By Passing The Pre-Amp Question... ? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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By Passing The Pre-Amp Question... ?


Well-Known Member
January 10, 2003
Reaction score
City, State
lees summit, MISSOURI
Year, Model & Trim Level
'94 EB
I have a panosonic SP ? HU... I did not by pass my pre amp, and its a 50x4( my new HU). When I turn the HU up, the aftermarket speakers, that i just installed, distort and sound like $hIt. Is this because I did not By pass my pre-amp? Appreciate the help...

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yes... the factory amp is crappy...... jsut buy an amp bypass and be done with it... they are cheap.....

Yea, Buy the amp bypass from crutchfeild. I made the mistake of not doing it like that, and cutting and splicing wires together so i had no clue what wires to to which, and i made it work for the time being.

There's a guide on how to do it without the harness from Crutchfield... but its much easier and faster to just get the harness from Crutchfield. Took me more time getting the panel off than anything. The harness is only like 10-15 bucks too. Got mine free with the head unit.

Do you know of a link to the site where theres a guide? I have to buy the connectors and the harness, and if i could bypass it with out the harness it'd be cool, I don't mind taking a lil time to do it.

Watched best buy do the same thing to a vehicle... put in a HU without bypassing the amp.. so the new high quality head unit sent an cleaner amplified signal to the crappy factory amp to try to further amplify. Yeah it sounded bad at anything above a whisper.

I haven't used a harness yet.. 3 explorer installs and each time I just ran new speaker wire.

It's here somewhere. I think Expo did it, I had it bookmarked but then realized that I didn't need it since I had the harness.

Do any of the factory 98-01 HU's with changer controls not have a built in amplifier. I have to keep a factory HU, but I'd like to add two amps. Thanks,

Nothing 98+ has an external amp unless you have the audiophile system(the one with a subwoofer). Only pre-98 with premium or audiophile have external amps.


hey - we just got a new 96 Ford Explr. (new to us) we just went thru the aftermarket radio thing and amp problem. my husband is an electrician and w/some great advise from this wonderful website - he just cut out the old amp, re-wired, and we didn't have the harnesses for the radio either and it all worked out great.. when i was in college i could put in my own radio w/no problems.. when my husband pulled out the deck i couldn't beleive all the wires and stuff.. the good ole' days.. thanks for everyone's help..

Thanks TTG. I have the Mach version, the one with the display issues. I gather that there is another Premium version of the HU. I would assume that it comes in subwoofer Explorers. I'm wondering about the four front speaker amplification. Regards,

Mach has the subwoofer, it's one of the Audiophile systems. Pioneer and JBL also made them at different times in Explorer productions. Your truck the speakers should be amplified by the head unit, so if you replace it the speakers shouldn't have any issues. You do have an external amp, but it runs the subwoofer only.

The Premium system lacks the subwoofer, but has upgraded speakers and more wattage over the base system. It also has rear controls. And pre-98 has the annoying ass external amp for the speakers.

My 98 Mountaineer has the rear controls. I will eventually add two amps, for the four speakers. I will keep a factory HU, but I need one that has all of the functions, and the least distortion.

I have had a cheap radio connected to one of these amps, in an old car. The full volume was reached at 90 degrees from off, and was louder than any factory radio. Beyond that 1/4 turn, distortion from the radio was very high. I'd prefer a factory HU that has no speaker amp, to lesten the sensitivity of the volume knob. It sounds like there isn't much else to choose from. The later Premium version doesn't have the disply problems. Thanks for your thoughts,

Well, switching out the stock head units doesn't really work for the most part. You pretty much are supposed to stay at the same level as you have. Especially with the mach system, as none of the other stock head units will have the output for the subwoofer.

I'd just get a nice aftermarket head unit.

Finally found the guide on how to byoass it without a kit.

Oh well, third try: A factory HU with the steering wheel controls, CD and changer, is mandatory. I don't care about the subwoofer as much as the four main speakers.

You can set the steering wheel controls up to work with aftermarket head units... and they can use the changers too... :)