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6.5" front speakers with VW factory grilles
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idahoskier
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 9:14 am    Post subject: 6.5" front speakers with VW factory grilles Reply with quote

I have finally gotten around to mounting my front speakers. Ive had the van for over two years now and every time I drive it I think to myself how useless the front speakers are and wonder how should I address this. Ive been relying on the rear 6x9s for sound so far. After much searching I was decided on going with 5.5" or 6.5" with an MDF template found here (props to GhiaLover for posting it):
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=256415&postdays=0&postorder=sc&start=20
Well, I happen to have a pair of Alpine Type S 6.5" sitting in my garage. I really liked this speaker as it has a tweeter that can be aimed towards the listener. So I thought I would just look at them in the hole to visualize things before I started. What I found was that they would be too big to use with any type of bracket as they barely fit in the hole by themselves. Next I wondered if they would fit mounted directly to the door? Sure enough, its almost like they were made to go there (with some mods of course Wink )

First, I had to reroute the window tube to the back of the door metal which was easily accomplished by bending the metal retaining tab to the backside of the door. You can just see it in the top of the hole.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Next, I cut the mounting tabs off of the speaker so that the outer profile was circular. Then I positioned the speaker on the lip that the window tube used to sit in. This gives two advantages. It is slightly angled towards the rear of the van and gives a nice metal mounting platform for the speaker. I then used two pan head sheet metal screws though the outer lip of the speaker though the door metal. This honestly felt very solid and I listened to it like this and was quite happy with it. But worrying about how it would fair on a washboard road I decided to add another brace using the factory mounting tab (now just a notch) which I made sure to position towards the indent that is towards the rear of the van on the door. I used a bolt with a nut to sandwich the bolt to the notch so that I could tighten another nut to the mounting plate without having to worry about the bolt spinning. This worked great as it sucks the face of the speaker ring to the door metal and is totally solid. A picture is worth a thousand words so...
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Now I needed speaker grills. I had planned on using some generic 6.5" ones but I couldnt find any locally and figured Id just try to use the factory ones till I could get some. First remove the speaker from the grill. I used a chisel to cut the tabs. Out with the old and in with the new.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I found that the plastic housing was too deep to fit over the new speaker so I cut it down with the dremel.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Now the factory grill just clears the tweeter of the new speaker. I had to mount the new speakers as far down in the opening as I could get them, but they do clear and there is no buzz, rattle, or interference of any kind. As a bonus the tweeter is not blocked at all by the dash. The final look.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

This was intended to be temporary. However, I like the understated look and the sound is great so Im just going with it. I had thoughts of the door panels interfering with the sound, speaker boxes in the door frame, etc, etc... but again, the sound was so good Im just going with it. I have Alpine Type R 6x9s in the back as well as some 4.5" in the AC box and I now have pretty balanced sound. I actually had to dial the amp back on the 6x9s as the bass was now too much with the new fronts installed. My only concern now is that if something goes wrong mechanically I wont hear it cause my stereo sounds so good Cool As always... YMMV Wink
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Last edited by idahoskier on Fri May 20, 2011 3:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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iliketowalk
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would've never believed you without the pictures. Very nice.

No problems with the whole door card flexing with lots of bass?
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idahoskier
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too was quite surprised to find that there were no noises to hunt down after the initial install. I did remove the dust screen off the grill as I thought it might rattle/flap with bass. Also, all of my door panel hardware is in good shape with all questionable clips being replaced. The door metal is stout and I have yet to notice any resonance with or without the panel. I cannot flex the speaker itself at all once installed.
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climberjohn
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice work and photos, thanks for the post!

-Cj
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r lil VW
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the idea. I've been digging deep for a decent speaker replacement and now I think I found it!
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iiigoiii
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

one minor consideration i can think of here is that most speakers will sound drastically better if the air path from the back of the speaker to the front is sealed off, or made as small as possible.

having the front of the speaker open to the back will degrade the sound somewhat. i went with the cutting board method (search this forum for "cutting board") to make a plastic plate that fits in the door cutout, that the speaker mounts into. i attempted to seal the holes around the plate as best as possible. i then used heavy vinyl as a replacement door barrier to seal off the rest of the door.

the result of which is sound that's so decent i'm debating reselling the amp and subwoofer i bought....
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idahoskier
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An excellent point about the air path. I should have mentioned that I did cover all holes with my sound deadener. In addition, most of the interior of the door has spray on sound proofing as well as stick on. I wonder if something like this would help or hurt sound? Im inclined to think the latter?
http://www.amazon.com/050330-Boom-Round-Speaker-Baffle/dp/B0039Z3SRA
The best answer would be to build an enclosure into the door. The sound is still surprisingly good to me at this point. Its better than the Jeep those 6.5s came out of and the van doesnt even have a sub. The 6x9s do have cossovers though. Most people I know would be happy with the sound if you were to just bolt em in and go Wink Just make sure you push em with a good head unit or small amp. Like all things Vanagon, there is always room for improvement Laughing
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eskachig
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm currently trying to replicate this mod, but now that I have the door panel off I'm trying to figure out what to do about the moisture barrier. And looking at how it would be sitting in there I'm starting to worry about the lack of an enclosure - has anyone else done this mod? Any success stories?
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buildyourown
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did this mod but I used my homemade grills and 5.25 speakers. Works fine though I wish I'd used something more stout to fasten the speaker. Not a huge deal at "family" volumes though.

I used 6mil visqueen similar to factory for a moisture barrier. Secured with packing tape. I also made a skirt that drapes over the window motor and keeps it dry. By design, a fair amount of water enters the door, hence the drain hole in the bottom.
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andpsz
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:26 am    Post subject: Re: 6.5" front speakers with VW factory grilles Reply with quote

Just did this on my 1987 with the same speakers. I used the same exact location and is interesting that the diameter of the door flange is pretty much made for 6.5" speakers...meant to be Very Happy

waiting on the receiver now...
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MrBuelterman
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:58 pm    Post subject: Re: 6.5" front speakers with VW factory grilles Reply with quote

I'm interested in doing this mod but I have a question. Is there a certain depth speaker I should use? How much clearance is there to work with? I dont want to order a pair of speaker to find out they will not fit.

Thanks in advance
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Bills85Westy
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 4:46 pm    Post subject: Re: 6.5" front speakers with VW factory grilles Reply with quote

I did this same modification with 5" speakers two years ago. The big issue with the speakers is finding one that doesn't have a huge tweeter / mid speaker on the face that interferes with the stock grille. I found a speaker where the tweeter was only slightly proud of the woofer cone.

I also had to fab a moisture shield around the back of the speaker in the door.

I like the stock look too.
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