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Old 08-03-2008, 02:04 AM   #1
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Default Basic CD Player installation on your 240

Keep in mind that this thread will be edited frequently for corrections, pictures, and additional information.

Skill required for this job 4/10.

So you’re driving the trusty 240 to this week’s anti-war demonstration and you notice something is missing. It appears as though you’re traveling in silence. Is it time to flip that Simon and Garfunkel tape to side B already? Nope. The tape player’s broken. And why wouldn’t it be? It came stock on a car that’s close to three decades old. Now what are you going to do?

Well, you have several options. You could scour the junkyards for a replacement tape player, you could take your currently malfunctioning player in to an electronic repair shop (where the jokes will last for hours), or you can accept the fact that while jumpsuits, mood rings, and Rick Astley may be in style, tape players are long dead. So… it’s time to use that money you earned selling beads at last year’s Hippiefest and get yourself a new head unit.

(high tech audio equipment right thar)

While the brand of head unit is all personal preference, so is the location of your new head unit. I’ve had good experience with Alpine and have only mounted them in the upper cubby hole above the coin tray...

(top cubby hole, complete with moose action figure)

Others however may prefer the lower pocket if a set of gauges are filling that upper space or for privacy sake...

(lower pocket, complete with sperm key chain)

You could mount your head unit in the glove box for all I care (which I have seen and didn’t care for), the only important issue here is that you wire it up correctly. This article is basic CD player installation. It’s for replacing the stock tape player or a faulty aftermarket player with an aftermarket CD player of your choice. I’m well aware that 240s came with many different kinds of audio options, but this article is written off of my ’88 project. If it’s not identical to yours then I am sorry, but hopefully I will still be able to help. There's also a chance that 740 owners might benefit from this thread, but I will refrain from making assumptions until one of those K-car drivers confirms so.

First of all, I’d like to admit that I am no audio expert. In fact my daily driver 240 lacks even the most primitive radio (along with A/C, power steering, and the like). Although I may not know all the tricks of the trade I do know the tricks of the cheap. A basic CD player installation in my town will run from $100-$150 depending on the ease of installation. If you’re comfortable around wires, have dexterous fingers, and the access to the most basic of tools, I may be able to help get you back to singing those God awful 80s songs from behind the wheel in no time, and with enough money left over to fill up to 6-7 gallons of gas! Of course, you must understand that anything you do after reading this thread is entirely at your own discretion and neither I or Turbobricks can be held responsible for exploding speakers, exploding limbs, electrocution, or anything else under the category of “unfortunate accident.”

Let’s begin.

You’re going to need the following items:
-CD player (obviously)
-Correct sized wrench for negative battery terminal
-Some extra wiring (12-14 gauge should work)
-Phillips head screwdriver
-Wire cutter
-Wire stripper
-Regular stripper (for those lap dances)
-Wire crimper or soldering iron
-Assorted wire connectors or wire nuts appropriate for 12-14 gauge wires.
-Some masking tape, a notebook, and a pen

Your first step will be to disconnect your battery.

(my crusty and untrusty battery, I have iPD's quick terminal disconnect)

Pop your hood. Make sure all you doors are closed (glovebox as well) and use the appropriate sized wrench to disconnect the negative battery terminal. Just let the terminal hang to the side and out of the way of anything. You could disconnect the positive terminal as well I suppose but I’ve always “disconnected negative first, reconnect it last.” You need the battery disconnected because you’ll be doing a lot of manhandling of the wires and you don’t want to cross them or shock yourself.

Now that you’re in the clear of electrocution, pop off the driver’s side, right kick panel in the foot well. There will be a plastic screw thingy that is almost impossible to not break holding the panel on. Remove it and the panel should slide backwards and out. You’ll see a bunch of wiring behind the panel...

(panel off)

Reach around the inside of the center console or under the carpet to look for a white (or yellowed plastic) connector.


Unplug the connector and follow the wiring. One end will lead to the speakers, antennae, power, and ground. The other end will lead to your current head unit.

Next you need to remove the old head unit. The bottom mounted radio in my ’82 240 slid right out, you may have to do some jiggling to see what needs to be disconnected since I’m a bit fuzzy on that. But for the top mounted radio in my ’88, you just need to pop off the gauge bezels or covers that lie to the left of the radio.

(covers off)

This will expose two Phillips screws.

(removing screws that hold in the radio bracket)

I recall the top being slightly larger in diameter than the bottom so don’t get them mixed up. Unscrew the fasteners and the entire head unit assembly should slide out along with the mount itself.

Pull it out car enough to disconnect the antennae cable and snake out the rest of the wiring. You may need to move the connector (the one by the footwell) around and into the center console so you can pull it all out with the head unit.

Now you have the old radio and all its wiring sitting on your lap. Take a good look at it. The head unit mount should be connected to the stock head unit by two or four little bolts on the sides. Unbolt the mounting plate from the old radio and place it somewhere safe. We’ll get back to that in a bit.

Now take your wire cutters and cut as the stock head unit wiring off of the head unit. If you save enough of this wiring harness you may not need the extra wiring I listed in the supplies. I didn’t and therefore needed extra wires. Now that your stock radio is free from it’s wiring and free from it’s mounting plate you can bid it adieu.

(chopped OE radio wiring harness)

Unbox your new head unit and take a look at the wiring. Normally there will be a wire for the +12v or power (typically one with an inline fuse), one for ignition power, one for the ground (usually a thick black one), a wire an optional power antennae, and eight (8) more wires. What you need to do is connect the loose ended wires from your new head unit to the old wiring harness from your old head unit. By connecting the wires before the connector I find that it gives the wires a cleaner look and more effective connection. Also it makes it easy to remove your head unit if you someday so desire.

(connected new CD player to stock harness)

Now each speaker in your car will require two wires, a negative and a positive. Your stock radio harness will have four wires for the front speakers (2 wires per speaker). You can locate these wires by their coloring. As far as I know, the speaker wires were the same color for all 240s, at least from ’82-90 according to the Bentley manual, ’91-’93 model 240s may have different colored wires and possibly a different looking connector. In fact, your very own 240 regardless of year model might have different colored wires. But for the most part this is what the stock wiring color would be:

-White/blue stripe is the driver side (that would be left side) front speaker positive wire
-Solid white is the driver side front speaker negative.
-Blue/white stripe is the passenger side front speaker (right side) positive
-Solid baby blue is the passenger side negative.
-Green is the constant +12V or battery connection.
-Black is ground.
-Solid blue goes to the ignition power (turns on when the key is switched)
-Red goes to the optional power antennae.

Now flip open your new head unit’s instruction manual and decipher its wiring.

You’ll find that your new head unit’s wiring harness will typically have 4-6 more wires than your stock harness. These wires will go to the optional rear speakers and external amplifier remote turn-on. I’ll get into that later.What you need to worry about now is connecting the same labeled wires from your new CD player harness to the wires I listed from the cut harness of the stock player.

(Don't forget the antennae...)

(...it will plug into this hole.)

Do not connect wiring according to color, green may be the stock 12V wire but the new player may list yellow as its 12V wire. It’s really simple, just read and connect accordingly. But remember to leave enough extra wiring so with the new head unit mounted you can comfortably connect the stock connector in the foot well.
Now how you decide to connect the 12V, ground, speaker wires, etc. is all up to you. I chose to crimp and connect. I haven’t had any problems for the past 5 years using this method. You however may want to solder the wires together. Whichever works for you. We could debate on the connection strength between solder and crimp all day, but not today.
For crimping the wires for the front, you need to strip and expose about ½ and inch of copper innards on the stock harness and the new head unit harness. I typically do this one or two wires at a time to avoid confusion. Slip one exposed end into and end of the crimp connector and crimp it. The exposed wire should be inside the metal tube so when you crush down on the connector you are contacting the inner metal tube with the exposed copper wire, not with the rubber sheathing. Slip the other exposed wire that you wish to connect into the other end of the crimp connector and do the same, crush it down. Now you have two wires that are connected through the same connector. Do this to the remaining wires and you will have made your own harness that connects from your new head unit to the foot well stock connector.

The next step is to mount your new CD player. Now the type of mounting plate your 240 has may vary.

(mounting spacer)

I’ve seen metal and plastic ones, but the both are bolted in the same way, a hook on the right and 2 holes for screws on the left. I chose to reuse the stock plastic one for convenience sake.

(uh oh)

However there seems to be a problem. As you can see, my new aftermarket player is about ½ an inch wider that the original player. So in order to use the original player’s mounting plate I had to use my Dremel to open up a little room so the new CD player could slide in.

Don’t bolt in the mounting plate just yet though. We need to see if you could use those extra options from the new player. If you don’t have an external amp or rear speakers to power then consider your self done! Pop in the new head unit, reconnect the battery and see if it plays!

Extra information:

If you do have more options read on:
Now, my ’82 240 did not come with rear speakers. However, the ’88 did. The rear speakers were on the deck behind the backseat. I’ve also seen them on the back doors in the later 240s. But judging from the condition of the speakers, I had a feeling the former owner had a penchant for excessively loud music...

(Bad condition speaker.)

So a pair of cheap Pioneer 6x9s were mounted in place of the old and busted.

(Mount here...

(...or here.)

Since the ’88 already had stock rear speakers, I could splice and connect to this connector.

(PS2 mini-me OE amplifier)

(made in Japan of course)

(location of OE amp)

It was found connected to the stock amplifier (A.K.A. PS2 mini-me) which leads me to believe the ’88 came with some sort of sound system option and furthers my theory of the previous owner’s hearing loss.

(connector for the optional OE rear speakers)

Anyways this yellow and black wiring runs from the behind the dash board to the rear shelf through the side of the carpet. The plastic cover simply pops off and exposes a little tunnel for running wire incognito.

(pull off the plastic covering to expose secret wiring tunnels)

That thick red cable is the power lead to my external amp. I’ll dip into that a little later on. Anyways the best way to determine which wires are for the passenger and which are for the driver is through the use of a multimeter. Cut and open up a pair of wires and read the ohm readings to see if there is any connection when touching two terminals together on the foot well side. Or alternatively, you can run your own wiring under the carpet and under the rear seat to the rear speakers. That way you won’t get them mixed up. Cut and crimp your rear speaker wires to your new head unit harness and you should have power to the speakers.
The final wire from your head unit will be to turn on the amp when the ignition is switched on. I chose to mount an external amp. In fact I did not connect the new head unit to the foot well connector at all. The way my personal sound system is wired goes like this:

Head unit wired to external amplifier through RCA cables - Amplifier wired to all four speakers plus and another two 10 inch subwoofers.

(RCA cables instead of traditional speaker wire.)

It’s a bit more complex than the basic CD player wiring this thread was meant to be so I may just edit this post later on to elaborate.

In the mean time, I hope this article was helpful to your quest for a noisier 240. With your new head unit in place you can finally have trouble free hippie music you and all your dirty friends can sing along to at the next anti-fur protest.

Last edited by Crazychopstick; 09-25-2008 at 11:29 PM..
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Old 03-07-2009, 04:23 PM   #2
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That is a life saving 'how to' right there!!!
Cheers!! :x
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:26 PM   #3
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Do you have to change the fuse when you put in an aftermarket stereo? It keeps blowing.
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:36 AM   #4
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sweet.. thanks for writing this up, im doing mine in the next few days...

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Old 08-14-2009, 08:13 AM   #5
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so convient. im in the shop doing mine right now

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Old 08-14-2009, 09:10 PM   #6
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Splicing the HU straight in is a bad idea IMO. Spend the extra $20 or whatever to buy the wiring harness adapter.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Crazychopstick View Post

(Mount here...
You REALLY don't want to do that for soooo many reasons. One of the main ones is that the sound qulaity SUCKS from there.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by specimen View Post
Do you have to change the fuse when you put in an aftermarket stereo? It keeps blowing.
What kind of aftermarket radio are you using? If it draws more than the Volvo factory rated fuse...you might have to replace the fuse with one that will match your new radio's current draw ratings.

Is this fuse only blowing during certain listening situations?
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 24DinCT View Post
You REALLY don't want to do that for soooo many reasons. One of the main ones is that the sound qulaity SUCKS from there.
Are you serious? Because I wasn't...

Originally Posted by chasb View Post
Splicing the HU straight in is a bad idea IMO. Spend the extra $20 or whatever to buy the wiring harness adapter.
New to Turbobricks are we? It's definitely not a bad idea, there are no negative side effects if the connection is clean, many of us splice in wires for motor harnesses so stereo work doesn't phase us much. Besides if you carefully examine the thread, the HU is not spliced straight in, you're simply splicing it into the OE HU connector.

It's not the best solution but it works fine, is free, and can be done in less than an hour.
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:45 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Crazychopstick View Post
Are you serious? Because I wasn't....
oh ok LOL
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Old 08-22-2009, 07:22 AM   #11
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Thanks for the writeup mate. I finally snapped today and bought a $30 cd player (an early 90's alpine), whacked it in the glovebox and it works like a charm. Its hidden, so the car looks stock, and is easily removed without damaging stuff, so if its stolen, the person wont break stuff trying to remove it. The writeup was very helpfull, but as you said, the wire colours are different for bertone/1980 cars.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:49 PM   #12
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Thanks for your post, saved me a few bucks!
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Old 01-14-2015, 03:44 PM   #13
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(uh oh)

This is a ridiculously old thread but I thought it was crazy.. My 245 came with this same deck in it! haha!!
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:57 PM   #14

Originally Posted by chasb View Post
Splicing the HU straight in is a bad idea IMO. Spend the extra $20 or whatever to buy the wiring harness adapter
And why is that? Why buy a unneeded adapter kit when wiring it yourself accomplishes the same thing? Plus you can use larger gauge wire if you want and not be limited to the puny stock Volvo wiring..especially the speaker wiring.

I'm using 12 gauge speaker wire for my 6x9 5 ways which are mounted *securely* in the angle iron braced package tray panel.
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