Then there’s the issue of wiring. You see, there are two different ways to wire the speakers in a vehicle. Common ground utilizes a single negative wire for all the speakers in the car. This style of wiring worked great until about the mid Eighties, when floating ground wiring came into style. Floating ground uses a separate negative wire for each speaker, allowing for greater clarity, true stereo sound, and much more power.
EA82s, unfortunately, are somewhere in the middle between the two. The wiring is floating ground from left to right, but common ground front to back! If you have a Loyale or a DL, you’re probably in good shape, since it’s likely you only have the two front speakers anyway. GL, GL-10, and RX owners will have to do some wiring, though, if they want their rear speakers to work.
Fitting it into the Dash
As mentioned above, many new EA82 owners dive into a stereo replacement thinking it will be a piece of cake, only to find that their new stereo sticks out of the dash a couple inches! Now, our more “primitive” brethren may find this to be no big deal, but for me, I want it to look like it belongs there. What we need is something that will attach in place of the stock stereo bezel, but be about 2” thicker: a dash kit. A dash kit or installation kit is a plastic bezel that allows for the installation of an aftermarket stereo in a dashboard not designed for one. Two manufacturers make dash kits for the EA82, Pyramid and Metra. I personally like the Metra kit best. Other kit-makers have re-branded the Metra kit, but don’t worry, it’s the same thing. The Metra part number is 99-8900.
You can get these kits at any stereo shop for somewhere in the neighborhood of $15. While you’re there, also get an adaptor harness for your vehicle. Metra’s part number is 70-8900 for the EA82. Make sure you get an EA82 one – many shops confuse the Loyale and the Legacy. Your harness should have one large white plug with most of the wires on it and one small plug with just a yellow wire.
Your kit will come with a whole bunch of extra parts, mostly for the EA81 crowd. What you need to fish out of the bag is the large rectangular piece with four screw holes. Notice that the center opening, the one your stereo is supposed to fit in, is blocked by some large mounting tabs for a shaft-style radio. You’ll need to cut these off. A utility knife works well, as does an old hacksaw blade. Lop off the tabs so that you have a nice 2”x7” rectangular opening in the middle. Fish out the four mounting screws from the bag, and if your kit has a 1”x7” hole underneath the stereo hole, find the block-off panel for it and snap it in place.
Mounting the Stereo
Your new stereo, or headunit, will likewise have a bunch of goodies in the box to dig through. What you’re looking for here is what’s called the DIN cage. It’s a 2”x7” metal sleeve with a whole mess of tabs and holes all over it that the headunit slides into. Sometimes it comes already mounted on the stereo, in which case, remove it.
Slide the DIN cage into the dash kit with the flange on the outside. With a small flathead screwdriver, bend all the tabs you can so that it stays firmly in place. If it’s still a little loose, a bit of hot glue works nicely to secure it. You can now pull your shiny new stereo out of its package and slide it into the DIN cage. Slide it in until it clicks and locks in place. Just in case you ever need to remove it, most stereos come with a pair of thin metal stereo keys that you slide in on each side of the headunit to disengage the tabs holding it in place.
Also in the box should be a trim ring. This is a hollow rectangle of plastic that snaps around the headunit to cover up the edge of the DIN cage. It may already be snapped to the headunit. If it isn’t, snap it in place.
Also, either in your stereo box or attached to the stereo, should be a wiring harness. If it’s attached to the stereo, remove it. This will be connected to the wiring harness you got at the stereo shop to make an adaptor that will cleanly and reversibly connect the stereo to the car’s wiring. Didn’t get a wiring harness at the stereo shop? Go get one. It’s Metra part number 70-8900.
There are two schools of thought about wiring. Some people like to solder their connections and some like to splice them with a connector. I’m terrible with a soldering iron, so I choose to use splice connectors. If you’re going to splice, get a decent pair of crimpers. Most people have those crimpers that have the wire stripper in the handle and a bunch of other whizzy stuff. Get rid of those, they’ll never make a good connection. Klein, Stay-Con, and Channel Lock make the very best crimpers, which are essentially a large pair of pliers with a small tab in the jaw to make the crimp. These will make an exceptionally strong crimp that will easily last the lifetime of the vehicle. Also, get the correct splice connectors. They come in three sizes with corresponding colors. For most stereo wiring projects, the blue connectors will be just fine. Whatever you do, the “twist and tape” method is not okay! Those connections will unravel over time and short out, damaging your stereo or starting a fire.
Begin by stripping ¼” or so from the ends of all the wires on both the headunit harness and the adaptor harness. You’ll notice that a lot of the colors are the same on both harnesses. For most stereos (the chief exception being older Pioneers) you can simply connect like colors. I like to twist both wires together and connect with just one crimp. This gives a great connection that’s very strong. You'll need to connect:
- White / Black
- Grey / Black
This will let the stereo power the front two speakers. If you have rear speakers, you’ll need to do some more wiring.
Wiring the Rear Speakers
If you have a GL, GL-10, RX, or have added rear speakers, you’ll need to do some wiring. You’ll want some speaker wire, at least 14GA. You will also need to remove everything necessary to lift the carpet slightly. Most often all that needs to be removed are the door sill clips. Somewhere near the B-pillar will be a small pink connector with two wires going into it. Note the color of each wire. Find a 9V battery and some wire cutters. Start on the driver’s side and clip the wires about three inches on the inside of the pink connector, leaving the connector attached to the wiring going into the door (or side panel for you 3-door folks). Strip a bit of wire and place one lead on the negative of the battery and the other on the positive while watching the speaker. If it moved out of the door, toward you, mark the wires “-“ for the one connected to the negative terminal and “+” for the other. If it moved into the door a bit, do the opposite. Test and mark the wires on the other side of the car as well.
Why does this matter so much? Well, the magnet in a speaker can either pull or push depending on which wire is getting power. If current is applied to the negative wire, the speaker will push. If applied to the positive lead, the speaker will pull inward. If one is pushing and one pulling, they will cancel each other out. This is called being out of phase, and it sounds really weird! If all the speakers are pushing together, the speakers are in phase, and that’s where the good sound is to be had.
Get your speaker wire out and some splice connectors. Run the wire from the dash down under the carpet to where the speaker wires you just tested are. With most speaker wire, one side will be copper and the other steel or there will be some distinguishing mark on the wire. Make a mental note about which wire will be positive and which negative, and connect them to the speaker wires accordingly.
Go get your freshly-made wiring harness and attach the wires as follows:
- Purple: Left +
- Purple / Black: Left –
- Green: Right +
- Green / Black: Right –
Now that you’re wired and ready to go, snap the car’s harnesses and the stereo harnesses together. Grab the stereo and dash kit and hook the wiring to the stereo, along with the antenna wire. Slide the whole mess into the dash, being careful to not pinch or pull any wires along the way. Screw the dash kit into place using the four supplied screws. Congrats, you’re done! Turn the car on and enjoy your new tunes!
- Adaptor Harness: A wiring harness designed to connect to the stock stereo wiring of a specific car, allowing a new stereo to be added without having to cut into the car’s wiring.
- Common Ground: All speakers share a single ground wire.
- Dash Kit: A bezel or panel designed to accommodate an aftermarket stereo and fit it into a dashboard not designed for one
- DIN Cage: A steel, aluminum, or copper sleeve that cradles and holds a headunit
- Floating Ground: All speakers have their own ground wires.
- Headunit: A stereo unit
- In Phase: All speakers are moving together.
- Out of Phase: Some speaker(s) are moving opposite the other(s).
- Speaker Wire: A pair of wires attached to each other specifically for connecting speakers
- Stereo Keys: A pair of small metal “keys” that allow the removal of a headunit from its DIN cage.
- Trim Ring: A small plastic trim piece that covers up the edges of the DIN cage.
- Yellow: 12VDC+ Constant
- Red: 12VDC+ Switched
- Black: Ground
- Blue: Power antenna
- Blue / White: Amplifier remote turn-on
- Grey: Left Front +
- Grey / Black: Left Front –
- White: Right Front +
- White / Black: Right Front –
- Purple: Left Rear +
- Purple / Black: Left Rear –
- Green: Right Rear +
- Green / Black: Right Rear –
This document is provided AS-IS. No guarantee is made regarding its accuracy or usability for any purpose. The author accepts no liability for any damage or injury resulting from the use of this document. Use at your own risk. Use common sense.