As the years pass the stock speakers in our beloved ZJ's begin to lose the outer hinge due to the foam material rotting causing the sound output to become quite raspy and to most UN listenable. Most would not give a second thought to just tossing the old speakers out and replacing them with either an exact replacement or an aftermarket alternative, sometimes modifying the door panel to achieve proper fitment.
Well i was no different in this regard thinking well ill just find a source of replacement speakers and fix the problem, then i took a gander at the prices being demanded of such a replacement and about dropped a load in my pants!, well maybe not that extreme but since I'm relentlessly cheap and somewhat resourceful i decided ill just fix the speakers my self!!!.
Now for those that think its really not worth messing with the stock speakers as they are junk anyways and it better to lay down a chunk of change for replacements, this is more geared for those on a really tight budget, college students, those being relentlessly nagged by their significant other on how too much $$ has been spent on the jeep already and needs to be spent on others things, or plain ole cheap people like me that don't mind spending a minute amount of $$$ and a little time to fix something that is legitimately repairable!
Since the jeep i drive has rotting speakers i decided to share how to repair the outer hinge on the front speakers... The rear speakers are next, but for now on to the front speakers!.
Please bear with me i haven't figured out how to position the text with the picture yet...
Now lets get to the carnage! .....
Picture #1, the victim has been de-installed and the cloth cover removed from the speaker frame showing the completely rotted foam outer hinge.
Picture #2, The foam hinge remains have been cleaned off, ( i used lacquer thinner to clean the frame), also i carefully rubbed off the hinge remains from the back side of the speaker cone. I then carefully cleaned off the debris from the speaker, and i have carefully cut open the dust cover over the voice coil, (note i left a little bit of the dust cover attached, this is so i can place it back on when finished and not have any misalignment) the reason its cut open is so i can put paper spacers between the voice coil and the steel core evenly spacing the voice coil so it will not rub on the adjacent surfaces, (this is bad by the way and why causes the raspy sound in the first place!).
Picture #3, Closeup of the paper spacers placed on the backside of the voice coil centering the cone assembly.
Picture #4, I made a template for the fabric I'm going to make the hinge from, i used a piece of paper and a compass to draw out the circles, the inner diameter is exactly 4 inches, the outer diameter is 6 1/2 inches, this will leave a ring with the thickness of 1 1/4 inches, (please excuse the mistake on the picture, obviously i can't add!! ).
Picture #5, I have the template cut out and i have it placed on the fabric of choice, I used the template to mark the fabric so i can cut out the replacement hinge. BTW i highly suggest using old bed sheets that is cotton and of a decent thread count, if you don't have anything laying around go to a thrift store and see what they have for fabric remnants of that type?, color does not matter as this isn't going to be seen, just heard!.
Picture #6, With the fabric cut i marked a 1/4 wide circle on the inside diameter of the fabric, this is a reference line to use when gluing the fabric to the speaker cone.
Picture #7, With the gluing about the commence i chose to go outside to the mud room rather then stink up the house with the fumes of contact cement!!!. I placed contact cement on the 1/4 inch strip i marked on the fabric and i also placed some contact cement on the backside of the cone along the outer edge, this is where the fabric is going to be mated with the speaker cone.
Picture #8, I waited a few minutes after the contact cement was applied before carefully placing the fabric under the speaker cone and the black mark lined up with the speaker cone's edge. The fabric was pressed tight against the cone securing it. This will stretch the fabric a little causing it to curl on the edges, this is desirable and aids in the hinge formation.
Picture #9, I then applied some contact cement to the speaker frame and on the backside of the fabric about 1/4 inch in, i immediately placed the fabric on the hinge allowing a small hump of fabric between the cone and the hinge, i did this around the full circumference of the frame and corrected any major misalignments, keeping the size of the hump as uniform as possible, ya don't have to be perfect on it, just close!. I removed the voice coil spacers, tested the coil alignment and its dead on perfect!. Then dabbed a small amount of contact cement on cut edge of the dust cover and where the dust cover is to be attached to the cone waited a few minutes and secured it back together.
Picture #10, After the contact cement has set up enough on the frame i then applied a little silicone rubber to the new fabric hinge, I rubbed it in the fabric well using my finger through the back side to support the hinge in this process. The dust cover also has a little silicone rubber where it was cut and glued back together to make certain no debris get past. The reason silicone rubber is applied to the hinge is to further stiffen it increasing stability and also as a protective cover against further deterioration from heat and further aging.
Last edited by Smokey1r; 08-14-2011 at 12:39 AM..
Reason: Left out a tiny little detail, or Two!
Picture #11, last but not least i cleaned the back side of the cloth cover to the speaker and i applied some silicone rubber to the frame where it mates up to and pressed it back into place!!!.
The new hinge may not look professional, but it has the full throw range the original hinge did!!!!, i did this very same process to the other front speaker almost 2 years ago and its been holding up perfectly!!!
I reinstalled the speaker back in the door and gave it a test, the speaker is working as it should again!!!, and all this cost me less than $15 an a bit of labor (2 hours) to accomplish!, without taking the pix it would of been less time!.
Last edited by Smokey1r; 08-14-2011 at 12:44 AM..
Reason: Spelling!!!, DoH!!!
I just spent 100 bucks for all 4 speakers and replaced them. Better sound quality than the original ones with the ones that I got. Sounds like you have a sub in the car with the ones I got. Took me an hour to replace all 4, but thats because I had never done speakers before.
1998 ZJ 4.0 work in progress/DD
'97 ZJ 4.0|3.5 RC|31" -SOLD
I respect your attempt to save money but that fabric surround is not going to keep the cone centered around the voice coil. It will soon sound the same.
With just the fabric alone its quite supportive but as soon as a bit of silicone rubber is worked into the threads and cures its equally as supportive as foam or paper surrounds. Ive done this very procedure years ago to a couple of 15 inch JBL woofers and it worked like a charm even though i had the same reservations your expressing. the whole point of the surround is to stop most of the side to side motion while allowing a uniform up and down throw and this method works beautifully.
I performed the same fix to the passenger front speaker almost 2 years ago, in fact i just checked it a few days ago when i went in the passenger door to rebuild the sticky door latch assembly, the speaker its still going strong!, no coil rub or rasp at all!!!.