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Old 05-10-2021, 08:57 PM   #1
Claire1998
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Default Can 98 SW2 stereo be switched out for stereo with cassette?f

I have a 1998 SW2 with the factory stereo which does NOT have a cassette player. Can I switch this out for any 1996-1999 Saturn S Series AM/FM Cassette Radio Car Stereo OEM? Will my current stereo be interchangeable across any year between 96-99, and/or will it be interchangeable with other s-series models?

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Old 05-10-2021, 09:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: Can 98 SW2 stereo be switched out for stereo with cassette?f

Any '96-'99 radio is interchangeable.
The better radios have a 5-band EQ, they also have an aux-in option that usually was used for a 6 disc CD changer the SC's and SL's had mounted between the rear speakers.
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Old 05-11-2021, 02:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: Can 98 SW2 stereo be switched out for stereo with cassette?f

Hey, fetchitfido, do you know offhand if any of the ION/VUE stereos can be used in a 2nd gen?

What OP is really after is a way to use another device, playing through an OEM looking system. I think the current plan is to swap in a cassette player and use one of those adapters (that you stick into the cassette slot)

Info about adding the 3.5mm AUX jack to the OEM CD player has already been provided but I don't think they want to go that route (someone else is doing the install)
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Old 05-11-2021, 02:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Can 98 SW2 stereo be switched out for stereo with cassette?f

Yeah, the cassette plan is what I decided to go with. I bought a tested 2nd gen s series stereo off ebay for pretty cheap since I couldn't find one at any local junkyards.
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Old 05-12-2021, 12:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Can 98 SW2 stereo be switched out for stereo with cassette?f

It wouldn't be that hard to make the 3rd gen style radios work in 2nd gen electrically but making them look anything close to "stock" will require a 3D printer and some CAD skills.

eBay used to be a source of OEM radios with the aux-in port already modded into the radio. I don't believe it requires the cassette deck but I do believe it's a bit easier than the CD. They were going for stupid prices however, over $200. I don't see how that's preferable to anyone over the $80 aftermarket radios that have 100x the capability...
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Old 05-13-2021, 04:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: Can 98 SW2 stereo be switched out for stereo with cassette?f

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire1998 View Post
Yeah, the cassette plan is what I decided to go with. I bought a tested 2nd gen s series stereo off ebay for pretty cheap since I couldn't find one at any local junkyards.
I'd be curious as to how well the cassette adapter thing works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido
It wouldn't be that hard to make the 3rd gen style radios work in 2nd gen electrically but making them look anything close to "stock" will require a 3D printer and some CAD skills.
Thanks - I think with the Ion stereos, they have the dark gray plastic with the Saturn painted onto the face, so looks more OEM than tafermarket units which tend towards black plastic, more chrome and blue or red LEDs.
Quote:
They were going for stupid prices however, over $200. I don't see how that's preferable to anyone over the $80 aftermarket radios that have 100x the capability...
I can see some folks really wanting to keep the OEM look, or who live in shady areas where an aftermarket stereo is tempting to a junky. Those used to be worth at least $20, while an OEM 2nd gen CD stereo is useless to anyone who doesnt have a 2nd gen.

I'm loving the stereos that use USB sticks or SD cards, can easily fit 1,000s of songs on digital storage
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Old 05-20-2021, 02:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: Can 98 SW2 stereo be switched out for stereo with cassette?f

Actually, CD w equalizer fits just fine in my 95 1st gen.
Identical to the cassette unit (on my shelf) except it plays ....CDs
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Old 05-21-2021, 08:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: Can 98 SW2 stereo be switched out for stereo with cassette?f

Quote:
Originally Posted by derf View Post
Actually, CD w equalizer fits just fine in my 95 1st gen.
Identical to the cassette unit (on my shelf) except it plays ....CDs
The dimmer "polarity" isn't switched around? I tried putting either a 2nd gen radio in a 1st gen or a 1st gen radio in a 2nd gen and while the audio bits worked perfectly, the dimmer worked opposite from the cluster and HVAC stuff (cluster full bright, radio full dim).
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Old 05-23-2021, 10:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: Can 98 SW2 stereo be switched out for stereo with cassette?f

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
The dimmer "polarity" isn't switched around? I tried putting either a 2nd gen radio in a 1st gen or a 1st gen radio in a 2nd gen and while the audio bits worked perfectly, the dimmer worked opposite from the cluster and HVAC stuff (cluster full bright, radio full dim).
95 is gen 2 interior
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Old 05-23-2021, 10:41 AM   #10
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Default Re: Can 98 SW2 stereo be switched out for stereo with cassette?f

3g radios have been used in 2g before with the wiring harness adapted.


The Ion/Vue radios have been installed in 3rd gens before, so I can’t imagine getting one to work in 2nd gen would be much harder. Fitment would be the biggest problem, and at that point why even bother trying to keep a “factory look” of the plastic trim doesn’t even fit anymore without the help of a dremel. No GM radio came with an aux until the 2007 Saturns came out that shared a radio with every other GM car of the era. I remember seeing a pic here on the forums before of a 2007+ style GM radio also functioning in a 2nd gen S-Series, but fitment was even worse. Wish I could find the pic but at this point I’m guessing it was in the old photo gallery cause I’ve searched everywhere.

If you really want the factory look, an Aux, and money is no object to you. This modded cassette radio is an option. At $125 though, you would really be better off getting an aftermarket radio.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/15446380969...gAAOSwsGpgqY2s

Those cheap cassette aux/Bluetooth adapters are the cheapest and most convenient option, but the the sound quality suffers. I’ve never had one that didn’t struggle with high pitched sounds. Pretty much all sub base gets lost too. A hard wired Aux like the mod linked, of burned music CDs will always be the best you can get, but you are in a moving car with a lot of external noise after all, you may not even be able to notice. (I can so I went with a hard wired Aux through the CD changer)
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Last edited by Zeebins; 05-23-2021 at 10:46 AM.
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