This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster. The book contains 312 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 950+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Boxster owner's collection. The book is currently available and in stock now. See The Official Book Website for more details.
Almost all two-seater roadsters suffer from poor audio from the car stereo. The Boxster is no exception, as it only has a few speakers located in the doors and the dashboard to overcome the loud wind noise that often accompanies open-top driving. In order to compensate, Porsche developed a rear speaker kit that places four small speakers into the left and right compartments of the optional rear storage compartment. The result is very good: the stereo sounds great with these additional speakers: as good or better than the $3000 premium stereo option that Porsche used to offer for these cars.
Unfortunately, the plug-in kit that was available from Porsche for many years is now no longer available. You can still create the kit from each of the individual components, which I've listed in this table:
|986-551-431-00-01C-OEM||SPEAKER MOUNT, LEFT||24.50||1|
|986-551-432-00-01C-OEM||SPEAKER MOUNT, RIGHT||24.50||1|
|986-551-433-00-01C-OEM||SPEAKER COVER, LEFT||69.00||1|
|986-551-434-00-01C-OEM||SPEAKER COVER, RIGHT||69.00||1|
|986-612-085-00-OEM||SPEAKER WIRING HARNESS||55.75||1|
|986-645-503-00-OEM||AUTO STEREO SPEAKER||41.25||4|
|999-651-286-02-OEM||CABLE CLAMP CLIP||1.00||9|
You can also mix and match factory and aftermarket parts to create your own speaker kit. The two speaker covers are the most important part of the project: with them in place, you can insert small 3" speakers of your choosing and custom mount them as needed. The 2005 and later cars came with a different speaker subwoofer package that used the rear storage compartment, but you can still install the earlier-style speaker (pre 2005) into the later cars with some modifications.
You also need the wire that connects from the back of the radio to the speakers themselves. This is dependent upon the radio that you have in your car: the factory radio uses a harness that is available direct from Becker USA for about $50 and is part number 5001.211-276. If you have an aftermarket stereo, the best option is to create your own wire harness that connects from the radio to the speaker plug where it exits out of the storage enclosure (see inset A of Figure 5).
If your Boxster doesn't have the rear storage compartment installed, then you will have to purchase the parts required for its installation. These are:
|986 551 223 00 EMY (1997-04)
987 551 223 01 FNF (2005-)
|Storage compartment with black carpet (available in different colors to match your interior)|
|986 551 427 00 01C||Rose|
|986 551 429 00 01C||Catch (2 required)|
|986 551 543 00 01C||Washer (2 required)|
The Porsche part number for the kit was PNA 986 KIT. The kit was shipped with rudimentary instructions, a subset of information taken from the Porsche Boxster Technical Information Bulletin 0001 9142.
The first step is to remove the storage compartment from the car. See Project 3 for more information on this procedure. With the storage unit out of the car, move it over to your workbench and remove the three torx screws from each of the two side storage bins. Use a Dremmel tool to remove the glue that holds each storage bin in place. Be careful with the Dremmel tool: don't cut through or damage the face of the storage compartment. Use a hobby knife to remove any excess glue, then depress the tabs on the storage bins and remove them. Work carefully during this process as the plastic material in the storage compartment unit is thin and easily damaged.
Now, snap the speaker grilles into place within the storage compartment, making sure that the top edge of the grille is properly seated in the groove in the storage compartment. Using a hot-glue gun or plastic cement, glue the edges of the speaker grilles. Doing this will ensure a rattle-free installation.
With the grilles in place, install the speakers as shown in Figure 2. Use the torx screws that were previously holding in the left and right storage bins. Route the wires for the speakers using the wire clips. Route the wire and place the clips as shown in Figure 3. When all of the glue from the speaker grilles has dried, reinstall the rear compartment into the car.
Now, you need to route the wire from the radio to the speakers (see Figure 5). If you don't have the Becker factory harness handy, then simply run two pairs of speaker wire instead. Begin by removing the right side rear panel, which covers the seat belt and roll bar mounting point. Install the end of radio harness clip into roll bar cross-brace: rotate it 90 degrees to snap it in place. If you don't have the factory harness, then you will need to head to your local electronics store and get a four-prong male / female connector combo.
On the side of the car, remove the umbrella compartment and remove passenger side lower dash cover, which is fixed in place by two large plastic screws. At this time remove the radio. Route your wire from the rear speaker plug down the side of the car, up the side of the passenger side foot well, and to the rear of the radio compartment (see Project 75 for details on snapping off the side panels on the center console). Insert the pins into the connector and then insert the connector into your radio. Depending upon which radio you have, you will have to get a connector appropriate for plugging in the rear speakers. Almost all aftermarket radios have existing wires for these rear speakers. Also, if you have a car with an external amplifier, you will have to plug it into that instead of the head unit. When you're done, reconnect the battery, enter the radio code, and test your new speakers!
Shown here are the components that comprise the Boxster rear speaker kit. This photo was taken of one of the Genuine Porsche kits before they became unavailable. You can still purchase all of these parts separately, but the key component is the custom-fit speaker grilles that fit into the storage compartment.
The rear speakers are installed into the rear storage compartment tray. The kit was originally a factory-installed option (it came with the upgraded stereo package), so the storage compartment tray is designed to accept the speaker enclosure and the grilles as well. The upper right inset photo shows where you screw the speaker into the tray. Route the wires using the included clips as per the photo inset in the lower left. The main wire leading to the radio should be routed out the corner on the right side of the car (green arrow).
Shown here is the completed installation of the speakers into the storage tray compartment. The green arrow points to the spot on the back of the radio where the plug fits. The plug is a standard Audi plug, and is shown in the upper right inset photo.
In order to plug in the rear speaker connection, you need to remove your radio. Use the radio removal keys (available direct from Becker, and also supplied with the factory kit, green arrow) to pull out the radio by inserting them into the head unit and pulling on the two keys using two screwdrivers. The unit should slide right out. The keys release the spring-loaded locking mechanism on the side of the radio (yellow arrow). I recommend disconnecting the battery prior to removing the radio (see Pelican Technical Article: Battery Disconnect Switch / Battery Buddy Installation). Also make sure that you have your radio code handy when you unplug the unit.
This photo shows the process of routing the cable from the speakers to the radio. A- The wire from the speakers in the storage tray plugs into the harness that runs down the side of the car. These two plugs clip into a holder on the left side of the car. B- Behind the passenger seat, remove the screws that hold on the carpeted panel (difficult to see with dark interiors). Remove the screw at the top too (see Photo 2E of Pelican Technical Article: Cruise Control Installation). C- At the bottom of the door jamb, route the wire underneath the plastic panel that runs across the door. D- The "umbrella pocket" hides two screws that you need to remove in order to access the area underneath. E- Run the wire down the side of the car underneath this panel. Be aware of the side-impact airbag sensors located nearby.