Updated: Aug 31
The Toyota Landcruiser is well known for its off-road capabilities, ruggedness and durability. Much like the Hilux, this is a workhorse, and we can't fault Toyota for building a tough vehicle that can withstand the harshest environments found in Australia, Africa and the Middle East. But if at any point along your off-road journey or just your daily commute you'd like to listen to music or the radio...... you're going to struggle!
That's because this particular Landcruiser has just a pair of 4" speakers that are mounted in the vehicle's dashboard. The mounting position is such that each speaker fires directly backwards (towards the driver/ passenger) but also angled slightly downwards - hardly ideal for achieving any decent quality audio. The owner wanted volume with reasonable quality across the audio bandwidth but without adding a subwoofer, and so we set out to deliver a suitable solution.
Firstly, let's go through the components that we settled on before we detail the installation process. Here are the list of products we installed:
Kenwood Multi-media Head Unit - Part number - DDX919WS
Kenwood Component Speakers - Part number - KFC-PS170C
Kenwood 2 Way Speakers - Part number - KFC-PS1696
Kenwood 4 Channel Marine Amplifier - Part number - KAC-M1814
Before we get into the nitty gritty, keep in mind this was our first attempt at installing the Cruiser Consoles door speaker pods so there was a little bit of reading instructions and careful positioning before we started cutting holes in the factory door cards. In the end we didn't get them perfect and we'll give you a couple of tips to avoid running into the small issues we found.
A few pointers about the Cruiser Console door pods:
They are injection moulded plastic with a solid backing plate and made right here in Australia.
They are made to fit all 70 Series Landcruisers and are available in various colour options including Black, Grey and Beige.
The factory map pocket gets mounted back onto the door pod and sits just a bit further back allowing for an additional water bottle holder.
They are available for either a 6.5" speaker or if you're after a bit more punch then you can opt for the larger 6x9" version.
They are a DIY product and whilst straight forward to fit we'd recommend allowing yourself plenty of time to ensure correct placement and proper fitment.
Now for installation, the head unit is Kenwood's wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto unit. It comes with DAB radio, a CD mechanism and reverse camera inputs plus is made to fit the Toyota dash being a slightly wider fitment than a standard double DIN unit. Installation is straight forward and we needed to add the RCA leads for signal input to the amplifier.
The amplifier is from Kenwood's Marine product range which is resistant to water and has plastic covered connectors to help keep out water and dust. We opted to mount this under the passenger front seat since it is compact enough and clear of any obstruction. From the amplifier we ran all new speaker cables into each of the four doors (the cables for the front actually go to the passive crossover first before being routed into the door).
And this is when it gets a bit more tricky. Mounting the Cruiser Console Speaker pods onto each of the four doors. As mentioned before they are pretty straight forward to install but just take a bit of time to get right. The first job was to remove the factory door cards and mark out the positioning for the door pods.
Once we were reasonably sure of the position we marked the holes that needed to be cut into the factory door card for the speaker magnet to fit through. Then, using a jigsaw, went ahead and cut those holes.
For the rear doors we then mounted the factory door card back onto the doors and using a jigsaw again we carefully cut the steel on the door to allow the magnet to fit (careful here of factory wiring harness in the door cavity). Important - depending on speaker depth you may not need to cut the steel so measure and check carefully.
With the steel frame now cut out we could remove the door card and start the process of mounting the Cruiser Console speaker pod onto the factory door card. You can see in the images below and in the instructions the method to follow. Basically you insert the supplied plastic pointed pins into the screw holes, flip the console on to the door card and apply pressure to create a pin prick mark in the the vinyl where the screw location and pilot hole should be. This is quite a novel idea to get the screw holes perfectly positioned and we were fortunate to not end up with multiple holes in the wrong positions.
Tip number 1: don't miss a pin as you'll have to remove the card to mark it again.
Tip number 2: don't forget to mount the factory pockets on to the Cruiser Consoles before you install the pod onto the door card, you'll have to remove the pod and start again if you do.
Tip number 3: make sure the timber MDF backing plate is in the pod before you mount it up! We learnt that lesson the hard way.
For the front speakers there was already space behind the magnet position so there was no need to cut or jigsaw into the steel of the door. That made the front speakers pretty easy to mount. Although we did mount the speakers into the pods when they were off the vehicle (easier to get position and drill pilot holes) you'll likely need to remove them for installing the door cards back onto the vehicle. Then connect the speaker wiring and screw the speakers back in. The images below show the door pod without the original map pocket, mounted back on the door and with the front passenger door closed.
Finally, as mentioned the front speakers are components that include a separate tweeter and passive crossover box. The wiring from the amplifier goes into the passive crossover first and the signal is split to the woofer in the door and tweeter which we mounted in the original 4" speaker location. To accomplish this we bent up some steel brackets to give us some upward angle and then twisted the tweeter inwards in its plastic holder.
And that completes the installation portion of this post. Other than the tips mentioned previously, there are a couple of other things we recommend you consider when installing the Cruiser Consoles door pods. On the rear door pods, we didn't get the position quite right. If they are too far backward on the door card or too low down on the door card they will end up fouling on the beading that runs around the door frame. This wasn't major but we noticed small marks from where it just touched. And on the front take into account that because the door pod sits proud of the original door it does mean that for the driver your leg and or foot will likely rest against the speaker grille when on the accelerator. Again, not a fault but just something to keep in mind.
The end result of the audio and speaker upgrade was really impressive. We were all blown away by the amount of power and volume out of the compact Kenwood amplifier. The Cruiser Consoles door pods are exceptionally strong and with the MDF backing plate produce a solid mount for the Kenwood speakers to produce a high quality sound and deep bass.
Above is the passenger door complete and the driver's door before. This project was completed across 2 days with at times 3 people working on it. We'd estimate 12 to 14 hours worth of labour without rushing the installation or cutting any corners.
If you have any questions or suggestions we'd love to hear from you. You can message us here or feel free to give us a call.