How to fix Bose deck rattle and improve sound quality
After using the search function on Maxima.org at length to get
a feel for all the ways people have fixed their Bose deck rattle,
I decided to completely remove the rear seats, C-pillars, and rear
deck from the car and put my ears to work. The
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rattle problem is NOT the carpeted rear deck rattling on the metal
shelf. I found the rattles were there 100% with the deck removed
from the car. The source? Two spots: General resonance from the
metal around the sub and significant rattles from 2 of my 3 seatbelt
units. I removed the seatbelts from the car completely and found
this to be true. I reinstalled them and found that if jammed my
finger in between the seatbelt kit and the plastic molding around
them the rattle disappeared. Obviously removing the seatbelts isn't
an option for a permanent fix, so I ran out to Circuit City and
bought a door kit of Tsunami Silencer (12 sq. ft.). This is a generic
sound deadener that's supposed to be comparable to Dynamat Extreme.
Came to around 60 bucks.
I added the sound deadener inside the plastic seatbelt cases and
wedged small squares on the side of the cases to tighten the units.
I also removed the metal sheet the sub mounts to and added Silencer
to it as well. Before reinstalling everything, it was time to crank
it up. The results? The rattles were gone! However, the sub sounded
really weak. Then it hit me, no shocker, the seats are out. The
Bose sub is designed to operate as a "free air" baffle
setup, so without the seats installed the sub can't perform properly.
I threw everything back together, and WOW. What a difference. No
more muddy bass! The sub sounds significantly clearer and stronger
and is much tighter than before. Now it's still no "boomer"
(I miss my 2 Orion 10's...), but this was an impressive improvement.
I've gotta think this is what Bose had in mind. I know many have
claimed installing foam mattress pads on their rear deck has fixed
their rattle. However, I think this is just "masking"
the rattle since the foam covers up the sound of the rattling seat
belts and metal around the sub. In my opinion, using Dynamat in
the manner below is worth the extra $$ because it not only removes
the rattles, this fix actually produces cleaner and stronger bass.
I spent $60, but I had quite a bit left over. I used it to do my
plate and still have enough left to do my front speakers later.
Steps to remove the rear deck in order:
1. Remove bottom seat cushion (pull two white tabs under seat)
2. Fold back seat down and remove the 2 bolts on the back of each
seat at the bottom
3. Remove black plastic trim around trunk pass through
4. Remove 2 side seat pieces by removing bolt at bottom and lifting
5. Unbolt seat belts
6. Unhook plastic snaps below rear deck that hold the deck cover
7. Remove rear deck by lifting up and pulling
Rear deck completely stripped:
To remove the plastic Philips head pop tabs, unscrew the head with
a screwdriver, but try not to push it in. It will work itself out
far enough that you can pull it out with your fingers:
Sub mounting tray before Silencer was applied:
Sub mounting tray with Silencer. As you can see, I highly recommend
getting your girlfriend's assistance. Be sure to use gloves. The
material has very sharp edges:
Rear deck with Silencer sans sub tray:
Here is the seatbelt unit with small pieces of sound deadener to
make the fit tightly into the plastic housing to eliminate the seatbelt
rattle. I applied around 3-4 pieces on each side until it was very
difficult to slide into the plastic housing:
I also added Silencer inside the plastic seatbelt housing itself:
The seatbelt unit installed in the plastic housing with sound deadener:
The completed rear deck. I didn't add deader all the way back to
assure the deck could still slide into the blue plastic clips: