Installing New Stereo Amp and Subwoofer in Jeep JK Wrangler (PART 1)
Here is a description about installing a new head unit, amp, and subwoofer, in a Jeep JK Wrangler that is not equipped with the infinity system/amp. I suppose the installation will vary slightly depending on the year of your Jeep.
During my install of the new system, I referred to this forum a couple of times for help. I figured I'd try to summarize the entire process here to make it easier on anyone that wants the info.
First, this is not an advertisement for any particular equipment brand, manufacturer, or store. Shop in several different online stores for the best deal you can find. Consider how sales tax figures into the price in different states, etc.
The online store with the best prices I could find was Sonic Electronix in Valencia, California. http://www.sonicelectronix.com
I thought their prices were significantly lower than http://www.crutchfield.com (Sonicelecrtronix was about $70 cheaper for the same stereo). For example, I purchased the Pioneer 2300 DVD for
$279.00 from Sonicelectronix whereas it costs $349.00 from Crutchfield.
Pioneer AVH P2300 DVD $279.99:whistling:
I got this because I wanted a decent double-din head unit with the ability to upgrade to sirius, hd, and navigation, etc. It was a tough choice for me whether to go for the Alpine or the Pioneer, but I finally caved and got this one. To me it was imperative to find a head unit with RCA outputs on it. I probably would've kept the stock radio if it had RCA outputs.
American International CD-K642
(Double Din Install Kit) (Free with Purchase of Stereo):action-smiley:
I think I read that this install kit was a flimsy plastic brace and not as good as other ones. I could not find another install kit and this one was free with the stereo. It seems to be working just fine right now. If in the future the mounting bracket gives out, I'll definitely follow up on this message thread. The only thing I do not like about this bracket is that it protrudes slightly from the surface of the stereo leaving two small gaps on the front of the deck. This is hardly noticeable. Basically it's just not as flush with the surface of Pioneer 2300 as I would have liked.
Scosche CR04B / CR 04
(Wire Harness) (Free with Purchase of Stereo):action-smiley:
Scosche VWA3 / VWA3B
(amplified antenna adapter) $9.99 :action-smiley:
Pioneer CD SB10
Connects to a pioneer head unit and the Sirius Tuner to control
the satellite radio. $69.99 (this seems to be the going rate on most websites) If you buy this and a Sirius tuner together, you will typically
SIRIUS Universal Tuner SC-C1
$69.00 (this is the going rate) Again, if you buy this with the Pioneer CD SB10 in a kit, you'll save approximately $10.00
(I bought this a month ago for $69.00 at Fry's Electronics in Los Angeles. Later when installing this, I noticed that the box had a Fry's sticker on it indicating this was an open box item. :facepalm: However, there was no discount on the item for being used, opened, and possibly refurbished. Kind of a bummer coming from Fry's Electronics, but I still really like Fry's, although their car electronics section is not so amazing)
Fry's Home Electronics | Computer Parts & Accessories, Software, Games, TVs, Cameras - Frys.com
Kicker brand truck enclosure with 10'' subwoofer 300w peak150w rms.
From BestBuy ($149.99 in-store). I find this speaker to be ok for now. I'm not expecting the highest sound quality from a loud rugged Jeep with a canvas top. Plus the truck enclosure box seems to be a decent solution for the limited cargo space of a JK (if you keep the back seat in).
I am not a big fan of buying anything from Best Buy. So this was more of an impulse purchase. I'm sure I could have saved about $50 by buying this online from sonicelectronix, crutchfield, or amazon.com. I don't want to look it up though, because I know I got jacked. I do not recommend buying any type of car audio equipment from Best Buy, it's generally overpriced. :facepalm: Always compare it to Amazon.com. Amazon's prices were on average 50$ - 200$ cheaper depending on the product (especially amplifiers). The one thing you might consider from Best Buy is taking all of the equipment into them and having them install it in your Jeep. Just don't buy the equipment from them. This install was somewhat time consuming for me. But if you're like me and want a small project to work on to decompress after the stresses of the day-job, here's how I installed mine:
[Note All Prices in this message are from March 2011. Also, I already had a 500 watt Sony Xplod amp leftover from my 1997 Jeep Cherokee. This amp is nothing to brag about. It's ugly and I'm sure other amps would produce better results. I'm content with it for now, but when I get some extra cash to waste, I'll switch out this amp.]
Long Power Wire (20') with Fuse (The gauge you need depends on how many watts/amperes your amplifier is and how long your cable is). Check out this chart from Crutchfield.com that can help you determine what gauge is correct for you. Cable Gauge Chart
Short Power Wire (Length and gauge will vary). You will likely need some type of power wire that will power up your head unit. The JK wire harness does not deliver the correct power (at least this is true for the 2007 JK). Therefore you will need some type of power wire that connects from the red lead on the back of your head unit to the fuse panel or to the cigarette lighter). This is discussed in greater detail below.
Ground Wire (3')
Remote Lead Wire (20') (This wire will send a signal to turn your amplifier on when your head unit is on).
RCA cables (15-20')
Tap connectors ($1.99), and dozens of wire connectors ($4). You can pick up the Tap-in squeeze connectors from Radio Shack. Part no. 64-3053 (the red ones for 22 to 18 gauge wires).
HOW TO INSTALL IT:
Ok here's how I installed it:
1. Disconnect the negative battery terminal before working on the vehicle
2. Install the 20' power cable directly from the positive terminal of the jeep's battery to the location of the amplifier. You should be careful in choosing the appropriate gauge for this power cable. In order to choose the correct cable, you need to know how many watts your amplifier is. Most wiring kits have a chart on the back that help you select the appropriate cable/gauge. There should also be a fuse on the cable (fuse installed close to the battery end of the cable, not the amp's end). The battery is on the passenger side of the JK, feed the power wire through the hole in the firewall before attaching it to the battery. A wire hanger will help you poke a hole in the firewall port. This port is located next to the passenger side door. You need to remove the side panel of the passenger side dashboard. This should snap off without the need to unscrew anything. You will see a small port plugged up with a hardened foam. Poke a hole through the foam with the wire hangar. Push the hangar all the way through to the other side. You will see the hanger come out near the hood's passenger side hinge. Tape your power wire to the end of the hanger with electrical tape. Pull the hangar back out now. The wire should be out on the other side now. Pull the wire down to the floor. You can tuck this wire under the carpeting and floor panels so you have a nice and clean install. Feed it all the way to the location of your amp. I put my amp behind the back seat. Eventually you will plug this wire into your amp and connect it to the positive terminal of the Jeep's battery.
(Here the blue cable runs off the battery's positive terminal, and around the right side of engine, into the firewall. Although you cannot easily discern it in this photo, there is a fuse installed in this wire about 8 inches from the positive terminal)
(The blue cable now comes out of the firewall port filled with foam)
2. Install a ground wire from a grounded part of the Jeep to your amp. I installed my ground wire behind the gate latch. I removed the latch, scratched some paint off behind it, and attached the wire to one of the latch screws and screwed it all back together. This worked fine as a ground but forces the gate to squeeze in more tightly when opening/closing it. I'd avoid that if you can. Regardless, find a good ground location near your amp. You're probably much better off unscrewing one of the bolts holding in the back seats and placing the ground wire there. Make sure to scratch off any paint so that the ground connects to metal.
(Here you can see a black ground cable coming out of the latch)
3. Remove the glove box. Just open it, and squeeze the left side and right side of it, it pops right out.
4. Remove the lid on top of the radio and bezel/front panel around the stock radio. Here's some good pictures on how to do this: Removing JK Dash - JeepForum.com
On the lid atop the stereo, you need to place a small flat head screwdriver inside one of the lid's corners closest to the windshield. Then pop out the two clips holding it in place. Then remove the entire lid. To remove the front panel, first remove the bottom panel behind the 4 wheel drive shifter. This snaps out with screwdriver and is held in with plastic clips. Once this is removed, there are two bolts on the bottom of the panel/bezel that you need to unscrew. Then there are two on the top where the lid was. Remove these four bolts and the bezel/panel will come out just far enough to replace the stereo. You do not need to fully disconnect this panel from the cigarette lighters, hazards, a/c controls, etc... You just need to pull it back far enough to remove the radio.
(Here's what it looks like with the top panel/lid removed)
5. Remove the radio. There are four bolts holding it in place. Remove them. The radio will pull out. Unclip the wiring harness on the rear of the stereo, unclip the antenna adapter, and if your stock radio has satellite or any other features, unclip those wires as well. Completely remove the stock radio and sell it on ebay or save it as a backup. I'm selling mine, 064421AF RES CD MP3 AM/FM SIRIUS on ebay: STEREO SIRIUS 08 DODGE JEEP CHRYSLER RES CD AM FM SAT - eBay (item 290543087736 end time Apr-07-11 16:51:17 PDT)
6. Now, this is where it gets a little tricky. If you are installing a larger, double-din stereo... place it in the mounting brace/bracket and slide it in to see whether it fits (the Pioneer 2300 was too deep to fit into the cavity). But that's no problem. You just need to make a minor :crash2: adjustment to get these larger/deeper head units to fit properly. remove the steel bracket from the back of the cavity. It took me about 45 minutes to an hour to remove it. I read postings on this forum and other sites that discuss removing it. I've noticed that some people recommended using a hacksaw or a sawzall (makes me want to say sizzaaaalllll for ma' car stiizzzzaireeeeo) to cut through the bracket to facilitate its demise. I didn't have these tools available. I unscrewed all the bolts (difficult location and some wire snakes are attached to them). There should be two bolts at the bottom and two on the overhead top (if I remember this correctly). Once you remove these bolts you'll need to bend the steel somewhat in order to maneuver the bracket out of the cavity. I was able to bend the bracket and force it to the right side, then twist and bend out the left side while pulling it forward. Eventually I was able to work it out completely. Kind of like extracting a loose tooth. Just keep wiggling it for an hour or two. This is the most frustrating part of this install. Once you're able to remove this, you're good to go. (I think I read somewhere that this bracket does not exist on certain JK models--lucky you!).
(The infamous steel bracket that was installed by the manufacturer to support the stock radio. It's tough to remove it but necessary in order to provide enough room to install larger head units. One user commented that his hands still hurt, even the day after he removed it. I didn't believe it would be that rough, I had the same experience, but the pain went away faster with Wellbutrin extended release).
7. Now that the bracket is out of the way, feed the RCA cables and Remote Wire from inside the cavity down to the driver's side under the steering column. There is a small panel that snaps off under the steering wheel that makes it easier to feed the wires through. Also the side panel on the driver's side snaps off.
You should feed the RCA and the Remote lead/wire through this side of the vehicle because the audio cable should be run on the side of the vehicle opposite to the side you run the power cable from the battery to the amp (Note: in this photo the remote lead/wire I used is colored red because it's the only color I had available. It is not the stereo or amp's power cable. The RCA cables are grey).
This reduces potential line noise and interference that will leak out of the power cable and into the RCA cable if they are run next to each other. Tuck these wires under the carpet and door frame and run them to the location of your amp. Again, in this photo the remote lead is colored red because it's the only color I had left (normally this cord should be blue or blue/white).
8. If you're installing a satellite tuner and/or adapters, hd adapters, etc... this is a good time to mount these components and feed those wires through to the stereo cavity. I found a small opening behind the glove box, behind the air bag, and above the vents where I was able to cleanly install the pioneer sirius control adapter SB10 and Sirius tuner SC-C1. I simply placed velcro in the slot and velcroed (spelling??) these units in. You attach the satellite antenna to the SC-C1, and run the cord that comes with the Sirius tuner to the SB10. Now, run the SB10's cord from the SB10's OUTPUT to the stereo cavity (later you will plug this in to the back of the head unit). If you mistakenly plug this in to the SB10's input, the Sirius stations will display on your head unit but you will not hear any audio and will later need to reverse the wiring. Trust me, I learned the hard way. Therefore it's important that you place the cord in the SB10's output.
9. Now, you need to run a power wire to the stereo cavity that will power the head unit. I tapped into the positive power wire from the driver's side cigarette lighter. This option made it easy because the driver's side cigarette lighter is turned off when the vehicle is off. To do this, run a short wire from the stereo cavity to the cigarette lighter.
Use a tap connector to do this. Radio Shack. Part no. 64-3053. You place the cigarette lighter positive lead into the tap connector, and the wire that will power your head unit into the tap connector, then crimp it shut and you're good to go. I like the tap connector because it's easier than cutting the wire and splicing it. Make sure you use the appropriate gauge power wire from the tap connector to the stereo head unit. Also, I'm sure there are several other better ways to power the head unit but I'll defer those options to expert opinions. I suppose connecting into the cigarette lighter could present several problems, including possible line noise. There should be a fuse in the power wire connecting the head unit to the cigarette lighter wire.
10. Now you need to install a satellite radio antenna (if you want satellite radio). If I'm not mistaken the sat antenna is installed on the passenger side of the roll cage, hidden inside the padding. If your JK isn't already equipped with the sat antenna... consider placing it in the padding of the roll cage, facing the sky, and bringing the wire through the right passenger side of the dashboard, behind the glove box, and into the stereo cavity or just keep it behind the glove box area for now. If like most of the better head units, that don't have a satellite tuner built in, you'll need to route the antenna to the back of the satellite tuner box. I installed mine behind the glove box. On a side note, I've read that some JK owners have placed the satellite antenna on the front hood of the JK. I suppose the best placement for your sat antenna will depend on what you have installed on top of your JK, hard top, luggage racks, etc... things that might obstruct the antenna. Also, if you plan on mounting the sat antenna on the hood of the JK, you'll need to feed the wire through the firewall. I'm not sure whether it's a good idea to route the sat antenna wire through the foam firewall opening on the passenger side if you are also running your amp power cable through it (this might cause interference? but this is not how mine is setup, so I'll defer to someone else on this point).
11. Plug in the AM/FM Scosche VWA3 / VWA3B amplified antenna adapter to the end of your JK's antenna wire located on the right side of the stereo cavity.
12. Now, get comfortable and use a desk or table to install the Scosche CR04B / CR 04 wiring harness to the back of the new stereo head unit. You will need several wire connectors. Use a wire stripper to strip the tips of the wires on the wiring harness (if they're not already stripped) A 22-20 or 18 gauge stripper and crimper are needed (I like the way that sounded). The appropriate gauge may vary. Match all of the wire colors on the harness to the wire colors from the back of your new head unit and connect them one by one with the appropriate size wire connectors.
11. Now it's time to put the new head unit into the JK. Make sure the install kit brace/bracket is installed on the new head unit (I used the one from American International listed above). Place the new head unit near the stereo cavity and start hooking up all the appropriate wires.
Plug the wiring harness into the JK's wiring harness. Then push these wires off to the left rear side of the stereo cavity to make room for the stereo. Make sure to connect the remote lead to the wire you previously fed into the stereo cavity in Step 7.
Also, connect the RCA cables to the output of your head unit. Next, plug in the controller cable from the SB10 to the back of the head unit. And plug in the standard AM/FM antenna adapter (scosche) cord. You'll also connect the red power wire (with fuse) to the power wire you tapped into the cigarette lighter in Step 9. Make sure your stereo is properly grounded. I plugged the ground into the jeep's wiring harness ground.
12. This is a good time to plug in your amplifier, positive, remote lead, ground, and RCA cables. Read your amplifier's instruction manual for the proper settings. Run speaker wires from the amp to your subwoofer.
(This is the hideous looking Sony Xplod Amp. Please note that the remote lead wire I used is colored red, because I only had red wiring left over. Normally a remote lead wire should be blue or blue/white.... consult your head unit's instruction manual for the proper color coding...do not confuse this with the amp power cable. Also the thicker blue cable in this photo is the power cable from the JK's battery... This picture is not a good example of proper wire color coding).
13. With everything plugged in, it's time to reconnect the JK's battery to see if this setup is working right. Turn the JK on. See if you're getting power to the head unit and amp.
(Oh yeah we got power! And I'm listening to Area on Sirius, that's why I needed bass in the first place)
Test to see if the subwoofer is working.
(Sound's great!) :whistling::whistling::whistling:
Make sure to test each individual speaker as well to make sure that you connected the wiring harness properly. Once everything checks out, turn off the JK and unplug the negative terminal from the battery. Screw the head unit in with four bolts. Snap the bezel/panel back in place, put the four bolts back into it. Snap the bottom panel in, etc.... etc... Make sure to secure your amplifier and subwoofer so they don't fly around while you're off road. :facepalm:
Troubleshooting: If you're having issues such as no power, no audio, etc... make sure to double check all of your wiring. If a connector is loose this could be the problem. Also, if your grounding wires on the head unit and/or the amp aren't installed properly this could be the problem. If your head unit works but the amp doesn't, check to make sure the remote lead wire is connected properly, make sure the fuses are not blown on the amp or in the power cable. You can use a multimeter on DCV 10-20 to check the power cable from the battery. Place the positive probe on the positive cable connecting to the amp and negative probe on good metal ground location on the Jeep. It should read at around 11-15. If the positive is working, then move the negative probe to the negative wire connected to the amp while the positive probe is still on the positive cable connecting to the amp, then recheck it. If you do not get a reading, then the amp isn't grounding properly.
Note: There's probably some details that I forgot to include. Also, I'm not liable for any problems, damage, or fires you cause to yourself, your jk, or your equipment. Use this information at your own peril. I'm just trying to supply some tips on what worked for me.
Here's a color coding chart I found on other websites that may be useful to you, this was originally posted on another jk forum by a user named IndianaJeep. :thumb: This was helpful to me, so here you go:
Car Radio Battery Constant 12v+ Wire: Red
Car Radio Accessory Switched 12v+ Wire: The radio harness does not provide a switched power source. Run a wire to the fuse box or steering column for switched power.
Car Radio Ground Wire: Black
Car Radio Illumination Wire: N/A
Car Stereo Dimmer Wire: N/A
Car Stereo Antenna Trigger Wire: N/A
Car Stereo Amp Trigger Wire: N/A
Car Stereo Amplifier Location: Behind the Drivers Side Under the Dash Near Steering Column.
Car Audio Front Speakers Size: N/A
Car Audio Front Speakers Location: N/A
Left Front Speaker Positive Wire (+): Gray/Violet
Left Front Speaker Negative Wire (-): Gray/Yellow
Right Front Speaker Positive Wire (+): Dark Green/Violet
Right Front Speaker Negative Wire (-): Dark Green/Yellow
Car Audio Rear Speakers Size: N/A
Car Audio Rear Speakers Location: N/A
Left Rear Speaker Positive Wire (+): Gray/Light Green
Left Rear Speaker Negative Wire (-): Gray/Dark Green
Right Rear Speaker Positive Wire (+): Dark Green/Light Green
Right Rear Speaker Negative Wire (-): Dark Green/Light Green
Goodluck. Hope this helps you.
:eek: I wonder how Alan Jackson sounds on that setup...
Awesome. Why not just use the PAC 127C2RCHY4 wire harness for the Jeep. It retains all the original features of the stock harness and wires match up for accessory, dimmer, etc.The radio install is somewhat easy but wait until you have to replace the stock crap front speakers on the drivers side.
I didn't use the PAC wire harness for a couple of reasons. The first reason was it costs $71 on amazon.com; $89 at Sonic Electronix; $129 at Crutchfield; and $139 MSRP... and you still have strip and splice all the wires on the harness to your new head unit. This product is probably important if you have a factory amp/infinity system installed and want to keep using it. I didn't have a factory amp in my JK, so buying the PAC didn't provide me with any benefit and the scosche wire harness (retail $3-$9) came for free with the stereo. I also read that the PAC adapter does not let you adjust level to the rear speakers. I read another review on amazon from a customer that said the PAC unit shorted out his cam-buss system and that PAC was not interested in helping him but Amazon went ahead and sent him a new one while PAC left him high and dry. To PAC's credit, he said the new one is working fine now. (Cost him $350 for towing and diagnostics). In the end who knows whether the PAC unit actually caused the short. Amazon.com: B. engen "Test Subject"'s review of PAC C2R-CHY4 Radio Replacement Interface f...
Also I noticed extremely mixed reviews about several different PAC adapters. I suppose the benefits to this adapter are that it taps into the data-bus to detect the parking brake wire, reverse trigger, speed, illumination, steering wheel controls, mopar gps systems, uconnect, and etc... If you have those features and you want a way to retain them, it looks like it would be helpful. Pac-Audio.com Product Details | iPod Integration for your car and More by Pac-Audio - Connecting you to the future
One thing that caught my eye from Pac was the AOEM-CHR3 amplifier intergration interface... plugging this into your factory radio would give you RCA outputs. This was only $53... I bet you can get a better price by shopping around more too...(rather than buying a whole new radio). But I still prefer getting a head unit with its own RCA outputs on it to minimize distortion.
Good information LA. So are you saying for all those Jeep owners that have the base stereo system with no amp or sub and want to replace the Head unit with aftermarket that they do not need the PAC? Most Stereo installers and sites like CF always tell you you need this PAC for Jeep and with out it you can damage your electronics CAN BUS.I believe that this is not true just to scare you into purchasing the expensive PAC harness. I did and installed it but I would like to know for sure that I really didn't need it but do not want to try it without it. Just want to help others with the base radio to feel confident they can buy aftermarket without the PAC.
As applied to non-infinity (factory amp installed systems) I'm confident in what I did. To my understanding, none of the wires I installed are linked to the can bus or should affect it in any way. However, I'm certainly no expert in electronics or wiring. I'd have to defer to someone else on this one.
If you check out sonicelectronix.com they recommend the Scosche C04B /CR 04 for non infinity/non amplified for the 2007 Jeep Wrangler.
If by some whim this setup damages my can-bus, I'll let you know right away.
Awesome Job on explaining this! You've got me interested in that head unit. How would say the new head unit is? It looks pretty flush and stock looking from your picture. If you just had any advice on this head unit or any other thing I should be aware of let me know! Once again, great job on this write up
Best post yet on this topic, should be stickied on front page. Please update status on canbus system without pak module. If scosche harness works you have made my day complete.
Great write up - thanks!
I am assuming this setup remains the same for 2012 JKU's? Did the connectors change or stay the same? I would like to get the PAC adapter rather than buy a whole new HU since I already have an amp.
I installed the PAC with my new stereo. Never could get it programmed. Will have to try again next week.
Does anyone know if I got the PAC adapter in the link I added here, would it work with my stock radio (non-Infinity) in regards to having the same harnesses? Did the connectors from the older JK's stay the same as the new 2012 JK's? Thanks for any input.
PAC AOEM-CHR3 (aoemchr3) System Interface Kit to Add or Replace
This Helps a lot
Does anyone know how to do this with the stock head unit?
Good timing, I was just about to pick-up a Pioneer AVH-P2400BT. Thanks for the info!
Just installed my Kicker Stage 3 system this weekend. I'll also post some pics when I have a chance.
Extremely pleased- all equipment was designed for the Jeep so wiring harnesses connect right up and brackets for amps mount right to the interior of the dash. Total plug and play so CAM-BUS issues are avoided. Stage 3 includes sub amp, 4 channel amp, replacement speakers for front and sound bar & 10 " sub. The system, for lack of a more eloquent way to put it- kicks a**. I can now crank up to volume 30 with no distortion. You pay a lot more than the listed set-up however- just posting an an alternate for those who dont want to tackle all the wiring.
Kicker tested the Jeep factory head unit at a whopping 4 watts per channel. Therefore surprisingly just replacing the amp. made a significant difference even with the stock speakers. I mention this because some people have posted that their after-market speakers didn't sound much better. Unless you replace the head unit or amp. as Los Angeles mentions- you won't hear much of a difference.
Where did you mount your amp??
I mounted my amp under passenger seat with a bracket I fabricated so it stays off the floor. The PAC AOEM CHR3 was only $34 shipped and made install a breeze. Thanks for the great write-up. This is the harness I used on my 2012 JKU:
Pac Aoem CHR3 Add Radio Amp Amplifier Integration Interface Chrysler Dodge Jeep | eBay
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