Aftermarket Stereo Pro/Con

Hound Dog

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So I have the base unit in a 2020 Rubi. What do you loose by replacing it with a regular aftermarket stereo? Is it just the pictures from the controls below? I am not up to speed on the advantages of the "U Connect". If I could get an aftermarket stereo that works with the steering wheel and controls below I would be about that. I don't need a screen to say what setting I have my fan on or a compass. What are the pros and cons of going this route?





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WhereRU_A-A-Ron

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So I have the base unit in a 2020 Rubi. What do you loose by replacing it with a regular aftermarket stereo? Is it just the pictures from the controls below? I am not up to speed on the advantages of the "U Connect". If I could get an aftermarket stereo that works with the steering wheel and controls below I would be about that. I don't need a screen to say what setting I have my fan on or a compass. What are the pros and cons of going this route?
by base unit I assume you mean the 7” screen?

It is possible to replace stereos and keep a lot of the factory functionality. Are you wanting to switch because you want a stereo that has less features?
 
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Hound Dog

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by base unit I assume you mean the 7” screen?

It is possible to replace stereos and keep a lot of the factory functionality. Are you wanting to switch because you want a stereo that has less features?
Yes, the smaller screen, not the Alpine upgrade. I want to replace it because I want a decent sounding stereo without dumping thousands of dollars into it. I have upgraded the stereo in every vehicle I have had.
 

WhereRU_A-A-Ron

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Yes, the smaller screen, not the Alpine upgrade. I want to replace it because I want a decent sounding stereo without dumping thousands of dollars into it. I have upgraded the stereo in every vehicle I have had.
There have been several folks on the forums who have either swapped to the 8.4” NAV unit from the 7” or to an aftermarket unit but they’re usually doing so to get better sound and more features they didn’t already have.

Upgrading your speakers will do some to help. There is a very in depth thread of one member who did a pretty extensive overhaul of his stereo.

https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/threads/adding-an-aftermarket-amp-s.6568/

Perhaps you could pick and choose what upgrades you want based on his results.
 

KrzybonesJLU

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So I have the base unit in a 2020 Rubi. What do you loose by replacing it with a regular aftermarket stereo? Is it just the pictures from the controls below? I am not up to speed on the advantages of the "U Connect". If I could get an aftermarket stereo that works with the steering wheel and controls below I would be about that. I don't need a screen to say what setting I have my fan on or a compass. What are the pros and cons of going this route?
The Jeep speakers are actually pretty good it’s the stock radio that does not provide enough power to fully utilize them. There two ways you can go about this. Going aftermarket HU will give you a little bit more power out of your already decent speakers. And it will give your JL a slight face lift. But to keep your steering wheel buttons I believe you need to buy some extra parts in order to keep those functions.
If you don’t mind keeping your stock HU then buy amp to give the radio some more power. At least you’ll have all the car functions with minimal wiring needed.

for me I wanted to keep my stock radio and functions but wanted more sound and power. So I went with the Alpine PSS 23.which had a sub,amp and upgraded Tweeters. But you’ll spend a pretty penny to go this route.
 

Mattyv

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Don,
My experience was similar. My Sport came with a 7” screen and I wanted to upgrade to get better sound, but didn’t want to lose 1) steering wheel controls, 2) backup cam, and 3) climate controls (I could adjust with the physical controls, but the head unit is the only thing that showed temperature).

My first choice was to swap in an 8.4 Uconnect. Keep as much stock as possible, but get a better screen. I was always planning on adding a 5 channel amp and replacing speakers, so I went this route. I then added a 5ch JL Audio VXi amp (VX1000/5i), replaced speakers with Kicker 6.5 components, and added a 10” Kicker L7 sub. This resulted in better sound, but for the $$$ it didn’t sound all that great. No matter how much I tweaked the VXi DSP, I couldn’t get it to sound right. To compare the sound between the 7” and 8.4”, I put my 7” back in and it sounded better and bass hit harder. Still not very clean though. When looking into the difference, I noticed the 7” has a “loudness” setting that doesn’t exist on the 8.4”. I was also battling Uconnect problems where my phone would not connect randomly and I would have to re-pair the Bluetooth multiple times a week. If you upgrade your 7” to 8.4”, you will never be able to apply any software updates/fixes since the 8.4” will never match your VIN and Jeep will not help resolve this. The other issue with this setup was the way the shop installed the VXi. They put the high level speaker out directly to RCA, and into the amp. This didn’t flatten the signal, so my options were to add a JL Fix 86 or replace the head unit.

I looked into both options, but knew no matter how much I put into getting the Uconnect to work and sound better, I was never going to be able to get updates and I was just fed up with the Uconnect issues. My opinion is that the factory radio options are garbage. If others have the OEM stereo and don’t have any issues, than I consider them a lot luckier than me.

Ultimately, I decided to bite the bullet and replace the head unit. After looking into the options, I settled on the Pioneer DMH-C5500NEX. It is an 8” modular head unit with Android Auto and Apple Car play (wired, not wireless). This head unit paired with the iDatalink Maestro was the solution that worked great and didn’t cost as much as the Alpine X409 JL restyle. I was able to buy the head unit new for about $550, but the install was a little pricey because it had to be custom.

The way I have the head unit installed is that the main module is mounted up behind the driver’s side dash along the left kick panel. It is mounted vertically on its side. The cables were extended to reach the monitor mounted in the dash. The shop performed a custom mount for the monitor as well as customized the Metra kit to fit the screen. Once it was all bondo’d up and sanded flat, I had it vinyl wrapped to match the factory bezel.

Sorry for the long post, but I hope this info helps save you a ton of hours researching. I know I spent a good amount of $$ with the first install and eventually went with something else. What I have is exactly what I was looking for. Everything sounds great. The amp and 10” L7 provides enough power with the top and doors off and MORE than enough with them on. I can finally say my radio in the JL is done. For about 2 years, I was constantly thinking of how to get it where I wanted it
 

Mjhubbuch

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Stinger Off Road offers a complete unit that keeps all steering wheel ac functionality. Also offers 4 total camera inputs for various around/under the jeep views. You can also add a GPS card for in dash maps etc.

https://stingeroffroad.com/collections/shop-by-jeep-model/products/rb10jw18b

Insane Audio also offers a good head unit replacement

https://insaneaudio.com/products/head-units/

I have put aftermarket speakers, amp and sub in my 2018 Jeep Wrangler JLU and want more from the sound and head unit. My uconnect shuts off without warning. going to wait till mid 2021 in hops for a price decrease>

Stinger - $1,599 (they have offered a $100 discount to the $1,599 in the past)
Insane Audio - $1,399
 

Hitdog540

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$2,600 all in. JL Audio rd900 amp, JL Audio tweeters and speakers and a JL audio sub woofer. Kept
the head unit and just added power and speakers. Not sure if it was too pricey but the sound is
exactly what I had hoped while not messing with any functions. Started with the 7" screen base
system.
 
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Hound Dog

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Wow. Yea, the $2,600 part is what I am hoping to avoid. Hopefully someone will come out with an affordable alternative soon.

I remember when I bought my Sport in 2002. It was the most affordable SUV on the market. What the heck happened?
 

Hitdog540

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Wow. Yea, the $2,600 part is what I am hoping to avoid. Hopefully someone will come out with an affordable alternative soon.

I remember when I bought my Sport in 2002. It was the most affordable SUV on the market. What the heck happened?
$1850 if you can install it yourself...painful but depends on how much
you like your music.
 

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