In our quest to upgrade out TJ’s sound system without spending big bucks, we decided the cheezy factory 4×6′s in the dash had to go. We’d originally planned to put in a set of Boston Acoustics 4×6′s until I stumbled across the first offering from 33-Engineering (OffroadToyStore’s fabrication division) — 5.25″ speaker adapter plates for TJ’s. You have to buy or fabricate adapter plates to fit aftermarket 4×6′s anyway, so why not upgrade in the process! 5.25″ speakers not only sound better than 4×6′s, there’s also a wider selection of 5.25″ speakers available, and they’ll generally be better quality than 4×6′s. And at $25 a pair, these speaker adapter plates were a no-brainer.
The plates are precision cut and should fit most any aftermarket speakers, though 33-Engineering says they won’t fit the factory 5.25′s from the sound bar (why would you put factory speakers back in anyway?). Installation is pretty easy, though you will need some wire nippers and crimpers, some electrical butt-connectors or splices, and something to cut sheet metal with, like a dremel with a cut-off wheel. If the speakers you’re putting in didn’t come with sheet metal screws for mounting, you’ll need to pick up 8 of these as well.
The first step is to remove the speaker grills on either side of the dash. This is pretty easy as there’s only two phillips-head screws holding them in, then they simply pop off the dash by pulling straight back towards the seats.
Now remove the 4 screws holding the factory speaker in and put them someplace safe — you’ll reuse them later on. Next unplug the wiring harness from the speakers (the inline splices are for our ModPods). You can go ahead and clip the plug off the wires, because you’ll be crimping new connectors onto the wires to plug into the new speakers.
Here comes the fun part: cutting out the vertical section of the OEM speaker mounting frame. Don’t worry though, this won’t weaken the speaker mounting any. Honestly, as simple as it is to put in 5.25″ speakers, I don’t know why Jeep didn’t setup the dash speakers like this to begin with… Go figure. Anyway, there are two notches in the metal where you need to cut. The top is easy to cut with a dremel and cut-off wheel, but the lower cut was harder to make due to the location and orientation of my dremel.
A few minutes of scratching my head and I had an idea: with the top cut made, I could bend the tab down, giving me an easy place to cut it off using the dremel. So that’s just what I did, and it worked out pretty well. It left a pretty sharp and pointy edge though, so you may want to try and bend the point over with some pliers or something. It won’t be close enough to damage or puncture the speaker, so that’s not a concern.
All that’s left is to crimp on the new speaker connectors, screw the speakers onto the adapter plates (using the sheet metal mounting screws that hopefully came with your speakers), connect the wires, and bolt the combo into the dash.
33 Engineering recommends putting some polyfil stuffing into the dash behind the speakers to help them sound better, but we didn’t happen to do this at the time of the install. Polyfil (think: pillow stuffing) is relatively cheap and easily available from most any craft store or the crafts section of Wal-Mart. You could also use a foam speaker baffle from a car audio shop as well — basically you want something behind the speaker to allow it to project more sound forward into the cab.
That’s really all there is to it. I think the total time for the install was about an hour or so for both sides, and even with the ModPods we could tell an improvement after going to the 5.25′s. If you’re looking for speakers too, OffroadToyStore also has some slick Infinity Kappa 52.5i’s available for about $120/pair including shipping. Now it’s time to upgrade the soundbar to some 6.25′s, heh-heh…
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