CJ7 Stereo/Sound System

SKCrosby91

New member
Hello all! I am fairly new to the whole Jeep life, but I finally got my 78 CJ7 mechanically sound and am now wanting to make it a little more enjoyable. What I want to do is install my own sound system. I've done one in every car I've owned and I don't think my Jeep should be any different. What I'm concerned about is since the stereo isn't a "factory" head unit and there is no wiring harness, I am going to have to wire it all up myself. Right now the wiring for the stereo is atrocious. I don't mind redoing it, but it will be a hassle nonetheless. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what kind of head unit and speakers do best in the elements? I live in AZ so I don't want them to go out after the heat gets to them. Also, any input or suggestions on how to wire this stuff would be phenomenal! Thanks in advance!
 

Look for marine units if you plan on running topless. Marine main units tend to be sealed (the front) and have a sheet of plastic protecting them from top drip behind the dash. This does not mean that they are water proof, though, as excess water WILL kill it, but at least they will last longer. As for the speakers, stay away from paper cones; go to polypropylene units, which will handle water a lot better. As far as speaker position, I run sound wedges between the rear fender well and the rollbar/seats that fit 9X6 speakers (this size will give you a bit of base sound) that I recommend. I also run modpods under the door frames for the front speakers, but this location is not ideal as the speakers tend to get covered in mud.

As far as wiring the head unit and speakers, that is fairly simple, so don't loose sleep over it. You will need some speaker cable to route to the speaker locations (I like to use the plastic cover to protect the wires, and use zip ties to keep them in place), and you will need a constant 12V and an ignition 12V plus a ground. If you want, you will also need a 12V that activates with the lights, but that's not absolutely necessary (that just will dim your head unit when you turn your lights on, but considering the location on Jeeps tends not to be at eye level, it really is not that uncomfortable to keep the head unit at the same intensity). The other connection you will need is the antenna, and if you want to rewire that, it usually means a new antenna, but that is not a difficult job either... You can change them in about 5 minutes, and most of the generic ones will fit.

Just remember to try and make everything as tidy as possible, and keep any connections OFF the floor (water tends to puddle there either from leaks or lack of a top and cause either shorts or bad connections). Hope this helps!
 
I have been lookin at marine units, and I like that they have so many kits that include the head unit and speakers for pretty good prices. My problem is that my speakers on the dash are 5 1/4" and all the kits are 6.5". Not that it's really that big of deal but inconvenient. And for other speakers in the back, I don't want a carpeted box to put back there. I'm just getting overly picky I guess. I just have a lot to think about and a lot to play with.
 

I've got a Boss Marine CD player in my CJ, very pleased with it so far. It's rated at 240watts, ( prob closer to 200 actual) has built in EQ. I've bounced it pretty good at times and never had a CD to skip. I think my wife got it at Bass Pro.
 
I've got a Boss Marine CD player in my CJ, very pleased with it so far. It's rated at 240watts, ( prob closer to 200 actual) has built in EQ. I've bounced it pretty good at times and never had a CD to skip. I think my wife got it at Bass Pro.

I've never really had any experience with boss, but the built in EQ is a must. My amp doesn't have an EQ and the highs going to my subs make it distort, so I definitely need to have something to keep the highs out. Do you know the model or about how much it is, by chance?
 

I wouldn't get a kit. for the speakers in the dash there's a lot cheaper options. I just run some speakers I got at Walmart and they work amazingly. I plan on running a sub or two in the back (I share the jeep with my pops so I dunno) and I'm just going to build a custom box with a marine amp and a marine sub. they have a nice one from kenwood on amazon for 150. I'd recommend just doing a lot of research to get exactly what you want.
 
I think I'm just going to stick to the marine equipment in the jeep. Seems like that's the best option since I only keep the bikini top on. The stuff in the back is going to be directly exposed to the sun, and I'd rather get something that will perform in the elements. But I appreciate all the input from everyone. Now the biggest question I have is what would be the best way to run the wiring to the back and protect it? Any ideas?
 

If I were you, I would relocate the speakers for 2 reasons: (1) they are too small to reproduce any type of base sound, so they will sound like crap, and you will have to turn the volume up to hear at a decent level, which, in turn, will cause the speakers to break eventually, and (2) they are not in a good position to reproduce good stereo sound (if you are driving, you will only hear the driver's side speaker; the other you will hardly hear at all). But it's up to you... The advantage is that they are hidden and out of the way, but I have heard there are some conversion packages to put 6.5 speakers behind the dash (at least for YJ's but it should be the same).

You could try one of these setups:

Mod Pods (this is from my Jeep; I have since had to replace the speakers):
DSC02247.jpg

Sound Wedges (also from my Jeep):

DSC02250.jpg

Roll bar sound Wedges (by Vertically Driven Products):

vdp_jeep_sound_wedges.jpg

Quad Pods:

h663QUADPOD-o_mt-1.jpeg

Centra-pod:

speaker5.JPG
 
I've never really had any experience with boss, but the built in EQ is a must. My amp doesn't have an EQ and the highs going to my subs make it distort, so I definitely need to have something to keep the highs out. Do you know the model or about how much it is, by chance?
Mine is a Boss MR1420W and I think it's than $100 at walmart or Bass Pro, prob do even better online. I tell ya I haven't had much luck with CD players. I've had several top of the line units that didn't last. I love my music but I'll be buying the cheapies from now on.
 

If I were you, I would relocate the speakers for 2 reasons: (1) they are too small to reproduce any type of base sound, so they will sound like crap, and you will have to turn the volume up to hear at a decent level, which, in turn, will cause the speakers to break eventually, and (2) they are not in a good position to reproduce good stereo sound (if you are driving, you will only hear the driver's side speaker; the other you will hardly hear at all). But it's up to you... The advantage is that they are hidden and out of the way, but I have heard there are some conversion packages to put 6.5 speakers behind the dash (at least for YJ's but it should be the same).

I would absolutely love to relocate these speakers, however the person who had it before me thought it a good idea to cut holes out of the dash for his crappy speakers. So now I am stuck with terrible speakers in terrible holes that are horrifically ground out that are in a crappy position. And I really like those roll bar sound wedges but I don't have that kind of roll bar, so those are out. I would like to get the quad pods and the centra pods at least. If I get all these speakers I'm going to have to get a 4-channel amp for the front speakers and the rear quad pod speakers, and a 2-channel for the subs in the quad pods. Just gonna take a lot of time, money, and patience on my part I guess. But thanks for all the ideas, I'll definitely have to look into them!
 
Its funny this thread came up. I washed my jeep yesterday and lost my stereo, it got wet from water coming in at the dash. Thats stereo #2 for this jeep, I would really check out the marine units.
 

Why not run 4 speakers from the head unit and the rest of an AMP? That way you just need one additional amp. And a 2 channel amp should be small enough so that you can hide it behind the dash somewhere (this keeps it safe from the elements and unwanted eyes that tend to have sticky hands!).

Now, if you do not want to run amps at all, you could wire 2 speakers in series. This will double the Ohms (the main unit should not have problems handling this; typically, this means going from 4 Ohms to 8 Ohms, so you should be fine), but will reduce the power output by half (so a 52W unit will now send out 26W). Still, I did that in my first car, and it worked just fine. Just make sure you get a unit with Over 50W to compensate for the power loss. Just don't wire them in series, as that would reduce your load to 2 Ohms, and that can fry the amplifier inside the main unit (don't ask how I know!).
 
Hello all! I am fairly new to the whole Jeep life, but I finally got my 78 CJ7 mechanically sound and am now wanting to make it a little more enjoyable. What I want to do is install my own sound system. I've done one in every car I've owned and I don't think my Jeep should be any different. What I'm concerned about is since the stereo isn't a "factory" head unit and there is no wiring harness, I am going to have to wire it all up myself. Right now the wiring for the stereo is atrocious. I don't mind redoing it, but it will be a hassle nonetheless. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what kind of head unit and speakers do best in the elements? I live in AZ so I don't want them to go out after the heat gets to them. Also, any input or suggestions on how to wire this stuff would be phenomenal! Thanks in advance!

@SKCrosby91 which one did you end up buying? Would you recommend it?

Sorry for being off-topic. I'm looking for a good stereo and can't make my mind up which one is the best.

There are so many aftermarket stereos that it's hard to find a good one. Many of them have one digit difference in their name. Anyways I've been reading reviews on the nets and they are all hype. Most of them downplay the negatives and hype features like 7" as if it would be that important. I've found a different blog and I've set my heart on the kenwood dmx7706s. The thing I liked about this blog is that it says it how it is. No sugar coating no BS. This kenwood presentation is a bit critical. It has highlighted some flaws that put me on the fence. What do you say?

Any tips?
 
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As for me, ever since the original Pioneer Supertuner came out
PioneerSupertuner.jpg

I've been hooked as their receivers really reach out. As a benchmark living in the central Willamette valley in Oregon, if a head unit could pull in KGON up in Portland (88 miles away) I figured it was great!
Ever since I've stuck with Pioneer head units and I've got a nifty single DIN Pioneer DEH 3300UB in Black Betty now and although not being a marine unit in the summertime I normally have a bikini top on BB for it's never subjected to the famous Oregon rain.
 
I have an 84 CJ7 and trying to replace the streo but cannot locate a constant 12V source for the memory. Suggestions?
 

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If you radio powers on now with the key off you could pull fuses until it powers off.

If its not marked on the fuse box check owners manual in the event it was clustered with other items. Might be with dash or dome lights.

The one in the lower left looks like is states radio.

Never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up - Jesse Jackson
 

the bottom left on that picture is the radio fuse. its labeled. you can use the clock power to run the memory line to. clock is black/white
 
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