Satellite radio is a great way to ease your daily commute into and back from work. Whether it’s talk radio or a station that specializes in your preferred music taste, it makes a great add-on to any car. To learn how you can install this type of radio in your Jeep Wrangler, check out these super simple step-by-step instructions.By Jeffrey Bausch – November 12, 2015
This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).
Satellite radio is great for a number of reasons—the range of stations to choose from, crystal-clear sound, no commercials. Unfortunately, it’s a relatively new technology and as such, it’s not in a lot of older vehicles. The good news is that companies like XM satellite, among others, offer their radios as add-ons that you can do yourself. The installation is fairly simple, and something you can do in your spare time. To learn how, read one.
Figure 1. Satellite radio for your Jeep Wrangler.
- XM satellite hardware
- Drill and drill bit
- Wire cutters
- Soldering kit
Step 1 – Mount your XM satellite antenna
Depending on what type of Wrangler you own, the location of the antenna will vary. As a Wrangler owner, chances are you’ll be removing your top during the warmer months, so mounting it in any spot that you will be removing eventually kind of defeats the purpose.
Figure 2. Choose a mounting location for the receiver.
Most installations prefer to put the antenna near the top of the vehicle, above or next to one of the car’s speakers. Given the antenna’s magnetic backing, the most popular piece of real estate is the vehicle’s sound bar.
Step 2 – Route the antenna cable
Cut a hole in the middle of the rollbar and slide the antenna wire down the rollbar past the seat belt all the way to the floor. Note, as pictured below, some Wranglers have holes in the side of the door for this exact purpose. Now run the wire under the rug up to the dashboard. Slide the wire behind dash and over to the main XM satellite unit.
Figure 3. Slip the wiring from the outside of the car to the inside.
Step 3 – Establish the power lines and test the radio
Disconnect the car battery. Rout the power and mini stereo plug output from the radio’s receiver into the center console by cutting the cigarette lighter attachment (not the power accessory, it’s 12v constant direct to battery) and splicing in the satellite radio power.
Figure 4. Backside of the cigarette lighter housing.
Now take out the head unit and pop off the front face plate. Using a mini stereo plug extension (one male and one female end), cut off the male end and then run the cut off end through the back of the head unit. Solder directly to the AUX faceplate jack solder points, and bridged the AUX connector switch connector. Note that if you don’t bridge it, it won’t work. A simple way to test this is to plug the male end into the front AUX jack and strip off the other end of the cable, and then test each wire for continuity.
Reconnect battery and turn the radio on. If it works, find a proper location on the dashboard to connect it.