Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

The car stereo, the locks, and the dome light

I’ve got a 1995 Subaru legacy L wagon that I purchased to replace my 1997 Outback. Well–actually it was meant to replace my 1997 mustang so we could sell it, but the timing belt went on the Outback and… Interference engine. Yay. Anyhow, I pulled the car stereo from the Outback before it went to the junkyard with the intention of replacing the stereo in the legacy with it.

I first went to replace it last week, thinking it should be a simple,matter of pulling the old one from the factory harness and plugging in my replacement. Put it all back together, easy peasy. Except when I pulled the existing head unit, I discovered that the installer of the previous stereo may have been jack the ripper, as he cut the factory harness out and direct wired the harness for the crappy Panasonic that was in there when I bought it.knowing this would require more parts than I had, I slapped everything back in while ordering parts, only now the head unit inexplicably wouldn’t turn on, and my power lock and dome light stopped working.

After screwing with it a bit, I found a yellow wire on the stereo harness that was stripped but loose, and I couldn’t figure out where it had come from. The Panasonic harness had two yellows, for what reason I couldn’t determine, but after a long series of tests, I somehow plugged it into a secondary plug that was unused that made it so the radio/locks/lights worked when the car was running, but didn’t when it was off. So the yellow clearly needed to be wired to the constant 12v. Great, should be easy to fix.

My parts came, including a new reverse harness that I tediously wired back into the dash, and a harness to attach to the Panasonic for when I turn around and resell this car, which I made sure to hook both yellows to the constant wire on the harness.

In wiring everything in, I ran into a snag–the constant 12v wire color according to my Haynes manual should be red/yellow, according do a site on the web, it should be red-green. Problem being, neither of those colors are showing up in my cluster of wires. There’s a yellow wire in the cluster that I assumed to be the constant, but once wired in neither stereo is working.

On top of all of this, I thought back on my Outback’s stereo install, which was a minor nightmare for a fire timer, which mysteriously also didn’t turn on at first. What’s interesting with that is, the unit I was replacing in the Outback was the factory tape deck-cd player double bay special, and for,whatever reason, it the aftermarket stereo only fired up when the smaller auxiliary plug was plugged into the factory cd unit. I never figured out why, but rolled around in that car for several years with a useless CD player instead of opting for another alcove for coffee punch cards.

All this to say, I feel like these things are all connected, but I can’t figure out how. Has anyone else run across this in the past?

Also, before anyone asks, it’s not the fuses.

Try this site, someone might have a wiring diagram of your vehicle that can solve your issues.

Thanks Keith–someone found me the wiring harness, which got corrected (it was mostly right, just a speaker wire was reversed), everything is fixed.

After ensuring the wiring harness was hooked up correctly, it still wasn’t working. I started checking my power sources and found my accessory power was working, but the constant was only getting.08 volts. I eventually tracked the problem back to the relay fuse box, where I found the previous owner had dropped a 5 Amp fuse into a 15 Amp circuit. Once I replaced that fuse, everything was fine.

1 Like

Lest you be misled, the amperage of the fuse wasn’t the issue. If the 5 amp was too small, it would have blown. Likely the fuse or its socket has corrosion on it/them.