06 radio in a 98 - 98% complete -Factory amp problems | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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06 radio in a 98 - 98% complete -Factory amp problems


Well-Known Member
April 11, 2007
Reaction score
City, State
Chesterfield, MI
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 mountaineer v8
To start I picked up a radio out of a 06 grand marquis. It is a 6 disc and the price was right (less than 50). I've always liked the look of factory radios over the sometimes gaudy after market replacements.

I went to a few junk yards and found the wire harnesses for the radio and bought an after market wire harness adapter. There were 3 harnesses behind my factory 98 radio. The 2 smaller harnesses had the same colors so I cut the 98 ends off and spliced on the 06 ends. I used the wire harness adapter for the main harness so i didn't have to cut my 98 end off behind the dash.

I believe I got all the wires right, the 06 radio plays, lights dim with the dimmer, etc. The problem is it's not very loud. I put my 98 radio back in and it's probably twice as loud. I'm wondering if the factory amp isn't working. I've searched the internet for the actual harness pinout for the 06 but all i could find was an 08, which is close, it showed me where the speakers and the main power/ground hooked up.

I have 2 wires that the adapter harness did not carry over from the 98 harness, a solid blue, and a light green. I also have wires not hooked up on the 06 harness. The 06 radio does have a satellite button so i'm thinking those are the unused wires. I'm almost done with this project but just can't figure the last bit out. I'm an electrician so this is kind of a blow to my pride by asking for help on an electrical problem.

On a small side note. I have an after market subwoofer, box, and amp hooked up to a line converter hooked into the speaker wires going to the right rear door. Is there a way i can hook those up to the subwoofer harness behind the radio so i'm not getting the signal from the door but what would have went to the factory 8" sub that i removed? Heres some pictures of the radios and harnesses I've got going on.


the two small harnesses on the bottom right were the ones i cut off (went to my 98 radio) the larger harness is the converter harness spliced to the 06 harness.


06 radio on the left, 98 on the right


06 radio on the left, 98 on the right


back of the 06 radio

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... So i found out the wires not being used on the 06 wire harness are either "not used" or for the vehicle speed input, 5 in all. So I'm totally out of ideas as to why it's only half as loud as my old radio and with no bass.


Don't know if the 06 has an onboard amp. The '98 radio was amped onboard.

the output to the amp from the newer reciever could have a different voltage/amperage curve than the original one. my x had the very basic stereo in it when i got it so i dont have any hands on experience with that system. if there is any sort of volume control on the amp that could be an easy solution if you can access the amp and make the adjustment.

more ideas, do you recall the number and type of speakers that reciever was used for in the original car. if different speakers recieved a different set of frequencies and different wattages you may have used the wrong speaker outputs. so if you hooked up the high range lower powered speaker outs to be used for your doors it wouldnt be right. the lower power would lower volume and since it was only meant to be used for high range speakers the lower frequencies would be blocked or significantly reduced in volume.

does that make sense?

if you are using a reciever made for more than 4 speakers and all the speakers do not play the same frequency range it probably wont want to work right. if you can get it to work right it will take some clever wiring.

The grand marquis had 4 speakers, and a separate channel for the factory sub. In more in depth looking on the site i found some people trying to hook up the factory sub to after market radios.

Something i should have included into the orig. post was that someone butchered the wiring behind the dash before i owned my mountaineer. (or at least i assume) There was an extra harness just chilling, not plugged into anything, and in tracing it back i found about 15' of wires coiled up and jammed behind the radio. It went down through the console to my 6 disc changer in the center console. So maybe thats why it never worked. *it would eject, but never played a note*

Anyway, I am thinking that since i tied in my aftermarket amp into the right rear speaker i got good bass because the 98 radio i was using didn't have a sperate channel for the sub. By using this 06 radio with a dedicated sub channel it's keeping the bass out of the 4 door speakers.

So when i turn on the radio i have to turn up the gain knob all the way, and turn the bass on the deck up all the way and only get about half the bass i should get.

My plan is to hook my sub up the the dedicated sub channel (connector). Therefore i should get the sound where it needs to go because i think its just the fact that there is very little to no bass that is making me think its not as loud as the 98 radio.

NOW.. heres what i'm still looking into/need help with. My LOC is under my right rear seat. If i were to hook up to the harness going to the factory amp, (which is right there) do i use the LOC or is it already a low level signal and i have to split up some RCA's *cut apart*.

Kind of where i'm at..

hi/lo line converter. I have a 2005 super duty radio with the same harnesses as my 06 6disc radio and i tried that and have better sound so i'm thinking it is the EQ on the 06 is set up with a separate channel for the sub. So i'm wondering if i can put my LOC after my factory amp to get the low level signals i need for my rca's and amp. I guess the pre amp wires from the dash are neither high nor low but a 'differential output signal'. I found that in this thread. installing subs but i threw out the harness on the sub side of my amp so i've got to go to the junk yard anyway so i'll grab another harness.

have you checked the specs for the HU from the marquis? It could be half the amperage, allthough, no signal to the amp seems more likely. You would be surprised at what 10-20 watts lost or gained will do for sound.

you're saying you want to splice into the signal wires going to the factory sub amp to use as the signal going to your after market sub/amp right?

if thats what you are saying i think i would splice those wires to your amp with the speaker level input adapter and then see if you can get the volume you want by adjusting the gain and bass boost on the amp. you have alot of volume control to work with with these new after market amps. on my amps the gain is set to 0.5 which is almost nothing. and the bass boost is off. if it wont get loud enough like that maybe try splicing those wires directly to an RCA and turn the volume on the amp way down and then see what happens.