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Thread: Later factory head unit into an 88 - premium sound

  1. #1
    Member Rock_Hound's Avatar
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    Default Later factory head unit into an 88 - premium sound

    My factory head unit is stuck in cassette mode and will not shift to the radio. It is one of the head units with the toggle switch for the volume.

    I had been looking around for a replacement and wanted to keep it factory or close to it. Before I go buy a replacement head unit, I had a couple questions that I was hoping that someone could answer for me.

    The 88 mounts with screw tabs on the sides instead of the holes for the pins like later units do. Is there an easy way to mount one of the newer factory head units?


    A second, related question which is moot if there is no easy answer to the first question. Would a Mach 460 head unit from a Mustang work? It is also listed as "premium sound" and the plugs look the same.

  2. #2
    Member WagonMan's Avatar
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    I have used din type radios in my 89 wagons by utilizing the rear bracket and using paint sticks and duct tape to raise the front of the radio to the correct height. The dash trim holds the radio in place that way. Not sure on the Mach 460 but I have used radios from 90-91 ford products and they worked. WagonMan
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  3. #3
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    Which connectors are on the back? Depending on the specific system it can be easy or a real PITA to adapt things in. The late 80s with the long connector for power and the smaller square-ish one for signal was the higher end system used through the mid-late 90s at least, and electrically anything with those plugs will work without fuss. You can often update the amp to one from those systems with the same drop-in ease. If the Mock 460 has the same plugs, it'll work. JBL stuff will too.

    The older two long rectangle connectors with the football amp is basically not compatible with much of anything though. Your car might be either and I don't honestly know. I think the toggle volume one is the first kind, which makes life generally easier.


    as for mounting, starting in '90 most everything went to the quick release style. If you're ambitious you should be able to transfer over your original side ears to a later radio and mount it that way. I've never looked into making the quick release system fit on an earlier car though. No clue what that might involve.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
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  4. #4

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    The $20 install kits sold at most retailers have the DIN "quick release"-to-side-ears adapters. Overpriced? Yeah, because you get adapters for 25 different cars as well. Worth it? I think so, because it takes longer to drive to the store than it does to put the brackets on. If you have a local car stereo place and know someone that works there, you might be able to get the adapters out of a used kit for cheap/free.

  5. #5
    Member Rock_Hound's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. My radio has the rectangular and the squarish plug on the back. Seems harder to locate the older pre-DIN quick release head units. Looks like I should be okay with the newer units.

  6. #6
    Beater gonna beat sly's Avatar
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    Metra kit for aftermarket 1-DIN radios works like a champ to convert the bolt-on style to clip-in style. I used the original radio from my 93 in my 88 for a while when my aftermarket unit went in for warranty repair. Just remember to transfer the rear support bracket to the new radio so the rear doesn't bounce everywhere.

    Also, your ground is probably though that rear bracket. No actual ground wire in the rectangular connector. You'll have to keep that in mind if the replacement radio doesn't fit the same front to rear. You'll need to run a wire to a ground point from the radio's case.

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  7. #7
    fomoco panthers !
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    Did you think you having your existing unit repaired ? Someone who offers a warranty. The radios with the toggle switch are long overdue for replacement. Toggle and faceplate wears out. If it is floppy or loose, it is junk.
    I have some used "as is" radios and a couple of new aftermarket units. which might help. Post pictures if you can front and rear.
    As far as new units. I have dealt with Crutchfield and Sonic . Crutchfield includes adapters free with stereo purchase. Both places have good sales especially in their clearance section.

  8. #8

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    I always run a chassis ground to the radio. It often fixes weird audio problems, and it hasn't ever caused me a problem. I sometimes do this with factory radios, as they often ground through attachment clips that are less tight after a few decades.
    If anyone is dead-set on repairing factory radios of the late 70s-early 90s era, send me a message. I have about 40 pounds of small factory service parts in a tub that I'd rather sell as a lot than pick through, I don't have that many years left!

  9. #9
    Member Rock_Hound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainemantom View Post
    Did you think you having your existing unit repaired ?

    Post pictures if you can front and rear.
    I haven't thought of having it repaired. I will look to see if there is anyplace around that still does repairs on car audio instead of just replacing. Nothing is floppy or loose, it just keeps trying to play a cassette when none is in it and will not switch to the radio.

    Attached are some photos of the front and back of the unit and the wiring.Click image for larger version. 

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    I am unopposed to an aftermarket unit. I just don't want something that breaks for the rest of the style of the interior.
    Last edited by Rock_Hound; 12-29-2019 at 10:52 AM.

  10. #10
    I'm an air-conditioned gypsy gadget73's Avatar
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    I don't remember if those switch like the older ones, but if those are not the sort where the tape can stay in place while the radio is on, likely its some sticky switch in the tape deck. The older ones had the tape go in and it would drop down to engage the player. When it made the drop, a switch was thrown to change it from radio to tape mode.

    Usually that style has a jumper plug in the 6 pin connector on the back, otherwise you get no sound through it. Thats the loop for the CD changer when those were used in Lincolns and such where it was an option. Without the jumper plug you get no sound. I don't know what the display looks like when the jumper is missing, it might appear like its in tape mode. Just a thought.

    86 Lincoln Town Car (Galactica).
    5.0 HO, CompCams XE258,Scorpion 1.72 roller rockers, 3.55 K code rear, tow package, BHPerformance ported E7 heads, Tmoss Explorer intake, 65mm throttle body, Hedman 1 5/8" headers, 2.5" dual exhaust, ASP underdrive pulley

    91 Lincoln Mark VII LSC SE, triple black (Timewarp) - poly front bushings, KYB struts and shocks, Holley SystemMax1 lower intake, SilverFox AOD valve body,

    1984 Lincoln Continental TurboDiesel - rolls coal

    Quote Originally Posted by phayzer5 View Post
    I drive a Lincoln. I can't be bothered to shift like the peasants and rabble rousers

  11. #11
    Member Rock_Hound's Avatar
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    A little update. I yanked a radio from a 1990-ish ford van that looked almost the same from the front (both have the toggle switch). Was able to switch the face plates with my original with only a small amount of fitting needed to the buttons (which were all about 1/16th longer than the one from the van). Using a few fender washers and a small wood piece, I was able to get the replacement radio to fit properly and securely; the radio from the van was about 1/4 inch shorter and sat too far back without the spacers. Everything now works and I am once again able to listen to the radio and play cassettes. Thanks for the help guys!

  12. #12
    fomoco panthers !
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    Just a thought, Now is the time to have your old radio fixed. Gadget may be right on regarding that drop down switch. Both of my Lincolns drop down. Could be a simple fix. Good to have everything cleaned and lubed now. Your original radio looks decent based upon the pictures. Shop around for someone who can do it with a warranty. Enjoy your replacement unit until the original is fixed.
    Just don't throw your old radio away !

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