Car stereo installation

I decided that I had enough of listening to over the air radio while in my car. Up until now that was my only option because the six-disc changer in my Toyota Prius had jammed about a year ago. The factory stereo also didn’t have a means to hook up a iPod or iPhone.

I had been doing some researching and looking at my options and finally landed on the Clarion CZ305. It was a good price and would give me all the options I wanted for listening to my music.

I had the idea to install the car stereo myself. I did call around to different installers and was quoted at about $170 for installation. I didn’t want to spend that much and thought I could do it myself after watching a couple YouTube videos.

In hindsight, I spent about 16 hours installing this receiver and it probably would have been worth paying the $170. My first attempt, which was on 12-11-2015 was unsuccessful. Mostly due to the fact that I wasn’t sent the correct wiring harness for the steering wheel control and I didn’t have the correct resistor. I also didn’t find the instructions Crutchfield sent to be all that good. At the end of the 8 hour installation attempt I ended up calling Crutchfield (who were very nice and super helpful) and determined I didn’t have the correct steering wheel harness. The said they’d send me one out right away.

I was so tired by the end of that day that I just installed everything the best I could and put my car back together. It initially sounded pretty good but it turns out that I mis-grounded it and eventually the speakers started to not produce any sound. Also, since I didn’t have the correct resister to trick my car into thinking the factory radio was still installed, the heat, a/c, navigation and mpg tracker failed to function. Oops.

I drove around with a half working stereo and non-functioning multi-function display for about two weeks. I did more research, ordered the correct resistor and received the correct steering wheel control harness in the mail.

Scheduled some time at my Mom’s garage in order to attempt everything again. This time I knew exactly how to wire everything up and it went pretty smoothly.

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Everything is wired together in the comfort of my Mom’s kitchen.

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The new wiring harness is connected to the factory harness and to the new radio.

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Installing the correct resistor to trick the car into thinking the factory radio is installed.

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Here you can see that the multi-function display is working correctly and displaying data. This is unlike two weeks prior when nothing worked.

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Took me about four hours from start to finish and I ended up with a great sounding stereo system that allowed me to play music from my phone (via Blutooth or USB), from CD and obviously from the radio.

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Would I do it again?

After that first day, I would say hell no. But then I started to better understand all of the components and wiring and things went well. Getting the car taken apart and put back together was also no problem, that was actually the easy part. So, at this point in time I would say that I would do it again!

02-22-2016 UPDATE

Well, there is something funky going on with the speakers. Sometimes it comes out of the front four speakers and then shifts to just the two speakers in the doors. Fading the audio back to the rears is wonky as well. Seems like the sound is clipping. My though is that maybe the amp bypass module is bad or that my speaker connections aren’t secure. Not sure when I’ll be able to pull the dash apart again.

03-06-2016 UPDATE

I knew I shouldn’t have used wire nuts. It looks like that was the cause of my speakers dropping out and acting funny.

What I did was open everything back up, solder the connections and covered them with shrink-tape.

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So far everything is working well! Moral of the story is do it right the first time.

08-15-2016 UPDATE

After a few months I started to have a problem with the speakers again! Turns out the module/harness was bad. I was able to work with Crutchfield to have a new one shipped out to me for free. All seems to be working as it should at this point.

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