This is another non pertinent install.  Remember that game when you were a kid where you kept trying over and over and over to get that darned round peg in the square hole?  ....Me either.  Anyway....  This is kind of like that.

If you have a Jeep manufactured before 2003, you know that the stereo CD player, besides being temperamental at times, will not ever play your CDR's or RW's.  The common logic would be to go out and buy a more high end head unit that would handle the different formats.  The problem is, anything new and flashy is just theft bait when sitting in an open air (or plastic and canvas shrouded) Jeep.  Not only will it attract them to your new brand name deck, but it gives them a reason to be in your vehicle and then presumably picking up other souvenirs for themselves along the way that may have remained happily halfway hidden had they not already been browsing.  Now if you've the honors of having a '03 and up model TJ, you know that Jeep finally got with the program and made their stereo's multi-compatible to play your own tracks.  So instead of beginning the seemingly eternal cycle of providing pawn shops everywhere with your local neighborhood criminal's baggings, I figured why not install a newer deck in Dana's '02 TJ and see how that worked out.  We have never had any problem with the quality of the stock unit.  In fact, we had recently installed a new deck in Chris's '01 Jeep, and another faceplate later, it still plays just as loud as his old stock one.

We knew we were up against a few problems before we begun.  Different wiring, brackets, and most importantly, different dash bezels.  I figured though, with a $40 steal off Ebay that came out of an '04 Dodge Ram, it was worth a shot.  I went ahead and added to the challenge by attempting to retroactively install a Ebay bought console sub/amp at the same time.

Upon researching I found that the newer model stereos needed a special wire harness to adapt into later years' wiring and a special antenna adapter.  I picked up the harness from the dealer but Circuit City sold me the antenna wire cheaper and had it in stock.

Antenna Adapter: Chrysler 40-CR20 ($13)

Wire Harness:  82207541 ($26)

 

 

I was able to figure out just about how different the face sizes were by looking at the dash bezels.  It looked like some cutting of the dash would be necessary, but when the radio came in and I played around with it, I figured I could go another route.  The height of the stereo faces for the opening were the same, but the oval face of the newer one was a good deal wider.  Call me lazy, scared, or economical, but I didn't feel like cutting into the dash, and I found that the bezel fit just fine as long as you didn't need the whole oval contour going on. 

(and no I didn't measure all that- the numbers are fake)

 

Another thing I opted out on was installing a new "theft-detererent" bar.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, you've probably never peeked behind your TJ's stereo before.  To remove the stereo, besides removing the two screws that hold the face in the dash, there is a bent bar bolted to the rear of the stereo that "secures" the stereo to two points near the windshield.  Even if a retarded thief couldn't figure out how to remove the nuts to get that bracket off its studs, it snaps off its weld easily enough (learned that on Jared's).  So with that knowledge and the fact that the dealer wouldn't give one up, the new set-up won't involve one.

Because I wasn't using that bar thingy, I couldn't use it's mounting bolt as the spot where the Jeep's grounding strap went, so I used another part of the back of the new stereo to mount it to.  I threaded a screw through an existing hole and tightened down the stereo's ground strap, and the Jeep's to my new mounting place.

 

I guess the most trouble I encountered on the install was mounting it up into the dash and then getting the bezel back on.  First thing you should know is that the mounting holes are different, so I had to be creative and even make a bracket.  I ended up using a screw for the top right mounting hole on the new deck, and then put it through the peg hole above the original mounting hole in the dash.  I used one of my own threaded metal tab clip things and even used a "theft deterrent" box head screw that I had lying around.

Then, because the dash mounting hole on the left was no where near the stereo's I made a silly little bracket out of an existing L-bracket I had lying around too.

Text Box: Deep Thought: I remember how my great uncle Jerry would sit on the porch and whittle all day long. Once he whittled me a toy boat out of a larger toy boat I had. It was almost as good as the first one, except now it had bumpy whittle marks all over it. And no paint, because he had whittled off the paint.

 I drilled out the bracket's previous holes to my liking (the bottom to fit the stock screw, and the top one smaller so the stock screw I saved from the other side would thread into it.  The picture I have is when I was still testing it.  I ended up grinding off the corners so it fit better, but when I was done it didn't look half bad (my opinion only I'm sure).  Anyway, the point it is, they served their purpose quite nicely and the radio didn't budge. 

Before I was done, I had dremmeled a tiny bit of the inner dash on the bottom left, so the radio was centered right and not off kilter.  It basically took playing around with it to get it just right, but it wasn't that hard.  You can also see in the pic that I skimmed off the radio's bottom right mounting hole just because I didn't like it.

So anyway, the radio was in there baby, and now it was time to try to get the bezel back over it.  By not hacking away at it in the first place, it did stand out a little farther.  The holes to reinstall it still lined up, and the only one to tell that it was a 1/4 inch out was the AC control assembly.  Well, I didn't have a drawer full of washers collecting dust in the garage for nothing so I did what any respectable ghetto mechanic would do.  I spaced the AC control panel out by adding 5 slim washers to each of the 4 front screws that mounted it in the dash.  Then, when I put the bezel back on, it sat right up flush against it and no one would be the wiser.

Sure I guess I could have filled the tiny little spots in the corners so you couldn't see the radio's rounded edges, but it's not like it's my Jeep, or like I'm getting paid for this.  Besides real Jeeps have round radios, isn't that the saying?