Installing a New HD/Bluetooth Radio

At first I thought about upgrading my GPS to include Bluetooth, giving me hands-free phone use in the car.

But then, I remembered that the old ‘98 Subaru Forester has a radio with a cassette deck – it’s ancient!

So I did some research on car radios, and came across a nice HD Radio that is Bluetooth capable – with great reviews on Amazon. Here’s what I eventually decided on:

When you order this type of hardware from Crutchfield, they provide a free wire harness for your vehicle and instructions for doing the install yourself.  I hunted around for Crutchfield coupons and found one that gives you a $25 gift card with a $150 purchase. The whole order was $190, plus I have the gift card – almost like spending $165. 

Since this was just a touch lower than buying the parts separately via Amazon, and it included the install directions, I went for it.

The parts came in recently – so this weekend I installed my new radio!

Tai at work suggested that I might have a hard time with the install – in particular getting the trim to look right. Interestingly, I ran into this exact problem as I was doing the install. Turned out I needed to set the receiver a little further back in the harness – not using the same screw holes as the OEM radio. Once I set the receiver back a bit, the trim fit back on fine and the radio looks great!

Here is one picture before the install, and two pictures after install. The third picture was taken after making a phone call with my HTC Fuze.

Before - with Subaru Forester OEM Radio After - Dual XHD6425 HD Radio After - Dual XHD6425 HD Radio in the dark

And here’s a cool picture in the middle of the install, with the brake trim, shift trim, and radio trim removed.

1998 Subaru Forester Radio - During Install

Here’s how it all looks after being put back together.

1998 Subaru Forester Radio - After Install

Why a car radio comes with a remote I have no idea – although the kids are pretty excited about using the radio from the back seats.  Mom and dad aren’t as excited about that. 🙂


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