Thread: sound system

  1. sound system

    I recently purchased a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee from a private seller on ebay. The auction had nothing but praise for this vehicle, but as it turns out it did need some repairs.
    The sound system was so bad in this SUV I had the factory cd player replaced with one we had here at the house but wasn't being used. It was removed from a car that was traded in last year and junked. It is probably 3 years old at the most. The electronics store where I took the Jeep to be fixed told me it was a nightmare trying to figure where all the wires went and what they were hooking up. To make a long story short, there were no speakers in the back doors, the ones in the rear didn't even match but were left in because they still worked so I replaced 4 speakers. There are none in the dash. What they overlooked were the buttons on the back of the steering wheel. I never had a car with volume control and track changer in the steering wheel and I really got use to them. Now because of their oversight it no longer works and I was told if I wanted it to work it would cost me about $400.00. I have already put in about $1400.00 on top of the 5K I spend for the vehicle. I really can't afford much more. Is there any way around this or am I stuck with it.
    One more thing, the check engine light comes on every now and then but stays off for quite a while. Should I be concerned or spend another couple hundred to have this checked out.
    Sorry this is so long but as I said in "I'm New Here post" I really meant it when I said I know NOTHING about cars.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    Virginia Beach VA
    Posts
    8,168

    Re: sound system

    Radio problems:
    The factory radio is very easy to remove, you just unplug the "wiring harness" from the back of it and it comes right out. Then, to install a new stereo, you go out and buy a wiring harness made for your Jeep, like this one:

    Jeep Grand Cherokee 1993-1998 Radio Wiring Harness: eBay Motors (item 330490402333 end time Nov-05-10 11:11:01 PDT)

    That looks like this:
    sound system-c3_1.jpg

    This should cost less than $30. You sit the radio on a bench in your workshop and you wire the wires on the back of the new radio to the new wiring harness that you purchased, so when you are done, you've got a new radio with a plug on the back that will just plug into the dash of your Jeep. Not very difficult at all for an experienced electronics installer.

    Now, what it sounds like is either the previous owner or the shop you took it to cut the factory harness off. It's not uncommon for people to try and save $30 by cutting off the factory plug, and trying to wire the 20 or so loose wires coming out of the dash directly to your new stereo. I've worked on cars like that, and they are right - it's a nightmare trying to figure out what goes where. I would call and ask them if the factory harness was in place when you brought it in, and if they cut it off - if they did, I would never go back to that shop.

    As to the steering wheel controls:
    I belive that the shop is righ on this one. Those controls are more than likely a custom / proprietary connection from the Jeep factory stereo, and your new stereo doesn't have these controls / inputs. They may be able to install some sort of adapter, but I wouldn't think it would be worth $400. It may be alot cheaper and easier to just pickup a used stock stereo for $25 off of ebay and install that.

    1998 grand cherokee radio items - Get great deals on Parts Accessories items on eBay Motors!


    Check engine light:
    This one is easy (at least the diagnosis). Just go to your local Auto Zone or Advance Auto Parts and ask them to "pull your engine light code". They will (for free) connect a computer to your car and give you a trouble code that should give us an idea of what's wrong. The idea is that you'll buy the parts from them to fix it. Your light doesn't need to be on for them to do this - the computer will store your codes until you clear them.

    Hope that helps.
    My 2005 Wrangler Build Thread

    He who is without oil shall throw the first rod. -Compressions 8.7:1

  3. #3

    Re: sound system

    Thanks so much for the quick reply. Really do appreciate it. It seems the other Jeep board had no interest in answering any questions I had.
    I'll stop at the auto electronics store where I had the new stereo put in and find out if there was that harness thing you mentioned. Another day I will go the the auto parts to have the check engine code checked out. Again thank you so much

  4. #4

    Re: sound system

    How much trouble would it be to take out the stereo I just had put in and hook up the original one? Perhaps it wasn't the player that sounded so rotten but the speakers. The new one is OK it's just the buttons on it are way too small and I can't read them, where the original one was very easy to read. They keep making the print smaller. Do I still need to purchase the harness because I called the place and they said there were like 2 of them there. I really don't know what he was talking about, but he did say they were there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    Virginia Beach VA
    Posts
    8,168

    Re: sound system

    If the harness is intact, it should just be a matter of unbolting the current stereo from the dash and unplugging the harness from it (no cutting or anything). Then you just plug the factory stereo back in and bolt everything back up.

    You will not need to purchase a harness to put the factory radio back in.

    Since the harnesses are there and they used them, I'm not really sure what the problem was with the original install. I don't know why they would have to trace any wires.
    My 2005 Wrangler Build Thread

    He who is without oil shall throw the first rod. -Compressions 8.7:1

  6. #6

    Re: sound system

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryMason View Post
    If the harness is intact, it should just be a matter of unbolting the current stereo from the dash and unplugging the harness from it (no cutting or anything). Then you just plug the factory stereo back in and bolt everything back up.

    You will not need to purchase a harness to put the factory radio back in.

    Since the harnesses are there and they used them, I'm not really sure what the problem was with the original install. I don't know why they would have to trace any wires.
    All I know is there was a GREAT deal of things hooked up to this vehicle at one time. There are wires everywhere. Thats why they thought it was going to be a huge problem. There is a DVD player which does not work and I understand there is an inline fuse that probably went but we can't find it. Didn't spend too much time on it but will try again at a later date. I just wanted to know if it was a real big problem to hook up the original cd/radio.
    Thanks for the reply

  7. #7

    Re: sound system

    Quote Originally Posted by TerryMason View Post
    Radio problems:
    The factory radio is very easy to remove, you just unplug the "wiring harness" from the back of it and it comes right out. Then, to install a new stereo, you go out and buy a wiring harness made for your Jeep, like this one:

    Jeep Grand Cherokee 1993-1998 Radio Wiring Harness: eBay Motors (item 330490402333 end time Nov-05-10 11:11:01 PDT)

    That looks like this:
    sound system-c3_1.jpg

    This should cost less than $30. You sit the radio on a bench in your workshop and you wire the wires on the back of the new radio to the new wiring harness that you purchased, so when you are done, you've got a new radio with a plug on the back that will just plug into the dash of your Jeep. Not very difficult at all for an experienced electronics installer.

    Now, what it sounds like is either the previous owner or the shop you took it to cut the factory harness off. It's not uncommon for people to try and save $30 by cutting off the factory plug, and trying to wire the 20 or so loose wires coming out of the dash directly to your new stereo. I've worked on cars like that, and they are right - it's a nightmare trying to figure out what goes where. I would call and ask them if the factory harness was in place when you brought it in, and if they cut it off - if they did, I would never go back to that shop.

    As to the steering wheel controls:
    I belive that the shop is righ on this one. Those controls are more than likely a custom / proprietary connection from the Jeep factory stereo, and your new stereo doesn't have these controls / inputs. They may be able to install some sort of adapter, but I wouldn't think it would be worth $400. It may be alot cheaper and easier to just pickup a used stock stereo for $25 off of ebay and install that.

    1998 grand cherokee radio items - Get great deals on Parts Accessories items on eBay Motors!


    Check engine light:
    This one is easy (at least the diagnosis). Just go to your local Auto Zone or Advance Auto Parts and ask them to "pull your engine light code". They will (for free) connect a computer to your car and give you a trouble code that should give us an idea of what's wrong. The idea is that you'll buy the parts from them to fix it. Your light doesn't need to be on for them to do this - the computer will store your codes until you clear them.

    Hope that helps.
    Took the Jeep to Advanced Auto and the check engine light is due to an o2 censor. I already replaced one when we first purchased the vehicle and the guy said usually within a short amount of replacing one the other one will go. So I just need to find out which one they replaced. So far so good.

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