Jeep Trail Guide® GPS System

GPS designed just for TJ Wranglers: Install & Review  ◆◆◇◇ Medium


Jeep Trail Guide GPSSince I learned about a GPS (Global Positioning System) about 7 years ago, I wanted to see what it is like to use one.  I went ahead and purchased GPS 315 by Magellan years ago.  Then I hooked it up to a notebook and used that in my jeep to navigate.  It sure got the job done.  Nice big screen with some glitches that was native to Windows and the GPS interface, but it was a lot better than trying to navigate on my own.


Jeep Trail Guide OpeningKnowing fully well how much GPS has improved ever since I purchased my first GPS, I decided to get a newer GPS.  I started shopping for the in-car GPS.  In the process, I learned that Garmin made a GPS system for Jeep TJ  Wranglers with a nice base station for the GPS unit to dock and recharge itself.  The base not only serves as the charging station but it also has built in speakers where you can hear directions given by the GPS unit.  You can also stow the GPS unit inside of the built in compartment and close the lid to hide from the view.  To make the long story short, I made my decision to get this particular unit.  It is called the Jeep Trail Guide.  I learned that the Jeep Trail Guide is just rebadged Garmin Quest II.


Jeep Trail Guide BoxWhen I got the delivery, I was initially disappointed about the size of the box containing the Jeep Trail Guide; I was expecting some big box to show up that is comparable to the amount of money paid for the item. The box was slightly wider than 2 CDs side by side and as tall and thick as 1 CD to give you an idea.


What you see in the picture above is the Jeep Trail Guide itself on the left and Map software DVD on the right.  There is also USB cable for the GPS unit to connect to a PC.


Jeep Trail Guide Inside of the BoxJeep Trail Guide ContentsIn the bottom of the box, there were other parts required for the whole installation.  All of the content is shown on the right:  Trail Guide, base, wiring harness, foam tape, AC charger, CD, installation manual, USB cable, and two mounting screws.  JFI, The Trail Guide GPS unit is about 4.5"x2.25"x0.75".


The base needs to be connected to a power source in the jeep.  It is connected to the power via the radio cable supplied.  The supplied cable works for the 2003 or later models.  Other years are recommended to purchase 8220-7541 (~$20) and 8220-7523 (~$16) for the installation.  I will show how to install the base without them.



You need to have some understanding about electrical wiring to do this job.


Tools & Parts Needed

Screw Driver

Jeep Trail Guide GPS (Stree Price ~$700)

Wire cutter and stripper


Soldering iron and solder (Both Optional)


Job Hours

2 hours





1. First the center dash piece has to be removed.  It is shown here.


Jeep Trail Guide Installation ProcedureJeep Trail Guide Installation Procedure2. Once the center piece is removed, three holes need to be drilled.  Their sizes of the holes are one 1/2" and two 5/32".  Two 5/32" holes are for the mounting screws and 1/2" hole is for the wiring.  As you can see in the picture, place the base on the removed center piece and using the 5/32" drill bit mark the holes to be drilled.



Jeep Trail Guide Installation Procedure3. Remove the base from the center piece and drill the 5/32" holes.  Then at about the midpoint  between the two drilled holes, drill 1/2" hole.  When all said and done, it should look like as shown on the left.





Jeep Trail Guide Wiring4.  Now the wiring harness needs to be modified to fit into 2002 or earlier model TJs.  We are going to remove the smaller bundle of wiring with two wires connected to small 3 way (3 holes) white connector.





I looked up 2003 Rubicon Factory Service Manual (FSM) to find the correct positive and ground. Then I tested on a 12V battery to confirm that it actually works.


Jeep Trail Guide WiringWiring CompletedJeep Trail Guide Base Bottom 







Jeep Trail Guide Wire Tap5. Take the 3 way wiring connector and wire it with the radio's power and ground.  They are both located on the gray radio connector.  Power (switched 12 V) is the pink wire (Number 6).  You can attach the ground on the chasis of the radio unit.  I have a aftermarket stereo.  I hardwired them into the stereo wiring harness. I soldered the connections.



OR You can purchase the adapter parts mentioned above and do away with this step, it will cost you around $40.


Jeep Trail Guide Wiring6. Before you mount the base on the center piece, run the wire through the 1/2" hole drilled earlier then connect it to the base unit.





7. Mount the base to the center dash piece and screw it down with two screws supplied.  Also remount the center piece back on the dash and secure it down with 3 screws removed earlier.





Jeep Trail Guide Completed8. Extend the Trail Guide's antenna and mount the unit on the base.  Check for proper operation.  You are done!






The Verdict


The Jeep Trail Guide is waterproof.  I haven't tested this yet but it is surely a good feature that many if not all TJ drivers would want.  The base holds the Trail Guide pretty tight, I was actually concerned that the Jeep Trail Guide might pop out of the base when the jeep is driven on rough roads.  It hasn't happened yet and I doubt it will ever happen.


I used the Trail Guide on the interstate and the downtown area, and I was actually surprised how accurate the map was.  The Jeep Trail Guide also recalculates new routes if the driver deviates from the route suggested.  You don't have to create any route, you can just drive around without any destination set up.  The Jeep Trail Guide will just track your current position on the map.


With a single button you can find your position and a list of nearest major intersections and distance from current position using the Jeep Trail Guide.  If you set the 'Home' position, holding 'Find' button, the Jeep Trail Guide will calculate the route to your home from wherever you are.


You can also choose several different languages for the voice prompt.  I chose English English for the voice prompt and a lady with the English accent gives direction when to turn and when to change lanes.  For instance, when you are coming off of the interstate, the Jeep Trail Guide will warn you to stay left or stay right. The Trail Guide will also let you know how far you are from the turns.  The voice prompts are given well in advance, it gave me more than enough time to react.  If there are several turns are right after the other, the turning directions are combined and given at once.  As the voice prompt is given, close up of the related map is also shown on the display with large arrows.  When you arrive at the destination, it let you know by saying "Arriving at your destination (ding)."  


The screen of the Jeep Trail Guide is relatively small compared to other GPS units but you are supposed to look at the road when you are driving anyway.  The volume of the speakers can be adjusted to a point where it is too loud.  There are so many options on the Jeep Trail Guide; even with my limited experience with the GPS, I am very satisfied with the performance of the Jeep Trail Guide.  The seamless integration into the TJ's interior definitely added the look to the functionality.


I like it!  Definitely worth the money (Street price under $700).


If you have any questions or recommendations, please let me know!!



I tried my best to document as much as possible along with pictures.  I hope you find them useful. However, do use the information provided here "as-is". or the author does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, or process disclosed.  Use the information at your own risk.


Written by Michael on 5.19.2006.