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Thursday, February 28, 2008


C4 Corvette speakers - what really fits

There's a couple little things on C4 Corvettes that their owners generally don't like - the skip shift feature in 6 speed transmissions, the Optispark distributor, and leaky weatherstripping are some offenders. But if I were to take a guess as to which part actually gets replaced the most often, it would probably be the Bose sound system. Many Corvette owners have dubbed it the Blose. That's a pretty apt description of mine - one speaker is blown, and the radio only turns on half the time. In all fairness, most 20 year old stereos have probably broken. But it's high time for a new stereo. I had originally planned on putting in a used one, but after having trouble with two used ones I went and bought a new if cheap JVC head unit.

Now, the trouble with the Bose system is that it's usually recommended you replace the speakers along with the head unit, because Bose put amps in the speakers. So I went speaker shopping. Unfortunately, the various stereo guides I've found online and in stores all say conflicting things. I checked at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Crutchfield, and no two guides said the speakers were the same size! So, tonight I went and measured the speakers to find out the truth. Here are the [i]real[/i] speaker sizes for a 1986 Corvette with a Bose stereo system.

Up front, Wal-Mart said the speakers were 4", Crutchfield said the closest size would be 6 1/2", and Best Buy said that the speakers were 6" x 4" ovals. The truth is that they are 7" square grilles with 4 1/2" round speakers behind them. So the win goes to Wal-Mart, with Best Buy's recommendation being close enough to fit hidden behind the stock grille without a hack job. The 6 1/2" speakers could possibly fit, but it would be tricky to make it look right as they don't look like they'd fit behind the stock grille or completely cover the opening. (It appears that a lot of people on Corvetteforum.com have made 6 1/2" speakers fit, however.)

In the back, Wal-Mart didn't list a speaker size, Crutchfield said that 6 1/2" would be the closest size, and Best Buy said the closest size was a 9" x 6" oval. The grille is a large irregular shape, but behind this was a set of 4 1/2" round speakers, again. However, they are stuck inside a 9" x 6" cutout with an adapter! And it also looks as if it wouldn't be terribly hard to cram a 6 1/2" in there while leaving the original grille in place. So Best Buy takes the win for the rear speakers, but this time Crutchfield's recommendation is easier to follow.


Well what you actually ran into is the difference between Bose and Non Bose systems. Crutchfields is probably closest if you tell them the right system. All the bose speakers are actually 4" speakers (4.5nominal) The nonbose are 6x9rear 6.5 with seperate tweet front. Though there are some differences based on year. You have the Bose which actually does not Blose. Just the head unit sucks and it sucks reguardless if you have Bose or nonBose. There is actually an available kit to allow a non stock head unit to interface with the bose amp speaker combos. Which is pretty nice.
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