Removing stock radio to install new player - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-26-2006, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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Removing stock radio to install new player

Does anyone know how to remove the stock cassette radio to install a new Kenwood CD player? Kenwood has a Sirius ready deck with magnetic antennae that can be threaded to back hatchback roof. Thanks, Tony.

2000 Forester S 5-speed manual
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-26-2006, 09:43 AM
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It would help knowing which model year Forester you have. Here is some help for the 2003 and later models.

This "How to" includes the removal of the SG ('03 and later models) head unit.

Antennae Power Lead

For my replacement head-unit I removed the brackets from the stock unit and they mounted directly onto the new unit. A wiring harness adapter from Crutchfield made the connection to the stock harness very easy.

'12 VW MK6 GTI 2.0T w/ DSG
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-26-2006, 11:36 AM
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Since you mention "tape deck" I would assume it is a 98-2002 model. Removing the radio only takes minutes.

1) open the center console/arm rest thingy, remove the 2 screws just under the lid

2) pull out the plastic panel that goes around the e-brake lever

3) Remove the black trim panel around the gear selector (undo the shift knob if needed)

4) undo the 2 screws at the bottom of the dash bezel.

5) Snap off the black stereo/ HVAC bezel. 4 clips hold it in place and it should come out with a little tug.

6) 4 screws hold the metal radio/pocket "cage' in place. Remove those, unplug the anntenna and the radio harness along with a few other wires and your 1/2 way there.

7) mount aftermarket headunit to the metal "cage". reverse the above proceedures to get your car back together.


Test the radio and make sure everything works and you get good reception BEFORE putting things back together.

05 Forester XTi Premium M/T (bobbytuned VF39)(his)
05 Forester X A/T (hers)

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-27-2006, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by sea-scooby View Post
Test the radio and make sure everything works and you get good reception BEFORE putting things back together.
Don't forget to do this step. I started with a radio just like you are talking about and it turned out to be defective out of the box. The install guys at Circuit City didn't catch it until I was about to drive off... Had to do the work again and ended up breaking something. One thing to also notice if you have a 98 or 99 year, the deck will be slightly offcenter in the trim piece. I had to sand/file the black cover (the thing that has 4 clips) to allow the deck to detach its face.
post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-15-2009, 12:07 PM
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Curious about the install, I'm guessing there would be some cutting and splitting wires and re-soldering since it's an after market deck. Therefore ti's not a straight plug and play. Anyone have pictures of the install for a better visual?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 09-15-2009, 12:32 PM
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You should use an aftermarket installation harness, like either of these:

20-pin harness for 2009-up Forester without OEM Navi
Pin-out table

14-pin harness for all 1995-up (and 2009-up with Navi)
Pin-out table
Solder or crimp to the harness that comes with your new HU, and then plug into your car's factory radio harness.

Both types (20- and 14-pin) should include a Blue wire for the car's power antenna lead -- you should not need to tap into the car's wire, as implied in one of the ScoobyMods links).

1996 SVX L AWD.
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Last edited by SVXdc; 11-25-2009 at 11:07 PM.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 02:12 PM
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I wish to remove my stock radio from my 2003 Forester with the STANDARD A/C unit with mechanical controls - not the automatic HVAC unit.

The wonderful photos in the link are the automatic and I tried them and got stuck trying to get the face plate of the upper console off. I was able to fully loosen the plastic in front of the radio. But then it gets stuck with a mechanical linkage for the duct settings. So I can't get inside.

Is there a link or info and how to get this out of the way so that I can pull the radio. I can only move it forward about an inch or so. I have the CD shop manual and it is also specific only for the automatic HVAC system. I'm wondering if I need to detach the knob in front and look for a nut holding it all together.


[EDIT - Hey I found the photo for the mechanical linkage in another thread, at ScoobyMods:

Scroll to the bottom after the photos on page one of the thread of the automatic climate control system. There will be a photo with explanation. After that photo will be another post with a pdf link with Crutchfield's stock removal diagrams - absolutely superb!

Here is the link for the pdf:


Last edited by mtkoren; 11-23-2009 at 05:08 AM. Reason: added link to scoobymod photo solution
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2010, 07:23 AM
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Thanks for that... when I installed my boost gauge I gave up trying to get the HVAC/stereo panel out! Now I know why...

2.5XT - 4EAT - Silver - Stock Standard
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