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Discussion Starter #1
I've got this '02 9-3 that basically has no functioning stereo components. Blown front & rear speakers, dead door amp, dead CD player, dead CD changer. Dead dead dead!

A few weeks ago I pulled out the blown 6x9s and installed some Pioneers. As others have noted, most 6x9s don't fit in the stock location in the stock way - the speaker baskets tend to be larger than the opening. I used a carbide burr on an air grinder to basically remove the lip from the metal mounts. Of that I did not get a picture, but no more interference. Pioneer 6x9s were $60 for the pair.

Next challenge was replacing the door speakers. There's all sorts of information about what's usually in there, but in my experience (numerous T7 OG9-3s), it's always a 4ohm 6.5" speaker. A variety of speakers will fit in this spot, but many require modifying the plastic baskets. I didn't want to do that. I went for Rockford Fosgate R165S, which is a 2-piece component set at another whopping $60. The R165S is really a 6" speaker, so a bit smaller than the factory speaker... and it fits with zero modification:


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo1.jpg

I will use only the woofer - the tweeter is scrap!

(Interesting note: The R165S is listed as a 4ohm speaker, but measuring across the terminals yields 3ohm. I realize this is not a true measurement of speaker impedance, but it's something quantifiable :) )

Hey, an interesting note... Speaker terminals are two difference sizes (positive and negative) and neither are common .250" terminals. I used this for the rear and door speakers:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DS7ZC5Y/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This kit includes the correct .187" and .110" terminals as well as insulating sleeves. They fit and look nice! $10 for all the terminals you'll ever need.

A note: On the rear speakers and door speakers, the #2 terminal is the positive, the #1 is the negative... as indicated on the black factory connector.

The next challenge is repurposing a Pioneer double DIN stereo I've had in the garage for a year. It was not expensive new, and it's worth about nothing now, so it's going in the car.

I've never gone for a double DIN in an old 9-3 because I hate the idea of cutting the dash and I kinda wanna save the cupholder, but in this case budget first and what's in the garage is $0, so here we go...

This is what I know so far:


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo2.jpg


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo3.jpg


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo4.jpg


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo5.jpg

I ordered this:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07T8Z3ZPM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

We'll see how things go!
 

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In my experience, good quality 6x9 speakers in the back, and good quality dash corner speakers, plus modest amplification for at least the 6x9s, works quite well. Unfortunately "good" speakers in my case are Boston Acoustics, which are no longer available. My car didn't come with door speakers, so I didn't bother.


A decent quality head unit will drive the dash corner speakers okay, but I don't think it will cut it for the 6x9s.



The sound quality of the four speaker system in my 900 was considerably better than the stock 9-speaker Harman Kardon system in my 9-5. I did replace the dash corner speakers in the 9-5 as the stock speakers were surprisingly atrocious. The only thing the 9-5 has going for it is the subwoofer, which gives louder and solider (if not always clearer) bass than the 6x9s in the 900.


I realize that Boston Acoustics are not a budget build, but I would recommend that you replace the dash corner speakers, even in preference to the door speakers. However, not all aftermarket 3.5" speakers work that well. I tried Kicker KC-35 (I think) in the 900, and they were kind of dull. The Boston Acoustics 3.5" worked great. However, when I tried them in the 9-5, they were much too bright. I am guessing that the factory head unit in the 9-5 really emphasized the treble to overcome the poor response of the factory speakers. The Kickers work sort of okay in the 9-5.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Most likely I will drive the door & rear speakers with a four channel amp. I need to replace the door speaker amp anyway and the cost delta between 2- and 4-channel amps is small... I have been considering a few of the uber cheap 2-channel amps - they play in the $20-$30 range - but these are pretty much universally based on the STA540SAN, which is a 4x10w amp. Operating in bridge mode for 2x18w (maybe a little more at alternator voltage) it's just not a lot of power, barely more than head unit power. So, I will likely step up to one of the compact 4-channel amps from a name brand and get a real 30-40w/channel. Turns $30 into $90, but it's probably a price worth paying.

For the dash I will probably use Pioneer TS-A878. They are "not quite" 3.5" speakers optimized for GM vehicles. I used them in the '01 convertible and was VERY satisfied with them - perfect fit and they sound nice. At about $40/pair they are affordable enough.

Vertically-facing dash and deck speakers are never a good configuration so I really don't think there is a lot to win by spending big money on speakers. Sending all the sound into glass seems like it'd ruin whatever "great speakers" might offer over "average speakers." I was considering trying to put full-range speakers in the doors and maybe ditching the dash speakers, but meh, I wanted to try those RF speakers out and see if .5" makes any difference whatsoever.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The double DIN bracket from Amazon is just an enormous waste of time, which leads me to a conundrum...


The stereo I have came from another 9-3, the owner of which had totally mangled the installation of and the bracket/trim was not salvageable. Replacement parts are available from Pioneer for $50. Spending $50 to save what is probably a $60 stereo (new it was $120? $140?) seems unwise.


There is another version of this double DIN bracket out there made by Xscorpion, but I'm not sure it's better enough to warrant trying out.


So maybe now I am shopping for a new stereo... in which case am I shopping for a double DIN that will make me cut up the dash, or a single DIN that won't.


Blah.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I stared at the problem for a long time last night, trying to decide whether to go with a tried & trued ~$120 solution, or use the opportunity to experiment somewhere else. In the end, my curiosity won the battle - try out my first double DIN install and check out a stereo I've been interested in for a while.... I ordered a double DIN Sony WX-920BT from Amazon for same day delivery.

The previous models had fun form factors, but the current 920 model is even more exciting:



It's a semi-double-DIN setup! Really too bad the "brain" bit isn't on the bottom half as that would be an AMAZING configuration, but we take what we can get. :)

Should be a fun weekend project!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I decided to roll with the Kenwood KAC-M1804 amp. I've used it before, it works well. It's a 45wx4 amp, which is pretty low power on the whole, but much better than a built-in head unit amp and this thing takes up no space. I cut the pigtails off the factory amp, soldered them to the Kenwood's leads, and then mounted the Kenwood to the factory amp bracket. It looks adorable.


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo6.jpg

As one would expect, using the factory bracket and much of the factory wiring, it looks quite at home in the factory location. Used but not shown are a pair of RCA cables with a right angle connector at one end... this is key for clearance at the back of the stereo!


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo7.jpg

Using a PAC SWI-RC for the steering wheel interface. It needs power, ground, and a connection to the SID. Because this system works on little variances in resistance, you don't wanna mess with it more than you have to. I scrape some insulation off the wire at the SID (yellow/black, #18) and then solder the SWI-RC's wire on. No breaks, no taps.


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo8.jpg

Standard DIN adapter harness soldered to the stereo's wiring harness. Pretty straightforward! The sole reason I solder instead of using crimp-on butt connectors is that it takes up less space, and space is at a premium here! You will notice a pair of (overexposed) Molex connectors - the 5-pin connector will carry the rear speaker signal from the amp and the turn-on signal to the amp. The 3-pin connector is for the steering wheel control interface. Neat & tidy.


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo9.jpg

The Sony WX-920BT is a fun form factor. I literally screwed it into the factory bracket. I had to modify the lower lip of the cage just a bit to make for a nice fit - it took 30 seconds with a file.


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo10.jpg

Because the stereo only takes up half the cage, there is room to mount the PAC SWI-RC in the cage, with plenty of room leftover for holding cables. The SWI-RC is mounted so that it can be reprogrammed by removing the ACC panel... you just need to know you're feeling around for that tiny button. :)


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo11.jpg

The stereo fits in the dash with zero mods to the cupholder. SO NICE. In this photo, the stereo isn't fully installed in the dash as I want to be sure it's exactly right before popping it in. Because the face of the stereo cannot be removed and the stereo is screwed to the cage, once it's in the dash it's a bear to get out... The SID and ACC need to be removed, and wedges run between the dash plastic and cage from behind. I did it twice to prove it can be done, but it's not super fun. ;) Probably the stereo will never come out again, and IMO it's a price worth paying to not cut the dash.


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo12.jpg

The stereo is Bluetooth, and since the glovebox was already out I ran the microphone through the dash cavity and up the passenger side a-pillar. I removed the Onstar mic and clipped the Sony's mic to the plastic mounting tower of the dome light surround. It seems to work *really* well, and keep the mic out of view. Not quite as elegant as reusing the Onstar mic, but I think a minor technical difference... ain't nobody gonna know.


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo13.jpg

I will drive around like this for a few days and make sure it does what I want it to do. Initially, eight miles in, I am very happy with the result. This setup sounds very nice and works great. I need to play with the audio settings a bit and dial in the background color a bit, then it's probably pop it into the dash.... forever. :)

So far:

Pioneer 6x9s - $60
RF 6.5s - $60
Speaker Terminals - $10
Kenwood amp - $80 (Amazon Warehouse deal!)
Sony HU - $140
RCA cables - $12
SW interface - $20 (Amazon Warehouse deal!)
DIN wiring adapter - $5

Two things left to do... a trim ring for the stereo, and some 3.5" speakers for the dash.

Not as 'budget' as I was hoping, but still pretty cheap for 100% replacement (and a big upgrade!) I think.
 

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Great post. Not a fan of the sony headunit however, it looks like the folks from Jensen or Boss designed it! I totally get that this is a budget build however, and I know in that price range the pickens are slim.


To be honest, I think you overdid it with the Kenwood amp though, I bet you sell this car to some chick who will never ever know the difference! :p (I've had that similar kenwood amp on my shopping list for some time, when I get ready to do the Viggen).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
All the non-TFT head units look the same these days. Not the best aesthetic, but a good volume knob and a legible display meets my criteria. Pioneer does have an MVH (?) stereo in the same price range, but then I would be back to cutting up the dash. It's a reasonable equation. ;)

The amp really was a necessity... No door speakers and head unit powered 6x9s make for '80s era sound quality. The Kenwood is overkill, but there's just not much in the middle of $0 and $90 that's also small.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I am really loving this setup - the stereo sounds stock-ish but phenomenal. I would put it up against a 37-speaker Mark Levinson or whatever, but it sounds every bit as good as all the run-of-the-mill "Bose" systems in everyone's car these days.

The stereo has some oddities, but they only present during setup so it's not a constant issue. I would not buy it for me as, oddly, I really like HD Radio and Sony doesn't do it, but most people wouldn't notice or care. The interface works well, the volume knob is nice, and everything I've tried works great. Burying the included mic in the overhead trim works great... I wish I'd tried that sooner!

I spent a bit of time Saturday morning printing a trim piece to go in the dash. Additive printing is never pretty, so I need something to go over the plastic, but it fits and works perfectly. I think I'm going to try a piece of vinyl wrap first, see how that looks, then move on to more time consuming options like paint or epoxy, etc.

It's not shoved into the dash yet, but it does what I want it to do... now just gotta shore up the aesthetics. :)


http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo10.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Final piece of the puzzle finished... it's not perfect, but it's good enough for me!



http://www.sacsaabs.org/sacsaabs.org/og93stereo/02935door_stereo14.jpg

I used some gloss black vinyl wrap ($8, Amazon) to finish the 3D-printed bezel. I'm satisfied with the look, so the stereo is fully in the dash.

I am going to spend time with it as it, but I've come this far and I'm thinking I will probably go ahead and replace the in-dash speakers and wrap it up. That'll be literally 100% replacement.

Pioneer 6x9s - $60
RF 6.5s - $60
Speaker Terminals - $10
Kenwood amp - $80 (Amazon Warehouse deal!)
Sony HU - $140
RCA cables - $12
SW interface - $20 (Amazon Warehouse deal!)
DIN wiring adapter - $5
Wrapped 3D printed bezel - $8

$315 seems like a lot of money, but when I think back to my first good aftermarket head unit - a Pioneer KEH-P8400 - it's pocket change! (But my god did I love that Pioneer!)

Double DIN, a cupholder, and a totally stock dash! Win!
 

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What are you using for dashboard speakers? I'm curious how you have the speakers driven, too. It looks like the door speakers and the rear 6"x9" speakers are driven by your Kenwood amp, but are the dashboard speakers, if you have them, still driven by the head unit? I have an inexpensive Pioneer double-DIN media receiver in my '97 900 that's driving the dashboard and rear speakers. The stock door speakers are still driven by the stock amp, which is hooked up to the head unit's subwoofer outputs. It sounds decent, but after listening to the Harmon/Kardon setup in my 9-5 Aero, it's a little lacking.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Dash is Pioneer TS-A878, although to be 100% honest I can barely tell the difference between the factory speakers and the Pioneers. The Pioneers are a bit louder, and a bit brighter, but I don't think they really changed the character of the sound. I was happy with the factory dash speakers (they were in good shape, not destroyed like most) but I'd already ordered the Pioneers. If I was doing it again, I would have saved the $40.

The rear and door speakers are driven by the Kenwood amp, the dash speakers are driven by the front channel of the head unit. I actually don't remember offhand whether the door speakers are running from the sub pre out or the front pre out on the head unit. I am pretty sure the sub channel, because I don't have a crossover on the amp, and I don't think the stereo has one - but I'm not 100% sure. There is definitely only low frequency at the doors, like the factory setup.
 

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Dash is Pioneer TS-A878, although to be 100% honest I can barely tell the difference between the factory speakers and the Pioneers. The Pioneers are a bit louder, and a bit brighter, but I don't think they really changed the character of the sound. I was happy with the factory dash speakers (they were in good shape, not destroyed like most) but I'd already ordered the Pioneers. If I was doing it again, I would have saved the $40.

The rear and door speakers are driven by the Kenwood amp, the dash speakers are driven by the front channel of the head unit. I actually don't remember offhand whether the door speakers are running from the sub pre out or the front pre out on the head unit. I am pretty sure the sub channel, because I don't have a crossover on the amp, and I don't think the stereo has one - but I'm not 100% sure. There is definitely only low frequency at the doors, like the factory setup.
Jvan ,
sorry if I missed it in the thread but do you know the model number of SWI you used ,
My son just bought a new sony xav ax5000 head unit today to fit up into a viggen I have been prepping for him ...(gets registered and on the road next week , its been 2 years since i limped it home long distance ( you helped me enroute when the radiator blew a side tank )
 
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