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Factory Amp install and mounting

Discussion in 'Audio & Electronics' started by GordDavey, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. GordDavey

    GordDavey Senior Member

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    Hi all, i am doing a DIY upgrade from my 6 speaker system to the full 10 speaker alpine system with the factory amp. My truck started life as a 2015 tradesman.

    The only issue I am having is how the factory amp mounts. I may be missing some sort of mounting bracket. The factory amp has a silver mounting plate, but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to orient the amp and what that silver mounting plate screws to.

    If anyone had a photo of how the factory amp is mounted it would really help me solve my issue.
     
  2. kkreit01

    kkreit01 Senior Member

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    Where are you getting the wiring harness from? Programming, etc.? I definitely wouldn't entertain this idea -- as this system is not great anyway. It would be much cheaper, easier, and better quality to go aftermarket. I found some pics from my 2012 install. The Amp is mounted up under the dash, on driver's side. Most people want to by-pass it, as it does not produce desirable sound, and is a major pain to improve upon. I'm pretty sure it's mounted to the plate above the yellow tape (in 2nd pic).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. GordDavey

    GordDavey Senior Member

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    kkreit01, I figured out where the amp goes, just to the right of and at the top of, the emergency brake is a bit of steel frame, while it has several holes in it, it has two larger holes, with smaller slotted off them, like you see on a picture frame or wall clock. The Amp goes vertically up inside the dash with the screws in the silver mounting plate into the frame plate in those two holes and with the bump in the silver mounting place goes towards the BCM, so it blocks access to the BCM.

    The AMP came from a wrecker. The wiring harness also came from a wrecker along with the two speakers in the headliner and the subwoofer under the rear seat. We had to replace my dash when we were rebuilding my truck as the dash got damaged, so we just happened to put in a dash that had the center speaker opening. I only needed the Instrument Panel harness from a truck with the alpine system in it. I stripped out the wires that are used for the amp, which includes the speaker wires and the canbus connector, and just made a harness out of what I stripped out. It goes from left to right across the whole dash and it fits... tight to work with in one area but the rest is easy.

    Power wire is not shown correctly on the tech authority wiring diagram, but is actually PIN 5 on the inline-body/IP connector. I checked and the body side of that connector already had the pin in it for power and 12 volts coming from it, so I had no need to run any wires other than the wires going across the dash, and I will add the two speakers with grills and wires to the headliner later.

    Basically there is a power wire, a ground, a canbus connector and all the rest is simply speaker wires (8 speaker wires go from the radio to the amp, and 22 come out of the amp, 2 pairs each for 10 speakers, but includes wires to support for a second subwoofer)

    I just took some time and care taking the donor harness apart so I could put it back together with the various wires coming off the new harness is the same spots.

    The hardest part of putting the harness in, was that there is a corner the harness has to turn just to the right of the cluster and to the left of the left vent. Slow going to get it thru that space, and smaller arms and hands would have made it easier to do. The only other hard part was getting the speaker wire to the center speaker hole on the dash, but a coat hanger curved the left and down came out to the right edge of the cluster where there is a u-channel... which looks to have the wire for the sun sensor on its right side. Tied on a string and pulled the center speaker right into place perfectly.

    Now that I figured out how the amp mounts, I can go along and pull the old speaker pins from the left and right side of the existing instrument panel wiring (IP2 and IP3) and the radio connector, and then push in the new speaker wires into the same locations. I numbered all the pins for all the wires when I finished making the new harness.

    Hopefully this weekend, I can get the wires put into the different connectors (IP side of IP, IP2, IP3 connectors and Radio) and get the amp mounted, then use Alpha to deal with the Amp and Surround Sound BCM settings, and I should have an 8-speaker system... until I get the chance to drop the headliner down enough to cut out and add the last two speakers.

    All in all not really that hard to do, just spent a few hours and a few cuts getting the new harness across the dash (only one spot is a super tight squeeze). There is only pins to be changed on the IP side of the IP, IP2 and IP3 and the Radio Connector. A filed paper clip works great to pull the pins.

    I got the amp, headliner speakers (and wire) and the door/dash alpine speakers and the Instrument Panel harness dirt cheap from a wrecker. In fact it came out of a 2014 not a 2015. They junk most of that stuff anyways, total cost was maybe $100.

    Tried just the speakers alone at first, and that was a major improvement over the 6 speaker even without adding in the correct resistors. I know people like to upgrade the speakers but up here in Canada they want a fortune for good speakers. My way I got the full alpine like it came from the factory for $100 and some of my time, and a small amount of blood getting the harness in place. Works for me for now, and will sound even better down the road if I get better speakers for father's day some day.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2020
  4. kkreit01

    kkreit01 Senior Member

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    That sounds liked quite the undertaking. Good luck. Did/do you have the 5" UConnect? I didn't realize one could simply hook the OE amp up to it, and it would work? Looking back, I guess I didn't ever by-pass the factory amp completely. I used the outputs from the OE amp, and that provided inputs to sum for the LC6i. If you need more detailed wiring diagrams, and cannot find the exact ones for Ram, the Grand Cherokee (WK2) will be the same. There are detailed wiring diagrams for the WK2 online (that's what I did back in 2012). My current Tradesman was pretty straight-forward to upgrade.
     
  5. GordDavey

    GordDavey Senior Member

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    To be honest it really wasn’t all that hard at all. I figured with the factory amp I would get the factory functions then if I ever want to build on to it it would make a great starting point.

    I don’t work with my hands very often any more, so for me each of the upgrades I’ve done (and there has been a lot of them) has been a lot of fun. My tradesman is almost a fully loaded Laramie now.
     
  6. GordDavey

    GordDavey Senior Member

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    No I didn’t have uconnect. The truck started out with the little RA1 radio and we put the full 8.4 with Nav into it. But I didn’t bother with the uconnect side of it. I’ve read ram wont activate uconnect if the trucks vin didn’t have it in the first place and I didn’t see any features I really wanted that would make the subscription cost worth it. Luckily though the 8.4 came from a 2014 Sport and had an active Sirius XM subscription on it. So I’ve been enjoying the SXM at no cost for a year now. I have no idea how long it will last before I end up having to get my own subscription to it.

    I don’t see why adding the amp to the 5” radio wouldn’t work though. Only the speaker out from the radio goes to the amp. The 5” would be the same. The amp communicates on the canbus. Whether or not it likes talking to a 5” I don’t know that would be the only part I cannot be sure of. When I’m done I’ll try connecting my old 5” and see what happens.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
  7. GordDavey

    GordDavey Senior Member

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    Just finished with the Amp install and putting in all the pins in their specific connectors, the AMP is quite the PITA to get in place! My previous post on the mounting position is wrong. Wire Connectors for AMP go at the bottom, two screws are back close to the BCM and facing the passenger side. The two screws do go into the metal plate just to the right and above the emergency brake, half the amp is above the emergency brake, the rest hangs down. I could not get the 3rd screw to go in, there is a hole in the frame tube of the dash for it, but there was just no getting it aligned without having to drill a new hole.

    Word of caution for anyone wanting to do this. The instrument panel harness I had was from a 2013 or 2014, and the can bus IHS connector for the Amp was white. However the 2015 requires the connector to be green, there are two rows of canbus connectors under the steering column, one white and one green. Having put the white connector in place, the ABS and several other systems came up "Service me now" warning warning etc, had my heart racing until I figured it out. I checked the 2015 wiring and sure enough it needed to be a green connector. Luckily I had some green connectors, the pins are the same, just had to swap the connector, and all is good. Everything works like a charm. I now have 7.1 sound (with the surround mode turned on, whatever that does) (have to do the two speakers in the headliner some other day to finish it as 9.1)

    Big difference over the 6 speaker setup. You can feel the music and the bass thumping in the door panels, and the sub-woofer adds a nice touch too.

    On a side note after all was done and working, I swapped in an RA1 radio and gave it a try. It worked and sounded great listening to SXM on it (turns out it has a subscription on it too... not something I've paid for), so yes the AMP work with and will enhance even an RA1 quite nicely.

    I did notice the speakers for the roof have smaller magnets than the dash ones. The dash ones are much heavier in comparison and will not fit into the roof speaker mounting brackets.

    Turn the volume to 15 or 16 and you can feel the music and not just hear it. I can only imagine what it must sound like to use really good speakers. But I love the sound as it is for now, I can hear the music quite well at 60mph with the windows down which is great.
     
  8. Jimmy07

    Jimmy07 Senior Member

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    Did you have to use AlfaOBD to change the ECU 3 cabin equalization curve?
     
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  9. GordDavey

    GordDavey Senior Member

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    Jimmy,
    I'm haven't made and am not aware of that setting. I was wondering why the amp was complaining about the equalizer not matching up it's the only fault the AMP is giving me other than two open channels, which would be the two headliner speakers I haven't put in yet. Should I set it and if there is more than 1 choice set it to what?
     
  10. GordDavey

    GordDavey Senior Member

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    Jimmy07,
    Never mind, the setting was obvious, Crew Cab, Premium Alpine 12-Ch DS. Set that and the effect was immediate. the dash speakers sounded like the center one suddenly turned on and there was a solid "bar" of sound from the front and the overall effect throughout that was great to hear. Bohemian Rhapsody just happened to come on, and it sounded excellent. What an amazing difference over the old 6 speaker system! It's hard to imagine that upgrading the speakers beyond the stock alpines could make much difference over what I'm hearing now. But I'm just an audio appreciator and not an audiophile.

    Thank you for that tip!
     

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