FIX!!! Poor Radio Reception After Aftermarket HU Install | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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FIX!!! Poor Radio Reception After Aftermarket HU Install


July 17, 2009
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City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
1996 5.0L Eddie Bauer
When I was searching through the forums a bit ago, I could not find an answer to this issue.

I have a 96 5.0L V8 Eddie Bauer with the JBL Control Unit and Amp in the rear left trim panel separate from the head unit. I installed a new 2-Din Pioneer Head Unit and cut into all proper cables from the Rear Controller Plug, the Head Unit Plug, and the Antenna Relay, yet I was receiving horrific radio signals compared to stock. The forums suggested that the antenna cable may be bad/corroded/cut, maybe the signal amplifier was knock off-line, etc. Well I am happily to report the problem is SO much more simple than those suggestions.

As Ford does, they like to mess with those of us who enjoy completing aftermarket installs. In this case, the problem resides where the direct Antenna Cable that connects to the Interior Extension Cable that runs to the rear of the car. When I first installed the radio, I simply brought the extension from the rear of the car to the front and plugged it into the radio. It works, but the reception is horrible.

Well as it turns out, the direct antenna wire that runs into the interior ends with a female plug. The extension connects to this wire with a shielded male plug that could easily be mistake as female. Then the end of the extension is a unprotect female which you then insert in a male port into the radio.

Now this is completely backwards from the aftermarket. Essentially I was plugging the female cable into a female port designated for a male plug. This prevented proper connection of the center wire in the cable to make the required contact in the radio port.

The fix, go on ebay and search for "Ford Explorer Antenna Adapters Car Radio Cable" (or reverse the end connection of your extension from Female to Male). This will then allow you to make the proper connections and improving radio quality.

Oh, Ford, how I love your trickery.... hope this helps prevent headaches