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87 Vette - Bose Stereo System

DarbyOhara

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Messages
44
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Southern Maryland
Corvette
1987 Corvette C4 Silver Coupe/Targa
Ok, being a new owner of a 87 Corvette and having confusion with the Bose Stereo System installed. I understand that the Bose radio/cassette is unique and an owner can't just tear it out and replace it with a more modern system without some modifications. Here are my questions...

* I seen Kenwood stereo system at Kenwwod AM/FM/CD with AUX input for $99 but the website doesn't give much install/technical information. Would anyone know if this system is just an easy swap installation? Or would it require modification, to include the wiring and holding bracket. I read that this Bose system has a special amp and according to what I read, there is no easy replacement without modification. Hopefully some one has already tried this or knows.

* Since the Bose speakers are amplified, I would assume that I couldn't replace any of the speakers without modification of some sort. New speakers at stores like Best Buy aren't amplified like these. Any help or tips. Also, that Full Throttle Corvette website I linked above also sells Kenwood replacement speakers for my 87 Corvette... but it one again doesn't give much information about technical and installation. Has anyone tried these or knows how to easily upgrade or replace the speakers without getting into electrical mods and such.

Any help would be appreciated.
 

DarbyOhara

Active member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
44
Location
Southern Maryland
Corvette
1987 Corvette C4 Silver Coupe/Targa
If the system is in working order, consider only adding in an AUX IN input:
Delco Bose AUX Input soldered connection... - ZR-1 Net Registry Forums

I have some cable left over from the job; PM me your address if interested, I can send the cable for free...

Well, from the looks of the other thread, I am leary to reply to you... but, yes, my Bose stereo system is the pits. I haven't tried the cassette player (cause I have none to try and rather not fiddle with them), but the radio part is not the best either. Stations will tune in and a few seconds later, nothing. air! hit scan and it goes through and finds nothing. Happens nearly every new time I mess with it. And when a station is tuned in, the noise and crackling is unpleasant. I didn't buy a classic Corvette to listen to radio or music... so it was no big deal when I purchased it.. thinking I can just easily replace the stereo with something more modern and easily replace the speakers if needed...

Now that I own it and researched, it appears that isn't an easy option because this model Bose system is unique (amplifier and amplified speakers). I gave a few ideas with the links above and I was hoping someone could give me advice about the options, WITHOUT modifying electrical stuff. Another words, are there any quality products out there that can easily replace the current Bose system and speakers. Of course, I am not willing to pay a half of grand just for a simple replacement, unless it serves my coffee in the morning, checks my email and tunes in radio station from the planet Jupiter. Otherwise, I'll just keep researching...
 

Baldie88

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Joined
Mar 14, 2002
Messages
551
Location
Waterloo, IL USA
Corvette
2016 triple black vert.
I don't know if this helps but a previous owner of my 88 replaced the stock Bose system with an aftermarket AM/FM/CD and new speakers. You might check on Crutchfield.com as that is where I got my new stuff. I recently replaced the old unit with a Kenwood that had a usb input so I could use my iPod. I bought the new radio, 6 X 9 speakers for the rear and 4 x 4 speakers for the doors for under $200. I'm very happy with the results. It only took maybe 2 hours total to replace everything. I believe you have to swap out the speakers when you install an aftermarket radio because of the pre-amps in the Bose speakers. The only thing I didn't mess with was the speakers in the dash. I figured with a 25 year old car I'd crack the dash pad for sure.

Ron
"Baldie88"
 

DarbyOhara

Active member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
44
Location
Southern Maryland
Corvette
1987 Corvette C4 Silver Coupe/Targa
I don't know if this helps but a previous owner of my 88 replaced the stock Bose system with an aftermarket AM/FM/CD and new speakers. You might check on Crutchfield.com as that is where I got my new stuff. I recently replaced the old unit with a Kenwood that had a usb input so I could use my iPod. I bought the new radio, 6 X 9 speakers for the rear and 4 x 4 speakers for the doors for under $200. I'm very happy with the results. It only took maybe 2 hours total to replace everything. I believe you have to swap out the speakers when you install an aftermarket radio because of the pre-amps in the Bose speakers. The only thing I didn't mess with was the speakers in the dash. I figured with a 25 year old car I'd crack the dash pad for sure.

Ron
"Baldie88"

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the reply and this is what I am kinda looking for.... options without a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo just to get a newer stereo. Since you done this yourself, can I ask a few questions? I haven't ripped apart the console with the current Bose stereo in it... but researching... my understanding that the current unit is somehow over-size (possibly in length) because the added amplifier on the back. Was this difficult removing? And with the Kenwood replacement, how hard was it attaching and mounting? One article I read covered this, but gave very little details and absolutely no pictures. Here is the article:

C4 Corvette Sound System Upgrade: Part 1

Do you remember which Kenwood model it was?

As for the speakers... yes, I understand that since the stereo is replaced the amplified speakers need to be replaced. The rear two are 6x9. Do you remember the door speaker sizes? You said you didn't mess with the two speakers in the dash... but they are amplified aren't they? Did you have to disconnect them since you didn't replace them? I also agree that I would rather not rip my dash apart for those speakers. Just wondering how you handled it. Again, thanks for the replies...
 

DarbyOhara

Active member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
44
Location
Southern Maryland
Corvette
1987 Corvette C4 Silver Coupe/Targa
Ok, I searched through Crutchfield for my 87 Vette and it listed quite a few choices. I think I might try this one: Axxera XDMA7200 CD receiver at Crutchfield.com that seems to have everything I would possibly need, to include a SD card slot (up to 16gb of music) and bluetooth! However, it claims that it is a "modified" fit...

Installation Details for your 1987 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible with Bose system
  • To install this item, you'll have to modify your vehicle.
  • The mounting kit allows your new receiver to sit flush with the dash.
  • You'll have to unbolt or cut out the factory stereo's rear support bracket to make room for your new receiver.

Please Note: Your vehicle is equipped with a factory sound system that requires a special adapter to install a new car stereo. We strongly recommend that you purchase this adapter, and you'll save 50% if you buy it with any car stereo.


So this means I must unbolt or cut out the Bose rear bracket. Is this a hard task? I prefer not to cut anything, so are the bolts easy access? Thanks for any help...
 

Knuckles

Member
Joined
May 29, 2013
Messages
21
Location
California
Corvette
1992 LT-1 Arctic White
Hey I came at the right time! I am a MECP installer (Mobile Electronic Certified Professional)
I do car stereos for a living.
And most of the time that warning is just a warning, but if you have to cut it out. It's usually plastic and pretty easy.
But with the bose system you will need to replace the speakers and the factory wiring too.
Bose speaks a language all its own, and the new stereo can't speak bose.
 

DarbyOhara

Active member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
44
Location
Southern Maryland
Corvette
1987 Corvette C4 Silver Coupe/Targa
Hey I came at the right time! I am a MECP installer (Mobile Electronic Certified Professional)
I do car stereos for a living.
And most of the time that warning is just a warning, but if you have to cut it out. It's usually plastic and pretty easy.
But with the bose system you will need to replace the speakers and the factory wiring too.
Bose speaks a language all its own, and the new stereo can't speak bose.

Thanks for the post and info. I am a little relieved that the stereo bracket is easy to remove (if necessary). Crutchfield does sell the mounting kit so the stereo fits in my 87 Vette and they also sell the Bose wiring harness. Supposedly it is just simple plug n' play from my understanding. Others have commented that their wiring harness is pretty straight forward, so no modifications are necessary. And yes, I do know that I must replace the speakers with after-market stereo since the current speakers are specific to the Bose stereo.

What I don't know... and I asked the other poster is the front/dash speakers. He claimed he didn't mess with their replacement, but he didn't say what he done to by pass them or if he done anything at all. I am a little confused on that. I do not wish to rip-apart my dash to get at those speakers. But must I disconnect them or what?

Otherwise, I am going to eventually try to tackle the replacement with the stereo I linked above. Besides the bluetooth for my cell phone, I like that it has a SD card slot. I can easily place quite a few albums of music on a 16gb card... easy to remove and update music! Thanks.
 

DarbyOhara

Active member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
44
Location
Southern Maryland
Corvette
1987 Corvette C4 Silver Coupe/Targa
oh Sheet!

I went back to Crutchfeild.com to start searching for speaker replacements and I decided to start searching for the front door speakers. Every one that I pull up has the "modified installation" note and I pull it up and it states:

Installation Details for your 1987 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible with Bose system


  • To install this item, you'll have to modify your vehicle.
  • Use the factory speaker grilles.
  • You'll need to fabricate a speaker mounting bracket or spacer.
  • A wiring harness is not available. You'll have to cut off the factory connectors and splice the vehicle's speaker wires to your new speaker wires.
  • The factory system uses amplified speakers that only work with the Bose® radio. If you replace one of the factory speakers, you'll have to replace the entire system.
  • In order to install aftermarket speakers in this location, you'll need to run new speaker wires.
  • You'll have to make extensive modifications to your vehicle to install new speakers. These modifications, which may include cutting and/or fabrication, won't be covered in the installation instructions included with your purchase.

I am confused again! I thought all I would need to do is swap the door panel speakers with the new ones, splice into the writing and hook it up (solder). According to this blurb, I have to figure out a bracket to mount it? (DUMB!) and I have to re-wire? (DUMBER!). Why can't the current Bose system wiring be used? All I need is the positive and negative of the speaker wire... I really don't wish to re-wire the complete thing and never heard of anyone else having to do that. Can anyone enlighten me about this. Are the rear 6x9 speakers the same way? They are not just easy swap and use the current wiring? Anyone?
 

Baldie88

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 14, 2002
Messages
551
Location
Waterloo, IL USA
Corvette
2016 triple black vert.
Well I'll defer to Knuckles as it looks like he does this for a living. My own opinion is that Crutchfield is doing a CYA job. Like I said previously someone prior to me swapped out the stock Bose for an aftermarket. I didn't need a special bracket for the door speakers. They were 4 X 4 and just screwed into existing holes in the door. The rears were 6 x 9 and again went right in place of the old ones. As for the wiring, I agree with you. I'd cut the ends of the old wiring and put a spade connector on the end. All you need is positive and negative as you said. As for the radio I've had the console top and dash front off so many times (about 6-8 screws, that once these were off it was maybe 30 minutes to swap the radio out. Crutchfield did have a mounting kit that worked but I used the old mounting kit from the previous installation. I'm at work but when I get home I can find my receipt and send you a pm to let you know what I ordered.

Hope this helps.

Ron
"Baldie88"
 

Knuckles

Member
Joined
May 29, 2013
Messages
21
Location
California
Corvette
1992 LT-1 Arctic White
Yeah but the bose have primarily 4" speakers front. And I can't remember the rear on a bose system.

But you can, with some creativity get the bigger ones in there.


Never under estimate the predictability of stupidity.
 

DarbyOhara

Active member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
44
Location
Southern Maryland
Corvette
1987 Corvette C4 Silver Coupe/Targa
Well I'll defer to Knuckles as it looks like he does this for a living. My own opinion is that Crutchfield is doing a CYA job. Like I said previously someone prior to me swapped out the stock Bose for an aftermarket. I didn't need a special bracket for the door speakers. They were 4 X 4 and just screwed into existing holes in the door. The rears were 6 x 9 and again went right in place of the old ones. As for the wiring, I agree with you. I'd cut the ends of the old wiring and put a spade connector on the end. All you need is positive and negative as you said. As for the radio I've had the console top and dash front off so many times (about 6-8 screws, that once these were off it was maybe 30 minutes to swap the radio out. Crutchfield did have a mounting kit that worked but I used the old mounting kit from the previous installation. I'm at work but when I get home I can find my receipt and send you a pm to let you know what I ordered.

Hope this helps.

Ron
"Baldie88"

Yeah, I think you are right about the CYA... when I selected a pair of kenwood 6x9 for the rear it didn't give me that note about custom mounting, but did warn about splicing into the current system and re-wiring. Yeah, I'd appreciate sending me what you ordered for your vette. It might help in my decisions.

See the attached picture of a left rear bose speaker and enclosure (not my picture, just an example). Hopefully you can see the wires clear enough. It appears there are 3 speaker wires for the Bose. A black (w/ blue stripe), orange, and a blue -- maybe a pure black one also, but hard to see. Does anyone know which is the positive and which is the negative? This picture is not mine. I found it on ebay and someone was selling the original Bose rear speaker and enclosure. But hopefully you can see the wires to help me identify which wires to splice into and use.
 

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Knuckles

Member
Joined
May 29, 2013
Messages
21
Location
California
Corvette
1992 LT-1 Arctic White
I am trying to switch out my 92 bose system and have been looking into all of this. There is a bose amp either under glove box or in the cubby behind driver seat. After you install the new system you need to bypass this.

And for best audio performance rewire and install new speakers. If you do this you don't even need to touch the amp, just run new wire to the new speakers from the new deck.

It's easier then the former.

Never under estimate the predictability of stupidity.
 

Knuckles

Member
Joined
May 29, 2013
Messages
21
Location
California
Corvette
1992 LT-1 Arctic White
Yeah, I think you are right about the CYA... when I selected a pair of kenwood 6x9 for the rear it didn't give me that note about custom mounting, but did warn about splicing into the current system and re-wiring. Yeah, I'd appreciate sending me what you ordered for your vette. It might help in my decisions.

See the attached picture of a left rear bose speaker and enclosure (not my picture, just an example). Hopefully you can see the wires clear enough. It appears there are 3 speaker wires for the Bose. A black (w/ blue stripe), orange, and a blue -- maybe a pure black one also, but hard to see. Does anyone know which is the positive and which is the negative? This picture is not mine. I found it on ebay and someone was selling the original Bose rear speaker and enclosure. But hopefully you can see the wires to help me identify which wires to splice into and use.

That's what I said previously, bose only speaks bose those wires are not positive and negative, one is 12v the other is ground and then it has audio wiring, most speakers speak the 2 wire audio, but bose has up to 3 audio wires sending audio signals to one speaker.

Rewire is necessary.

Never under estimate the predictability of stupidity.
 

Knuckles

Member
Joined
May 29, 2013
Messages
21
Location
California
Corvette
1992 LT-1 Arctic White
Don't be intimidated by "rewire" it ain't that tough it's just running standard 2 wire from the 4 speakers to the back of he deck.
In corvettes it's easy you don't even have to go through door jams just run them under carpet. Last time I did one at the shop took me about an hour to run new wire for all 4 speakers.

I can't wait to do it to my own, I'm getting a full touchscreen navigation system, putting in a 4 channel amp for my speakers, and going to hook in a little 8" sub.

Gotta find a place to keep it out of the way, but I have some ideas. Pics will follow.

If y'all need any wiring help like finding which wire is which.

I also do security/keyless/and remote starts.

If you live in the south bay come to the shop. If not I can help you along the way.

Never under estimate the predictability of stupidity.
 

DarbyOhara

Active member
Joined
May 21, 2013
Messages
44
Location
Southern Maryland
Corvette
1987 Corvette C4 Silver Coupe/Targa
Don't be intimidated by "rewire" it ain't that tough it's just running standard 2 wire from the 4 speakers to the back of he deck.
In corvettes it's easy you don't even have to go through door jams just run them under carpet. Last time I did one at the shop took me about an hour to run new wire for all 4 speakers.

I can't wait to do it to my own, I'm getting a full touchscreen navigation system, putting in a 4 channel amp for my speakers, and going to hook in a little 8" sub.

Gotta find a place to keep it out of the way, but I have some ideas. Pics will follow.

If y'all need any wiring help like finding which wire is which.

I also do security/keyless/and remote starts.

If you live in the south bay come to the shop. If not I can help you along the way.

Never under estimate the predictability of stupidity.


Wow! I sure wish you were closer to me... lol. The re-wire sounds like a tough task, but I do plan to re-carpet my whole Vette... so I suppose I will wait on that project to do all this. This is just my weekend/project Vette, so I really don't need any stereo anyway. I did want the bluetooth for the cell phone though. But it can wait.

I'd love to see more detailed pictures of your project. It may help in our stereo projects too. I do have the fuel sending unit issue to tackle before I get into anything else. I found a few websites that cover this, but none give good detailed pictures of replacing it. I realize that it isn't that difficult to replace... but us non-mechanical people need detailed pictures, not written words... lol. Many online vendors wanted close to $300 or more for a new fuel sending unit/gas pump for my 87 Vette, but I finally found one cheaper for $275 at Full Throttle. Since I am not pouring in funds, I have to make my purchases a little at a time. It appears my re-carpet will be around $500 for new quality carpet. So I have to save up for that task. Thanks again for all you help and I'll look forward to detailed pictures of your stereo project. Maybe you should create a new thread for it so it isn't buried here in my thread. Anyway, thanks again!
 

Knuckles

Member
Joined
May 29, 2013
Messages
21
Location
California
Corvette
1992 LT-1 Arctic White
That's the plan. And just remember if you have any questions I got no problem answering or writing a step by step.

Never under estimate the predictability of stupidity.
 

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