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Old 12-24-2006, 08:36 PM   #1
Lugnut2683
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Exclamation How to fix your HK sub/rear deck rattle! *30 Photos*

I have read a couple of DIY's and explanations on how to fix the common problem of the Harman/Kardon subwoofer system rattling the rear deck/parcel shelf. They all offer a different method of solving the problem, so I just wanted to post some photos of the process I used to fix the rattle and to make it clear exactly what must be done to perform this fix.

Here is a photo of the Harman/Kardon subwoofer. It is located underneath the rear deck/parcel shelf in the trunk.



There are 4 black screws and 2 white clips which hold the subwoofer in place. Note that there are no screws holding the rear of the subwoofer.

Left screw:



Right screw:



Center screws and white clips:



Step 1: Remove the 4 black screws using an 8 MM wrench.





Step 2: Remove the rear tabs holding the rear of the subwoofer in place. This is easiest if you crawl into the trunk and lay down on your back facing the bottom of the subwoofer. Push out (towards the rear of the car) and pull down on the subwoofer. The photos below illustrate how the sub's rear tabs will come out of the holes in the upper mounting structure.



Step 3: At this point, the subwoofer will be held in place only by the white clips. You DO NOT remove these clips from the subwoofer itself. Instead, while still lying on your back in the trunk, pull down on the front part of the subwoofer. Use some muscle, and the clips will *pop* out of their retaining holes along with the subwoofer assembly.



Step 4: The only thing keeping you from taking the subwoofer out of the trunk at this point is the power connector to the rear of the subwoofer. Simply pull the connector off to disconnect it from the subwoofer.



Here is the HK subwoofer assembly removed from the vehicle:





Here is a photo of the white clips that were discussed earlier. Previous DIY's have instructed the user to either remove or even break these clips. As you can see, they remain in the HK sub assembly and are removed with the unit as a whole. You do NOT have to break these white clips in order to take the subwoofer out!






Here is a photo of where the HK subwoofer mounts in the trunk. The 2 large holes you see in the steel structure simply allow sound to travel into the cabin rather than reflect off the metal if it were a solid continuous structure. These holes are where we will be stuffing our sound insulation to stop the deck rattle. The second picture points out the bottom of the rear parcel shelf as seen through the trunk.





My car was purchased used, and I believe that the previous owner brought this car into the dealer to try and fix the rear deck rattle at an earlier point in time. They used a small 3/4" thick/2" wide/3' long piece of foam and filled the rest of the space with yellow expanding foam (as pointed with the red arrows in the photo below). This solution obviously did not work! Also note the center hole in the steel structure (which is circled in red). This is the hole in which you can thread a carrier bolt to push against the bottom of the rear parcel shelf as per the "bolt" DIY from this link (however we will not be using a bolt in my particular DIY):

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=132399



Before we begin stuffing the inner rear deck area with insulation, we must first decide what materials to utilize. A previous DIY suggested using bubble wrap, which is a cheap, viable solution. However, I chose to go with a polyester batting material which is perfect for this application. The batting will eliminate the rear deck rattle, as well as aid in giving the subwoofers more of a "thud" sound by providing extra insulation and sound deadening.



After some trial and error, I decided to cut the material into 2 large and 4 small sections. However, it turns out that I only used 1 large section of material and 2 small sections of material.





Step 5: Take the large section of batting material and stuff it in the center of the rear parcel shelf area, bridging the gap between the two large holes.


Last edited by Lugnut2683; 12-24-2006 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 12-24-2006, 08:37 PM   #2
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Step 6: Take the 2 small sections of batting material, and stuff to the left and the right side of the large middle piece you just installed.



The stuffing procedure completed:





Step 7: With the stuffing complete, we can now reinstall the Harman/Kardon subwoofer. First, install the rear tabs into their mounting holes as show in the photo below.



Step 8: Next, secure the front of the subwoofer by snapping the white clips into their retaining holes. You will hear a loud click that almost sounds like a *crack* as these clips snap into their holes. The subwoofer will now sit flush against the steel structure, and is held in only by the tabs and clips.





Step 9: Install the 4 black screws into their appropriate locations:



Step 10: Be sure to reconnect the power connector to the subwoofer.



Step 11: You're done! Enjoy a rattle-free rear deck/parcel shelf and improved bass response. I hope that this DIY and its accompanying photos help you in repairing your rear deck rattle. If you have any questions, feel free to PM me or post a reply in this thread. Thanks!

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Old 12-24-2006, 08:44 PM   #3
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Just a thought.....

Bass boils down to the movement of air and in your photo's you maybe fixing an annoying rattle but it appears that your also dampening the flow of air that makes the subs work.

If it was me I would try to push the poly fill to either side of the hole that opens into the passenger compartment. The hole is there so the movement of air by the HK 6x9 woofer gets into the cabin of the car. Blocking that airway might result in less bass in the cabin of the car even though you have rid the annoying rattle....

Just my .02 Cents
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Old 12-24-2006, 08:45 PM   #4
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Nice write-up. I admire fixing something AND photographing it, but I'm not in that category.
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Old 12-24-2006, 08:48 PM   #5
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I did something similar in my old coupe.. I stuffed old tshirts up in there to reduce the rattle. I need to get out and do something similar now on the M
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Old 12-24-2006, 08:49 PM   #6
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Long Duck... you make a very good point. Although it is hard to tell by the photos, the batting is loosely stuffed into that area, aka, it is not *packed* in there, so there is still adequate movement of air and I have experienced no decrease in bass response. These are very weak subwoofers anyways, and at high volume are already distorting, so what little air they were able to move before is still being moved now (as evidenced by bass distortion at the same high volumes). In other words, I understand what you're saying, but everything still works.
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Old 12-24-2006, 08:54 PM   #7
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Has anyone tried dynamat? I had a similar problem in one of my E36's....but I also had a pair of 12's in the trunk.....I used dyanmat to cure it...

Just curious if it would work in this application....
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Old 12-24-2006, 09:04 PM   #8
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very nice write up. my concern was the same as above, the sound. I'm sure that adding the insulation will damp the sound somehow, especially filling the ports that the sound goes through. I was looking into this recently because i added 2 tens the system and has an overly loud rattle. that being said, i'm gonna have to do the same, but with the extra subs really dont care for the performance of the stock subs.
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Old 12-24-2006, 09:39 PM   #9
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dealer fixed my rattle on the 4th try still OK now.

excellent write up!
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Old 12-24-2006, 09:40 PM   #10
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very nice write up. my concern was the same as above, the sound. I'm sure that adding the insulation will damp the sound somehow, especially filling the ports that the sound goes through. I was looking into this recently because i added 2 tens the system and has an overly loud rattle. that being said, i'm gonna have to do the same, but with the extra subs really dont care for the performance of the stock subs.

If you added a pair of tens I would disconnect the factory subs....it might cure the rattle...assuming they are still hooked up.

Another thought would be to remove the factory sub enclosure. Removing it might allow enough air flow into the cabin to stop the rattle. Keep in mind that the rattle is caused by either too much air flow with no where to go, or the factory sub enclsure being pushed into the rear deck from the air movement of your added 10's.

I would start by removing the HK Sub enclosure first....it's an easy cheap shot to try before spening money to fix the rattle.
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Old 12-24-2006, 09:45 PM   #11
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great write up and nice photos..........i plan to dynamat up there when my sheets get in...
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Old 12-24-2006, 09:51 PM   #12
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If you added a pair of tens I would disconnect the factory subs....it might cure the rattle...assuming they are still hooked up.

Another thought would be to remove the factory sub enclosure. Removing it might allow enough air flow into the cabin to stop the rattle. Keep in mind that the rattle is caused by either too much air flow with no where to go, or the factory sub enclsure being pushed into the rear deck from the air movement of your added 10's.

I would start by removing the HK Sub enclosure first....it's an easy cheap shot to try before spening money to fix the rattle.


thought about that, do you think that it will have any effect on how the factory stereo functions? lately, i drop the passenger rear seat to get better sound, luckily my windows are tinted darke enough for noone to see.
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Old 12-24-2006, 10:04 PM   #13
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thought about that, do you think that it will have any effect on how the factory stereo functions? lately, i drop the passenger rear seat to get better sound, luckily my windows are tinted darke enough for noone to see.
It should have no affect at all on the way the factory stereo functions. The only way I can think of that it may affect the system is where the installer tied in the line level converter, which is unit that converts your high level signal into a low level and gives you an RCA output to plug into your amp to run your 10's.

The reason your getting better sound with the seat down is because more air flow is being allowed into the passenger cabin without restriction, ie: playing through the back seat and rear deck with a closed trunk.

The factory HK Subs are "Free Air" enclosures which is a way old school way of producing bass, was really popular in the late 80's to the mid 90's in the car audio aftermarket. Good example is any old GM car that has 6x9's in the rear deck....add an aftermarket head unit with some power and you'd think there was subs in the trunk....same principal in the E46.

I feel safe in saying that if you dropped your HK Enclosure out of the car you's probobly get much better sound with your seat up VS. the way it sounds now with the seat up with the factory enclosure still in the car.

Sorry Lugnut.....didnt mean to hijack your thread....
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Old 12-24-2006, 10:23 PM   #14
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No man it's all good... love learning about audio!

My two previous vehicles had custom audio systems, but I haven't gotten around to doing anything with the Bimmer yet. I'd like to find a bass improvement solution that utilizes the stock HK sub enclosure, because my car is my daily driver and I really need the trunk space and do not want to add a ton of weight with an elaborate fiberglass or MDF sub setup. Any suggestions?
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Old 12-25-2006, 09:53 AM   #15
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Great pics. Thanks for taking the time to do this write up.
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Old 12-25-2006, 11:48 AM   #16
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Wonderful write up and an informative thread. Not sure why my HK sub doesn't rattle. my car is a 2003 coupe. I have tried to crank it to induce a rattle but it sounds pretty good even at high volume and bass. Is the HK the greatest sound system? no. But is is pretty good and cosmetically melds with the interior. :-)
Thanks again,
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Old 12-25-2006, 12:33 PM   #17
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The alpine Lat series subs is what im looking at putting my car, if you dont want to sacrifice boot space get the Alpine PLT-5 if you want bass and couldnt give a **** about boot space get the PLV-7, Photos below.

PLT-5


PLV-7
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Old 12-25-2006, 02:50 PM   #18
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nice write-up

Where did you get the LED tails?
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Old 12-25-2006, 04:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Where did you get the LED tails?
Umnitza.
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Old 12-26-2006, 05:17 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lugnut2683 View Post
No man it's all good... love learning about audio!

My two previous vehicles had custom audio systems, but I haven't gotten around to doing anything with the Bimmer yet. I'd like to find a bass improvement solution that utilizes the stock HK sub enclosure, because my car is my daily driver and I really need the trunk space and do not want to add a ton of weight with an elaborate fiberglass or MDF sub setup. Any suggestions?
J L Audio has stealth subs that go where the stock 6.5"s are. They take up virtually no trunk space.
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