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Trying to install a new radio

Discussion in 'Subaru Sambar' started by John Shaw, May 22, 2020.

  1. John Shaw

    John Shaw New Member

    My 91 truck came with a AM only radio that seemed busted. All that it would do was display the time, nothing else worked.
    I recently decided to upgrade and found an old radio/cassette unit that had the same two part wiring harness. I snaked the wiring harness out of the dash to test it before I installed it, the unit powered on and the controls workedwworked but there was no sound. I unplugged it to take the speaker out to see if that was the issue. I then plugged it back in to test again and this time only the clock came on, none of the controls work.
    Any thoughts? I'm pretty new to wiring and electrical issues so I'm not sure where to go from here.
    Thanks
     
  2. Reese Allen

    Reese Allen Member

    You will need to identify what each wire is on your new head unit's harness, and also identify what each wire is on the old head unit's harness. Then, you cut the old head unit's harness off, and splice it onto your new head unit's harness so that it can be plugged into the connectors in your dash. This might be tough if you're trying to put in a head unit with no documentation. Sometimes the color-coding is standardized. https://learn.sonicelectronix.com/wiring-harness-color-standards/

    You're going to have to do some wire splicing. If you're new to wiring I'd recommend going with insulated crimps. I personally solder and heat shrink everything. Avoid electrical tape, it just falls off over time and makes a sticky mess. Don't cut any wires on the vehicle side, only on the head unit side.

    I wrote a post here about identifying the wires on the stock head unit harness. Mine is a '93, but I suspect the '91s were wired the same. http://reeseallen.net/sambar/2020/01/19/android-head-unit/
     
    Limestone likes this.
  3. rkrenicki

    rkrenicki Active Member

    Sambars have two different radio connectors depending on year. Both are standard for Subaru, and mating connectors are available here in the US. If your radio has two connectors (1990-sometime in 1992), then you need Metra 70-1780 or equivalent. If your radio has only one connector (mid 1992 and newer), then you need Metra 70-8901 or equivalent.

    Or, you can get lucky and have a radio like Reese had with the connectors on a pigtail from the radio which you can chop off and reuse, but only a small number of stock radios came this way.
     

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