Mach or Not? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Mach or Not?


Active Member
October 7, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Rochester, MN
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 Explorer Eddie Bauer
I've been doing alot of reading lately and I'm finding alot of conflicting info. I'm not sure wether I have the premium sound system, or the Mach audio system?

I have a 98 Eddie Bauer. It has single CD/Cassette deck. It does not say Mach or JBL on the head unit anywhere. I do have a factory sub. I do not have the CD changer in the armrest.

What is the definitive way to tell if I have it or not? If I do have it, is there any extra steps when installing an Aftermarket unit?

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Do you have a power antenna.
If you've got the sub, you've got the JBL system.
The cover on the sub will say "JBL."

Yes I have the power antenna. When I bought the explorer the paper like material just inside the rubber ring was ripped and causing bad sound so I replaced it with just a cheap 8" aftermarket sub so I can't look at that.

What is the difference between the Mach system and the jbl system?

Mach is 4 speakers, 'premium ford speakers'. (Paper POS..)
JBL is 4 speakers + Sub. (More paper POS.)
The JBL system is just a different harness when putting in an aftermarket radio.
And a bit of work to hook up the factory sub.

Will the harness from crutch field work? The one that has an RCA preout in it?

Uhm, do you have a link to it?

If you select the JBL system in the menu at Crutchfield, they'll send you the right harness.

Mossy, can you post the model number off the stock radio? This way it can be determined 100 percent sure which radio system you have.

The crutch field site didn't have a selection for the JBL system. They only had with and without Mach. I can attach a link to it in the morning.

I can also out up a picture of the model number of the radio in the morning.

Oh, my bad.. you have a 98.
JBL System was renamed to Mach in 98, and the lower end one became premium..
It's dumb..

Yes, that appears to be the right one. In the notes it states that you need an additional 12-volt to 5-volt converter — eliminates the turn-on "thump" in Ford-built vehicles with amplified systems. That's for the sub woofer amplifier "turn on" lead on the rear amplifier.

Yes I did read that also Mic, the stereo I'm looking at says its equipped with 2 preouts (2V), which I'm assuming means 2 volts? If this is the case do i still need the converter, or will that be fine?

The pre outs they are talking about are for non amplified audio signal levels. The 2v they are talking about is an low audio level signal (music). The rear sub woofer basically needs a signal (RCA) level output that feeds into the rear sub woofer amplifier. The rear amplifier is switched on (turned on) by a single wire control lead that provided by the radio head unit in the dash. This control lead is different than most radios standard control lead voltage which is +12v DC. The Ford rear amplifier needs a +5v DC voltage instead of the normal +12v DC. If you were to just use the aftermarket radio standard +12v control lead, the rear amplifier will work, but when the radio comes on, the sub woofer will give a big annoying "Popping" noise.
The +5v DC kit simply converts the original +12v DC down to a manageable +5v DC to quietly turn on the rear sub woofer just like the factory radio originally did.
Feel free to ask me any questions. If I don't know the answer, I'm quite sure I can find it for you.

Thanks for explaining that! I have the step down already in my cart to order, but I was wondering if it was unnecessary. I do appreciate the explanation as to why it is not.

Mossy, I'm not sure if it's a typo or not when you said "why it is not." The +5 volt kit is recommended for your aftermarket radio to supply the rear sub woofer amplifier control lead. Just wanted to be sure I didn't confuse you. :)

No. I meant thank you for explaining why I do need it and it is not overkill.