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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me start by disqualifying myself. I'm not very smart (though I did take an IQ test and nearly made a 100! ;) ) when it comes to technical and/or mechanical stuff. I'm about to start a new gig that will require 3 hours/day of commuting in a couple weeks. Am taking over the wife's 05 tribute. She gave me a $250 gift cert for best buy to get xm radio. I have an iphone and was reading about the skydock. The guy I talked to at the store today recommended I have an FM modulator installed to cut down on static, but to do so they'll have to remove the head unit ($85 in labor) to install the 30 dollar component. Wouldn't it be smarter to just have them replace the head unit with something that has an aux input so that I don't have to transmit to an FM station, and have the benefit of improving on the stock piece of junk?

I'm torn on whether getting xm is even worth it due to how crappy the sound system is. Would love some thoughts. I know my limitations and probably won't ever be the guy taking apart his own door panels to self-install...

Thanks!
 

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Dartin_Dave said:
Let me start by disqualifying myself. I'm not very smart (though I did take an IQ test and nearly made a 100! ;) ) when it comes to technical and/or mechanical stuff. I'm about to start a new gig that will require 3 hours/day of commuting in a couple weeks. Am taking over the wife's 05 tribute. She gave me a $250 gift cert for best buy to get xm radio. I have an iphone and was reading about the skydock. The guy I talked to at the store today recommended I have an FM modulator installed to cut down on static, but to do so they'll have to remove the head unit ($85 in labor) to install the 30 dollar component. Wouldn't it be smarter to just have them replace the head unit with something that has an aux input so that I don't have to transmit to an FM station, and have the benefit of improving on the stock piece of junk?

I'm torn on whether getting xm is even worth it due to how crappy the sound system is. Would love some thoughts. I know my limitations and probably won't ever be the guy taking apart his own door panels to self-install...

Thanks!
The head unit comes out in about 15 minutes.

I AM smart, but you know what separates me from you? It isn't an IQ test. It is experience and the curiosity of learning, and a lot of just "doing" it. And that can start right now for you, if you want it to.

And yes, you are right. Replace the stock deck, and enjoy better sound, features, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response. I'm actually intrigued by the do it yourself idea, but have read that breaking into the head unit of the 05 tribute is a nightmare! Requires 2 sets of specialized tools, and then these sometimes work/sometimes don't... Wouldn't even know where to get the tools...
 

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Dartin_Dave said:
Thanks for the response. I'm actually intrigued by the do it yourself idea, but have read that breaking into the head unit of the 05 tribute is a nightmare! Requires 2 sets of specialized tools, and then these sometimes work/sometimes don't... Wouldn't even know where to get the tools...
lol.. .you mean the radio release tools available anywhere, by anybody? Walmart, Pep Boys, Autozone, any audio shop, Best Buy, etc. They all have the tools. And it is true, sometimes they don't work. That's usually because people don't push them in the right way, and then pull out the right way.

Use this:

http://www.metraonline.com/products.aspx

And you can d/l the install manuals for any car supported, to get a breakdown of how to do this stuff.

http://www.bcae1.com will educate you to the basics of car audio in general.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh! THOSE release tools! I thought they were talking about the other kind???... :shrug: Well I got the tool and after fiddling with it for 1/2 an hour, shorting out the factory model, and rereading the directions, I'm proud to say I successfully removed the stereo. Couple questions please. 1) Do you think I fried the unit or the wiring? (the stereo just went dead and wouldn't turn back on). 2) Now do I just go pick out a new unit and follow the directions? Or do I also need to get an installation kit too?

I really am proud of myself for figuring it out, though my wife laughed when I told her I'd save us a few bucks by installing it myself...

Thanks much,
Dave
 

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Dartin_Dave said:
Oh! THOSE release tools! I thought they were talking about the other kind???... :shrug: Well I got the tool and after fiddling with it for 1/2 an hour, shorting out the factory model, and rereading the directions, I'm proud to say I successfully removed the stereo. Couple questions please. 1) Do you think I fried the unit or the wiring? (the stereo just went dead and wouldn't turn back on). 2) Now do I just go pick out a new unit and follow the directions? Or do I also need to get an installation kit too?

I really am proud of myself for figuring it out, though my wife laughed when I told her I'd save us a few bucks by installing it myself...

Thanks much,
Dave
How did you short it out!?!

Check your fuses, look under the hood, and look in the cabin for blown fuses. That's why they are there.

Oh, and you should def. get an install kit, and a wiring harness. There is no reason to cause trouble to yourself.

You can order them on eBay and have them in a couple days on the cheap, or go out there and hunt them down in the stores.
 

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did some digging:

The Central Junction Box (Smart Box) is typically located in the driver's side. You are probably looking for fuse 12 I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey 4th meal,

I really appreciate the support. Don't have time to search out the blown fuse tonight, but did order a wiring harness and the install kit tonight. Additionally, took the money I was going to spend on the install and bought a pair of infinity speakers to go along with the upgrade at HU. Can't wait to hear the results of the pair of upgrades. Will tackle the speaker installs while waiting for the harness and kit to arrive.

Thanks again bro!

David
 

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Dartin_Dave said:
Hey 4th meal,

I really appreciate the support. Don't have time to search out the blown fuse tonight, but did order a wiring harness and the install kit tonight. Additionally, took the money I was going to spend on the install and bought a pair of infinity speakers to go along with the upgrade at HU. Can't wait to hear the results of the pair of upgrades. Will tackle the speaker installs while waiting for the harness and kit to arrive.

Thanks again bro!

David
There you go! Happy to help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just bought a base model Kenwood head unit today. Also tore open the driver's side door to install speaker number one (only to find that there was zero slack from the factory's wiring - which necessitated a quick run to auto zone). Quick question... I looked up the wiring diagram for the 2005 Mazda, but I can't tell which on the driver's side is positive (the pink/green one or the red/orange one). Believe it's the pink/green one, but before I hook it up thought I'd clarify.

Additionally, checked all the fuses, and they were all fine. So, Hopefully I fried the stock unit, and not any wiring/circuitry outside of the unit when I tried to remove it without disconnecting the negative battery terminal... If I screwed up the wiring or car circuitry I'm going to hear I told you so from the spouse til death!

Finally, double checked the order made by my friendly best buy clerk today only to find that he ordered the wrong wiring harness (so I'm going to bite the bullet and try to do it solo). What's the worst that can happen, right?

By the way, I've read over and over about the importance of dampening sound in the doors. Since I have zero budget for storebought materials, would there be any benefit from ductaping rolled up newspapers, cardboard, or sillyputtying my kids diapers, frisbees, etc throughout the skin? :yes:
 

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My answers in bold

Dartin_Dave said:
Just bought a base model Kenwood head unit today. Also tore open the driver's side door to install speaker number one (only to find that there was zero slack from the factory's wiring - which necessitated a quick run to auto zone). Quick question... I looked up the wiring diagram for the 2005 Mazda, but I can't tell which on the driver's side is positive (the pink/green one or the red/orange one). Believe it's the pink/green one, but before I hook it up thought I'd clarify.
Pink/Lt Green = positive, Orange/Red = negative if my diagrams are correct which I would assume they are. The passenger side will be Dark Blue/Orange = positive, Tan/Lt Blue = negative

Additionally, checked all the fuses, and they were all fine. So, Hopefully I fried the stock unit, and not any wiring/circuitry outside of the unit when I tried to remove it without disconnecting the negative battery terminal... If I screwed up the wiring or car circuitry I'm going to hear I told you so from the spouse til death! This is highly, highly unlikely. The stock HU probably has a fuse inside of it too, which may be blown. Well we'll find out soon as you make your connections!

Finally, double checked the order made by my friendly best buy clerk today only to find that he ordered the wrong wiring harness (so I'm going to bite the bullet and try to do it solo). What's the worst that can happen, right? A lot. If you don't have your basics then you need to hammer on this site http://www.bcae1.com

By the way, I've read over and over about the importance of dampening sound in the doors. Since I have zero budget for storebought materials, would there be any benefit from ductaping rolled up newspapers, cardboard, or sillyputtying my kids diapers, frisbees, etc throughout the skin? :yes:No. Most of those products will rot and mold, and potentially kill you. You can buy cheaper products but the results won't be the same. Save up and buy quality.
 

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This is why you ask all of the questions up front, acquire everything you need then install. That is what I did. I searched and asked about everything. I hounded fourthmeal with PM's and learned everything I needed to. Then installed everything. That is the best part about learning on your own. You quickly realize what you can and can't do. Unfortunately some mistakes can be costly.

I am completely satisfied with my install. I am now searching what type of aftermarket stereo I want. Looking at Double DIN units but I want something I can easily plug in and be done with (run added RCA/remote to amp). A lot of aftermarket units need special wiring. I want to get info on the correct harness to plug into the factory wiring...

In any case use the correct materials for the job. Frisbies and diapers? :cry:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Awesome! Thanks Fourthmeal. Sinister, Guess I won't fill the door skins with raw ground pork then either... Probably would get a bit ripe in our Texas summers. I have a new dumb question or three for ya'll tonight (of course there are no dumb questions - there are simply dumb people who ask questions!) By the way I proured over the link you gave me or I'd have a ton more dumb questions.

I've cut the wires from the old HU since I'm going harnessless, and installed bullet connector female ends to those wires. I've also taken the new kenwood and stuck male bullets on all of the kenwood wires. My problem is the verbiage from the factory wiring is a bit different than Kenwoods. For example, Iv'e got a red "ignition wire", and yellow "battery wire" coming off the kenwood. The stock HU (per diagram found on a different thread), shows just #9 as "voltage supplied at all times", and #20 "start signal", and #10 "accessory delay relay output", and #1 "instrument illumination feed. I'm guessing Kenwoods' "battery wire" goes to the stock #9, but not sure where the kenwood "ignition wire" goes to... Finally, should i just cap the 2 extra leads to ground from the old HU? Kenwood just has 1 grounding wire.

Here's the link to the Mazda wiring guide I'm pulling info from:
http://pub.silverathlon.com/Escape/20052007EscAud4.pdf

Thanks, and if the questions are getting monotonous I'm sure I can go bug the people at Kenwood...

David
 

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I don't think there are any dumb questions. If you don't know something, it is my belief that you need to ask. Everybody starts somewhere!

For your question I really have no idea. From what I have read there is no "easy" accessory wire to tap into. The stereo from what I can gather gets power from a few different impulse sources. I don't know the correct terms for it. J-Park sent me some valuable info. Maybe this will help:

The Accessory Delay feed doesn't tie directly into the factory audio systems, since Ford uses the "network" to tell the audio system when to turn on and off. But that circuit is available near the driver-side kick panel, shown below. This one is protected by a 30A circuit breaker, and it supplies power to the power windows and sunroof. It's the GREEN with BLUE STRIPE wire located in the harness shown below. Just remove the driver-side kick panel and scuff plate and unwrap the main harness shown by the red circle. Before you tap into it, make sure that it's the ONLY wire with that color, and try to test it with a multimeter before you connect anything to it.

 

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YAY! I just learned something!

I've been looking for the correct tap wire FOREVER. I used the traction control power but it is erratic, turning off either instantly when the key is off, to a minute, to as much as 5 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So after painstakingly wiring the speakers and making bullet connections to everything from the kenwood to the factory unit (with the exception of the kenwood ignition wire) I hooked everything up checking the wiring diagram about 9 times. Reconnected the battery and fired up the engine and nothing. No power to the kenwood. Arggh!

Unless the ignition wire HAS to go to something, then I've got a short somewhere else and don't even know where to check. This has the potential to become a very expensive lesson...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So after a night's sleep I decided to go start cleaning up the mess from the botched install. Decided to take one last look at the wires. Sure enough I had made a rookie mistake. After reconnecting and firing up the engine the kenwood lit up. After hitting a couple buttons the new speakers started blaring! It sounds 10x better/clearer than the factory. Couldn't be happier. Have the XM/Iphone going straight into an audio input so don't have to mess with FM signals.

Will make commuting 15 hours a week to do cognitive therapy with brain injured vets actually pleasurable. Just want to sit in my car all day! Thanks 4thMeal and Sinister for the help. Had I not listened to the suggestion at the beginning of this thread, I'd have the kenwood running to 25w factory speakers for the same amount of dough! :clap:
 
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