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  • Speaker upgrades, retrofitting 8" speakers in LSV

    • Year: 2007 Brand: Malibu Model / Trim: LSV 247 Cost: $500-$999 DIY or Professional Install: I installed it Sound Project Components: Upgraded Amps, Upgraded Cabin Speakers

    It's just a small project, but hopefully it helps someone considering something similar.  Always good to see a boat taken apart.  

    I swapped out my aging 6.5" cabin speakers to Wetsounds 6.5s and 808s when the prices fell below 50% off at some places  (after Wetsounds announced their new Revo series).  This is a 2007 Malibu 247 LSV.   Only newer LSVs were designed for 8" speakers.   

    So I ended up with 2 pairs of SW650s for the dash and rear, and 2 pairs of SW808s in the mid ship and bow.

    I had 6.5" polk momo speakers, which I loved.  Sounded awesome with a clean amp.  But one pair went bad, and then the others started showing age in a few spots from years of sun exposure.   I thought about replacing the speakers again with Polk, but ultimately went with the WS because of the sale, the fact that they matched my Rev10s, and I liked the 100% all black grills (SW series), even though most people prefer the contrasted the silver cones and/or grills.  I think WS quality is very high as well.

    Swapping out the 6.5" speakers with the same size was obviously a 5 minute job.   The holes are different but the WS screws cut right into the LSVs plastic.  I did pull the windshield to replace the dash speakers.  It was nice to get rid of the silver grills on the dash so now there is no reflection and the speakers "blend" into the black vinyl of the dash.

    The 808s were a different story.  An ideal installation would require some custom fabrication of the mounting holes.  If I had all the time in the world I could have created a new surface insert, with proper spacers and depth.    I did the quick, low budget version -- which meant cutting the plastic with a dremel to make the speakers fit, and used a thick formfitting gasket as a spacer for the contours.

    Original speakers -- they looked and sounded nice for years, until a few started showing their age and one pair went bad.



    The new SW series, also a 6.5" so easy swap.   It was really nice to lose the reflection on the dash!  The polks looked great but I do like black better.  



    Now the hard part.  Squeezing 8" speakers where they were never designed to be.  Is it worth the trouble?  Debatable, but yes if you have the time.  My system sounded great before, rounded out with a W7 sub and Rev 10s.   But the 8s are very capable and add quite a bit... its just on the older boats they are awfully hard to fit.

    Here's the size difference.   WS 808 vs Polk 6.5 that fit nicely.  Not only diameter but the depth of the speaker and the thickness of the grill's face is also larger.   Ginormous.




    So the main problems:  

    1) Needed a bigger hole in the plastic mount.   Look at the size difference above.
    2) Needed to space the speaker forward for depth and also because the larger diameter meant the speaker part of the speaker would no longer be flush to the plastic mount.   The mount was only flat enough for a 6.5".
    3) The vinyl covering on the sides would partially cover the speaker and provided depth issues as well.  

    Started by removing the side panels.    To do this you need to reach up behind the gunwales and remove the nuts behind all of the bolts that run the length of the panels at the top.  I forgot how many... 9 or 10 maybe?.    

    Then you need to remove the cup holder, and reach your hand through to remove the lag bolts that hold the bottom mount together.  There were 3 lag bolts on the bottom of mine.  


    Once you unplug all the wires for the interior light, speakers, and anything else you might have (mine have LEDs around and under the cup holders.    Then you remove all the screws on the backside of the panel, as well as the 2 on the front for the stainless grab handles.  The plastic backing should be removed now.   Sorry... guess I didn't get those pictures.  

     Now it's time for the fun part.  Use the included WS template to trace your new hole for the larger speaker.  I chose to mount it so that the inside edge did not stick over the flat spot.  I figured this would look the best, and still keep the tweeter and most of the speaker unblocked by the vinyl siding.   

    This is the backside, you can see where the curves are in the plastic moulding.  The new speaker was larger than the flat area so mounting required more than just a new hole.





    I used a dremel to cut the hole... easy and quick if you are careful.  Practice on something else first if you've never used it.   To keep the inside edge of the speaker on the flat part (so the grill didn't overlap its space on the front) I actually had to cut quite a bit, more than I thought.  

    To handle the new problem of the plastic molding angles (because the speaker was bigger than the flat spot), I had to use a spacer that would form fit.   Instead of creating my own molded rings, as I'm sure the professional speaker shops would take the time to do, I chose a shortcut.   I used a 3/4"rubber-foam tube to form a "gasket"  which I ordered from Mc Master Carr (on Resources Portal page).   The pros might laugh at me for this, but it worked phenomenal and the specs on it say it's fairly bullet proof in sun/weather.  

    It blends in, and conforms perfectly to the contours of the plastic moulding, now that the speaker diameter exceeded the flat spot.  You'd have to stick your head in to see the side of the speaker to even notice it.



    Oh, and while I had the plastic panels removed, I cleaned them well and even through on a quick polish using my DA, and then threw on some collinites wax.   The plastic shined up to new in no time.   I also removed the stainless bezel with the backlit Malibu cutout and polished it too.  Makes a difference... I'm sure it hasn't looked this clean since 2007!







    So once I reassembled the mid-ship speakers, I started working on the bow.  Same problems as the middle speakers... the moulding in the bow was not designed for 8" speakers in 2007.   To remove the bow plastic inserts, I was able to get away with unscrewing the bottom 2 screws on the plastic, and then removing just 3-4 nuts off the top portion of the bow side panels.  From there you can flex the vinyl panel enough to pull out the plastic moulding.   

    Used a dremel to enlarge the holes here as well. These did not require a form fitting gasket/spacer, I was able to use the standard flat speaker gasket.  The bow went much quicker, and I also polished the inserts while they were out.




    While I had no complaints about the Polks, I love the new sound as well and these speakers should last a long time I hope. The 808s don't fit (see pics above LOL),  but they sound exceptional and I paid much less for these 808s than the new 6.5s.  

    We never try to be the loudest at the lake, but are super happy with the system.   The system is super crisp, loud when needed and full.   I was lucky, the boat already had a JL W7 sub.  I bought used Rev 10s last summer.  Amps are a mix of JL HDs and Wetsounds.  Between refurbished and discounts I ended up with a pretty sweet system for a good price.

    Hope this helps someone to see how the boats pull apart.  I'm posting this away from home so I'll update with better pics later. 





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    31 minutes ago, Norcal said:

    Awesome! I was debating if I could make this work. 

    @NorcalYou have an lsv this era? I know there are better, more expensive ways.  But this isn't too bad.  No matter what you'll have to pull everything apart.  Let me know if you want to use that rubber gasket and I'll look up part number. 

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    That's a nice boat! I had an 03 sunscape, which was very capable at everything and I'd ski before surfing.  I think yours throws a better surf wake and wakeboard wake.   

    Depending on what tower speakers and sub you have, I'm not sure I'd go through too much effort for the 8s if you have new 6.5s already.  A lot of work!  I know this is a project site and all, but just sayin'. :)

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