Originally Posted by Ozarkruffrider
Do I understand that you can replace the factory radios for the Rangers like these with the same ones found in Taurus'? Can the faceplate be exchanged?
Uh, no Taurus ever came with a Radio similar to a Ranger. They went straight from the old single din to the "Football" radio/HVAC conglomerate nightmare thing.
HOWEVER: Nearly any radio from a (give or take a few years) 98+ Crown Vic, Grand Marquis, Windstar, or Sport Trac (minus the Adrenalin) will be a direct swap, and 96(?)-2000 Explorers as well. Most Radios from those cars that have this connector and side clips (not mounting posts) should work:
Radios that *SHOULD* work (note: if they don't have the two holes on either side of the face, they're not a direct swap, although they'll probably work when plugged in:)
Radios that plain won't work include anything from a Taurus, Focus, Escort, Mustang, or obviously any of the new designs, 05+ F150, 500, Freestar, Freestyle, 06+ Explorer, Fusion, etc. OBviously there are some exceptions, and I'm not 100% sure what models changed radios in what years, so ~97 is a good estimate, not a hard rule. Buy at your own risk, or at least PM me an auction or part number and I'll try to tell you if it will work.
The Dual Medias (single CD plus cassette deck) have an inherent design flaw - the LCD display is held in place ONLY by the pins that connect it to the circuit board. Under the stress of constant vibration (esp. in Rangers and Explorers, with firmer suspension, and higher probability of off-roading) the pins break and the display goes dark. Ironically, taking the radio out with the service tools USUALLY will jostle them around enough that the display comes back on, so despite my warning that it will fail again in short order, about half of the people who I see with the problem pass on a replacement because "hell, its working now, thats good enough for me!" Granted, our replacements DON'T address the inherent flaw, because Ford won't admit that there is one. Apparently there are a few shops that will repair the boards for a smaller fee than the cost of a replacement, but thats still gambling.
I wouldn't say the CD6 has a chronic problem, but that basic design has been the workhorse of the Ford lineup for about 8 years now.. there are ALOT of them out there, existing under all kinds of conditions. They won't tolerate CDs with paper labels, or someone forcing the disk in before its ready to load. They'll choke on thicker "combo" CD/DVDs (I had one of those today, as well as one jammed with a paper label,) and they generally don't stand up well to the dust and particle buildup that is inevitable in a "smoker's" car. And like every other fine mechanical/electrical product, EVERYTHING breaks, its just a matter of when. Mine hasn't, but that might be because I hardly listen to CDs since I got XM. I imagine if you listen to NOTHING BUT CDs, every time you drive, and are constantly loading and ejecting disks, you're going to have a failure sooner. And although the faceplates look the same, Ford is on at least the FOURTH complete redesign of the mechanism.
The future bodes poorly for Ford, though, the contract was either sold or sublet from Visteon to Delphi (former GM brand, declared bankrupcy earlier this year, etc.) who, in addition to building their own junk, is subleting some of the construction work out to SANYO (maker of fine cheapass alarm clocks and toasters everywhere) in Taiwan. I love my Visteon CD6, but if for some reason I had to move up to an 07 Ranger, I'd throw the radio either on eBay or straight in the garbage and go aftermarket.. the new designs are JUNK. (I can't complain, though, it will keep me in work for a LONG time.)