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2.75" replacement rear speakers

803 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Sam Cogley
For those who have a later W163 with the D-pillar speakers, or crazy people (like me) who are retrofitting them into an earlier ML, there is finally a replacement for the 2.75" Bose drivers: the Kicker KSC270. KICKER | KS Series 2.75" Mid

Kicker says they're not currently available for sale, but a number of retailers have them in stock. I found them at the semi-annual tent sale held by the car audio shop around the corner from my house. The salesman and I pulled them out of the box and compared them with one of the Bose drivers, and the dimensions are within tiny percentage of being identical.

The Kicker drivers require mounting rings, and none of them appear to fit the speaker mounting plate once the heat-peened pins are ground off, separating the drivers from the mounting plates. I plan to cut the flanges off of the Bose drivers and use them as mounting rings, as well as remove the "spiderweb" of plastic over the speaker cone. The grilles are protection enough for the cones. To re-assemble everything, I think I'm going to drill the old pins completely off of the plastic mounting plates, and countersink flat-head machine screws into the front of the plate. In order to make the little guys useful, I will be wiring them to the rear speaker outputs of my new head unit's internal amplifier. The main door speakers will be powered by an external amp mounted in the stock amp location. For the sake of not reinventing the wheel, I may re-use some of the CD changer wiring to get the left and right signals to the rear of the car, rather than running all-new wires. That's still up in the air.

Pictures to come as I get them mounted.
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Don't kill yourself. Those speakers aren't even wired in stereo. They're mono running off of the right channel.

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Which is why I'm not connecting them in the factory style, in my 1998 that never had them available. ;-) As noted, I'm either going to run new wiring from the head unit, or repurpose some of the wiring from the CD changer that will never be reinstalled. I can solder extensions to those wires quite easily to get from the CD changer location to the upper corners of the D-pillars.

Side note: In a rather surprising bit of convergence, the D-pillar panels with the speakers came from a post-facelift W163 with an Anthracite interior. I figured I'd have to repaint them to match the dark grey around the hatch opening in my '98, since the Anthracite seats, door panels, and console are much darker than the medium grey in my car. It turns out that those trim pieces aren't black, they're the same dark charcoal as used on the 1998-99 models with a grey interior.
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The foam pads were already falling off of the original drivers when I started, so they had been transferred to the new Kicker drivers before I started taking photos.







Bonus crazy project: adding the compass mounts to a 1998 threshold:


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