Haynes 'in car entertainment' manual
Haynes 'in car entertainment' manual
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Saab Central - Technical Help

Classic Saab 900: Fitting or Replacing your stereo unit

This article very kindly written and supplied by Matt Faulks

Replacing the standard stereo in your Saab is a simple task and generally takes well under an hour. So save yourself £25 and fit it yourself. Before you go out and buy your new stereo its worth popping the old one out first to check if you need to buy any extra bits.

Removing The Old Unit

Take a good look at the sides of the old stereo, there should be 4 small holes, 2 on either side of the unit, if you can't see them check to see if there's a plastic cover on either side of the stereo covering them. Its very very simple to remove the old unit, you can buy a DIN removal tool from Halfords or another similar store, however you can save a bit of cash by bending a coat hanger into two U shapes or use 4 nails of a similar diameter to the coat hanger. When you've decided what to use insert it into the holes and get hold of the front of the stereo, if it's a cassette player which is quite likely stick your fingers into the tape deck and pull. It should pull straight out, if it doesn't check the tool your using to remove it is pushed in properly, pull it out and put it back in again if necessary.

Now it's out have a good look and see how it's connected. If there's two largish black plugs, one with 4 or 5 wires going into it and one with 8 then congratulations your cars already wired for ISO, the industry standard (in Europe anyway) way of connecting stereo's to cars. If however you have two pairs of speaker leads, a largish white plug and an earth it's not so easy. The best way to do it to save chopping the factory Saab wiring is to purchase an adaptor loom which changes the original wiring to ISO, Autoleads are the people to talk to, you either want a Din to ISO adaptor or to save wiring behind the stereo a Saab 93 And Older to ISO adaptor. If you can't find either, its possible to purchase the two strange Saab plugs from your Saab dealer and a bare ISO connector from any In car Entertainment dealer and create your own loom with very little effort. For any modern stereo you will need to have the following wiring.

Earth
Ignition Switched Live (12V)
Permanent Live (12V)

To get it to turn on, the permanent live is to preserve the stereo's memory when the ignition is off. Your Saab will also have an electric aerial wire which when 12V is supplied to it will make the aerial rise.

Wire colouring for standard ISO

Blue Aerial / Amp Remote
Red Accessory (Ignition) Live
Black Ground
Yellow Permanent (Battery) Live
Orange Illumination (Side/Dash Light Circuit)
Grey Front Right Speaker +
Grey / Black Front Right Speaker -
White Front Left Speaker +
White / Black Front Left Speaker -
Green Rear Left Speaker +
Green / Black Rear Left Speaker -
Violet Rear Right Speaker +
Violet / Black Rear Right Speaker -

Choosing Your New Stereo

There are three main types of stereo available, Tape, CD and Minidisk from a variety of manufacturers such as Sony, Pioneer, Alpine and Kenwood. Most models, apart from the very base ones have the ability to hook a changer up to the stereo; changers usually come in the form of CD Changers, Mini Disc Changers and MP3 Changers. Connecting them up to the stereo is the same in all cases, usually one large, long thick cable one end plugs into the changer and the other into the stereo, in the case of Sony there is one long lead and an RCA/Phono lead that carries the audio signal externally to the cable. The best bit of advice I can give you when picking your new stereo is to listen to it first, the one you like best buy, don't make a decision based on swimming dolphins or gadgets, although if two units sound as good the one with blue swimming dolphins has got to get it. The features you do want are:

RDS - Displays the stations name where available, i.e. BBC R1 or Radio 1 rather than 97.9 FM. It also offers traffic announcements.
Removable Faceplate - Or some other method of hiding the stereo such as Kenwoods Mask System.
Any thing else is up to you.

Fitting The New Stereo

Remove the old metal cage from the car by bending and pulling it, it might be sharp so watch your fingers. Install the new cage into the car following the instructions in the manual, normally you bend some metal tabs around the cage, these in turn clamp it into the car. Connect up any adaptor leads you have so you are left with two connectors. Read the instruction manual for the new stereo. Remove it from any packaging and read the manual again to check for any thing you have to do first, DO NOT attach the faceplate whilst fitting the unit.

Now look at the back of the new stereo, they'll be an ISO socket, an aerial socket and if the stereo is changer compatible a changer socket. There may also be sockets for remote controls etc.

Connect the ISO sockets up to the stereo, they simply plug in and can only go one way around so you can't get it wrong. Plug the aerial lead in, now before sliding the stereo into the dash attach the faceplate and check the stereo works as it should, if it doesn't check the trouble shooting section at the back of the manual or the universal one below. Remove the faceplate and slide the stereo into the dash, it should just click in, if it doesn't remove it and check for any obstructions. The space is tight so if there's any resistance whilst sliding in the stereo check and gently move any cables out of the way until it slides in easily.

If you purchased a changer with the stereo there are three places it can go, in the glove box, under the passenger seat or in the boot next to the spare wheel. In the glove box will be neat and require a small cable run but you'll loose the storage of the glove box. Under the seat means its hard to get at, hard to install as the seat has to come out and generally not ideal, and in the boot is the most popular and easiest, and the one I'd recommend as you don't have to hack the dashboard up or remove any seats. You'll have to run the cable from the stereo to the under boot compartment. Follow these easy steps:

1. Remove the passenger side (on RHD cars) speaker grill. Remove all metal bars at bottom of doors and from dash to floor, lift rear seats, lift carpet slightly around B pillar and rear seat area, remove plywood boot floor.
2. Feed cable down through speaker grill, under carpet, under rear seats and into under boot compartment. Run it along the sills under where the metal bars/kick panes will go.
3. Its best to route cable over from left to right hand side under the plywood boot floor as opposed to in the under boot compartment.
4. Gaffer tape it down under the boot floor to stop it moving during re-assembly.
5. Plug the cable into the back of the stereo, being careful to route it from the grill to the back of the stereo without fouling any heater controls. Test it works as expected.
6. Replace boot floor, rear seats, carpets, metal bars etc being careful not to put any screws through the cable.
7. Replace the Grill.
8. Fix the changer to the under boot compartment floor as advised in the manual, if using screws make sure there's nothing under what your screwing. Its best to mount the changer on a piece of 18/20mm MDF and waxoyl the area around it as it can get damp in the compartment and you want the changer to stay dry. They are designed to handle a small amount of moisture so a bit of ambient moisture won't hurt.

Job done, sit back and enjoy!!

Troubleshooting

Stereo won't turn on - Check fuse, permanent live, ignition switched live.
Stereo looses its memory when the ignitions off - Switch the permanent live and ignition switched live around (yellow and red wires on sony/kenwood looms)
Changer skips excessively - Check it is set to the correct orientation, flat, 45degree or vertical as mounting position dictates.
If your stuck drop me a mail at, m.faulks@btinternet.com and I'll do my best to help you out.

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