Swear Meter Rating of 4: Removing side panels without cutting took a while.
One of the first things I noticed about the car once I stopped drooling uncontrollably was that the stereo sucked ass. I was pretty sure one or more of my speakers were blown, and that eventually I'd have to get in there and do something about it. I got a little brave one day and pulled off the inner door seal and a few screws, but then got scared and backed off.
Basically you just need to pull the seal off, and then remove the little devil clips. These bastards will not go quietly, and in the end they did tear the vinyl a little bit, but still all in all better than cutting the whole length of the panel in my opinion. To get the clips off I tried asking nicely but in the end a very small screwdriver was jammed in and I pried them off.. The clips need to be removed all along the side and the first few from the bottom as well. Part of the interior carpet wraps around the bottom as well, so you'll have to make sure the whole panel's wrap is free to be removed.
With that same very thin screwdriver and some needle nose pliars I started to pry up the wrapped edges of the panel from the black interior tub. Depending on the crusty nature of your car, this may prove difficult to impossible without some cracking or tearing. In my case, the vinyl was stronger than the glue and it went slowly but well. A heat gun may improve your chances of softening the glue but then you run the risk of melting something. Just go slowly and be careful! You need to pry up the vinyl all along the side and for a small bit near the top. Have a look at the pics.
There are 3 actual screws holding the rear panel in place One under the rear armrest piece, one right near the door sill, and one up at the top rear. Also necessary is to remove the seat belt bolt, and slightly optional is the little plastic thing that holds the seatbelt straight into the armrest. Simply remove the seatbelt cap, and with a large socket wrench loosen the bolt from the interior tub. Don't lose the spring clip!
With that removed and the trim peeled back, the panel ought to come loose. Be careful with it, it's a pretty rare piece! I set mine aside in the interior so I could have room to work. The speaker is attached to the bracket by a simple clamp with a flathead screw. Took me literally 5 minutes to undo it and swap out the new speaker. The new speaker's magnet was a bit smaller but the clamp took care of that just fine. The speaker simply rests on the rear wheel well hump and lays against the panel. Pretty much any 4x10 speaker will fit this criteria. My speaker was so blown it wasn't funny. The cone membrane was totally shot!
After you've hooked up your speaker test it to make sure it's working ok. Much to my joy, "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis & The News was on the radio right when I tested the speaker! It sounded so much better than the other side's factory speaker. I took some side-by-side pics of the old vs. new and one last shot of the new speaker in place. I bought Eclipse SE8405 3-way speakers, 100w max. DMCH uses these speakers in their high-end audio option for refurbished cars so I figured it'd be ok for me. The original radio doesn't exactly make great sound but these are a vast improvement.
Reinstallation of the panel is basically the reverse of what is outlined here. If you wish you can re-glue the panel flaps on, but I decided not to. I don't hear any road noise or rattling plus it'll save me a headache down the line I'm sure. The metal clips help keep the inner door seal attached to the interior tub so putting them back on is a good idea.
The first panel took me an hour and a half to do, but the second one took 45 minutes all told. Just when you get good at it, you're done!