Need advice re car stereos


I need advice about car stereos and must admit I know noting about them.
My pre-owned Toyota Camry came with an in-dash cassette/receiver which
also controls a cd-changer that sits in the trunk. There is a free
pocket just below this receiver. I want to get rid of that changer in
the trunk---it is too much hassle, and also keeps getting bumped by
luggage, grocery bags, and like.
I am considering following solutions:
(1) An in-dash cd player that would go into the free pocket and work
with the existing cassette receiver. It need not and probably should
not have its own radio, amplifier, etc. It could be one disc player or
a changer.
(2) An entirely new cd-cassette-radio player. This seems wasteful but
if it is the best option, or the cheapest or something like that, I
would consider it.
I would appreciate advice from those who know car stereos. Brands, as
well as the kind of stores I should go to (Chicago area). I don't need
MP3, satellite radio etc, just "cd cassette AM FM".
Thanks.
Reply to
Ajanta
crutchfield.com has excellent service, and can set you up with a unit that will fit. They will also provide a wiring adapter. If you don't mind something a little garish looking, the Sony 'Explod' AM/FM/Cassette unit is good, and inexpensive. If you want a more 'classic' look, there are other manufacturers with units that should fit. Crutchfield sells them all.
Reply to
mj
: crutchfield.com has excellent service, and can set you up : with a unit that will fit. They will also provide a wiring : adapter. If you don't mind something a little garish looking, the : Sony 'Explod' AM/FM/Cassette unit is good, and inexpensive. If : you want a more 'classic' look, there are other manufacturers : with units that should fit. Crutchfield sells them all.
If I do mail order, where should I go to get it installed?
Reply to
Ajanta
: Where in the Chicago area are you? Anywhere near Woodfield Mall?
I can drive anywhere within reasonable distance. Woodfield would be ok. Although I would imagine that many suitable stores would be nearer. I just don't know them.
Reply to
Ajanta
either a car stereo shop, or a mechanic. You just need somebody capable of pulling the stereo out of the dash and of inserting connectors.
Reply to
AZ Nomad
Do they still make cassette tapes? I pitched all mine into the trash years ago. No MP3? WHOA! Is it 1995 again? Seriously, in November I purchased a new Kenwood KDC-MP232 MP3/AM/FM Receiver for my daughter at Onlinecarstereo.com for $102.00:
formatting link
Had it installed for $60 at a local shop that 'pimps' stretch Limos. My daughter is very happy with it - she keeps her entire music collection on four CD's full of MP3's (about 600 songs).
Good luck with the cassette tapes.......
HJS
Reply to
Homer S.
There are a few car stereos that incorporate the AM/FM/Cassette/CD, but they are kind of expensive. Can you ditch the Cassette, or do you have a large variety?
Also, what kind of changer is located in the trunk? There are some units, ie, Kenwood, Sony, Clarion that have propreitary adapters to only work with a macthing head unit, 'generic' adapters, such as Sony's D-Bus that are compatible among head units, or have a built-in FM transmitter that sends the signal from the CD to the radio via a pre-set (changable) FM frequency, like some of the XM radios do.
What year Camry is it? Most of the installations of aftermarket radios into a Toyota are real easy; you can pick up a wiring harness adapter at Wal*Mart for $7 that works with ANY Toyota from 1980-present. All aftermarket radios now use the same color coding for the wires, and the adapter uses the same color scheme, so fitting the new radio is easy; match the colors to the new adapter harness, twist and secure with electrician's tape, snap the harness in and bolt the radio in! That simple. UNLESS, the person before you cut the wires to put in the new radio. Then it's a bit more difficult, but if it is a recent radio it will still be the same color scheme, so you can clip the wires from the existing radio leaving a bit of the colored wire behind, and again match them up, splice and cover with tape. Either that, or, hopefully the person that installed the radio left the markers on the wiring explaining which wire is which connection.
Removal of the dash panel is pretty straightforward; there are usually screws under the top of the bezel that can be viewed by looking up above the ashtray, usually above the heater controls. Also, you will need to pull the ashtray and remove the two screws you'll see, and then the screws holding the metal 'snuff plate' (as I call it) and then GENTLY unsnapping the bezel. Again, knowing which year we're dealing with will help here.
The radios are usually secured to the dash using 4 10mm screw/bolts, I suggest using a 10mm socket since they are soft and if you don't have the correct screwdriver you'll strip the heads. Then the radio and the pocket come out as one unit, and there are screws on the side of the radio securing the bracket to the radio.
Almost every single radio sold now has holes on the side marked "T" and "N", T for Toyota and N for Nissan. Place the brackets in the holes marked "T" and use the screws you removed to secure the bracket, then snap the harness together and mount the radio. It's a fairly simple process, and, again, unless the harness was cut out, should take less than an hour!
And, another hint: I get most of my aftermarket radios from e-Bay. The only problem I have had so far was I bought an Eclipse there, and the 13 pin harness (WHO THE HELL thought up a 13 pin harness?!?!?!) was missing and the radio is 'keyed' to a CD the original owner had. I wouldn't buy an Eclipse unless the harness is included and the seller either tells you or provides you with the CD he used as a 'key'! They are REALLY good stereos, however! Since I only paid $15 for it, eh...live and learn. I can send it to Fujitsu to have it reset...but I digress.
If you decide to do this yourself, I'm almost always here every day, and would be glad to answer any more questions.
Reply to
Hachiroku
: Do they still make cassette tapes?
We do have an old collection. But more importantly, when traveling overseas, it is not uncommon to encounter music that seems interesting enough to try but we are not sure enough to spend big bucks. So we may spend $40 on twenty cassettes at $2 each rather than $200-300 on twenty cd's at $10-15 each.
Reply to
Ajanta
Hachiroku,
Regarding your eBay adventures, are you buying new radios or used? Do you have a reliable seller?
Thanks! BC
Reply to
BCDrums
Most places that sell automotive audio systems like Circuit City and Best Buy also do installations. If you have the installation kit and adapter harness and you were close by, I might even pop it in myself.
Reply to
Ray O
I'll have to check it. There was one guy from Vancouver, IIRC, that was very good. I bought 2 JVC MP3 players from him. But all the radios I bought from e-Bay were no problem, except for the Eclipse.
Reply to
Hachiroku
(...)
I'm *fairly* sure that the Sony 'Explod' stereo I mentioned has a CD changer controller as well as the cassette deck, but I don't know if it's proprietary. That's a question that Crutchfield could also answer. I mention this model not because it looks like a jukebox or video game (which, unfortunately, it does), but because it's made in Thailand, where they actually have labor unions and decent working conditions.
Reply to
mj
: There are a few car stereos that incorporate the AM/FM/Cassette/CD, but : they are kind of expensive. Can you ditch the Cassette, or do you have a : large variety?
I do have a cassette collection but also, at $2 each rather than $10-15 pr cd's, tend to buy cassettes when traveling overseas, to experiment with music that seems interesting but not a sure bet.
Thank you for your detailed advice. My car is 1998 Camry LE 6-cylinder 4-door sedan. The in-dash cassette receiver is branded "Toyota" and is working just fine. There is free pocket below it. The cd changer in the trunk has some other name ("Eclipse"? I'll have to look). I want to get rid of it because it tends to get bumped by luggage and sometimes won't play unless I stop the car, open the trunk, and reset it.
So ideally, I would just want a cd player that would go into the free pocket and connect to the cassette receiver. I don't really want a new AM/FM/Cassette/CD unit, I am just prepared to consider it if it is the only solution.
: Also, what kind of changer is located in the trunk? There are some units, : ie, Kenwood, Sony, Clarion that have propreitary adapters to only work : with a macthing head unit, 'generic' adapters, such as Sony's D-Bus that : are compatible among head units, or have a built-in FM transmitter that : sends the signal from the CD to the radio via a pre-set (changable) FM : frequency, like some of the XM radios do. : : What year Camry is it? Most of the installations of aftermarket radios : into a Toyota are real easy; you can pick up a wiring harness adapter at : Wal*Mart for $7 that works with ANY Toyota from 1980-present. All : aftermarket radios now use the same color coding for the wires, and the : adapter uses the same color scheme, so fitting the new radio is easy; : match the colors to the new adapter harness, twist and secure with : electrician's tape, snap the harness in and bolt the radio in! That simple. : UNLESS, the person before you cut the wires to put in the new radio. Then : it's a bit more difficult, but if it is a recent radio it will still be : the same color scheme, so you can clip the wires from the existing radio : leaving a bit of the colored wire behind, and again match them up, splice : and cover with tape. Either that, or, hopefully the person that installed : the radio left the markers on the wiring explaining which wire is which : connection. : : Removal of the dash panel is pretty straightforward; there are usually : screws under the top of the bezel that can be viewed by looking up above : the ashtray, usually above the heater controls. Also, you will need to : pull the ashtray and remove the two screws you'll see, and then the screws : holding the metal 'snuff plate' (as I call it) and then GENTLY unsnapping : the bezel. Again, knowing which year we're dealing with will help here. : : The radios are usually secured to the dash using 4 10mm screw/bolts, I : suggest using a 10mm socket since they are soft and if you don't have the : correct screwdriver you'll strip the heads. Then the radio and the pocket : come out as one unit, and there are screws on the side of the radio : securing the bracket to the radio. : : Almost every single radio sold now has holes on the side marked "T" and : "N", T for Toyota and N for Nissan. Place the brackets in the holes marked : "T" and use the screws you removed to secure the bracket, then snap the : harness together and mount the radio. It's a fairly simple process, and, : again, unless the harness was cut out, should take less than an hour! : : And, another hint: I get most of my aftermarket radios from e-Bay. The : only problem I have had so far was I bought an Eclipse there, and the 13 : pin harness (WHO THE HELL thought up a 13 pin harness?!?!?!) was missing : and the radio is 'keyed' to a CD the original owner had. I wouldn't buy an : Eclipse unless the harness is included and the seller either tells you or : provides you with the CD he used as a 'key'! They are REALLY good stereos, : however! Since I only paid $15 for it, eh...live and learn. I can send it : to Fujitsu to have it reset...but I digress. : : If you decide to do this yourself, I'm almost always here every day, and : would be glad to answer any more questions. : :
Reply to
Ajanta
Whoa! Eclipse is Good Stuff! Maybe I'll throw you a few bucks for it!
I'd move it to under the driver's seat, myself. Since it is an Eclipse, unless there is a direct connection to your radio (meaning you have a Fujitsu Radio...) then does it tune into the radio, or is there a button on the radio to allow control of the changer from the stock radio?
This is interesting...
The only place you're going to find a direct-connect CD changer is from Toyota, or from a junkyard or e-Bay. I'd like to see this setup so I could tell what is needed! A lot of the stock Toyota radios through the 80's and into the 90's had a DIN connector on the back of them to plug in other accessories such as a CD deck or an Equalizer. But, even though DIN 'means' STANDARDIZED, it is not possible to tell if one manufacturer's pinout matches another's pin-in! If you can get a look at the back of the radio and see if there is a DIN connector that is plugged into a socket, then you may be able to get something that will work.
I can't remember how Fujitsu marks their units. At one time, even though the radio said TOYOTA on it, there was also another little mark on the faceplate that defines the MFG; a small Capital N with a lightening bolt for National (Panasonic), or what kind of looked like the GE (General Electric) 'meatball' with the word "TEN" across it for Fujitsu. (See, I DO remember!) If one of these marks is on there, it will help even further; I'm willing to bet since it is an Eclipse changer then it's probably a Fujitsu head unit...
If you find something, let me know!
There is another way to tell...the National branded radios had REALLY good FM reception (almost TOO good! Stations splashed over each other) while the FM section on the Fujitsu's wasn't as good, but the tape section sounded GREAT! (but that's a generalization...)
Reply to
Hachiroku
: Whoa! Eclipse is Good Stuff! Maybe I'll throw you a few bucks for it! : : I'd move it to under the driver's seat, myself. Since it is an Eclipse, : unless there is a direct connection to your radio (meaning you have a : Fujitsu Radio...) then does it tune into the radio, or is there a button : on the radio to allow control of the changer from the stock radio?
The cassette receiver has a button marked cd and that controls the changer just fine. The changer works fine and I am glad it is a good brand; as my posts have made clear, I am only unhappy about its location in the trunk. You have given me another idea; maybe I should look into moving it inside the car.
: This is interesting... : : The only place you're going to find a direct-connect CD changer is from : Toyota, or from a junkyard or e-Bay. I'd like to see this setup so I could : tell what is needed! A lot of the stock Toyota radios through the 80's and : into the 90's had a DIN connector on the back of them to plug in other : accessories such as a CD deck or an Equalizer. But, even though DIN : 'means' STANDARDIZED, it is not possible to tell if one manufacturer's : pinout matches another's pin-in! If you can get a look at the back of the : radio and see if there is a DIN connector that is plugged into a socket, : then you may be able to get something that will work. : : I can't remember how Fujitsu marks their units. At one time, even though : the radio said TOYOTA on it, there was also another little mark on the : faceplate that defines the MFG; a small Capital N with a lightening : bolt for National (Panasonic), or what kind of looked like the GE (General : Electric) 'meatball' with the word "TEN" across it for Fujitsu. (See, I DO : remember!) If one of these marks is on there, it will help even further; : I'm willing to bet since it is an Eclipse changer then it's probably a : Fujitsu head unit... : : If you find something, let me know! : : There is another way to tell...the National branded radios had REALLY good : FM reception (almost TOO good! Stations splashed over each other) while : the FM section on the Fujitsu's wasn't as good, but the tape section : sounded GREAT! (but that's a generalization...)
Reply to
Ajanta
: Most places that sell automotive audio systems like Circuit City and Best : Buy also do installations. If you have the installation kit and adapter : harness and you were close by, I might even pop it in myself.
Thanks, but I haven't found the right solution yet. My cassette receiver is working fine, there is a free pocket below it. What is bothering me is the location of cd player: in the trunk. Ideally then, I would like a cd player that fits in the free pocket and is controlled by the cassette receiver. I haven't found it.
Lacking that, I'll see if the cd player can be moved from the trunk to somewhere inside the car. It is kind of big, but maybe a spot could be found.
Otherwise, I need to junk both cassette receiver and the cd player and buy a new unit with cassette and cd. The selection however is very limited and prices are high.
Reply to
Ajanta
Since I am the only one that drives my cars, under the driver's seat is a good place for 'stuff'... unless you have a power seat. I figure nobody is EVER going to sit in the back seat of my Supra, so I put my 400W 4-channel power amp under the passenger's seat. ;)
Reply to
Hachiroku

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