Our TJ Project Gets Underway
While checking out AutoTrader online, I spotted an interesting 2005 TJ Unlimited at West Motors in Preston, Idaho. Its Carfax was clean and showed that its one owner had changed the oil and serviced it every 2,500-3,000 miles. After some negotiation, it became mine. I immediately ordered Currie RockJock 60 front and rear ends built with 5.38 Sierra gears and a Detroit Locker up front and an ARB Air Locker in the rear (more on this in an upcoming issue). While waiting for the axles to arrive, I decided to install some interior products and armor.
The Unlimited came with the base AM/FM/CD head unit and four speakers. The sound was anemic and the head unit couldn't receive Sirius Satellite Radio, my backcountry friend. I decided to immediately upgrade. Since 1975, I have ordered products from Crutchfield for both my vehicles and my home. A few years ago, I ordered a complete surround system for the house we had just purchased. It arrived as promised, but one of the surround speakers had a bad driver out of the box. Crutchfield sent a new speaker before I returned the original! Crutchfield has a history of customer support that's phenomenal. I knew I could count on Crutchfield to have everything needed to improve the Unlimited's environment. "Everything needed" not only means the head unit, speakers, and amplifier. Crutchfield sends along vehicle-specific installation kits that have all adapter wires, patch cords, and bracketry to make stereo installation very easy, even for neophytes.
I chose to use an Alpine CDA-9886 CD receiver. Its strong internal amp delivers powerful output, and you can shape the sound with Bass Engine sound controls including a two-band parametric equalizer and a low-pass filter for the subwoofer. The stereo also features a high-pass filter that keeps the TJ's full-range speakers clear by eliminating the low bass they can't handle.
The two-line BioLite display delivers text that's easy to read anywhere in the Jeep. Alpine's included iPod cable lets you connect your iPod and use the Percentage Search function to find your favorite songs fast - just tap the radio preset buttons to jump quickly through sections of your playlist. You'll also find a built-in USB input ready for your thumb drives or USB-equipped music players (except iPod). Since I don't have an iPod or another music player, none of this matters to me. What matters is that I could get the SiriusConnect SC-C1 with Alpine interface that allows satellite radio to be controlled through the Alpine head unit.
The 4x6-inch dash speakers were replaced with Infinity Reference 6422cf 4x6-inch 2-way speakers and XTC foam speaker baffles. In the sound bar, the stock 5.25-inch speakers were replaced with Alpine SPS-600 6.5-inch/6.75-inch two-way speakers. There's room for these larger speakers there and they sound much better than stock. Since the OE system didn't include one, the TJ needed a subwoofer. JL Audio has a reputation for high quality audio products that sound great. I chose a JL Audio 10W1v2-4 10-inch, 4-ohm component subwoofer and was going to have an enclosure built. To power the subwoofer, a JL Audio G Series G4500 80Wx4 amplifier was chosen. Two channels power the 6.5s in the sound bar and the other two channels are bridged to power the subwoofer. The Alpine head unit powers the 4x6-inch speakers in the dash.
The beadlock incident has made me less dexterous and unable to do detail work with my hands, plus I can't kneel well with the bad knee. I decided to enlist the help of Lynn's Audio Video in North Logan, Utah. Lance and the crew at Lynn's had performed installations on other 4x4s we had featured, so I knew they knew Jeeps and the problems associated with getting good sound in their strange acoustic environment. Once I arrived, Lance had the dash apart and the OE head unit out in no time. I knew this was going to be good.
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