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3rd Gen JBL Full System Upgrade w/ Factory HU

Discussion in 'Audio & Video' started by jerzsubbie, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. Apr 20, 2019 at 3:26 PM
    #1
    jerzsubbie

    jerzsubbie [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Member:
    #227834
    Messages:
    454
    Gender:
    Male
    Davidson, NC
    Vehicle:
    '18 TRD OR DCSB 4x4 Cement
    From the day I bought my truck in Feb 2018, I was disappointed with the "premium" audio, but not for the reason you're probably thinking. Sure, the sound quality isn't the greatest but it was OK so that was my #3 complaint. #2 was the inability of a passenger to use the nav while driving. My biggest complaint was the fact that the JBL sub takes up the single largest interior storage space, by eliminating the large storage pocket behind the passenger-side & middle rear seats.

    Because of this, I set out to ditch the factory sub and replace the entire system while maintaining the factory HU since I actually like it both from a usability/function standpoint as well as aesthetically. After months of researching and picking @destin_meeks 's brain a bit, I finally decided to begin buying everything and go for it.

    Products used:
    PAC AmpPro AP4-TY12
    Kicker Key compact 4ch amp
    JBL CLub 6x9 components; Rear
    JBL CLub 6.5 coaxials; Front
    Sound Ordnance B-8PTD 8" compact subwoofer; Under seat
    Stinger Competition series RCA's
    Knukonceptz 8ga OFC power & ground wiring
    Metra speaker ring and wire adapters
    Amazon Tweeter adapters LINK
    Amazon 4pin electrical connectors LINK
    Misc electrical connectors, Tesa tape, mesh wire covering, zip ties etc.
    Total Cost - $550
    This includes shopping for the best deals, doing the work myself, and selling my JBL factory sub for $200 net of s&h

    IMG_E6795.jpg

    I started by replacing the door speakers which is pretty simple. I realized I forgot to order the tweeter adapters so I ordered those and just placed the tweeters in their place for the time being. To get to the tweeters you have to remove the A pillar covers, just be careful of the airbags. I had a friend help me for a little bit this day. No surprise the stock speakers are a joke.
    IMG_6838.jpg

    I mounted the crossovers with some HD velcro on the back side of the support on the left side of the picture. Running the tweeter wire wasn't too bad. Pulling the rubber grommet(?) made things MUCH easier and it wasn't difficult to put back in at all.
    IMG_6961.jpg

    <insert time lapse install video>

    I had a lot of things to do other than this upgrade on my truck and the wife had a few requests before we went on vacation, so I ended up working on this 2 different weekends.


    Next was determining where i would mount the kicker amp. Some people say they've mounted them in the dash and I like this idea so I went that route first. It definitely wasn't going to fit behind the HU with the PAC AmpPro in there. While the AmpPro is small, the wiring harness does take up a fair amount of space. Next I decided to see if there was any space behind/around the glovebox. There's no room there, don't even try! Taking off the passenger airbag panel below the glovebox was a PITA.
    IMG_6840.jpg

    I settled on mounting it as high up in the passenger footwell as possible. Normally I would do this, but the amp is so small that it actually works well. If I wasn't concerned with interior storage space, it would be better to mount the amp next to the factory amp.
    IMG_6876.jpg

    Because this whacky JBL system requires you to keep the JBL amp and I decided to use the factory speaker wiring, I had to make a wiring harness to go from the Kicker Key to the speaker wire outputs coming out of the JBL amp. This worked out really well and consisted of 4 pieces of 18g speaker wire with mesh wire covering, and I used heat shrink to identify each wire pair. On the end by the JBL amp, I decided to use some 4-pin connectors so that if for whatever crazy reason I or any future owner ever wanted to hook the factory amp back up, it would be easy. One connector for the front speakers, one for the rear. I soldered these then used heat shrink tubing.
    IMG_6868.jpg
    IMG_6873.jpg IMG_6880.jpg IMG_6853.jpg IMG_6872.jpg

    I ran the power wire into the cab through the large grommet in the passenger side. It wasn't too difficult, just taped the wire to a long phillips screwdriver and pushed it through the edge of the existing hole, where I had already felt with my fingers to ensure it was clear. I used an existing ground behind the passenger footwell kick panel. Then connected the power to the Kicker harness.
    IMG_6875.jpg

    At this point I had the tweeter adapter mounts. I only had to lightly sand the holes with a dremel sanding drum to get them the correct size. I then mounted the tweeters flush to the bottom of the plate and used a little E6000 adhesive to ensure they stay put despite them having a nice snug fit. I also countersunk the front mounting hole with a forstner bit for a little extra clearance.
    IMG_6874.jpg

    At this point, I hooked everything up, ran the Kicker Auto EQ and tested it out. The kicker EQ is pretty sensitive, so much so that I had to fold up the back seats and remove the extra stuff I had in there.

    I tried to see if I could get by without a sub and long story short I wasn't happy with it!
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
    destin_meeks likes this.
  2. Apr 20, 2019 at 3:27 PM
    #2
    jerzsubbie

    jerzsubbie [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
    Member:
    #227834
    Messages:
    454
    Gender:
    Male
    Davidson, NC
    Vehicle:
    '18 TRD OR DCSB 4x4 Cement
    I'm no audiophile, but do I do appreciate a well balanced full range sound. Without a sub I simply couldnt' get that. I even tried some Kicker CS 3-way 6x9's up front since they have a lower frequency response (30 vs JBL's 50hz) and while this was a mild improvement, the bass wasn't nearly strong enough. If I turned up the bass in the HU's EQ, it began to distort the sound more than is acceptable. I was surprised that the 3-way coaxials sounded great on the high end vs having tweeters in the dash, so I wouldn't discourage anyone from ditching the tweeters and going coaxials if they wanted to.

    I had a Kicker hideaway in my 2013 WRX but it blew 2mo after the warranty was up. Never pushed it too hard and it was tuned properly but I was still open to getting another for the Tacoma. However, given the ridiculous number of good reviews for the Sound Ordnance S-8BPTD and its $140 price tag, I decided to go that route.

    I wanted to install it under the passenger seat but recalled seeing where people said this wasn't possible. They are correct. There is a lateral support under the passenger seat that would prevent you from moving the seat forward or backward more than 1-2". Additionally there is a large bracket with multiple harnesses and electrical modules that would need to be bent up closer to the underside of the cushion.
    IMG_6967.jpg

    See, the bar would hit the sub and limit seat movement.
    IMG_6971.jpg

    Installing the sub under the driver's seat is much easier. You could getaway without modifying anything, but I decided to do a 1/2" spacer under the rear of the seat frame, similar to the seat spacer mod just a little shorter. This will allow me to use some plastic shims or 3D printed wedges to allow the under seat vents to still work a little bit. For now, as a test I just put in a couple hardwood 1/2 blocks under the seat frame and have the amp velcroed to the carpet.

    Because of the driver's seat mechanical front-to-rear adjustment, the sub can't go in long-way left-to-right, it must go long-way front-to-back, so wires towards the front and adjustment panel towards the back. The only downside to this is that even with the sub pushed as far forward as it can go, my weathertech mats are too long by about 3". Minor issue.
    IMG_6972.jpg

    Once I got that all figured out, I installed a fused power distribution block, ran wire to the SO sub along with the remote, both of which are in mesh wire covering, and of course the Stinger RCA's. BTW the Pac AmpPro's remote connection saved me the hassle of having to find another remote. I grounded the SO to the front seat frame bolt. I am going to install the bass control knob using a trick I saw in another thread where you use a blank switch cover so that the knob just sticks out of the cover.
    IMG_6976.jpg

    For my initial audio test I put the gain to 25%, turned the system on and it was literally music to my ears. A nice, full bodied sound without anything being too harsh, exactly what I was looking for! I am very happy with this setup now, I reclaimed my space, have excellent sound, and it only cost me about $550 (not bad in my book)!

    Let me know if you guys have any questions, I'll hopefully get my videos edited and posted in the next couple days as well as add a couple more pics.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  3. Apr 20, 2019 at 3:41 PM
    #3
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    2017 SSM DoubleCab TRD Off-Road 4x4
    Great post! Now to figure out a sub solution that keeps as much space available as possible!
     
  4. Apr 20, 2019 at 3:53 PM
    #4
    jerzsubbie

    jerzsubbie [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
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    Vehicle:
    '18 TRD OR DCSB 4x4 Cement
    I did the SO sub just don’t have time to post about it without being told by my wife that I’m antisocial haha. I’ll finish later tonight.
     
    destin_meeks likes this.
  5. Apr 21, 2019 at 6:04 AM
    #5
    Ibcop

    Ibcop Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up. I'm in the research stage myself trying to determine what I want to do. Where did you get the black look for the power/ground wire?
     
  6. Apr 21, 2019 at 6:11 AM
    #6
    jerzsubbie

    jerzsubbie [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    '18 TRD OR DCSB 4x4 Cement
    This is the stuff I bought. I’ve used it for hooking up lights as well as this audio install. I love the clean look it provides and it’s not too difficult to work with.

    $9/100ft
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M3SG5P7/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_7TgVCbG2Y0800
     
    Ibcop likes this.
  7. Apr 21, 2019 at 9:37 AM
    #7
    Ibcop

    Ibcop Well-Known Member

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  8. Apr 21, 2019 at 9:47 AM
    #8
    jerzsubbie

    jerzsubbie [OP] Well-Known Member

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    '18 TRD OR DCSB 4x4 Cement
    Correct. The 1/4” fit well for 8ga plus 2 16ga wires. It would fit 4ga alone nice a snug. Keep in mind it’s somewhat expandable, like a Chinese finger trap. 1/2” would be a safe bet while providing some flexibility to add other wires in the loom.
     
    Ibcop likes this.
  9. Apr 21, 2019 at 9:48 AM
    #9
    destin_meeks

    destin_meeks Well-Known Member

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    Yeah ½” works well on 4. Be sure to get some 12” heat shrink as well to put over the ends and keep it all clean and secure.
     
    Ibcop likes this.
  10. Apr 22, 2019 at 9:08 AM
    #10
    jerzsubbie

    jerzsubbie [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2017
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    Male
    Davidson, NC
    Vehicle:
    '18 TRD OR DCSB 4x4 Cement
    Here is the modified switch, only took like 20min to get a fit I was happy with. It sin there pretty snuggly but I added some E6000 adhesive on the edges for extra security.

    Just need to install it and run the wire tonight.
    2823B400-9B6B-4324-9A12-17FEED31F1D4.jpg
    84867F44-2F26-4096-8A8D-C613C915E1EB.jpg

    Update:
    Installed :)
    E0C505C9-CE3C-4C8A-A39A-7F874F77C04A.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
    Ibcop likes this.
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