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Replace Volvo Speakers on P80 Cars: A DIY Guide

For the front door speakers I chose the Infinity 5012i coaxials and found that their mounting flanges don’t exactly match up either. Two of the four flanges on the Infinity speaker…

Volvo 850 – DIY replace speakers

Ozark Lee from this P80 speakers upgrade thread »

The stereo has sounded like crud since I got the car so I have been, pair by pair, replacing the speakers as I can win them on eBay. I also have the scratchy volume control problem that everyone else seems to have.

During the process of replacing the glove box latch I found I had a speaker magnet setting neatly on the top of the glove box. The only place that could come from is the right hand side tweeter. I popped it out and, sure enough it had fallen off. I popped off the drivers side and its magnet was gone as well. I don’t know where it went but during the odometer repair I couldn’t find it behind the dashboard.
DIY replace speakers
Factory dashboard tweeters with no magnets. They don’t make any sound!

I’ve always liked the smooth sound of Infinity speakers so I have elected to replace them all with the Infinity Reference Series.

No aftermarket speaker will identically fit into an 850 sedan. For the dash I installed the Infinity 3012cf 3 1/2″ coaxial speakers. So as to secure them to the dash I used a 1/4-20 nut and bolt that was about 1/2″ long and picked up the point where the factory “push pin” mount went through the dash to secure one tab on the speaker. It doesn’t rattle so I’m calling it good to go. If it starts to rattle I can add a screw though the dash pad on the opposite end of the speaker to better secure it. The factory speaker grills cover the entire speaker so it looks factory installed. I unsoldered the factory connector from the old/bad speakers and re-soldered the leads to the new speakers.

For the front door speakers I chose the Infinity 5012i coaxials and found that their mounting flanges don’t exactly match up either. Two of the four flanges on the Infinity speaker did mate up so I secured the with two screws and then added the other two back so as to catch the edge of the mounting flanges.

The eBay speaker guide said that 6″x9″ speakers were appropriate for the rear deck so I purchased a pair. 6×9’s do not fit without aftermarket grills and extensive sawing to change the mounting hole. My son’s friend inherited a pair of 6×9 Infinity triaxial speakers for his 80’s vintage Toronada.

The rear deck speakers for an 850 sedan are unique in the speaker world and their tweeter magnet glue isn’t any better than the front tweeters. I had no sound whatsoever coming from the rear deck speakers and once I popped them apart I found out why.
DIY replace speakers
Even the main cone won’t move when the tweeter magnet falls off and sucks itself into the woofer cone.

Both of my rear deck speakers had the tweeter magnet that had fallen off.

After buying the wrong (6×9) speakers the first time I measured the Volvo factory speakers and they are sorta 5 ish by 8 ish. Standard 5×7 speakers will fit in the hole but no aftermarket speaker that I can find will screw into the plastic base plate on the factory mount. I purchased a set of Infinity 6812i’s. Since my factory speakers were trash I figured I would use their factory metalwork to fabricate some mounts.

To remove the seakers there are four aircraft nuts directly below the deck mounted speaker “cabinet”. Remove the nuts and lift the “cabinet” out of the hole. The magnet will fight you a little bit. The next obstacle is to remove the grill which has four of the funky modified Volvo Phillips screws that are flat on the bottom. Once the grill is removed you can remove the old speaker itself by removing the four (what else) T-25 Torx screws.

In order to save the mounts I took an angle grinder and sawed through the webbing at the back of the woofer cone until all of the webs were severed. (If you don’t have an angle grinder you can use the hack saw blade that is left over from fixing your glovebox.) Unfortunately I can’t take a picture and angle grind at the same time but sparks fly and metal cuts. On my speakers the tweeter was suspended over the woofer on a metal bracket. It only takes a pair of pliers to straighten the tabs and remove the tweeter bracket. After cutting through the metal webbing I took a utility knife and cut the foam from the outer edge of the old speaker. I now had the old speaker top plates without the bad speakers. I dressed them up a little bit with the angle grinder to get rid of the rough edges.
DIY replace speakers
The old Volvo speaker top plate with the original speaker sawed off.

The next step I took was to center the 5×7 speaker in the old hole on the factory top plate and secure it. I’m lazy so I went to Lowes and picked up a pack of self drilling screws. I placed the speaker – more or less centered – on the old factory plate and secured it on all four corners.
Volvo speaker top plate
The new speaker from the bottom side.
DIY replace speakers
The new speaker from the top side.

The next step I took was to solder the factory wiring harness to the new speaker. As unintuitive as it was, every wiring diagram I found showed the black wire as the positive wire. Since the wire with the red collar was negative on the front door speakers I guess it makes sense?.

From this point installation is the reverse of disassembly. Plug in the speaker to the wiring harness, secure the four aircraft nuts, and crank the tunes.

Tomorrow I tackle the rear suspension rattle.

…Lee

Magnets and Glue

MVS Forum Member Ozark Lee says:

The stereo has sounded like crud since I got the car so I have been, pair by pair, replacing the speakers as I can win them on eBay. I also have the scratchy volume control problem that everyone else seems to have.

During the process of replacing the glove box latch I found I had a speaker magnet setting neatly on the top of the glove box. The only place that could come from is the right hand side tweeter. I popped it out and, sure enough it had fallen off. I popped off the drivers side and its magnet was gone as well. I don’t know where it went but during the odometer repair I couldn’t find it behind the dashboard.

MVS Forum Member DVolvoguy777 adds:

You are right about the glue on these Volvo speakers. It sux. I have seen a couple of threads on Volvospeed and Swedespeed about this issue. They have just used better glue on the magnet and they worked just fine.

This write up on the fix that you did was great. Thanks for the heads up when it comes time for me to change out my speakers.

MVS Forum Member Volgrrr replied:

Hi Ozark Lee,

When putting my glovebox back together (remember I’m the ‘lever down’ instead of ‘lever out’ guy) I accidently dislodged the passenger side air vent.

To get better access to the air vent I removed the dashboard speaker grille, pulled out the speaker and – low and behold – there was the speaker magnet stuck to the top of a relay on such an angle it had actually split the speaker diaphram.

Solutions??

I don’t think the eBay is an option (in Australia you could easily wait for ten years for Volvo speakers to be listed – and I’ll probably be dead and gone by then) so I might have to do something like you’ve done.

Thanks for the excellent report. I’m sure it will be a great help if I decide to go down this path.

Replacing Speakers: A Complete Guide

1 Comment

I did a similar upgrade myself, a few years back. There’s a thread around here somewhere about it. I found that there’s aftermarket adapter brackets to fit all four doors and the dash tweeters, and that the best move for the rear deck is to find OEM replacements in a junkyard.

In my case, I drove them off an aftermarket amp as subwoofers, and they performed surprisingly well in this role.

The key there is that Volvo actually took the trouble to acoustically match the Theile-Small parameters of the speakers, to the trunk volume; therefore, nothing else will ever perform quite as well in the bass frequency range.

I also ordered door speakers from Europe; the Pioneer TS-E series, that came in metric sizes. The TS-D series might work just as well, if you can find Scosche brackets that fit the opening and the speakers.

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