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Clean CB Install on my TRD Pro - not janky at all

Discussion in '3rd Gen. Tacomas (2016+)' started by jake slatnick, May 12, 2017.

  1. May 12, 2017 at 12:21 AM
    #1
    jake slatnick

    jake slatnick [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    jake
    San Diego
    Vehicle:
    Cement TRD Pro
    285/75r16 KO2's, Baja XL 80's on CBI ditch brackets, TRD intake, opticoat pro, clear bra running the bottom sides, morimoto LEDs, all white LEDs inside, mounted shovel and axe above wheel well in the bed, linex'd the bed...
    Wanted to do a write up on my CB install I did.

    Spent a few weeks thinking about the best way to make it look clean. Pretty obsessive over making things look as stock as possible to the point where I'll get even the smallest nuts and bolts powder coated... Also not a fan at all of doing mods that are permanently damaging to the vehicle. In general I stay away from drilling or cutting anything (except a few hidden exceptions when necessary).

    Parts I bought:

    Cobra Compact 75WXST Compact Handheld CB: $89
    9 FT Coax Cable: $14
    Pelfreybilt Antenna Mount: $25
    2' and 4' Firestik Antenna: $20 each
    Firestik K-4A Pro Stud Mount: $6
    5' of electrical wire: $1
    1' of 8 or 12 gauge ground wire: $1
    Gear Keeper retractable CB Mic holder: $13
    GoPro j-hook mount: $6

    Total investment: $196

    What I did:

    Mounted the antenna using the tie down bed rail. Pelfreybilt makes a clean little mounting bracket. Ran the wire down under the cab and popped it up right behind the center console. Ran it between the factory and the carpet and popped it out into the non exposed area under the center console (without altering the carpet at all). Mounted the CB box in there, drilled a little hole at the bottom of my center console, and I leave the CB sitting in there. Ran the power wire under the center console to the dashboard, through the firewall, into the engine bay and direct to the battery.

    No exposed wire of any kind in the cab. No CB box or handheld mic drilled in anywhere or dangling. If you didn't see my antenna in the bed, you wouldn't even know I had a CB.

    Crucial things to note...

    - You have to make sure you're grounding properly to the chassis of the vehicle. If you don't, you're wasting your time with a CB and won't have any luck tuning it. It is also important that the ground wire is a decent size and is as short as possible. No more than a few inches.
    - You have to tune it after you install it. If it isn't tuned properly, it will burn out the CB and you'll be out for 75% of what you invested in the project.
    - Don't coil up your coax or it whiney feedback
    - Wire straight to the battery, don't mess around with tapping into factory wires or the 12v outlets (in my opinion anyways).
    - Do not mess with the mounting stud. Use it exactly how the instructions on the packaging tell you too. No terminals for grounding or placing the washers out of order.

    Install:

    1.
    Remove the tie down rail and the plastic bed rail that lines the top of the bed on the side you want to install on. be careful taking off the plastic bed rail. There are little clips that line every 6 inches or so down it. If you pull to hard it can be prone to getting stretch marks and bends.

    Note: before removing the tie down rail, you'll want to mark the point in the bed that it goes down to with some tape so when it's all off you have an idea of where it was.



    2.
    Once those two pieces are removed, drill a hole the size of the coax connection point. I drilled one and realized it wasn't where I wanted it... Please avoid this mistake (lol) and just drill the hole right over the metal tie down hook. You'll want the bottom of the hole to be about a 1/4" below the tape line you marked. That way, after you've ran your coax, when the tie down rail goes back on, the majority of the hole is covered by the rail. The reason you go 1/4" below is so that there is room for the coax cable when you bolt back on the rail.

    Now just run the coax through the hole so you have about 4"-6" of slack inside the bed. The cable can just hang down to the ground.



    3. Time to install your ground cable... There are a few holes for bolts that run along the bed. I used an 8 gauge ground wire with a terminal I soldered onto the end, and bolted it right in. Leave about 8" on the wire until after you put on the tie down rail and run the mounting bracket. Want to cut it with just enough length to reach keeping it as short as possible. Before putting the plastic bed rail back on, use a voltage tester to make sure you have a solid ground.

    IMG_2150.jpg



    4.
    Put the plastic bed rail and tie down rail back on

    IMG_2477.jpgIMG_1048.jpg

    I know I said I'm not a fan of drilling or doing anything permanent... But nothing looks more janky than a coax exposed by a few feet dangling around the bed... and, if I were to take this thing back to stock, 99.99% of people would never find this hole or be bothered by it if they did. So basically it had to be done for the sake of clean install.



    5. Put on the mounting bracket. I centered mine directly above where the wires were poking out of the hole. Before you go to bolt it on, measure your ground wire and cut it with an inch or two of slack to where the bolt for the mounting bracket is going to be. Throw a terminal on the ground wire. Pop the bolt through the bracket, put the terminal on the bolt, put on a whole bunch of washers, and then tighten it up to the square piece that sits inside of the tie down rail. The reason for the washers is because there I empty space between the bracket and the square piece that it tightens to. The bolt basically tightens into the square piece and it acts as a clamp to the bed rail. You need the washers to eliminate that empty space so that the terminal on the ground stays tight to the mounting bracket.

    note: I also powder coated my mounting bracket. If you powder coat yours as well, it's absolutely crucial that you scrap off some of the powder coat on the bottom side where the stud mount touches it, and the back side where the ground wire is going to touch.

    IMG_7901.jpg



    6. Put on the stud mount. Follow the instructions carefully or you will burn up your CB and not have a working antenna. Once it's on, attach the coax cable, and test the bottom side of the stud mount to make sure you have a solid ground.

    IMG_2384.jpg
    IMG_1291.jpg

    I ended up sliding it over about two inches to the left so I could still get the tie down hook.



    7. Run the coax (efficiently) down the bottom of the truck to a rubber gasket under the cab that will let you through. There are a few so pick the one you like best. I chose the one in the middle of the truck that runs directly behind the center console. When you finally mount the CB and can confirm the coax will reach - try and stuff the thing up and over factory anything you can and then zip tie it to hide the exposed wire from debris.

    ....At this point you're going to want to take out the passenger seat. It'll help you run the coax cable in (if you want the coax to be clean and hidden), and it'll give you room for the rest of the install...

    coming down from top of truck bed:
    IMG_8575.jpg

    Wire loosely hanging before running it behind that metal bar:
    IMG_7858.jpg

    little hole that leads into cabin:
    IMG_0816.jpg




    8. Forgot to take pictures of this part... But not much to show anyways... And, you'll likely want a friend to help you out.

    After the passenger seat is taken out, where the back left side of it was bolted down, there will be a pretty large hole in the carpet. You can stick your arm through it and reach the point where the rubber gasket hole into the cab is. CAREFULLY lift up the carpet while a friend reaches up from under the truck and cuts a hole in the insulation. If you don't have a friend with you, maybe put a block or something in there that will lift the carpet a few inches. Goal is to not cut a hole in the carpet...



    9.
    Once you have a hole decent enough to run the coax through, you need to lift up the center console plastic. Open up the center console, take out the little carpet thingy at the bottom, and unscrew the 2 (or maybe 4) bolts down there. Then the whole thing basically unclips every few inches to lift up. Use a tool or block to keep it elevated after it's unclipped



    10. Now that a hole is cut, and the center console is up and generally out of the way, run the coax through the insulation, sticking your arm in the hole from where the seat connects, grab the cable and pull it to where the carpet ends under the center console. As long as the coax pops out, you're good to go with it. Zip tie it up and hide it from the elements as much as possible.

    Make sure to use some type of silicon or something to seal back up the hole where the rubber gasket was. The last thing you want is a bunch of moisture getting in your car...



    11. Now it's time to mount the little silver box that comes with the compact CB... There is a plastic piece behind the center console that you'll need to remove. Kind've a tricky one, but just start at one of the bottom corners and it'll pop out if you just yank on it.

    IMG_9158.jpg





    12. I screwed the thing into the back wall of the center console, you can probably double sided tape it as well. I forget the name of the screws I used... But they are hardly noticeable from the inside of the center console... Below on this write up you'll see pictures of the inside of the center console. The screws end up looking like a factory thing.

    But, make sure that whatever you do, you place it up high enough that when that plastic piece you just took off in step 11 goes back on, the little shelf sticking out on it doesn't hit it. If it does, it won't be able to snap shut.
    IMG_2666.jpg
    IMG_4373.jpg
    IMG_0556.jpg
    IMG_0588.jpg




    13. Run the ground. There are plenty of little spots under the center console you can screw into with a terminal.
    IMG_5593.jpg





    14. Drill a little hole the size of the mic connector into the bottom of your center console. Run the CB Mic connector from the silver box into the center console. I put a little rubber gasket on to keep it clean looking... But again... 99% of people will never really notice this hole. And if they do, it's in such a hidden spot I don't think they'd think anything of it...

    IMG_4640.jpg

    IMG_2107.jpg

    Cover it up with one of those sick trays on Amazon:
    IMG_6859.jpg

    You'll notice in the tray and in the center console there is the channel so you can run a chord out of it... Words perfect for the CB chord :)

    IMG_0362.jpg





    15.
    Used my GoPro mount as the CB mount when I'm using it... No drilling or double sided tape necessary!
    IMG_1345.JPG.jpg
    17E16444-E791-4CFE-A265-BB63930981D0.jpg

    Bought these two items:

    https://www.amazon.com/Tripod-adapt...94617794&sr=8-11&keywords=gopro+mount+adapter

    https://www.amazon.com/Gear-Keeper-325-44112-Retractable-Microphone/dp/B001JT5OL6

    Attached them together so it's easy to throw on and off the mount...

    BEFORE:
    D18C9585-CC95-4659-9E21-CB92778DB3B1.jpg

    AFTER:
    074BC7B8-0AFA-47D5-91C1-723941BC5495.jpg






    16.
    Add your extension to the red power wire from the silver box you mounted. Run it under the center console, under the dashboard, through the firewall, into the engine bay, and attach it with a terminal to the battery.

    IMG_5577.jpg

    This is under the steering wheel. The metal bracket on the bottom right of the photo is the break pedal:
    IMG_0961 2.jpg

    popping out of firewall. You also see the wiring for my lights and my ARB onboard air compressor. I'm big on clean as possible with a lot of zip ties.
    IMG_8266.jpg





    17. Make sure the thing turns on... Go to an empty field and tune it!


    ..............

    I bought a 2 ft and 4 ft antenna so that while I'm driving around town it looks clean and I don't have a problem getting into the garage. While I'm off in the trails, I throw on the 4ft and get awesome range.

    When it comes to tuning it, it's a little tricky... I basically screwed them both all the way out. I was able to tune the 2ft when I didn't have the red rubber piece on. Got it to about 1.3 whatevers. But when I put the red thing back on, my readings shot up to over 3.0... You don't want to run your CB above 3.0 - that's when risk of frying the thing comes to play. So generally I leave the rubber tip on around town, but if I were to use it for quick offloading trips when everyone was going to stay nearby, I just take the rubber tip off,

    For the 4ft antenna, I actually got it tuned better with the red tip on. About 1.4 ish whatevers. When I take the red tip off it goes up to about 2.0.

    Just be patient when you tune it and note that it doesn't make any logical sense lol. Just keep putting it at different lengths and as long as you're grounded correctly and the mounting stud is done right, you'll get it!

    By the way... The most difficult thing to get right is the antenna mounting and grounding. If you don't do that right you have nothing. I called Firestik directly and spoke with a guy named Rick (think he's the owners). He gave me a bunch of advice and tips to do it right. Without that I would've never been able to get this done. Super cool guy so give him a call if you have questions. You can find the number not their website.

    Good luck! If anyone else has a clean install they're proud of, post it up!!!


    ....

    IMG_6282.jpg IMG_8713.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 15, 2017
  2. May 12, 2017 at 7:06 AM
    #2
    WhiteBeltBatman

    WhiteBeltBatman Well-Known Member

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    Clean setup! Thanks for the write-up Jake, saved for future project :thumbsup:
     
  3. May 12, 2017 at 7:09 AM
    #3
    Jibbs

    Jibbs "When in doubt, throttle out!"

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    Whoooooooshchchch
    That's pretty clean!

    One thing to note, although minor- you'll only torch an untuned CB if you transmit with it. You can listen all day. Worth noting if you end up in a time crunch before a trail outing and haven't got the SWR meter in to tune it yet. I know alot of us wait until the last minute before trips to get the rig ready, so though I'd save some potential panic lol
     
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  4. May 12, 2017 at 7:14 AM
    #4
    jake slatnick

    jake slatnick [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    jake
    San Diego
    Vehicle:
    Cement TRD Pro
    285/75r16 KO2's, Baja XL 80's on CBI ditch brackets, TRD intake, opticoat pro, clear bra running the bottom sides, morimoto LEDs, all white LEDs inside, mounted shovel and axe above wheel well in the bed, linex'd the bed...
    That is true lol
     
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  5. May 12, 2017 at 7:15 AM
    #5
    jake slatnick

    jake slatnick [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    jake
    San Diego
    Vehicle:
    Cement TRD Pro
    285/75r16 KO2's, Baja XL 80's on CBI ditch brackets, TRD intake, opticoat pro, clear bra running the bottom sides, morimoto LEDs, all white LEDs inside, mounted shovel and axe above wheel well in the bed, linex'd the bed...
    Thanks brotha - good luck with it
     
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  6. May 12, 2017 at 7:18 AM
    #6
    Hobbs

    Hobbs Keep'n it Squatchy.

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    Nice install, very clean!
     
  7. May 12, 2017 at 7:19 AM
    #7
    TACOVRD

    TACOVRD I Identify As A Prius

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    Workin' on it....
    Great write-up
     
  8. May 12, 2017 at 7:20 AM
    #8
    Rattletrap66

    Rattletrap66 (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

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    ╭∩╮(ಠ۝ಠ)╭∩╮
    Nice work and clean install! Maybe adjust the bend at cable near the antenna? May get a better reading
    [​IMG]
     
  9. May 12, 2017 at 7:21 AM
    #9
    jake slatnick

    jake slatnick [OP] Well-Known Member

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    285/75r16 KO2's, Baja XL 80's on CBI ditch brackets, TRD intake, opticoat pro, clear bra running the bottom sides, morimoto LEDs, all white LEDs inside, mounted shovel and axe above wheel well in the bed, linex'd the bed...
    All give that a shot. Crazy how sensitive this antenna is
     
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  10. May 12, 2017 at 7:22 AM
    #10
    Rattletrap66

    Rattletrap66 (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

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    yes it is! it is always something
     
  11. May 12, 2017 at 7:24 AM
    #11
    jake slatnick

    jake slatnick [OP] Well-Known Member

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    285/75r16 KO2's, Baja XL 80's on CBI ditch brackets, TRD intake, opticoat pro, clear bra running the bottom sides, morimoto LEDs, all white LEDs inside, mounted shovel and axe above wheel well in the bed, linex'd the bed...
    Thanks man - although I am pretty happy with all readings under 1.5 on both antennas. My buddies been trying to tune his for months and can't get under 1.9
     
  12. May 12, 2017 at 7:27 AM
    #12
    Hobbs

    Hobbs Keep'n it Squatchy.

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    OP, did you consider storing the CB head in another location? I ask because I have used up all of the space in the console and I can't decide where to locate it without chopping or drilling, and I want it to look reasonably clean.
     
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  13. May 12, 2017 at 7:33 AM
    #13
    EatSleepTacos

    EatSleepTacos Well-Known Member

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    Any consideration into an external speaker? Or a place to mount the handset while wheeling so it's not banging around in the cup holder? On mine, I got one of those retractable CB mic holders that truckers use, and slung it over the rear view mirror (only while wheeling). It was EXTREMELY handy to be able to grab it easily and just let it go when I was done with it.
     
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  14. May 12, 2017 at 7:38 AM
    #14
    jake slatnick

    jake slatnick [OP] Well-Known Member

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    jake
    San Diego
    Vehicle:
    Cement TRD Pro
    285/75r16 KO2's, Baja XL 80's on CBI ditch brackets, TRD intake, opticoat pro, clear bra running the bottom sides, morimoto LEDs, all white LEDs inside, mounted shovel and axe above wheel well in the bed, linex'd the bed...
    If you go with the compact like this you can leave the mic connection dangling in the center console and just store the CB elsewhere. When you want to use it, just plug it in.

    Another option with the compact is if you have any blanks your dash you can mount the silver box behind it, or really anywhere and get a 4 foot mic extension, and try to just barely pop the connector through the blank and glue it together. If you use a mic extension it's a $10 chord so who cares about throwing that and the blank away someday.

    And then when you want to use your CB just plug it in to the dash basically.

    Don't really see many options if you don't go with the cobra compact
     
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  15. May 12, 2017 at 7:40 AM
    #15
    jake slatnick

    jake slatnick [OP] Well-Known Member

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    jake
    San Diego
    Vehicle:
    Cement TRD Pro
    285/75r16 KO2's, Baja XL 80's on CBI ditch brackets, TRD intake, opticoat pro, clear bra running the bottom sides, morimoto LEDs, all white LEDs inside, mounted shovel and axe above wheel well in the bed, linex'd the bed...
    Can you send me a picture or link to it?

    I've used the CB once so far and it doesn't really bother me. I leave it in my lap vs on the cupholder.

    Have a little mounting bracket for the thing and thought about doing it bottom left on the side that runs below the shifter... Only probably is that would require mounting the thing which goes against what I want to do...

    Also though about one of those air condition vent mounts where Uber drivers put their phones. But the last thing I want in the desert this summer is restricted cold air...

    For the speaker.... Don't think you have that option with the compact unfortunately
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
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  16. May 12, 2017 at 7:44 AM
    #16
    Rattletrap66

    Rattletrap66 (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

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    I need to get one as well for my mic
    https://www.amazon.com/Gear-Keeper-325-44112-Retractable-Microphone/dp/B001JT5OL6
     
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  17. May 12, 2017 at 7:45 AM
    #17
    Rattletrap66

    Rattletrap66 (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

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  18. May 12, 2017 at 7:47 AM
    #18
    jc11taco89

    jc11taco89 Well-Known Member

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    I have a cobra 19, it's about the cheapest cb on the market I believe and I have yet to tune it with an swr meter and I use it all the time with no problems. :notsure:
     
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  19. May 12, 2017 at 7:48 AM
    #19
    jake slatnick

    jake slatnick [OP] Well-Known Member

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    jake
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    285/75r16 KO2's, Baja XL 80's on CBI ditch brackets, TRD intake, opticoat pro, clear bra running the bottom sides, morimoto LEDs, all white LEDs inside, mounted shovel and axe above wheel well in the bed, linex'd the bed...
    Wonder how well it'll work or if the CB will dangle into the windshield when you're really getting at it...
     
  20. May 12, 2017 at 7:48 AM
    #20
    jake slatnick

    jake slatnick [OP] Well-Known Member

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    jake
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    Cement TRD Pro
    285/75r16 KO2's, Baja XL 80's on CBI ditch brackets, TRD intake, opticoat pro, clear bra running the bottom sides, morimoto LEDs, all white LEDs inside, mounted shovel and axe above wheel well in the bed, linex'd the bed...
    Lol keep up the good work :thumbsup:
     

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