Factory Stereo and CD Player Upgrade Guide for 1990's Ford Cars and Truck Models

In the 1990's Ford and their divisions have used similar radios in their cars and trucks. The two types they used, double din and single din models have some factory upgrades that flow more naturally in their interiors. There are also some over looked, newer factory options that can be added with very little work and cost.

Radio Removal Tools

Ford Radio Removal Tools Clip Pull Out Removal

All Ford Radios and CD players from this vintage remove the same way by using the above tool. These tools insert into the four holes in the radio and pull out.

Pull Out tool Ford Radio CD Player Uninstall Dash Removal

Some radios are harder to pull out then others and take some work, but a good rule of thumb is to lightly shake the tool from left to right until they come out.

Double Din Factory Stereo, CD Player Options

Mustang Windstar Lincoln Mark VIII Radio CD Player

These radios were found in the following models.

  • Ford Thunderbird
  • Ford Mustang
  • Ford Windstar
  • Ford Explorer
  • Ford Crown Victoria
  • Mercury Cougar
  • Mercury Villager
  • Mercury Mountaineer
  • Lincoln Mark VIII
  • Lincoln Town Car
  • Lincoln Continential
  • This style of radio was found in a lot of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars and trucks in the 1990's. Since they are already 10 years old or more, they run into problems including dead displays, CD players that don't work or Cassettes that don't work.

    Important, if your current stereo has a CD Changer, the suggested stereo will not operate them.

    Back of 2002 Ford Radio Connector Sub Woofer Connection

    It is important that you look behind the radio to make sure there isn't anything different about your particlar setup. There are a few systems that have different plugs, make sure yours matches what is being considered. The above radio is the back side of a similar model to the one at the beginning of this section. The important connection on the radio is the far right. The connection on the left hand side is for a sub woofer, if equipped. If you must keep your subwoofer, find a model that has both connections. If you use a subwoofer radio with a non-subwoofer car, it will not hurt the radio to keep it disconnected. It will also not degrade the sound in any way.

    In 2005, Ford redesigned the Ford Ranger's interior. The newest interior freshing included new audio options. These radios were designed by Pioneer Electronics, which is a leader in aftermarket systems. These radios were only featured in the Ford Ranger model, no other Ford models had this radio as an option. Most of the radios have MP3 capablities, which is nice to have. They have a few models to choose from:

    Casstte 2004 2005 Ford Ranger Upgrade Mark VIII Town Car

    A Single CD MP3 player for the Cassette fans (are there still any out there?!)

    Single CD Mustang Explorer Ranger Crown Vic

    A single CD player that lacks the tape. These came in MP3 and standard versions.

    Pioneer MP3 CD6 6 Disc CD Changer Crown Victoria Ranger Mercury Cougar Mountaineer Town Car

    A CD6 MP3 Changer with the Pioneer Logo on it. These have a larger amp and is considered the top of the line for the Ranger radios.

    CD6 MP3 CD Changer Lincoln Mark VIII Town Car Mustang

    The much more common CD6 MP3 CD Changer. This is the authors personal choice, they are good price, sound great and is a nice addition to any double din Ford, Lincoln or Mercury.

    Important: If you are buying a CD Changer on Ebay, ask the seller to lock the CD changer before shipping. If you do not do this, the changer will show an error when you try to load discs

    These options will improve your sound and the looks of your car or truck. I am sure you will be happy with their performance, especially for the price they go for on ebay and auto parts yards.

    Single DIN CD Player and Cassette Player Ford OEM

    JVC HD Radio Add on Stereo remote better sound extra channels

    If you have a stereo in your dash that you can not replace or love it so much that you don't want to replace, adding an external HD radio will give you more channels for 100% free! If your town has radio stations that transmit on HD, you will instantly get better sound and reception. You might even get an extra channel or two of content that you won't find on the normal HD dial.

    JVC KT-HDP1 Cool HD Radio Add on Ad Stereo CD Player HD Channels

    The JVC KT-HDP1 is a nice little unit that hooks to your stereo easily without professional installation. Depending on your current radio, install should only take about 30 minutes. The hardest part of the install is to figure out where to put the unit and its control box in your dash.

    The control box (or brain) goes inline with your antenna wire. Power comes from a cigarette lighter or you can hard wire it in. For the Ford Ranger, it was just easier to use the lighter plug. After working out the power, you can turn on the unit and set the radio station to an open channel. After you find a nice spot on the FM dial, start tuning your stations with the KT-HDP1. You may want to read the directions to set the audio options that match your taste and your current radio.

    Enjoy 100% Free HD Radio!

    If you are looking to upgrade or replace your factory radio, you must pay attention to the pin outs on the back. These pins will match up with your factory harness in your dash. From the late 80's to late 90's Ford had two basic options, Premium and Non-Premium sound. The pins are very different and they are not interchangeable.

    Premium sound systems were options and provide a better sound then the non-premium units. Premium sound uses an external amp that is lost inside the car. This amp can be under a seat, in the dash or in the trunk. The harness for this system can be very involved within the car, check your Electrical Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual (EVTM) for details. This can also be a challenge if you are looking to replace your factory radio with an aftermarket system. Cables will need to be purchased to by-pass the amp.

    Many car have the non-premium sound unit. These are the most basic but they provide a good sound within its internal amp.

    Non-Premium Sound

    1992 Ford Probe Taurus Mustang Truck F150

    Back of Radio Ford Taurus Truck Ranger F150 Econoline Van Aerostar

    This is the most common radio you will find in Ford and Mercury products between 1992-1998. These radios were available in AM Stereo, AM/FM and AM/FM Cassette.

    The pins are the same on most models. The harness simply plugs in and provides power and speaker outputs. If you drive a Taurus or Sable with dash audio controls, any stereo of this type will work with those. As a test, I plugged in a stereo from a 1996 Ford Probe in a 1992 Taurus and the controls worked perfectly.

    Ford Aspire Radio Cassette Stereo Standard 1997 1996 1995 Truck Crown Victoria

    This 1997 Ford Aspire radio is another option for someone who wants something funky. When I took this radio out, we were shocked to find out that this takes the standard non-premium sound harness. This radio featured four presets, detachable control panel and auto reverse. This was not a real good radio but it worked okay.

    Premium Sound

    Ford Mustang Lincoln Town Car Ford Aerostar Tempo Capri

    The Premium Sound option was for people who wanted more power, better sound and more speakers. These stereos usually had 6 speakers and more watt power then the standard radio. The pins are different compared to the non-premium sound, which makes these radios not compatible with each other. The dash harness is very different since the radio output is handled by the external amp. You can add Premium Sound to a car by getting the external amp and the very large harness. Please consult your EVAC book before trying this. It would take less time to just buy a new, aftermarket unit if you require more sound.

    Contour Grand Mercury Ford Aspire Escort

    Here is the Premium sound Cassette player found in many cars and trucks. Most look like this but we have seen newer Mustangs with the Non-Premium sound look.

    cdradio (57K)

    This is the super cool Premium All-In-One CD Player. This was an option on some later Contour and Aspire models. Its a great CD player with a nice layout.

    Thunderbird Ford Mercury Cougar

    Here is the CD setup that is common in Mustang, Probe, Aspire and Taurus. There is a cable that connects these together.

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