reversed the speaker sides when I plugged it into the existing plug. So now when the radio says I am increasing the balance on the left side it actually increases the right. I can live with that though especially since I'm a little too lazy to unsolder all the connections I made when I attached the harness to the radio.
Does anyone know what the OEM radio is for the Spider "85"?
I don't think there was one. Probably a dealer option. Mine had a Panasonic with a tape player.
Blanking Plate Idea

Here's how I incorporated the original blanking plate with my new stereo install:
After much swearing and a few faux paus I was able to install a DIN mount radio in the dash of my '82. I fiddled with speakers and finally settled on a $20.00 speaker box that I got from WalMart. I didn't have to butcher the rear shelf and if I need to use the space I just remove the speaker box.

I must admit that I suffer from a hearing loss (too many engines without mufflers) so I have a bit of a tin ear. Fore me a loud speaker without distortion is more important to me than the absolute quality of the sound.

After all of the fiddling I still couldn't hear the radio at freeway speeds so I came up with a solution; I installed an intercom in place of the ashtray. The headsets that I use with the intercom brings the sound directly to the ear without all of the ambient noise. Works great. Now I can enjoy my tunes & a conversation with my sweetie while cruising topless. BTW the driver using a single ear headset is legal.

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can you make the headsets wireless?
can you make the headsets wireless?
Not sure about that. I used an aviation intercom & headsets that I'm no longer using for flying. The wiring to the headsets is lightweight though the wires do get tangled up at times.

In my research I found some interesting hits on the murdercycle sites that showed wireless headsets. BTW how do the murdercycle guys get away with speakers in both ears? I found some with wireless headsets and some that could also be used with a CB radio for communication to another murdercycle. Might be worth looking into. Maybe some of the murdercycle guys will chime in on subject.

BTW the avaition intercom is normally used in conjunction with 2 way radio communication.
I think the argument is that its specious to recommend full helmets, but then require that one ear is open- you cant have it both ways.

'93 Kawk Vulcan.
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