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This page last updated: February 20, 2014


Grand Cherokee Kicker audio upgrade


Kicker audio logo
       
Kicker audio logo


Availability:

Mopar accessory for 2005-2010 Grand Cherokees

Factory installed option for 2008-2010 models (starting 1st quarter of 2008)



A Kicker speaker and amplifier upgrade is available from Mopar accessories for 2005-up Grand Cherokee models that came with the factory Boston Acoustics sound system. Available components consist of upgraded speakers for the dash, front doors and rear doors; a choice of single or dual subwoofers*, and a 276-watt surround sound amplifier. The speakers and amplifier plug into the existing factory wiring. The subwoofers require a feed to power and ground and a tap into the left front speaker wire harness (*update - both subwoofers were discontinued in 2011 and are no longer offered by Mopar).

The Kicker system became available as a factory installed option for the 2008 Grand Cherokee SRT8 during the first quarter of 2008. Introductory MSRP pricing was $1925.00. The components in the factory system are identical to those that are offered aftermarket via Mopar accessories. The subwoofers, however, have factory-matching Dark Slate Gray carpet whereas the Mopar subwoofers are trimmed in black carpet.



KICKER COMPONENTS

77KICK18AB:
AMPLIFIER:  8-channel, 32 bit, 368-watt, CAN bus (Grand Cherokee = 6 channel 276-watt)
(Note: Amplifier upgrade is only for vehicles that came with the Boston Acoustics factory premium sound system)

77KICK11AB:
FRONT DASH SPEAKERS:  Set of two 3.5" 2-way coaxial speakers (mid/tweeter), 300hz highpass, 75-watt
FRONT DOOR SPEAKERS:  Set of two 6x9" midbass woofers, metal matrix, 250 hz low pass, 75-watt

77KICK10:
REAR DOOR SPEAKERS:
Set of two 6.5" 2-way speakers. Throw poly cone two-way speakers with 1" titanium dome tweeters, 75 watts RMS, 150 watts peak power handling, frequency response 35 Hz to 21 kHz, crossover for tweeter 4500 Hz @ 12 dB per octave with DC protection, and sensitivity 88 dB (1W/1M).

77KICK12AB:
SUBWOOFER 1:  Single 10" square with built-in 200-watt amplifier

77KICK23:
SUBWOOFER 2:  Dual 10" square with two built-in 200-watt amplifiers


SPECIFICATIONS, KICK18AB AMPLIFIER

RMS Power at 2 Ohms: 46 W x 6 (276-watts)
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 21K Hz
Signal to Noise Ratio: 95 dB
THD at Rated RMS Power: 1.0 %

Channel 1:  Left i/p speaker
Channel 2:  Right i/p speaker
Channel 3:  Left front door speaker
Channel 4:  Right front door speaker
Channel 5:  Left rear door speaker
Channel 6:  Right rear door speaker
Channel 7:  Signal feed to subwoofer amplifier (used in factory wired systems)
Channel 8:  Center channel (active, but not used in the WK)


DRIVER SELECTABLE SURROUND SOUND

DSS gives your music a new dimension by simulating a surround sound feel. You can enable DSS by turning the volume control knob on the radio up two increments and then down two increments within three seconds. You will hear a momentary attenuation in the sound when the system switches to DSS mode. You can also enable DSS with the steering wheel volume control buttons in the same way. Press the volume up button twice and then the volume down button twice within three seconds. To disable DSS just repeat the same process.

Note: the balance is automatically controlled when you are in DSS mode and cannot be changed. In fact, an easy way to tell whether you are in DSS or non- DSS mode is to try adjusting the balance control. DSS can be utilized with any source - i.e., Sirius® satellite radio, regular radio, and compact disc player.

Note: The Kicker factory system allows selecting Surround Sound via the EVIC.


KICKER® MOBILE SURROUND (KMS-1)

While DSS is exciting, even more so is the other capability of your amplifier. If your vehicle is equipped with factory VES® (Video Entertainment System) you can enjoy the benefits of Kicker Mobile Surround. KMS-1 is enabled automatically when the Radio is put into the VES mode. This feature offers the ultimate listening experience by providing surround sound uniquely equalized for your interior space.

Note: while in KMS mode the system automatically sets balance and fade to provide the optimal surround experience. KMS is available only if a DVD is in the player and the radio mode is set to VES.




Mopar / Kicker upgrade components & parts

(For 2005-2010 Grand Cherokee models with factory premium sound system)

DescriptionPart #Mopar MSRP
368-watt 8-channel amplifier upgrade (same as Kicker factory amp)

(Note: Amplifier upgrade is only for vehicles that came with the Boston Acoustics factory premium sound system)

77KICK18AB $ 217.00
Water shield, amplifier 68055555AA $ 11.00
Front 6x9" midbass speakers (pair) and front dash 3.5" 2-way tweeters (pair) 77KICK11AB $ 171.00
Rear 6.5" 2-way speakers (pair) 77KICK10 $ 81.40
Single 10" square subwoofer with built-in 200-watt amplifier
OR
Dual 10" square subwoofers with two built-in 200-watt amplifiers

(Note: Dual subwoofer discontinued as a Mopar accessory January 2011; Single subwoofer discontinued as a Mopar accessory November 2011)

77KICK12AB

77KICK23

$ 600.00

$ 885.00

Rubber boot (for subwoofer rear bracket, 2 required). Image: Boot protector RIBOOT N/A
Grille, speaker (replacement grille for subwoofers) 68045158AA $ 23.85
Bracket, speaker (replacement bracket for subwoofer) Image: Subwoofer mounting bracket 68045157AA $ 61.75

(Prices listed are for reference purposes only and may vary by dealer. MSRP prices are current as of February 2014. Parts are not available from this web site.)


Kicker application chart (PDF)  for 2005-2010 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles




The Kicker system can be ordered at a 15% discount from:

JustForJeeps.com
WKJeeps.com website Premier Sponsor
Discount Jeep Parts and Accessories
shipped worldwide

Click on the link above and type "Kicker" into the search box






Kicker system installation and review

By Resumespeed


Kicker audio system

Kicker package with single 10" subwoofer


Components installed:

77KICK11 Front 6x9" midbass and front dash 3.5" 2-way tweeters
77KICK10 Rear 6.5" 2-way speakers
77KICK12 200W single 10" square subwoofer
77KICK18AB 276W 6-channel amplifier

MSRP of system tested, at time of testing: $1,000.00 (street price ~$850.00)
MSRP of system with dual subwoofers, at time of testing: $1330.00 (street price ~$1130.00)

Measured peak sound level: 107db


Review:

Over many decades I have had dozens of different sound systems in as many vehicles, from factory systems to custom installs, from many different manufacturers. I have had my share of botched installs and issues with unmatched components, so the last few audio upgrades I decided to do myself. The Mopar Kicker system is especially worthwhile since it is custom designed for each vehicle, and its "plug and play" installation convenience.

The difference between the factory Boston Audio premium system and the upgraded Kicker system is absolutely amazing! I am more than impressed. The music I listen to is mostly rock 'n' roll, from the 60s to a little bit of current offerings. What really jumped out at me was the bass response up front, with the subwoofer filling the rear quite nicely. As good as the factory Boston system is, the comparison between it and the Kicker system is like night and day. I like having one side of the cargo area totally free for hauling long items so I went with the single subwoofer.

The 2-way front dash tweeters produce a brilliant "non-tinny" sound and are quite apparent, blending in beautifully with the front door speakers. This is truly one of the best, if not the best sounding system I have ever had in any vehicle, going back many a decade. Is it the loudest? No, a JL Audio system in a WJ I owned some years back produced ear-splitting volume but at more than twice the price. And at my age I don't need to try and break any sound level records. The Kicker system is plenty loud enough, and best of all, full volume produces no distortion.

Most importantly, the Kicker sound is extremely "clean" and solid, the surround sound is a nice bonus and sounds awesome. For the price this system cannot be beat, especially considering how well it integrates into the vehicle. It's important to note that this system was custom designed by Mopar and Kicker for our particular vehicle. An incredible amount of engineering time and effort was put into matching all of the components, and in tweaking the ultimate EQ settings for the cabin.

The Kicker upgrade comes with my highest recommendations. And from the comments I have seen so far from others who have installed this sytem in their Jeeps, the satisfaction factor is off the charts. One nice advantage for anyone on a budget, you can add components along the way and "build" the system over a given timeframe. Speakers can be bought an installed, followed by the amp, then the subwoofer, or whatever order you choose for that matter.


The install


Factory PDF installation instructions for the Grand Cherokee Mopar Kicker system components. (18-pages, 5.65 MB)

NOTE: For additional detailed directions on removing the door trim panels and rear quarter trim panel see WK interior trim removal.


I started the install at 2:00pm and finished by 8:00pm, a total of 6-hours. I took my time and also stopped to take lots of photos along the way. In the days ahead of the upgrade project, I read through all of the PDF installation guides to get familiar with the steps involved. This made things a lot easier when it came time to do the install as I didn't have to keep stopping to look at the directions. In fact, I hardly used them on the day of the install. The directions were written for 2005-2007 models, and for 2008 owners there are a few important things to know as noted below.

As I opened each box of components I was impressed to see a hand-signed factory packing slip verifying the proper part#/revision and the pieces included. There is nothing worse than planning a day for a project only to have something missing! All of the Kicker parts were 100% complete, well-packaged, and in absolute pristine condition. Kudos to Kicker for their meticulous attention to detail.



Front dash tweeters


         




The Kicker dash speakers have a mounting depth of 1-9/16". The maximum mounting depth for the speakers is approx. 2-1/8".



I decided to start with the front dash speakers. The grab handle/A-pillar trim must be removed to access the speaker grilles. The handles are removed by prying open the plastic bolt cover and removing the two 10mm bolts. The grilles are attached quite firmly, with 5 tangs holding them in place they took a bit of effort to remove. I then removed the stock speakers with a short 90-degree phillips screwdriver. The Kicker speakers require that you remove a small area of plastic to make clearance for the connector on the speaker. This was done with a small dremel tool, and could also be done with a sharp knife.



Front door speakers and emblems



Kicker front door speaker
         

Speaker badges


Removing the front door trim panel had me stumped for awhile as it is different than 2005-2007 models. Like the earlier models, the 2008's have a screw behind the handle and one near the top opposite the outside mirror. But they do not have the third screw in the door pull pocket like '05-'07, the third screw is hidden behind the door switch trim. On the passenger side it was not to difficult to reach. I pried the switch trim piece up by hand and was able to access the screw. The problem is that the switch assembly is attached to the trim piece, but then easily pops off it. The lack of room to work with, being that tight wiring harnesses are attached, is almost nil. The trick is to just pop it free, then slide the screwdriver under to reach the screw. Adhesive-backed soft plastic Kicker emblems are supplied for each Kicker speaker. I had previously added the factory Boston badges and was able to leave them in place, putting the Kicker stickers over them. The fit is absolutely perfect as they are the same size. This makes for a better installation as the Boston badges are hard plastic with a metal front and have pins that mount them securely to the speaker grille. The Kicker emblems stick better to the metal surface than they would directly to the plastic speaker grille.



Door panel screws


On the drivers door accessing the third screw is more difficult being that the switch assembly also contains the mirror controls which really restricts the movement of the parts you have to put back in place. I finally figured it out, but it took awhile. This is one of those situations where you have to remove one part to get to the other, but you have to remove the other part before you can get to the one part, if you follow me. In other words, no obvious or easy solution. Even the very latest update to the 2008 service manual still contains directions for removing the 2005-2007 door panels.



Rear door speakers



Kicker rear door speaker



This part of the install was a breeze. I Removed the two screws from the door panel, popped the door panel free, unhooked the latch rod and harness, and changed out the speaker. It took about 5-10 minutes for each rear door, and it would have gone quicker but for the fact that I had just installed some billet lock knobs. They fit the lock stem hole tightly and have to be helped through from the top. Be careful when removing the upper portion of the door trim, the small triangular piece that is rearward. For the rest of the door the trim can be pulled free by hand, popping it free. When you get to the triangular trim (last area of trim panel to unhook) it is best to free it by simply sliding the whole trim panel upward (so the plastic retaining clip stays in the door). You can then remove the clip from the door and place it back on the trim. I did not need any new door clips btw, all clips remained intact when removed. I had some on hand just in case which is not a bad idea.

Note: it is possible to remove just the door panel screws and clips and leave the panel in place. You can lift it up enough to allow speaker removal and installation without unhooking the lock bars and electrical connectors. I chose to remove them completely, mainly because I wanted to take photos.



Amplifier



Kicker amplifier
               

Amplifier water shield



This part of the install went extremely smooth. The cargo opening top and bottom trim pops off easily; two front bolts and the entire cargo tray lifts out; remove a few screws on the quarter panel trim panel and the amp becomes easily accessible. The factory amp was unbolted, wiring harness unplugged, the amp bracket removed and attached to the new amp, and the amp reinstalled, all in just a few minutes.

NOTE: There has been mention on some of the forums about a "reset" procedure being required when the upgraded amplifier is initially installed, so that the upgraded amp will be recognized and the cabin EQ set. This is unnecessary as the amp and EQ settings will be reconized after the battery is reconnected and the system is powered up.



Single 10" subwoofer



Subwoofer shown installed
         

Subwoofer amplifier location



I saved this for last as I knew it would be a little more involved. I always like to start with the easiest parts on an install as it seems like the progress is "faster". A short wire harness is provided that hooks to the power center under the hood. A single power wire attaches to the bolt in the power center, and then is fed through the firewall.



Subwoofer 12v power connection


The directions call for feeding the wire through the hood release cable grommet, but it's quite a pain to reach, at least with my big hands. I thought I would be smart and run the wire through the easy-to-reach unused grommet that is up near the top of the firewall, which I did... but the wire ended up being too short to reach its intended destination over near the hood release handle. I then grabbed a piece of stiff wire and fed it through the hood release cable grommet from inside the cabin, under the dash. I was then able to grab it under the hood. I taped the feed wire to it tightly with electrical tape, and was able to slowly pull it through from under the dash. Definitely a tight fit!



Subwoofer audio connections
              

Ground wire connection


In the lower left quarter panel area there are two front speaker wires that have to be tapped into (note: the signal at this location is crossed over with a 40Hz high-pass filter). Crimp style T-connectors are provided and the two wires were easy to find in the bundle coming from the front door. The directions say to hook up the green wire from the subwoofer harness to the gray/yellow stripe positive speaker wire, which I did. But then it says to hook the 2nd wire, the "gray" one to the gray/purple stripe negative speaker wire. But the second wire on the Kicker harness was brown not gray, and that's what I hooked to the negative side.

The subwoofer ground wire is attached to one of the 10mm dash panel bolts. The bolts are accessed by prying open the dash side panel plastic cover as shown in the photo.

The subwoofer harness was then fed underneath the inside door trim and to the cargo area. There is not a lot of spare length on this harness, so set it in place first before covering it up with the molding.

The subwoofer mounting bracket has two reverse hooks that fit into the factory latches on the back of the seat. You first release the seatback and pull it vertical, then kneel on the back seat, leaning over it to grab the subwoofer, then while holding the subwoofer firmly upward, slowly move the seatback in place until it latches. You do have to remember get your fingers out of the way at the last second otherwise they will be smashed a bit between the bottom of the sub and the cargo floor, and if you release them too early the sub falls off the hooks. Once you have done this a couple times it becomes second nature and much easier. When locked into place, the subwoofer is impossible to move which makes for a very solid installation. One advantage of this type of bracket design, other than crash-test worthiness, is the fact that the subwoofer can be easily and quickly dismounted for removal when hauling cargo.



77KICK23 400W dual 10" square subwoofers
            

77KICK12 single subwoofer rear view




Dual subwoofers shown installed




Subwoofers speaker, front and back




Storing the removed components

I always like to keep all of the old parts on any mods/upgrades. For the Kicker system I stored all of the factory speakers and amp in the exact new boxes that the Kicker components came in. I then took all of those boxes and they fit perfectly into the single sub box.



2005-2010 WK audio system wiring








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