By Rob Mustard (aka REM in Seattle)
Search word: rem_mod
Last updated July 30, 2006
For the 1994-1998 SAAB 900, two stereo systems were available in the USA market. Both the standard and premium SAAB stereo systems have 3.5" full range speakers in the dash and 6"X9" full range speakers in the rear parcel shelf area (6.5 diameter rear speakers in convertibles). These speakers are powered from the in-dash stereo with 20 watts maximum power x 4 speakers driven.
The front door speakers were fitted only on the premium stereo system, typically sold in the USA in the 900SE trim package. The premium stereo system adds the 6.5" mid-bass speakers in the front doors and a separate mid-bass amplifier to the standard stereo system. The separate mid-bass amplifier is located on the right side of the center console. The mid-bass amplifier supplies only frequencies below 200 Hz to the front door speakers. The amplifier is rated at 40 watts maximum power x 2 speakers driven.
The stock stereo system in my 1998 900SET had two 3.5 diameter paper dual-cone dash speakers and two 6x 9 plastic dual-cone rear speakers driven by the Clarion built SAAB radio tuner/amplifier (20W Max. X 4). There were also two 6.5 diameter plastic cone front door speakers driven by a separate mid-bass amplifier, handling only the frequencies below 200 HZ (40W Max. X 2). I found the stock stereo system in my 1998 900SET 5-door to have very poor frequency response. The mid-bass was muddy, the mid-range was lacking, and the high frequencies were buzzy.
I upgraded the sound system by installing aftermarket speakers. I kept the stock radio tuner/amplifier unit and the stock mid-bass amplifier. I simply replaced the stock speakers with aftermarket speakers. I used 3.5 2-way speakers in the dash, 6x 9 3-way speakers in the rear parcel shelf, and 6.5 mid-bass speakers in the front doors. The aftermarket speakers give much fuller response in the mid-bass and mid-range frequencies and clear definition in the high frequencies. The total cost for the all three sets of speakers was about $400.
Installation of the aftermarket speakers was really quite straight forward. I found the audio and interior sections of the SAAB Service Manuals available from the dealer to be very helpful. To fit aftermarket speakers to the existing speaker wires will require an adapter to the SAAB speaker connectors (I could not find any adapters) or cutting off the SAAB speaker connectors and adding the correct connectors for the aftermarket speakers.
The front speakers are easily replaced. First use a small screw driver to pry up the plastic grill for access. Then a tool like the Skewdriver is needed to remove the two speaker mounting screws. After terminating the speaker wires to the new speakers, just reverse the process for re-assembly.
The rear parcel shelf speakers are a bit harder. There are not very many aftermarket 6x9 speakers that will fit in the existing cut-out in the parcel shelf. The easiest method to resolve this problem is to mount the after market speakers from under the parcel shelf. This simply means screwing the new speakers in from the bottom of the shelf. There is plenty of room below the shelf for most aftermarket speakers. To access the rear parcel shelf speakers remove the parcel shelf from the hatch area, then remove all the screws and the rear seat back latch bolts from the speaker grill assembly using Torx drive bits. You will also need to remove the fasteners holding the rear quarter panel carpet in place and pull the carpet out of the way.
Fitting the front door mid-bass speakers requires removing the front door panels. This is rather involved and really requires a diagram of the front door panel fasteners. Other than the removal of the door panel, the speaker replacement is straight forward. The mid-bass door speakers are mounted in a plastic spacer ring that is in turn mounted to the door. The plastic spacer ring is large enough to house most 6.5 and 6.75 aftermarket speakers. The limiting factor will be the speaker depth. If you are adding door speakers to a vehicle that did not come with them (to an S model for example), you will need to fabricate or buy some speaker baskets and will probably have to run your own wires as the doors are not always factory pre-wired.
According to Saab Service Manual, Section 3:5 "Electrical system, Audio System" for Model Year (MY)1994 and MY1995 (no later MY information given unfortunately) the speaker wire color code is:
dash left channel + Brown/Gray
dash left channel - Brown
dash right channel + Brown/Red
dash right channel - Brown/Black
rear left channel + Brown/White
rear left channel - Brown
rear right channel + Black/Green
rear right channel - Black/White
mid-bass left door + Yellow/White
mid-bass left door - Orange/White
Mid-bass right door + Gray
Mid-bass right door - Brown/Red
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