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A 2005 Toyota Sienna gets a minivan makeover

An upgraded stereo makes it feel like she has a whole new car

Teenagers enjoying the minivan's new stereo

It was embarrassing

Morgan, like most high schoolers, didn’t particularly enjoy getting stuck driving the family minivan. Luckily, she’s the daughter of Charlie, one of our car A/V editors. He told us that she’d at least be able to tolerate the van if it sounded better and gave her a place to plug in her iPhone®.

A minivan isn’t a place you’d normally think of to put in a rockin’ aftermarket sound system, but sometimes it’s better for family harmony to just go ahead and spoil the teenager a little. Besides, Mom and Dad will get to enjoy their music better when they drive it on family excursions.

Kenwood DDX419 DVD receiver

The Kenwood DVD receiver gives Morgan complete control over the music from her iPhone — which is exactly what she wanted.

Kenwood to the rescue

Thanks to Kenwood, we were able to overhaul the system entirely, installing a new DVD receiver, component speakers up front, full-range speakers in the rear, a subwoofer, and a 5-channel amp. Three of us writers jumped in and installed everything in one day. It turned out awesome — the sound is amazing, filling the van with bass, clearing up the vocals with the new tweeters, and overall, adding excitement to the music.

We did this installation a couple of years ago, but here are the relevant links to current Kenwood products: 

Morgan and an Excelon tweeter

Kenwood Excelon silk dome tweeters, part of the component set, produce stunning realism with smooth high notes that are crisp, but never shrill.

Better tweeter placement

The Sienna came with factory tweeters mounted in the corners of the dash by the windshield, but we mounted the new tweeters closer to the woofers on the door by cutting holes in the sail panels. This makes the stereo image, the “picture” the speakers make of the instruments’ positions on an imaginary stage, sound stronger and more realistic than when the tweeters are mounted farther away from their woofers. We bypassed the old tweeters so we wouldn’t get too much high end, especially echoing off the windshield.

Kenwood Excelon X700-5 amp and XW10 sub

The compact 5-channel Kenwood Excelon amplifier powers all four speakers and the subwoofer from its neat home in the van’s rear side pocket.

The rest of the installation

Thanks to Crutchfield’s vehicle selector and MasterSheet instructions, most of the equipment went in easily. We found the perfect spots for the front speaker component crossovers inside the door panels, on a little shelf below the armrests. They are actually accessible without having to take off the door panels, in case crossover adjustments need to be made later.

The only hitch in our installation involved the mid-rear side panel speakers. The hole pattern in the Sienna’s speaker bracket didn’t quite match our speaker and bracket assembly, so we had to do some finagling with different mounting screws and how they were angled.

The family wagon gets its rock on

The results exceeded everyone’s expectations — especially Morgan’s. She and her younger sister now often just sit in the van in the driveway and crank it up. When Charlie heard it, he considered reclaiming the van for his daily commute. But there’s no way that Morgan’s about to give up her new favorite place to listen to music.

Toyota Sienna

The family minivan — a 2005 Toyota Sienna

If you want to make your teenager's hand-me down a bit more cool, use our vehicle selector to find out what fits and contact our advisors (many of whom have teens of their own) for further advice and ideas. 

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/21/2018

    Cagney, The power and speaker wires pass through a hole drilled in the plastic pocket, and they, in effect, keep the amp from flying through the vehicle during an accident. The amp is further secured to the panel by Velcro strips, preventing it from rattling around.

  • Cagney Fox from Wenatchee

    Posted on 3/14/2018

    Hello. So i'm doing a very similar build as this one and I have a question about how you mounted the amp in that pocket. I haven't taken the panel off yet to see what is behind the pocket but pushing on it from inside the vehicle makes it flex a little bit. So I guess my question is how did it get mounted? Did you mount some wood behind it giving you something solid to screw into? Surely it's not just tacked to the plastic! =-) Can't wait for you to deliver my remaining parts...I'm ready for a build!

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/24/2017

    Alexi, I've forwarded your question to Crutchfield's Sales Advisor Team, and a member will get in touch with you by email to offer suggestions and help you choose the right gear for you and your vehicle. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat - just click on the text balloon icon at the very top of this page.

  • Alexi Botkin from Aptos, CA

    Posted on 10/22/2017

    Hi, I am curious to create a similar audio upgrade to my 2014 Sienna. But am looking to use the factory Entune head unit and I don't need the base sub. How much does this makeover cost?

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/29/2017

    Michael, If you bought new gear at Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help with your system. Their toll-free number is on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details. I believe, in this minivan make-over, because an aftermarket receiver was installed, the wires in the receiver and vehicle harnesses that normally carry signal to the speakers (and tweeter) weren't connected. New speaker wire was run from the new amplifier to each speaker. They left the factory tweeters in place.

  • Michael Cushing from Bloomington, IL

    Posted on 7/29/2017

    How did you bypass the factory tweeters in the dash? I tried taking them out, lost my fronts, tried twisting the hot and ground together, just got static. Right now, they're sitting down inside the dash where I hope we can't hear them much, but I know there's a right way to do it and it wasn't mentioned on the master sheet. Help.

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/12/2017

    Cal, The power wire for this installation was threaded through an existing grommet in the firewall, no drilling was necessary. I recommend continuing your search for a suitable pass-through using a bright flashlight.

  • Cal from La Center

    Posted on 5/11/2017

    Where did you drill your hole through the firewall to power your amp? I'm having trouble finding somewhere safe to drill in my '05 Sienna

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/9/2017

    David, Nope, that feature was lost in this installation.

  • David from Lexington

    Posted on 3/8/2017

    Did this setup retain the steering wheel controls?

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