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.
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.
Sound deadener – we used Reckhorn because it’s what we had left over from the rest of the van.
Extra length of wire to extend speaker wires (may or may not be required).
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
All 2016+ vans and many earlier ones will have airbags in the door panels and behind the A pillar trim.
If you don’t disconnect the van’s battery before you start work, you could set an airbag off. If you don’t reconnect any loose airbag wires before you reconnect the battery, you can trigger an SRS or Check Engine light.
Removing the door panel
Preparing the door
Add your new speakers
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!
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.