Replaceing Stock deck, will changer still work? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Replaceing Stock deck, will changer still work?


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November 18, 1999
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I know this question has been asked and answered before but I can't find it. I have a 98 Sport with the mach audio system. It has the dual media radio with a 6 disc changer in the console and the rear audio controls. I would like to replace it with the Alpine CDA-W550 but have a few questions.

1. Will the stock changer work with an aftermarket deck?

2. Will the rear audio controls function with an aftermarket deck?

3. How are the stock speakers being powered now? Is it off of the stock deck or is there a seperate amp?

4. Does anyone know approx. how many watts the component speakers are getting now? When I replace them I want to match the speakers in terms of watts.

Thanks for any info anybody can provide.

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Ok well I know for sure that if you get a aftermarket deck you cant use the rear controls anymore unfortunatly. I have a '99 sport, and it sucks, but price you have to pay I guess. There is a factory amp behind the right side panel in rear cargo bay. I would think its about 100 watts. Not sure about with the Mach though. Now I am not sure, but I would think that if the changer is a name brand, ex. sony, JBL, or something like that, it will only work with the corresplonding deck. I am not sure on that. Just using common sense. BUt I know the rear controls wont work. Sorry I cant help more. I dont have the Mach. I just replaced everything, that I had from my old truck. Hope I helped a little.

cd changer will not work with after market alpine. the changer works though the head unit an after market radio cd changer plugs are different every manufacturer is different so you can not mix up brands. as for the speakers you are probably better off with a cd player (in dash) that has no amp built in, it would be much easier to hook up the wires. and you will benifit from clearer sound. run a four or five channel amp so you only need one amp I did this and have been very pleased with it.

If you are looking for a head unit with no amp I have eclipse cd tuner in dash very nice piece I paid 550 for it six months ago I just sold my explorer and bought an olds aurora it has a bose system and I have no need for the cd player. it has all the bells and whistles its a competion piece the model number is 5504 check it out at a local dealer im sure you wont be dissapointed
im asking 350 for it which is a steal considering its age and condition!!!!!

The cd changer will work with an aftermarket head unit. You'll just have to connect to the head unit through the antenna opening. If it's an after market changer sony,jvc,pioneer,eclipse and you get a head unit that is the same brand as the changer you can control the changer through the controls of the new head unit. If not u are going to have to control it through an rf modulator. The speakers are powered from a little amp in the back of truck. The power there really sucks. My advice get a 4 channel amp and power all 4 speakers. You'll get more power and cleaner sound. The controls in the rear buddy you have lost for now. I found a web page a while back that sells an adapter to make the rear controls work again. Only problem is I lost that page, but they do make an adapter. I'm still looking for it, right now my solution is I got a head unit with a remote control. I just keep the remote in the back in case passengers in back want to change station or raise volume.Well I hope this helped a little bit.


It really doesn't matter whethor or not the deck has power internal when you are using the preamp outs. You won't lose any SQ. The important thing is to get 4 volt or higher preamp outputs. I like the alpine units as they have been very reliable for me. I've had a couple of Eclipse units, and, while they sound good, I wouldn't buy another. I have had more reliability problems with them than any other decks I've had. The deck you are looking at has three sets of pre-outs, which makes expansion very easy and gives you more control over your system. It also comes with a remote, so that covers the rear controls Dead Link Removed, although a good install shop should be able to fabricate a way to make it work (I'd personally get a second wireless remote, wire it into the factory rear controls, and mount the transmitter in a concealed locale where it could still hit the deck). As for the factory amps, the Mach systems have good amps. But, you won't be able to use the full range of the alpine deck with the factory amps. I'm personally very partial to running multiple amps, just for tweaking and cooling purposes. There are some very good multiple channel amps coming out now, though, for full system power. Just make sure to use heavy gauge wire if you go with an amp or two, as long a run as you will have use at least 4 gauge. You could probably get by with 8 gauge if you didn't need more than 40-50 amps, but better safe than sorry. As for the changer, it won't work with the alpine deck. And why worry about it? Get an Ai-Net changer and you will be much happier. I like the fact that I can name the discs and if I put in a different cartridge and don't remember what I had in it, I can just scroll through the disc names. And the Ai-Net stuff is very nice for connection. Digital connections are VERY nice. Depending on how many discs you want to use, go with either the CHA-1214 (12 disc) or the CHA-S624. You may be able to find a slightly older changer that is Ai-Net compatible, which would work just as well.
And speakers, well, we don't have that much space Dead Link Removed.

Ok, on an off note, just got done with my brother-in-law's CRX tonight. It sounds gooood. He's now running 200RMS into each door (a set of Boston Acoustic 6.5 pro components)and 400 to a set of 8 ohm paralleled Rockford XLC 15s. We haven't used an RTA yet, but it is very accurate for such large cones. And the SPL is killer! He is finally beating my SHO's system, so it's time to install the next JL 12w6 and maybe another alpine MRV-1005.


what makes you belive that not having a built amp has the same sound quality as one with a built in amp???? that is crazy!! For one the component in a stereo that causes the most interfence is the amplifier, that is why Sony ES and Onkyo put huge walls in there home recievers to separate the amplifier from the rest of the components. The father the amp is away from the rest of the componets the better. It is naturally better to go with a separate amp because you can get more control and natuarly better sound..

P.S. I would like to hear your side on this belief..

Ever went to a competition? I didn't say that using the built in amp is cleaner, I said that having it there doesn't matter. If you aren't using it, it won't cause interference. I've RTA'd my SHO and it has no audible noise and a very nice curve, even with coaxials instead of components. The pre-amp voltage is more important than whether or not it has an amp built in. The higher your output voltage is the less chance of picking up radiant noise from the ignition, crossed wires, etc...
I've saw vehicles compete using factory head units and have no noise as well, the only thing you get with the amp pulled, in most cases, is more chassis room for upgrading the built in features. Or, in the case of better decks, higher quality (read - larger) electical components. So if you aren't using the built in power it doesn't matter, and if you need it (as in most common systems) it is there. I personally won't use deck power, but it is there when I sell the deck off for the next newer model that comes out. I've spent a bit of time installing and had lots of opportunity to compare various decks. So far, I've never saw an audible difference (or recordable on a normal RTA) between comparable quality decks with or without internal power.