Stock Headunit to Amp confusion on wiring | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Stock Headunit to Amp confusion on wiring


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February 20, 2007
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I recently replaced the two front speakers and sub in my '98 Explorer and have them connected to my aftermarket 4 channel amp (2 channels to the front speakers and the other 2 channels are bridged to the sub). I'm not going to be using the rear speakers with this setup. I'm now at the point where I need to connect the headunit to the amp using a line out converter but this is the point where I need some help with the wiring.

1. For my setup would I need a 2 or 4 channel line out converter? I assume 4 channels since that's how many RCA inputs my amp has.

2. Should I tap into the wiring harness behind the headunit or the one plugged into the factory amp (which has been removed)? I believe there are only 5 wires connecting to the factory amp which I'm not sure what they are for (perhaps the rear speakers, power, ground, remote).

This is only a temporary solution for now as I'm going to replace the factory headunit at a later time. Just trying to get some music playing until then.

Thanks in advance!

- TL

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I'm assuming you have the Mach radio(OEM sub) so the front speaker wires are right in the main radio connector. That main one is rectangular, not square. You will be working with the speaker wires, so just match the colors for those two. The sub signal is in the very small third connector, it has few wires.

I can't help you much with the sub signal, that's a bigger subject. The Mach radio has a mute function which it controls the sub also by sending a 2nd signal in the sub wire. That signal is 5v and I understand that it will affect the sound/quality etc. A transformer is what was described to me as being needed, by a professional of those radios. I have gotten around that issue with mine by having five preouts installed, thus I don't use the speaker level outputs(no 5v sub signal).

Unless you have other radio needs(video, navigation etc.) you should consider keeping the factory Pioneer Mach. I'd buy it if I had time to have it fixed/sell etc. Good luck,

Maybe the PAC OEM-2 would help...


This is what I used for my "Budget Bass" project. Speaker wires in, RCAs out. This also made the 5V Ford remote turn on into a 12V, with turn-on delay to avoid thumps when powering on. I got this off eBay for cheap.

Here is the instruction manual in PDF...

There is one on eBay right now for $1 plus $8 shipping...

If your not running the rears off the amp, then you could get away wit ha two channel converter with RCA Y's.

One question if anyone knows, which factory wire is the amp turn on wire? I hadn't gotten to worrying about the amp wiring yet. Does someone know which it is at the radio? I would prefer to tap it there for connection to the RCA amp turn on lead. Thanks,