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Aftermarket radio install

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phils94850
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Aftermarket radio install

Post by phils94850 »

I have a 2009 s60. I'm looking at installing a aftermarket headunit. My stock headunit is the HU-850.
My question.. do I need to take the car to the dealer if I install an aftermarket radio ? Has anyone installed an aftermarket radio in their newer Volvo ?
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Re: Aftermarket radio install

Post by EngineeringBloke »

I did not need for any visits to Volvo for my install on my 2006 S60. Here are some notes in case you are doing this yourself.

I installed a single DIN sized Pioneer CD radio to replace a HU-650. Crutchfield provided the two main plug adaptors to connect to the car wiring. One has power, the other has the speaker connections. They sent me an antenna adaptor, but it was the wrong one. I found the right one myself online. They also sent great install instructions.

RCA cable was run from the radio to an amp in the trunk, then front speaker leads back to the speaker adaptor behind the radio. That adaptor has front left and right and rear left and right pairs. I ran power from the battery positive to the amp (fused near the battery), all in the trunk which was easy, and used a ground I found under the rear seat cushion on the drivers side for the amp ground. I disconnected the rear door and read deck speakers - they are not connected at the radio speaker adaptor, and I am quite content with the up front presentation I have.

My amp is a 5-way amp with a built in active crossover, so I also ran speaker leads to new tweeters on the dash (avoiding needing to run high frequency speaker leads through the cable tube that connects from the car to the car doors). Using the active crossover instead of the passive one after the amp sounds much better to me. It is more efficient and allows the amp to better control the speakers.

The 5th channel drives a 12 inch sub in a box also in the trunk.

I replaced the Volvo door mid range speakers. This required drilling out 4 metal rivets holding each plastic speaker adaptor, after removing the inner door panels. I removed the original mid speaker drivers from the plastic adaptor and filled some gaps to make them air tight (there are slots and the original mids rotate into place). I used thin strips of sound damping for that. I used a harbor freight rivet nut tool to hold the plastic adaptor back in place, after bolting the replacement mids to it. The rivet nuts place a threaded rivet in the inner layer of the door that you can insert a bolt into and hold the plastic adaptor into place.

The car door wiring harness has a plug for the mids and I just soldered a short jumper from the socket on the adaptor to connect to the new mids screw terminals.


I did disconnect the battery while doing a lot of the work, and put the key to position 2 before reconnecting the positive. This process avoids throwing a trouble code. I had to use the key in trunk lock when I closed the trunk and could not unlock the car remotely, one time.

Removing the radio requires a tricky move with the shifter away from park, so be sure to have the hand brake on. And it can be hard to place it back if you have a lot of new wires and plugs behind the radio, but I have done it quite often now.

I learned a lot from the diyma dot com forums, especially the builds section. I am so impressed by the skilled crafting done by both professionals and amateurs.

There are adaptors to regain the controls on the steering wheel, but I have not done that.

For my S6o 2006 year, the HU-650 provides 10 volts to a radio antenna amplifier. I used a large resistor from 12v to provide that. I now think that an ebay 10v dc converter would work well with the 14v from the alternator using a 7810 standard low current 10 volt component. This issue may not apply to your model year, but I found that the FM amplifier did not work well when given 12v but my reception was pretty good after putting the resistor in line.


I have not done much work on vibration control in the doors, but I greatly enjoy the improvement in sound that I now have. I plan to put in some damping later.

You do not need to change the speakers or use an external amplifier, although I recommend you do. You can also use a Volvo amplifier which you can get with a wiring harness, if you do not already have one installed. It goes under the passenger seat. It uses a Din round plug and there are adaptors available on Ebay to use with an aftermarket radio. But if you do not have a Volvo amp already, I suspect it is easier to just run RCAs, power and speaker leads and install an aftermarket amp one of your choice.

Some radios, including mine, come with a microphone and will perform equalization by putting out sounds through the speakers and adjusting the level at different frequencies. This is part of a tuning process that an installer would typically otherwise do. I am impressed with the end result.

Good luck with your install.
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Re: Aftermarket radio install

Post by Rattnalle »

Why do you want to replace it? The 850 is the high end unit which means you probably already have an amp and maybe the higher end speakers as well.
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Re: Aftermarket radio install

Post by mrbrian200 »

Rattnalle wrote: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:58 am Why do you want to replace it? The 850 is the high end unit which means you probably already have an amp and maybe the higher end speakers as well.
AM/FM/CD only...the things nobody under the age of 50 needs the car infotainment system to do, or even cares about.
Almost about as useful as having an empty hole there.

The factory GPS, if you have it on this generation of Volvos, lacking a touch screen interface is particularly awful by modern standards...if it still works...

GROM and similar units are an awkward work around with a steep learning curve particularly when it comes pairing/using bluetooth phone devices.

A well designed aftermarket HU is much better.
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Re: Aftermarket radio install

Post by Rattnalle »

mrbrian200 wrote: Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:41 am
Rattnalle wrote: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:58 am Why do you want to replace it? The 850 is the high end unit which means you probably already have an amp and maybe the higher end speakers as well.
AM/FM/CD only...the things nobody under the age of 50 needs the car infotainment system to do, or even cares about.
Almost about as useful as having an empty hole there.

The factory GPS, if you have it on this generation of Volvos, lacking a touch screen interface is particularly awful by modern standards...if it still works...

GROM and similar units are an awkward work around with a steep learning curve particularly when it comes pairing/using bluetooth phone devices.

A well designed aftermarket HU is much better.
You have to spend quite a lot to actually upgrade an existing premium sound car though. At least when it comes to the actual sound quality.

I've done all aftermarket in mine since the stuff was in bad shape but it's still not as good as an original high end system. I'd much rather have had original premium sound and added a grom unit myself.

Navigation is terrible but that goes for pretty much all factory new cars as well when you compare them to a smartphone using Google maps. A phone holder solves that issue.
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Re: Aftermarket radio install

Post by mrbrian200 »

Designing an amp/speaker setup that actually sounds good gets into some fairly technical and time consuming work. Low to Mid price home audio gear has has gotten much better sounding in the last 20 years... Just throwing speakers and an amp at a car system without addressing interior/door cavity/parcel shelf resonances, speaker output imbalances and placement on a 'professional level' doesn't cut it anymore when we go back in the house and some $100 bluetooth speaker connected to the phone provides genuine high end, sometimes near audiophile sound quality. Oh hell even some of the fancy alarm clocks sound like a million bucks compared to 20+ years ago where almost all of this low-mid price home/portable audio gear sounded like a tin can.

Then you go back out to the car and realize most car systems which to a professional sound technician would be considered more or less slapped together haphazardly just doesn't cut it anymore.

At home my home theater setup borders on true audiophile sound (mix of HK, B&W, + a JBL sub)
So no, an average 'slapped together' car audio system that really does sound awful by comparison isn't gonna cut it for me either.
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Re: Aftermarket radio install

Post by regent »

Rattnalle wrote: Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:07 am
mrbrian200 wrote: Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:41 am
Rattnalle wrote: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:58 am Why do you want to replace it? The 850 is the high end unit which means you probably already have an amp and maybe the higher end speakers as well.
...Navigation is terrible but that goes for pretty much all factory new cars as well when you compare them to a smartphone using Google maps. A phone holder solves that issue.
I strongly agree that navigation can become extremely terrible.
Moreover, a phone holder did not solve the issue in my case. Severe loss of functionality that is...

:lol:
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Re: Aftermarket radio install

Post by mrbrian200 »

Is that an old bag stone? Those are collectors items now.
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Re: Aftermarket radio install

Post by regent »

Not at all,
That is a photo of me wondering why my smartphone lost some functionality after I bricked it... :shock:
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Re: Aftermarket radio install

Post by mrbrian200 »

All purpose brick. Hold it in your hands it becomes a bricked game console. Sit it on the shelf it turns into a bricked wifi router.

I think this is what you get when your EV runs out of juice:
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