Jake, did you use a $4 harness from Wal-mart, store etc, to plug into the
factory harness after wiring the new stereo to it, or did you just cut the
factory harness off and try to wire it up directly by guessing? I would
almost have to say the latter from your description. Don't take any offense
to that, because alot of people that don't know about the $4 harnesses do
the exact same thing. Or, when you bought the car, the person who owned it
before you cut the harness off for you, which is always bound to be an
adventure for the next person.
I'm willing to bet you did the same thing most people do, either the factory
radio harness was cut or you cut it off, so you took out your test light to
test for +12 battery wire, ignition wire and ground. The first two are easy
enough to find because they're commonly yellow and red respectively, and a
black ground wire may or may not be there, depending on the vehicle. But,
most people don't realize that the blue w/white tracer wire is actually the
vehicles dimmer wire, even though when tested with a test light, it sure
seems like a great ground wire (lights off). However, once the lights are
turned on, a positive voltage flows through that wire, with which the
factory stereo, should light up the backlight in the radio. Heres the
problem; while hooked to the ground of an aftermarket stereo, once those
lights are turned on, either the fuse for the radio will blow, or the fuse
for your dimmer switch will blow, and I'm venturing to guess that's exactly
what happened in this case.
If this is the case, unhook the ground wire from the blue/white dimmer wire,
cap or tape the dimmer wire off so it can't short out against the dash
anywhere and do the following for a ground (if your new stereo has a dimmer
wire, which alot of the newer models are starting to, this is the wire the
blue/white wire should be wired to, otherwise cap it). Look for a metal
crossmember or a place in the dash that is already connected with a screw.
Take the screw out, clean the metal up so it's shiny (test it with your test
light if you're not sure), crimp/solder a 16 or 18 gauge screw clamp
connector onto the radio ground wire (or you can just strip the wire and
wrap it around the screw) and screw the ground wire to the metal dash.
TA-DA! I'm willing to bet you'll be buying no more fuses and now you'll be
able to enjoy your music while still being able to see your dash at night.
Good luck, and BTW, next time remember that those $4 harnesses tell you
everything you need to know and make your and my life so much easier when it
comes to this stuff.