So I’ve had my 2011 Scion xB for almost 6 months and so far I haven’t had any reason to complain. For the price the car does everything so far I want and more. Plus the ability to take the kids with me (my old car only had two seats so no kids ever got to ride in it) has paid off big time with all the weekend activities they now have.
Of course that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been itching to take it apart. Honestly at this point I’m impressed enough with the head unit to not upgrade it yet. I don’t want to mess with the steering wheel buttons for volume/track (although you can make them work) and I know I could probably make the UBS port in the center console work…but again for my simple needs right now a new head unit is over kill. That and I’m poor.
So for my birthday I was able to snag a good deal on a pair of Alpine SPS-610C component 2-way speakers. I wasn’t able to dig up a whole ton of information online about people upgrading their Scion xB’s but after pulling the door off of my passenger side and doing some measuring I was confident I could make this work somehow.
Now the stock speakers are pretty decent. I mean they even come with integrated tweeters in the door sail panels. Most people probably wouldn’t bother to mess with them but since I can do all the work myself (and like too) for under $100 I couldn’t resist.
First step is to get the door off. There are two #2 phillips head screws on each of the front doors. The first one is located behind a plastic place right behind the door pull. In the first picture you can see I already removed the plastic vanity cover. The second screw is located in the door pocket that you pull the door closed with (you can see it in the first pic and also in the third where I’m lifting the control panel up….the screw was in that pocket). Once you have the two screws off you need to take the control panel out which just lifts up (third pictures). Next use your door pry tool (the silver tool in the second pic) to start at the bottom and pry out at the white plastic plugs gently. Pretty much you just pry off gently all along the bottom and sides and then the top ridge pulls right off towards you. Once you have the door off you’ll see that the pull mechanism is still connected to it. It’s really easy to just take a small flat screwdriver and pry it off the door panel, which you can see if you look at the last picture below.
So now that we have the door panel off you can see the stock speakers and the rivets that hold them in. Personally when I saw the rivets for the first time my reaction was WTF? but I guess that’s how they like to do it. So grab your drill, grab a drill bit (I used a 3/16″ but whatever you like will probably work) and go to town! Drilling out the three rivets is pretty self explanatory but I will say this TRACK ALL YOUR RIVET BITS. The last thing you want when all is done is to be driving down the road listening to rivet bits rattle in your door. I’m even including a picture of all the rivet bits so you can compare (last pic). Hell just grab your shop vac and stuff it down there when your done if you want to be super safe.
After all that now we have the stock door speaker out (remember tweeters are up in the sail panel) and here is where the fun really lies. The way Scion mounts its speakers is really weird to me and the adapter plates the speakers came with didn’t fit right. Now other places sell plastic adapter plates and wiring harnesses so you don’t have to cut the factory wiring. Some people have even made their own mounts out of 1/4″ plywood. I decided instead to gut the stock speakers and use their body/wiring harness for the new speakers. Now I actually had a hard time bringing myself to doing this but in the end I realized I wouldn’t be able to sell them for jack squat so why save them and spend more money on more parts.
After staring at it for awhile it became apparent that there was a plastic ring glued around used to connect the speaker cone to the main body. So all I had to do was figure out how to get it off to give me a platform to mount the new speakers to. The first three pics are just some side by side comparisons, a pic of the stock back and then lastly a pic of me de-soldering the current connections since I plan to reuse the wiring harness.
So without further adieu I present destruction and dremeling. Turns out the glue used to hold this thing together is mush weaker than I thought. Plus the sub level the ring sits on is hollow so all you have to do is notch a hole in the ring and then get under it and pry (see pic 1 and 2). Just keep prying all the way around and you’ll end up like the third pic a lot easier than you expected.
Next just suck it up and rip out the black speaker cone to expose the support struts underneath. You might want to just “hulk smash” and rip it out or use a razor blade to cut the yellow mesh, it’s up to you. Then all you do is take a dremel with a cutting wheel and go to town cutting the struts like like in the second (albeit blurry) pic below. In the third and fourth pic you can see me using a chisel and a box cutter to clean up the mess left behind (there’s like some paper layer). Take some time to make sure this platform is all nice and clean and free of the old glue and gook.
Then all you do is take your speaker and drop it in the base you just gutted. Drill 4 holes that are of a smaller diameter than your screws and bob’s your uncle. It’s deceptively simple honestly…although I have to admit I would have liked the screws to be a little longer but they seemed to grip enough to make me happy. In the last picture you can see I reused the copper wiring from the OEM harness on the new speakers….I like to reuse stuff when possible. You can do it anyway you want but I’m inherently cheap.
To mount the speakers back on the door (make sure you wire up your crossover first!) I played around with the idea of using pop rivets but in the end I went with the more approachable idea of just bolts. The first pic are the bolts I bought that have the screw, a lock washer, a normal washer and then the bolt. My hopes were that the lock washer would help hold it in place since I couldn’t really get to it from behind. It didn’t work out that slick of course but in the end it all came together. I just had to use pliers on the screw while tightening the bolt. I also chucked a little blue thread-lock on the bolts while I was there. Don’t want them coming loose ever.
Now that the door speaker is in place (and you remembered to wire up the end of the cross-over) it’s time for us to find a place to bury the cross over in the door. First I’ll mention that there is some sound dampening material (looks like carpet padding to me) and clear plastic adhered to the metal door frame via some black gook. Now if you are careful you can pull back the plastic in a way that will let you put it back and I actually ended up “cutting” the gook with a razor blade. When you go to put it back you can’t ever tell…the stuff re-adheres just fine.
So go ahead and grab the clear plastic and pull a good chunk of it back like I did in picture 1 below. If you feel like it now is a great time to put dynamat or some type of sound dampening in….alas I felt the weather was to cold and I didn’t have the budget for it yet. So in the second picture below you can see I just ran the crossover cable down behind the plastic along side some black split loom tubing. In the third pic you can then see I decided to zip tie the crossover to a white wiring harness. After that was done I just ran the other wiring end of the cross over up the black cable (for the power mirrors) and pushed the plastic with the black goo back together. Notice I left the tweeter connections just hanging in the wind, we’ll get to those next.
Now the first time I saw this it threw me for a loop honestly because I wasn’t expecting 4 wires. I got really worried that the head unit was doing some kind of funky 6 channel setup that would make this upgrade much more difficult but it turns out that the tweeter is just wired up as a pass through on a standard 4 channel setup. Long story short, we just need to cut the wires and connect the colors together. Then the signal just goes down to the door speaker and back up the cross over to the new tweeters. There’s probably a few ways to do it, this is just the way I decided at the time.
The first pic is just the wiring that goes to the tweeter with some black sheathing pulled back to show there is two colors. All I did was cut though it, solder the connections and then put some heat shrink tubing on it. Wrapped it a few times in electrical tape and then shoved the nub into the hole in the plastic it was poking through. That’s it.
The tweeters actually ended up being pretty easy. If you look at the first picture below you can see a pencil mark at the 6 o’clock mark of the tweeter hole. All you have to do is dremel/razor blade that nub off and your pretty much done at this point. The tweeter actually fits in there pretty well. Take a look at the fourth and fifth picture below and you can see that two of the three retention clips actually get a hold on. The third one (towards 6 o’clock) doesn’t really clip on a ridge so I made the decision to drop some hot glue all over the thing (not that it hurts). Normally I’d use some weatherstrip adhesive but I didn’t have any handy and the hot glue seems to work pretty good honestly.
The only thing left at this point is to use a dremel to remove some of the tweeter cover backing so there is enough clearance for it to go back on. Take your time and have a razor blade handy and there shouldn’t be any problems. I used an air compressor nozzle at a few places to make sure none of the holes were clogged but that’s just me being thorough. As you can see when your done nobody would know anything had been done to the car at all.
All that is left is to hook up the tweeters and reassemble the door. Then head over to the drivers side and do the same thing again. I’m not going to go through the whole steps again because really it’s just the same thing. The only difference is that the speaker wires are a different color and the rotation of the tweeter is mirrored to the placement of the other side. If that doesn’t make sense don’t worry it will when you shove it in there…plus I took a pic or two so you can always look at that.
Anyways some highlights of the driver side speaker install. In the second pic you can get a good look at the dremel bit I used to take off a lot of the tweeter cover plastic. Not saying it’s the best just that it’s what I used. The sixth and eight pic show the alignment I was referring to earlier and my love for using hot glue.
Lastly just pics of the wiring again.
Here’s a final picture of the door completely put together. You’d never know anything was done which is always a goal of mine.
The only thing left to do is turn on the car stereo and start playing with your treble/bass settings and a few other tweaks. Scion head units are pretty unique in a few ways that you should make sure you know about:
- Treble and Bass settings are unique to inputs. Which means CD is different than iPod/USB, don’t forget that.
- There is a setting for xB, xT, etc…the default is not xB so you should make sure the dealership remembered to set that (cause mine didn’t).
- Play around with the SSD button, I have mine set to “feel”.
That’s it. My next goal for this is to change out the back doors and install a stealth sub. Like I said I’m not looking at changing the head unit at this time since it has RCA outputs for a sub and I don’t wanna mess with the steering wheel controls and armrest USB port. Also I’m poor. Hope this helped if you were looking at doing this project…I love working on my cars audio anyways.