Convert Basic stereo to Mach audio | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

  • Register Today It's free!

Sean Anderson

New Member
April 4, 2018
Reaction score
City, State
Bloomington, Indiana
Year, Model & Trim Level
2001 Ford Explorer XLT
i have read through the threads and can’t find EXACTLY what I’m looking to have have answered. Most threads are how to fix things that are broken.

I have a 2001 XLT with standard audio system. I have at my disposal a 2001 Eddie Bauer donor truck which has the premium audio system with fully working stock head unit door speakers and subwoofer.

I want to know what I need to do to make that premium system work in mine. Besides installing the woofer and such behind the panel in the back, changing speakers and head unit, will my wire harness work with this? Is mine pre set up for this system? I do NOT want an after market system in my explorer. I’m very anti aftermarket on stereos. I can get the whole system from the Eddie Bauer for $40. I just need to know what I need to rip out of the explorer in order to get it working in mine. Do I have to have the 6 disc changer installed? Can I omit that?


Hi Sean. The Premium and Mach stereos in the 98-01 Explorers is unique in the dash harness mainly. There is a small plug in harness that connects to the dash harness near the right kick panel, and it runs to the amp/sub. The speakers are not unique or special that I know of, buy nice aftermarket units.

You do know the Premium and Mach radios are Pioneer decks right? They are great, I love the OEM look, big buttons etc, but they all have bad display boards(unavailable now). You might want to decide on the repair issue before investing more time and money first.

You don't need to use the changer, but unfortunately the speaker wires do run into the full length console wiring harness, and come back out, to the speakers(through the dash harness). There are adapters which can plug into the changer connector(in console), to provide an aux input, or for some other device.

The dash wiring is your problem. There was many years ago a harness that could be used with a normal stereo 98-01 Explorer, but I don't know where you might find that. I know of that, because my 98 Mercury had it when I bought the truck in 2003. It's a long harness that plugs into the normal radio wires, and leads into the console. So someone added that and a changer to my Mercury, and there's easily 6+ feet of wiring bundled in my console.

If you could find that special harness, that would be the way easiest solution. Other than that, the best bet is to swap the dash harness. But you would have to be careful to be sure all other wiring remained the same or functional, as it goes into the body and engine bay harnesses. That means it would not be wise to swap a dash harness from a different engine/trans/TC truck, you'd upset those functions if you didn't rewire those with your old harness.

I've got my recent 98 Limited to be my best SUV, but it has poor dash(cigarette burn), interior in general, so I'm going to be swapping dashes etc. I'm a long way away from that still, if I'm lucky I might do that in six months. But I hadn't thought long on it. I'll be using my Limited wiring with the Mercury dash, so the special adapter harness will remain with the Mercury. I wouldn't have to keep the Mach radio in that, the truck is just a spare work vehicle now. I could remove that and simply use an aftermarket radio in it. I hadn't thought that far along. I really do like the steering wheel controls for the radio and AC, I use them a lot at work.

I am looking at a couple changes to my 05 ST Adrenaline.
I wired my pioneer nav head unit in with no wire diagram available, all diagrams available were for Mach and premium where as Adrenaline has different sub pin outs and all speakers run through the amp.
Now I’m doing a 5.0 swap from a 99 limited and I’m sizing up the steering wheel controls and the simplified stereo wiring and maybe bridging the amp for more power to the sub (that is already blown and needs to be replaced)

I’m not in the dash yet to see if it’s an easily isolated harness or what it takes to adapt the steering controls

And word of advice, source the premium harness even if you need to change the pin out.
I got half way in realizing there is 2 or 3 different harness sets for that generation including the Sport Trac’s