How to replace Sprinter door and dash speakers

The stock speakers in a Sprinter are cheap and nasty. They sound just about OK with the engine off, but they can’t compete with road noise and have no dynamic range. Here’s how to take them out and replace them.

This job doesn’t ask much of you mechanically, other than the ability to lever panels off and strip and crimp connectors on to cables. The end result is much better sound. We’re really happy with how our speaker upgrade turned out.

Tools you’ll need

Trim removal tools
Trim removal tools
Wire stripper
Wire stripper
Linesman's pliers with crimper
Linesman’s pliers with crimper
  • Fish tape or piece of copper wire to pull cables through door to dash.

Supplies you’ll need

  • Replacement speakers. 1″ tweeters should be a direct replacement for the factory tweeters. We used Hertz Audio DSK 165.3 6-1/2″ 2-way Dieci Series speakers. The tweeters clipped in to the stock location perfectly when we added their little trim rings.
  • Speaker adapter rings. These allow you to use larger speakers in the small speaker hole without major modifications. They are made by Hein, one of the Sprinter Forum contributors. He sells them on eBay. He makes different sized rings for different models of speakers. The Hertz speakers we used fit in the 5.75″ adapter rings.
The original Mercedes speaker (top right), the replacement (bottom right), the trim ring (top left) and the spare green clips Hein sends with the ring!
The original Mercedes speaker (top right), the replacement (bottom right), the trim ring (top left) and the spare green clips Hein sends with the ring!
  • Sound deadener – we used Reckhorn because it’s what we had left over from the rest of the van.
  • Thinsulate – again, sold by Hein. Read more about it on our insulation comparison page.
  • Butt connectors for the wires you’ll replace.
  • Connectors for your speakers if they don’t come in the box (ours didn’t).
  • Electrical tape to insulate the speaker connections and stop them from shorting out against the metal of the door.

Disconnect van power

You'll be unplugging the window motor controls and cutting the speaker cables. Be safe rather than sorry - unclip the main power supply next to the accelerator pedal.
You’ll be unplugging the window motor controls and cutting the speaker cables. Be safe rather than sorry – unclip the main power supply next to the accelerator pedal.

Removing the door panel

Door panel removal - top screw caps
Door panel removal – top screw caps need a thin tool to lever them out. Trim tools are too fat.
Door panel removal - top screws
Door panel removal – two T-20 top screws.
Door panel removal - handle surround
Door panel removal – handle surround can be pried off with trim removal tool.
Door panel removal - handle surround unhooks at bottom end
Door panel removal – handle surround unhooks at bottom end.
Door panel removal - two handle bolts
Door panel removal – two Torx T-30 handle bolts.
Door panel removal - two more T20 bolts behind the lower storage bin
Door panel removal – two more T-20 bolts behind the lower storage bin.
Door panel removal - pop the lock surround out
Door panel removal – pop the lock surround out using the trim tool.
Door panel removal - lever the plastic panel away from the metal door
Door panel removal – lever the plastic panel away from the metal door. After you pop a couple of clips, it gets easier to pull the panel away.
Door panel removal - use the trim tools to free each of the green clips around the edge of the panel
Door panel removal – use the trim tools to free each of the green clips around the edge of the panel. Unplug the wire from the window control in the plastic panel.
Door panel removal - at some point, it's easier to just pull the panel away rather than using the trim tool. The bottom of the panel hooks in to the metal, so lift, don't pull at the bottom
Door panel removal – at some point, it’s easier to just pull the panel away rather than using the trim tool. The bottom of the panel hooks in to the metal, so lift, don’t pull at the bottom.
Door panel removal - unhook the door catch cable by first sliding the yellow cylindrical piece out of its holder, unclipping the smaller yellow piece from the wire (without removing it from the actuator arm), then lifting the l-shaped cable end out from the actuator
Door panel removal – unhook the door catch cable by first sliding the yellow cylindrical piece out of its holder, unclipping the smaller yellow piece from the wire (without removing it from the actuator arm), then lifting the l-shaped cable end out from the actuator.

Preparing the door

On the driver's door, you'll need to remove the control box for the electric windows. There are two clips on the front edge, then the unit slides forwards to release from the door.
On the driver’s door, you’ll need to remove the control box for the electric windows. There are two clips on the front edge, then the unit slides forwards to release from the door.
Pull the white material away from the door. Use a scraper to make sure the black sticky stuff stays in one piece so you can re-use it
Pull the white material away from the door. Use a scraper to make sure the black sticky stuff stays in one piece so you can re-use it.
The speaker hole has the white material moulded in to it (to stop water hitting the speaker?) - you may have to remove this if your speakers are deeper than the stock ones.
Unscrew the four screws around the speaker and remove it. The speaker hole has the white material moulded in to it (to stop water hitting the speaker?). You may have to remove this if your speakers are deeper than the stock ones.
Add sound deadener and Thinsulate inside the door panel if you want to. Do NOT put Thinsulate in the area where the window retracts, just in the front part.
Add sound deadener and Thinsulate inside the door panel if you want to. Do NOT put Thinsulate in the area where the window retracts, just in the front part.
Remove the tweeter grille and then pull the A pillar cover off (start at the top, use the trim tool, and give it a tug)
Remove the tweeter grille and then pull the A pillar cover off (start at the top, use the trim tool, and give it a tug).
Undo the two T-25 screws holding the tweeter surround in place
Undo the two T-25 screws holding the tweeter surround in place. A T-20 driver works OK, given the angle you have to approach them at.
Pop out the tweeter from the base of the surround. It's only held in with a couple of plastic clips. Then unplug it and tape the wire somewhere to stop it from rattling.
Pop out the tweeter from the base of the surround. It’s only held in with a couple of plastic clips. Then unplug it and tape the wire somewhere to stop it from rattling. The stock system doesn’t have a crossover. Instead, it just uses that tiny capacitor (top of the tweeter) to filter out lower frequencies.

Add your new speakers

Prepare your new tweeter. You might need to put a trim ring around it to make it the correct diameter
Prepare your new tweeter. You might need to put a trim ring around it to make it the correct diameter
Place the crossover in the door space, then pull the tweeter wire through the wire channel to the dash using a wire fish
Place the crossover in the door space, then pull the tweeter wire through the flexible wire channel between the door and the van body and on through to the dash using a wire fish.
Make it easier to thread the wire through by pulling the rubber boot off from the A pillar. To re-install, first remove the plastic clip from the a-pillar metal (three tabs around its circumference), then re-attach the plastic clip to the rubber boot. Now clip the whole thing back into the hole in the A pillar.
Make it easier to thread the wire through by pulling the rubber boot off from the A pillar. To re-install, first remove the plastic clip from the a-pillar metal (three tabs around its circumference), then re-attach the plastic clip to the rubber boot. Now clip the whole thing back into the hole in the A pillar.
Pull the tweeter wire through to the underside of the tweeter surround, then crimp on butt connectors to join the tweeter wires to the ones coming from the crossover. Now you can push the tweeter into the underside of the surround. It should just clip in place.
Pull the tweeter wire through to the underside of the tweeter surround, then crimp on butt connectors to join the tweeter wires to the ones coming from the crossover. Now you can push the tweeter into the underside of the surround. It should just clip in place.
Cut the end off the original speaker wire in the door. Use butt crimps to connect this to the input on the crossover. Driver side: Brown/purple is +; Passenger side, brown/orange is +
Cut the end off the original speaker wire in the door. Use butt crimps to connect this to the input on the crossover. Driver side: Brown/purple is +; Passenger side, brown/orange is +
Attach the spacer ring to the speaker area. You might have to "relieve" the area where the cables attach. Note the high precision tool I'm using for that job. Spray the metal afterwards if you damaged the paint.
Pull the woofer wires down inside the door to the speaker hole and crimp on connectors for the speaker. Tape over the connectors with electrical tape to prevent them from shorting out on the metal of the door. Attach the spacer ring to the speaker area. You might have to “relieve” the area where the cables attach. Note the high precision tool I’m using for that job. Spray the metal afterwards if you damaged the paint.
Mount the speaker in place, then carefully drill holes in the spacer and attach the speaker screws
Mount the speaker in place, then carefully drill holes in the spacer and attach the speaker screws. Now is a good time to secure the crossover to the panel with zip ties.
Add sound deadener and Thinsulate to the inside of the door panel, leaving the green clips and two screw locations in the handle area clear
Add sound deadener and Thinsulate to the inside of the door panel, leaving the green clips and two screw locations in the handle area clear
Check that the front of the speaker clears the plastic edge of the door panel.
Replace the panel. Before you attach it fully, check that the front of the speaker clears the plastic edge of the door panel. If not, you’ll have to remove some of the plastic. This is also a good time to test that the woofer and tweeter both work, before you close everything back up.

The rest of the job is just fit and finish work to replace the A pillar cover and tweeter dash grille. You can do those tasks while listening to your tunes in much clearer stereo.

Optional: Remove voice coil speaker

The one other thing you might want to do is lever up the grille in the center of the dash and disconnect the speaker there.

It’s a special “voice coil” speaker. It takes an input from both the left and the right channel.

It’s supposed to make phone conversations sound better. Now that you have your new speakers in place though, you probably don’t need it attached. Up to you!

The central "voice coil" speaker sits under this grille in the middle of the dash. Pry it off.
The central “voice coil” speaker sits under this grille in the middle of the dash. Pry it off.
Here's the speaker - two T25 screws hold it in place.
Here’s the speaker – two T25 screws hold it in place.
Once the screws are undone, just pull it out. Then you can unhook the two connectors. These might be useful later if you need to hook up a subwoofer.
Once the screws are undone, just pull it out. Then you can unhook the two connectors. These might be useful later if you need to hook up a subwoofer.
Tape the two wires to the dash so they don't rattle while you're driving. Then, replace the grille and you're done.
Tape the two wires to the dash so they don’t rattle while you’re driving.Tape the two wires to the dash so they don’t rattle while you’re driving. Then, replace the grille and you’re done.

Removing the voice coil actually improves the stereo effect. Phone calls over the stereo are still clear enough without it there. It’s such a simple job that you might as well do it while you have the tools out for the rest of the install.

Is the upgrade worth it?

Absolutely, yes. You’ll spend no more than half a day doing this upgrade. Even though there’s nothing visible at the end of it, the sound quality is much improved. The stock head unit is nothing special, but the speakers were holding it back.

Before we made the upgrade, we found we couldn’t even listen to the radio in the van above 50 MPH because the base engine and road noise interfered too much. And that’s with a lot of sound insulation in place already!

Now, we can listen to the radio at a lower volume and still make out everything that’s being said. Music sounds fuller. Vocals are back in the mix.

Obviously the stock head unit doesn’t offer much in the way of graphic equalization. Just bass and treble controls. We found the best position was actually completely neutral.

We might still add a subwoofer. The woofers in the door panels do a pretty good job with low frequencies, but the bass frequencies are lost to road noise. Even a small sub will probably bring those back.

Update: We added a sub and it helped. In the end though, we did replace the stock radio with an aftermarket head unit.

38 Replies to “How to replace Sprinter door and dash speakers”

  1. ty so much..!!.really helpful
    Had just installed 2 new door speakers and still had this distorted noise
    removed the center voice coil and all is well
    really easy too

  2. Great site, I also have a 2015 sprinter but it still needs to work for a couple of years but have started on some up front projects, heater, swivels, and I wanted to upgrade my speakers. Your post is perfect timing and have ordered the speakers do you remember the size ring adapter you used so I can get that on the way?

    1. I just looked back at my order for the speaker adapters and the adapters I bought have a 5.75″ inner diameter. However, I’d suggest that you email the impact3d folks and give them the details of the speakers you’re planning on using. That way you can be sure to get the correct adapter rings.

  3. Thanks so much for your thorough explanations/pictures. Your site is awesome!
    I am planning on doing the same modification with same speakers. I’m curious…if one were to add a 10 or 8 inch subwoofer under passenger seat, how would I connect center voice coil wires? Combine both left/right channel?

    1. Phil, we bought a subwoofer with two channels of input (Pioneer TS-WH500A). We haven’t installed it yet. Several of the other options we looked at use the same configuration. You can keep the left and right channel wires from the center voice coil speaker separate all the way to the sub.

      1. Thanks for reply dieselfumes. That poineer subwoofer seems like a reasonable choice for limited space and power input.
        Are you going to add an amp? Or just extend the two voice coil channels to the subwoofer?
        Thanks
        Phil

        1. The Pioneer contains an amp, so no additional amplification is needed. We wanted to keep it simple. If you’re looking to rattle the windows, this isn’t the sub for you. However, if you’re just looking to add bottom end, my guess is that this will be sufficient. Also, it won’t loosen the fillings of whoever is sitting in the passenger seat directly above the sub.

  4. Thanks. Duh…I guess I should have looked at subwoofer more closely…in that an amp is integrated. I have speakers on order and will be tackling next weekend. Looking forward to your progress with amp.
    Phil

  5. Dieselfumes,
    Looking forward to your installation experiences with Pioneer subwoofer mentioned above. All your effort in documentation is much appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Phil

  6. So I started this today on my van 2016 high top, first thing I did was disconnect the battery. Started on the drivers side got everything installed fine all wired up, purple +. Before I put the door back together I tried to test it, no sound comes out of the drivers side only passenger. This is not my first speaker install. Now the engine light is on as well. Great. Do I need to replace both sides before it will work?

    1. Hi Jacob. You shouldn’t need to replace the speakers on both sides before it will work. It would even work if you had the +/- connected the wrong way around. I don’t know if you used crossovers at all, but if so check that you wired things correctly for your crossovers. For instance, if you connected the woofer to the tweeter cable and vice versa, then the crossover won’t let sound of the correct frequencies through to the speakers.

      Did you re-attach the window motor control wires? If those aren’t properly connected, that could set the engine light off.

      1. I’m using the same speakers you did, followed the wiring diagram double checked that, window and mirror wired reattached the same way too. I’m thinking it could be a bad relay? Or did I blow a fuse somehow? This is my first project on the van so far not so good :/ Thank you for your help I do appreciate it.

        1. Hmmm. If you’d blown a fuse then the radio wouldn’t work. It’s marginally possible that the crossover is faulty. You can test that by bypassing it and connecting your new speaker directly to the original wires. You can also use the original speaker to test whether the cable from the radio is working still, and whether the cable from the crossover is working. That will at least help you start diagnosing the cause of the issue.

    2. Jakob – your 2016 van has airbags in the A pillars, right? Check that the wires for those didn’t get disconnected while you were installing the tweeters. That would give you a check engine light for sure.

  7. Hey Dieselfumes. Finally got around to this project. Obviously took longer than I thought. Would have been longer if I didn’t have your instructions. Thanks!
    I have a question. I have a buzzing/humming coming from the driver-side tweeter…only when engine is running. There’s no buzzing with engine off. Did you have this problem? Any ideas? Should I harvest the tiny capacitor from the stock tweeter? If so, do I connect it in the positive or negative line? Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thanks. Happy holidays and new year!
    Phil

    1. Hey Phil, that buzzing probably won’t be solved by adding that capacitor. It was originally designed to be a frequency filter for the tweeter (a cheap version of the crossover). In fact, if the buzzing was being introduced somewhere before the crossover, then the crossover would probably filter it out!

      I’d suggest looking at where your wire to the tweeter is routed, and maybe trying to move it away from any electrical components.

  8. Thanks for quick reply. I have the crossover (driver side) zip tied to black gizmo where window/mirror/etc wires go… I wonder if that could be the issue?
    I also got a check engine light. Any ideas to get rid of that? All your advice is much appreciated.
    Phil

    1. The van sends CanBus messages around on some of the wires that go to modules like the door control box. It’s quite likely that the circuitry in the crossover or the wires to the speakers are picking up some of that signal and creating the buzzing noise.

      Wow – what’s with all these check engine lights? The best thing to do if you don’t have a code reader is to go to an auto parts store (O’Rielly, NAPA, etc.) and get them to read the code. My guess is that unplugging the door module created the code, but I really don’t know. It didn’t happen for me, and normally if you pulled the battery isolator then you should be fine unplugging that type of stuff. Is there an air bag in the door or the A pillar? If so, and if it got disconnected at any point while the van had power, then you probably have an SRS warning. That would put the check engine light on.

  9. Dieselfumes, firstly let me say THANKS! Your site is my number one resource and I’m constantly referring back to it. I’m going to be ordering the same Hertz speakers you’ve linked above and wanted to see if you remember what size speaker mount you pouched from Hein? He offers several different diameters.

  10. I’m trying to figure out how to remove the tweeters. I have removed the A-Pillar cover and the the two T-25 screws, but the housing appears to be one big piece. So I can raise the corner slightly, but to gain access to the tweeter it seems I would need to remove the entire dash. Any suggestions?

    1. Ryan, the piece with the tweeter in it is separate from the rest of the dash. If you gently lever it up, it should come loose from the dash surround.

      Once you’ve done that, you can remove the tweeter from the back of the plastic piece it’s attached to.

  11. interesting, having spent 10 yrs in car audio putting on the old hat is fun. Any luck with adding a amp to the OEM radio ?

    1. We haven’t done any more modifications to the audio yet. There’s a powered sub sitting in our garage, as well as a four pole double throw switch and a 12v amp so that we can add rear speakers and switch them between being on the stock stereo and being on a circuit that we just plug our phone into at the rear of the van. That’s all on hold while we work out whether we want to do any bigger interior modifications first.

  12. new to stereo installs. I own a 2016 sprinter high roof.
    I bought a new deck Pioneer spa-da120 app radio
    JBL club 51/4′ door speakers and JBL 6 x9 that I was going to install in the top of my back doors.
    after reading about your install dieselfumes should I have bought the JBL component speakers for the front doors ?
    want to add a sub don’t know where the best place to put one would be besides under the front passenger seat

    1. Ryan, if you get the component speakers you will be able to put the tweeters in the dash. That might give you a better sound stage than just having the sound coming from the base of the front doors. That’s really your choice though.

      The front passenger seat base is a common place to install the sub. Hein (on the forum, or Impact3D on eBay) sells CNC’d panels to mount a sub in the wall just behind the driver’s seat.

      The other thing to consider is that the Mercedes wiring harness isn’t standard. You might need an adapter for your Pioneer deck. If you have the steering wheel buttons you’ll need a CAN bus adapter too.

  13. Just finished this install on my 2016 144″ Crew. Everything went as described (thanks so much)- just wanted to note that the side airbags have a sensor hard riveted to the side door frame, just below the power window black-box controller. It can’t be removed so you can’t completely open up the door frame. There’s enough room to still put in the insulation and sound deadening.

    Also, I used the exact speakers you described (and the link so you get a little something) and the wires were too short. I had to put in a splice to have enough room to work the tweeter wires through the doors, etc.

    Doors feel a lot more solid for sure. Tweeters are very loud and clear. The factory install head doesn’t have enough power to really crank the woofers so loud is just loud. Slamit over on the Sprinter-source describes adding a Sound Processor to clean up the signal before running it to an amp.

    This project is a great first step and I anticipate adding a sound processor, amp, sub, and rear speakers along the way.

    Thanks Again

    1. Tahoe, thanks for the info about the 2016 air bags. My 2015 is lacking in that department, apparently. Thanks too for buying via our links. It does help! They must have cheaped out with the wire on those crossovers recently, because I’m sure we didn’t have to splice in additional cable for the run through the door pillar.

      We’re still considering ripping out the factory head unit. If it was just the poor power output, that would be one thing. But the terrible interface and small screen are the main frustrations we have.

  14. Replaced the door speakers today with JBL 6 3/4 coaxial. Used both sound deadener and thinsulate and the Hein adaptors. Still looks factory until you turn on the radio. Then it sounds fantastic.

    1. Awesome! It’s funny how the factory head unit is let down by the stock speakers. OK, it’s far from the best head unit in the world, but it could be so much better if only Mercedes invested in slightly higher quality door speakers.

  15. Wow, your explanations are so well detailed that within a few hours I managed to do the exact same upgrade. Never did any speaker installation before. Can’t thank you enough, I really appreciate.

  16. Great! Thanks so much for this. It was perfect and managed to get my new speakers in and it’s sounding great!

    I have a question regarding the voice coil replacement. I have managed to get it out and bought a small bass/mid speaker to go in place.

    What im wondering is how to wire it up…. Is it a case of Positive from Left and Right speakers into the new speaker Positive? Or do you keep the Positive and Negative from the Left into one terminal and the Positive and Negative of Right
    into the other terminal.

    This may sound like a silly question but I thought I would ask before ‘experimenting’ which will no doubt lead to messing it up!

    1. Chris, good job with the speaker upgrade!

      If you connect the positive from both speakers to the same terminal, it’ll let the left and right channels mix, so *none* of your speakers in the doors or dash will have a stereo effect. It might also cause damage to your head unit or amp. If you connect positive and negative to the same terminal, it will be the equivalent of shorting out the circuit. You’ll get no sound on any of the speakers on that channel, and again you could damage the head unit or amp.

      If you want to add a speaker in that location, it needs to be one with two coils and two sets of +/- terminals (just like the original one) or just two separate speakers. However, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to use the voice coil location for a speaker. It will mess with the stereo sound stage. It will also change the impedance of the circuit (Ohms).

      About the only dual voice coil speakers you can get are ones designed to fit into older vehicles from before stereo was a thing. Those vehicles tended to come with one central speaker in the dash. The retrofit speakers probably aren’t high quality.

      We ended up using the wires at the voice coil location to connect to a subwoofer. That’s likely to give you a much bigger improvement in sound quality than putting a speaker in the center of the dash.

  17. This post would be even more helpful if you could edit it to note that the Hein adapter required is the 5.75″ diameter one. (Also the sprinter source link about the speaker adapters no longer works.) After clicking the Amazon link to buy the speakers, I clicked over from this post to Hein’s Ebay store and it says that most 6.5″ speakers require a 5″ ID with no mention of the Hertz speakers. I was in a hurry to get something ordered before a week of rain and figured Hein would mention the Hertz speakers if they didn’t use the 5″ ID, so that’s what I ordered… Now that I realize the speaker won’t fit in the adapter I ordered, I see this post had two comments noting the 5.75″ ID. It’s a long post so putting the 5.75″ ID at the top would be much more helpful than expecting people to read all of the comments before ordering anything.

    1. Eric, thanks for letting me know about the dead link. I’ve also added the adapter ring size directly in the text now. Thanks for using the Amazon link to buy the speakers – it really helps me keep this site running.

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