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Dropped the phone and the speaker stopped working
Success! The new speaker assembly works like new and I have sound again. I should have been more careful taking the back off because I knocked two clips off - it still fits back in place but has a small creak to it.
You DO NOT have to remove the battery. The guide states you have to remove the battery and I bought the spudger in order to do this. But even in the guide pictures it shows the speaker assembly being removed while the battery is clearly still in place. Don't buy the spudger and don't remove the battery - there was a youtube video I watched that confirmed this as well and everything went great.
After water damage, my Nexus 5 developed an issue with the audio. When a video is played to the speakers or through bluetooth, the player will pause and will not start back up. All videos play correctly through the earphones.
I made a wild guess that the speaker assembly was causing the problem. The instructions allowed me to replace the speaker assembly without damaging the phone. However, the problem remains and I don't thing a motherboard replacement would be worth while since I bought a Samsung S7.
The plastic sponger worked well as a tool to remove the back.