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2002-2005 Dodge Ram 1500 Regular Cab

How to upgrade the stereo system in your Ram 1500

2002-05 Dodge Ram 1500 regular cab

In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your Ram's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. We'll tell you all about:

Then, use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your truck.

Overview of the Dodge Ram

The Dodge Ram 1500 regular cab truck, with its oversized grille, is one of the most distinctive vehicles on the road today, and its retro styling really says "Made in the U.S.A." The 2002-05 version is a particularly cool-looking vehicle, so it's not surprising that lots of Ram owners want to upgrade their factory audio systems — they plan on hanging on to their trucks. As with any regular cab truck, you've got some space issues when it comes to bass, but you can definitely set up this Ram with a sound system that really rocks.

Dodge Ram factory radio

The Ram's factory radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)

The factory stereo system

Two options are available for these Dodge Ram 1500 regular cab trucks: the standard 4-speaker system, and the Infinity system with seven speakers. Either version will have the speaker grilles in the dash, so the best way to tell which system you've got is to look down through your windshield into those dash openings — if you see speakers, you have the Infinity system.

It can get a little confusing at times figuring out how to upgrade the Infinity system in this truck, but we'll talk about that later. The good news is that you have lots of options for replacing your radio and speakers with either system, and you'll find some really nice subwoofer enclosures made specifically for this popular truck.

Mounting kit

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

Removing the factory radio

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

Standard 4-speaker system

This Dodge truck came with an AM/FM/cassette receiver in the dash, with the option of the Infinity AM/FM/cassette/CD deck. You can install a DIN radio (2" tall) in the Ram's dash. 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 allows you to connect the Dodge antenna plug to your new radio. These installation parts are available at a great price with most orders..

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 hard to do, really.

Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions

MasterSheet image
With step-by-step disassembly instructions and plenty of up-close, detailed photos, our exclusive Crutchfield MasterSheet™ takes the guesswork out of removing the factory stereo and speakers. It's free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one separately for just $9.99.

Infinity system

Starting with the 2004 Ram, you'll need a special adapter to connect a new car stereo to the Infinity amp. You'll want to buy a new radio that has two sets of preamp outputs in order to connect this special adapter, and the bad news is that you'll lose the ability to fade from your front to rear speakers. The good news is that a new stereo will bring new life to the Infinity system because the Infinity amp will see a cleaner, more powerful signal.

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.
  • If you 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 a factory sound processor. This type of processor allows you to tie an amp (and even new speakers) into your factory radio, for a big boost in performance.

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

Read our Car Stereo Buying Guide for shopping tips and advice.


Steering wheel audio controls

In most cases, it's reasonably easy to retain your truck'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 controls work with a compatible aftermarket receiver.

dodge ram front door speaker

A close-up of the Ram's front door speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the factory speakers

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

4-speaker system

You'll find two full-range 6"x9" speakers in the doors, along with 5-1/4" in the rear side panels. You're limited by the .84" mounting height available under the factory grille, so only a few 6"x9"s will fit there without modifying the grille. You can also put 5-1/4" or 6-1/2" speakers in the front doors with the help of adapter brackets, and that really opens up your choices. You'll find wiring harnesses (and mounting brackets, if needed) for every location, and brackets and harnesses are available with every speaker order.

The rear factory speakers are similar to aftermarket 5-1/4"s, and you can install almost any 5-1/4"s back there if you're willing to drill new screw holes. You also have the option of installing 3-1/2" speakers in the dash locations, but you'll have to run speaker wire to those dash openings.

Infinity system

You'll find 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 side panels. 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. No need for a speaker with a silk dome tweeter in that location.
  • 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.
Infinity factory center speaker

The factory Infinity system includes a center speaker. (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. 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: Phillips screwdriver, panel tool.

Dodge Ram front door panel

You'll need to remove the door panels when installing new speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)

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 smaller subs in the doors and powering them with an amp. (Make sure you apply plenty of Dynamat or other sound deadener to the door panels and frame to eliminate rattling from the subs.)

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

Rear side panel speaker

The rear side panel speakers really aren't hard to deal with (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Rear side panel speakers

You have to remove the factory toolbox and the side panels to access the rear speakers. A 5-1/4" speaker drops in the opening but you will have to drill new screw holes, so make sure you have the tools for that! A harness is available for those back speakers so you don't have to cut off the factory speaker connector.

Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, Phillips right-angle screwdriver, panel tool, drill and 1/8" bit, T25 and T47 Torx drivers.

Read our Car Speakers Buying Guide for more information


Bass in your Dodge Ram

Upgrading the bass sound is a bit of a challenge in this truck, but if you're up for the challenge, you have a 32" W x 16" H x 8" (top and bottom) D space to work with behind the seats. A compact powered subwoofer might work, too. Measure twice, order once.

foam speaker baffles

Foam speaker baffles will really make a difference

Other options for your Dodge Ram

There are plenty of other ways to improve the sound and functionality of your Dodge. Here are a few ideas:

Sound damping

As you've probably noticed by now, this truck punches a pretty 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.

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.

Rear-view cameras

This Dodge is a big vehicle that's made for wide-open spaces, not crowded parking lots. A rear-view camera will really 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.

Security systems and remote start

Installing a security system in your pickup won't be easy (security systems rarely are), but it's definitely a good idea if you tow long distances and stop overnight. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your truck to a professional installer.

Adding remote start capability to your truck lets you warm it up in the winter or cool it down in the summer. Installation is usually easier with these systems, but we still ask that you call to order so that we can make sure you get the right harness for your ride.

Let's get started!

Ready to shop? Use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your car or truck. If you have questions of your own, give us a shout via phone, chat, or email

  • Trisha Velasquez from Sacramento

    Posted on 10/21/2023

    I just wanted to say Thank you to Charlie for writing such an informative article!!! And, thank you to Crutchfield for allowing us to access it for free! Every question I had about my stock system was answered. Thank you again, Trisha

  • Jesse Tucker from somerville

    Posted on 8/17/2022

    Interesting question here. I have an 02 Ram 1500 with the stock CD/FM/AM system. Trying to figure out how to use custom CDs in it. Is there a specific format that needs to be used, or will any work? And does the sound file have to be .mp3, .wav, etc?

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 8/18/2022

    Jesse, Interesting indeed. If you still have the factory manual, you might find the answer there. If not, you might want to ask around on a Ram owners forum. You could also burn a short mix or two, just to see see what plays.
  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/23/2017

    Parker, It depends on whether or not you're keeping the stock stereo. I've sent your question to our sales team, and someone will be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Parker Johnson

    Posted on 1/21/2017

    I have a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 regular cab pickup. 4 speakers total, two in each door. What special harness do I need to hook up my new speakers to bypass the Infiniti package my truck came with?

  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/5/2016

    Eric, Your daughter is a lucky girl! I'll send this to our sales team for the best answer, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Eric

    Posted on 2/4/2016

    My daughter has a 2003 Dodge ram 1500 quad cab - 4 speaker system. My plan is to buy a Pioneer DEH-X6800BT and then 6.5s for the front and 5.25s in the back. Sounds like with the bracket this may be an easier install for the front doors. You state above no amp in this truck. Will this new system work and will it be loud? Serious question... not overly experienced with this stuff don't really want to spend a ton on this vehicle.

  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/31/2015

    Bob, I sent your question to our sales team for the best answer. They'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat. Good luck with your installation!

  • Bob Starr from Gilbert, AZ

    Posted on 7/30/2015

    I read a vehicle profile on line. It was written by Charlie Pastorfield who I guess to be a Crutchfield employee, and pertained to a 2002-2005 Dodge Ram 1500 standard cab truck. The article goes in depth about the differences between the factory installed radio w/ 4 speakers, and the factory installed Infinity system w/ 7 speakers. I would greatly appreciate talking to a representative who is familiar with this article, and can help me with technical questions regarding replacing all or part of my audio system.

  • Commenter image

    Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/22/2015

    You can also search our online Knowledge Base, where you can search for wiring info about your truck. That said, messing about with wiring is a tricky thing. The safer, easier option is to install an aftermarket stereo, and we can definitely help you with that!

  • David from Gilbert AZ

    Posted on 5/22/2015

    Do you happen to know how the factory cd radio unit recognizes there is a cd changer? I was going to install a aux plug to the audio inputs and not sure if it will change modes. There are the L/R inputs, a B+ and gnd outputs, and a PCI interconnect line. Thanks

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