2002-2005 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab

2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005

By

Charlie Pastorfield

Charlie Pastorfield writes about car audio for Crutchfield. Raised in Connecticut and the U.S. Virgin Islands, he graduated from the University of Virginia, but was having way too much fun to leave Charlottesville. After a long, beautiful career touring the East Coast from Boston to Atlanta as a professional guitarist (Skip Castro Band, The Believers), he married Emilie, had two daughters (Morgan and Emma), and got his first full-time job at Crutchfield. Still an extremely active musician, he's now a member of The Gladstones, a 4-piece group that plays just about anything, and Alligator, an 8-piece band that plays late 60's Grateful Dead.

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This article is an overview of your vehicle's audio system and its upgrade options. If you're looking for step-by-step instructions on installing a car stereo or speakers in your Dodge Ram, we'll include a Crutchfield MasterSheet™ free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one for $9.99.
Dodge Ram Quad Cab

2002 Dodge Ram Quad Cab (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Overview

With an oversized grille and styling that really says "Made in the U.S.A," the Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab  is one of the most distinctive vehicles on the road today. The 2002-05 version is a particularly cool-looking vehicle, so we talk to lots of Ram owners who want to upgrade their factory audio systems because they plan on hanging on to their trucks.

Most 2002-05 Dodge Ram 1500 Quad Cab trucks came with an Infinity system with seven speakers in the dash and doors. You have a range of options for upgrading the audio system in this truck, so it can be a little confusing. But the good news is that you also have lots of choices for replacing your receiver and speakers, and you'll find a bunch of sub enclosures made specifically for this truck.

Dodge Ram factory radio

The Ram's factory radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing your factory radio

The Ram's factory radios are reasonably easy to remove and replace.

4-speaker system

In 2002 and 2003, all Quad Cabs came with the Infinity system, but Dodge offered the basic 4-speaker system beginning in 2004. You'll have to remove a section of the dash in order to pull out the factory radio, but it's not a difficult job.  You'll need a mounting kit to trim out the new radio, a wiring harness that allows you to connect your new radio without having to cut the factory wiring, and an antenna adapter that connects the Dodge antenna wire to your new stereo. The kit, harness, and antennna adapter are available at a steep discount with most Crutchfield stereo orders, plus you'll get our illustrated, step-by-step Crutchfield MasterSheet™ free with your purchase.

Infinity system

The Infinity system includes a CD/cassette receiver or a CD receiver in the dash, and a complement of 7 speakers: 3-1/2" speakers in the dash (left, right), a 2-1/2" center dash speaker, two 6"x9" woofers in the front doors, and two 5-1/4" speakers in the rear doors. You'll have to remove a section of the dash to install a new stereo, as you do with the non-Infinity system.

You'll need a special adapter to connect a new stereo to the Infinity factory amp. Your new stereo must have front and rear preamp outputs to work with this special adapter, and you'll lose your fader control if your truck is equipped with the UConnect Hands-Free System. This adapter is also available at a deep discount when purchased with a receiver.

The mounting kit for this truck holds any DIN (2" tall) radio in the dash opening. You have to remove the entire receiver/climate control trim panel to access the stereo, but that's not too tough. Here's what the kit looks like installed.

Mounting kit

Stereo mounting kit for the 2002 Ram 1500 (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you consider a new car stereo:

  • If you have factory Sirius Satellite Radio, you'll lose this capability if you replace the factory radio.
  • If your vehicle is equipped with a factory hands-free cell phone interface, you'll lose this capability if you replace the factory radio.
  • Have factory navigation? You'll lose it when you replace your radio.
  • Video receivers with flip-out monitors aren't a good idea in this vehicle because of the way the dash is shaped.

If you like the sound of the factory system, but it's just not loud enough for you, you might consider JL Audio's Clean Sweep or some other factory sound processor. This type of processor allows you to tie an amp (and even speakers) into your factory radio, for a big boost in performance.

Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, flat blade screwdriver, panel tool.

Steering wheel audio controls

It's relatively easy to retain your Dodge Ram's steering wheel audio controls when you install a new stereo. When you enter your vehicle information, our database will choose the adapter you need to make your factory steering wheel audio controls work with your new receiver.

Shop for car stereos that fit your Dodge Ram 1500

Replacing your factory speakers

Depending on the model, your Dodge Ram will have factory speakers in the front doors, the dash, and the rear doors.

Dodge Ram front door

The Ram's front door panel will hold 5-1/4" or 6-1/2" speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)

4-speaker system

You have 6"x9"s in the front doors, but your choices are limited by space considerations. You can also put 5-1/4" or 6-1/2" speakers in the front doors with the help of mounting brackets. You can put 6-1/2" speakers in the rear doors, but you'll have to drill new screw holes. Speaker harnesses are available for both locations. They'll allow you to attach the new speakers to the plugs that connect to the Dodge factory speakers, and they make it easier to reinstall the factory speakers if you ever sell your truck.  (Crutchfield includes these speaker wiring harnesses free with every speaker order).

Infinity 7-speaker system

You have a factory amp behind the glove box that powers the three dash speakers, the front door 6"x9" subs, and the full-range rear speakers. If you're planning on upgrading your speakers, you have some choices to make.

  • If you're keeping your factory radio, you can replace all your speakers, but keep in mind that the front door speakers are just producing bass.
  • If you're replacing the factory radio, you can connect your new stereo to the factory Infinity amp — you should get a little boost in performance but the speakers will continue to work as they do now. You can replace most of your speakers, but again, the front door speakers will only produce bass.
  • You'll get the best results if you bypass the Infinity amp. Just run speaker wire from the new stereo to the glove box, then tie into the speaker wires coming off the factory amp. Then you have the option of running full-range 6"x9" speakers in your front doors, hooking up outboard amps, and building a full-blown audio system.
Dodge Ram dash speaker

The Infinity system includes dash speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Dash speakers

You'll have to pry out the panel that runs all the way across the dash to access these speakers. You can replace the right and left dash speakers, but you'll have to splice the wires coming from your new speakers into the factory speaker wires. You'll have a hard time replacing the 2-1/2" center speaker, but you might as well leave it hooked up if you're keeping the factory amp.

You can splice or solder your new speaker's wires to the factory wiring, or use a set of Posi-Products connectors. We recommend the latter option, because it's faster, easier, and the connection is much stronger.

Tools needed: right-angle Phillips screwdriver, panel tool.

Front door speakers

You have to remove the entire door panel to access the front door speakers. If you're keeping the factory amp, go for the most efficient 2-way 6"x9"s you can find. If you're replacing the whole system and installing a subwoofer, then you should consider putting a round speaker (5-1/4" or 6-1/2") in the door for better accuracy. Here's a cool idea: if you're replacing the whole system but you don't want a sub, consider putting 6-1/2" or 6"x9" subs in the doors and powering them with an amp.

Dodge Ram front door

A close up look at the Ram's front door speaker opening (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Rear door speakers

You have to remove the entire door panel to access the rear door speakers. The 5-1/4" factory speaker is kind of an odd size. You can install a 6-1/2" speaker easily in this opening but you will have to drill new screw holes, so make sure you have the tools for that!

Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, panel tool, T30 Torx driver.

Dodge Ram Quad Cab rear door

A rear door, with the panel removed (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Shop for speakers that fit your Dodge Ram 1500

Bass in your Ram truck

You'll find an impressive selection of enclosures made for this Dodge Ram Quad Cab by manufacturers like JL Audio, Q-Logic, or MTX, available in unloaded, loaded, and amplified versions. They'll give you powerful bass without wasting much (if any) space.

MTX Thunderform

This MTX Thunderform is designed to fit your Dodge (MTX photo)


Shop for vehicle-specific subwoofers for your Dodge Ram 1500

Other options

There are plenty of other ways to improve the sound and functionality of your Dodge Ram Quad Cab. Here are some of the ways Crutchfield can help.

Rear-view camera

With a vehicle this large, it's important to be aware of your surroundings. A rear-view camera is a big help when you're backing up in a crowded parking lot.

Speaker baffles

We frequently suggest speaker baffles for other vehicles, but for full-size trucks like this Dodge, we strongly recommend them. These thick doors can waste a lot of great sound, and this is an inexpensive way to rein it back in. The rubber baffles are easy to install, and they'll give you better performance while also protecting your speakers.

Security

Installing a security system in your Dodge pickup isn't easy (security systems rarely are), but it's definitely a good idea. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your car and new gear to a professional installer.

Find what fits your car