1997 Stock Stereo (JBL) Questions | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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1997 Stock Stereo (JBL) Questions


Active Member
October 20, 2008
Reaction score
City, State
Guyton, GA
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 XLT
I have the JBL stereo in my explorer. It has the factory sub and the 6-disc changer in the console. Well, everytime I put a cd in it, it says "Bad CD" on the head unit. I know these cd's work. Will any aftermarket cd changer hook up the same way? Or should I just forget about it and get a head unit? Also, the sub sounds like it is blown. Are there any aftermarket ones I can replace it with? I'm going crazy not being able to listen to cd's! Thanks!

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i actualy have the same ex and the same exact problems. i replaced my sub with some aftermarket 10" subs that i just sat in the back and it sounded realy good until my car got broken into last week and my subs were stollen. i would try to find the changer at a junkyard. i saw one on friday but im strapped for cash so i just kept walkin. if you go with an aftermarket deck dont forget that it is a pain in the ass to hook it up because of the JDL. ur deck goes to an amp in the back of the car so u cant just replace the deck with a simple harness.

good luck

Well crap. What if I just got like an aftermarket pioneer 6 disc changer? Will that hook up how the one thats in there does?

Nop, you'll need one that is made for Ford to be able to control it through th HU,
or get an FM modulated one,
or get a new HU with MP3 and forget about changers, if you get it at Crutchfield you can get the harness to bypass the amp...

Does it need to be for a 97 model?

Also, is the factory sub in the back an 8"?

1- not sure what years are interchangeable, maybe look for them on ebay, they usually go cheap (~50USD)

2- if you don't have the 8in, you can carve the enclosure to fit one, there's a thread about it, just search for "stock sub enclosure"

This is such a pain! I just want to listen to cd's and not have rattling bass, ha. I may pull that cd changer out and clean it and everything and see if it will work.

if you go with an aftermarket deck dont forget that it is a pain in the ass to hook it up because of the JDL. ur deck goes to an amp in the back of the car so u cant just replace the deck with a simple harness.

good luck

That is not correct. You can install an aftermarket deck with a simple harness.

First thing to remember is that is NOT an amp in the rear with a JBL. It is actually the radio. The rear console and head unit are simply control units. You can tell if it's a true JBL by looking back there and seeing if the radio antenna plugs in there. If so, get this: http://www.installer.com/item/display_item.php?it=70-5601 This will allow you to utilize the factory antenna lead and harnesses without rerouting or changing them by bringing all the radio wires and leads back to the dash. This eliminates the JBL radio in the back and also eliminates the rear console radio controls. (however, it may be possible to get those back with an interface from someone like PAC-Audio if your head unit allows hard wired remotes...but that's just thinking out loud on my part)

This harness does nothing with the subwoofer however. That must be wired separately. This is not hard to do. Just remember that sub amp likes a 5V enable circuit and your new deck will have 12V. You need to regulate it down. The power and ground for the amp should still be back there to utilize.

I've done this with two JBL systems very successfully. It's not hard.

The center CD changer is an animal all by itself due to the wiring harness. I believe it's made by Clarion that year, but it's a dedicated Ford unit. But it's not worth trying to make it work anyway. If you use a Pioneer head unit, I've seen their 6 disk changers for under $100 all the time. That would be a much better way to go.

Thanks for the information! So if I do go with the pioneer head unit, what all do I have to do with the sub? When it comes to electrical stuff, I'm not too bright, ha. I mean, I've put pioneer head units in my Mustang and Festiva, but they just had a normal stereo with 4 speakers.

hey if you want to keep things factory, i have a 97 HU and cd changer collecting dust in my garage. let me know it you want it. and yes, it is very simple to hook up an aftermarket HU, but an aftermarket changer is a different story.

I'd be very interested! Head Unit seems to work fine, but if you're wanting to get rid of all of it I understand. Please PM me a price, details etc!