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Grandson installs a new system in the family 4Runner

Car audio DIY can be a fun family affair

Finishing what he started. When we spotted a social media post about a 12-year-old who’d installed a new car stereo his grandfather bought from Crutchfield, we had to know more. We also wanted to give them the chance to add to the system.

W

e reached out to Jeff and his grandson, Lukas, to learn more about their experience, and to see if they wanted to complete the sound upgrade in Jeff ’s ride with new speakers. We supplied the gear, and they let us cover the installation story in person.

Being a musician himself, Jeff loves listening to music. So when his factory stereo had been reduced to FM radio as the only listening source, he just had to make a change. And he knew that his tech-savvy grandson would be up to the task.

Kenwood Excelon DPX793BH CD receiver in 4Runner dash

Here's Lukas's fine work with the Kenwood stereo installed using the Toyota installation kit.

Lukas's car stereo installation

Before starting the stereo project, Lukas prepared himself by watching 4Runner dash disassembly videos on YouTube. And during the installation, Lukas used Crutchfield's vehicle-specific MasterSheet instructions (which we supplied when Jeff bought his stereo from us) to remove the decrepit factory radio.

From there, he aced the installation of the new music maker, the Kenwood Excelon DPX793BH. Now Jeff can play his CDs, link his smartphone’s music apps using the stereo's Bluetooth® connection, and enjoy even better sounding radio, thanks to the stereo's HD Radio™ tuner.

Removing door panel

Previous work proved helpful

When we talked to Jeff about having Lukas install new Kenwood speakers to match his Kenwood stereo, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that Lukas already had experience removing the Toyota’s door panels (a requirement for installing new speakers). He’d replaced a side mirror for his Grandpa, and the panel had to come off for that.

With the speakers and some tools loaded, my crew and I headed a couple hours up the road to Reston, Virginia. While I was there for some technical guidance, Lukas, Jeff, and Jeff's wife, Pam, did the work and did it well.

Removing factory speaker

Getting the front door speakers out was a little tricky. They were originally bolted and glued into place, so some pressure had to be applied to release them.

Installing new Kenwood KFC-P710PS 6-1/2" component system

With a little help from Grandpa, Lukas secures the new Kenwood woofer into the door.

Installing the new Kenwood speakers

To replace the nine-year old factory speakers, we selected Kenwood component speakers up front, while sticking with 2-way speakers for the rear doors. Their power handling and excellent sound quality were a great match for the stereo, and they also fit the 4Runner's stock locations. 

Beginning with the front doors

With the door panels and factory speakers removed, Lukas began installing the Kenwood component speakers. The component woofer's screw holes matched the factory mounting bracket for each door.

Lukas secured the tweeters inside the Toyota’s sail panels without modification. The foam inside the sail panel covers held the tweeters in place and prevented them from rattling around.

He used the speaker wiring adapters Crutchfield supplied with the speakers to tie into the Toyota factory wiring. Then, he tied in the tweeter wiring by using the output terminals on the woofer and bundled all the wiring together.

Kenwood tweeter in sail panel

The Kenwood tweeters fit neatly into the foam in the Toyota's sail panels.

Speaker wiring for Kenwood KFC-P710PS 6-1/2" component system

The Kenwood woofer has a set of terminals for the incoming signal and another for the output to feed signal to the tweeter.

Moving to the back doors

For the 2-way speakers to fit into the rear door locations, Lukas had to drill screw holes. He held the new speakers up to the door frame, marked where he wanted the new holes to be, and then drilled. Once that was done, Lukas used included wiring adapters to plug into the factory speaker connectors. The speakers fit neatly behind the panels, which Lukas, Jeff, and Pam reinstalled after a quick sound check. I say "quick", but I remember it was a little tough getting back on task, since the system sounded so good.

Reinstalling door panel

Pam joined the fun and reattached the door panels, under the watchful eye of her grandson.

Job well done

Lukas’s grandparents were a little worried about him finishing the installation in time for his baseball game that evening, but he pulled it off flawlessly. And we were pleased to hear that in the game, he hit his first grand-slam home run! Now that’s a good day. Getting to know this family and hearing their hilarious banter made the trip even more worthwhile. 

Group shot

Jeff, Pam, Lukas, Crutchfield Designer, Tami, myself, and our photographer, J.

When you and your family are ready to pick out your next DIY sound system, be sure to contact our knowledgeable Advisors. They're available by phone, chat, or email.

Last updated 8/8/2019
  • Danny Davis from Jacksonville

    Posted on 9/5/2019

    Lukas, I am very impressed with the confidence you are displaying at such a young age. You have inspired me to be a little more adventurous with my own car audio.

  • Frank Davis from Dunn NC

    Posted on 9/5/2019

    Great story that takes me back to when I was that young. I was the resident expert in my neighborhood who all my friends came to first to set up home audio systems with yes, turntables and the other gear. Then later when I got my driver's license I was the expert again to outfit and install car stereo systems for myself and all my friends. Now 55 I've still got the "bug" installing home audio/video systems and car stereo systems for friends, family and colleges not to mention myself!. I even was a car stereo installer in the late 80's before finishing college with a degree in Computer Engineering. But audio/video and also home automation are still my passions. And of course I have been a Crutchfield customer since turning 16 in 1980 before Crutchfield migrated all purchase info to a database that only goes back to 1992 for me. But I bought stuff way before that from Crutchfield! So cheers to Lukas maybe another future engineer in one of the engineering disciplines!

  • Ian from Reidsville

    Posted on 9/5/2019

    This is great! Love you guys for sharing the experience! Everybody remembers the experience of a job well done. I hope that my youngest daughter will share in the experience of building the subwoofer for her Jeep this weekend. It should prove to be quite exciting. I can only hope to instill the same passion that grew in me at her age now. Should be fun!

  • James Zamparelli from Little River

    Posted on 9/5/2019

    I agree with Ron. Nice work! Keep it up and one day I will see your name As one of the top installers. GOD BLESS!

  • Ronald Nash from Hanford

    Posted on 9/5/2019

    I love it when I see a young man do what I have had the passion installing car audio I am 60 now but I was just sixteen when I saw I had a passion for car audio back in the seventies.. I think that's so cool seeing this young man a system in his grandfathers car he could be playing video games no he is installing a system in a car I have to say I am so impressed with this young man I wish I could meet him and shake his hand and really tell him in person how proud I am.. And I am a total stranger but I see him doing something at at such a young age that most kids would never dare to do.... Thanks for sharing this story with me my name is Ron Nash...

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