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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
CB Radio Installation

Cobra 19DX IV CB Radio
18' Coax RG8X cable
Custom bumper mount
Firestik K-4A Heavy Duty SO-239 Stud
Firestik SS-3H Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Spring
Firestik K-1A Internal Antenna Quick Disconnect
Aries 4' 500 Watt Fiberglass Antenna


I know there are better things out there, but I found/made a kit that suited what I needed. I'm here to show you how I installed my setup.



First is finding a location to mount the radio and antenna. I looked at several location and found the best one for me. Here is my thought process in these various locations.

Antenna:
I'm planning on a custom bumper in the future to mount the antenna on. But the cost and R&D on the bumper is preventing me at the moment. So I'm mounting the antenna on a custom mount for now. I was going to make an antenna mount utilizing the Trailhawk's tow hook bolts, but because of the radio location, I moved the antenna mount to the rear passenger side. I'm actually still waiting for the antenna stud mount before I move forward to building the mount. But here is my plan. If you removed the little cover on this fake grill, there is a tow hook hole behind it. The tow hook hole uses a screw on tow hook to twist in. My Renegade did not come with stock tow hooks. I guessing because the Trailhawk can use the red tow hooks instead and the stock tow hook comes with an additional package you have to add to the car. So my plan is to use a large bolt on the tow hook hole and weld a bracket to mount the antenna.




Here a couple of locations I looked at when trying to mount the radio.

First we have the top of the left side of the center vents. The center vents are located on the top center part of the dash. The mount would be drilled/screwed on the top of the left vent. I don't mind drilling holes on the the vent because I can replace/fill the holes if I ever remove the radio. I order to run the large coax cable, I would notch the back of the vent trim to run the cable into the dash. Here was the tricky part... Once the cable is in the dash, how do I get to it? Removing the radio, vent plumbing, and whatever else is in the dash and in the way. Then run the cable down the dash to the bottom floor trims to run the cable to the back of the car. I have know idea how to run the cable through the dash or how to remove stuff out of the way. I would be spending way to much time figuring all this stuff out to simply run a cable. So no go. Finding a location to mount the mic without it being in the way or the wires being in the way of the stereo controls was also an issue.




The next location is above the far left air vent. Easy spot to access the radio and change the settings. But 2 major issues for me. Drilling and mounting onto the dash and trying to run the cable somewhere into the dash. I couldn't figure out a clean way to run the cable. The mic would be mounted on the windshield pillar trim. You might have an issue here if you have the extra airbag package. Drilling into the dash is my biggest issues, so no here too.





A quick look at under the dash by the right knee... no room.



Next is under and behind the rear view mirror. This panel is just a clip on panel. I was worried if the panel would be strong enough to hold a radio, but pulling the panel off I can tell the panel is held on very well. The Cobra CB radio I chose is very light as well, so if you choose a larger heavier unit, you might not be able to use this location. Another thing to note about this location is the length of coax cable you will need to use. It's definitely longer than 18'. My other issue is the mic mounting. Even if I found a good location to mount the mic, I didn't like the thought of the mic wire hanging and swinging around. So no here too.



Here is a very good location, but I chose another as my preference. On the lower dash by the left knee. There is plenty of room, the panel is removable and replaceable, and the controls are easy to reach. The minor issue I have here is the mic mounting location. Again the windshield pillar was my ideal location, but the mic wire would be blocking the headlight controls. Mounting the mic around the the headlight control area wasn't really an option either. Again blocking the controls and now having the wires hanging down to your left leg. So onto my final location.



My final location is on the side of the cigarette lighter. The holes ca be filled if I ever remove the radio and since is down by the knee it's kind of out of sight. The controls can still be easily reach, though I have to lean forward a bit. The mic is mounted on the stereo trim piece and the wire is out of the way from all the other controls. The coax cable was easily ran into the dash and around to the back. The power and ground source was very near by as well. I was planning to wire the power to the cigarette light, but found there was things in the way that I would have to figure out how to remove. I actually found a easier wire to access. The biggest issue i have with this location is the passenger left knee will rest on the radio depending on the seat position. But if the seat is mostly moved back, it's not an issue. Just an issue for the person sitting behind the passenger now.




So onto the installation...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here you can see how I mounted the radio bracket. It uses self tapping screws and the plastic trim is soft. So I didn't need to drill. The paint of the bracket isn't the best from Cobra, but it doesn't bother me.



The radio then mounts via some rubber washers and plastic screw on knobs. The order is radio, rubber washer, bracket, then plastic screw knob. The rubber washer placement is very important to prevent the radio from moving around.



Next is to run the wires into the dash. It took me a lot of time to figure this out. I didn't know how many pieces or trim I needed to remove or even how to remove them. Where each trim piece is starts/ends and which trim piece overlaps which. I started removing the center console/arm rest and then found out I didn't need to do that. It ended up being very simple, but I wasted a lot of time figuring it out. I will probably post a "how to" remove center console later on for those who might need it.

So locate this panel down by the left feet of the passenger. Find some good grabbing points and pull it hard out. It just snaps in with no screws.




Umm... I didn't take photos of the next few bits. Well, once the panel is off you will see a wiring plug right behind it. It's the only one here, so there is no mixing it up. It looks to be the main harness to power the lower controls. There is one large white wire and a bunch of little colored wires. I tested all of them and the only wire that will give you 12v is the large white wire. This wire will give you 12v only when the car is "on". It will give you 15v when the car is running. So it gives you the same reading as the battery. Even though my radio is rated at 12v, it is safe for me to run it at 15v. Some people like to power their radios directly to the battery to avoid electrical "noise" and there have been no issues. There is also a inline fuse to the CB radio. The lower back side of this area, there are 2 bolts. You can see that one of these bolt are used to ground something else already. So I attached my radio ground in the same location. There is power and ground and the radio now turns on.

I also trimmed/notched the top edge of the panel I removed to give some room to run the power/ground wire and coax cable. The cable I ran behind the carpet in the footwell and into the lower side panel. The lower side panel was removed to run the cable. To remove the panel there is a torx screw and clips. The top clip is the tricky one. It is over lapped by the upper trim piece to the windshield. You have to pop off the one clip for this upper trim piece and pull it out of the way to remove the lower kick panel trim.



The next 3-4 panels leading to the back of the car does not need to be removed at all. Just run the cable along the trim pieces. Pay attention to the seat belt mounting locations as you run the cable. Place the cable between the trim pieces and the carpet. Then you can lift the edge of the trim piece with your fingers or prying tool (screw driver) and push the cable underneath the trim piece. You can also use another screw driver to push the wire in the tighter spots. Start from the front and work your way back tucking the wire in each trim piece.






Once you get to the back seat, fold it down and you can see a gap between the top and bottom half. Just feed the cable through and run it into the spare tire well.



That's the radio mounted and powered up. Coax cable ran all the way to the back. I'm waiting for the last bit of antenna mounting hardware. Then I have to figure out how to run the cable out to the bumper and make a mount.

This is the order of the antenna hardware...
Coax cable to Stud
Stud to Mounting bracket
Mounting bracket to stud
Stud to Spring
Spring to Quick release
Quick release to Antenna

*2 notes here. The spring is use to give some flex in the antenna in case you catch it on a branch. This helps prevent the antenna from breaking. The other is the quick release. I don't plan to use the CB radio all the time and don't want the antenna to be accessible to theft. The antenna is also in the way of the trunk. So a quick release is a easy way to remove the antenna to access the trunk. I could probably just bend it out of the way or use a pivot joint instead of the quick release. I opted for the internal quick release.


I will update the final install once I get all the parts in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I finished the installation last week, but then went on vacation, so I finally have time now to post what I did.

After looking at the extra work I would have to do in order to mount the antenna where I wanted it... I was hesitate to jump into it. I ended up finding a different location that would stay clear of the trunk as well.






I played around with where to mount the antenna around the tail light and this was the only location that would not block the tail light. I was worried about the amount of wind sway the antenna would have, but if you follow the antenna spring recommendations you will be fine. *A heavy duty spring for a 4" and up antenna. A medium duty spring for a 3" and under antenna. The antenna is still tucked inside the passenger side mirror, so if the mirror can make it through a tight area, the antenna will be fine. The antenna spring will take care of any low hanging branches.

To remove the tail light... remove the speaker cover by pulling it out. Be careful not to lose the metal clips that come off with it. I lost some on the driver side.




The tail light is removed via one large plastic screw. It's under spring tension, so it's a bit hard.





It was kind of a pain to run the antenna cable through this last panel. It's on there very tight and you have to remove a lot of panels to remove this one. What I did was remove the tool kit. Loosen up the trunk latch trim as much as possible. Pop out any clips on the panel I needed to run the cable through. This will give just enough room to play around with. I then used some spare wires I had laying around and fed it through the speaker cover opening and down to the bottom of the panel. Everything is tight and filled with stuffing back there. There is one area that is clear though, at the very back corner. If you look at the picture below, the corner is where the cable runs into and under the panel. That's where I feed my extra wire down behind the panel. Once I fed the wire through, I used a good amount of black electrical tape and taped the wire and antenna cable together. Then pull up on the wire to run the antenna cable through the panel. Pry the panel a bit to help pull the cable through.





This part was a bit tricky. I found out later you can buy antenna cable / coax cable with detachable end connectors. This will help minimize the size of hole you will need to drill. My end connectors where not detachable, so I had to drill a very large hole to fit the end connector through. Then I needed a way to fill the hole to the smaller diameter cable. I ended up using 2 sizes of wiring grommets. These grommets are typically used between your engine firewall when running new wires between your engine bay and cabin of your car. I used 2 because 1 would not fill the large hole I drilled. I used a small one on the cable. This small one will not slide over the cable end connector. I cut the grommet opened and slid it on over the cable. The 2nd larger grommet, I was able to fit over the cable end connector. Then slid it over the smaller grommet. I figured out how much cable I need to run outside the tail light and moved the grommets into position to plug the hole.





I also painted the expose metal from all the holes I drilled. The grommets didn't fill the hole tightly and would pop out if I pulled on the cable. I'm sure if I shopped/looked around I would've found a better grommet to work with. I used what I had and made it work instead. So I position the grommet and cable where I wanted it. Zip tied the cable on the inside so it would be positioned straight through the hole and it will prevent the cable from being pulled in and out. Then I used silicone to seal the entire area.






For the antenna mount I used 2 pieces of flat steel bar. I used a thinner piece for the car mounting piece and a larger piece for the antenna mounting. I wanted a larger area to drill the large hole to mount the antenna. I believe the smaller piece was 1" wide and the larger one was 1.25" or 1.5" wide. I positioned the smaller piece where I wanted the mount to be. Drilled a couple of holes, notched, and cleaned it up.




The mount will interfere with the seal around the tail light. So you want it to be as flush as possible. I should've used silicone behind the bracket as well. I did not want to use silicone around the tail light seal, because I still want it to be removable. I used coned ended screws and used a christmas tree drill bit to cone groove the bracket. This way the screw sat as flush as possible on the bracket allowing the tail light seal to sit a flat as possible. I can imagine there are still very little gaps between the tail light seal and the antenna bracket, but I did the best I could and I'm not too worried about water getting around to this area. Since water/rain tends to run down and not up and over things.


I checked the bracket to the curve of the tail light and decided how I wanted to clean up the edges. I didn't want any sharp corners, so I rounded everything up. Welded the 2 pieces together and painted it black.




I test fitted the tail light and notched it around the bracket to fit flush as possible. The tail light doesn't sit as flush as it use to because of the bracket sitting on the tail light seal. It's not too noticeable, unless you're really looking. I was careful to mark where I needed to cut on the tail light and removed it a little at a time and kept checking the fitment.







The final thing I did was notch the tail light around the cable area. This again, allowed the tail light to sit flush as possible.






I used a thick plastic washer/spacer and ground it at an angle. This allowed me to position the antenna in any position I wanted. The antenna sits parallel to the side of the Renegade and leans back in it's final position. I've been running the antenna for a week now at highway speeds and it's holding up fine. There is little wind sway with the heavy duty spring. And it's far and clear from the car that it doesn't sway and hit the car when offroading. The whole setup works exactly how I expected it. The CB Radio is a cheap model, but does exactly what all the reviews say about it and I'm happy with it. The speaker volume on the Cobra 19 DX IV is low for me, so I ordered a external Cobra HG S300 speaker to help. I also order a PA speaker horn for under the hood.
 
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