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Low Range Drifter
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Discussion Starter #1
My daughter drives a 2005 TJ Wrangler and especially in the summer with the top down you could barely hear the radio. The previous owner had installed a Sony MEX-XB120BT radio and some factory replacement Kicker speakers in the dash and overhead console. It has a factory subwoofer, but it was disconnected at some point. The foam edging was trashed, so even if hooked it up it likely would have been no good.

For Christmas, I was looking to do some upgrades, and I found a recipe on another site. I reused the radio since it seemed to be working fine. I was on the fence about swapping out the speakers and not just doing the subwoofer, but I'm happy I did.

Kicker CompRT 6.75" Subwoofer
Kicker 42PXA2001 200W x 1 Moto/Marine Amplifier
Polk Audio DB522 Speakers (5.25 sound bar speakers)
Polk Audio DB462 Speakers (4x6 front speakers)
Polyfil Stuffing (for rear sound bar speakers)
Design Engineering 050350 Boom Mat Speaker Baffles (for front speakers)

Since I wasn't the first one touching the jeep, I'm not sure what is factory and what was already done. I took no pictures but I figured I'd provide some things on what I did. My daughter helped with the speakers, and I did the sub and amp on my own.

The front speakers were pretty easy. There was already a plastic tray for holding the 4x6 speaker and a connector. We popped out the tray with the speaker and disconnected from the car, and swapped in the Polks on the bench. We trimmed the front baffles to be slightly oversized of the tray which made it easy to install them. The old speakers were wired with crimps, and I was able to slide them off and put on the new speaker and reinstalled them.

Similar job on the rear speakers. Pulled out old, pulled off connectors, and put them on the new speaker. Stuff the pod with some polyfill and reinstalled speakers.

I pulled the center console and removed the subcase from it. I tried to remove the metal lamprey washers that held the sub box to the console, but they both broke. On reassembly I used a 1/4" washer and the smallest sheet metal screw I could find to replace the factory washer. I unscrewed the factory amp plate, undid all the extra screws holding the electronics to it, and set them to the side. I used a little black RTV to cover the old holes rather than searching around for fasteners and then reinstalled the block off plate.

As with everybody putting the Kicker sub in a TJ factory box, I had to cut out some of the ribbing at the bottom since the new sub is a little deeper than the factory unit. Since I have the later model box, I used a heat gun and an old piece of pipe to dent the sub box for clearance. Both are pretty obvious as you try and fit the speaker.

I made a little bracket that holds the amp under the steering wheel. I oriented it so that when you pull off the plastic under the wheel you can easily adjust the amp gain.

When I pulled out the replacement radio to plug in the amp's RCA cables, I found the installed had just twisted the wires together and put a little cheap vinyl electrical tape around them. As soon as I moved anything they started falling apart since the tape's adhesive was looong gone. So I spent a few minutes and crimped and put heat shrink all of the connections.

If you don't have one already, years ago I picked up a Tool Aid 18920 ratcheting crimper, and it makes electrical work so much better. It has dies for insulated and non-insulated crimps. I buy non-insulated crimps and heat shrink through Mcmaster-Carr and keep it in a little tackle box. I used to use the heat shrink crimps , but they are expensive. I use a heat gun we bought years ago for removing the paint off our old garage.

To power the amp, I cut the factory sub's power wire (black with red stripe) just behind the connector. It was already on a 20amp fuse. That same connector has the sub wakeup (grey with orange stripe) so I spliced there rather than up by the radio. I thought about using the factory connector from inside the sub box, but the wire was all really thin gauge and I didn't want to use the power wire as a fusible link. I ran those wires plus my sub's speaker wire up under the dash where I spliced it with the amp's pigtail.

I powered it up and set the amp gain. The radio has USB input, so you can easily stream into the sound system. The new speakers, and especially the sub sound great. You should be able to hear the radio next summer. It's not going to win any speaker comps, but for the relatively cheap cost and easy install, it's a big improvement. It's also all in factory locations, so hopefully, thieves will just walk by and not notice it.
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