How To: Add Aux Input To Factory Radio

crazikyle Feb 11, 2020

  1. crazikyle

    crazikyle Test Drive

    Hey y'all, I figure I'll start my time here by posting a fun little DIY project I did a few weeks back. For the longest time, I've wanted to get an AUX input so I can listen to my own music, but I never wanted to change the head unit out because I've never found an aftermarket head unit that I like. I find them all off putting and I feel like too many of them forgo physical buttons for a touchscreen, which I really don't like. I also just love the look of my factory head unit. I got some CDs and used those for a while, but got sick of changing them all the time, so I finally decided to dive in and open the radio to see what I could do. I found a great solution that was really easy for me, and I was able to do this entire mod in a morning with my very, very lackluster DIY skills (seriously, I can count on two hands the number of times I've soldered, and on one hand how many of those attempts were successful). Into the writeup.

    This mod works for the base radio without the 6 disc changer. I believe there is another method that you can use with the 6 disc CD changer that doesn't involve opening the radio.

    I'm not going to go into detail on how to remove and disassemble the radio, mostly because I forgot to take pictures of this process, but also because there are probably dozens of tutorials out there already. The entire board will need to come out to do this, so just remove every screw you can see and pull and pry until it comes apart. Once it's removed, turn it over and you'll see the connectors for the CD player ribbon cable.
    IMG_20200125_111739 edit.jpg

    The concept is pretty simple, you'll be hijacking the CD players L and R outputs and putting in your own audio stream. For this, you'll need an AUX cable. I used an old cable that came with a monitor, but if you wanted you could use a female jack so you could mount it somewhere nice in the car. I just left mine dangling. Cut the cable and make sure you know which wire is which channel. I did this by plunging the donor into my PC, playing a right channel left channel test video, and touching the exposed ends of the cable to the connector on a pair of earbuds to find out which wire was which channel. Mine ended up being white for right and red for left. Tin the ends of the donor cable and get ready to connect to the board.

    Solder the ends of the cable to the L, R, and ground pins on the bottom of the board. This is the hardest and most delicate part, but with enough care and patience, I was easily able to accomplish this task. Just make sure nothing is touching something it shouldn't and you should be fine. Also, make sure the cable you are using is run through the metal case of the radio before soldering, or that the other end can fit through the case. You don't want to be stuck with a cable that won;t fir through a hole! I planned on heat shrinking the exposed end and using hot glue to hold it to the board, but my temporary electrical tape I was using seemed strong enough so I just sent it. It's been that way for a few weeks now and it still works, so I'm declaring that method a success.

    At this point, I reassembled everything and put it in my truck to see how it all worked, and when I put a CD in a switched to CD audio mode I had my own sound playing! However, it was playing alongside the CD's audio. I tried a blank disc, but the player needs a functional disc in there to work. I suppose you could burn a disc full of 70 minutes of silence, but then you might get some extra noise coming through. I was impatient, so I just cut the connectors from the ribbon cable to the board so the CD audio would not get played. The connectors you need to cut are the second and third from the left.
    IMG_20200125_123002 edit.jpg

    Cut them like so

    Put everything back together, and figure out where you want to run the cable. I punched a hole in the top of the storage pocket in front of the shifter. It's out of the way, and convenient to where I keep my phone.
    IMG_20200125_135657 edit.jpg

    And there you have it, AUX coming in through your factory radio.

    I went a little further and added satellite radio, along with a junction box so I can switch between satellite radio and AUX in from my phone. I love how everything turned out! No more CDs or crummy FM radio for me!
    IMG_20200201_170748.jpg IMG_20200201_162651.jpg
    Prime and TerryD like this.

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