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Thread: MACH stereo in Ford Explorer

  1. #1
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    Question MACH stereo in Ford Explorer

    I've got a 1998 Ford Explorer with a MACH stereo system (it's not the same one that they put in the new Mustangs). While the guy at the Ford dealership told me that this was a "premium" sound system, I beg to differ.

    Anyway, that aside, I will say that this factory stereo is a bit better than most I've heard, and, as a result of that and a general lack of funds, I'm going to keep it if at all possible.

    With that said, I was wondering what my best option for sending the audio signal from the sound card to the speakers would be.

    I've got a Panasonic cassette adapter, and it sounds okay from the tests I've done so far.

    I've also done a little research on FM modulators. A guy at Radio Shack told me that the tape adapter would provide much better sound quality than the FM modulator that RS offers for something like 30 bucks. Another guy at a local car stereo store told me that an FM modulator that they sell for 80 bucks would offer slightly better quality than the tape adapter I already have.

    I was wondering if there was any way to patch the audio signal from the sound card into the factory-installed 6-disc changer that I have in the console between the two front seats.

    Any info or opinions on this topic are greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Originally posted by seven10split:
    I've got a 1998 Ford Explorer with a MACH stereo system (it's not the same one that they put in the new Mustangs). While the guy at the Ford dealership told me that this was a "premium" sound system, I beg to differ
    "Premium" Def: It has a factory installed Amp.

    Sorce: Crutchfield.com

    Just thought you might want to know that.


  3. #3
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    Ok well the thing the guy at radio shack has probably is not an FM Modulator. Its probably an Fm transmitter. Big Difference. I have used an FM transmitter before but not a modulator. I would stay away from the transmitter. The FM modulator however is a direct connection to your stereo thru the antenna plug in.

    Catlas

  4. #4
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    Do you have the factory installed 6 disc changer in the center console? There is a way to get your signal into the factory HU if you do although you will lose your tracking on the changer because technically it will still be spinning cds even though the audio is being piped in from another source. I have the pinouts somewhere but any high end stereo shop doing video installs should know how to do this.

  5. #5
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    jasmar,

    Yeah, I've got the 6-disc changer. I've asked people at a Circuit City Road Shop and at a local car stereo shop, and both said that passing a signal through the changer isn't possible. They may have told me that because it'd probably void any warranty on the stereo, and they didn't want to be responsible.

    What do you mean when you say I'll lose the tracking? I just won't be able to change the track number of a CD in the changer using the head unit? Will I still be able to play CD's with the changer if I patch in the audio signal from my sound card?

    Also, I've been wondering if there's any to upgrade the subwoofer that's included with the system while still using the factory head unit. I don't know the power rating of the factory amp or the pinouts running to the sub.

  6. #6
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    seven10split: Yes those radio or system is WAY better than most systems in find in some cars. And just last week, my friend and I actually connected my box to the stereo system. We took the amp line going into the CD and Radio off and connected it to a relay. So when my box is on, i have AUX and when it is off, i can still use my radio. I have no use for CD player anyway. My box can play it.
    And one other thing, FM modulator sucks

    abcd-1
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  7. #7
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    What I meant on the cd changer is this: when you press the cd button on the head to activate the changer it sends a signal to the changer and then the changer sends a signal back saying it is ready. They operate on a data bus with a only a few wires carrying these signals back and forth. In almost all cases the audio signals are carried over different pairs of wiring and these are standard ac analog signals. While the changer is playing if you were to cut these wires the changer would still keep spinning the cd's and but there would be no audio signal going into the head unit. Now suppose you did this and then connected the side going to the head unit to some other source(such as MP3). The radio would still be communicating with the changer but the sound would be coming from the other source. You can do this easily with a few relays and a switch of some sort to control the relays. Now this is not always a perfect way to go. There can be signal problems when there is either not enough signal or there is too much signal. We did several Expedition/Navigator installs for Dallas Cowboys players where we left the factory head in and upgraded from there. The Alpine dvd5200s we put in did not have enough output for this to work so we had to install line drivers(not cheap at $200). This is just a little better than RF modulation in my opinion but it is harder to do, will cost more and is not as fail safe as RF modulation not that RF is always fool proof either. The older ford radios were real easy to get to take an input. They were designed to take one already. You just had to solder a few pins inside and there you were.

  8. #8
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    Thought I would answer your subwoofer question in a seperate post. You did not say wether you wanted to keep in stashed away in the side panel or if you intended to go with a more conventional box in the cargo area. Either way you can definately upgrade on the sub. There are several pre-fab enclosures that can replace the factory enclosure. MTX is the one we do predominately. They have just the box(so you can add your own sub), one with the sub, and one with the sub and a built in amp. We don't do too many of the amplified versions because we usually take out the factory amp and replace it with a four or five channel and do a sub and four upgraded speakers. Either way you will need a better amplifier to drive this upgraded sub. The factory will not cut it in this application. Finding a mounting spot will be the most difficult aspect depending on the size of the amp etc... I some cases the amp can be fit behind the panel by the factory amp. As far as getting signal for your new amp you can do it several different ways depending on the amp. When I replace the entire amp I usually just solder rcas to the factory outputs of the radio. If you are just upgrading the sub I would suggest using a line output converter on the wire pair that originally went directly to the sub. Get one with pots so you can adjust it and connect both positives to the positive side and both negatives to the negative side of the factory sub wire. As far as remote turn on for the new amp the ford factory turn on is only 6v and this will not turn on most aftermarket amps. We use a transistor to pump this back up to 12v. Alternatively you could try a relay or you could just connect the turn on to ignition. The last suggestion would mean that the sub amp would come on independently of the radio. It would come on with the key. Jason

  9. #9
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    Why don't you tap into the car amp? My Mustang, ('96) has a Mach audio system, and the amplifier is behind the radio cavaity.... Schose sell's a wiring harness to allow you to input a low level signal into the mach audio amp. Buy a splitter from RadioShack, to allow you to change the computer from 3.5mm to RCA's, then another splitter to allow you to make the front right and back right be the same, then the same for the front left, and back left..... The amp has a signal to turn it on, it's just a 12V hot, if it's hot, then the amp is on, if it's off then the amp is off.....

    Also, if you dont' want to wait for the wiring harness, you can just wire up some female RCA cables to a wiring harness and plug the comp into that, that's how I did mine. BTW, the HU, does NOT have a amplifier!.... Also, my Mach Audio Amp can accpet a High level input as well as low level inputs via the same wires.

    If you're computer can support 4 channels, then just use the four channels out of the computer. This is how mine is hooked up.

    Let me know if you need more help on this. While my Mustang might have a different amp, it's likly to have the exact same amp. And I'm familiar with my amp.


    Knight.

  10. #10
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    Try this site, they have all kinds of OEM stereo to AUX adapters.

    http://www.pie.net/catsec12.htm

    I'm going to get an aftermarket one so I can hook my PC to the Alpine deck via the Alpine changer in my Explorer.
    Sometimes, always, never ....

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