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Old 05-09-2007, 01:25 AM   #1
mcdeve8
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Lightbulb How to Install and Remove stereo 2005 Impreza/WRX

What this is:

This how-to is for anyone wishing to install an aftermarket stereo in a ’05 WRX Wagon. The sedan and RS interior pictures look similar to my car so it should work for those too (verify anyone?). It is designed for the technically inexperienced. I have always been awestruck by the ridiculous cost that professional installers charge for a relatively simple task. Do it yourself, learn a little, and save some money.

Yes, I know this has probably already been posted for various models. Great. If theirs is better, use it, if not, here you go. Best of luck. Please let me know if I can improve this in any way. It’d be nice to eventually have a comprehensive install guide for many years/models.

This tutorial assumes that you have a Subaru wiring harness soldered/crimped to your aftermarket deck harness. Following is a link from the12volt.com (an excellent reference for all car audio questions) on wiring harness colors.

http://www.the12volt.com/request/request2.asp

Buy yourself a Subaru wiring harness. It will save you an immense amount of time and the install will go far smoother. My personal preference is to solder and shrink-wrap the deck harness to the Subaru wiring harness but crimp connectors or solder/electrical tape work just as well if done properly. The wiring will never be seen by anyone else so whatever floats yer boat, go with it.

For the wiring harness the Metra part number is 70-8901
[jay25RS]

Do NOT cut the factory connector off; you will regret it (a plague on both your houses or something like that).

Tools:
Phillips head screwdriver (yep, that's all I used).

Install Time: < 20 Min if your harness is prepped and ready to go (and your deck fits the brackets)

Before you start, eject all of your CDs from the old deck! [SVXdc]

1. Unscrew the stickshift. Pull on back edge; up and back towards cup holders. It should pop off fairly easily.




2. Disconnect cigarette lighter plug shown (depress the release tab and wiggle out) and place the assembly somewhere out of the way.


3. Remove the screws shown below. If you are only replacing the deck (this is for an amp how-to to be posted later), you only need to unscrew the top set of screws.

After these screws are removed, gently pull on the climate control panel until it pops free. Do not force it as you may break the tabs retaining the panel; after a little wiggling it should come free.

Place a small towel over the stickshift rod and lay the climate control over the towel so that it is out of the way. You can remove the connectors altogether but I found it was a bit of a PITA and unnecessary.



4. Remove the 6 screws retaining the factory stereo. Support the stereo so it does not come crashing down. It shouldn’t, but I’ve seen too many things that shouldn’t happen, happen.



5. Remove the 3 cables from the deck:
  • Antenna wire: there will be a thick black round cable with a round silver end. I used a pair of pliers with a cloth underneath to gently wiggle this out.
  • Signal/power cable: this is the fat bunch of wires with a white connector. This should come out with some wiggling if you depress the tab fully.
  • Case ground: on the right side of the stereo plate there is a black wire with a black connector, depress the tab and remove.

6. Remove the 8 brass colored screws holding the deck to the retaining plates. Don’t lose these screws, or the plates either for that matter. Hell, don't lose anything!

NOTE:
The mounting screws on the sides of the stock deck are sometimes VERY tight — people end up stripping the heads. Be prepared for this, use a screwdriver that exactly fits the screw head, and keep the screwdriver pressed in tightly while you begin to loosen each screw. - [SVXdc]



You may want to test the radio before you even attach the mounting brackets. Test all functions — fade to each speaker individually, test AM/FM, CD, Aux, etc. If you got a defective unit you'll want to know before you go any further with the installation. [SVXdc]

7. Attach the brackets to your new deck. This part is going to differ from person to person depending on which stereo you’ve chosen to install. Most aftermarket decks will have screw holes that will line up with the stock brackets. I chose to mount mine with cheapo aftermarket pocket. Not too sexy, but it’ll work for now (plus my buddy gave it to me for free, and hey, who doesn’t like free?).




8. Connect the wiring harness to your deck and the other end to the connector pulled from the stock head unit. Reconnect the antenna (it only fits in one hole…) and the ground wire to the case (right mounting plate.)


9. Now, follow the instructions backwards to install the deck into the car. For those dyslexically challenged:
  • Slide the stereo assembly into the dash making sure the wires aren’t snagging or getting crushed and secure it with six screws. (This is a good time to make sure the deck works before you put everything else together).
  • Snap the climate control panel back onto the dash and affix with two screws.
  • Plug the cigarette lighter connector back in and snap the lighter/stickshift cover assembly into place.
  • Screw the stickshift knob back on.
That’s it, I think… If I missed anything, please let me know. Really.

Since posting with a lot of pictures is such a PITA, I'm going to try and find somewhere that will host pdf files. They're easier to print too. Lemmi know if any of you know some good spots.

Amplifier install link:

Amplifier Installation: MY05 WRX Wagon


Revised 5/24/07 to include SVXdc's advice
Revised 8/10/07 to include SVXdc's advice
Revised 9/20/07 to include Metra Wiring harness part number
Revised 5/13/08 to include amplifier link.
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Last edited by mcdeve8; 05-13-2008 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 05-09-2007, 01:25 AM   #2
mcdeve8
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Here's one from AZRally for a 2006, it's almost identical and very good:

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=919560

Thanks for the heads up obsidian25i. If you disco the battery when installing, here's the link for the Vishnu ECU Re-mapped Learning Trick:

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show...hreadid=302047

Lots of excellent information on the stock head unit from SVXdc:

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=749402

Last edited by mcdeve8; 05-14-2007 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 05-09-2007, 01:26 AM   #3
mcdeve8
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Reserved for later.

Last edited by mcdeve8; 05-09-2007 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 05-09-2007, 11:21 AM   #4
marsh
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Excellent writeup, thanks! Definitely looking forward to your amp/sub install versions...
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Old 05-09-2007, 02:36 PM   #5
mcdeve8
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Hopefully it'll be done late tonight or tomorrow. I've been working on how I would do it next time to make it easier.
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Old 05-09-2007, 03:18 PM   #6
offset
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Very nice writeup indeed!! I have added a new section at the top with the other FAQ links for install threads, and yours is now the first one added. Anyone seeing any others that should get stuck in there, let me know.

offset
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Old 05-09-2007, 04:16 PM   #7
IonutZ
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Awesome setup!!! I want more pictures
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:13 AM   #8
Njsurfrgurl
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Missing only one thing- where the speedo wire is cause you need it for most nav's
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Old 05-10-2007, 11:09 AM   #9
mcdeve8
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I'm not overly familiar with nav systems but if you let me know the logistics of it I'll do an edit to include it.
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:42 PM   #10
obsidian25i
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This applies to MY07 2.5i as well.

I disconnected the battery before installing my stereo and found that the car behaved very differently afterwards. I was very confused but searching on this topic lead me to the following post, "Re-Mapped ECU Learning Trick 10-20hp in 5 seconds". (I can't post links yet as this is my first post.) I also got scared when the engine didn't start right away. This is apparently normal for the first time after disconnecting the battery.

Here's a TSB about it over in scoobymods forums. Look for "06 - Forest /Imp 2.5L NA / Hesitation or Poor performance from stop".

My car got its 'scoobieness' back after following the TSB instructions.
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Old 05-10-2007, 11:19 PM   #11
WRXWoody
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Hey McDeve8, can you post a picture of the head unit installed?
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Old 05-10-2007, 11:25 PM   #12
Njsurfrgurl
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Well i found my speedo wire under the floor plate on the passenger side and had to use a wiring diagram to figure out which one it is- major pain just wanted to see if anyone else figured out where it was
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Old 05-11-2007, 01:57 AM   #13
t4nk
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i just skimmed the post.. but i didnt see anything about the "Power Antenna" wire having to be hooked up. On the subies, if you have the glass painted antenna, you have to provide 12v of power to, or u will get horrible reception. I just used my blue remote wire for this..
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Old 05-11-2007, 06:59 AM   #14
hanzo918
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Where can I find an extra +12v wire to splice and convert to +5v for my ipod while I'm in there?
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Old 05-11-2007, 01:27 PM   #15
mcdeve8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanzo918 View Post
Where can I find an extra +12v wire to splice and convert to +5v for my ipod while I'm in there?
If you look at step 2, there's a red wire going to the cigarette lighter. That would be and easy point to tap into for 12V. It's only active with the key on though.

Your best bet for finding power to tap off of is to get a multimeter start ohming out various possible power points. That's what I did when I hardwired my radar detector. Ended up finding a +12V point in a free relay socket on the fuse box, bending a spade lug in half and pushing it in. Works like a charm. If anyone's interested I can post pix on how to do it. It's an easy 20min job.
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Old 05-13-2007, 09:58 PM   #16
hanzo918
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcdeve8 View Post
If you look at step 2, there's a red wire going to the cigarette lighter. That would be and easy point to tap into for 12V. It's only active with the key on though.

Your best bet for finding power to tap off of is to get a multimeter start ohming out various possible power points. That's what I did when I hardwired my radar detector. Ended up finding a +12V point in a free relay socket on the fuse box, bending a spade lug in half and pushing it in. Works like a charm. If anyone's interested I can post pix on how to do it. It's an easy 20min job.
Thanks! I'd love to keep my cig lighter too (the point of not using the cig lighter as power source for usb)
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Old 05-14-2007, 06:02 PM   #17
mcdeve8
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If you use something like this you can tap into the wire without having to cut it. I think they're a little ghetto, but they work great! You can pick them up at the auto parts store. I think they're called dual-splice connectors.

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Old 05-20-2007, 07:43 PM   #18
SVXdc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcdeve8 View Post
... Please let me know if I can improve this in any way. ...
Nice pictures and captions.

Here are a few additions worth mentioning (judging by the number of threads where people ask about these):
  • Before you start, eject all of your CDs from the old deck!
  • The mounting screws on the sides of the stock deck are sometimes VERY tight people end up stripping the heads. Be prepared for this, use a screwdriver that exactly fits the screw head, and keep the screwdriver pressed in tightly while you begin to loosen each screw.
  • I suggest testing the radio before you even attach the mounting brackets. Test all functions fade to each speaker individually, test AM/FM, CD, Aux, etc. If you got a defective unit you'll want to know before you go any further with the installation.
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Old 05-20-2007, 07:46 PM   #19
SVXdc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hanzo918 View Post
Where can I find an extra +12v wire to splice and convert to +5v for my ipod while I'm in there?
If by "while I'm in there" you mean while you're installing an after-market HU, then it would be better to tap into either the Red (+12V switched) or Yellow (+12V constant) wires between the Subaru wiring adapter and the HU's harness. Then you're not mucking with any of the factory wiring.

Just solder or crimp at the same time you wire up the HU harness.
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:03 PM   #20
Chap_WRX
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6. Attach the brackets to your new deck. This part is going to differ from person to person depending on which stereo you’ve chosen to install. Most aftermarket decks will have screw holes that will line up with the stock brackets. I chose to mount mine with cheapo aftermarket pocket. Not too sexy, but it’ll work for now (plus my buddy gave it to me for free, and hey, who doesn’t like free?).


So what if the holes do not line up?

I have a pioneer 9800BT and i'm having trouble
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:13 PM   #21
SVXdc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chap_WRX View Post
So what if the holes do not line up?

I have a pioneer 9800BT and i'm having trouble
Are you trying to mount the Pioneer in the upper or lower half of the radio bay?

Did you remove the mounting sleeve (what Pioneer calls the "holder") from your HU? You don't need that to install in Subarus.

Are you sure that there isn't a pair of holes that line up? This is from your installation manual...

(click thumbnail for larger version)

Most aftermarket radios have compatible holes. If yours really does not, you'll need to drill new holes in the Subaru brackets. I suggest marking them carefully ("measure twice") and use a drill press, especially if a new hole is right next to a factory hole.
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Old 05-31-2007, 10:32 AM   #22
red_rex_02
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Very nice write up!
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Old 03-20-2008, 11:31 PM   #23
SpreadHeadLINC
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So I just installed my new HU into my 05 wrx and followed this write-up. I was actually unaware of the OEM subwoofer installed underneath my feet, which was a nice bonus. I am assuming this is what the little black plug (between the wiring harness and the antenna) is for.

Does anyone have any information about attaching the OEM subwoofer to a HU without the black plug?
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:18 PM   #24
mcdeve8
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Here is a great compilation of information by North Ursalia. Hopefully you can find what you're looking for. It's stickied in the audio forum.

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=170844
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Old 03-30-2008, 04:16 PM   #25
SVXdc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpreadHeadLINC View Post
So I just installed my new HU into my 05 wrx and followed this write-up. I was actually unaware of the OEM subwoofer installed underneath my feet, which was a nice bonus. I am assuming this is what the little black plug (between the wiring harness and the antenna) is for.

Does anyone have any information about attaching the OEM subwoofer to a HU without the black plug?
The small, 8-pin black plug connects the left rear channel to the sub. The right channel connects via the larger 14-pin harness. You can bypass the black plug to make it work.

See the subwoofer info in this thread:
Stock head unit information -- pin-outs, subwoofer, aux inputs, and more
And see posts 18, 20, and 21 in this thread:
stock sub w/ aftermarket hu
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