Thursday, October 14, 2010

Everything needed to install a car stereo

I just finished installing a stereo in my new car. It appears to be working, although the interface on the radio is pretty poor it does everything I need it to do. However figuring out what I needed to buy and how to install the radio was a real pain. Because of this I have listed everything needed to install a stereo in a 2004 ford focus SE with a Blaupunkt radio. The last two words take some explaining. There are two stereos which a 2003 or 2004 ford focus could have. The first is a standard one, the second a Blaupunkt radio. This one will play MP3 CDs, and has slightly different wiring. It is important to know if you have this stereo because if you buy what you need for a normal focus than you end up not having everything you need. This held up my installation for several days while I waited for parts to ship.

Here is the total list of what I bought:
Pioneer DEH-2200UB CD Receiver with iPod Direct Control and USB Input. I picked this stereo because it was about the cheapest one which could connect to an iphone with a USB cord.

Stereo Antenna Harness Ford Focus 00 01 02 03 04 . This adapter connects your antenna to the new stereo.

Stereo Wire Harness Ford Focus 00 01 02 03 04. This is what you need to install the stereo in a typical 2004 ford focus. This connects the wiring that connected to the old stereo to the new stereo. Half of the connector is wrong for installing a stereo in one with a Blaupunkt stereo. So this will not connect to your car. However you really do need the other half which connects to your stereo, so unless you find it cheaper by itself you will need this.

Stereo Wire Harness Ford Focus Blaupunkt 03 04. This is the other half of the last item. This will connect to your car. It will need to be soldered to the half in the previous item which connects to the stereo.

Stereo Install Dash Kit Ford Focus 00 01 02 03 04. This is the dash kit which the stereo sits in. You need this because the new stereo is smaller than the old one. This is not as sturdy as the factory one which worried me at first, but it seems stable enough to not be a real problem.

A Soldering Iron. If you do not have one, you will need this to solder the wires of the wire harness together. I have no idea why I cannot buy one with the wires pre-soldered but I at least couldn't find one.

Heat shrink tubing. This isn't the one I bought at Radio Shack, but it looks like the same stuff. You could use electrical tape but from what I hear the stereo will not work for the life of the car if you do that. Wherever wires are soldered together this should be used to cover the wires. It will prevent the wires from shorting out.

Dt1 Radio Removal Tool. There is currently a stereo in the car. You must remove it. This tool will make removing the stereo simple.

The first thing I was warned to do when I installed this stereo was to disconnect the negative terminal of the battery. It is unlikely this will do anything useful, but if you accidentally short something out you will probably be glad you did this.

Two things gave me trouble. The first was identifying what the mounting sleeve was. The instructions that came with the products kept talking about it. They don't bother to tell you that when you buy the stereo it comes around the stereo. For a while I thought I had to order yet one more part. You have to pull it off of the outside of the stereo. This mounting sleeve will get inserted into the dash kit. Once it is inside the car all of the little metal tabs will need to be pushed down with a screwdriver. This will hold the stereo in place.

The next problem was connecting the two halves of the wire harness together. In this case I simply connected together the same color wires on each half and hoped for the best. In the case of the ground wire I cut off a connector at the end because I couldn't see anywhere to connect it to. Instead I soldered it to the black wire on the other half of the connection.

Once I got to this point it was simple. I simply plugged all my adapters into the connectors in my car which used to go to the old stereo. Then I turned on the car to check that the stereo worked. When I saw that I could get sound from it I pushed it into the dash kit and it clicked into place.

Edit: Whenever I turned the car off the radio lost its settings and the time. To fix this I had to solder the red wires to the yellow wires. Now it seems to work without significant issues.

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