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DeaneG
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Re: Leaf Speakers Replacements

Sun Nov 20, 2011 5:24 pm

I replaced my front speakers using Infinity 62.9i's today (about $60-70 online). Here's what I did (thanks Phil)-

First, pry the switch console off from the side-rear using a putty knife wrapped with masking tape to protect the car, then lift up the back and unhook the front:
Image

Disconnect the connectors - each has a release tab - press it down with a fingernail (or tip of screwdriver) while prying very gently with a flat-blade screwdriver:
Image

Remove the door release handle trim by prying from middle top with a dental pick, and unhook the front:
Image

Remove the bolts behind the switch console area and the door handle area with a 10mm socket. Yank off the interior door panel, starting from the bottom and carefully unhooking the top. Remove three philips screws from the door lever assembly to disconnect it from the panel. Replace any plastic fasteners that stayed on the door sheetmetal instead of coming off with the interior panel. Unplug the speaker connector and remove the factory speaker. Keep the three bolts.

EDIT: Ignore the following portion of this post - I later found that the speakers need to be spaced one inch above the door sheetmetal, like the OEM assemblies, for best sound. See my post later in this thread.

Modify the plastic mounting adapter rings that come with the Infinity 62.9i speakers by using a hacksaw to open up the holes on the shorter two tabs (cut toward the screw holes to form open slots). It helps to make the slots a little larger than the original holes, and to use a reamer or round file to slightly widen the slot in the otherwise untouched longer tab:
Image

Put some thin closed-cell weatherstrip on the back of the mounting ring:
Image

Cut off the existing speaker connector a couple of inches back, and splice on some extension wire.
Left Front: Blue +, Purple -
Right Front: Brown +, Red -

Place the extension wire down the body panel seam into the speaker opening, and screw the adapter ring in place (long tab up) using the factory screws and some additional flat washers:
Image

Connect your speaker wires to the speaker, and tie-wrap the input/crossover block (two opposing slots on bottom side) to the sheetmetal inside the door:
Image

Install the speaker using the four small self-threading (pointy) screws included with the speaker. Be sure to rotate the tweeter so that it points up toward the seats:
Image

I left the tweeter button up (no cut).

I also partially peeled up door's the plastic liner, cutting the adhesive with a razor blade as I went along, and installed some dynamat over the largest openings, then replaced the plastic:
Image

I probably would have benefitted by dynamatting the inside of the outside door skin as well (no dampening there from the factory), and removing the plastic entirely and finishing the door interior sheetmetal with dynamat, but I didn't. My impressions of dynamat after a first use: it's probably about the same as putting down two layers of Nashua butyl flashing tape, then covering with a layer of aluminum foil duct tape. I paid $7/sq ft for a small amount of Dynamat. Two layers of Nashua tape plus one of aluminum tape would be about $2 per square foot. A "door kit" from Amazon is about $4 per square foot. I've ordered one door kit for the back doors and to have a little more to paste on the inside of the front exterior skins.

Lemketron came over as I was finishing up, and we listened to some music in my Leaf, then his, to get a A-B comparison. Both of us thought that the Infinity speakers sounded somewhat better. I'd say they had better definition, a less "flat" sound than the stock speakers.

Was it worth it? For me, yes, but it depends how much time or money you have to spend on somewhat better sound. While the stock speakers were incredibly value-engineered, once I got the door panel off I was impressed with the amount of thought that Nissan put into what was there.

I'll do the rear speakers sometime when my wife is out of town and I have a couple of hours to kill. The fronts took me about four hours! Some of it was figuring out how to use what I had on hand. Guess I'd better keep my day job.

EDIT: They sounded great on my way to work this morning, maybe a little hot on the tweeter. I'll try pushing the treble cut switch with a paper clip through the door grille.
Last edited by DeaneG on Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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GREENEV
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Re: Leaf Speakers Replacements

Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:16 am

I'm nervous now about the Leaf sound system. I've been accustomed to a Ford Sync System with THX certified surround sound for 39 months. This is one of the best OEM systems of all time.

Will I want to upgrade right away?
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lemketron
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Re: Leaf Speakers Replacements

Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:44 am

GREENEV wrote:I'm nervous now about the Leaf sound system. I've been accustomed to a Ford Sync System with THX certified surround sound for 39 months. This is one of the best OEM systems of all time.

Will I want to upgrade right away?

You might. But I'd hardly say the stock system is "bad". It all comes down to how much (time and/or money) you want to spend. In the past, I've replaced entire stock systems within a month of purchasing a new car. However, I'm more hesitant this time around, even after listening to two upgraded (Infiniti speaker) systems. (This might also have something to do with just having spent $500 to bring our home theater system into the 21st century.)

At this point, I think the best "upgrade" many of us can make is to upgrade your source material. For example, if your tunes are encoded at anything "worse" than 256K AAC, the best (and cheapest, and easiest) upgrade you can do is to spend $25 for iMatch.

In addition, pay attention to how you are feeding music to your head unit. The head unit doesn't support AAC decoding, so AAC files won't play off a USB stick without transcoding them first. And unless you're using an iOS 5.x device, I'd recommend avoiding Bluetooth audio.

But high quality source material can (and does) sound pretty good with the stock Leaf system to the average person, like parents or spouses who might ask "You're spending how much? For what? Why?"

When I listen to music in my wife's minivan, I can't help but feel that I shouldn't spend money to upgrade my Leaf before upgrading her system (and she needs/deserves a system with a backup camera too)...

Of course if none of these concerns apply to you, then upgrade away, but just be aware that you're starting out pretty high on the curve with only incremental (and potentially expensive) improvements available. And this comes from someone who used to compare the "sound" of different four-figure power amps for fun in college.
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DeaneG
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Re: Leaf Speakers Replacements

Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:18 pm

My wife thought that the upgrade in our car was noticeably clearer than stock. But she thought it was fine before too.

Next up: I'll do the rears including dynamat, and redo the fronts to use the stock Nissan speaker spacers (part of the OEM speakers). Also will add dynamat to the inside of the outer door skins. The Nissan spacer holds the speaker close to a baffle built into the interior door panel. I may gasket that connection so that less sound carries behind the door panel. I'll probably also dynamat the spacers' sides to deaden them.

The Infinity 62.9's can be glued and screwed onto the Nissan plastic spacers once you tear out the stock cones, using a coping saw and utility knife to trim away the outer lip and inner struts. I'll keep the stock connector on each spacer and wire the Infinity speakers to those, so I don't have to modify the stock door wiring.
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Brightonuk
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Re: Leaf Speakers Replacements

Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:07 pm

Thanks DeaneG
This is going to be one of my first mods on my Leaf your photos were excelent

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DeaneG
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Re: Leaf Speakers Replacements

Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:13 pm

I re-did my front speakers today by gluing and screwing the 62.9i's into the inch-tall "spacer" rings that are the mount for the stock Nissan units, so now the speakers are a nice close fit to the mating ring "baffle" molded into the interior door panels. I wired the speaker terminals to the connector pins inside each spacer ring, and left the crossover to dangle inside the door panel after laying on a few strips of foam weatherstrip to keep it from rattling against the door or the speaker.

When I do the rear speakers in a week or so, I'll take photos of the glued and screwed assembly. I used Loctite Stik 'n' Seal Ultra from Home Depot (black tube), which hardens slightly flexibly "dead" and can fill minor gaps. One downside is that you have to do the installation spread over an afternoon and next morning to give it time to dry overnight.

I also repaired the factory door wiring I'd cut earlier, restoring the stock connectors which plug in to the modified spacer-speaker assembly. With this method, you do keep the factor door wiring but have to destroy the stock speakers to salvage the spacer rings. Trust me, the stock speakers were not doing you any favors anyway.

The net effect, other than the two hours spent, was a noticeable improvement in sound quality over my previous installation with the speakers flush to the door metal. Midrange and lows felt much more "filled in" with the speakers mounted up close to the door interior trim baffle. They sound great now, not just better than stock. The difference surprised me but I guess Nissan engineers knew what they were doing with the arrangement.

I kept the 3db treble cut switch in the "cut" position where they sounded best, guess I can still hear OK after all. That's probably easier on the head unit too, keeping the total impedance from going too low at tweeter frequencies (with the new speaker in parallel with the A-pillar tweeter).

At the same time I added a 6" x 24" piece of dynamat against the inside upper half of the outside door skin. I doubt that had much to do with the improvement in sound but it probably couldn't hurt.

In short, when replacing stock Leaf speakers, you'll want to mount them proud of the door sheet metal so that they fit closely to the baffle ring inside the interior door panel. The easiest ways to do this are to salvage the "spacer" from the stock speaker, or to make up a wooden spacer like Ingeneer did. The spacer you make should be very close in height to the stock spacer (about 25mm or one inch), but no higher. With the stock spacer, the 62.9i's I installed come very close to the door baffle but out of "buzzing" distance.
Last edited by DeaneG on Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Ingineer
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Re: Leaf Speakers Replacements

Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:40 am

Having a dense spacer around the speaker will help the low end, there's no doubt!

I made mine out of ply, and damped the sheetmetal with poor-man's Dynamat (Nashua 6" window flashing tape):

Image

You can see the Nashua 6" tape applied everywhere. I removed and discarded the existing clear plastic before installing this, and I was generous with the overlap so I got a lot of material on the door. All the rattles and "boinginess" go away once this is treated.

Here's what the prepared ring looks like:

Image

I made a pattern from one door, and it fits all 4 just by flipping it 180.

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GeekEV
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Re: Leaf Speakers Replacements

Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:20 am

Another factor to keep in mind after upgrading your speakers is that all speakers take some time to loosen up and break in (just like a new pair of shoes are a bit uncomfortable at first). After doing my original upgrade months ago, I thought it sounded marginally better than the stock speakers. After just a couple weeks of use, they were clearly sounding MUCH better. Give it a two- or three-hundred hours of listening time for things to break in before passing final judgement.

You may even want to give the same benefit of the doubt to the factory system before deciding if you should upgrade or not, but most of us who have done this (I had my car about two months before I did it) will tell it it does indeed make considerable difference if done right. I too reused the factory spacers and lined a few feet of area around the speakers with heavy duty window flashing (for sound damping).

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DeaneG
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Re: Leaf Speakers Replacements

Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:36 pm

I did the rear speakers reusing the OEM speaker "spacers", and dynamatted the doors reasonably well. They sound great, much more detail and clarity compared to stock. Here are some photos:

First, mark your OEM speakers as you remove them so that they go back in the door they came out of. Put the marking at the top of each speaker so you can tell which way is up later on, when you are orienting the new speakers into the old frame:
Image

Then use a coping saw to cut out the OEM cone supports. Leave the OEM connector intact but clip the voice coil wires off and throw away the cone and magnet. Remove the old support foam with a single-edged razor:
Image

Use the coping saw again with the blade angled in the frame to saw off the outer raised ring - it will interfere with the Infinity speaker:
Image

A sharp and sturdy utility knife can be used to trim and smooth the area where the outer ring was removed. I also lightly block sanded that face for better glue adhesion:
Image

Position a new speaker into the ring. Rotate the speaker until the integral crossover will be at the bottom of the speaker, or forward edge (toward the door hinges), when the assembly is reinstalled in the car door. Carefully mark the speaker ear locations with a sharpie. Remove the speaker and drill starter holes for the four self-tapping screws included in the speaker kit. Lightly sand the back outer rim of the speaker for better glue adhesion to the spacer. Lay on a 1/16" bead of adhesive (that Loctite product I mentioned worked great), and carefully lower the speaker onto the prepared spacer ring and into the glue. Install the four screws and let dry overnight:
Image

The next day, turn the assembly over and add 18-20 gauge wires from the speaker crossover to the inside terminals on the spacer ring, observing polarity. Shown below, red is + and black is -. This polarity matches the OEM speakers, so you'll be "in phase" even if you only replace the front. Each speaker has +- terminals in the same location. Add foam weatherstrip tape to all four sides of the crossover so that it doesn't rattle against the speaker or door metal:
Image

Then remount the assemblies into the doors, placing the crossover inside the door. Plug the factory connector into your new speaker assembly, and swivel the tweeter to point to the nearby listener's head. I kept the 3db treble cut switch pressed on mine - they sounded too hot to my taste "uncut". You can poke this switch on and off later with a paper clip through the grille perforations in the interior door panel.

I added a fair amount of dynamat to all four doors while I was doing this, while the glue was drying, and am glad I did. The doors had no sound dampening from the factory. With some dynamat on both the inner and outer skins, they sound much better when the door is swung shut (more like a luxury car), and I think the freeway ride is quieter when passing other cars - less noise seems to come in through the doors. A $50 "door kit" from Amazon was plenty for a patch-type installation (not full coverage) on two doors.
Last edited by DeaneG on Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Brightonuk
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Re: Leaf Speakers Replacements

Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:31 am

Thanks for the photos Deane

I remember reading somewhere that there is an aftermarket mounting plate for the Leaf front and rear???
But if a cant find them you photos are gonna be a tremendous help when I tackle this mod

About the factory connection, how do the OEM speakers connect are they soldered at the speaker pins with a male /female connector to the radio harness does anyone have a photo of the Harness connectors

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