Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum banner

41 - 57 of 57 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
My $.02 on head units: I've bought 3 in about 3 years from Crutchfield.

I was always an Alpine guy and probably always will be but I strayed on these last 3 purchases to test the waters.

The 1st 2 I bought were Kenwoods, Kenwoods always had finicky buttons but great sound back in the day. I really like my 2 Kenwoods for sound and the Bluetooth works great, buttons still finicky. The interface takes some getting used to.

In my FJ, I put a Sony BT double DIN in, I bought it bc it was one of the last of a dying rubber rotary knob breed which I love. The stereo is fine, interface took a while to get but the one thing I've noticed is the Bluetooth is real weak. It won't always connect, I damn sure wouldn't call it easy and it won't play from inside my pocket. The Kenwoods will play if you walk 50' away with your phone still in your pocket.

Always hated Pioneer, in the old days Premiers could be nice but Pioneer started cheaping out in like 1999 and they've only gotten worse.

Alpine or Kenwood for the long haul!

I will also mention that IMHO, Alpine has really always catered more to the audiophile and sounds best with high dollar wiring, amps and speakers. It's almost as if their sound is so clean that you have to have every frequency planned out, for some, that's the fun but it costs $
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Great input, Jeremy. ATM, planning on getting the Kenwood even before your post. Very happy to have additional reinforcement!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
Hey, also, I cannot count how may aftermarket stereo systems I have put in, started before I had my own license.

BUT, with dimmers, steering controls, etc. these days, I paid the extra $20 for Crutchfield guys to prewire this radio for my FJ, so worth it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Okay, I officially ordered. A bit more than I wanted to spend, but the wife and I got annual bonuses today, so I think I can hide it.

  • Kenwood DMX125BT
  • Kicker 44KSC69304 6"x9" 3-way car speakers
  • ordered all the cables pre-configured, including steering wheel controls
$472 shipped.

Will install myself. Got the trim panel tools for only $12, even though this may be the only time I use them. I didn't have time to find a place locally I could try to listen to the speakers, but I am not concerned whether I will like them.

Thanks again team! Should be delivered next Wed.

Edit: a couple more quick questions...

If I want to "Dynamat?” the doors some, where should I go to get this material prior to equipment delivery next Wed? (Just realized I forgot to look if Crutchfield offers it before pulling the trigger. Ugh. Ah well...give a local merchant some business.)

Where would I go to get a pop-out to set up my USB/Aux cleanly? Local? Website?

Thanks for the 12th time in this thread everyone. (Sincerely.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Hijack.

I did buy that woofer, but then started expanding questions as the flipping folks here are so damn kind, knowledgeable and helpful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Quick updates...

1. I kept talking before about an amp under the passenger seat. That is in my wife's Kia, with her Harmon Kardon upgraded system, not the FJC.

2. Forgot to order Dynamat for the front doors. Should arrive Thurs now. Likely install this coming weekend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Congrats on the new gear, I’m sure you’ll like it. One note, sometimes the painted inserts rattle on the front doors, might be an area to check while you have the panels off. But the dynamat will definitely help either way. You mentioned you picked up the panel tool as well, smart. If you bought the one with the red handle I don’t see why it wouldn’t last you. If you bought blue plastic ones, I’m sure they’ll work. I have a similar set and have removed body trim with them before and they work great. I’ve just never pulled a full door panel with them, as the tool I use for that is like the red handled one. But just go slowly as you should anyway and I’m sure they’ll work fine. One tip, you might want to tape off any painted areas with painters or masking tape to avoid scratching the paint. The plastic tools really don’t scratch, but they can still mar a finish so to be safe I always tape off the area. And again congrats on the new gear.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Super suggestion on taping areas of potential paint scratching. I have read and seen (YouTube) multiple people warning to be careful of this. I will def have a roll of masking tape on the ready when I start.

Cheers!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
x2 on that painted door panel, I need to pull my door panels off and treat that area as well now
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Installing this weekend!!

Errands to run today, so I will watch YouTube and read my instructions this morning, and knock it all out tomorrow. Pics and results tomorrow afternoon!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
We'll see how this goes. Doing it on my Pixel, so not sure how the pic uploads will go. Almost spaced pics, but remembered early in the process. Had a little bit of paralysis by analysis, so I still have to get the Dynamat and 6x9s into the doors and disconnect the headliner speakers, but that should be pretty straight forward now.

IMG_20200223_151646.jpg

Pics looks good on my phone. Here is the back of the head unit (Kenwood DMX125BT) with harnesses/converters mostly connected. All ordered thru Crutchfield pre-wired (they messed one thing up, minor but irritating), including steering controls.

IMG_20200223_151650.jpg

IMG_20200223_151701.jpg

I installed the factory mounting brackets, then the included "trim plate" brackets (the plastic pieces on the side that make it snug in the factory dash-hole). I then installed it and snapped the dash trim on to see how it looked.

IMG_20200223_155015.jpg

IMG_20200223_155230.jpg

I felt like the face was pointing down further than I desired, so I grabbed a couple of nuts at first (lol) with a hole a little bigger than the HU mounting bolts to use as spacers on the bottom two mounting bolts. They were a little too big after bolting and snapping in again (now it tilted up enough that the dash trim wouldn't snap in above it), so I used a washer + locking washer on each side, and that fit just right, and tilted up just enough for my taste.

Note: shove a rag or something in at the bottom of the head unit hole. I lost one bolt to posterity. Had a replacement, but still irritating that I was so dumb.

More later...just my initial quick update over lunch. Spoiler alert: everything works so far, and I am already much happier even before the door upgrades are installed. But man, those headliner speakers ruin everything with this configuration. Easy fix, see:

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Headliner speakers disconnected. Will test on the way in to work.

IMG_20200223_151909.jpg IMG_20200223_151859.jpg

Here is the mic for Bluetooth calling. Mounted behind the rear view mirror, cable run just under the headliner and down the pillar to the floor to thread under the dash. Fast forward, tested yesterday...my buddy said it sounded like a toilet was constantly flushing. Going to try a different spot. Might just be an awful mic with this HU and needs to be replaced.

IMG_20200223_152143.jpg IMG_20200223_152231.jpg IMG_20200223_152956.jpg

This is my cable puller going into the dash and coming out on the floor. Pay attention to the view from below. There is a plate over which my puller is fed. To run wires under the dash and behind the HU, make sure you go between that plate and the dash, not between it and the firewall. Otherwise, you risk cords hanging down and sharp edges that could cause damage.

IMG_20200223_151846.jpg IMG_20200223_151826.jpg

This is my USB cable (black) from the HU and OBD2 cable (white/red and black/yellow). I need to purchase a replacement pop-out for an empty slot below the HU and connect the USB to that later.

This particular head unit needs a connection to the reverse lights. Crutchfield set up that OBD2 cable to connect to my diagnostic harness (the one AutoZone plugs in to for reading codes under the dash on the left side of the steering column). This way, I don't have to figure out how to hard wire to the reverse lights. It can be disconnected any time you need codes read, then re-connected. Since the black/yellow wires are not used, I added extra electrical tape to the free end. In my hands in the dash you can see the white/red cables connected, but an additional connection with the same color wires with no connection. The pre-configured converter from Crutchfield came with the white/red and black/yellow wires all set up, but no instructions that you disconnect the pre-configured white/red connection to connect the OBD2, and that the black/yellow wires are not used. Hopefully this saves you a call.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,477 Posts
To install the dynamat stuff in your doors, use a hair dryer to warm up the adhesive for the poly dust barrier, it will pull off easily without ripping so you can reuse it after install.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Holy sh*t. For $500, my stereo rocks. Wow.

100% installed and tested. More install details to come with pics. Right now, I just need to go drive around for a bit (so the neighbors don't get pissed)...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
Seeing as I had already changed out my head unit with one from Kenwood, using a kit from Crutchfield and also changing out door speakers and the dash speakers, I figured I'd try the $30 sub upgrade. I ordered it at the beginning of last week, and got it Friday. I put it in this weekend and love the difference. It's not like a night and day difference, more of a dawn to day but definitely worth it. Sounds better and clearer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Sorry for the delay on more install info. Life.

I think I addressed everything on the HU install. I did do the $40 woofer upgrade from OP. It is SO simple. I took out so many unnecessary screws...the whole front of the stock box pops right off and it was like 8 screws to remove the old woofer. (Will grab a pic and add below tonight.)

I went to AutoZone and got some larger connectors for the speaker wire (suggested previously). Cut, stripped and crimped them on, plugged in, and installed. I had to drill 4 of the 5 as new holes, but just no big deal.

On to the doors...I watched a YouTube video on this.


Super easy to pop the door covers off. A couple of the grommets didn't come off with the cover. The panel tools were awesome for getting these out without damage to reattach.

IMG_20200301_141607.jpg IMG_20200301_141951.jpg

Here is the driver door with the cover off. (Passenger was the same, just faster after doing the first one.) I peeled back the poly dust barrier. I didn't use the hair dryer, but going slow it came off pretty smooth. I ended up cutting half of it away later anyway, and covered the hole with the Dynamat. Unbolted that plate from over the hole and stuck my head inside. I was rushing a bit, so I eyeballed my cutting measurements for the Dynamat inside the door cavity. Worked out really well.

IMG_20200301_141533.jpg IMG_20200301_141555.jpg

Here are the speakers (stock has the yellow - not sure that magnet would even stick on my fridge).

IMG_20200301_144009.jpg

Here is the door with the plate back on, and the internal Dynamat placed. At first when I was looking at that little wooden roller I ordered from Crutchfield, I wondered if I really needed it...man, it was the perfect size and weight to get that stuff flat in tight space. Very glad I got it. I probably could have done better, but my results were more than satisfying in the sound.

IMG_20200301_145643.jpg

Here is the door after the external layer. You can see I pulled that plate back off and installed the Dynamat across the hole and mounted the plate back on top. (This is where I cut the poly dust barrier straight across. On the passenger door, I cut it to match immediately. Then I just peeled and discarded the rest.) Also, notice the cuts in the Dynamat over the speaker hole. This was a suggestion from my best stereo buddy. I ended up folding the points of the cuts back inside, then installing the speaker. Finally, just reverse steps to put the door cover back on.

Voila...my stereo is now UNREAL. I will have to be careful not to piss off the neighbors when nice weather returns, but with the windows up, the Dynamat does wonders. I am not going to win any competitions, but it is seriously awesome. I doubt I will need to install an amp or better woofer...this should please me for life.

This HU has crossover options built in that actually help. It has bass boost with 3 levels, an on/off loudness feature, and a 10 level equalizer. I adjusted the crossover from suggestions given by my best stereo buddy again, have the bass boost at 3, the loudness turned on, and just adjust the highs with the top three bars on the equalizer.

I may still upgrade the dash and D pillar speakers, but they really don't need it at this point. I can pretty much crank it to max volume without distortion as long as I don't mess with the equalizer mids and lows. (Don't forget to disconnect the headliner speaker harness.) I do need to upgrade that lame mic that came with the HU for Bluetooth calls. The included one sucks.

IMG_20200304_161359.jpg

Last thing for now...I didn't buy a new pop-out for the bottom of the dash yet for USB connection to the HU. I have a mount on my rear view mirror for my phone, so I ran a USB cable from the HU USB input behind the grey trim piece on the left of the HU to the dash, and just have about 5 inches sticking out at the top. Now I just put my phone up there and connect to the USB. Very clean...

I hope this is helpful, and that people can find it. In retrospect, I probably should have started my own thread. I can't believe what a difference $500 made! Cheers!
 
41 - 57 of 57 Posts
Top