Replacement stereo

In Camper Entertainment - televisions, stereo systems, DVD players, CB radios, computer, internet
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baggydew
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Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 12:00 am
B190 Year: 1994
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Location: Columbus Mississippi

Replacement stereo

Post by baggydew »

I want to replace my old factory am/fm/cassette radio with a newer model that has a disc player. I've already installed new speakers that I'm very pleased with. I've shopped around for a stereo (nothing expensive)but all say the dashboard has to be modified (enlarged somewhat) to accomodate the new box. (all that seem to be a standard size now-a-days) Additionally, installation instructions on replacememt models indicate options for including or bypassing an aux amplifier that is someplace remote from the factory radio on these vans and requires a different harness or wires depending on which option I choose for the new unit. The removal of the old system looks simple without messing underneath the dashboard as it can be removed with a simple tool from the faceplate. Has anyone replaced these units themselves, and if so, what can I expect to encounter with this small project? Also is an upgrade to an HD reciever worthwhile while I'm at it?
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OnTheRoad
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Post by OnTheRoad »

I don't know what it's like in a 1994, but I've replaced the factory stereo in a 1991 and 1990 b-van without difficulty.

The opening for the factory stereo was just slightly (about 1/8") too narrow for a standard radio. I used a dremel with a grinding bit to increase the size of the opening, but if I had a file I would would preferred to use that.

I put in a Dual XHD7714 that I ordered from Crutchfield. They give you the instructions, harness, dash kit, etc. It's a cheap HD radio with bluetooth support. The bluetooth works great for using the radio as wireless speakers to play music, but the microphone pickup for hands-free phone talking didn't work that well.

The crutchfield kit comes with both harnesses - with or without bypassing the factory amp. Both of these vans did require bypassing the factory amp ... And, I do like having HD radio.

On the 1990 and 1991 it was very straightforward, and took less than an hour.
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skater
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Post by skater »

I have a Pioneer in mine that I ordered from Crutchfield. I like Crutchfield a lot - you can find cheaper prices, but they don't include the installation kit that Crutchfield includes for free... so it usually works out the same, or even cheaper.

I didn't have any problems with fit like OC Eli mentioned - it went right in. The amp is hidden back there a bit but no problem disconnecting it. My only gripe is that I have to slide the engine cover back a bit to get to the screws at the bottom of the dashboard.

I also took the time to wire my radio up to the camper's battery, instead of the engine system, so that I can listen to it any time without having to run down the engine battery and put keys in the ignition. The only quirk from doing this is that it doesn't shut off when you shut off the engine. In mine, there is a large bundle of wires under the driver's carpet, so I connected both power wires from the radio and made sure they were both fused (that bundle of wires is NOT fused in mine).

(I then ran the stock power wire for the radio to the fog lights, so they are now fused and controlled by accessory power.)

This is probably the best thing I've done to the camper - many times, the radio is the first thing I turn on in the morning, and the last thing I shut off at night. I installed a Sirius tuner when I did all this. I'm not a huge fan of the HD radio concept, but that's because I can't stand to listen to FM stations any more - too many annoying advertisements, too little decent music. And you have to constantly find new ones as you're traveling. Sirius, on the other hand, is constant throughout the country (can you tell I love the Sirius?). :)

I replaced the two rear speakers with 5x7s I bought used off someone in a car club I'm in (the car in question also uses 5x7s). The fronts are still stock, but I probably won't bother replacing them. I only use the front speakers on the road, and then it's too loud in there to get quality sound anyway.

I took my CDs and ripped them to MP3 files, down to 192 kilobits (again, the noise from the van and all makes "high quality" not really possible), and I got one of those 12 CD holders for the driver's window visor. Each CD will hold 6-10 albums that way, which means I don't have to switch them often (although it works out that I almost always keep the CD with the albums from my favorite band in the player, and I use Sirius the rest of the time).

Edit: Moved to the In-Camper Entertainment forum. :)
1991 Airstream B190 - bought, 2005; sold, 2011; bought 2017
1995 Airstream Excella 30' trailer

WBCCI #13270, Washington, DC Unit
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baggydew
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Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 12:00 am
B190 Year: 1994
WBCCI: 0
Location: Columbus Mississippi

Post by baggydew »

Thanks for all your input. I ended up with a JVC model that has Bluetooth and HD. It went in easily and the support from Crutchfield was great. I highly recommend them for upgrades. My '94 didn't have a remote amp strangely enough. The tech support @ Crutchfield said that unless the factory unit was labled "automatic" on the faceplate, it didn't have the remote amplifier. Everything sounds great. I'm taking the B- 190 on a 2 week trip to the Gulf Coast in a bit over a week. Hope spring gets here soon. Sick of the cold weather and can't wait to travel. Haven't had the camper out since November.
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