Finally got this car out for the summer last weekend and took a nice drive through the Holy Hill area. While enjoying my cruise I was reminded of how much I hate the current state of the audio system in this car. At some point prior to my ownership it had an Alpine head unit and some Sony rear speakers installed by a Best Buy. While the individual parts weren't necessarily bad, the install was clearly terrible because random speakers would come and go any time you hit a bump. Sometimes you'd have all 4, sometimes it would switch left and right, if you got really unlucky you'd have seemingly nothing till the next expansion gap. I had enough and ordered the Continental head unit to start rebuilding the stereo into something workable.
Getting the old Alpine head unit out without the special tools was a little frustrating but I eventually succeeded with a pair of feeler gauges down each side in just the right spot. With the head unit out I found this messy pile of crap behind it:
The picture doesn't really capture it well but there were quite a few cut/loose wires, some random spliced in connectors that served no purpose, what looked to be an old ipod connection that was only half-way cut out, and a lot of electrical tape and crimp connectors. Since the factory connectors were long gone I just cut back everything until I was left with as much of the factory wiring that I could save. My car has the base 4-channel system with no amp so I soldered in the new head unit connectors using this diagram:
New head unit installed and working! Looks so much better than the old one and having bluetooth audio (once I figured out how to get it working) is a great upgrade.
The annoying news was that I only had sound from 3 of the 4 speakers. The driver's rear wasn't doing anything, so I pulled out the speaker and found what was probably real source of my problems:
It pulled out just like this, the connector had fallen right off with zero resistance. In fact, all of the connectors on both rear speakers were loose like that. I tightened up the connectors with a pliers and reattached them and what do you know, I have all 4 speakers working now! I'm not sure why it took me so long to dig into this but I'm pumped that it's working properly again.