Work Posts Résumé

Fixing the Single Rear JBL speaker in my Camry

The curious speaker blank that Toyota left in this Camry.

Thanks to an unruly set of potholes in the parking lot of the Summit West ski area I am borrowing my father’s 2012 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid for a couple weeks. This car was optioned with the premium JBL sound system when it was new. I found it to be pretty good as stock car audio systems go. But I noticed an annoying rattle from the rear of the car when music was playing and decided to handle the issue. There are a few YouTube videos that cover how to remove the trim panels and the rear deck cover to get access to the speakers, so that was straight forward, if tedious. Where things got weird is when I could see the single rear speaker.

The new JBL speaker installed in all its glory.

For starters there were only 3 of them: a pair of tweeters and a single 6x9 unit. Apparently, this JBL system is set up with a high pass filter for the rear speaker so that it only plays the bass tones. The thing about bass is that it is not very directional, unlike the high tones that come from tweeters which drop drastically in quality when the listener is off center. With this knowledge, Toyota and JBL shipped this premium audio system with only a single rear 6x9 despite having a perfectly good spot for a second speaker. I find this difficult to believe, but I suppose it makes sense given that this is just a Camry and not an ES350.

The old speaker with its damaged foam ring.

In this case, the rattle I was hearing appears to be due to the foam mounting tape on the speaker failing and sliding down on to the speaker cone. As best as I can tell the old speaker is in working order, but as I had already purchased adapter plates, wires, and a new JBL 6x9 to replace the rattling speaker I installed them anyway. I had all the parts on hand, so I was curious to see if Toyota had included the wiring to replace the blank 6x9 hole with a working speaker. Sadly, they did not; only the wiring to support the existing tweeter is present on the passenger side of the car.

The bane of my existence.

With the new speaker installed I set about reassembling the car. While I was able to get everything snuggly back into place, I sheared one of the plastic push clips in half while pushing the final trim piece back into the C-pillar. Turns out that buying 50 of them was the only way to get 1 day shipping on Amazon. I now have a minty fresh set of 49 trim push pins that I’m sure I will cherish for years to come.