My goal for this weekend was to swap the amplifiers in my ‘vette and thereby restore the functionality of the stereo system. The 90’s Bose system is somewhat notorious for failure; some of the capacitors were of dubious quality and basically turn to powder with age. This leaves you with a system that howls like a banshee, brays like a donkey and squeals like a 5 year old on acid – often all at the same time!

The choices are simple. Buy a set of new amps from Bose, or one of the Corvette parts suppliers – this costs between $125 and $150 per amp. As there are four of them altogether this gets to be a pretty expensive solution.

The other option is to keep an eye out for a good deal on Ebay, which is what I did; a complete set of amps, tested working, for $100 – less than a quarter of the new cost. That had to be a bargain.

Removal of the speakers to access the amps is fairly straightforward, though requires a certain element of contortionist skills in places – especially when removing the front speakers. Despite this I had the two back speakers out in about an hour (mostly because I was deliberately working slowly to avoid any problems).

The two front speakers, well they took about an hour and a half, due to the aforementioned contortion issues. The driver’s side came out easily once all the trim was removed, the passenger side… well that was a little different.

Though removing the passenger side speaker was actually slightly easier than its mirror twin, as I pulled the unit out it snagged the carpet slightly and this was enough to tear off two of the plastic ‘tabs’ where the screws go to hold it in place.

You often hear about plastic becoming brittle with age, but this was ridiculous. There’s always something to bite you when you least expect it!

So… a quick trip to the local parts store for a number of alternative possible fixes, including some ‘plastic weld’. I tried this first and to my complete surprise it made a strong fix that was perfectly usable.

I was a little cautious re-installing the speaker unit, half expecting the weld to fail and the tabs to fall off again; but it worked perfectly and in about another thirty minutes everything was back reinstalled.

A quick test showed the amps to be doing their job perfectly and ‘The Dragon’ now has his voice back! How’s that for a successful weekend?

Now? It’s Miller Time!

2 Responses to Stereovatin’

  • First off, I would like to thank you for your comments in regards to my ZR-1 problem jerking in low gears, never occurred before so will have to tend to that. I agree with your assessment in regards to the Bose capacitors being of poor quality. My system is starting to sound like your description. That will be my next project. You have a very good site and it is easy to see you are a true ZR-1 enthusiast. Happy Motoring with the “Dragon.”

  • Hey Ron, thanks for stopping by. I hope your problem is as simple as just the plugs and nothing more complicated. That’s a quick fix and you can get on with enjoying your Z!

    The Bose system definitely doesn’t stand up over time it seems. Apparently when they refurbish/replace the amps the components are of a higher quality and so shouldn’t suffer the same problem (or less so). If you are electronically minded, there is another alternative, you can rebuild them yourself for a few dollars worth of capacitors and so on. I’m a bit too ham-fisted for that approach so I went with replacement. The write up on the procedure is on the registry site:

    Thanks for the kind comments, hope to meet up with you at some point (BG perhaps?)