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rdh2

How To: Adding Aux Input To Factory Radio 1996-07

45 posts in this topic

This mod replaces the Integrated Control Panel (ICP) cassette or CD signal with a line-in signal in your factory stereo system on the ’96-’07 Taurus/Sable (Gen 3 and Gen 4). This is an inexpensive alternative to the PIE adapter. You will lose the use of the ICP tape or CD player, but gain the use of your MP3 player.

The Rear Control Unit (RCU) is the actual radio receiver/amplifier and is in the trunk on our cars. There are wires that send the tape or CD signal from the ICP to the RCU. These wires will need to be removed from the ICP connector and connected to a stereo jack so you can listen to your MP3 player through the factory radio. The cassette or CD player needs to be functional for this mod to work.

You will need to have basic soldering skills to accomplish this or find a friend that can solder.

Before you begin, you will need some supplies. These can vary, but I will list the specific items I used.

Parts:

-Stereo 1/8 inch jack with solder terminals, Radio Shack part number 274-274

-1/8 male to 1/8 male stereo extension cord (I used the one that came with my XM radio)

-Electrical Tape

-Solder

-18 gauge electrical wire

-Wire Tap Connectors

Tools:

-Soldering Iron

-Volt Ohm Meter

-DIN Radio Removal Tools

-Pick or other similar pointed tool

-Wire Strippers

Turn the radio volume to the minimum setting and turn the radio off.

Disconnect the battery.

Remove the ICP from the dash. You will need a set of DIN removal tools.

DINtool.jpgIMAG0432.jpg

Remove the connector from the radio unit on the ICP.

IMAG0438.jpg

IMAG0445-1.jpg

IMAG0364.jpg

Remove the red connector cover. It is snapped in to place.

IMAG0391.jpgIMAG0392.jpg

You should verify the correct wires with your wiring diagram.

Using a pointed tool, release the lock holding the wire terminal in the connector and remove the 4 wires as follows:

96-97:

Pin 1: Dark Blue/White, Right +

Pin 2: Gray, Right –

Pin 9: Brown/Light Green, Left +

Pin 10: White/Pink, Left –

98-07:

Pin 9: Dark Blue/White, Right +

Pin 10: White/Pink, Left –

Pin 19: Gray, Right –

Pin 20: Brown/Light Green, Left +

IMAG0365.jpg

To release the lock, use the pointed tool to pry the tab and remove the wires.

IMAG0393-1.jpg

You can now make the connection between the stereo jack and the car wiring.

Decide how long you want the harness to be. I would suggest a minimum of 6-8”. It will all depend on where you are mounting or routing the jack to.

Solder one wire to the tip tab, one to the ring tab, and two to the sleeve tab. When finished, I wrapped the sleeve solder connection with electrical tape and then reinstalled the plastic screw on cover.

stereojack.jpg

IMAG0437.jpg

Using the wire tap squeeze connectors, connect the left and right + wires on the jack to the appropriate vehicle wires. Connect the two negative wires to the vehicle harness in the same way.

108-010.jpg

IMAG0439.jpg

Use electrical tape to wrap the harness connector pins to prevent them from shorting out.

IMAG0440.jpg

You are now ready to test your work.

Reconnect the wiring harness to the radio.

Slide the radio back in to place about half way.

Reconnect the battery.

Turn the key to ACC or ON.

Turn the radio on. Increase the volume and make sure everything sounds normal. Make sure all speakers are working.

Turn the volume back down to a minimum.

Plug the stereo extension cord in to the jack. Connect the other end to your MP3 player.

Insert a cassette or CD to trigger the RCU to “listen” on the aux in line. The cassette or CD must have music on it so the ICP radio head tries to play it.

Increase the volume and make sure there are no strange noises. There should be only silence.

Return the volume to a minimum.

Now turn on your MP3 player, select some music, and increase the volume on the MP3 player. You should be hearing your favorite tunes. I run my MP3 player at full volume and control the volume through the car radio.

Increase the ICP volume and make sure everything is normal.

If no problems exist, turn the MP3 player and the ICP off. Turn the key off. Remove the ICP and wrap tape around the squeeze connectors to prevent them from shorting out. Route the stereo jack harness as required. I routed mine below the ashtray for now. I will make a more permanent jack installation when I swap out my interior.

Reinstall the ICP. This mod took me about 45 minutes start to finish. (It took longer to put together this How To)

If you want to be creative, you could keep the cassette or CD function by using a 4 Pole Double Throw Switch or Relay to connect either the ICP output or MP3 player output. I may experiment with this later.

Here are a couple wiring diagrams of the radio system.

96-97:

97radio.jpg

98 & Up:

02Radio.jpg

2 people like this

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awesome write up dude. very detailed, and good pics. thanks man.

i will be getting started on this very soon, i will let you know how it works out.

this should be pinned.

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sorry, but im a little confused as far as the connections go.

the 3.5mm jack has 3 wires ( L,R,G ) then you have 4 wires from the ICP ( R+,L+,R-,L-)

if the 2 right and left positive go to the L,R on the jack. where do the 2 negatives from the ICP and the ground from the jack go ?

Edited by tehrookie

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sorry, but im a little confused as far as the connections go.

the 3.5mm jack has 3 wires ( L,R,G ) then you have 4 wires from the ICP ( R+,L+,R-,L-)

if the 2 right and left positive go to the L,R on the jack. where do the 2 negatives from the ICP and the ground from the jack go ?

The 2 negative wires in the vehicle harness need to go to the Ground (Sleeve) of the stereo jack. They can be connected together because they are the "ground" of the circuit.

post-24-0-65104700-1307966787_thumb.jpg

And just to clarify, the wires you are tapping in to go to the RCU, not the ICP.

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bob, i got everything hooked up. and it works ( sorta )

that being said, i ran into a small problem... the left channel is significantly louder than the right.

i suspect the problem may be how i wired the ground. did you use 2 wires for each L - and R - and then solder the 2 wires together at the 3.5 jack?

i spliced the 2 L- and R - together into 1 wire and ran the 1 wire to the jack...

just wanted to ask before i go to hacking at wires again ( i hate losing wire length )

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bob, i got everything hooked up. and it works ( sorta )

that being said, i ran into a small problem... the left channel is significantly louder than the right.

i suspect the problem may be how i wired the ground. did you use 2 wires for each L - and R - and then solder the 2 wires together at the 3.5 jack?

i spliced the 2 L- and R - together into 1 wire and ran the 1 wire to the jack...

just wanted to ask before i go to hacking at wires again ( i hate losing wire length )

I ran 2 wires from the jack - 1 to each vehicle harness ground wire. I have not had any issues with one channel being louder than the other. I would suspect that maybe you have a bad connection where you spliced the 2 wires together; just a thought.

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well hell, i checked the splices, and redid the right channel splice. i also went to 2 wires on the ground instead of 1 just for the hell of it.

i also tried a different cord. very strange...

the right channel DOES produce sound but it is very low. the left channel overpowers it by far.

the CD and FM still work normally. i dont know what went wrong.

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well.... i dont know wth is goin on with my wires.. the 1/8 jack i was using, broke ( cheap s**t ) so i went and got another..

but i could not get over how low the volume is after this mod. so i just did some test connections to see what was up.

if i just touch the left + to its respective conductor on the jack. it puts out sound. if i ground it. it puts out sound through both right and left channels.

when i connect the right + and right - wire it does nothing. the right wire is seemingly dead. ( i have checked, checked and rechecked splices )

also if i connect the left + with the right - the volume is where it should be, but only in the left channel.

and it all worked just fine and normal volume when i was using the tape.

it is so screwy i cant even remember the awkward connections that produced awkward results. im usually pretty good with audio stuff. and i thought since it was R,L,+.- this would be pretty simple. but apparently not. i dont know what im missing.

Edited by tehrookie

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:blink:

I think I would start over with wiring connections. Just a thought - if you used the Scotch-lock squeeze connectors I referenced in the write up, I have seen those actually cut the wire and have a poor connection.

Both channels are equal on my install. I do need to have the MP3 player turned up to at least 3/4 volume, but I can control it fine with the radio volume.

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would this mod work for an ipod/iphone ?

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well to add to more annoying rambling posts to this pinned thread...

i figured out that it was the squeeze connectors causing the problem. i went through several bags of these doing this mod. checking and rechecking the connections, and every time, they were seemingly fine.

so i just cut/stripped the wires and soldered the connections together. + heat shrink for a permanent seal. now it works perfectly.. aside from the lower volume which i think is unavoidable.

would this mod work for an ipod/iphone ?

it will work with anything that has a 3.5mm(1/8") output/headphone jack.

Edited by tehrookie

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Great write up!

Is it possible to wire a flip switch to the ICP to trigger the AUX input instead of using an old tape cassette?

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fwd message "If you want to be creative, you could keep the cassette or CD function by using a 4 Pole Double Throw Switch or Relay to connect either the ICP output or MP3 player output. I may experiment with this later."

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well to add to more annoying rambling posts to this pinned thread...

i figured out that it was the squeeze connectors causing the problem. i went through several bags of these doing this mod. checking and rechecking the connections, and every time, they were seemingly fine.

so i just cut/stripped the wires and soldered the connections together. + heat shrink for a permanent seal. now it works perfectly.. aside from the lower volume which i think is unavoidable.

I like rambling posts :D

Is the lower volume just on one channel?

I experimented with several different MP3 players, an XM radio, and a CD player. I did find that a couple of the no-name MP3 players did not have have consistent volume. On my everyday MP3 player, I have the volume at maximum and then I am able to control radio volume and take advantage of the MACH RCU sound. If your audio device has a line out jack, I think you can get better sound than through a headphone jack.

Great write up!

Is it possible to wire a flip switch to the ICP to trigger the AUX input instead of using an old tape cassette?

I have an ICP torn apart right now to experiment with doing some internal wiring to retain the cassette or CD function. :)

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I like rambling posts :D

Is the lower volume just on one channel?

I experimented with several different MP3 players, an XM radio, and a CD player. I did find that a couple of the no-name MP3 players did not have have consistent volume. Om my everyday MP3 player, I have the volume at maximum and then I am able to control radio volume and take advantage of the MACH RCU sound. If your audio device has a line out jack, I think you can get better sound than through a headphone jack.

the volume is equal throughout both channels now lol. :rolleyes:

im pretty sure all the connections are solid this time and i went crazy with the solder. :Shady_J:

i usually use my blackberry. it has audio boost and an EQ, which i normally set to 'Loud' and that gives it moar volume.

but its been actin funny, so ive just be using my Android with winamp.

i put a song on a CD and on my android and played them at 3 notches.

the CD version at 3 notches was quite loud and listenable while driving.

the same song through aux had to be turned up to half volume to match the volume of the CD. and still seemd to lack some oomph.

i havnt tested any other players. so it could just be my phone. nonetheless i like it loud anyway. so i just turn the volume to max (11) and ride out. :tsoc:

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Thanks for the write up.

20 minutes and i now have a aux input installed on my 99 ford Taurus. i soldiered and heat shrinked all connections and used a heavier gauge wire. no noise on the line. volume is actually very loud i turned the volume up on my phone and dont have to turn the stereo up over half way or its way to loud. so no noise or volume problems.

Thanks Rich

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since i had issues with volume with my aux input. i did some research and found out how to add a passive preamp inline with the aux input.

very cheap and easy to do.

all you need is 2 small audio transformers from radio shack. and a small box to put them in.

heres the schematic

Passive-iPod-Preamplifier-Schematic.jpg

my wiring is always sloppy. i only had like 30 minutes to get this done.

preamp.jpg

preamp2.jpg

preamp3.jpg

this helped tremendously with my making my aux volume louder with no loss of quality at all.

and it was so easy to do.

source: http://beavishifi.com/projects/Passive_IPOD_Preamplifier/

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new to the site, but not Fords. love these cheap easy mods!. just a bit lost on how i would use this to delete the CD changer . I understand the 4 cassete signal wires coming from the ICP. But how would I do this for the CD? Is it the same? Or do I tap into the wires from the cd changer the RCU?

thanks for the cool topic

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I want to do this but I wish to be able to trigger it without a cassette as well. There has to be a way.

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I want to do this but I wish to be able to trigger it without a cassette as well. There has to be a way.

Until somebody builds a box to interface the ACP (Audio Corporate Protocol) signals passed between ICP and RCU, one would need to continue using the cassette.

A CD to Tape adapter (not connected) would provide the endless "cassette" needed to make this operate.

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new to the site, but not Fords. love these cheap easy mods!. just a bit lost on how i would use this to delete the CD changer . I understand the 4 cassete signal wires coming from the ICP. But how would I do this for the CD? Is it the same? Or do I tap into the wires from the cd changer the RCU?

thanks for the cool topic

Same 4 wires from the ICP are used for the CD version.

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How many pins are in a '07 Taurus SEL OEM radio harness? I want to buy a replacement but need to know the pin count. Looking at the pic above of the harness, I'm not sure what to count as a "pin".

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Until somebody builds a box to interface the ACP (Audio Corporate Protocol) signals passed between ICP and RCU, one would need to continue using the cassette.

A CD to Tape adapter (not connected) would provide the endless "cassette" needed to make this operate.

First of all, I signed up JUST to ask this question, but I've been scanning these forums ever since I got a Taurus and everyone is so helpful. Anyhow, I did this whole mod and I actually used Deans connectors so I could hook the CD player sound back up if I ever wanted to switch back, and it works GREAT! Thanks so much for this guide, rdh2! Then, after actually using it for a decent amount of time, the CD player started ejecting all my CDs. Sometimes it takes 30 minutes for it to switch to radio automatically or say "BAD" and eject the CD, sometimes 30 seconds. It's really strange. So, just for testing purposes, I hooked up the CD player to the sound again, even though knowing the cables I was dealing with, it wasn't likely going to fix anything, and it didn't. I probably should have tested the cd player for more than 5 minutes in my new used car before going through with this project.

So, I have an ICP with a CD Player that's broken... Do you know anymore about creating this "box" to interface with the ACP? I don't mind testing some stuff to get it to work, but right now I'm really in the dark and could use some direction. Do you know which protocol it uses? A or B or both? Is there a steady signal to those protocols or can I have a switch that turns them off... for instance, extend the ACP wires down under the ashtray and after hitting the cd button once, I can close the switch so the ICP can't tell the RCU to switch to radio after the player decides to quit. I don't know enough about small electronics in general to come up with some "rigged" fix so I was fishing for info here.

Anything you could help with would be awesome! I'm not just too cheap to buy a P.I.E. device, but I REALLY don't want to have to run an audio cable from the trunk to the front of my car when I already have this all hooked up. I'd like to get it to work permanently, even when the cd player gets worse at reading CDs.

Thanks for you help!

Mike

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I am new to the site,picked up a 99 Taurus SE, and it is nice. I have the CD controls up front on the radio with no CD player in the trunk. Isn't there a way to tap directly into the CD input in the RCU in the trunk for an aux/ipod input? I thought I saw the mod for it a few days ago, now I can only find this mod, tapping in up front. I don't want to spend 60-$100 for the PIE thing...if you can find one. It just seems like it would easier to tap in in the trunk and run a plug to the front. Has anyone seen this or tried it?

Thanks

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I am new to the site,picked up a 99 Taurus SE, and it is nice. I have the CD controls up front on the radio with no CD player in the trunk. Isn't there a way to tap directly into the CD input in the RCU in the trunk for an aux/ipod input? I thought I saw the mod for it a few days ago, now I can only find this mod, tapping in up front. I don't want to spend 60-$100 for the PIE thing...if you can find one. It just seems like it would easier to tap in in the trunk and run a plug to the front. Has anyone seen this or tried it?

Thanks

From my limited research, the only way to tap in is to tell the rcu it's playing a casette or cd (by actually having one in and playing) while you send your ipod signal to the rcu which puts it out on your speakers. Otherwise, the rcu switches to radio because the audio corporate protocol communication from the head unit to the RCU tell it to. Using a PIE device and your 6 disc changer port on the rcu in the trunk is the simplest solution because it actually mimics the controls of the 6 disc changer and communicates with the rcu via the audio corporate protocol lines and tells it directly that there is a CD playing. That's what the little box does that's in the P.I.E. setup..

If your cd/cassette player works, the solution in this thread works great. Unfortunately for me, my CD player ejects CDs anywhere from 2 minutes in to 30 minutes into starting a cd which then switches the signal over to radio (which is really annoying). I didn't know it was broken prior to putting the jack in since I onlyt tested it for about 2 minutes prior. What I'm going to try (THIS HAS NOT BEEN TESTED TO WORK!) when I have time is putting a switch on the ACP wires that turns off the communication between the head unit and the RCU AFTER swiching to CD, so hopefully it won't be able to tell the RCU to change back to radio when the CD ejects. If this works, I won't be able to use my radio while the switch is turned off because the head unit and RCU will no longer be communicating, which is ok because I can just switch it back on if I want the radio. As long as there's no "keep alive" signal that goes back and forth between the two, I don't see any reason why it won't work. The ACP wires (based on the wiring diagrams I saw) are used for the head unit to talk to the RCU and for control of the digital climate control system. I don't have the digital climate control system (all knobs, etc.) so the ACP wires shouldn't be used for anything else. Good luck.

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