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Gettin' the jams in a Ram truck

Replacing the factory radio and speakers in a 2001 Dodge Ram

Gary Crump with his 2001 Dodge Ram

Gary had had it with the muffled sound from weary and damaged factory speakers. As the Director for Medical Certification for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (aopa.org), Gary relies on this Ram as a daily driver. He wanted to put in some audio upgrades to make the commute more enjoyable. He was also unsatisfied by the separate control panel for his satellite radio and wires running all over the dash. He wanted hands-free calling and better clarity for AM/FM radio listening.

When you buy new car gear from Crutchfield for yourself or as a gift, you’re not just getting new audio gear — you’re also getting our help with the installation. Our exclusive MasterSheet™ installation instructions combined with our free, lifetime tech support make sure you get your new gear cranking with a minimum of installation headaches. Gary was looking for better sound in his 2001 Dodge Ram, so we helped him with new gear and support that enabled him to install it.

Gary Crump 2001 Dodge Ram Factory radio

Gary had his dock-and-play satellite radio connected to the factory radio with wires strewn over the dash.

Our MasterSheet™ instructions make it possible

Created from the research we retrieved from a 2001 Dodge Ram, the MasterSheet instructions showed Gary the tools he needed and walked him through the installation process.

MasterSheet 2001 Ram

This page of the MasterSheet instructions showed Gary how to remove his factory radio.

Get that factory radio outta here

Although it seemed like a scary proposition at first, Gary popped the dash trim off with relative ease. This exposed the screws securing the factory radio. Next, he removed the radio with a screwdriver. He secured the color-coded Dodge wiring harness to the new radio's harness using Posi-Product connectors. This enabled Gary to plug the new radio directly into the existing Dodge radio harness.

Gary removing factory radio from 2001 Ram

After detaching the dash trim, Gary removes the screws securing the factory radio.

A Ram gets it jam on

The Kenwood KDC-BT758HD CD receiver behaves more like an audio command center than a car stereo. That means more connections are required to get it up and running. Gary knew the SiriusXM tuner and Bluetooth® mic needed to be in place before he mounted the receiver in the dash, because they plugged into the back of the radio.

Kenwood KDC-BT758HD CD receiver

Kenwood's KDC-BT758HD receiver provides Bluetooth connectivity, HD Radio reception, and controls for the SiriusXM hideaway tuner. We no longer carry this model, but you can check out our current Kenwood receivers here.

Gary combined the information he gleaned from the MasterSheet instructions with the installation details from the Kenwood owner’s manual. Since the wiring was complete, he was ready to mount the Kenwood receiver with the installation kit for the Ram.

Dismantling the doors

While it’s often a source of apprehension for beginners, removing the vehicle’s door panels isn’t as menacing as it may appear. It’s often a matter of getting used to the “pop” of the panel clips and a feel for how much pressure to apply to release them.

Gary removing factory speakers

Gary unscrews the factory speakers after he removed the door panels.

Gary used a set of Bojo panel tools to  release these panels to get at the stock speakers in the front and rear door locations in his quad cab. Once they were off, he simply unscrewed the speakers and detached the wiring plugs.

Hello new speakers!

The stock front door speakers were a 6x9 size, but with the help of mounting brackets we included with his speakers, Gary went with a set of Kenwood Performance Series 51/4" component speakers. The woofer and tweeter mounted into the bracket, which Gary then secured to the door frame. Component speakers provide improved audio imaging and enhance the details in his music.

Kenwood Performance components in bracket

Gary mounted the Kenwood component woofer and tweeter in the bracket we supplied, so it would fit the 6"x9" opening in the Ram's front doors. 

To complement his front door speakers, Gary went with the Kenwood 6-1/2" 3-way speakers for the rear doors. Since they were part of the same Performance series, they offer a consistent sound with his component speakers. They also fit in the rear doors, so they were a great option to complete his speaker setup. You'll find our latest lineup of Kenwood speakers here.

The MasterSheet instructions again proved to be a crucial tool in getting the old speakers out and the new speakers in place. They also help the installation go more efficiently, for less time working and more time enjoying.

We've got your back

Sometimes, installations can present an obstacle. Our knowledgeable tech support group can get you over those bumps. Once Gary had the front door panels off, he realized that the factory speaker setup wasn’t the version he’d originally thought it was and that the wiring harnesses he had weren’t going to work. He talked to our tech crew, who devised an easy way Gary could get a direct connection to his new radio.


“It was an education, and I would be more comfortable tackling a similar DIY job in the future knowing what I know now. You guys obviously enjoy what you do.” — Gary


 
Kenwood KDC-BT758HD receiver installed in 2001 Ram

Using the kit we supplied, the Kenwood looks right at home in Gary's dash. And he can control his SiriusXM stations without all the wires on the dash.

The results are in

Gary immediately noticed the sound improvement with the Kenwood receiver connected and cranked. The separation in frequencies provided far more clarity and depth than he’d been used to with the old factory gear.

“I am really enjoying the sound quality, Bluetooth, SiriusXM, and a few other features I’m just starting to play with, such as using the music apps through my smart phone. I am continually amazed at the mid- and high-range music that I hear now in music that I’ve listened to for years.”

Great job, Gary!

Kit, wiring, and MasterSheet for 2001 Ram

The dash kit, receiver wiring harness, and MasterSheet instructions for Gary's Ram pickup.


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