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How to Speaker Upgrade Tutorial: 4x6" to 5.25" (Lots of pics)

74954 Views 141 Replies 40 Participants Last post by  esad_b
Figured I would do a write up and make it as detailed as possible so that people see how to upgrade their 4x6" speakers to 5.25" up front in their TJ. This is a decent improvement over the stock speakers when done and I was very pleased with the end result. The main issue with the stock speakers was that as soon as I turned up the music a bit up, the fronts would rattle this was because the screws were loose and the speakers just plain sucked for any decent music output.

It is a fairly straight forward procedure but it does involve some cutting on a little bar inside the dash as the 5.25" speaker is oval so its not a simple plug and play. This guide is good for 97 to 06 year TJ's.

This install took ~2hours and I took my time and I even had a bite to eat in between.

Tools needed:
Philips Screw Driver
Allan Head Screw Driver
Pliers
Wire Strippers
Dremel or some sort of hack saw in order to cut steel beam - Dremel recommended
5.25" NalinMFG speaker adapters
PolyFill
5.25" Speakers of your choice

*****
Another member mentioned that he used 18 gauge tin-snips to cut the steel beam off instead of using a dremel. So if you don't have a dremel guess you can try tin-snips.

Just wanted to add; I cut the bar with a pair of 18 gauge tin-snips that I paid $15 for. Just wanted to add this in case folks are thinking they need a higher priced Dremel or other tool.

- Chris
*****

There is a variety of adapters plates online and they range from 10-20$. I really did not want to go with some plastic ones due to maybe cracking or rattling so I opted to go with the NalinMFG. I had previously read some good reviews about them and figured why not give them a try considering they are 14g CNC laser cut steel. These plates will also fit ANY 5.25" aftermarket speaker. The quality of these adapters is really superb and solid. In your package you receive two (2) adapter plates(driver & passenger), (8) #8 machine bolts, and (8) #8 nylock nuts. and you really can't beat the price of $14.99.

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Procedure:
Okay, here we go.

1) Start of by removing the 2 Philip head screws

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2) Once removed you will find your speaker setup. As you can see from my pictures this was quite a ghetto setup. Remove the 4 or however many screws hold your speakers.

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3) Once the speaker is removed, you will be left over with other adapters/random stuff perhaps like me. I removed everything and just left the bare steel framing there. Because the NalingMFG adapters bolt straight into the steel frames holes you don't need any of this extra stuff.

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4) This is the tricky part, this is what you want to cut as much as possible off in order to fit the speakers in. It's quite heavy steel so get your dremel out and start cutting. This was the longest part of the entire upgrade. And I highly recommend to use the dremel as it makes the job fairly easy. It was a bit hard getting the dremel in there due to space constraints but I managed. Also I did remove the glove compartment to make things easier.

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You also might want to put something in the rear because there will be sparks flying, I had this towel lying around, soaked it a bit with water and covered the rear so no sparks would get anywheres and damage anything.

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Once you cut one part off you can easily bend it at the upper portion, this will make it a lot easier to get to. Also you can probably just cut a bit at the top and wiggle it until it breaks off if your in a hurry. Here is a picture of the bottom all cut.

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5) This is what the end result should look like when you finish taking the bracket off.
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And here is how much I actually cut off from the actual steel framing. I had no issues fitting the speakers in afterwards.

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6) After this it's pretty straight forward and you just have to attach your speakers to the bracket and screw the bracket on and connect the wires.

Here are the speakers that I had picked up online. They are Polk Audio DB521 5.25". They came with screws but I did not have to use them at all. The nice thing with these speakers is you can move the tweets around and position them at different angles of your liking.

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7) Use the screws provided that came with the adapters plates to attach your speakers to the plate itself.

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8) After the speakers are mounted, you want to connect the speakers to your existing wires. IMPORTANT: Usual colour code is the wire that is striped (red/white) is the (+) and the solid colour wire (white) is the (-), you don't want to flip the polarity on the connections you could ruin your speakers. If your not sure what's what, before disconnecting your old speaker look carefully and you should see a small (+) and (-) on the board so make notice of that.

The speakers I bought came from a 04 TJ so they already had the pigtail on them for straight connection, but I just cut those off and spliced in the wires.

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If your upgrading in a newer TJ, I guess this would of been just straight plug and play setup.

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9) Start sliding in your speakers into the hole and it should be a easy fit if you have removed enough from the steel frame.

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And here is a picture of the speakers actually mounted on the frame. Nice and tight and there should not be any rattling.

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Optional: Polyfill

I read online that polyfill helps with keeping the sound waves from bouncing around. Especially since the TJ is not that great of a vehicle for sound any little bit helps. You can pick up polyfill at walmart and it was like $5. I just kept stuffing it in until I noticed it was getting really full back there.

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Conclusion and Thoughts:
Overall this upgrade cost me just under $80 for the speakers and the plates. Personally think it was well worth the price especially since we all listen to music on a daily basis in the Jeep. Driving the Jeep earlier tonight I noticed it sounded a lot more balanced inside and almost as fell I was being hit by music all around me and not just coming from the sound bar.

The NalinMFG Adapters were wonderful and of high quality and they were designed to be a perfect fit. I would highly recommend these for anyone planning on doing this upgrade. :2thumbsup:

And here is a couple of images from the finished product. If you have any questions or if something is not detailed enough please let me know. Cheers.

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I ended up buying the nalin plates and 4x5.25 Polks just recently. I am new to installing car audio and I'm wondering what is the easiest way to wire these speakers. Snip the factory plug and solder to the posts on the Polks? Or use some other kind of connector?

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
4x4Brit said:
I ended up buying the nalin plates and 4x5.25 Polks just recently. I am new to installing car audio and I'm wondering what is the easiest way to wire these speakers. Snip the factory plug and solder to the posts on the Polks? Or use some other kind of connector?

Thanks.
Whatever you feel comfortable with, I spliced in the connectors as shown on the pic above and then just slid then over the posts. Soldering is good idea but if you ever decide to remove them then you gotta break the connection.

I find the posts on the speakers sometimes are not very strong/heavy duty so breaking the post off trying to take wire off could cause some damage.

You can always solder the actual connector to the wire then still use connector over posts for easy removal down the road. At the end tho it's all your call :)
 

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So ended up using female spade connectors crushed onto the wire after snipping the factory plug off. So far, so good. And like the previous poster, I also didn't have to cut anything. The Nalin adapters work nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
02WranglerTJ said:
NIce write up! I got really lucky and had the 7 speaker system. I didn't even have to do the metal trimming, great fit!
7 speaker system makes quite a diff in the ti! Always thought about adding that sub in the console but never got around to it.

4x4Brit said:
So ended up using female spade connectors crushed onto the wire after snipping the factory plug off. So far, so good. And like the previous poster, I also didn't have to cut anything. The Nalin adapters work nicely.
Both you guys must have newer TJs then? I think pre 02 has to cut the dash part of like I showed.

Don't forget to add polyfill!!!
 

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I did this to my 00'TJ. It was tough cutting the braces until I remembered I had tin snips. Much much easier and no sparks or residue. I used some silicone between the speaker and mount to reduce the chance of vibration. I love these write ups. They make everything easier. Thanks.
 

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7 speaker system makes quite a diff in the ti! Always thought about adding that sub in the console but never got around to it.

Both you guys must have newer TJs then? I think pre 02 has to cut the dash part of like I showed.

Don't forget to add polyfill!!!
Correct. 1997-2002 require trimming of the subframe brace. 2003-2006 bolt on without modification.
 

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Your goal is to break up the backwave of the speaker do enough to occupy the space behind the speaker (a lil different than packing a sub box) but loosely pushed in...not crammed in. It gets caught in the speaker basket and wiring so don worry about it falling out.
 

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AK - did you use the same Polk Audio speakers as shown above?
Yup. With the MTX brackets it was a tight fit to the dash frame on the passenger side but I don't hear anything that sounds like it might have a problem with contact with the speaker surround. I didn't polyfil behind them, but I might do that as well as the sound bar sometime soon to see if it offers any more sound quality. I still have to order and install an amp to drive all the speakers (also have Polk shallow 6.5's in the sound bar. I suggest the standard 6.5's unless you run a subwoofer.) and install my Kenwood marine stereo, so I'll be running new speaker wires anyway. May as well get it all taken care of at once.
 

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My 04 TJ came from the PO with Alpine SPS-510 5.25" coaxials front and rear. Better than stock but 87db rating :( I'd like to swap out for something a little more efficient but for now these will do.

I added polyfill front and rear. The problems is I don't get much sound out of the front speakers as oppose to the rear speakers mounted in the pods. Would an (small) enclosure up front make that much of a difference? :confused:
 

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More specifically the polyfill in this application is to lessen the chance that the sound from the rear of the speaker doesn't cancel out the sound from the front of the speaker. If you were able to completely "enclose" the rear of the speaker with fiberglass or something airtight you would get better bass and mid range.

You can test out the difference this makes with a home system easily. Simply reverse the wires on one of the speakers and you will know what is happening with the front speaker setup in a jeep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
How much polyfill do you need?
I picked up a smaller sized pillow from Walmart cut it open. Didn't use all the polyfill either it just pushed it the back of the speakers until I noticed it was getting full.

Your goal is to break up the backwave of the speaker do enough to occupy the space behind the speaker (a lil different than packing a sub box) but loosely pushed in...not crammed in. It gets caught in the speaker basket and wiring so don worry about it falling out.
Exactly :thumbsup:

Great write up and good idea on the poly
Thanks! Glad it's helping others out. :cheers2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
Haven't done this yet but it's on the to do list. I'm interested to see what difference it makes.
I wish I would of taken a sound clip prior to polyfill and afterwards but I really didn't :(

But it just sounds deeper I know that from my previous speakers that didn't have anything back there. Plus for the $2 pillow I bought to rip the polyfill out of it it was worth it either way :highfive:
 

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I just stuffed some polyfill behind my front speakers...didn't notice too much of a difference but it was an old pillow that was going in the trash anyway. :p And I'm sure driving it on the highway will make it more noticeable. I have another pillow waiting to be used to fill the soundbar as well.
 

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Man this adapter sounds great. I'm extremely new to audio and I'm just plain not good at this stuff. What are some of the best 5.25" speakers? A lot of people in this thread have had to splice wires. Can you not get speakers that plug in?

How hard is it to get 6.25" speakers in the sounds bar? One said it was a pain in the *** but didn't go into detail.
 
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