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2009-2012 Dodge/Ram Pickups (all cabs)

2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012

dodge ram pickup

In a nutshell: This article is an overview of your Ram's audio system and its upgrade options. Use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your Ram pickup. 

Overview of the Dodge Ram

It takes a lot to stand out in the ultra-competitive, full-size pickup market. From horsepower to payload to towing numbers to bed strength, every single statistic matters. The objective facts change with each new model, but one subjective thing has remained true for years now: Dodge (okay, Ram) makes some seriously stylish trucks.

When there's a Ram in the rear-view mirror, most everyone knows exactly what they're looking at. What follows that big, retro-cool grille is up to the person who owns the truck. Like most truck lines, the Ram family (Ram Fam?) includes a healthy assortment of engines, cab choices, payload ratings, options, and trim packages. From a basic, light-duty, regular cab truck to an optioned-out, heavy-duty beast that can tow pretty much anything that isn't attached to a foundation, there's probably a Ram for you.

dodge ram radio

If your truck has a column shifter, radio replacement is a reasonably easy job (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Factory stereo system

The Ram's base system was a perfectly acceptable AM/FM/CD/AUX receiver with six speakers. Further up the line, owners could add things like satellite radio, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth® connectivity, a touchscreen receiver, a rear-view camera and, in the larger trucks, a rear-seat entertainment system. The top-shelf trim level included a list of features that you'd expect to find in a luxury sedan, including a 10-speaker Alpine system with a subwoofer under the rear seat.

As factory systems go, this stuff isn't bad. But you can do better. We'll take a brief look at all the radio options and the various speaker configurations found in each cab style. These basic installation tips apply to the 1500, 2500, and 3500 models, any of which can be a great home for a high-performance audio system.

dodge ram radio console

If there's a console shifter, the job is a little tougher, but it's still a good DIY project (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing your factory radio

Swapping out the stock radio for an aftermarket single-DIN (2" tall) or double-DIN (4" tall) receiver isn’t difficult in any case, but there are two cases, and one's less difficult than the other. It's all about shifter location in these trucks. If you have a column shifter, getting to the radio is a snap. If you have a console shifter, it'll take a bit more work because you need to remove some of the console panels.

Detailed installation instructions

MasterSheet image
If you're looking for step-by-step instructions on how to install a car stereo or speakers in your car, there's nothing better than our exclusive Crutchfield MasterSheet™. This detailed, well-illustrated document is free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one separately for $9.99.

The (slightly) challenging part comes if you install a double-DIN receiver in any of these trucks, because you'll need to do a little trimming inside the cavity to allow for the new stereo's extra chassis height. Approximately 1/4" of the plastic sub-dash and approximately 3/8" of the metal sub-dash support will need to go. You can use a hacksaw blade or Dremel® tool for this, and it's really not that hard to do. These modifications should not affect reinstallation of the factory radio.

dodge ram radio modification

You'll need to a bit of trimming and modification to install a double-DIN radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)

When you replace the stock radio, you'll lose factory features like satellite radio capability, video entertainment, hands-free calling, and the navigation system. All of these things can be replicated (and probably improved upon) with an aftermarket radio.

Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, small flat blade screwdriver, Torx T-20 driver, panel tool, 7mm socket, rachet and extension, shop rag, hacksaw or Dremel tool (double-DIN only)

Shop for car stereos that fit your Dodge Truck 1500

Steering wheel audio controls

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

dodge ram front door speaker cavity

The Ram's front door speakers are 6"x9" models. Replacing them is a great way to improve sound quality. (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing your factory speakers

The number of speakers in your Ram truck depends on the cab style and the stock radio system. None of the speakers are terribly difficult to replace. In all cases, however, it's important to remember that replacing these 1- or 2-ohm factory speakers with a higher-impedance aftermarket speaker will result in lower volume levels. Shop accordingly, and if you have questions, just give us a call.

dodge ram alpine center dash speaker

The Alpine center dash speaker is easy to remove and replace (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Center dash speaker

The center dash speaker in Alpine-equipped trucks are 3-1/2" models that are quite easy to remove and replace. Use a panel tool to pry up the speaker grille and release four clips. Lift the grille, disconnect the sensor wiring harness, and remove the grille. Next, remove the two 7mm screws securing the speaker, disconnect it, and remove it.

With that done, you're ready to install the new speaker and secure it with the screws you just removed. Be sure to test the speaker before you replace the grille.

Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm socket, ratchet and extension

dodge ram corner dash speakers

The corner dash speakers are also easy to deal with. Using a panel tool will protect the dash from damage. (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Corner dash speakers

The corner dash speakers, available on all trucks, are 3-1/2" models. The non-Alpine speakers are wired in parallel with the front door speakers.

Replacing these speakers is basically the same as replacing the center speaker. Just pry up the grille, remove the old speaker, and install the new one.

Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm socket, ratchet and extension

dodge ram front door speaker

You'll have plenty of aftermarket options to choose from when you replace the front door speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Front door speakers

The 6"x9" front door speakers can be replaced by same-size models, or you can install 6-1/2" or 5-1/4" models with help from mounting brackets that will be included with your Crutchfield speaker purchase. You'll need to remove the door panels, a process that will vary depending on whether your truck has manual or power windows.

 Important note about 2009 Ram 2500/3500 trucks

If your truck is the 2009 Ram 2500 or 3500 with a 7-speaker system, you have a little something extra to be aware of. The front door 6"x9" speakers only receive bass frequencies from the factory amp. That means any new speakers you install will also only receive (and play) bass. In order to upgrade the sound fully, you should also replace the corner dash speakers, preferably with the same brand as the new 6"x9"s.

Starting at the top corner, pull off the sail panel (pull it away from the door, then lift it up to remove it). Next, pry open the screw cover behind the door release and remove the exposed Phillips screw you'll see there. With that out of the way, pry out the front edge of the door release trim and remove it.

This brings us to the window controls. If you have power windows, pry up the switch panel to release the clip, then disconnect the wiring harness and remove the panel. If you have good old-fashioned manual windows, use a (clean) shop rag in a "shoeshine" motion to release the “C” clip on the rear of the crank, then remove the crank.

You'll need a Torx T20 driver for this next bit, which involves removing two Torx T20 clips along the front edge of the door panel, two more along the bottom edge of the door panel, and finally three more clips along rear edge of door panel. Once those are taken care of, you can remove the door panel, remove the four 5mm screws securing the speaker, and remove the speaker.

Once you've installed the new speakers, test to make sure they're working, then make sure the locks and windows are working properly before you start replacing the door panels.

Tools needed:

  • Power windows: Torx T-20 driver, panel tool, #3 Phillips screwdriver, 5mm socket, ratchet, and extension, small flat blade screwdriver;
  • Manual windows: #3 Phillips screwdriver, Torx T-20 driver, 5mm socket, ratchet and extension, shop rag
dodge ram crew cab rear door speaker

The rear door speakers on all the 4-door trucks are 6"x9"  models (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Rear door speakers (Quad Cab, Crew Cab, Mega Cab)

The Quad Cab (extended cab) and Crew Cab models have 6"x9" speakers in the rear doors. In terms of sizing and removal/replacement, everything you'll do here is the basically same as what you did on the front doors. There are a couple of very small differences, but it's nothing to stress over and it's all explained in your Crutchfield MasterSheet.

We actually haven't had a chance to examine a Mega Cab truck from this generation, but we're going to assume that these rear door speakers are also 6"x9" models. If we're wrong, tell us all about it in the comments section below.

Tools needed:

  • Power windows: Torx T-20 driver, panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, 5mm socket, ratchet and extension, small flat blade screwdriver;
  • Manual windows: Phillips screwdriver, Torx T-20 driver, 5mm socket, ratchet and extension, shop rag
dodge ram rear side speaker

Standard cab trucks have speakers in the rear side panels (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Rear panel speakers (Standard Cab)

Standard Cab trucks feature a pair of 6"x9" speakers in the rear side panels. Like their cousins in the doors, they can be replaced by same-size, 6-1/2", or 5-1/4" aftermarket models. You'll need mounting brackets for the smaller ones, and they're included at a discount when you buy your speakers at Crutchfield.

Before you start, move the seats forward to get a little more working space. Once you're (more) comfortable, remove two Torx T20 screws located inside the storage tray behind the seats. Lift the tray out of the truck and store it someplace safe while you work.  

Next, remove one Torx T50 bolt securing the lower seat belt anchor and remove the anchor. Then pull up the rear edge of the scuff plate juuuust enough to clear the side panel, then pry off the panel and release eight retaining clips. Store the panel in a safe place – near the storage trays, maybe.

With the speaker exposed, remove the four Torx T20 screws securing it to the side wall, then disconnect the speaker, set it aside, and start installing the new speaker. You'll use the same screws you removed, so don't strip them and be sure to keep them together until they're needed again.

Once the speakers are in, test them out and start putting it all back together.

Tools needed: Panel tool, Torx T-20 and T-50 drivers

dodge ram rear roof tweeters

The Alpine system's rear roof speakers are 2-1/2" tweeters (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Rear roof speakers (Quad Cab, Crew Cab, Mega Cab)

The rear roof speakers, found in Alpine-equipped trucks, are 2-1/2" tweeters. Removing them is easy and aftermarket replacements are available, but installing the new ones will take a little work on your part, because there are no mounting brackets available.

The fix is simple, though. Just use our universal backstraps (or hot glue or silicone, if you prefer), and you'll get a secure fit that also fits underneath the stock grilles.

Your new roof speakers might not come with screws, so check the box before you start and run to the hardware store if you need to.

Tools needed: Panel tool, Torx T-20 driver

dodge ram alpine subwoofer

The 8" Alpine sub is mounted underneath the rear seat. You can replace the sub or the entire enclosure. (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Rear subwoofer (Quad Cab, Crew Cab, Mega Cab)

The 8" Alpine factory subwoofer is mounted to a polymer enclosure under the right rear seat. To replace it, you'll need to remove the enclosure from the truck, then remove the sub from the enclosure. None of this is hard to do, but it's not like you just reach under the seat and pull the thing out, either!

The step-by-step instructions can be found in your MasterSheet, of course, but there are a few handy things to know before you get started.

There are some 8" aftermarket subs that will fit nicely into the enclosure, but in some cases, you may need to drill new mounting holes. This isn't any tougher than drilling into anything else, but work carefully, know what you're drilling into, and always wear eye protection.

If you need to drill new holes, you might need new screws, and not all aftermarket subs include them. Check the box before you start and get what you need then. If you don't have to drill new holes, you should be able to use the screws removed from the stock sub.

Tools needed: Torx T-25 driver, Phillips screwdriver, 18mm socket, ratchet and extension

Shop for speakers that fit your Dodge Truck 1500

MTX Thunderform for Dodge Ram pickups

This MTX Thunderform is one of several designed for Ram trucks.

Adding bass in your Ram

Adding even more bass to your Ram truck is a great way to get even more enjoyment out of your audio system. How much you can add depends on what you're starting with.

Regular Cab trucks don't have a ton of room, but there is some room behind the seats. And it kind of depends on which seat you're looking behind. On the driver's side, there's a 33" W x 16" H x 7" D space, while on the passenger's side (with the storage tray in place), there's a 16" W x 16" H x 8" D space. Like we said, not much, but there might be room for a compact powered sub.

In the 4-door, Alpine-equipped trucks, there really isn't any room for an additional subwoofer box, unless you can convince your rear seat passengers to sit with their feet on a sub box. Replacing the sub itself is the best idea.

Another option, which works whether or not you have a stock sub back here, is a custom-fit sub enclosure. JL Audio, Kicker, and MTX each make powerful subs that are specifically designed to fit under the rear seat of these trucks. The sound is impressive, and they blend right into your truck.

As Crutchfield customer "Cahuna33" put it in a review of the MTX Amplified ThunderForm installed in his Ram pickup, "It turns quite a few heads because not too many people expect this kind of great sound to come from a truck. I have had a few people expect to see a large bass box sitting in the back and see nothing. It is hidden well."

If that’s what you're looking for in a subwoofer, enter your vehicle information and check all the loaded and unloaded options available.

Shop for vehicle-specific subwoofers for your Dodge Truck 1500

Clarion CC520 rear view camera

The Clarion CC520 can be paired with any compatible aftermarket video receiver.

Other options for your Ram

Here are some other ways to improve your Ram pickup's comfort, safety, and sound.

Rear-view camera

Ram trucks are made for big trips and wide-open spaces, not crowded parking lots. A rear-view camera will help increase your visibility and safety when your busy day takes you into town. And a camera is also a huge help when you're backing up to a trailer.

Sound damping

Your Ram is a big vehicle with big doors and a big grille, so it punches a big hole in the atmosphere. To prevent wind noise and road roar from undoing the great work your new stereo is doing for you, make sure you install Dynamat when you're replacing your speakers. This soundproofing material will dampen the sounds you don't like, so you can get more enjoyment out of the ones you do.

Floor mats

No matter how much you pamper your Ram truck, you're eventually going to get involved in some sort of truck-like activity that gets you and/or it dirty. When that happens, it's a good idea to have a set of WeatherTech Floor Mats and Liners. These incredibly durable mats trap moisture, contain dirt, and keep your factory carpets looking good.

Remote start and security systems

Adding remote start capability to your vehicle lets you warm it up in the winter or cool it down in the summer. The iDatastart system is incredibly convenient and makes it easier than ever to install a remote start system, so we highly recommend it. The module requires a vehicle-specific T-harness (sold separately) to connect with your vehicle's computer, security, and ignition systems, so we ask that you call to order so that we can make sure you get the right harness for your ride.

You can also talk to your Crutchfield Advisor about a security system. They’re not as easy to install (we usually suggest letting a professional do the job), but we can help you choose a system that’ll work in your vehicle.

Shop for car security systems for your Dodge Truck 1500

Find the audio gear that fits your car or truck

Visit our Outfit My Car page and enter your vehicle information to see stereos, speakers, subs, and other audio accessories that will work in your vehicle.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/2/2018

    John, The wiring harness needed to install an aftermarket receiver depends on several factors, including the receiver you're replacing. When you enter your vehicle's info into our Outfit My Car tool, you'll see which stereos fit your car, plus the correct harness. If you have any questions, our advisors are available via phone or chat.

  • John from Phoenix

    Posted on 4/1/2018

    What wiring harness is used for the 09-12 rams?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/20/2017

    Charles, Interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing your installation experience with us!

  • Charles J Robinson from Buda

    Posted on 10/8/2017

    Turns out 2011-2012 Rams are tricky when it comes to adding amplifiers to the factory head units while maintaing steering wheel controls. There is no adapter like the PAC CHRY3 for 2011-2012 models. That adapter ends compatability after 2010. I tried it anyway and it killed the rear speaker outputs of my stereo. DONT DO IT. Go with a dedicated loc like the AudioControl LC7i. Be careful there too, because Dodge factory heads sometimes dont sense a speaker load and it will shut down those connected channels. AudioControl has a nifty fix for that as well, resistor packs that show the Dodge heads what it needs to work. Since I destroyed my head already, I returned the LC7i and bought a new Pioneer head from Crutchfield. I put the stereo and the deeply discounted install gear in the cart, it actually came up $20 less than Amazon Prime, and with free tech support and install mastersheet!!!! Whoop!!! Thus concludes my 2012 Ram non-Alpine upgrade journey... for now.

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