Replacing the Stereo Head Unit

Introduction

The standard Eurovox stereo head unit with the CD stacker under the passenger seat is ok, but my wife wanted something she could plug her iPod in to.

This article describes how remove the standard head unit and replace it with an aftermarket unit.

Tools required

phillips head and flat blade screwdrivers

wire stripper and cutters

electrical tape

a metal coat hanger or approx 300mm of fencing wire

Remove the old head unit

Firstly, remove any CD’s from the stacker under the passenger seat as the stacker will have no power once you finish this task.

Next, in the fuse box under the steering wheel, remove the two fuses for the radio. I didn’t want to risk shorting something out during installation.

It is not necessary to remove the heater controls fascia panel, but I did to make access easier to the radio cage. Also I didn’t have the official tool to remove the head unit so wanted to be able to feel if my improvised tool was catching on the security lugs on the cage.

Removing the heater controls fascia panel is as simple as pulling the three knobs off the controls, removing the two small screws on the outer controls, and removing the four screws indictaed below.

Note that the LH centre vent has been removed as well. Not required either, I just did it to see if it improved access to the radio.

My improvised tool for overcoming the security barbs on the radio was a few short lengths of fencing wire. Cutting up a metal coat hanger in to four lengths of approx 75mm would probably also do the trick.

Note that I shifted the HVAC panel a little so I could get a finger up beside the radio cage to feel if the wire was releasing the barbs.

Then it is just a matter of gently pulling the unit out and disconnecting the cables…

  • multiplug for speakers and power
  • CD-Stacker cable
  • aerial

The clip for the CD-stacker shown below. Press the button and disconnect.

Bend the retaining lugs around the old cage, and then pinch the cage a little and it should come out easily.

The multiplug is connected to another multi-plug. Disconnect it so you can rewire the stereo outside of the car. The plug is a bit stiff, but just push the lower plug to the left and it will release ok.

Next I got a test lamp and plugged the two radio fuses back in to check what wire did what.

  • With the ignition off, the live wire should be the permanent power for radio memory – PINK.
  • With the ignition on to Accessory, the next live wire should be Accessory Power – RED.
  • With the headlights on, the next live wire should be the dimmer – ORANGE.
  • No idea what the GREY wire was for. It didn’t seem to do anything.
  • The remaining eight wires are for the speakers. We’ll figure that out later.

Now remove those two fuses again.

I was hoping to remove the wires intact from the old plug, but could not get them to budge.

A close-up view of the plug from the front. Those connectors are wedged in well.

So, out with the wire cutters

Connect up the wires you know, then solder, wrap and heat shrink or wrap and tape… whatever your preferred method. I used the mesh, rap and tape approach in case I changed my mind later.

For the speaker wires, I separated and taped three of the four sets on the radio side, leaving one set free and not touching the wires on the speaker/car side yet. Why will become obvious shortly.

Installation and Testing

Insert the new cage in to the hole and bend the lugs on all four side to secure the cage in place.

Connect the multi-plug on the speaker/car side and the other multi-plug in to the new head unit.

Now it’s just a matter of figuring out which speaker wires go where.

Put the two fuses back in to the fuse box under the steering wheel. Do not switch the stereo on yet.

With the one pair of exposed speaker wires coming out of the head unit (the other three pairs are taped up) you have a known reference point. In my case, the exposed green wires were for the Rear Left speaker.

So, select a pair of speaker wires on the speaker/car side and wire them up to the reference pair.

Turn the stereo on. Wherever the sound comes out that is where you need to connect the appropriate pair of “stereo side” speaker wires to. Continue this until all four speakers are wired up.

Speakers Wires:

Front Left = GREEN and GREEN/BLACK

Front Right = WHITE and WHITE/BLACK

Rear Left = BLUE and BLUE/BLACK

Rear Right = YELLOW and YELLOW/BLACK

Tidy up the cabling when all wires are connected and tape off any unused wires.

Before inserting the head unit in to the dash, hold the unit close to the hole and connect the radio aerial. Make sure that no wires will foul and gently push the unit in to the dash.

Might be a good idea to check that the radio is working ok before pushing the unit all the way in.

Once you are happy it is all working ok, reassemble the HVAC controls and fascia panel.

Enjoy the music!