Getting a replacement head unit may seem easy enough, but what if you got one with no wiring harness? Should you immediately consult a professional?
Can you do the replacement all by yourself? What else do you need to know about replacing a head unit with one that doesn’t have a wiring harness? Read on to know more about it right in this article from Philkotse.com:
Dealing with a head unit without a wiring harness
There are several ways that you can deal with “wiring a radio with no harness.” The proper approach will depend largely on what you mean.
There are several ways that you can deal with “wiring a radio with no harness
If you still have your factory harness but you no longer have the harness that came originally with your head unit, you can choose from two options. You can either purchase an adapter or create one yourself, which is the more troublesome option.
If you had everything that originally came with the head unit but a factory harness was cut out of your car, you’d have to identify the wires.
Then, just solder them in your head unit. If your head unit doesn’t have a harness plus you also have bare wires, your situation is a bit more complicated. But this, however, is still doable.
There are several ways that you can deal with “wiring a radio with no harness”
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Wiring your car stereo without a factory harness
Head unit adapters usually allow a quick plug-and-play installation. However, it’s still common for some installers to cut the harness. They then solder the head unit during installation.
If you have the head unit removed, later on, you’ll end up with bare wires. If you only want to upgrade your current head unit, you’ll need to cut your aftermarket harness and start all over again.
Head unit adapters usually allow a quick plug-and-play installation
While a tangled bunch of wires may seem like an anxious sight, this is actually easier to deal with once you start working on it. The best solution has got to be getting a wiring diagram specific to your car’s make and model.
You can also make use of the internet. Just use your preferred search engine and look up the wiring diagram specific for the make and model of your car.
You need to determine the colors assigned to the power, speaker, memory keep alive, speaker and other wires
You need to determine the colors assigned to the power, speaker, memory keep alive, speaker and other wires.
Once you successfully do that, you can locate them inside your dash. Then, just attach each of the wires to the corresponding one on your head unit.
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Wiring your car stereo without a head unit harness
This set of steps can be a more complicated task compared to the first one. This is because most scenarios under this category will usually require a bit of fabrication.
If you can get yourself on a harness from the closest or online auto accessories supply shop, things will be easier for you. But if you can’t find a new one, a used one may be available in the online marketplace or even from your friends and neighbor.
This set of steps can be a more complicated task compared to the first one
There are also used parts from automobile repair shops that you can take advantage of. If you aren’t able to find any type of replacement harness for your vehicle, you might as well prepare for the worst.
The work will start with a pinout diagram. So before you get started, make sure you have a guide of the head unit.
If you don’t have one, just take your head unit’s model number and type it in an internet search engine. You may get tons or even very few results but we’re sure you’ll eventually find what you need.
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So before you get started, make sure you have a guide of the head unit
If your manufacturer wasn’t comprehensive with their product, the online world may provide you with just about everything you need to know about it.
If on rare occasions you can’t find a pinout for your head unit, you may as well toss the task to the hands of the knowledgeable and experienced.
Constructing your new head unit
If you found a pinout data, you will have to use this to create a new harness. The best way for you to do this is to obtain what’s called a “rectangular connector.”
This should be the perfect size to fit the head unit in your car. You will usually require the two-row type with the female socket. These connectors are designed to be connected to circuit boards. But these will work just fine as a replacement car radio harness.
If you found a pinout data, you will have to use this to create a new harness
You may also fail to find a connector that has the right pin spacing as well as the right pin count. The pin spacing may be important but its number isn’t. You can opt to use multiple small connectors or even cut a large one so it fits your needs.
Once you have your pinout diagram and a rectangular connector, it’s time to get to work. Just solder the wires into each of the pins on your connector. You should also put the heat shrink after each wire so shorts are prevented.
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If you found a pinout data, you will have to use this to create a new harness by obtaining a “rectangular connector”
If your car comes with a factory harness still, there are two ways you can finish the installation. The first option is for you to get your hands on an adapter specifically designed to plug into harnesses.
You can also fabricate one in the very same way you fabricated one for your head unit.
You can also take another route and cut the wires. Then, just connect them to the new harness directly. This last suggestion, however, will pop a few problems for the next possible owner of the vehicle who also wants to upgrade or replace the radio.
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