Zorba's JeepEveryone on the Jeep forum keeps talking about how bad the stock speakers are, so I figured I'd at least inspect the ones in the overhead soundbar as I had already looked at the ones in the dash. I was in for a rude awakening, the passenger side soundbar speaker was missing! So now I needed to replace them whether I wanted to or not!
Rear Soundbar Speakers
I just happened to have a set of 6 inch Jensen marine speakers that someone gave me many years ago, that I've had boxed up ever since. They fit perfectly in the recesses of the soundbar. However, the stock speaker grills won't fit - and one of them is broken anyway, so new grills were ordered. While I was at it, I went ahead and ordered new speakers for the dash as well.
I just happened to have sound insulation for the soundbar speaker openings on hand - both polyfill which I use to stuff the bustle pillows I make and sell, as well as some peel and stick sound/thermal insulation. So in they both went. The Metra pigtail adaptors were a nightmare. Ordered for a good price "open box", the eBay seller shipped promptly. However, the USPS schemed endlessly to give me heartburn. First, they never scanned the package into the system when they received it, making me think the seller hadn't shipped. Then there was 5 days of silence until the package finally was scanned when it arrived at the regional postal hub in Orlando. Then it was scanned along normally, and was "out for delivery" the next day, along with another package. The other package, which happened to be the grills for these speakers, arrived BUT the by now thrice damned pigtails did not. I received "package delivered" emails for both, and the pigtails showed a delivery time 10 minutes earlier than the grills did - which meant the substitute mailman delivered them to the wrong address. By this time I'm screaming, the critical path component gets screwed up, and the "I don't care" one arrives. I'll blame it on the then on-going Mercury retrograde! In any event, the stupid pigtails FINALLY arrived the next day, and I was able to complete the speaker install.
Stock speaker with "Wizzer cone" on left, replacement 2 way Coaxial Jensen on right.
As above, stock speaker has paper cone, Jensen has a polypropylene version - good in a Jeep.
Sound insulation, see text.
Pigtail adaptor, see text.
Fits exactly, but tweeter hangs down.
A bit stained from its previous life in a boat.
As I had never heard these speakers, I was anxious to see how they sounded vs the new dash "Kicker" speakers (below). These old Jensens sound just fine - as I sort of expected, they do not have the sensitivity the Kickers do, so I have to bias the fader to the rear a bit to get balanced front/rear sound - but that's what the fader control is there for! As detailed below, I really cannot evaluate these speakers completely until I replace the head unit as I have no way of playing "my music" with the crippled stock stereo.
Oh! Goddess Mother! These new speakers sound so very much better than the crappy stock speakers! Oh my! No comparison whatsoever...
Trim rings from some type of light fixture fit around these speaker grilles just fine.
Mounting holes drilled...
Still shiny because its wet, flat black enamel applied after roughening with sand paper.
Might, or might not, put additional screws in - the trim rings are very flexible.
Just barely clears those tweeters, but ⅛" is as good as a mile!
Those speaker pods are pretty airtight, these ½" Chinese ports should help.
Now the speakers can breathe, they won't try to form a vacuum on the backside!
It took a little while, but the one stock speaker and its grille was sold on eBay.
Interestingly, if I had known at the time I installed the CB Radio Speaker that
there was only one speaker in the sound bar, I could have just used this one for
that purpose! But I sold this speaker for more than I paid for that one, and this
speaker is smaller than the one I used for the CB as well. Good tradeoff I say!
Tye wrapped the grille on to protect the speaker.
Packed it well, its OUTTA HERE!
Dash speakers with both included pigtail and Metra plug-in pigtail.
Neither one really wanted to attach well, so I used solder and heat shrink.
Soft closed cell foam back shells; as delivered (Right), with "bass response" port cut (left).
All together now!
Bass response port also passes the wiring and connector!
The speakers also came with grilles, which I can't - and don't need to - use.
They found a new home on eBay, much to my surprise. They sold quick!
Stock 4x6 in dash.
New speaker installed. Foam rubber projects too far, see text.
Trimmed to fit.
Dash grille/cover back in place.
Other side done too.
Stock speakers cleaned and they sold fairly quick on eBay!
Except for the large magnet, they look like typical 1960s console TV speakers.
Unlike the back soundbar speakers, these don't even have a wizzer cone!
Well, that's what I'm supposed to say, right? Truth is, I really don't know. Since I have no real "source control" with the stock stereo, there's no way I can do a real A/B comparison! I will say that the light rock station I tuned to sounded darn good with these, but it sounded pretty good with the stockers as well - but it was a different song, so who can really say? Since the CD player is kaput (with my Belly Dance CD stuck inside), I couldn't play the same thing and come to any real conclusion. Heck, there isn't even a decent classical station around here which might have helped. I won't be able to really listen to these speakers until I get the new head unit that takes "Geek sticks" (AKA USB "thumb drives"), and even then there'll be no A/B comparison.
With all that said, I'm sure they're nicer than the stock speakers - and since I was forced to replace the stockers in the sound bar anyway, I figured I might as well replace the fronts as well with the TJ forum recommended "Kickers" which were cheap enough. There are all sorts of write ups about "doing something" regarding the un-baffled, un-enclosed front speakers. There is a set of "speaker pods" made for this exact application in Jeep TJs, that cost $80! for a plastic enclosure. Some guys have also attempted to enclose by sealing the end gap with tape, etc. However, I found these closed cell foam baffles made for 5-¼" speakers for $8, so I figured they were probably 99% or more of the $80 pods in capability, so in they went! And, just like the $80 pods, they had no "breathing hole", or "bass port" in the back, so I cut one. They went in with no problem, although I had to trim a bit off their outside edge as seen above - wasn't really enough room to even fold that little bit of foam back like I had originally intended.
Reprised from previously, my CD is stuck in the stock stereo!
All this front speaker stuff came from Crutchfield.com. As a package, it was very affordable. Crutchfield is fairly easy to beat price-wise, but not by a lot usually. However, I bought the speakers and they threw in the adaptor plates and the Metra plug adapters in for free, and the foam baffles were $8. And I got them quickly, the Metra plug adaptors I paid $4 for on eBay for the "new" rear speakers took 1.2 forevers to show up.
The idea is to help funnel the speaker output through the grille opening instead of having much of it get lost under the dash as there's no "seal" between the dash speakers and their rather small grilles. It seemed to be a good idea, and only took about 5 minutes per side to install. As for real world results: There is definitely more sound coming out of these front speakers now, to the point of my having to adjust the fader rearward yet another notch!
Soft foam "speaker rings" were cheap enough. Why they included the center punch-out is beyond me!
Good quality adhesive backed rings...
... are more-or-less level with the backside of the dash speaker grille, filling the gap.
I cut it into two pieces to get it around/under the metal brace.
Other side done as well.
Read on for the next part!
Roads? We don't need no stinkin' roads! Covers a chip in the paint.
When I parked, there was a JKU to the right where the dark blue pickup is. When I
came out, that Jeep had left, but the sky blue JKU to the left of me had taken its place!