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converting vehicle cd player to dolby?
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Leslie Thurston
(lesler) - F

Locale: right here, right now
converting vehicle cd player to dolby? on 02/06/2012 08:37:46 MST Print View

the cd player in my truck has been loopy for months now. somedays it plays, most days it won't even load. when it does play, it's for about 1 min. (lucky! if i hear an entire track) and likely it won't eject it. (my MMW cd was stuck in "eject error" mode for a good 4 months before stars aligned). i cleaned the player itself, but it doesn't seem to have made any difference. others have told me the same-- not sure if it's a ford-specific issue-- or what. anywho, has anyone ever replaced their vehicle cd player with a tape deck? i'm not entirely "mechanical" savvy, but i change my own oil, have replaced my own brakes and know enough to be dangerous. i think i could figure it out. is this a days' undertaking? is it worth the hassle?
bottom line: radio SUCKS.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: converting vehicle cd player to dolby? on 02/06/2012 08:47:31 MST Print View

Yeah its easy. tape or cd players- its the same.

Probably has a wiring harness you can get for it: match the wire colors and plug it in.

Get a bracket that holds it i place. They should be right by the radios and wiring harnesses.

If you know someone who has done it before get their help. itll save you an hour or two.

easy, just tedious.

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: converting vehicle cd player to dolby? on 02/06/2012 08:55:46 MST Print View

do it man,

I hate CD's. i mean i like the quality of sound, but for a car? no way. you look at a CD the wrong way at it gets its feelings hurt, and no longer will play for you. i miss tape players in the car and being able to throw tapes in the glove box, console, floor, whatever. my CD players in both of our vehicles are f'd up, so i'm radio bound or ipod. technology should've just skipped over CD's and gone straight to mp3.

anyhow to answer your question i've changed a few car radios and never found it to be a big deal, the hardest part was always getting the radio in and out cleanly.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: converting vehicle cd player to dolby? on 02/06/2012 10:06:23 MST Print View

I too have a car CD player. Wonder if there's a way to add a SD card input? That would be cool...

Leslie Thurston
(lesler) - F

Locale: right here, right now
"converting vehicle cd player to dolby?" on 02/06/2012 10:22:58 MST Print View

i'm on it.
where to find a used deck?
a junk yard?
i assume there are vehicle-specific decks?
agreed. cd's suck.
i'll take a hissing tape and overuse stretching, anyday over HQ sound.
most of my tapes are a decade old and still rip!
thanks again.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: "converting vehicle cd player to dolby?" on 02/06/2012 11:16:36 MST Print View

Aftermarket decks are sorta universally sized, a few sizes.

If possible look at a pawn shop

OR you could go to a junk yard -even an online on (?) and look for a stock ford (ford right?) tape deck from your model and year and il'll plug right in. IIRC Sony makes the ford stuff so it should be a good deck.


you could get a RF thingy to plug your ipizzle into your cigarette lighter and use the radio to tune in your ipizzle freq.

Cheap if you already have mp3 unit

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: converting vehicle cd player to dolby? on 02/06/2012 11:39:50 MST Print View

Rip it out, toss it and get a new deck. In most vehicles adding a new stereo is actually very easy (just buy the face kit and an insulation kit). I am not mechanically savvy by any means but I have successfully installed a number of stereos over the years.

But I'll be honest - I rarely use the radio or CD player. I hook my ipod up or listen to Sat radio (no ads) or the kids watch movies in the back two rows - they have headphones so I can listen to music.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: converting vehicle cd player to dolby? on 02/06/2012 11:57:04 MST Print View

"Yeah its easy. tape or cd players- its the same"

Maybe. Leslie, you said you have a Ford. Is the CD player separate from the radio, or is it one large unit? What year is it? Newer Ford stereos have a mess of wires.

If it is one large, tall units, then it is probably a double DIN stereo system. Need a special tool to remove it. Also if you have a PATS system, then there is a security system, so there are a whole bunch of wires back there.

If it is a separate CD player, then the wiring goes through the radio, which is the amplifier. Again a bunch of wires to deal with.

Whichever it might be, it is likely you will need a wiring diagram to figure it out. And since Ford uses special plugs, you will either need to cut and splice a bunch of wires, or purchase special adapters. You might want to go the the Crutchfield Website to do a little research.

I drive a lot in remote places where there is little or no radio reception, so radios are often useless. CD and tapes are a pain. MP3s, especially iPods are wonderful.

A few years ago I upgraded the radio in my Ford, instead of buying a new vehicle :)

Probably more than you would want, but it has navigation, bluetooth, satellite radio, ability to hook up a rear camera, ability to hook up video, and iPod. I bought a lifetime subscription to Sirius radio. For me the system works well for those long trips across vast deserts to Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, or up Highway 395 in California. I find I usually listen to the iPod most of the time. Also, I like the ease of selecting music. The touch screen works similarly to my iPod.

Car Stereo

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: "converting vehicle cd player to dolby?" on 02/06/2012 15:23:50 MST Print View

Check out Tons of useful information there in the tech sections. Radios on the cheap too.

Edit: +1 with Nick!

Edited by kthompson on 02/06/2012 17:39:44 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: "converting vehicle cd player to dolby?" on 02/06/2012 15:54:21 MST Print View


You are supposed to enter +1, since I mentioned it earlier :)

I should have provided the information that Ken just posted. A really good site.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
If it's a Double DIN Ford... on 02/08/2012 08:40:45 MST Print View

Double-DIN Ford dash units often require a special tool that enables a very simple removal, using the four, squarish holes on the face of the unit. When you reinstall, you'll have to ditch the insta-latch feature, but you'll have a better head unit.

Crutchfield sells the tool, and aftermarket wiring harnesses to clip into the OEM plug.

Now, as to CD's not working well off road? Whaat? Hello? Ha ha! In 1990, we built our Jeep with a high-end tape deck because CD units at that time couldn't handle jounce and bounce, truly so. However, in the intervening years, they've built up the internal suspension, buffers and error correction quite well. I can drive the same old Jeep with a Year 2000 Kenwood CD/radio in the dash over rough roads and rock-ish crawling, without a single miss in the CD, notwithstanding that the dang Jeep rides like a skateboard, bang, bang, boom. IF I get some skips, that just means I need to clean the CD drive with a cleaner disc because the darn thing's so dirty that it can't error-correct past all the accumulated dust.

You may find that a cleaning of your unit "fixes it" and you'll certainly find you can buy and install a very good CD unit more easily than you can find a cassette unit of any quality anymore. Cassette Tape is already gone, like the 8-Track before it. In fact, CD is already gone... tried to buy one at the record, er... music store lately? Do you even have a "music store"?

I suggest you look for CD decks that support the USB plug-ins on the face and MP3/ipod connections. They aren't expensiv-er than most other high-quality in dash units and then you can go skip-free (albeit lower-fi) if you really have problems with the mounting/jouncing of the CD unit. Of course, if you've got Double-DIN, you can put in a big ole Nav unit in there and really update the dash.