Thursday, January 31, 2008


To get the wires to the amp, bundle and tuck them under the doors sill and back seats, all the way to the trunk. Use wire ties and electrical tape to fasten your bundle to any preexisting wires along the way.

On to connecting the amp’s ground. The ground wire is short and the same gauge as the power. It must be connected to the bare metal of the chasses or frame. Find a near by bolt and sand or scrape away any paint. Secure the ground wire using the ring terminal supplied in your amp kit. If you have to use a screw, watch where you’re going and use a short screw--you don’t want to hit your gas tank.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Connecting the amp to the head unit:

Head unit’s preouts (RCA inputs) located on the back. On the Kenwood’s deck there were three preouts: front, rear and sub. Connect, following standard color codes (red for left and white for right). While you’re connecting the preouts, also connect the amps turn-on lead. The turn on lead does exactly what the name implies--it’s the amps on/off switch, turning the amp on every time the receiver in use.

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Monday, January 28, 2008


The amp’s main power lead needs to be connected directly to the battery. For safety reasons disconnect the battery’s negative wire from its post. Then using the supplied ring terminal, connect the power wire (usually blue if using an aftermarket kit) with the fuse holder directly to the battery positive post. Leave out the fuse until the install is complete and ready for testing. Run the power wire through the fire wall (look for pre-existing holes or routed wires that you can run it along). The power must be run on the opposite side of the signal (RCA) cables to prevent signal noise, which would sound like a dentist-drill in the background of the music. If there is no hole in your fire wall and you have to drill, make sure to avoid any of your car’s vital components.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Powering Your System

The easy part is over--things are about to get tougher. This is where your install diagram is crucial. Your entire audio system is going to be powered through your amp, so make sure to choose one that has enough juice and supports as many channels as your system needs. The Mean-Machine MM 8000.5 amp is where I will be making all manual connections--no harness or plug and play quick-fixes here. Pick a spot to install the amp that you can reach with both hands easily. The amp needs to breathe, so while it can be mounted almost anywhere, the best location is the trunk—and never mount an amp upside down. To make things a little easier, purchase an amp-install kit--it’s an all inclusive package to get your amp powered up.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Finishing your new system:

If all you’re doing is swapping out you radio, follow your system’s instructions to fully secure the head unit and put your dashboard back together. You’re done. Enjoy your new system.


Don't let the mess of wires scare you. If you plan out your installation you won't have to cut a single wire in the car! It's simple--just Plug-and-Play.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Master plan and your project:

Carefully remove the dashboard components surrounding your radio by removing any set screws or hex bolts securing the fairing and carefully pulling the component away from the vehicle. You should see a couple of set screws holding in the stock radio. Remove these, and slide out the old head unit.

A confusing collection of colorful wires should follow the stock radio. Disconnect these by carefully prying apart the wiring harness connection that connects the stock radio to the vehicle. The harnesses can be tough to pull apart, but with some wiggling it will eventually separate. Disconnect the radio’s antenna connection and set the old head unit aside (don’t throw it out--if you want to keep your new system when you sell your car, you’ll eventually need to re-install the old radio).

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Making the installation much easier:

You should also purchase a wire harness designed specifically for your vehicle’s make and model. This will save you from having to cut any wires inside your dash, and, trust me, that’s well worth the $20 you should expect to pay for a harness. Before you begin to disassemble your dash, you can splice the new wiring harness to your new radio by matching wire colors and descriptions. Also attach Kenwood’s add-on Ipod control interface (KCA-iP500) and navigation system (KNA-G510) following the product’s simple instructions. Once the harness is connected, the rest of the job is plug-and-play.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Replacing the Head Unit

When purchasing a head unit (the in-dash radio that controls your system), make sure you chose the appropriate size for your car. Head units are sized as single-din (a 180 x 50 mm panel) or double-din (180 x 100 mm panel) and you can often purchase an adaptor plate to fit a single-din unit in your double-din vehicle. The opposite was true for my car: I installed a double-din 7inch touch screen head unit, the Kenwood DDX-6019 available at Keep in mind that depths, although largely standard, could vary, so pay attention to how much space you have.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

If there’s one piece of advice you have to follow it is this:

Read through each component’s instructions to create a master installation plan. Know what you have, where each piece is going to go, and what extra tools it will take to connect everything. Make sure that you’re confident that once you pull apart your dashboard you’ll be able to fit it back together. Check literature about your car to make sure you don’t need extra adapters such as a custom radio faceplate, or, especially with older or imported vehicles, to make sure there are no non-standard components behind the radio (such as a separate amplifier buried deep within the console) that might greatly complicate the process. Finally, get a big piece of paper and draw a diagram that details where every wire will run. This will organize your thoughts and uncover any potential problems.

In addition to all your new equipment you’re going to need wire cutters, black tape, crimpers, pliers, screwdrivers, a rubber mallet, a drill, a Dremmel, a ratchet set, flashlight, wire tubing, double sided tape and wire tires to get the job done.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008


Before you start turning the screwdriver and ripping into your dashboard, set aside time to plan out the entire installation process. It wasn’t until I was looking at a colorful fistful of stock radio wires--with no wiring diagram for reference--that I realized my confidence--er, haste--wasn’t going to get me anywhere (it turns out that the 50 feet of speaker wire I assumed would be more than enough for a tiny Mustang, is about three feet short when you finish all the splicing, meaning I had to rerun all the wiring.

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Our car radio installation guides specify Metra Wire Harness numbers when installing aftermarket car radios. These wire harnesses also have several manufacturers. We suggest the aftermarket wire harness, it saves time and headaches. Wire harnesses lessen the chance of mistakes for blown fuses, shorted wires and several other radio related installation problems. Using the aftermarket harness will also allow you to reinstall the factory car radio. You may not be happy with your aftermarket radio purchase, you may want to upgrade to a better model and you can use the aftermarket wire harness again. We have seen cut wire harnesses with many aftermarket car radio installations. There is no going back to the factory car radio unless you have the original car radio wire harness. All car radio installation shops sell the wire harness that mates to the factory wire harness. They do not sell the harness that mates to the factory car radio. There is a section of this website that may help if you feel the need to cut the factory car radio harness, Factory Car Radio Wire Diagrams and Color Codes.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Car Radio Installation Kits -

There are several manufacturers for installation kits. Install kits are specific to vehicle. Use radio installation kits that are available to you locally or on the internet. All manufacturers kits for car radio installation and mounting are basically the same.

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Monday, January 14, 2008


There are always modifications when it comes to aftermarket car radio installation. Filling edges of kits, radio trim panels, dash trim panels and a variety of other modifications for proper fit and operation.

Car Radios - There are many different manufacturers for aftermarket car radios, speakers and amplifiers. Each manufacturer can have over ten different models within their product line of car radios. Car radio models change according to features and specifications.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008


There is no standard for aftermarket car radio installation.
If there was a standard, there would only be one make and model of car, one make and model of aftermarket car radio, one kit, and one wire harness available for purchase. There would be no professional aftermarket installation shops, everyone would be an installer for car radios and there would be no need for this website.

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