Thanks for your reply and help. Have you made this upgrade? I'm looking for a standard OME part, but cant find one, so I'm certainly willing to pay a bit more for the upgrade, if it'll work. Hoping for "plug and play" unit. I suppose I should ask the supplier that question, but didn't know if you'd already gone that route.
I have not made this upgrade. I considered it in the past when I had another Commander without the premium factory system but wasn't sure how it would work with a base system. If you don't have the premium sound system then the amp is buried in the radio itself. Otherwise if you do then the upgrade amp should be a direct plug and play.
Here's a link with the upgraded sound system part numbers and more info: http://www.wkjeeps.com/wk_Kicker.htm. After revisiting the info on this link it looks like the upgraded amp will not work with base sound systems, probably because as I mentioned the amp is in the radio itself on the base systems, but it does confirm that it's plug and play with the premium sound system.
Hope that helps. Good luck and keep us posted if you go that route.
The Factory AMP is controlled by the CAN network/bus through data commands. The Factory control head sends data commands over the CAN bus to the AMP, to turn it on, change volume, tone, balance, etc.
Most aftermarket amps do NOT communicate over CAN networks/bus, thus they can NOT be controlled, or even turned on by the factory control head.
Having said that, it appears the Amp in the link, is designed as an aftermarket upgrade to just Chrysler vehicles with the CAN bus controlled Amp. Provided the connectors fit, and it is for you model/year, I think it would work, but do your research.
Aftermarket Control Heads won't talk on the CAN Bus either. NOT a practical option, but you could fit an aftermarket control head and amp, requiring a lot of wiring and installation hassle (sounds like this is NOT an option you want) or just the control head and use its internal amp, still requiring wiring changes.
There are third party Bus Translators, for aftermarket control heads, to either translate the data commands over the CAN bus to the aftermarket radio, or from the aftermarket radio to the factory amp, or both.
There are no 3rd Party translators to control aftermarket amps from factory control heads NOR to control factory control heads and amps in vehicles without a CAN bus. Some folks want to retro-fit new factory radios to older vehicles, only to find out, without a CAN bus they don't even turn on.
...Here's a link with the upgraded sound system part numbers and more info: http://www.wkjeeps.com/wk_Kicker.htm. After revisiting the info on this link it looks like the upgraded amp will not work with base sound systems, probably because as I mentioned the amp is in the radio itself on the base systems, but it does confirm that it's plug and play with the premium sound system...
There is a whole myriad of possibilities.
It can be a simple as the premium sound system has specific control heads that only work with an amp, they have specific wire harness's that only work with those factory control heads and amps.
The wire harness's have the circuits for both premium and base sound systems, its a matter of pin-outs or self-configuring the devices do themselves.
You would need to go through the factory parts catalogue for the vehicle. The parts catalogue usually shows the different parts available and what application they would be needed for.
I think it is safe to say there are certain factory control heads that have no ability to control an amp, and there are certain factory control heads with no internal amp and can only work with an amp. Regardless, the wiring has to be there to begin with.
Honestly, if you have a base system and want to upgrade to sound systems to one with an amp, you're probably better off pitching the whole factory system and putting in and wiring up an aftermarket system, and avoid all the "gotcha's" that come from the proprietary crap that OEM's are designing into their vehicles.
Based on what I read in the link you provided, this amp is a simple easy upgrade for those with the factory premium sound system, its a quick direct swap in amp that works on the CAN bus like the factory amp, just with a little more power. It should be plug and play.
Does the fine print on the Amp say anything about needing to be enabled by the Dealer? Often CAN Bus devices come from the factory disabled, that can only be "enabled" by flipping a bit using the Dealer Special Diagnostic Tool. They will tell you its the Dealer configuring your network and/or assigning address's, etc to make it all work together correctly, its a lie, the network controller assigns address and configures everything automatically. They only enable the device to allow it to start working, the real justification is anti-theft or Chrysler being able to keep updated information on the vehicle configurations. (You high-jack a truck load of these parts, they are worthless or you get caught when you try to get them turned on, all the OEM's get racked over the coals by the NHTSA for recalls, they are expected to know the exact configuration, even after the sale, of the vehicles they sold).
My apologies if this has already been covered-
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