Kenwood KVT-617DVD and CB install in dash 2 single Dins | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Kenwood KVT-617DVD and CB install in dash 2 single Dins


Well-Known Member
November 16, 2005
Reaction score
City, State
Houghton, MI
Year, Model & Trim Level
'99 XLT
If you saw my other thread you'll notice that I changed my head unit. The place that I got the orignal JVC didn't end up having the item in stock, so they refunded my money. After I got my money back I decided, what the hell, I might as well spend a few more bucks, (so much easier when 500 is already in paypal funds) and get the Kenwood unit I was looking at. So thats what happened, and I got it overnighted to my place, so I could have the entire weekend to do a decent install.

I also put a Uniden pro-538w cb in the "bottom slot." I've seen it a couple times on here before and I really thought that was a sweet idea.... So I begain my search. I quickly found out that Uniden unit was the only one that had a speaker on the front of the unit instead of the bottom. After a few days of ebaying, I ended picking one up for about 25 bucks after shipping. As far as the other stuff and details about the install kit and the wiring harness that I used, that was all in the other thread. So I'll post a link up here, just in case you wanted to check that out.

Parts Detail

On that note, I'm not real sure that I would recommend the Metra install kit. It didn't seem like it was the right size for the din sized unit, even though after minor filing (on the metra) the face of the Kenwood slid right into place. I ended up using the faceplate that is meant for a 1 peice double din installation, but I figured since I was trying to cram a cb under it, that little extra room would be handy (without the plastic peice that separates the units)

ANYway I am very, very pleased with how it came out, even though it did take most of the weekend to get everything sqaured away.

Here is the final product.


The cb ended up requiring the most amount of work to get it to fit in the space availiable. I did modify the radio bezel, by cutting off the top and bottom flange of plastic that the stock radio buts up against. The side peices were left in tact. (The metra kit actually requires that they stay because of how it installs) The face plate of the CB was removed and sanded/filed/cut until it would slide in below the kenwood unit. After it seemed like I was getting somewhere, I went to put the assembly in the dash and quickly found out that the CB housing was not going to fit in the dash with the antenna connection on the back. So I had to move the antenna connection to a pig tail style connector out the side. (The same with the PA jack) After beating on the CB so much, I decided that the unit ought to undergo some testing before I put it into the dash for good. Much to my surprise it still worked (Besides a few minor issues that very well could have been issues before I started hacking)




The final dilema was where to install the brain box for the whole operation. Ater toying around with a few places it seemed most logicalical to not do anything real creative and just put it under the passenger seat. When I finally decided on a place that the seat springs would beat the crap out of it, a couple self tapping screws made quick work of the mounting process. Pulling the passenger seat out was a must (obviously)


After everything was set and ready to go it was time to try to hide about 1000 feet of wire. The unit comes with more than enought wire to mount the brain on the back lift gate if you really wanted to. I decided not to cut anything, just in case I did decide to, later move the unit to the back of the truck. I mangaged to hide most of the wire in the center console cup holder and pocket parts. There is a ton of extra room behind the climate controls to jam a bunch of unused wire.



As for watching DVDs while driving, of course I wired it up so I could do that. A simple connection to the ground wire instead of the parking brake easily solved that problem. I'm not real sure why anyone would install these things without having the functionallity to use them while you are moving. The unit has plenty of AV inputs, so I plan on hooking up an old school system. (I'm thinking N64) so my buddies and I can make the drive up to college a little more interesting.

...This BTW makes it hella easier to work on!

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Looks nice all finished up!

Well I'm a fairly young enthusiast myself and im about to get my dad's 98 since he's had it since then and is now about to buy a tahoe. I've been looking around all day and decided this is the place to be...out of all the mods I've seen yet yours is definitely in consideration, though it does look like a near-impossible feat...

The hardest part of the install was the fact that the CB wasn't really "din sized." But it was damn close so after a little bit of modification it worked out. I bet if you actually had to aftermarket unit that were really din sized the install would be a hell of alot smoother.

...You just can't be afraid to cut into the radio bezel, those plastic lips have to come off. Just remember if it looks like crap you can always get another one on ebay for under $100. :D

awsome. i have a few more questions...i've been pondering that kenwood all night and i was wondering 1-can you adjust the brightness of the screen so it's not blndinig at night...and 2-can you close the screen and have it still function?

man that came out nice, good job!

410- Thanks, I really wanted to see if I could get them in there while keeping a full face plate around both units. I think that is what cleans it up

Kona- The Kenwood seems to be a pretty solid unit. There only a couple things that bug me about it, but nothing that makes me regret the buy. The screen has a function that automatically dims the screen at night. You might be able to see the little sensor on the bottom of the screen when its out. You can also manually change the brightness if it doesn't dim it enough for you. The unit is fully functional with the screen inside, I think you can do pretty much everything from the outside controls, even with the screen closed.

Another thing that I particually like about it is that the screen only moves when you want it to. For example, when you turn on the truck it doesn't automatically come out. And when you turn off the truck, it doesn't automaticallly go back in. Which I like cause it decreases the amount of wear on the motor when you might be in and out of your car 3-4 times in a short period of time. The unit will also still close if you hit the "close" button while the car is completely off, even without keys.... so if you forget to close it before you turn your car off, it will still close. Pretty sweet stuff

Cool thanks for the input. Did you find wiring harnesses to hook up everything or did you have to cut and patch stuff together?

Kenwoods are the best
I have nothing but kenwood head units and its because they have earned it over the years
Nothing against other brands, just Kenwood IMO is the best, ost user friendly and best quality and features

Kenwood started out making car audio only and it is still their main focus, and it shows

This is actually my first Kenwood, but the price was right, and I thought it would be sweet to have the DVD in dash :D

Kona, if you link to the "parts" thread, (In the first post) you will find all the stuff I used to put it together. With part numbers, and where I got it.

I was pretty confused about what harness I needed to get since all the information I could find said I need the metra 70-1771 harness, but it only had one connector! The radio obviously had two so I was thrown for a loop until I decided to go out to the car and pull the harness out of the radio that wan't included turn the key and see what happens. As it turns out, with the wire plugged in all the rear audio controls work, and when it is yanked out, the they dont. So I guess it's pretty safe to say the second harness is only used for the back seat audio controls. .... We won't be needing those anymore.

Or I'll just throw it up here. Basically, if you have premium sound w/out the external amplifier, the Metra 70-1771 with work great.