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Old March 8th, 2009, 16:32
rienzio's Avatar
rienzio rienzio is offline
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Location: Golden, CO
Posts: 12
Talking satellite radio install in 1997up AC Pod

So I had been keeping an eye out for a sat radio that would fit in the AC vent area--I know others on the forum have done similar installs.

Circuit shitty was going kaput and I picked up an XM Express EZ , and luckily it is just the right size. This should work for TJ owners as well, as the vents are the same part.

Part I: antenna install
I didn't want the antenna to be visible, so I tried putting it behind the 3rd brake light, but found the reception was too weak. So it got put just above the 3rd brake on the roof, ran the wire thru the hatch gasket, across the trim, and all the way to the front behind headliner trim. Down the A-pillar trim, past the dash. Actually was pretty easy. You'll need a larger torx bit to drop the OSH (oh shit handle) from above the rear door.

Part II: cutting bezel
Pop off the center stack bezel by grasping with both hands at the bottom and pulling toward you. (Put it in low gear if auto or reverse if stickshift.)

Pop out the AC vent on the side you want to use.

I traced the footprint of the cradle onto blue painter's tape, adjusted it around a bit and then cut a t-shaped opening with a dremel. Go slow and yours will look better than mine.

(Sorry for the grainy cell phone pics)

Make sure you have enough clearance for DC and antenna jacks to connect and stick the cradle down with some mounting tape.

Part III: wiring and install
Remove 3 screws that hold trim on kneeblocker, then pull two screws that hold steel kneeblocker and drop it out of way.

Pull the two 10mm bolts that hold your head unit, pull the radio. Connect the XM FM direct adapter in-line with the antenna, and check make sure everything is functioning. Mine wasn't and had to exchange the FM direct adapter. If everything works, use a stiff copper wire to pull the four wires (Antenna in, out, to XM radio, DC power) from kneeblocker area to radio area. Make connections and leave yourself some slack in the XM connections as you put the radio back.

Secure the FM direct module on the kneeblocker, attach the power adaptor into the ciggy hardwire and secure with a few wraps of elec tape. I zip-tied all extra wire up and zipped to factory harness.

Pull power from the ciggy lighter and connect ground to a convienent lug. See my GPS write-up for details.

Put the center stack bezel back, connect the wires to the xm cradle.

Put kneeblocker trim back.

Improvement thoughts and other options:
  • Not sure how the mounting tape will hold up, may use RTV sealant instead.
  • Mount radio a little further left and forward than I did for better access to the tuning knob.
  • If you don't want to cut bezel, you could surface mount like this:
  • another option: if you don't want to totally block AC or if you have a larger satellite radio, get a Daystar TJ switch panel and use it with your sat vent clip mount or other gimbal mount. I have checked TJ vents and they appear to be exactly the same as my XJ.
Turn up the radio maragaritaville or E street radio and enjoy!
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Old March 8th, 2009, 19:31
tomhil tomhil is offline
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Posts: 122
Re: satellite radio install in 1997up AC Pod

Thats pritty sweet right there. nice job
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