How to Build a Dolby Dash for your 850!
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    1. #1
      Senior Member JaredR's Avatar
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      How to Build a Dolby Dash for your 850!

      I've been sitting on the parts to do this for a few weeks and finally got down to the basement and got to work tonight. Have about two hours in this project so far, guessing I probably have about that much left once I figure solutions to the problems I'm currently bumping into. Despite these issues, this whole project is still WAY easier than I expected.


      What do you need:

      • 850 dash pad
      • x70 center speaker and grill
      • The screws and clips that hold the center speaker into the x70 Dolby dash
      • A piece of paper



      What it turns out you DON'T necessarily need (although it was helpful mostly to study in my case):

      • The part of the x70 Dolby dash where the center speaker attaches.



      Tools you'll need:

      • Jigsaw
      • Jeweler's bow saw (or similar)
      • Hand drill
      • X-Acto knife (or similar)
      • Sandpaper
      • Flat bastard file (or similar)
      • T25 Torx driver
      • Scribe
      • Pencil(s)
      • Scissors




      So here's the deal: believe it or not, the x70 Dolby dash is just a regular x70 dash pad that Volvo literally cut a hole in. Yep, that's it. There is nothing special about the moulding. This is fantastic because cutting holes in stuff is pretty easy if you ask me. Check it out:




      The edges are still rough!


      Then it looks to me like they used a hot object and pressed it in the foam to create the depression that the whole speaker unit sits in. This is a problem if you're trying to do this in you're basement, because you don't have this plate. Neither do I (which, at this point, appears that it will be the only real issue with this project), so we're in this together.






      Furthermore, the 850 dash pad is of a significantly different design than the 850 dash pad so, even if you did have this tool, I'm still not sure it would work. As you can see in the photo, the layer of foam is much thinner on the x70, and, as you can't see, the plastic covering on top is much more rubbery and stretchy on the x70 pad than the 850 pad.





      This is a bit of an issue because it prevents you from installing the speaker into an 850 pad exactly the way Volvo did in a x70 pad. The solution to this is (currently working on the solution to this, stay tuned).



      Procedure:

      1. If you have access to a Dolby dash, trace around the inside of the opening to make a template. If you don't have access to one and there is interest in others doing this, I may make a drawing of this for you guys.

      2. Tape the template to the bottom of your 850 dash pad and scribe around it (couldn't get anything in the shop to write on this plastic). Don't grab a reject invoice from the family business out of the recycle bin to make your template from if you're planning on posting a pic of it to the internet; saves time if you don't have to scribble stuff off the paper with your scribe and then blur out the stuff your forgot.






      3. Check for clearance issues with the center speaker mounting tabs on the front (ideally, you will do this before you scribe around your paper template). I tried to put it in the same place it was in on the x70 Dolby dash, but it turns out that this won't work because there is a clearance issue with the mounting points for the dash pad. I decided to move it back ½" rather than put it off center.





      4. Using your X-Acto knife (or similar), Cut a hole through the foam on the top of the dash pad in the area that you will be cutting out for the center speaker.






      5. Create a hole to put your jigsaw through in the same location you just removed the foam from. I used a small drill and drilled several holes around the edge of this now larger hole and cut through the remaining plastic between the holes with the X-Acto knife. Not having to drill through foam makes life 1,000,000x easier in this step.





      6. Using your jigsaw, cut around as much of the area as you can.

      Adjustable speed antique Black and Decker jigsaw FTW.




      7. Depending the geometry of your jigsaw and where exactly you place your center speaker, there may be areas where it is difficult or impossible to cut with the jigsaw. Use your jeweler's bow saw (or similar) in these areas.






      8. At this point, you hopefully have a hole that looks something like this. Use the sandpaper to clean up the edges of the hole.






      9. Note how the front of the center speaker attaches to the x70 Dolby dash. The hooks on the front end of the speaker clip in underneath the dash pad. This means that, at least in the case of the x70 Dolby dash, the thickness of the dash pad where the front of speaker sits is critical. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a problem given that the foam and covering material on the 850 are completely different from the x70. Stay tuned for a solution to this and how to finish off making your Dolby install look factory!

      Last edited by JaredR; 11-23-2019 at 09:02 PM.
      1995 850 T-5R Estate. AW50-42LE. Cream Yellow/Graphite. 297k.
      1997 850R Estate. B5234T9/M66D. Bright Red/Graphite. 270k.
      2007 S60 T5. M66W. Black Sapphire/Arena. 140k.
      Instagram: Jared's Volvo Page

      Past: |1997 855R. Bright Red/Light Beige. AW50-42LE. Totaled by wayward construction equipment. || 1996 854R. Black Stone/Graphite. AW50-42LE. Parts car || 1995 854 TURBO. Polar White/Tan. AW50-42LE. Parts car. |
      Dad: 1997 V70 T5 SE. AW50-42LE. Frost Green/Oak. 212k.Mom: NEW! 1999 S70 GLT Pewter/Oak. 101k. Past: 2004 V70 NA. AW55-50SN Ruby Red/Tan 269k. Sold to markj

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    3. #2
      Senior Member JaredR's Avatar
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      Welcome to How to Build a Dolby Dash for your 850! - Part II.


      Materials and tools list updated in the original post.


      9. (cont'd) So, what was the clever solution to the dash pad thickness problem? Well, given that creating the depression that the stock x70 Dolby dash has was clearly not realistically possible with the equipment available to me in our basement (which is quite extensive), I decided to try just pushing the feet on the aft edge of the center speaker unit into the foam of the dash pad. Well, guess what? It worked! After you spot the holes by just pushing the feet into the foam, you will want to get in the holes with the X-Acto knife to clean out some of the excess foam. This will prevent the compressed foam from pushing up on the outer covering of the dash pad making it look crappy.






      10. At this point, it became clear that I needed to create the mounting points for the screws in the forward edge of the center speaker. This is epically easy, just cut back the foam, spot and drill through holes through the plastic, and install these clips. I got these off of the part of the Dolby dash that I have. You could probably easily substitute ones from somewhere else. I'd bet that the Dolby dash isn't the only place these exact ones were used.





      11. More clearance problems, these bosses the screw holes are located in are supposed to sit on the hard plastic part of the dash pad on the x70 Dolby dash.





      12. Easy solution, just trim back the foam padding underneath these bosses. Except there was another problem. These don't actually sit on the plastic as they should because of the disparity of thickness of the dash pads and the fact that I elected not to create the depression that the speaker is supposed to sit in. It's another easy solution, though: you just need a spacer. I was going to be fancy and grab some delrin rod and turn in down to the proper diameter and then drill a hole in it, but my dad was using the lathe so I abandoned that and just hit up the washer bin instead.





      13. Install your center speaker! (NOTE!!!!! The speaker shown in this photo is broken! The magnet that sits above the cone is missing. If yours looks like this, you will not get any sound from the speaker. Source another speaker immediately!)





      14. Remove some material from the aft right corner of the center speaker grill/cover. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of what it looked like with the first install, but the contour of the x70 dash is obviously considerably different towards the right edge of the vents. I used the file and then some sandpaper to cut down that corner a little bit so that it would fit. You don't have to take off much to make a big difference, so you should make test fittings as you go.





      15. Install your center speaker grill.







      Congratulations, you have successfully completed your 850 Dolby dash. Enjoy your Dolby surround sound!!!
      Last edited by JaredR; 11-23-2019 at 09:09 PM.
      1995 850 T-5R Estate. AW50-42LE. Cream Yellow/Graphite. 297k.
      1997 850R Estate. B5234T9/M66D. Bright Red/Graphite. 270k.
      2007 S60 T5. M66W. Black Sapphire/Arena. 140k.
      Instagram: Jared's Volvo Page

      Past: |1997 855R. Bright Red/Light Beige. AW50-42LE. Totaled by wayward construction equipment. || 1996 854R. Black Stone/Graphite. AW50-42LE. Parts car || 1995 854 TURBO. Polar White/Tan. AW50-42LE. Parts car. |
      Dad: 1997 V70 T5 SE. AW50-42LE. Frost Green/Oak. 212k.Mom: NEW! 1999 S70 GLT Pewter/Oak. 101k. Past: 2004 V70 NA. AW55-50SN Ruby Red/Tan 269k. Sold to markj

    4. #3
      Junior Member zhenya00's Avatar
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      Nice job Jared!

      I forget what it looks like under that pad in the 850. I presume the clearance is adequate for the speaker?

      Do you know if the 850's have the mounting holes in place for the amp under the passenger seat the way the later cars do so the amp can be located there and the Dolby processor located behind the head unit?
      1998 V70 AWD
      2010 XC90 3.2
      2013 XC70 T6 P*
      1987 190e 2.3-16

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    6. #4
      Senior Member JaredR's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by zhenya00 View Post
      Nice job Jared!

      I forget what it looks like under that pad in the 850. I presume the clearance is adequate for the speaker?

      Do you know if the 850's have the mounting holes in place for the amp under the passenger seat the way the later cars do so the amp can be located there and the Dolby processor located behind the head unit?

      Thanks!
      Because the 850 dash pad is so thick, the speaker doesn't appear to protrude below the dash pad at all, so I highly doubt that there will be any clearance issues.

      Not sure if the holes for the amp are there. I have a 4x50w under-seat amp and harness here that I'm going to try to install today or tomorrow.....will report back on how this works out. That update will probably be in my T-5R progression thread.
      1995 850 T-5R Estate. AW50-42LE. Cream Yellow/Graphite. 297k.
      1997 850R Estate. B5234T9/M66D. Bright Red/Graphite. 270k.
      2007 S60 T5. M66W. Black Sapphire/Arena. 140k.
      Instagram: Jared's Volvo Page

      Past: |1997 855R. Bright Red/Light Beige. AW50-42LE. Totaled by wayward construction equipment. || 1996 854R. Black Stone/Graphite. AW50-42LE. Parts car || 1995 854 TURBO. Polar White/Tan. AW50-42LE. Parts car. |
      Dad: 1997 V70 T5 SE. AW50-42LE. Frost Green/Oak. 212k.Mom: NEW! 1999 S70 GLT Pewter/Oak. 101k. Past: 2004 V70 NA. AW55-50SN Ruby Red/Tan 269k. Sold to markj

    7. #5
      Senior Member Wayne T5's Avatar
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      Looks great - nice work!
      Past: '94 854, '99 S70 T5 SE, '99 S70 GLT, '04 S60R M, '12 S60 T5, '13 S60 T5, '15 S60 RD, '05 V70R GT
      Present: '95 854 T-5R, '06 XC70, '15 XC70 T6, '15.5 XC60 T6, '16 V60 P*

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