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Old 08-01-2012, 02:46 PM   #1
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Installing Alpine ktp-445u amp and Polk speakers in 2012 JK

In case anyone is ever interested, I thought I’d share my audio setup and DIY guide. I have a 2012 JK Sport S with the barebones stereo and 130n receiver. Like everyone else, I was not happy with the speakers. I didn’t want to replace the head unit for a few reasons: added cost for a new one, added cost for wiring harness adapters, fear of theft.

I’ll try to add some pics to this thread.

Here’s what I installed
Front: Polk dxi 6500 components (less than $100 on Amazon)
Soundbar: Polk db 651s (around $50 on Amazon) Note, these are the “s” version which seats the tweeter shallower than the normal version.
Amp: Alpine ktp-445u (purchased at Best Buy for $145ish—I think it was on sale)

List of installation items you’ll need
18-gauge speaker wire
12 18-gauge fork/spade connectors (optional...I used them to connect the wires to the front crossovers)
At least 16 sets of male/female 18-guage connectors (optional. You also could use butt connectors or solder connections, but with the lack of wire available from the factory harness, I would advise against soldering most connections)
1 16-guage wire quick connector
1 16-guage wire ring connector
1 package of wiring harness adapters (optional…I used these for the soundbar speakers, but will run new wires)
2 sets 6.5” XTC speaker baffles (though you could probably find something else)
Polyfill (I used the sheet kind and the pull apart kind)
10mm and 7mm sockets
Small flathead screwdriver
Electrical tape
Wire cutter/crimper
Velcro, zip ties, and plastic tubing (optional, depending on how neat you want to be with the install)
Dremmel

Installation
First, disconnect the negative terminal on the battery.

Amp
This is probably the most intimidating part, but it isn't that difficult. Once you get the dash removed, pull out and disconnect the receiver. If you are keeping the factory radio, you're going to need to cut the 8 speaker wires from the factory wiring harness and the 4 RCAs off the Alpine harness. Do not cut the factory yellow power, black ground, or the other wire grouped with them (I want to say it’s white/orange). Do your best to leave several inches of wire connected to the harness. Depending on where you want to install the amp, you'll want to add some speaker wire because the Alpine harness only gives you a few inches of wire. I installed the amp directly to the left of the head unit, but I do plan on moving it to under the steering wheel for easier access in the future. Here's how to pair the speaker wires:

Front Left +: factory Gray/Violet goes with Alpine White
Front Left -: factory Grey Yellow goes with Alpine White/Black

Front Right +: factory DarkGreen/Violet goes with Alpine Grey
Front Right - : factory DarkGreen/Yellow goes with Alpine Grey/Black

Rear Left +: factory Grey/LightGreen goes with Alpine Green
Rear Left -: factory Grey/DarkGreen goes with Alpine Green/Black

Rear Right +: factory DarkGreen/LightGreen goes with Alpine Violet
Rear Right -: factory DarkGreen/Grey goes with Alpine Violet/Black

Next, connect the harness wires to the amp. If you are using the speaker level input (not the RCAs), then you do not need the remote turn-on wires, so just tape them off.

Then run the outbound wires from the amp to the speakers. Again, you'll need to extend these depending on where you want to locate the amp. You can connect them back into the factory wiring if you want, but my personal preference is to run fresh wires…and quite frankly, it’s easier.

If you do not want to run a power wire to the battery, you do not have to, which is another bonus of this amp. I used a quick connecter to splice the yellow wire into the factory yellow power wire. No problems so far. Last part is connecting the ground. Find a screw with bare metal and secure it. I used a ring connector.

Front Components
Here’s a guide on replacing the speakers.
Installing the speakers and adapter bracket to the pod will warp the pod and not make for a tight seal, leaving you with terribly distorted bass at higher volume. I went back in there and installed XTC speaker baffles to create a tight seal. I cut the bottom out of the baffles so they don't hinder bass response. This helped tremendously with the sound. I also put some polyfill in there, but not a whole lot.

Tweeters
These weren't that difficult to install. The factory tweeters pop right out. Use a small (precision) flathead screwdriver to pry it out. I dremmeled out the tombstone to make the tweeters fit, which sounds scarier than it really is. You just have to remember to take it slow, trim a little at a time, and try to fit them often.

Crossovers
After running the wires from the amp to the crossovers, I connected them with spade connectors. I also used the connectors for the component speaker wires. I removed the factory wiring from the plastic pods. The rubber grommets pop right out, but you’ll need to get creative to feed the new wires through the hole (I just drilled a bigger hole through the grommet). I secured the crossovers to the speaker pods using Velcro. I set the tweeters to 0 on the crossovers, but that’s a personal preference and easily adjustable.

Soundbar
The install is pretty simple. I used speaker harnesses to connect the speakers, but will eventually run fresh wires from the amp. I STUFFED the soundbar with polyfill, and used XTC speaker baffles to create a tight seal to help reduce distortion.

Almost Done
Now that the speakers are installed and the amp is hooked up, reconnect the battery.

Before you close up shop, you'll want to play with the amp settings. Reconnect the head unit. Play a bass heavy song, or a few. Leave the gain settings on the amp all the down and the equalizer settings in the head unit flat. Increase the volume on the head unit until it distorts, then lower it a few notches (I think 18 – 20 sounds clear and loud and should be able to go louder). Next, increase the gain on the amp until it distorts, then lower it a little (mine is set around 7-8 o’clock). I used the fader/balance controls until I was happy with the sound for front and back and to pin point rattles.

You’ll also want to play with the high-pass filter settings on the amp. I have my fronts turned off (up position), rears set at 60Hz, but 80 may work better (this all depends on what speakers you go with and if you add a sub). The other two switches are for your setup and are self-explanatory (4ch or 2; using RCA or speaker level input).

Overall, I'm blown away by the sound I have now. I do not have any plans to add a sub, but if I do, it'll be an Infinity BassLink or the Kicker Hideaway. The Kicker is compact (I'm not sure if it'll fit under a seat or not) and has a quick-connect harness that should make installation/removal simple.

Enjoy.

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Old 08-01-2012, 02:52 PM   #2
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Awesome DIY guide.

I'll be subbing this for later use.

Thanks a lot igf.

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Old 08-01-2012, 03:35 PM   #3
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Here's a picture of an installed tweeter.
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:45 PM   #4
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Here's a pic of the dremmeled tombstone to show you how much actually needs taken out.
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:16 PM   #5
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This was my exact original plan but the guys at the audio shop talked me out of it and some of the experts here too because they said I wouldn't see any difference in sound quality and would waste my money because the HU sucks so bad. I just want more power and better speakers from the stock HU since it already does what I want it to do. It would also be a LOT lighter on my wallet too since I can install the speakers myself but cutting that stock wiring harness for me is a no-no. Isn't there some way around doing that when wiring in the amp?
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:23 PM   #6
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This was my exact original plan but the guys at the audio shop talked me out of it and some of the experts here too because they said I wouldn't see any difference in sound quality and would waste my money because the HU sucks so bad. I just want more power and better speakers from the stock HU since it already does what I want it to do. It would also be a LOT lighter on my wallet too since I can install the speakers myself but cutting that stock wiring harness for me is a no-no. Isn't there some way around doing that when wiring in the amp?
I thought about going a different route by using PAC harnesses. I wasn't sure if that would work or not and I wasn't excited about the additional expense. So, I took a drink, closed my eyes, and cut the wires (ok, I didn't close my eyes). It's really not as bad as it sounds, and by using the male/female connectors (instead of soldering or butt connecting), it's easy to fix screw ups without wasting wire. After going through it by my self, I'm happy I didn't pay someone to do it...but it's your money.

Another idea, but it still involves cutting the factory harness, is getting a line-out converter. This would allow you to keep the RCAs on the Alpine harness...which would come in handy if you ever did want to upgrade the HU. I was going to do this, but didn't feel like making another trip to wally world.
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:02 PM   #7
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Can you buy a PAC harness and then splice into it instead of the stock harness then? If so then how are the connections made? I just do NOT want to cut the stock harness. This setup you have here is EXACTLY what I wanted to do even the same parts but I was steered away from this by experts! I'm really interested in your results, how you like the new sound and if you think it was worth it. I can do this for $500 installed whereas a new HU would be $1000 with all the extra parts involved (harnesses, sirius tuner, etc).
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:17 PM   #8
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I can't answer the question about the PAC harness. In theory I think it works, but I'm not sure and I think you'd need an additional PAC adapter to keep the steering wheel controls. Again, I'm not sure.

Put it this way, I don't want to leave the Jeep...lol. It sounds incredible. Obviously it's lacking deep bass, but these are 6.5" speakers--that's to be expected. It does produce more than adequate bass though...enough that I no longer want to buy a sub (and I was dead set on it prior to the install). The tight seals on the speaker pods make all the difference imo. I spent about $350 for parts and other install items and wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

Other advice is to shop on Amazon. The speakers are a lot less expensive there. The used/like new price really means that the speakers were opened and touched, then returned. Just make sure to buy from a reputable seller (I forget who I ordered from), but I had no problems.
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:46 PM   #9
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IMO I would (and did) purchase the PAC harness and run an aftermarket HU and do everything from there.

My reasoning is that a cut harness voids the warranty. What exactly does it void? Well lets say you screw it up and fry your ECU (or whatever it is called in the Jeep). First inspection at the dealership will be quick and directly point to a cut harness "as the reason" - wether or not it is the actual cause. Once that harness is cut, your defense is gone.

The PAC harness is the easiest thing to do to prevent that. You plug it in and it supplies all necessary ground, constant power, accessory power, dimmer etc. Then if you have steering wheels controls, simply plug in the SWI to the harness. program and your done.

In addition none of the stock HU offer any good audio settings or tunability - just treble, bass, fade and l/r. No EQ, no High pass/low pass, etc. Nothing.

While I commend you on the balls to splice into the harness, it is not something I would do with a $30k+ vehicle with a factory warranty. But that is just me.

If you want any adjustability with sound, you need an aftermarket HU. That is what I did with mine - HU on back with all new EVERYTHING. Yes it does cost more, but music is my life. I need it, love it and have the knowledge to replace the entire system with what I want.

Again just my opinion. Congrats on the awesome speaker and amp install. It looks very, very good and probably sounds great.

If intereted here is my build thread: 2012 HU/Speaker/Amp Build Log
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:05 PM   #10
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Lyn can you do what igf did without cutting the stock harness? You know this is what I always wanted to do in the first place to keep cost down with the baby on the way. I knew you'd chime in I know it can be done but I want to do it without cutting the harness and maintaining all stock functionality.
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:16 PM   #11
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Lynskey, you do some awesome work. I've seen a few of your threads...very clean and organized. I was actually going to message you about the PAC harness before my install...then didn't.
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:28 PM   #12
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Lyn can you do what igf did without cutting the stock harness? You know this is what I always wanted to do in the first place to keep cost down with the baby on the way. I knew you'd chime in I know it can be done but I want to do it without cutting the harness and maintaining all stock functionality.
In short no. It looks like (and OP please correct if I am wrong) the harness was cut to grab power for the amp as well as the speaker signals from the HU. The amp looks to have speaker signal remote capability so the speaker signal switches on the amp. The amp's power is coming from the spliced harness.

If that is true, then I don't see any way to keep the HU and not tap into the main harness at least for speaker signals. You could not splice into the yellow and just splice into the paired speaker signals and then run to a LOC and amp that way.

My main concern is the tapped harness for the amp power. You now have an additional current draw on a line that was not originally intended to supply additional power. Since everything that comes out of the Jeep's electrical is monitored, I just don't know if it could create a problem?

I see no isues with correctly tapping into speaker wire as that is coming from the HU and running to each speaker. Again my concern is tapping the harness for constant or accessory power.

At a minimum, if you are scared of harness tapping (as I am) you could take the wires right off of the speaker and redirect to the amp, then right back to the speakers. The fronts are not much work as the front speakers are in close proximity to the HU. The sound bar would be a pain in the ass to do that. One good thing is you don't have door Molex to run wire through. My Ford Escape had extreme Molex plugs and all 4 doors were my biggest nightmare. Try running bigger gauge wire through those. It sucked!

The biggest issue for me is the lack of adjustability with the HU. So going the OP's route, he has nice powered speakers but what is driving the sub? Now it appears that the speakers are powered nicely but the amp is still running off of factory HU and factory amp power?
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:39 PM   #13
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Also the CanBUS (or whatever Jeep is calling it) monitors every single aspect of electronics that goes through the fusebox. This is also why I don't tap into the fuse box or other factory wiring.

In my system, the PAC harness plugs in and supplies constant/switched/ground to the HU. I also double grounded the HU (different issue) so as far as the "Jeep" is concerned it is powering the HU just as if it never changed. Then my remote out from the HU powers a relay. That relay carries battery constant +12v and supplies relay switched power to everything else - Sirius receiver, switch for lights on light bar, amp remote, etc.

The reason for that is any connection directly to the battery is not monitored by the "Jeep". Sure overal volts and amperage is, but power from the battery to accessories is not. So literally everything I have is driven off of a relay that switches on when the HU turns on. The relay only needs about 30mA to flick to the "on" position so there is literally no draw. This also creates a mini delay to the amp remote so you don't get the sub "pop".

So in my set-up I am using the HU remote out to switch on +12v to everything else. I also ran a 4 gauge direct line for my amp in the back.

MOST IMPORTANT - fuse where needed. I have fuses at the battery for the relay feed as well as the amp 4 gauge line. Plus aditional fuses at other locations. Basically something shorts, a properly sized fuse will be the first to go. $3 cost. Better than my whole Jeep up in flames.
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:47 PM   #14
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I used one of these to splice into the power wire. I kept going back and forth on running the amp power wire directly to the battery, and still plan on doing it eventually. I initally planned on getting a powered sub and then run both power wires to the battery on the same day. Since I put the sub off, I'll run the amp power wire one of these weekends.

I had and still have concerns about tapping into the factory power wire, but the amp was desinged to run this way.
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:59 PM   #15
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Nice job, wow, nice write up! thanks

I love those tweeters, seriously with the chrome bezel it looks OEM and how it should have come from the factory. I hate the look of the tweeter face, looks so cheap. I might just order me this set and do the rest later
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:08 PM   #16
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I used one of these to splice into the power wire. I kept going back and forth on running the amp power wire directly to the battery, and still plan on doing it eventually. I initally planned on getting a powered sub and then run both power wires to the battery on the same day. Since I put the sub off, I'll run the amp power wire one of these weekends.

I had and still have concerns about tapping into the factory power wire, but the amp was desinged to run this way.
Those are the ONLY splicing connectors I would use. Good choice.

Also the tweeters look perfect in the tombstones. Very nice work on those. You have one shot to get it right!

You could run a relay off of the switched power on the harness to then run a relay powered direct line from the battery to support the amp and then be the remote for a sub amp later on down the road. That would ease the power tapped off of the harness. But I hear you on doing things once. That is what I did.
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Old 08-05-2012, 09:55 AM   #17
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True or False???

I was told my Crutchfield that my 2012 JK has a factory amp and that I would have to find a way to bypass it to add the Alpine 445u to it. I told them that I thought the JK w/o Infinity did not have a factory amp, but they said that their papers show all JKs as having a factory amp.
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Old 08-05-2012, 10:02 AM   #18
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I was told my Crutchfield that my 2012 JK has a factory amp and that I would have to find a way to bypass it to add the Alpine 445u to it. I told them that I thought the JK w/o Infinity did not have a factory amp, but they said that their papers show all JKs as having a factory amp.
While all Sahara's will have a factory amp, Sport and Rubicon models are available without a factory amp. If you have a factory sub, you have a factory amp. The converse is true as well.
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Old 08-05-2012, 10:20 AM   #19
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While all Sahara's will have a factory amp, Sport and Rubicon models are available without a factory amp. If you have a factory sub, you have a factory amp. The converse is true as well.

Ok, I have the Sport and do not see or more importantly hear any sub.
I will be doing almost the same setup as the OP. Just with Polk DB6501 as the components. Thanks for the help guys!!
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Old 08-05-2012, 10:32 AM   #20
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Well I can tell you that any shop will tell you that this setup will be a waste of money. Mine said that they would do it for me but that I would probably hear little to no difference at all. Not sure if this is the OP's experience or not but that's what my shop said and their opinion has been echoed by many people on here. I'd still like to do this myself just to save money as I don't need a really high quality setup anyway, just more power and a cleaner sound.
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Old 08-05-2012, 10:47 AM   #21
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Well I can tell you that any shop will tell you that this setup will be a waste of money. Mine said that they would do it for me but that I would probably hear little to no difference at all. Not sure if this is the OP's experience or not but that's what my shop said and their opinion has been echoed by many people on here. I'd still like to do this myself just to save money as I don't need a really high quality setup anyway, just more power and a cleaner sound.

Really?? I thought that just changing out the speakers would help alot. I have never had a car that upgrading the speakers made little to no difference. I am not a bass nut, so I don't need anything that shakes the car, just nice clean sound with the top off.

I upgraded the HU to a Pioneer x940bt and that helped, figured an amp and speakers would only help. Would I be better off bridging the amp for the components and running the rears off the HU?
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:29 PM   #22
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I also installed a KTP-445U in my 2010 JK and can confirm it did improve the DB6501 components (although I am using an aftermaket HU, not stock). After installing the amp (and setting it up properly) the bass output increased and distortion decreased at higher volumes (which is what an amp should do).

I've been running this set-up for a month now, and am pretty impressed with it. I would like to try to bridge the amp to run the components. That being said, I still find there is a lack of bass response on the lower end (even without the high pass filter on the HU set), which is to be expected.

Pioneer AVH-P2400BT
Polk DB6501 (off the amp)
Polk DB651 (off the HU)
KTP-445U
Polyfill all around
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Old 08-06-2012, 02:47 PM   #23
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I also installed a KTP-445U in my 2010 JK and can confirm it did improve the DB6501 components (although I am using an aftermaket HU, not stock). After installing the amp (and setting it up properly) the bass output increased and distortion decreased at higher volumes (which is what an amp should do).

I've been running this set-up for a month now, and am pretty impressed with it. I would like to try to bridge the amp to run the components. That being said, I still find there is a lack of bass response on the lower end (even without the high pass filter on the HU set), which is to be expected.

Pioneer AVH-P2400BT
Polk DB6501 (off the amp)
Polk DB651 (off the HU)
KTP-445U
Polyfill all around
That is exactly what I was going to do. 90x2 would really do those components justice. Just not sure if the rears would get lost with only 14w RMS coming from the HU. I was thinking of bridging the rear. The manual says you can do it and get 70x1 from the HU(Pioneer 940bt), but not sure if it will send the full signal or just bass. Any thoughts.
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:55 PM   #24
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Great write up...thanks a ton! I just replaced all the speakers as OP mentioned above, and plan to add the Alpine ktp-445u next, keeping the stock HU.

Question - if I am using the ktp-445u from the HU with high level speaker inputs - do I lose my possibility of a powered sub later - or can I tap high level outputs twice?

FR > ktp-445u
FL > ktp-445u
RR > ktp-445u & powered sub?
RL > ktp-445u & powered sub?


Thanks!
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:21 AM   #25
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No, you can still add a powered sub. I may add one down the road, but right now, the bass from the Polks is enough to keep a smile on my face. Obviously, it's not earth-shattering bass, but more than adequate for 6.5" speakers. I have the rears cutoff at 80Hz, so really, only the fronts are providing lows.

What powered sub are you looking at?
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:29 AM   #26
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I did it. Thanks to your wiring info >"igf101" I've finally got my PAC-SOEM-T spliced into the HU and hooked up my 1000wPioneer Amp, Rockford Fos Capacitor, and two 12" Rockford Fos Punch stage 3 subs. I've been on vaca all week and with the perfect pick for weather vacation I had no reason to just go out and try/hook it up finally. Thanks again, you finished my project. Subs are bang'n.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:25 PM   #27
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I have a 2007 with the infinity system, but I just put in a pioneer headunit, and a mono amp for a 12" sub. Could I still use this amp to boost the stock amp for my four speakers and two tweeters? (if I could I would also replace the speakers)

I would rather do this (if its possible) than get a new amp because this seems so much easier to install
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:30 PM   #28
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I bought the AOEM-CHR3 to do something similar to what you did, except that I really do not want to cut into the stock wiring. The CHR3 is already wired with the correct plugs so that I can gain front and rear RCA outputs. I plan to then mount the Alpine unit and run new wires to the speakers this way and if I need to, a Sub. I have replaced all four speakers with the Kicker 40CS654 speakers and the clarity is insane. Pollyfilled all enclosures and added two sheets of dynamat to the sound bar and front speaker buckets. Definitely better.

Has anyone used such a product before?


E
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Old 10-10-2013, 11:23 PM   #29
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I'm contemplating doing a similar build in my 2014 sport and was thinking about getting a regular wiring harness and a reverse wiring harness to avoid cutting up the factory harness. Does anyone know if this is the harness to go into the back of the stock head unit? Metra Part # 71-6522 | Chrysler wire harness | Metra Online
I would then run the speaker lines to the amp and then connect only the power and ground and whatevers left to Metra 70-6522 (met-706522) Wiring Harness for 2007-up Chrysler, and then connect to the factory harness.
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Old 10-11-2013, 07:44 AM   #30
J21
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: KY & GA
Posts: 46
I made a harness using a METRA 71-6522 to plug into the HU and a METRA 70-6522 to plug the original harness into. Had to purchase an extra 70-6522 to get an extra pins for #13 and #2.
If you need extra pins let me know And I will mail them to you.
This was with the basic 130 radio.

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