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Old 06-12-2008
JKeirstead's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Sussex, New Brunswick
Posts: 22
Icon7 How-To: iPod Interface (on the cheap)

This story started a couple months ago when I was frustrated by my FM iPod adapter that hated my cell phone charger. I found a pinout floating around the web that listed three pins that caught my attention:
  • Phone Transmit Active
  • Phone (-)
  • Phone(+)

Now I've seen the higher-end Ford units with the built-in handsfree phone capability... but I wondered if it was a special interface or if it would take a regular audio input. I was pleasantly surprised.

Basically with a little playing around (and a couple of missed heartbeats when my stereo hesitated turning on... the CD changer flipping out the first time I did it scared me. Now I know it's normal.) I have a perfectly functional aux input in my stock 6 CD changer.

Your stereo must have the 20 pin output for this to work.

  • Radio removal tool (horseshoes)
  • Wire cutter/stripper/crimper
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Three pin sockets that will fit over the changer's pins
  • Heat shrink tubing
  • An audio cable
  • Misc. length of wire
  • Toggle switch
  • A mono 1/8" TRS (headphone) plug
  • Patience

Prep Work

Get a length of audio (or in my case, telephone) wire that is adequate in lenth to run from wherever your auxiliary device is, behind the cupholders and into the radio cavity.

Strip the cables on one end and solder one wire (I used black) to the shorter post of the audio plug. Then solder another (I used red) to the longer post of the plug. Reassemble the plug to cover up your connections (most just have a plastic cover that screws on).

Then, using the "misc length of wire", attach one end to your switch. Connect another wire to the other side of the switch, which will be connected to a ground.

Soldering, don't burn yourself

Solder pins onto each of the three wires (red, black, and whatever color you used for ground). If you were lucky and found pins with the wires still attached either in a junkyard or your own personal collection, great. If not, you'll need to (patiently!) solder the wires on. Make sure to heat shrink the connections, it's a tight fit when you connect them to your radio!

Note, you can skip the above step if you're lucky enough to have the Explorer 20 pin connector and harness. I wasn't so I had to improvise.

The fun begins

Use the "U" shaped radio removal tools available at your auto parts store for a few dollars to remove your radio. KEEP THE UNIT UPRIGHT WHEN POWERED! You may choose to disconnect all of the cables from the head unit and completely remove it for this installation, I didn't. Some also recommend that you completely remove your radio bezel. Again, I didn't.

Connect the pins to the leads in the following order. See the diagram below, but it's basically:

10: Ground (to switch)
11: Audio (-) - Black
12: Audio (+) - Red

Feed the cable where you need it, then plug your stereo back in (MAKING SURE IT'S UPRIGHT AND LEVEL!) and insert it back into the radio cavity.

Voila! Flip the switch, complete the ground and your stereo goes into "Phone" mode. It'll play your aux source!

It is mono, and it is louder in the back, but it works! Good enough for me.

Last edited by KLC; 12-03-2011 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 06-16-2008
JKeirstead's Avatar
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Sussex, New Brunswick
Posts: 22
Originally Posted by lifted97ranger View Post
So let me get this straight. This is for charging your iPod or playing it through the radio?
Playing it. To charge the ipod I hacked up an iPod cable I had and connected the charging points to 12V. I used the same cable to feed my audio + and - for the above mod.

But that's another day
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