Rear Shelf Speaker Fix Volvo 850, S70, V70, C70, XC70
I had a nasty rattle coming from the rear shelf speakers on my 98 s70. It seemed like even a little bass would set off the rattle. So on a sunny Saturday I set about to “investigate” the cause for this rattle and possibly look at replacing the stock speakers with some new aftermarket speakers. The instructions below talk about how to get access to the rear shelf speakers. The rest of my story continues after that….
I’ve done this repair on my 1996 850 sedan. On the 850 it is not necessary to do Steps 3, 4, or 5. Just contort yourself into the space underneath the shelf and work from there. It is less comfortable, but you will do less work and it will not take as long. You also reduce the risk of breaking something. Use eye protection in case something falls while you are taking stuff out. If it’s warm out, do this in the shade because that little space will get very hot.
I chose to use some cheap epoxy and simply glue the magnets back into place, so I was able to reuse the original speakers.
Total cost: About an hour of work plus the time for the epoxy to set. I “borrowed” the epoxy from a neighbor, so no $ out of my pocket.
Step 1. You should not need any tools at all to just get to the speakers. Maybe a screwdriver or a wedge tool to unsnap the plastic trim – but I found even that was unnecessary.
Step 2. Fold down both the rear seats. You will have to remove the seat trim bolster item that runs along the side. This is done by pulling it forward on the top to unsnap the top hook. You will have to yank with a little force. Lift if up and pull towards yourself. The piece looks like the picture below after removal. Remove the bolsters on both sides.
As a side note – This might be a good time to vacuum those hard to reach places on the sides of the seats – you might even discover an old coin, piece of candy or some such – In my case it was a quarter and some cheetos left by the previous owner!!
Step 3. You will now have to remove the plastic trim piece that covers the rear quarter glass and C Pillar. See picture below. There are several snap fit points around it. Be patient and gentle when unsnapping – We do not want to break anything – otherwise you will have to live with a vibrating loose trim piece. Picture below shows the passenger side.
Step 4. Picture below shows the drivers side C-pillar with the trim off. You will find the cabling for the rear defroster. Again I cannot stress enough the care with which you should pull those plastic trim pieces.
Step 5. You will now have to slide out the trim that covers the entire rear shelf. The whole thing slides forward – pull up and towards yourself. Gentle does it. There are two snap points in the back – near the rear glass. You can see them from inside the trunk looking up towards the glass. I did not find any need to mess with the seat belt mountings. You should be able to slide the trim forward and turn it face down and lay it down on the rear seat. I would strongly recommend against meddling with the seatbelts. This is a safety issue and I would rather leave that to the pros.
Step 6. The picture below shows the speaker. It is a very rare size and impedance. It is 8-inch diameter with an 8-ohm impedance. My car has an eight-speaker factory system. Your setup may vary based on how many speakers you have. I am not expert enough to know the various configurations for speakers on these Volvos. The speaker impedance is stamped on a piece of paper stuck on the bottom to the magnet. You can read this by using a flashlight from inside the trunk.
Step 7. I did not actually unmount the speakers – the following link has more detailed instructions, should you choose to fix/replace etc.,
The rest of my story
My rattle seemed to be coming from loose pieces on the foam backing on the rear shelf trim. The grill seemed to be held on tight. The speakers did not rattle by themselves – With the shelf off, I played the radio with full bass and some volume. So I cleaned up the loose foam backing, ran down to a Tweeter close by and bought some of that Dynamat dampening stuff. I applied that liberally to the foam backing where the speaker rim contacts the shelf. That seemed to have cleared out the rattle. I lucked out since my speakers sounded okay.
Since I had already tore open the guts of the rear shelf and I had too much free time on my hands – I went around several car audio stores to see if I could find some good aftermarket speakers. Here in lies the problem. It is next to impossible finding that diameter and that particular impedance in the aftermarket. I guess the size is not an issue as much – there might be some adapters you could get to fit a smaller speaker in the same enclosure. However the 8-ohm impedance – good luck finding that. The OEM Volvo replacement speakers are about $140 a piece or $260 for the pair at our local dealership.
June 13, 2004