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How do you remove the factory stereo in a 1997 Subaru legacy L?


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Answered 2010-03-28 03:07:52

pull back the shifter boot there are 2 screws behind it. there are 2 screws behind the cup holder. once removed the stereo bezel will come out and you should see the radio mounting screws good luck

Addendum by new user:

I just did this last week. It was not "hard", but took me about 7 hours. It was my first attempt at installing a stereo by myself, so I think that's pretty good. Once I figured out that you have to use a very short Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws from the ashtray holder, I thought it would be smooth, but I was wrong. I ended up with the A/C blower unit sitting on my dashboard and loose screws all over the place. Unlike what the previous contributor said, there are no less than 10 screws involved.

The main problems stemmed from the fact that the wiring harness from the original installation did not match my new unit. The new unit had a wiring harness with 12 wires, but the original had 14. This meant that I had to figure out which of the "extra" original wires were essential. I did not need the wire for the antenna motor on the new unit, so that one was easy, leaving three to match with the old setup. The details are unimportant, so don't worry if you're confused here.

Another issue was that the Chilton manual I have was useless in indicating the wire colors for the speakers (and all the other connections for that matter), so I had to take off all four door panels to determine pos and negs for all of them. The rear wires were easily identified with "+" and "-" marked right on the connector, but the front speakers run through a clip and come out both red with no stripes, so I was not able to map them. Luckily, they were paired nicely in the harness, so once I figured out the locations of the pos and neg of the rears, the fronts lined up the same (neg on the top row and pos on the bottom). (I have the wire harness positions figured out, so if anyone wants them, just email me).

***Here are the wire positions for those who need them. The color before the slash is the main color, while the color after the slash is the stripe. (There are several free wiring diagrams on the internet, and most of them are wrong. All the info you need is on this site: http://ae64.com/.)

Illumination+ White/Green

Right Front Speaker+ Red/Yellow

Left Front Speaker+ Brown/White

Right Rear Speaker+ Blue/Yellow

Left Rear Speaker+ White/Red

+12 Volt Constant Memory+ Blue/Red

Dimmer (Illumination-) Yellow/Blue

Right Front Speaker- White/Black

Left Front Speaker- Green

+12 Volt Accessory Yellow

Ground Black

Right Rear Speaker- Red/White

Left Rear Speaker- Red/Black

Power Antenna Green/Orange***

Lastly, the body of my new unit was too wide for the console faceplate. I also figured out that once you remove the faceplate, it does not want to go back in. Between the lighter component being very long and the tab along the bottom (the one that fits between your shifter console and the vertical center console), it just makes things difficult.

To solve both of these issues, I used a strong utility knife to completely remove the entire bottom tab (I figured that the ashtray screws will hold it well enough that it's not going to flop around anyway). I also carefully marked out the space that would be needed to feed the stereo unit in from the front of the console and trimmed the opening.

It was about 1/8" too wide, so I took off about 1/16" from both sides, only about 3" long from the top to accommodate the body of the unit. If you have to do this, cut slowly and lightly with many passes. If you get too impatient or use too much strength, you can overshoot your endpoints and damage the faceplate.

Since the stereo is a little wider than the original, I had some trouble getting it into the metal frame that also holds the little junk tray beneath the unit. To solve this, I fed it in straight with the left side going nicely into the frame, and used a screwdriver from above to widen the top a little so the right side could also slide in. Make sure you connect all your wires through the faceplate first, you will not be able to get to them once the unit is in place (but you probably already know this).

The installation - finally - was beautifully done and the new unit works perfectly with one caveat: since I had no wiring diagram, I guessed wrong on one of the wires, so my stereo is not connected to the car's battery. So every time I turn off the car, the unit loses all my settings - clock, radio presets, equilizer preferences, etc. If anyone knows which wire is the missing link, please tell me. I only have two options to chose from, but I would rather not have to keep guessing at this.

*****Regarding your positive wire problem where you lose your settings every time, I had the exact same problem with my '97 Legacy--I pulled out the stereo, got out my $10 multimeter (set to DC volts) and connected my -ve probe to the frame inside the dash and my +ve probe to each loose wire coming out from inside the dash until I found one that gave me a 12V difference (make sure your ignition is OFF, not on "accessory").I had previously assumed this wire went to one of the back corner speakers since it's the same gauge as all the other speaker wires, but I connected this THIN BLUE WIRE WITH A RED STRIPE to my stereo's full-time +ve wire and my memory problems were resolved!Your car has accessory +ve wires and full-time -ve wires, you can imagine which ones work at which ignition settings. Some stereos have two positive wires; one for full time +ve and the other for accessory +ve. In the '97 Legacy, you might be surprised that even the cigarette lighter +ve wire is connected to an accessory circuit (I checked that one too).Hope this helps.*****

Next time I install, I will also make sure to use a magnetized screwdriver - lost about 4 screws down the back of the panel!

Have fun and make sure you have a good flashlight and perhaps a helper. I got a crick in my neck trying to hold the light while using both hands to do the wiring.

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