Hyper-Clean FTM-400XD, Cobra 75, GoPro, iPhone Install

jpclark

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Having recently traded in my JKU for a JLU, I wanted to approach the install of all my existing electronics in a wholistic and 'near-factory look' way. Like most of us, I've read through virtually all the forum posts for ideas (thanks to those who posted their work) for ideas. In spite of all the threads, 1 key technique seemed to be missing... HOW to route wiring through the center stack and up to the top dash. Below is a photo of what I came up with.

The view from the driver seat.
IMG_0286.jpg


The view from the passenger seat.
IMG_0287.jpg


The view from the front of the vehicle with the windshield down.
20190831_111818.jpg


The solution is based around 67 Design's JL Rail Mount system. Specifically:
My goals for the wiring was to have the iPhone and GoPro hard-wired into the Jeep, with the head unit control wire also coming cleanly through the top dash. Last but not least, I wanted some flexibility in being able to easily change out cables if I changed devices down the road.

First challenge - identifying the power source for both the iPhone and GoPro. As some have already posted, I used the Quadratec 12 volt power adapter since this was a super-clean way of tapping into a switched power source. (Instructions for installing are well documented, so I'll not belabor them here.)

Unfortunately, the Jeep provides 12 volt power, but typical USB devices need 5 volts, so I purchased two 12v to 5v voltage step down converters and connected both to the power adapter.

Of course, I also had to get a 3' lightening to USB cable and 3' USB-C to USB-A cable for the iPhone and GoPro. (Obviously, readers would need to get the appropriate cables for their specific devices.)

My plan for drilling through the top dash required some way of getting a clean look. With that in mind, I ordered a rubber grommet assortment pack for use in cleaning up the cuts. I ordered the pack since I didn't know EXACTLY how it was going to go in.

On to the fun part... dropping the windshield, pulling the center stack and cutting through the top dash.
  1. I HIGHLY recommend dropping the windshield. This will allow easy access to the top of the dash, including angling the drill properly. Videos exist on doing this so I'll keep this brief. 1) remove the windshield wipers, 2) remove the freedom panels, 3) using the tool provided by Jeep, remove the 4 bolts along the top of the windshield, 4) gently lower it down onto the hood.
  2. Remove the plastic plate below the steering column by GENTLY pulling along the edges. Each snap will "POP" as they release... just go SLOW and don't let the sound scare you.
  3. Remove the AC controls panel by (again) GENTLY and SLOWLY pulling.. starting driver side since the edge is partially exposed after removing the kick panel above. NOTE: Once the first retaining clips pop out of place driver side, I suggest using a plastic panel begin removing the panel from the passenger side. (I suggest this since as I started driver side and the farthest passenger-side clip got torqued and fell off.) The pops are LOUD when pulling this off the first time. The sound is normal... just take your time.
  4. Remove the trim plate of the radio by: 1) removing the 1 screw holding it in place, located along the lower edge in the center, then 2) gently pull the plate away... the retaining tabs will pop as they slowly release.
  5. Remove the head unit by: 1) removing the 4 screws holding it in place, then 2) pull back and take a photo of all the connectors so you can remember the order they go in, then 3) disconnect each.
  6. Remove the lower panel of the stack by gently pulling the edges to release the retaining tabs. (No screws holding this one in place.). No need to completely remove this... just let let lean away from the dash.
Once the above steps are done, it will be obvious that the wiring and adapters you're about to add will indeed fit if positioned properly, and drilling through the top of the dash is a straight-shot.

To prep for drilling through the dash:
  1. I positioned the 67 Designs rail mount into the top dash.
  2. I cut the ends of the rubber filler for the top dash to fit back into the space.
  3. Drilling from the top, I first drilled a small pilot hole to aid the 1/2" hole I was going to drill subsequent.
  4. (NOTE: The soft rubber fill plate will quickly deform if you don't take your time and go easy with this.)
  5. After the pilot was cut, I took a deep breath and drilled the 1/2" hole.
The photo below shows the view when looking UP through the center stack. You can see the resulting 1/2" hole in the center of the top dash. (As you can see, I hadn't yet cleaned off the edges of the hole, but it was a perfect cut through.)
IMG_0328.jpg


This is the hole from the top.
IMG_0329.jpg


Next, I used an cutting blade to clean up the "hole" through the rubber fill plate. The rubber is VERY soft, so this took some careful trimming. Given the unevenness of the cut and the thickness of the rubber fill plate being thicker than I expected, my grommets weren't going to fit as originally planned. I solved this by cutting the lip off 1 edge of the grommet, and super-gluing the grommet to the rubber fill plate.

This is the photo of the BOTTOM of the rubber filler plate.
IMG_0330.jpg


This is the net result on the TOP side.
IMG_0331.jpg


Setting the rail and rubber fill plate back in place, this is the final look with all the arms and devices in place.
20190831_111736.jpg


The wiring from the FTM-400XD head unit was easily routed behind the OEM radio head unit, behind the AC controls, then then down and behind the center console plastic passenger side.
IMG_0332.jpg


By next week, I'll have the CB installed behind the glove box and the CB antenna mounted to the rear tailgate via the Cool Tech LLC CB antenna mount. The FTM-400XD will be mounted below the passenger seat using the JK Innovations under-seat mount. (It was originally designed to be used for ARB's dual air compressor unit. I'm actually having the same bracket put in under the driver seat for the compressor and the same plate under the passenger seat for the ham radio.) Lastly, the ham antenna is getting mounted on the driver side hood with a Right Channel CB antenna mount which I'll get drilled out large enough to take the ham radio antenna mount. More pics to come once all this is in and running. :)
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WhatExit?

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Having recently traded in my JKU for a JLU, I wanted to approach the install of all my existing electronics in a wholistic and 'near-factory look' way. Like most of us, I've read through virtually all the forum posts for ideas (thanks to those who posted their work) for ideas. In spite of all the threads, 1 key technique seemed to be missing... HOW to route wiring through the center stack and up to the top dash. Below is a photo of what I came up with.

The view from the driver seat.
IMG_0286.jpg


The view from the passenger seat.
IMG_0287.jpg


The view from the front of the vehicle with the windshield down.
20190831_111818.jpg


The solution is based around 67 Design's JL Rail Mount system. Specifically:
My goals for the wiring was to have the iPhone and GoPro hard-wired into the Jeep, with the head unit control wire also coming cleanly through the top dash. Last but not least, I wanted some flexibility in being able to easily change out cables if I changed devices down the road.

First challenge - identifying the power source for both the iPhone and GoPro. As some have already posted, I used the Quadratec 12 volt power adapter since this was a super-clean way of tapping into a switched power source. (Instructions for installing are well documented, so I'll not belabor them here.)

Unfortunately, the Jeep provides 12 volt power, but typical USB devices need 5 volts, so I purchased two 12v to 5v voltage step down converters and connected both to the power adapter.

Of course, I also had to get a 3' lightening to USB cable and 3' USB-C to USB-A cable for the iPhone and GoPro. (Obviously, readers would need to get the appropriate cables for their specific devices.)

My plan for drilling through the top dash required some way of getting a clean look. With that in mind, I ordered a rubber grommet assortment pack for use in cleaning up the cuts. I ordered the pack since I didn't know EXACTLY how it was going to go in.

On to the fun part... dropping the windshield, pulling the center stack and cutting through the top dash.
  1. I HIGHLY recommend dropping the windshield. This will allow easy access to the top of the dash, including angling the drill properly. Videos exist on doing this so I'll keep this brief. 1) remove the windshield wipers, 2) remove the freedom panels, 3) using the tool provided by Jeep, remove the 4 bolts along the top of the windshield, 4) gently lower it down onto the hood.
  2. Remove the plastic plate below the steering column by GENTLY pulling along the edges. Each snap will "POP" as they release... just go SLOW and don't let the sound scare you.
  3. Remove the AC controls panel by (again) GENTLY and SLOWLY pulling.. starting driver side since the edge is partially exposed after removing the kick panel above. NOTE: Once the first retaining clips pop out of place driver side, I suggest using a plastic panel begin removing the panel from the passenger side. (I suggest this since as I started driver side and the farthest passenger-side clip got torqued and fell off.) The pops are LOUD when pulling this off the first time. The sound is normal... just take your time.
  4. Remove the trim plate of the radio by: 1) removing the 1 screw holding it in place, located along the lower edge in the center, then 2) gently pull the plate away... the retaining tabs will pop as they slowly release.
  5. Remove the head unit by: 1) removing the 4 screws holding it in place, then 2) pull back and take a photo of all the connectors so you can remember the order they go in, then 3) disconnect each.
  6. Remove the lower panel of the stack by gently pulling the edges to release the retaining tabs. (No screws holding this one in place.). No need to completely remove this... just let let lean away from the dash.
Once the above steps are done, it will be obvious that the wiring and adapters you're about to add will indeed fit if positioned properly, and drilling through the top of the dash is a straight-shot.

To prep for drilling through the dash:
  1. I positioned the 67 Designs rail mount into the top dash.
  2. I cut the ends of the rubber filler for the top dash to fit back into the space.
  3. Drilling from the top, I first drilled a small pilot hole to aid the 1/2" hole I was going to drill subsequent.
  4. (NOTE: The soft rubber fill plate will quickly deform if you don't take your time and go easy with this.)
  5. After the pilot was cut, I took a deep breath and drilled the 1/2" hole.
The photo below shows the view when looking UP through the center stack. You can see the resulting 1/2" hole in the center of the top dash. (As you can see, I hadn't yet cleaned off the edges of the hole, but it was a perfect cut through.)
IMG_0328.jpg


This is the hole from the top.
IMG_0329.jpg


Next, I used an cutting blade to clean up the "hole" through the rubber fill plate. The rubber is VERY soft, so this took some careful trimming. Given the unevenness of the cut and the thickness of the rubber fill plate being thicker than I expected, my grommets weren't going to fit as originally planned. I solved this by cutting the lip off 1 edge of the grommet, and super-gluing the grommet to the rubber fill plate.

This is the photo of the BOTTOM of the rubber filler plate.
IMG_0330.jpg


This is the net result on the TOP side.
IMG_0331.jpg


Setting the rail and rubber fill plate back in place, this is the final look with all the arms and devices in place.
20190831_111736.jpg


The wiring from the FTM-400XD head unit was easily routed behind the OEM radio head unit, behind the AC controls, then then down and behind the center console plastic passenger side.
IMG_0332.jpg


By next week, I'll have the CB installed behind the glove box and the CB antenna mounted to the rear tailgate via the Cool Tech LLC CB antenna mount. The FTM-400XD will be mounted below the passenger seat using the JK Innovations under-seat mount. (It was originally designed to be used for ARB's dual air compressor unit. I'm actually having the same bracket put in under the driver seat for the compressor and the same plate under the passenger seat for the ham radio.) Lastly, the ham antenna is getting mounted on the driver side hood with a Right Channel CB antenna mount which I'll get drilled out large enough to take the ham radio antenna mount. More pics to come once all this is in and running. :)

JP, THANKS for posting your work - looks great and I appreciate the links and info you've provided. Any follow-up?
 

Bilymac

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Nicely done OP!
 

Hudson

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Fantastic write up, saved me tons of time as I plan my install. Thanks for the links too!
 

Hudson

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Great write up. Thanks for sharing. Does your CarPlay work with your new set up?
That was my question. I think you have to use the front USB connector into the factory head unit, right?

I will follow the same setup as the OP for mounting various dash gadgets like phones and mics.

I am installing a Midland MXT275 GMRS unit instead of the HAM - I’m still playing around with getting a license even though I bought a cheap Baofeng handheld. I bought a cool Comet NMO antenna and hood mount (no drilling) setup as outlined here.

For my CB antenna, I will use the approach outline here, which uses the mounting location available if you have the Mopar heavy duty tailgate reinforcement bracket - no need for the CoolTech rear antenna mount.

Now I just need the JL to show up for the install.
 

NewTXJL

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Exactly what I was looking for. would it be possible to also install a small USB hub while at it? for additional devices in the future?

I have never done this sort of work before. Is this something a novice can do? Nervous removing the head unit, etc..
 

Bilymac

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Great write up. Thanks for sharing. Does your CarPlay work with your new set up?
I doubt it would?, but good question, hopefully the OP will chime in.
This is the only thing keeping me from changing my wire routing to this. I like having CarPlay available. I think you would need to tie into the factory USB inside the dash for CarPlay to work?
 

Redbaron73

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Is the usb2 port filled on the 8.4 uconnect, or is it left open? Might be a way to tap in for the phone mount.
 

NewTXJL

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Anyone figure out how to get CarPlay to work with this? I will be attempting this over the holidays and would love to have CarPlay working.
 

mer43

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Thank you. I like this. Really cleans up the dash when fully loaded with the gadgets.
 

Tim Huff

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Having recently traded in my JKU for a JLU, I wanted to approach the install of all my existing electronics in a wholistic and 'near-factory look' way. Like most of us, I've read through virtually all the forum posts for ideas (thanks to those who posted their work) for ideas. In spite of all the threads, 1 key technique seemed to be missing... HOW to route wiring through the center stack and up to the top dash. Below is a photo of what I came up with.

The view from the driver seat.
IMG_0286.jpg


The view from the passenger seat.
IMG_0287.jpg


The view from the front of the vehicle with the windshield down.
20190831_111818.jpg


The solution is based around 67 Design's JL Rail Mount system. Specifically:
My goals for the wiring was to have the iPhone and GoPro hard-wired into the Jeep, with the head unit control wire also coming cleanly through the top dash. Last but not least, I wanted some flexibility in being able to easily change out cables if I changed devices down the road.

First challenge - identifying the power source for both the iPhone and GoPro. As some have already posted, I used the Quadratec 12 volt power adapter since this was a super-clean way of tapping into a switched power source. (Instructions for installing are well documented, so I'll not belabor them here.)

Unfortunately, the Jeep provides 12 volt power, but typical USB devices need 5 volts, so I purchased two 12v to 5v voltage step down converters and connected both to the power adapter.

Of course, I also had to get a 3' lightening to USB cable and 3' USB-C to USB-A cable for the iPhone and GoPro. (Obviously, readers would need to get the appropriate cables for their specific devices.)

My plan for drilling through the top dash required some way of getting a clean look. With that in mind, I ordered a rubber grommet assortment pack for use in cleaning up the cuts. I ordered the pack since I didn't know EXACTLY how it was going to go in.

On to the fun part... dropping the windshield, pulling the center stack and cutting through the top dash.
  1. I HIGHLY recommend dropping the windshield. This will allow easy access to the top of the dash, including angling the drill properly. Videos exist on doing this so I'll keep this brief. 1) remove the windshield wipers, 2) remove the freedom panels, 3) using the tool provided by Jeep, remove the 4 bolts along the top of the windshield, 4) gently lower it down onto the hood.
  2. Remove the plastic plate below the steering column by GENTLY pulling along the edges. Each snap will "POP" as they release... just go SLOW and don't let the sound scare you.
  3. Remove the AC controls panel by (again) GENTLY and SLOWLY pulling.. starting driver side since the edge is partially exposed after removing the kick panel above. NOTE: Once the first retaining clips pop out of place driver side, I suggest using a plastic panel begin removing the panel from the passenger side. (I suggest this since as I started driver side and the farthest passenger-side clip got torqued and fell off.) The pops are LOUD when pulling this off the first time. The sound is normal... just take your time.
  4. Remove the trim plate of the radio by: 1) removing the 1 screw holding it in place, located along the lower edge in the center, then 2) gently pull the plate away... the retaining tabs will pop as they slowly release.
  5. Remove the head unit by: 1) removing the 4 screws holding it in place, then 2) pull back and take a photo of all the connectors so you can remember the order they go in, then 3) disconnect each.
  6. Remove the lower panel of the stack by gently pulling the edges to release the retaining tabs. (No screws holding this one in place.). No need to completely remove this... just let let lean away from the dash.
Once the above steps are done, it will be obvious that the wiring and adapters you're about to add will indeed fit if positioned properly, and drilling through the top of the dash is a straight-shot.

To prep for drilling through the dash:
  1. I positioned the 67 Designs rail mount into the top dash.
  2. I cut the ends of the rubber filler for the top dash to fit back into the space.
  3. Drilling from the top, I first drilled a small pilot hole to aid the 1/2" hole I was going to drill subsequent.
  4. (NOTE: The soft rubber fill plate will quickly deform if you don't take your time and go easy with this.)
  5. After the pilot was cut, I took a deep breath and drilled the 1/2" hole.
The photo below shows the view when looking UP through the center stack. You can see the resulting 1/2" hole in the center of the top dash. (As you can see, I hadn't yet cleaned off the edges of the hole, but it was a perfect cut through.)
IMG_0328.jpg


This is the hole from the top.
IMG_0329.jpg


Next, I used an cutting blade to clean up the "hole" through the rubber fill plate. The rubber is VERY soft, so this took some careful trimming. Given the unevenness of the cut and the thickness of the rubber fill plate being thicker than I expected, my grommets weren't going to fit as originally planned. I solved this by cutting the lip off 1 edge of the grommet, and super-gluing the grommet to the rubber fill plate.

This is the photo of the BOTTOM of the rubber filler plate.
IMG_0330.jpg


This is the net result on the TOP side.
IMG_0331.jpg


Setting the rail and rubber fill plate back in place, this is the final look with all the arms and devices in place.
20190831_111736.jpg


The wiring from the FTM-400XD head unit was easily routed behind the OEM radio head unit, behind the AC controls, then then down and behind the center console plastic passenger side.
IMG_0332.jpg


By next week, I'll have the CB installed behind the glove box and the CB antenna mounted to the rear tailgate via the Cool Tech LLC CB antenna mount. The FTM-400XD will be mounted below the passenger seat using the JK Innovations under-seat mount. (It was originally designed to be used for ARB's dual air compressor unit. I'm actually having the same bracket put in under the driver seat for the compressor and the same plate under the passenger seat for the ham radio.) Lastly, the ham antenna is getting mounted on the driver side hood with a Right Channel CB antenna mount which I'll get drilled out large enough to take the ham radio antenna mount. More pics to come once all this is in and running. :)
 

Tim Huff

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2021 Jeep Wrangler JL
Nice install and thank you for showing how to run the cables. I am doing the same but I will have a FT-891 for HF as well. For antenna mounts MOPAR makes light mounts for A pillars that I am using as antenna mounts.
 
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