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2003 Limited - which radio do I have??

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by gsmaclean, October 2, 2008.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. gsmaclean

    gsmaclean Active Member

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    2003 Limited - which radio do I have?? ** SOLVED! **

    I have the 6 CD changer in my 2003 Limited. I installed a satellite radio yesterday, and currently have it broadcasting to my radio via its FM transmitter, which sucks. I want to wire it in directly like I had it set up in my previous Explorer.

    I found an interface from PIE, but they have multiple interfaces listed, and the names of the radios they interface with don't match with what I seem to have. I'm a bit lost.

    Which radio do I have? Which PIE interface do I need to install in order to create an AUX IN to hook up my satellite receiver?

    Incidentally, it's an outboard satellite receiver, not the tuner component that works with satellite-ready radios.

    This is my radio:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: November 14, 2008
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  3. jad2411

    jad2411 Elite Explorer

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    Looks like my previous one, couln't find any adapter for it, all of the ones I saw required either a SAT or an Aux button....I bought a newer HU
     
  4. jrford

    jrford Well-Known Member

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    Do you have the Rear DVD? On my radio, I have the Factory Base Radio 4L2T-18C868-CA. I also have the Steering wheel cntrls, Rear DVD player and rear controls. The DVD has a 'Aux 1' input on the radio which we use for the ipod. In the back of the radio i have two Black Connector’s, there is a spot for another smallest connector but it has no pins it for the sub woofer. The big connector is for the controls and rear dvd input. . .smaller of the two big ones are the spearkers smallest connector is sub woofer.
    I'd start with the model number of the radio (they can look alike but be very different) and what options do you have? Depending on that - with the prices of used radios it might be easier to swap in the right factory radio. If you go aftermarket to upgrade the HU which as far as i know it will disable (if you have it) Steering wheel cntrls, Rear DVD player and rear controls.
    It easy to pull the radio, the trim pulls off (use a putty knife so you don't damage the trim), after that only two screws.
     
    Last edited: October 22, 2008
  5. Donner

    Donner Explorer Addict

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    Check here...


    http://www.oem-auto-accessory.com/factory_ford_radios.html ;)
     
  6. gsmaclean

    gsmaclean Active Member

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    I pulled my HU out. The model number of the radio is 3L2T-18C815-FB. Knowing this hasn't helped me a lot, I still can't seem to positively find which (if any) PIE adapter will work with my HU.

    There are three connectors in the rear. An 8 pin connector which has 4 wires connected to it, a 20 pin connector which has only 2 wires connected to it, and a 16 pin connector which has every wire connected. The 16 pin has power, ground, and speaker outputs on it. I'm assuming the 20 pin is the steering controls. I don't know what the 8 pin is for.

    Any ideas, anyone?
     
  7. pa944red

    pa944red Member

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    Get one of these.

    A lot cheaper and sounds great. Had the same one on my Jetta, then my Passat, my old Explorer and now my new Explorer and it still sounds great.

    It still tunes to a FM channel, but it interrupts the signal going to the radio from the antenna.

    Tom
     
  8. jrford

    jrford Well-Known Member

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    8-pin is for the sub woofer. I have tried the FM modulator but it has a limited freq response related to the radio somewhere 50-15khz while a direct feed would have 20-20khz. You may or may not 'hear' the difference is another question. My Aux1 would go through the 20pin. I'll see if the wire diagram in the FSM id the pins.
    on Pie web site, this looks like it may work, i'd call to be sure. It plugs into the 20pin.
    1998-2007 FORD VEHICLES TO iPOD - RADIO CONTROLLED Product Code: FRDN/PC-POD
     
  9. gsmaclean

    gsmaclean Active Member

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    Doing some web research, it appears that the difference is with the "series" of radios - some have the "815" series radio (which I have), some have the "868" series. Some people report that only the 868 series works, some report that both work. With so much conflicting information, it's hard to decide what to believe. What I'd like to know is if anyone with a "815" series radio has gotten a PIE adapter to work.
     
  10. jrford

    jrford Well-Known Member

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    the 815 is the 6CD while the 868 is the CD/Cass Combo the letters after tell what is it is Audiophile, Prem, Base radios but i don't know what the codes mean for sure, still searching my self.
    My original is a CA, base radio no sub, rear dvd, only two 20pin/16ping in back.
    I have a replacement Audiophile (or so i was told) with a AF letters it has all 3 connectors 20/16/8 pins. I have yet to plug it in, i'm trying to add a stock sub woofer and keep Steering/DVD. I'll post what i find out when i get it back - its in the shop for a trans rebuild.
     
  11. gsmaclean

    gsmaclean Active Member

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    Well is it possible to connect a CD changer or rear DVD system to an 815 series radio? Anyone know?
     
  12. gsmaclean

    gsmaclean Active Member

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    Alright, with no response here, I contacted PIE Electronics directly. I told them what type of radio I had (6 disc in-dash changer), and gave them the model number (3L2T-18C815-FB). They said that the "815" indicates it is a 6-disc in-dash CD player (well duh, I already knew that), and to quote them, "2003-2004 (6-Disc in-dash) model radios are NOT CD-Changer capable, and therefore cannot be used with any PIE auxiliary input interface."

    Well, crap, I thought.

    Then I looked at the back of my radio. It has three connectors:

    [​IMG]

    When the cables are plugged in, the center one (the one used for CD changers, I discovered) has only two wires connected. These wires connect the radio to the steering wheel buttons:

    [​IMG]

    So either they put that huge connector in there for just two wires...or perhaps my radio is CD-changer capable after all?

    I decided to take the plunge. I ordered a PIE Electronics FRDN-AUX adapter from Logjam Electronics. It arrived today. The instruction sheet included with it repeated the warning that 2003-2004 (6-Disc in-dash) model radios were not compatible.

    I pulled my radio out, connected it up, powered everything up...and no smoke came out. A good start.

    I pressed the CD button, and it started playing a CD. As expected.

    I pressed the CD button again, and:

    [​IMG]

    I started hearing my satellite radio! Victory! My radio was compatible with the PIE interface, despite what they had told me.

    Fitting it in was a bit of a job. The cable they supplied was too short to let the interface live down lower in the dash, so the only place it would fit was shoved up in the dash on the "step" behind the radio. It would vibrate if I put it there, so I wrapped the interface in foam, then shoved it in so it would sit firmly and not rattle around in the dash.

    The difference in sound quality between the FM transmitter in my XM SkyFi2 and having it wired in directly is astronomical. I don't know how I lived with such crappy sound before.

    So if you've wondered if you can do this - yes, you can, and I highly encourage you to do it.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. zeejm

    zeejm New Member

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    Excellent! I have the same radio and hit the same roadblock a couple of years ago when I picked up a similar style of satellite radio.
     
  14. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    Ipod?

    My CD6 cd player in my 03 Eddie quit working. I was wondering if I could tie in an Ipod or something, in the same fashion as you tied in your satellite radio?
     
  15. gkcmilner

    gkcmilner New Member

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    gsmaclean,

    Were you able to plug the steering wheel wires into the new connector? Do you still have full steering wheel functionality?
    Thanks for the post and pictures, great write up.
     
  16. gsmaclean

    gsmaclean Active Member

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    Yes, the steering wheel wires plugged in that connector (the big connector with only two wires), and all the original steering wheel functions were retained.
     
  17. gkcmilner

    gkcmilner New Member

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    Excellent, thank you very much. I'll get one today.:thumbsup:
     
  18. Pontisteve

    Pontisteve Active Member

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    Could this setup be used to have an Ipod directly put songs in, acting like the Ipod is a cd changer? And would the factory radio see this as a changer, and allow the radio to control the ipod?
     
  19. jrford

    jrford Well-Known Member

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    It could but it only provides RCA inputs. . .you have to use the ipod to switch songs. I did this with my heep.

    this would be for the ipod not sure how it will interface the playlists.
    PIE FRDN/PC-POD 98-07 Ford Digital iPod Interface Adapter


    Check Crutchfield out, i had the first one listed it worked fine but did not charge the ipod. Would up getting the Peripheral iPod Adapter which does charge the thing. Not much price difference. I able to skip songs F/R with the steering wheel controls but i still have to select the playlist first, again this is a '96 heep.

    with the Ex i have a Aux input on the Rear DVD player, just use the headphone jack.
     
  20. JW

    JW Third Gen Collector Elite Explorer

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    I've looked all over the place - did Ford ever have an MP3-capable in-dash changer that takes those plugs?
     
  21. John43528

    John43528 New Member

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    Has anyone been successful with an 04 explorer limited and ipod interface? I can't seem to find one to work in my car.
     

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