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BMW Speaker Adapter Installation

 

The installation guide shows 6x9 adapters for illustration purposes,
however both the 8" and 6x9 adapters install the same way.

 

One person can easily install these adapters in about 30 mins, although it's always easier to have a friend help
(might cost you an extra six-pack)

Tools you will need:
Phillips screwdriver
Small flathead screwdriver
Stubby (3") Phillips screwdriver
Drill with 1/8" drillbit
Wire cutters
Drop of silicon adhesive (only for 8" woofer adapters)

 

1. If you have fold-down rear seats, fold them both down and open your trunk.

2. From inside the car facing the speaker grill, use a small flat screw driver and starting at the inside edge of the grill carefully push the cover toward the outside of the car with your fingers while lifting on the opposite inside edge with the small screw driver.
Continue to lift the rear of the grill out and then the front will come out last. Installation of the grill is just the reverse, put front edge of grill in first.

3. After both grills are removed, from inside the opening remove the screws that secure the speaker housing to the car sheetmetal (Photo Below, #1, #2). You will need to use the stubby phillips for this.

4. Keep screws, you will use them for the new adapters. Slide old speaker housing toward center of car and lower it into the trunk, being careful not to pull the wires. * as you remove each speaker, note how the speaker housing has a little tab that fits over the body sheetmetal to help hold it up- If you look on your new adapters the metal tab will slide into the same place*

5. Disconnect factory plug from each speaker and remove speakers from car.

6. Place your new 6x9 adapters face down on a workbench. Using one of your new 6x9's (or 8's) as a template place it face down on the side where you will mount it to the adapter and mark the holes for the screws that will secure the speaker to the adapter. Remove the speakers after you have marked all of the holes and use the 1/8 drill bit to drill the holes. You MUST pre-drill these holes or you run the risk of cracking your adapters!!! *note* each adapter is marked "D" for drivers side and "P" for passenger side. When you fasten the speakers to the adapter make sure the speaker terminals will point toward the outside of the car so they are hidden!

7. After your holes are drilled, place the drivers side speaker onto the drivers side adapter and use a phillips screwdriver to *hand-tighten* the screws. Make the speaker just snug to the adapter and DO NOT over-tighten or use a power screw driver.
You must use a "front-mountable" type of 6x9 so the speaker cone does not touch the adapter, and just about all 6x9's are made this way. There should be a pair of 1/2" plastic spacer rings either pre attached to the front of your 6x9's or in the box your speakers came in. You can also pick up a pair from any stereo shop or Radio Shack, but you must make sure that you have the proper speaker spacing!

Click Here to see a correct 6x9 example, notice the spacer built into the top edge of the speaker.

8a. If you have speaker wire that came with the speakers, put the correct terminal spades onto the speakers and cut off the wire at approx. 8" from the speaker. Strip the positive and negative wires so 1" of wire is exposed but do not connect to your car yet.

8b. (*only for 8" woofer adapters*, 6x9 adapters skip this step) As illustrated in picture below, place a quarter-sized drop of silicon adhesive where the arrows point. This is not necessary, but highly recommended to help stop any potential rattles.




9. Now we will fasten the adapters to the car. *If you have fold down seats you can do this yourself, if not you will need help from a friend to hold the speaker up for you*. Place both the speakers, screws from the old factory speaker mount and stubby phillips within easy reach from the back seat of your car. With the seats down and sitting inside the back seat area grab the bottom of drivers speaker, position it under into the trunk area under the speaker opening and slide the metal tab of the speaker adapter onto the body sheetmetal. Keep sliding the speaker adapter toward the outside of the car until the sheetmetal is sandwiched between the metal tab and the body of the speaker adapter (Photo, #3). Take two of the old screws and screw them into the 2 pre-drilled holes on top of the speaker adapter (Photo, #1, #2). You will have to shift the adapter around a little bit to make them line up with the factory holes on the rear deck metal. Hand-tighten the screws until snug, do NOT over tighten.




10. Repeat process for other side. As for wiring, you can either cut off factory plug and crimp wires together, or you can fold over the 1" of stripped wire from each speaker lead and insert it into the openings of the pins on the plug. Wrap well with tape if you are going to keep the plug and just fit the wires into the pins so your wires don't fall out! Which one is Positive and Negative for the rear speakers? I suggest looking up a wiring diagram for your car at one of the links on the bottom of this page.

11. Replace grills and Crank it up!!!! Woohoo! Here's a GOOD TIP- Sometimes, you will get much better bass response if you wire the speakers BACKWARDS. That means wire postive from each speaker to negative on the car wiring, and negative from each speaker to positive on the car wiring. Don't ask me why this works, but it is common in E36 cars for this trick to work. Give it a try!

 
Great Links for instruction on selecting the proper 6x9's, and E36 wiring diagram

Have a look at Chuck Brazeau's excellent Speaker FAQ page at www.BrazeauRacing.com
If you are planning on doing this 6x9 upgrade properly I highly suggest reading his FAQ.

Ultimate BMW Sound Page - Great info on how BMW amplifiers work, crossovers and different aftermarket upgrade options. Written by the VP / Marketing for A/D/S, very excellent info.

Unofficial BMW Website - E36 Stereo Section Wiring Diagrams, good info!


 
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