My 1976 Jeep CJ-5

Find me on JeepForum

A New Stereo

Stacks Image 73
Ever since I bought "Bob" I've been using the beat up old AM/FM cassette player that came with him. The only thing I changed was to ditch the beat up old speakers that sat in boxes on the rear wheel wells for two sitting on the floor beneath the front seats. And one of those is no longer working. Meanwhile, the radio itself has been slowing dying. The cassette player no longer works (not that I actually own any cassettes anymore...) and half the time the radio won't provide any sound at all. It was clearly time to fix this.

I don't have many CD's anymore, either. So I bought an AM/FM radio head unit with an auxiliary input for my iPhone (or any mp3 player). It's a cheap
Boss system from Amazon that was only $30. Hardly high-end gear, but sufficient for the Jeep. To keep it from disappearing it is mounted in the DIN slot of my Tuffy center console. I left the old radio in place in the dashboard for looks.
Stacks Image 74
In addition to the new head I also ordered two Pyle 6.5" speakers from Amazon at the same time. $21 for the pair.

For the speakers, I was torn as to how I'd mount them. Under the seats worked okay, but not great—and I'd like to use that space for future projects. Boxes on the wheel wells in back seemed like a kludge. I didn't like it before and don't now. So I decided to build speaker enclosures I can mount to the rollbar via u-bolts.

Stacks Image 75
Taking a queue from various posts on the JeepForum I decided to go round. Or, more accurately, tubular. A bit of poking around at Home Depot with the speaker grill for reference led to the decision to make my speaker enclosures using two empty one-gallon paint cans. The opening is the perfect side for the speakers and the speaker grills fit right over the edge of the cans. It's like they were made for each other!

I drilled holes around the top lip of each can for the mounting screws (using a nail to create a small dimple to keep the drill bit from wandering on the sheet metal), two holes along the side into which the 2" u-bolt mounts, and a single hole a bit further back from the u-bolt mount for the speaker wires.

Stacks Image 76
Stacks Image 77

To help keep the speakers from slipping on the roll bar I lined each u-bolt with some left-over heat-shrink wire wrap from a previous project. Makes a nice, black cover too.

And to keep the bare edges of the hole in the metal through which the wires run from damaging said wires I used some 1/4" grommets.

Stacks Image 78
Stacks Image 79

Stacks Image 80

Speaker mounted, without protective grill in place.

After assembling the basic components, assembly had to happen in-place. First I bolted the enclosures to the roll bar in a suitable location. I originally thought I'd have them at the top, but found they interfered with the bikini top and looked a bit bulky. So I opted for lower down the sides of the roll bar where they are less visually intrusive.

Next, the speaker wire (enclosed in protective wire wrap) was fitted from the speakers (leaving plenty of wire inside to play with) around to the center console and the head unit itself.

Finally, the speakers were connected to the wires and screwed into place in the enclosures. In doing this last bit I found that I had to fiddle a bit. With the enclosures bolted up tight to the roll bar I could install the speakers themselves but not the grills. These overlap the edge of the enclosure a bit and wouldn't fit. So I removed the speakers and loosened the u-bolts a bit and inserted some adhesive-backed rubber feet from some appliance I had sitting around. That provided enough room to tighten the bolts and still allow the grills to be installed. Phew!

Stacks Image 81

Here's the final speaker setup.

The only other thing to do was connecting the power and antenna (had to get a 48" extension since my stock antenna cable only ran to the dash) and button everything up! I bought a male ISO connector and plugged in my various speaker and power wires so it will be easier to disconnect in future.

If this ends up sounding good and seems to be durable enough to last I may start making these up as kits and selling them. I think they look kinda cool. I call 'em my "music mortars"...