'99 Forester Stereo Install

Discussion in 'Subaru Forester' started by Hallraker, Jul 31, 2004.

  1. Hallraker

    Hallraker Guest

    About a week ago, I installed a stereo into my mom's '99 Forester. I think
    it was actually easier than in my '95 Outback. Anyway, for anyone
    considering installing an aftermarket stereo, don't bother getting it
    installed - it was so easy that when I was done, there was no feeling of
    accomplishment - sort of like when you assemble a jigsaw puzzle intended for
    a small child. ;)

    I did run into two snags though. The first was that the stereo I installed
    (an older JVC "El Kameleon" unit, the kind that's supposed to look like a
    blank panel when turned off) had buttons at both ends of the stereo that
    were literally on the edge of the faceplate. Most car stereos don't have
    buttons out this far on the edge, and because of the flush mounting of the
    unit they rubbed up against the plastic bezel and were getting stuck. A few
    moments with a rotary tool equipped with a grinding wheel solved that
    problem by removing the excess plastic from the bezel, but it isn't
    something you'd run into unless you had those buttons at the edge.

    The next problem I encountered was the fact that I was replacing the factory
    cassette/CD combo with a standard aftermarket stereo. Because the combo
    unit is essentially two separate modules, I was left with a gaping hole in
    the dash. I thought about checking out a stereo shop, but those places sell
    things at such outrageous markup that I thought my dealer might be a better
    bet. So I called them up, looking for the plastic pocket that would come on
    a non-CD equipped Forester, and the parts counter guy informed me that there
    were two (???) possible parts. One of them was $8, the other was $35!

    I had him fax me a diagram of the parts, and a casual glance made it look as
    if the cheaper pocket, which appeared the same size but with a smaller
    opening, might work. So I ordered it, and went to pick it up today...
    Turns out we were both wrong.

    The cheaper pocket was indeed smaller, so much smaller in fact that I
    immediately knew where it was supposed to go - right where the ashtray sits.
    A closer inspection of the parts diagram showed that indeed it was an
    option for the ashtray, but the way it was laid out on the page it appeared
    as though it might be an alternate pocket for below the stereo.

    Since $35 is awfully steep for anything made of plastic, I mentioned that I
    was surprised at the cost, and figured that they would have a few of those
    pockets just laying around at the dealership, left over from customers who
    wanted the factory CD installed in an in-stock vehicle which only had the
    cassette. I was going to order it anyway, when he mentioned that they did
    have some laying around, but they were for Legacies. A few minutes later he
    came back with an old, dusty plastic pocket that was identical to the one in
    my '95 Legacy Outback.

    Now the best part, he told me I could just have it. :) Awesome. I figured
    that even if this didn't fit as-is, I could always modify it and make it
    fit. Turns out that it fits perfectly, as the Forester and Legacy both use
    similar stereo mounting systems. (On the Legacy, I remember finding a
    removable metal rack with several premade holes for equipment, while the
    Forester uses a two-piece mounting bracket not unlike the drive rail systems
    found in some computer cases.)

    Here's a picture for the curious: http://tinyurl.com/6nwpq

    As you can see the pocket is still a bit dusty in the corners. <g> The
    flash also makes it obvious that the old Legacy dash pocket is made of a
    different (and likely lower grade) plastic, but it isn't that noticable
    under normal lighting levels.

    That's it, just some hopefully helpful information for any Forester owners
    out there.

    Hallraker, Jul 31, 2004
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