Mod #17: Radio Replacement

Mod #17: Radio Replacement

Submitted on: 06/21/08

     Category: electrical, entertainment
Mod Rating: 12345

(59 ratings)

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Mod Description:

Don’t you just love the great sound quality you get from your factory-installed RV stereo? Most think the junky stock speakers are the culprit. This may be true in some cases but the stereo has a lot to do with sound quality as well. Not only is the sound quality questionable, reliability also rates high on the aggravation list. Things like poor reception and skipping CDs seem to be quite common with the factory units. And some just fail altogether. This mod will not only help you improve the reliability and sound quality of your stereo, but will also help you spend more money on other components of the total sound system, just so you don’t have to worry about those things either.

Mod Difficulty:

Car stereos are typically used to replace the RV unit. Since car stereos do not have the same dimensions as an RV stereo, mounting a car stereo in the same location is going to require some modification. You will have to create a new face plate to cover the original hole left by the RV stereo, and then mount the new stereo to the faceplate. You can sometimes find wood to match the cabinetry at most home improvement stores, like Lowes or Home Depot. It might not match perfectly, but you can stain it to get close. What fun is a mod if you can’t get creative?

You can also install the new stereo in another location. This might be easier in terms of mounting since you only have to make a hole the size of the new unit. A cabinet or storage compartment is a good choice as these areas tend to have more reinforcement near their mounting points. Just be sure you have enough clearance behind the unit for both fitment and ventilation. Higher power stereos do put out more heat and a little breathing room will help prevent overheating.

Wiring is straightforward if you’re just replacing the RV stereo with a car stereo/CD combo. Some units have provisions for auxiliary inputs for satellite radio, external CD changers, game players, iPods, etc., and outputs for DVD video signals and subwoofers. You will need to do a little more planning if you decide to use a head unit to control all of these wonderful gadgets, especially if the gadgets are not located near the location of the head unit.

Wiring adapters are available for connecting the new head unit to the RV wiring but are dependent on the manufacturer. If you cannot find an adapter, splicing in to the RV wiring is pretty simple. Look in the RV stereo manual to determine which wires go to which speakers and where the stereo is connected to power. Then compare with the wiring diagram for the new head unit, match them up, splice, and go.

Worth mentioning is a head unit that is perfect for the RVer. It’s an all-in-one package which includes, among other things, a weather band tuner, CD/DVD, remote, and is Sirius satellite ready. The weather band tuner is especially nice if bad weather is expected where you’re camping. It can give you enough warning so that you can retract the awning and put away the chairs.

ModMyRV recommends these parts for this mod:
Sony CDX-GT630UI MP3/WMA/AAC Compliant CD Receiver with iPod Direct Control via USB
Under cabinet mount radio housing
Universal and Custom Harness with Amp Connectors

General Reference
RV Stereo and Entertainment System

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12 Comments For This Mod

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  1. Bob Vaughn

    My TT came with a casette player/radio….I don’t own a casette but have a ton of cd’s.. I would like to change out my radio for an automobile cd player that you can load multiple cd’s into …. I wonder if I would have any luck trying to get one at a junk yard or would I just be asking for trouble…..there would be no wiring diagrams or instructions….uum…..

  2. ModMyRV

    For electronics, Google is really great at finding manuals. Just type in the model number on the “new” radio and you should get some hits on wiring diagrams and connection information.

  3. jmt

    Has anyone put a new radio (mounted on the exterior) to their RV (with exterior speakers)? Seems like it would be more convenient to have the radio/controls on the exterior with your speakers?

  4. ModMyRV

    I personally haven’t but here is a link to an installation manual for the Audiovox outside entertainment system:

    It should give you a feel for the level of effort.

  5. Jenna

    I’m trying to install a new in-dash stereo into my 2000 Marida Coachmen. I’m doing the works new head unit, amp, powered sub. But the thing is I want to use the house battery and vehicle battery while we are driving. The amp takes a whopping 75 amp fuse and my house system has a spot for that but I’m not sure I can place 75 amp on it? Also I want to switch between the two power sources as needed. Can anyone suggest anything?

  6. ModMyRV

    You can use a 75 amp fuse provided your wiring is of adequate size. For that amount of current draw, I would suggest 4 gauge minimum. If you have a long run to your house batteries, then go with 2 gauge.

    As far as using both house and coach batteries, you should already have a switch that combines both banks. This is used for starting your coach in the event your starting battery is dead. Just be sure that when using both banks combined, you don’t use up all of the available battery power. Otherwise you won’t be able to start your coach!

  7. L A

    Just wondering what to do with a trigger wire
    on this new AWM 960Jensen Stereo.
    Installation manual is sketchy, at best.


  8. dinotoad

    Consider installing a CD player with remote control. Then you can control the volume from any location.

  9. gnarlykaw

    I looked high and low for a good DVD player, and came to the conclusion, I would rather have a home system in the trailer. I killed the OEM junk system, and replaced the speakers in the roof, mounter two more in the front of the living area, put two UNDER the trailer, tucked in the frameat the frt and back of ther entry side of the trailer. Three way, 200 watt, plastic case, and mounted the sub under the dinet. NOW, i can have FULL control of my audio. I can run the ipod to the outside spekers, or in cabin, and the same goes for the T.V. or the xbox360…
    and I even built a wood faceplate to house the reciever in the entertainment center to clean things up! No, we don’t boondock…

  10. Carl63_99

    My class A had a Magnadyne cassette stereo and this past weekend I dumped it for a new JVC CD receiver with remote (I always thought the remote was silly for car apps, until I got an RV). The MG stereo was original and had the wiring connections printed on the top of the unit. I cut the MG wiring off the unit and one-by-one ran all of the wires from the JVC wiring harness to the old MG connection. That took about 15 minutes. Basically there is the black ground, red 12 v power, yellow power for memory, and the speaker wires.

    After that, it took a few minutes to mount the new unit, then it was power up and rock on! Although now I am thinking about new speakers even though the stereo sounds great already!

  11. NaturalStateReb

    An easy mod to replace what’s usually a pretty crappy radio. This mod has mostly been superceded by bluetooth speakers, and I would probably recommend the King LED Awning Light/Bluetooth Speaker combination before replacing the radio, unless I was just really into radio or wanted bluetooth audio for a camper with both internal and external speakers. Two wires, an hour max, and you’ve got a much better mod.

  12. Pastor Sammy Edwards

    What is the brand (name) of radio #17?

1 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. RV Weather Station | ModMyRV

    [...] new weather station, you should also consider a weather band radio as well, like the one shown in Mod #17: Radio Replacement. Having both a station and a radio should put you in to weather data overload, just what all [...]

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