Installing speakers in an old Tercel
April 6, 2005 12:34 PM   Subscribe

I have a 1984 Toyota Tercel, and would like to install some new rear speakers in it. I don't want anything fancy, and don't need advice on what actual speakers to get.

Basically my problem is that I cannot find where the rear speakers go! I've researched online and found that the rear speakers for this car should be 5.25 inch ones, but, looking in the rear end of the car, I cannot find any stock speakers or any places to install them.

I've also looked at Ebsco's Auto Repair Reference Center which hasn't helped-- it has wonderful diagrams but begins with "remove the appropriate trim panel" and I have no clue what the "appropriate" panel is.

So I guess my question is: where the heck do I put my new speakers?
posted by synecdoche to Technology (28 answers total)
Response by poster: To clarify, it is a 1984 Tercel hatchback.
posted by synecdoche at 12:35 PM on April 6, 2005

Do the old speakers still work? If so, turn on your stereo and then use your ears to locate the speakers.
posted by pmbuko at 12:38 PM on April 6, 2005

Response by poster: pmbuko, no, they don't (part of why I am replacing them).

Actually what I have right now is a couple of loose (and awful-sounding) speakers in the back that are running off of a speaker cable my friend jury-rigged up when I put the CD player in.

Of course I could probably do a similar thing with new speakers, but I'd like to do something properly for once-- too much of my technological life seems jury-rigged. :)
posted by synecdoche at 12:55 PM on April 6, 2005

Did it come with rear speakers? Some cars could be ordered without a radio, or with just a basic radio with front speakers, or speaker etc. I don't know about the '84 Tercel, but you may not be finding the trim panel as it never had speakers. Typically, hatchbacks put speakers in the rear panels just behind the rear passenger windows. Are there any holes there?
posted by caddis at 12:57 PM on April 6, 2005 says that the 1984 Toyota Tercel liftback takes 5 1/4 inch speakers in the rear passenger seat side panel. Any holes there?
posted by caddis at 1:02 PM on April 6, 2005

This page seems to imply that the hatchback didn't have rear speakers. (search for "tercel")
posted by GeekAnimator at 1:06 PM on April 6, 2005

If there is no space for a speaker you may be able to cut an opening in a side panel for the speakers. This is typically what custom installers will do when someone wants a speaker that won't fit the standard opening etc. It is easier than it sounds, yet not that easy. First open up the panel to see what will fit. Another option is to build small, closed, enclosures in which to mount the speakers. Bolt these down so that they won't go flying into the back of your head in an accident.
posted by caddis at 1:19 PM on April 6, 2005

I had an 87 tercel, no factory speakers in the back. Ended up having them installed myself, they had to cut some plastic away from a trim panel to do it. Even though I didn't have front speakers there was a place for them in the front.

Mine came without a radio from the factory or anything, though. Total bare-bones, so YMMV.
posted by Kellydamnit at 1:20 PM on April 6, 2005

I have an '85 Tercel hatchback (4WD). The rear speakers (which I removed) were behind the rear seats on either side, mounted horizontally (pointing up) and even with the top of the seat backs. There were two plastic brackets that screwed into the side walls. you might check for some mounting holes back there behind the seats.

I took them out because they got in the way of loading couches, etc. into the back.

They were made to fit in with a folding piece that covered the whole back and was also even with the top of the seats.

I don't think the speakers work but I'd be happy to sell you the brackets for a VERY reasonable price. I think they're stashed in my basement somewhere.
posted by jacobsee at 2:05 PM on April 6, 2005

Sounds like yours might be different if there is a trim panel in the door for the speakers...
posted by jacobsee at 2:07 PM on April 6, 2005

"Cheap" Toyotas don't come with rear speakers.

I know our 2001 corolla didn't. It also didn't come with a clock ($100 option).

I'm pretty sure our 1997 tercel didn't have rear speakers either.
posted by shepd at 3:08 PM on April 6, 2005

I had an '85 Tercel HB (not 4WD, which makes a difference) without *any* mounts for rear speakers at all. They just weren't there. I bought two 6x9s and enclosures and mounted them to the plastic in the back, going through the panels that house the little pop-outs to change the brake lights. So it's either that or find the speaker mount panels in a junk car and install them (or buy jacobsee's). It sounds like you've already got wire going to the back, though, which is one step ahead of where I started.
posted by j.edwards at 3:42 PM on April 6, 2005

Response by poster: jacobsee, do the brackets look like these?
side one
side two

I thought those were the proper places to mount the speakers, but the 5.25 inch round speakers I tried to place in them are too small.
posted by synecdoche at 4:06 PM on April 6, 2005

yeh, pretty similar...mine are brown. i guess my car is an '85 Tercel 4WD Wagon (more of a boxy rear end than the slanted hatchback shown in the picture) so again mine might not be exactly what you're after.


Just went to look at them. The speakers are about 5.5" across, but the plastic bracket looks to be much longer than the ones in your picture. They're about 26.5" long and are made to extend alongside the squarish rear window of the tercel wagon.
posted by jacobsee at 6:09 PM on April 6, 2005

Just went to have another look. I still may be able to help. There are some metal brackets which screw into the big brown plastic piece and hold the speakers. I snapped a few fotos so give me a bit to get them loaded up to the internets.
posted by jacobsee at 6:16 PM on April 6, 2005

Here's some shots:

With cover on

Cover off

The speaker's themselves are not perfectly round and look to be made for these brackets
posted by jacobsee at 6:35 PM on April 6, 2005

synecdoche, that looks like a great place to put speakers, although it will require some work to get them in. I would go with some 6x9s if they will fit; you will get better bass. Take the basin out, as in the picture of the left side. The easiest way would be to build an enclosure from wood with a top having overhanging edges to mount on the lip surrounding the holes. The enclosure is important as enclosing the back of the speaker will improve the sound, the more volume you can get behind the speaker the better. If you could build the enclosure so that the back of the speaker was a little higher than the front, tipping the speaker toward your ears, it might improve the treble. Some speakers have tweeters that can be rotated a bit as well.
posted by caddis at 7:00 PM on April 6, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks, jacobsee-- I am going to pull mine out tomorrow and see if they are there already. I am worried that they are indeed made for stock speakers rather than normal-sized ones.

If that fails I may have to look at building (or buying?) some kind of enclosure, which I don't relish doing, given my ineptitude with and lack of tools.
posted by synecdoche at 8:47 PM on April 6, 2005

regarding caddis' note about tipping the speakers...the ones I have are tilted just slightly forward...I thought that was probably to project the sound forward just a bit.
posted by jacobsee at 9:01 PM on April 6, 2005

Response by poster: jacobsee:

Okay, I took a quick look in the poor light outside my apartment building, and my mounts have the dark metal brackets that I see on your pictures, but it looks like in the picture with the covers off, there is a metallic bracket that surrounds the screws (when the speaker is facing up).

Are those the brackets you mean? Because those, I do not have.

Also, while we are at it, what effect does the sound bouncing off the rear window have?
posted by synecdoche at 12:07 AM on April 7, 2005

yes, that's what i was talking about...from your picture it looks like you have just a plastic opening (from the top). i wonder if my speakers would fit into your openings?
posted by jacobsee at 7:13 AM on April 7, 2005

Our 1981 tercel has rear speakers. They are located under the window behind the rear seats (not a hatchback). But they may have been added to the car later.
posted by trbrts at 8:38 AM on April 7, 2005

I can't belive how many people are still rockin' the 80s tercells. We had one growing up, and now I have a '97 tercel

Always thought that car ruled.
posted by delmoi at 9:42 AM on April 7, 2005

yeh, i love that car. mine hit 200,000 miles last year. I always said I'd keep it until it hit 300,000 but now I'm struggling about whether to sell it or not. They're going for around $500 on ebay these days...
posted by jacobsee at 9:50 AM on April 7, 2005

another side note: i'm still using my factory tape deck. the radio is now completely used to work just in really cold weather but whatever wire was starting to jiggle loose has now pulled free.

the 80's tape deck still works fine though and matches up great with my shoe box of 80's cassettes I have in there and can't play anywhere else.
posted by jacobsee at 9:59 AM on April 7, 2005

no rear speakers though ;)
posted by jacobsee at 9:59 AM on April 7, 2005

Response by poster: Heh heh, the tape deck in my car was removed but it still worked when I took it out.

I am wondering if the speakers will fit, too. Would you be willing to part with them, and if so, for how much?
posted by synecdoche at 6:03 PM on April 7, 2005

why don't you email me. i'm thinking just enough to cover postage sounds about right....we can figure out how much that is.

also i can get you some hole-spacing measurements if you want to do that first.
posted by jacobsee at 6:52 PM on April 7, 2005

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