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Questions about speaker re foaming on ML

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Old 03-31-15, 06:11 PM   #1
notwealthy
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Question Questions about speaker re foaming on ML

The subwoofer in my 02 ls with mark levinson sounds like a fart. It's sounded like that since the day I bought the car. I took things apart far enough to see that all the foam surround is still intact. The car was previously owned by some old folks in Palm Springs so I doubt they listened to loud hip hop in it. Is there any use trying to re foam the subwoofer as a fix if the foam isn't visually broken? I would be surprised if the voice coil has gone bad. I have a front door speaker that went in the last few weeks too but I haven't checked how the foam looks on it. It's $750+ in parts to replace the front right door speaker, subwoofer and front right tweeter so I'd like to try the lower cost option of refoaming first if there's any chance it would fix it. And yeah I realize the tweeter isn't eligible for that kind of repair.
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Old 03-31-15, 08:27 PM   #2
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I understand very well where you are coming from. I too 5 years ago purchased an 01 LS430 with a blown subwoofer and soon after replaced door speakers as well. I refoamed the rear subwoofer which at the time did save me 100s of dollars. A few years later, the subwoofer started rattling and I had to replace the door speakers and rear subwoofer with new OEM speakers. Bottom line....if you are planning on keeping your LS430 for more than a year or two... there are no shortcuts for the rear subwoofer on the M/L systems which is almost always shot. I finally replaced mine with the brand new Lexus OEM subwoofer. Yes it was crazy expensive, but my sound system now sounds great. I know we hear about those who go aftermarket... but please tell me how many are around talking about their sound systems years later? The Mark Levinson
System does not like aftermarket replacements and sooner or later will either blow the amp or fail. No shortcuts unless you replace the entire system. End of story.

Last edited by Bocatrip; 04-01-15 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 04-03-15, 03:23 PM   #3
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I have similar problems with my sub. I wrote a thread about it a little while ago in the audio section, but didn't really get any help: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/lexu...l-in-tact.html

My foam looks brand new, but the sub doesn't sound good. The one person who replied said I could go aftermarket, but I would rather not. I'll be buying a new ML sub once I start working this summer. I think it's worth the extra money. ML sounds amazing when it's working properly lol. It might go bad again in another 7-10 years but I hope to have a new Lexus by then
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Old 04-03-15, 03:32 PM   #4
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I have similar problems with my sub. I wrote a thread about it a little while ago in the audio section, but didn't really get any help: http://www.clublexus.com/forums/lexu...l-in-tact.html

My foam looks brand new, but the sub doesn't sound good. The one person who replied said I could go aftermarket, but I would rather not. I'll be buying a new ML sub once I start working this summer. I think it's worth the extra money. ML sounds amazing when it's working properly lol. It might go bad again in another 7-10 years but I hope to have a new Lexus by then
^^^Person with a plan!
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Old 04-03-15, 04:41 PM   #5
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After being on this Forum for over 5 years, I think you are doing the right thing by going for the OEM speaker. Especially if you are keeping your car for a while as I have mine. Enjoy it. You made the right decision.. And you have a very fine automobile.
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Old 04-06-15, 01:35 PM   #6
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I had good success with re-foaming the speaker.

When I popped off the grill -the speaker and foam looked fine. I ordered the foam kit anyway and thought for $20 it was worth a shot.

After removing the seat, lifting up the rear package shelf, and removing the speaker-I found that the foam was not adhered to the cone all the way around. I could not discern this until the speaker was out. Using the kit I was able to restore the sound like it was.

I did the same for the two front door speakers later with similar results.

So, you can spend lots of money on OEM or just repair what you have. I did not think there was any difference between the sound of a repaired speaker and what I remember the original was like.

I do think the above posters are correct in that aftermarket speakers will not mate well with the ML system. I just don't think you need to throw out a functioning speaker because the foam is shot. YMMV.
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Old 04-06-15, 03:29 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the input, guys!

I was planning on keeping this car a lot longer, but I just moved 1 mile away from work so I foresee getting something a little more fun in the next year or two. *cough* 911 *cough* I'll probably give re-foaming a shot since it's so affordable and I don't see myself keeping this car for more than a couple of years. Glad to hear it can still be advantageous even if the foam isn't visually torn. If that doesn't fix it, I might just buy the new factory speakers. I'm not going to try aftermarket speakers since I want to keep that stock ML sound.
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Old 04-06-15, 04:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walleyeman View Post
I had good success with re-foaming the speaker.

When I popped off the grill -the speaker and foam looked fine. I ordered the foam kit anyway and thought for $20 it was worth a shot.

After removing the seat, lifting up the rear package shelf, and removing the speaker-I found that the foam was not adhered to the cone all the way around. I could not discern this until the speaker was out. Using the kit I was able to restore the sound like it was.

I did the same for the two front door speakers later with similar results.

So, you can spend lots of money on OEM or just repair what you have. I did not think there was any difference between the sound of a repaired speaker and what I remember the original was like.

I do think the above posters are correct in that aftermarket speakers will not mate well with the ML system. I just don't think you need to throw out a functioning speaker because the foam is shot. YMMV.
Same experience here. Just removing the grill I couldn't tell that the foam was separated or not. Once the speaker was removed then I could see that the foam was kaput. Refoaming was easy and cheap and worked well enough that I can't tell the difference from when the car was brand new.

Got the refoaming kit from SimplySpeakers.

Last edited by campisi; 04-06-15 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 04-06-15, 04:09 PM   #9
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Had the issue on My 2001, it really was my fault as AC/DC come on and I just might have turned it up a little too much for an old speaker...

Anyway I sent my sub-woofer out to Simply Speakers in St. Petersburg, FL. I think for professional re-foam, testing I was $90 all in including shipping; they paid return shipping I think... Might even have been a warranty in there as well.

It was around a 2 week turnaround from the time I mailed it till it was back in the car

Anyway that was 18 months ago or so.

http://www.simplyspeakers.com/
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Old 04-07-15, 10:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campisi View Post
Same experience here. Just removing the grill I couldn't tell that the foam was separated or not. Once the speaker was removed then I could see that the foam was kaput. Refoaming was easy and cheap and worked well enough that I can't tell the difference from when the car was brand new.

Got the refoaming kit from SimplySpeakers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zapola6 View Post
Had the issue on My 2001, it really was my fault as AC/DC come on and I just might have turned it up a little too much for an old speaker...

Anyway I sent my sub-woofer out to Simply Speakers in St. Petersburg, FL. I think for professional re-foam, testing I was $90 all in including shipping; they paid return shipping I think... Might even have been a warranty in there as well.

It was around a 2 week turnaround from the time I mailed it till it was back in the car

Anyway that was 18 months ago or so.

http://www.simplyspeakers.com/
Sounds like this Simply Speakers place is the way to go. I just ordered up foam kits for my front right door and the subwoofer. I'm going to try refoaming them myself rather than shipping it out since I'd like to learn how anyway. I'm sure it's a skill I'll use again. In the mean time I'll keep an eye out for a front tweeter.
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Old 04-07-15, 12:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zapola6 View Post
Had the issue on My 2001, it really was my fault as AC/DC come on and I just might have turned it up a little too much for an old speaker...

Anyway I sent my sub-woofer out to Simply Speakers in St. Petersburg, FL. I think for professional re-foam, testing I was $90 all in including shipping; they paid return shipping I think... Might even have been a warranty in there as well.

It was around a 2 week turnaround from the time I mailed it till it was back in the car

Anyway that was 18 months ago or so.

http://www.simplyspeakers.com/
What did you do after removing the rear seat and waiting for the speaker to come back? Drove around that way?
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Old 04-07-15, 12:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notwealthy View Post
Sounds like this Simply Speakers place is the way to go. I just ordered up foam kits for my front right door and the subwoofer. I'm going to try refoaming them myself rather than shipping it out since I'd like to learn how anyway. I'm sure it's a skill I'll use again. In the mean time I'll keep an eye out for a front tweeter.
Another problem that can arise is that although the foam does disintegrate, the direct sunlight can play havoc on the cone and the sound coil. Even if you refoam, there is always the chance that you might still get or will get some rattling eventually due to the sound coil going bad. These are fairly cheap speakers although the sound system is expensive and they don't like the direct sunlight or extreme volume. I learned the hard way....had mine refoamed which did last a number of years until the speaker started rattling again. I went for a new subwoofer ($295) at the time and have my old speaker which probably is still worth something to someone who wants to rebuild it (considering how expensive new ones are).
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Old 04-07-15, 07:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bocatrip View Post
Another problem that can arise is that although the foam does disintegrate, the direct sunlight can play havoc on the cone and the sound coil. Even if you refoam, there is always the chance that you might still get or will get some rattling eventually due to the sound coil going bad. These are fairly cheap speakers although the sound system is expensive and they don't like the direct sunlight or extreme volume. I learned the hard way....had mine refoamed which did last a number of years until the speaker started rattling again. I went for a new subwoofer ($295) at the time and have my old speaker which probably is still worth something to someone who wants to rebuild it (considering how expensive new ones are).
I wonder if my cone/coil is bad, then. It certainly looks to be very sun damaged
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Old 04-08-15, 04:44 PM   #14
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Personally, I think the ML in our cars does NOT sound great. There are very few 16ohm 8" speakers out there. I wonder if this one might work well enough with the stock ML amps:

8" Dual 8ohm Voice Coil for $22.95

Series up the voice coils for 16ohms.
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Old 04-09-15, 06:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by campisi View Post
Personally, I think the ML in our cars does NOT sound great. There are very few 16ohm 8" speakers out there. I wonder if this one might work well enough with the stock ML amps:

8" Dual 8ohm Voice Coil for $22.95

Series up the voice coils for 16ohms.
As many previous threads will confirm. Mark Levinson does not divulge their actual specs and the system as a whole does not like aftermarket speakers. Read on and you will hear about Amp failures and other significant issues. Those that make the major changes don't really post after much time. What does that say? An Amp is a major expense.
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