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How to upgrade & replace your factory TJ wrangler console subwoofer

Discussion in 'TJ How-to Guides' started by RangerRick, Nov 15, 2016.

  1. Stockli

    Stockli TJ Enthusiast

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    Sorry to resurrect this from the dead....

    @RangerRick do you have pics of where you mounted the amp?

    I like this idea, the factory amp can’t push my Polk mm’s and I need to put this kicker into my center console. I think this set up,would be great. I just suck ithnwiring and seeing you used that factory harness makes this appealing.
    Do you know if there is a wire harness that makes this amp plug and play to the stock system with console amp? That would make this even easier.
     
  2. RangerRick

    RangerRick TJ Enthusiast
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    It's way up under the dash behind the instrument cluster high in the dash pocket under the windshield. This is an area that even when your Jeep is almost fully submerged in mud or water retains an air pocket to keep it dry.
    Basically your head unit and dash speakers will get swamped before the amp fries from moisture. Look up under there, you'll see plenty of space for the tiny size form factor the amplifier is.
     
  3. RangerRick

    RangerRick TJ Enthusiast
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    I will be doing an update/long term review of this "How-To" post soon with detailed wiring pictures and more information on Jeep audio upgrades soon. Be sure to check back when I do the updates to see more details on wiring and how I integrated everything into the TJ. This will be good information for all year TJ Wranglers since my TJ is an early 3/1996 manufacture date with a complete 5/2005 Rubicon edition interior swap in done. I am also preparing to change the center stack possibly to a double DIN video/DVD receiver. If this comes about, I will have another "How-To" on it and also will build a 3rd "How-To" on CB & HAM radio communications planning all the way to successfully usable on the trail. Been busy with the family but now that warmer sunny weather is here, I will be stepping up the pace on my build.......
     
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  4. Chris

    Chris Administrator
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    I'll be anxious to see a long term review.

    I followed your setup and it's wonderful. I used the same amp and sub as you used as well.

    However, now I'm thinking I'm going to ditch the amp and get a 5 channel amp so that I can use it to power all 4 speakers, plus the sub. I think if I did that, I can get even more amazing sound than I have no (which is actually great even as it sits).
     
  5. RangerRick

    RangerRick TJ Enthusiast
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    There are some good 5 channel amplifiers that can do that. My head unit drives the dash speakers & sound bar speakers, that 4 channel drives the 2 sub coils since it's DVC and the other two drive the wake board cans in the back. Gets really loud in camp if I want, just swivel the cans back to fill the campsite with sound.

    What really helps is the FM broadcas transmitter that lets all radios tune into the same music I play at once filling everywhere with great audio from 20 to 30 speakers in the group! I get to be DJ for the night from the iPod.....
     
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  6. Stockli

    Stockli TJ Enthusiast

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    No matter what my system sounds like trash. I got Polk mms in the sound bar and Polk dB in the front and a pioneer mechless deck and it still sounds like trash

    Gah
     
  7. Chris

    Chris Administrator
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    That's crazy! I have Polks front and rear and a Kenwood head unit. Paired with the Kicker sub and Kicker amp (which is only powering the sub) it sounds amazing! I can hear the music loud as hell going 65 mph down the highway with no top or doors!
     
  8. Stockli

    Stockli TJ Enthusiast

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    Yeah, I gotta take the sound pods off the roll ha and see what’s up in there I am not sure if I wired them up backwards or what. Does anyone know the color codes for + and - on the harness for the roll bar speakers?
     
  9. Chris

    Chris Administrator
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    I don't know the colors off the top of my head, but I think if you wire them backwards they simply won't work.
     
  10. KMarks

    KMarks New Member

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    How did you wire in from the sub-woofer wiring harness that's under the console and goes to the factory sub/amp? I replaced the speaker. But, the amp is a POS. It only works sometimes.. driving me crazy. I want to replace it.
     
  11. RangerRick

    RangerRick TJ Enthusiast
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    I used all factory stereo wiring except the center console subwoofer wiring and amplifier. I disconnected it and re-wired that to the Kicker amp directly. The 03-06 sound bar speaker pods were re-wired directly to the head unit rear speaker outputs in the harness. The dome lamps are wired like normal to the same place your under dash courtesy lamps go and come on with the doors open if the fuse is in place behind the glove box or by turning the dome lamp switch when the fuse is removed for doorless operation. All pretty much simple wiring with only the bypass of the roll bar speakers being redone. Hope this makes sense but I disconnected the sub wiring completely including its amplifier.
     
  12. KMarks

    KMarks New Member

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    How did you rewire it to the Kicker amp? The 12-pin outs include wires for all the speakers. That's the confusing part since when it's disconnected all the other speakers work. Or.. did you connect the amp input directly from your head unit?
     
  13. RGTJ24

    RGTJ24 Member

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    This must depend on year. I keep reading responses saying that all speaker wiring runs through the console amp and it must stay connected, it has to be rewired, etc. I have a 05 Rocky Mountain Edition and all of my speakers (dash and soundbar pods) work perfectly fine if the factory amp in the console is unplugged completely. The wires are there for all the speakers, but there is no loop or need to have the factory amp connected for anything except the factory subwoofer itself. This might be completely different in other models and years based on all the conflicting responses across the forums.

    My factory subwoofer and amp plug is not connected. I have the entire factory subwoofer amp and wiring harness in storage in case I want to return to stock later. I have not ran new wires to the dash or pod speakers. Dash and pod speakers are powered from the radio/receiver. I added a Kicker PX200.1 amp and Kicker 43CWRT671 (1 Ohm) subwoofer. The Kicker amp is mounted behind the glovebox area. I wanted to limit the wires under my carpet or to the console. That is why I chose to mount the Kicker amp in the dash area. I only have one speaker wire + and - for the subwoofer running to my console and into the factory sub box. The sub is wired to parallel inside the box for .5 ohm, no need to run two sets of speaker wires from the amp.

    If you have aftermarket radio use RCA jacks to connect the Kicker amp, if not you have to cut the RCAs on the Kicker amp connector and tap(splice) into your factory speaker leads. Since it is a mono or subwoofer amp you only need to tap into either front or rear speaker leads. Here is where you have the option to tap into the speaker leads at the factory subwoofer/console connection or behind the receiver/radio. I would make this decision based on where you want to mount the Kicker amp. Aftermarket radios make it much easier to connect additional amps and also gives you control of the subwoofer level without additional knobs.
     
    #33 RGTJ24, Aug 10, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  14. RangerRick

    RangerRick TJ Enthusiast
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    The year split is Early subwoofer consoles have a 6 pin connector, later ones have a 12 pin connector. The split is 2001-2003/2003-2006 on the connector.

    I completely disconnected the sub/sub amp from the system and ran two sets of wires from the dash board area behind the radio and instrument cluster where the Kicker amplifier is mounted over to the new DVC kicker subwoofer located in the original sub enclosure box. I used two sets of wires both a L & R signal is fed into the DVC (Dual Voice Coil) subwoofer, one to each voice coil.

    I have installed a fused power bus coming off the battery powering the amplifier, 2-way radios, CB, HAM and head unit directly because of the high current demand of the Kicker amplifier and high power Pioneer head unit. The stock power wires in the radio harness plug will NOT carry enough current to run this equipment.

    I connected the switched ignition power or turn "on & off" signal for the head unit in the factory radio plug harness to the radio harness adapter plug kit and use the amplifier "on" trigger from the aftermarket head unit to signal the Kicker amplifier when to power up or down with the head unit.

    The sound bar speakers are running directly off the head unit and so are the dash speakers using the original wiring in the Jeep that comes out of the radio plug in the harness thru the adapter harness kit so no cutting of any factory dash wires required at all.

    I slightly modified the sound bar wiring since my Jeep sub & amp (6 pin version amplifier) came from a 2002 Apex or Rocky Mountain edition TJ. The sound pods and sound pod wiring came from a 2005 Rubicon LJ unlimited. I added these wires into the harness at the factory harness junction where all body harness wires connect to the large bus connectors on the back of the junction. They all simply plug right in where the sound bar speaker harness was meant to on similar year TJ/LJ's.

    THIS modification came from the fact that my TJ is an early model 1997, (pre 2003) so the harness to the sound bar and dome lamps is different than the later models with the twin plastic pods on the roll bar and dual dome lamps. My Jeep year sound bar was originally the one-piece metal bar with padding over it and one dome lamp in the middle of the bar.

    Since converting to the later style plastic sound "pods" to fit rear streamer bars now on my aftermarket roll cage, I had to physically rewire the sound bar harness so all plugs and dome light would match up to the junction block and function properly.

    THIS IS WHERE MY WIRING DIFFERS from WHAT OTHERS WOULD DO wiring wise BECAUSE OF THE REAR SOUND POD CHANGE.

    My amplifier is the 4 channel Kicker model where two channels are used to drive the subwoofer, and the other two channels are used to drive two wake board cans with 6x9 swivel speakers in them. These are mounted to the aftermarket roll cage cross bar behind the rear passengers heads and can swivel around to face out the back or side window areas so I can fill the campsite with music if desired.

    Last but not least, a Kicker low level input kit for the amplifier was used so RCA inputs drive the amplifier instead of the high level speaker output wires as some people do, (leads to lower overall system distortion and greater flexibility to control subwoofer bass output levels).

    It sounds confusing but really is rather simple. The complexity was added by the fact that my Jeep is an early model with late model 2005 interior installed and a mid-model 2002 subwoofer console in it (because the 2005 Rubicon LJ console was damaged with parts missing).
     
  15. KMarks

    KMarks New Member

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    Thanks RGTJ24.. very helpful info. I was wondering where the source input was coming from to feed the amp. Now i know.. thank you!!

    I too.. have the factory stereo and when my sub amp/speaker harness in the console is disconnected, the stereo works fine out of both the front and back (soundbar pods). Mine is a 2005 Rubicon. I bought it a few months back and it was missing the inner console sub speaker/amp assembly. So.. i bought one used. The speaker was shot and i replaced it. But the amp is flaky. It only works occasionally. Most of the time, it doesn't work at all. So.. want to just eliminate it. I've been reading out the Kicker PX200.1 amp.. but looks as if it's not available new anymore (except through after market channels such as eBay.. or used/refurbished). Which sucks, since it looks like a perfect solution.

    I'll probably try and find another amp and splice the harness feeding the the console. Since the sub assembly doesn't work anyway. If i sell it, I'd leave the sub amp. But, would also like to replace the factory stereo. If I do, would use a harness adapter.

    Thanks Again!
     
  16. RangerRick

    RangerRick TJ Enthusiast
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    If one wires their amplifier like this you will have NO CONTROL over the bass level of the subwoofer. It will be tied into either your front or rear speaker levels and not independently adjustable.

    Therefore, I do NOT recommend this method of connection. Rather, use the RCA SUBWOOFER OUTPUTS from your aftermarket radio to drive the Kicker or any other subwoofer amplifier.

    Also, although bass is non-directional, you must connect up the L & R inputs properly even to a MONO amplifier. Otherwise if you only drive one channel without bridging the amplifier internally to mono so both L & R channels can mix, you may loose some bass due to the differences in L & R audio channels. This would really be apparent on early stereo music like early beatles songs where some Harmonie and some instruments including bass guitar and drums could be on only one of the two stereo channel signals and may not then be reproduced by your subwoofer if both channels aren't properly mixed in a "bridge" configuration of the amplifier.

    Also a final note that is of some importance:
    Some amplifier designs ARE NOT STABLE AT or UNDER 1 to 2 OHMS speaker load and MAY OVERHEAT, BECOME DAMAGED OR otherwise DISTORT at 1/2 OHM load on moderate to high volume peaks. This is just an FYI and is purely based on circuit design of the amplifier you have and it's ability to handle the average impedance load of the speaker connected to it, (engineering spec usually published somewhere in the manual or on the manufacturers website regarding minimum stable load impedance.)
     
    #36 RangerRick, Aug 10, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
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  17. RGTJ24

    RGTJ24 Member

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    I had the same problem. My stock subwoofer rarely if ever worked.

    After reading the various threads, I bought this amp and subwoofer. Both are currently in stock with Prime shipping. I haven't had any issues running the amp @ 0.5 ohm. it shows rated for 200 watts @ 0.5 ohm in the description. You could always use the 2 ohm sub and run @ 1 ohm load on the amp if you wanted less bass.

    Kicker PX2001 200 W Mono Subwoofer Amplifier
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0078G38YY/?tag=wranglerorg-20

    Kicker 43CWRT671 COMPRT67 6.75" 300W DVC 1-Ohm Car Subwoofer
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BLVEZG6/?tag=wranglerorg-20
     
  18. RGTJ24

    RGTJ24 Member

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    We are in agreement and saying the same thing. I am running an Alpine radio and have my amp connected by RCA. @KMarks is running stock radio and will need the speaker inputs.

    That is why I recommended aftermarket radio. Without the sub level control it will drive you crazy with the sub being overpowering on some songs and barely heard on the next.

    He could use the newer model Kicker PXA200.1 amp that has the optional Bass level control knob. I would only do that if you wanted to keep the factory radio. The money is better spent on aftermarket radio with RCA jacks and subwoofer level control built in.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UG7AK66/?tag=wranglerorg-20

    Thanks again for the thread and detailed pictures that lead me on the path to upgrade my sub.
     
  19. KMarks

    KMarks New Member

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    Well.. look at that, it's no longer showing 'out of stock' at Amazon. WhaHOO! - Just ordered the amp! I've already got a speaker.

    Thanks!!
     
  20. KMarks

    KMarks New Member

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    Thanks for the reply.. much appreciated. I think i'll just deal with no bass control since i plan to replace the factory radio in the very near future.
     

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