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Old 11-10-2013, 08:29 PM   #1
Tripp
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Default SL2 radio

My radio just went out (Volume knob broke/shorted out) so I'm going to replace it with an after market head unit. Never changed a radio out before but it doesn't seem too hard.

Where can I get the wiring harness and kit to make it fit? Will the harness work with any aftermarket radio? Anything else I need to know?

Also, I don't have an amp, subs or anything else that draws power so I think my F5 fuse/wire should be ok.
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: SL2 radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp View Post
My radio just went out (Volume knob broke/shorted out) so I'm going to replace it with an after market head unit. Never changed a radio out before but it doesn't seem too hard.

Where can I get the wiring harness and kit to make it fit? Will the harness work with any aftermarket radio? Anything else I need to know?

Also, I don't have an amp, subs or anything else that draws power so I think my F5 fuse/wire should be ok.
I ordered my adapter/kit from Amazon. Got here in 3 days. I just installed today. The trick is to make sure you test the leads from the aftermarket harness before you hook them up to the new head unit. My adapter had 3 red wires but only one was hot. Had 2 ground wires but only one had continuity to ground. To pull the radio you need to pull a lot of pieces from the dash to get to the bezel; recommend you search for the procedure online.

While you're at it, during that job would also be a good time to replace the gauge cluster light bulbs if you feel ambitious.
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: SL2 radio

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Originally Posted by brian74 View Post
I ordered my adapter/kit from Amazon. Got here in 3 days. I just installed today. The trick is to make sure you test the leads from the aftermarket harness before you hook them up to the new head unit. My adapter had 3 red wires but only one was hot. Had 2 ground wires but only one had continuity to ground. To pull the radio you need to pull a lot of pieces from the dash to get to the bezel; recommend you search for the procedure online.

While you're at it, during that job would also be a good time to replace the gauge cluster light bulbs if you feel ambitious.
Either you aren't talking about a '91-'99 radio replace (The OP has a '98 listed in his profile) or something... No reason to mess with anything near the cluster and I've no idea where your extra wires came from.
'95-'99 radio removal guide: http://www.differentracing.com/tech_...5-99radio.html
Wiring guide, match function to function as labeled on the adapter wires and use the "illumination" orange wire rather than the "dimmer" orange wire unless the head unit wants both: http://www.the12volt.com/installbay/...tail/1954.html

I'd recommend adding a dedicated power wire from the battery for the aftermarket unit no matter what, the H/U alone has been known to harm the F5 pins.
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: SL2 radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
Either you aren't talking about a '91-'99 radio replace (The OP has a '98 listed in his profile) or something... No reason to mess with anything near the cluster and I've no idea where your extra wires came from.
'95-'99 radio removal guide: http://www.differentracing.com/tech_...5-99radio.html
Wiring guide, match function to function as labeled on the adapter wires and use the "illumination" orange wire rather than the "dimmer" orange wire unless the head unit wants both: http://www.the12volt.com/installbay/...tail/1954.html

I'd recommend adding a dedicated power wire from the battery for the aftermarket unit no matter what, the H/U alone has been known to harm the F5 pins.
My bad on the year; 3rd gen is apparently much different. Disregard.
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: SL2 radio

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Old 11-10-2013, 11:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: SL2 radio

Wiring adapter and antenna plug, ~$6.00 at Wally World. Dash adapter ~$20.00-$25.00 at BB.

Otherwise, Crutchfield for the whole works (+$15.00 for mounting and adapter).
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Old 11-11-2013, 12:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: SL2 radio

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Otherwise, Crutchfield for the whole works (+$15.00 for mounting and adapter).
Buy the radio thru Crutchfield and get the antenna adapter, wiring adapter and dash adapter all for FREE. Plus wiring diagram.
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:22 AM   #8
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Default Re: SL2 radio

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Buy the radio thru Crutchfield and get the antenna adapter, wiring adapter and dash adapter all for FREE. Plus wiring diagram.
As long as the head unit costs more than $120. Less than that, it costs an additional $15.
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Old 11-11-2013, 04:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: SL2 radio

part numbers, and ebay pricing for comparison

Metra kit w pocket (99-3105). $12.48
wiring adaptor (70-1858) $5.50
antenna adaptor (40-GM10). $3.65
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: SL2 radio

Thanks for all the replies and help! I'm still a bit confused so maybe y'all can clear it up for me.

This is the radio I bought from a friend:

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-UgCNflY...-KDC-255U.html

It comes with a harness that plugs into the back of the radio and then just some wires coming out. Will I need that? I was under the impression the harness I'll buy will connect to the stock harness on one end, and the other end will plug into the radio so you don't have to cut any wires or anything. I don't mean to sound stupid but I've never done this before so there's a learning curve to it for me.

As for the F5 wire, I'd like to run a new one but I think I'm going to take the chance and just install it without running a new wire yet. Driving an hour everyday in silence is going to drive me insane, especially when you hear the dash/etc rattle.

Thanks again for all the help, I greatly appreciate it.
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:21 PM   #11
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Default Re: SL2 radio

You also have to buy the adapter that plugs into the stock harness. It also has loose wires. You match the wires on the adapter to the wires on the connector that comes with the radio, color by color, and confirm function by function. Solder and heat-shrink each connection. This becomes a "crossover" harness. You then plug that in between the stock harness and the aftermarket radio for a no-cut connection.

Exception would be the always-on power, to bypass the dreaded F5. If it's not a mondo-high-power radio, and don't crank the volume to a level that no one should use while driving anyway, you should be safe wrt. the F5.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:17 AM   #12
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Default Re: SL2 radio

DO get the correct GM adapter, DO NOT cut the connector off the car and splice directly.

There will most likely be some difference in colors. You have to go by function. You will also probably end up with some wires on the radio harness (and/or adapter) not used.

This post shows the stock pin-out as well as function and color.
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Old 11-12-2013, 01:40 AM   #13
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Default Re: SL2 radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Exception would be the always-on power, to bypass the dreaded F5. If it's not a mondo-high-power radio, and don't crank the volume to a level that no one should use while driving anyway, you should be safe wrt. the F5.
yeah, was gonna say even with just the head unit you're still affecting the F-5..

additionally remember that Pioneer head unit I had mad? ghetto blasting for grins n giggles, no subs (was to cheap to go to subway ) and no amps (other than the current going through the car lol ), I blew that ONE AMP fuse I had. Just for this reason alone I'd personally run a new fused constant hot to the yellow wire of the radio's plug anyway.
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:54 AM   #14
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Default Re: SL2 radio

Ahhhh, it's all clicking for me now. Yeah, the wires are different colors on the radio harness than what's in the car but as said, I'll just match them up by function, no big deal.

A few other questions. Looks like I need to be safe and go ahead and run the new wire for power to the radio. What all do I need for this? Don't you have a video showing how to install it?

And for soldering, what gauge do I need for these small wires?

Y'all have been a great help, just bear with me, I'm not an electrical person.
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:25 AM   #15
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Default Re: SL2 radio

Need:
  • Fuse Holder This one comes with a 30a mini-blade fuse (same size the car use's), not all fuse holders come with a fuse and not all use the mini-blade fuse so watch for that.
  • 6ft of 16ga wire. Other stores may have the same size/length for cheaper....I seem to remember Napa having 25ft rolls for $8 for 16ga but that may actually be the smaller 18ga. You won't need all 6ft or even the 8ft listed but it's best to have extra on hand and I'm not sure they sell it in 4ft lengths anyway.
  • Electrical Kit. Really only need the blue sleeved (red is for smaller 22-18ga wire and yellow is for 12-10ga) ring terminals so if you can find just the blue ones for cheaper in a pack then go ahead.

If you have an automatic, you can run the wire through the clutch master cylinder hole/plug in the firewall. Can't quickly find a picture of the grommet I use, the main car harness one but its in the same pic...the larger hole above the one with a plug. Carefully use a knife to make a SMALL hole in the grommet to the side of where the harness goes through, then shove the wire a good bit inside, then slide in under the steering wheel so you can look & reach up under the dash to grab it and pull/route to where you need it at the radio.

You don't have to get these at a car parts store, Radioshack's website hates me (they'd have the listed in the store) and any random hardware store I've been in has them as well.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:30 PM   #16
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Default Re: SL2 radio

I have a pretty good idea of how to hook the radio up but the new power line still has me scratching my head a bit. Do you connect it straight to the battery then run it to the radio with the inline fuse?

Also, since I'm going to go ahead and do all this, I'd like to up the power to the cigarette lighter. Sometimes I use it to charge my phone and it does an awful job but I read that it was never designed to charge/power things to begin with. How would I go about doing this to the stock one? Could I disconnect the current wires and run a new one for it with an inline fuse as well? Other than this, I have no interest to add anything else that draws power.






This is just for learning purposes to hopefully someone can explain this to me.

1. I know the smaller gauge a wire, the bigger it is. Is there a general guideline for what gauge to use based on volts, etc? For example, why did you pick 16 gauge to run the wire vs something bigger or smaller.

2. I know fuses are in place so if the load exceeds the limit, it will blow instead of allowing the current to the 'device' and damaging it. Do you just pick a fuse based on the specifications of how much the device can handle?

3.From my understanding, a relay is a switch based on current? How does it work with the radio and ignition?

That's all I can think of right now, feel free to correct me or add anything, I'm truly interested in learning about this stuff.
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:41 PM   #17
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Default Re: SL2 radio

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp View Post
I have a pretty good idea of how to hook the radio up but the new power line still has me scratching my head a bit. Do you connect it straight to the battery then run it to the radio with the inline fuse?
Yes and no. Since this is a G.M., unless you have one of those Optima batteries (IIRC even the red top ones have both the pole and screw in provision right?) I'd tap into the main positive at the underhood junction block. I also find it easier to tap into that main wiring harness grommet like I show in my how-to thread and youtube video.

Additionally if you are going to run new leads for both the power adaptor and the radio I'd use this fuse block, but I'd still cut in the middle of the provided wire so you can put a fuse holder in it: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0053TMIMG/ (it's not prime optimized unfortunately and by doing this you can reduce clutter at the UHJB+ bolt if you plan on running another line for a switched power source.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp View Post
Also, since I'm going to go ahead and do all this, I'd like to up the power to the cigarette lighter. Sometimes I use it to charge my phone and it does an awful job but I read that it was never designed to charge/power things to begin with. How would I go about doing this to the stock one? Could I disconnect the current wires and run a new one for it with an inline fuse as well? Other than this, I have no interest to add anything else that draws power.
Yes, you do. Keep in mind that for whatever reason there was a 20 amp fuse installed for the lighter, so if you want to use all 20 amps I'd be using a stronger gauge wire (like #16 or #14 or something). You cut the orange wire at the power adaptor (while giving yourself enough room to work, eg: don't cut near the connector!) and solder in a new power lead to the orange wire at the connector. terminate the other end of this wire at the UHJB+ bolt with a separate fuse holder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp View Post
1. I know the smaller gauge a wire, the bigger it is. Is there a general guideline for what gauge to use based on volts, etc? For example, why did you pick 16 gauge to run the wire vs something bigger or smaller.
For the most part every gauge wire and insulation type should handle 12-15 volts just fine, but the bigger the wire the more current you can use. Since IIRC most aftermarket radios can draw up to 5A and it's such a short distance to go from the UHJB+ bolt to the yellow wire on the aftermarket radio's plug, 18 or 16 would be more than enough. additionally since this is DC voltage you're dealing with, you'll have to deal with power/current loss as you run the wires. the only way you can overcome this is with a bigger gauge wire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp View Post
2. I know fuses are in place so if the load exceeds the limit, it will blow instead of allowing the current to the 'device' and damaging it. Do you just pick a fuse based on the specifications of how much the device can handle?
Pretty much, yes. It should either be printed on the device and/or in the documentation (or in the case of the power adaptor F-5 bypass you can use a 20A fuse as long as the wire is strong enough). Or in the case of the constant hot for the radio it's a guessing game really, although 5A should be sufficient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripp View Post
3.From my understanding, a relay is a switch based on current? How does it work with the radio and ignition?
red wire on the aftermarket radio is the ACC/RUN trigger. this wire is hot when the key is in ACC or RUN. You can take advantage of this by putting a relay coil on this wire, run a new power lead to one of the contact parts of the relay, put a fuse block on the other end of the contact and you can turn things on and off from the ignition key without having to rely on switches. Neat huh?
...
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DOB: 3/19/97
Date Obtained: 5/30/07
Status: Alive, 1/2 exhaust

2004 Merc G.Marquis GS
DOB: 2/4/04
Date Obtained: 7/6/12
Status: Alive, no heat

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