2013-2022 Ram and Ram Classic Pickups (all cabs)
Upgrading the stereo system in your Ram or Ram Classic pickup
In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your truck's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. We'll tell you all about:
- The factory stereo system
- Removing the factory radio
- Removing the factory speakers
- Adding more bass
- Other options for your Ram truck
Then, use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your vehicle.
Overview of the Dodge Ram
With the new-for-2013 Ram lineup, the artists formerly known as Dodge came up with yet another in their long line of cool-looking, hard-working pickups. As always, the new and improved Ram was available with a healthy assortment of engines, cab choices, payload ratings, options, and trim packages. And as always, the Rams were some of the best-looking trucks on the market.
If you need a pickup, there's a Ram model out there that's right for you. From the most basic of fleet-ready regular cab trucks to ultra-luxurious megatrucks that can tow pretty much anything short of a cruise ship, the Ram lineup is pretty impressive. The stock stereos, however, kind of aren't. We can help with that.
Note: These fourth-generation Rams are still being sold alongside the all-new 2019-up models, just with a new name — "Ram Classic." The information in this article applies to those trucks as well.
The regular and nav radios look different, but the removal process is mostly the same (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The factory stereo system
The Ram's base stereo was a reasonably decent 6-speaker system. Options included satellite radio, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth® connectivity, a touchscreen receiver, a rear-view camera and, in the larger trucks, a rear-seat entertainment system. The top trim level, available only on Crew Cab and Quad Cab trucks, included a 10-speaker Alpine system with a subwoofer under the rear seat. The U Connect system was also a part of the top-level package.
As factory systems go, this stuff isn't bad, but "not bad" probably isn't good enough for you, or you wouldn't be reading this. You'll lose some factory features, like the AUX input and the stock SiriusXM satellite radio, but those things are easily replaced with the right aftermarket receiver.
In this article, we'll take a brief look at the radio options and the various speaker configurations found in each cab style. These basic installation tips apply to Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500 models, any of which can be a great home for a new high-performance stereo system.
When you buy your radio from Crutchfield, we'll give you a discount on the dash kit and the wiring harness adapter you'll need to retain factory features (if present) like steering wheel audio controls, the driver information center, the HVAC controls, and the rear-vew camera. You'll see more details when you enter your vehicle info and choose a receiver.
This is the optional 8" navigation receiver (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the factory radio
Removing and replacing your truck's stock radio isn't that hard, but with many receivers, you'll need to modify the radio cavity. Use a hacksaw to cut off the “arms” of the center metal frame where the “arms” join the side metal frame on each side, then pull out that center frame. This won't affect the structural integrity of the dash or anything – the frame just holds the stock radio in place.
You'll need to modify this metal frame before you install a new stereo. It's not as hard as it sounds, but work carefully. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The removal process will depend on whether or not your truck is equipped with a factory console, but the type of receiver doesn't matter. Either way, the first step is to set the parking brake and disconnect the negative battery cable to prevent any electrical short. Once that's done, you're ready to get to work.
If your truck DOES NOT have a console, radio removal is pretty simple.
Pry up the rubber mat inside the storage tray above the radio and remove two Torx T20 screws. Next, pry out the edges of the receiver trim panel to release fourteen retaining clips. Disconnect the wiring harnesses and remove the trim panel, then remove the four 7mm screws securing the factory radio. With all that done, disconnect everything and remove the old radio.
Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions
If your Ram DOES have a console, the process is a bit more involved, but it's still not that difficult.
Open the storage compartment lid on the console, then carefully pry up around the edges of the shift trim ring to release nine retaining clips and remove the ring. Pry up the rubber mat inside the storage tray, then remove the two exposed Phillips screws.
Next, using the shift lock release, place the gear shift in the lowest position. Pry up the center console's top trim panel to release seven retaining clips, then remove the panel. Pry off both lower side console panels to release those clips and remove both of the panels.
Keep that panel tool handy, because your next step is to pry up the rubber mat inside the mini storage pocket beside the receiver/climate control panel. With that out of the way, remove the exposed Torx T20 screw.
At Crutchfield, you'll save money on the dash kit and wiring harness you need to install a new stereo (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Pry up the rubber mat inside the storage tray above the dash display and remove two Torx T20 screws from that location. Then, pry off the receiver trim panel to release the retaining clips. Disconnect the wiring harnesses and remove the trim panel.
Finally, you'll remove the four 7mm screws securing the factory radio. Disconnect the wiring harness, remove the old radio, and get to work modifying the metal frame in the dash cavity with a hacksaw blade.
Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, small flat blade screwdriver, Torx T-20 driver, 7mm socket, ratchet and extension, hacksaw blade
Read our Car Stereo Buying Guide for shopping tips and advice.
Steering wheel audio controls
In most cases, it's reasonably easy to retain your truck's steering wheel audio controls when you install a new stereo. When you enter your vehicle information, our database will choose the adapter you need to make your factory steering wheel controls work with a compatible aftermarket receiver.
The door speakers can be replaced by a healthy variety of aftermarket models (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the factory speakers
The number of speakers in your Ram truck depends on the cab style and the stock radio system. None of the speakers are terribly difficult to replace. In all cases, however, it's important to remember that replacing these 1- or 2-ohm factory speakers with a higher-impedance aftermarket speaker will result in lower volume levels. Shop accordingly, and if you have questions, just give us a call.
The Alpine center dash speaker is very easy to remove and replace (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the center dash speaker
The center dash speakers found in Alpine-equipped trucks are 3-1/2" models that are quite easy to remove and replace. Use a panel tool to pry up the speaker grille and release four clips. Lift the grille, disconnect the sensor wiring harness, and remove the grille. Next, remove the two 7mm screws securing the speaker, disconnect it, and remove it.
With that done, you're ready to install the new speaker and secure it with the screws you just removed. Be sure to test the speaker before you replace the grille.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm socket, ratchet and extension
The Ram pickup has 3-1/2" speakers on either side of the dash (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the corner dash speakers
The corner dash speakers are 3-1/2" models. The non-Alpine speakers are wired in parallel with the front door speakers.
Replacing these speakers is basically the same as replacing the center speaker. Just pry up the grille, remove the old speaker, and install the new one.
Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm socket, ratchet and extension
Removing the door panels is the first step in replacing the front door speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the front door speakers
The 6"x9" front door speakers can be replaced by same-size models, or you can install 6-1/2" or 5-1/4" models with help from mounting brackets that will be included with your Crutchfield speaker purchase. You'll need to remove the door panels, a process that will vary depending on whether your truck has manual or power windows.
Starting at the top corner, pry out the sail panel to release two clips, then remove the panel. Moving down the door, pry open the screw cover behind the door release and remove one exposed Phillips screw. Pry out the front edge of the door release trim and remove it.
If your truck has power windows, pry up the power options switch panel to release the retaining clips, then disconnect the wiring harnesses and remove the panel. If you have good old-fashioned manual windows, use a (clean) shop rag in a "shoeshine" motion to release the C-clip on the rear of the crank and remove it.
Next, remove two Torx T-20 clips along the front edge of the door panel, two more from the bottom edge, and three along the rear edge. Once that's done, use your panel tool to remove the door panel and get to the speakers. Remove four 5mm screws securing the speaker and remove it.
Once you've connected and secured the new speakers, be sure to test them to make sure they're working properly. If they are, and if the windows and door locks are working properly, you're ready to start putting the doors back together.
Tools needed: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, small flat blade screwdriver, Torx T-20 driver, 5mm socket, ratchet and extension, shop rag (for manual windows)
Replacing the rear door speakers is basically the same as what you'll do up front (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the rear door speakers (Quad Cab, Crew Cab)
The Quad Cab (extended cab) and Crew Cab models have 6"x9" speakers in the rear doors. In terms of sizing and removal/replacement, everything you'll do here is the basically same as what you did on the front doors. There are a couple of very small differences, but it's nothing to stress over and it's all explained in your Crutchfield MasterSheet.
Power windows: Panel tool, Phillips screwdriver, small flat blade screwdriver, Torx T-20 driver, 5mm socket, ratchet and extension shop rag (for manual windows)
Alpine-equipped trucks have speakers in the rear of the roof (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the rear roof speakers (Quad Cab, Crew Cab)
The rear roof speakers, found in Alpine-equipped trucks, are 2-1/2" tweeters. Removing them is easy and aftermarket replacements are available, but installing the new ones will take a little work on your part, because there are no mounting brackets available.
The fix is simple, though. Just use our universal backstraps (or hot glue or silicone, if you prefer), and you'll get a secure fit that also fits underneath the stock grilles.
Your new roof speakers might not come with screws, so check the box before you start and run to the hardware store if you need to.
Tools needed: Panel tool, Torx T-20 driver
In Standard Cab trucks, you'll find a pair of speakers in the rear side panels (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Removing the rear panel speakers (Standard Cab)
Standard Cab trucks feature a pair of 6"x9" speakers in the rear side panels. Like their cousins in the doors, they can be replaced by same-size, 6-1/2", or 5-1/4" aftermarket models. You'll need mounting brackets for the smaller ones, and they're included at a discount when you buy your speakers at Crutchfield.
Before you start, move the seats forward to get a little more working space. Once you're (more) comfortable, remove two Torx T-20 screws located inside the storage tray behind the seats. Lift the tray out of the truck and store it someplace safe while you work.
Next, remove one Torx T-50 bolt securing the lower seat belt anchor and remove the anchor. Then pull up the rear edge of the scuff plate juuuust enough to clear the side panel, then pry off the panel and release eight retaining clips. Store the panel in a safe place – near the storage trays, maybe.
With the speaker exposed, remove the four Torx T-20 screws securing it to the side wall, then disconnect the speaker, set it aside, and start installing the new speaker. You'll use the same screws you removed, so don't strip them and be sure to keep them together until they're needed again.
Once the speakers are in, test them out and start putting it all back together. Make sure the seats and seat belts are secured properly when you do this, of course.
Tools needed: Panel tool, Torx T-20 and T-50 drivers
Read our Car Speakers Buying Guide for more information.
The Alpine subwoofer is mounted to an enclosure under the rear seat (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Bass in your Ram Truck
In Alpine-equipped Quad Cab and Crew Cab Rams, the 8" Alpine factory subwoofer is mounted to a polymer enclosure under the right rear seat. To replace it, you'll need to remove the enclosure from the truck, then remove the sub from the enclosure. None of this is hard to do, but it's not like you just reach under the seat and pull the thing out, either!
The step-by-step instructions can be found in your MasterSheet, of course, but there are a few handy things to know before you get started.
There are some 8" aftermarket subs that will fit nicely into the enclosure, but in some cases, you may need to drill new mounting holes. This isn't any tougher than drilling into anything else, but work carefully, know what you're drilling into, and always wear eye protection.
If you need to drill new holes, you might need new screws, and not all aftermarket subs include them. Check the box before you start and get what you need then. If you don't have to drill new holes, you should be able to use the screws removed from the stock sub.
Tools needed: Torx T-25 driver, Phillips screwdriver, 18mm socket, ratchet and extension
Upgrading the bass in your Ram truck is a great way to get even more enjoyment out of your music. How much you can add depends on what you're starting with.
Regular Cab trucks don't have a ton of room, but there is a wee bit of room behind the seats. And it kind of depends on which seat you're looking behind. On the driver's side, there's a 33" W x 16" H x 7" D space, while on the passenger's side (with the storage tray in place), there's a 16" W x 16" H x 8" D space. Like we said, it's not much, but there might be room for a compact powered sub.
In the Quad Cab and Crew Cab trucks, there really isn't any room for a sub enclosure, unless you either never have rear seat passengers or can convince the ones you have to sit cross-legged all the time. Replacing the factory sub is the best idea for these trucks.
Another option, which works whether or not you have a stock sub back here, is a custom-fit sub enclosure. JL Audio and Kicker have powerful subs that are specifically designed to fit under the rear seat of these trucks. The sound is impressive, and they blend right into your truck.
If that’s what you're looking for in a subwoofer, enter your vehicle information and check all the loaded and unloaded options available.
Learn more about building a bass system in our Car Subwoofer Buying Guide.
A new backup camera can be paired with any compatible aftermarket video receiver
Other options for your Ram Truck
Here are some other ways to improve your Ram truck's comfort, safety, and sound.
A rear-view camera
Ram trucks are made for big trips and wide-open spaces, not crowded parking lots. A rear-view camera will help increase your visibility and safety when your busy day takes you into town. And a camera is also a huge help when you're backing up to a trailer.
Your Ram is a big vehicle with big doors and a big grille, so it punches a big hole in the atmosphere. To prevent wind noise and road roar from undoing the great work your new stereo is doing for you, make sure you install Dynamat when you're replacing your speakers. This soundproofing material will dampen the sounds you don't like, so you can get more enjoyment out of the ones you do.
No matter how much you pamper your Ram truck, you're eventually going to get involved in some sort of truck-like activity that gets you and/or it dirty. When that happens, it's a good idea to have a set of WeatherTech Floor Mats and Liners. These incredibly durable mats trap moisture, contain dirt, and keep your factory carpets looking good.
Remote start and security systems
Adding remote start capability to your vehicle lets you warm it up in the winter or cool it down in the summer. The iDatastart system is incredibly convenient and makes it easier than ever to install a remote start system, so we highly recommend it. The module requires a vehicle-specific T-harness (sold separately) to connect with your vehicle's computer, security, and ignition systems, so we ask that you call to order so that we can make sure you get the right harness for your ride.
You can also talk to your Crutchfield Advisor about a security system. They’re not as easy to install (we usually suggest letting a professional do the job), but we can help you choose a system that’ll work in your vehicle.