Installing a Head-Unit into a 2002 Subaru Forester

Installing a Head-Unit into a 2002 Subaru Forester

OK, i will take you through how to remove the stock unit and replace it with an aftermarket unit.

 This is what the stock unit should look like (if its got a second unit below the CD player then a single DIN pocket it required (available online or at your local car audio store).


The first step to remove the silver dash facia is to remove the gear shifter surround, do this by simply grabbing ahold of the surround and firmly (but gently) pull it upwards. You dont need to completely remove this panel, just enough to access the screws below the A/C controls. Which is shown in the second photo below, remove the two screws and store in a safe place.

 Step 2: Now this is where it gets a little difficult. You need to release the two control cables for the a/c, these are located on each side of the centre console in the dash area. To access the p/s cable you'll find it easier if you take out the glovebox and surround. This is easily done by removing the 7-8 screws inside the glovebox and 2 down near the glovebox hinges. Once youve undone these screws, you should be able to remove the glovebox and surround. Place in a safe place to reduce the risk of scratching.

Now, if you look up to where the side of the factory stereo is you'll notice a black cable that attaches to a plastic arm, it should look like this:

Once youve located it, push the black clip up so it releases the cable. Then just remove the ring from plastic gear.

The second cable is located roughly in the same location just on the drivers side of the center console. If you get a torch and get down to where the pedals are, look up towards the side of the stereo and you'll see a similar cable / plastic gear. Removal is the same as the other side. 

OK. Once youve gotten over the hard bit i suggest taking a smallish break :) 

When youre ready to get back into it: 

Step 3: Removal of the centre console section. Here you just need to slowly work your way around the edge of the facia until It pops free, there are no screws holding it on now, so just take your time and it will come out (with the control cables still connected). Once thats done, you can unplug the wiring looms etc, no real need to mark each one as they only fit one socket. You should be left with this:

Now, just remove the 4 black screws holding the unit in place (two top, two bottom) and slowly remove the stereo / pocket. Unplug the stereo and antenna wiring.

 Step 4: Mounting the new unit. This is similar to most installations using the factory brackets, just undo the 4 screws holding the stock unit in place and slide it out. Grab your new unit and remove the metal "cradle" on the frame of the stereo by unclipping it on each side and sliding it back. Remove the plastic face surround from the new unit (held in by clips). Then slide the new unit into the stock mounting bracket, line it up with the pocket and make sure the two mounting holes have lined up with holes on the stereo, once done just use the same screws to mount the new unit in, or use the screws supplied with the unit.

Step 5: Wiring the new unit. Now if you dont have a harness adapter i suggest buying one. They are available online through places like Amazon and eBay.

If you do feel confident with identifying / soldering wires then feel free to solder the new harness to the old. Heres the wiring colours:

New stereo wires  -  Dash harness wires

Yellow  -  Blue / Yellow
Red - Yellow / Red
Black - Black
White - Brown / White
White / Black - Green / Black
Grey - Red / Yellow
Grey / Black - White / Black
Green - White / Red
Green / Black - Red / Green
Purple - Blue / Green
Purple / Black - Red

Please see my other installation articles for how to make solid electrical connections without removing the standard harness plug.

Step 6: Once your got it all wired up, plug the harness into the new unit along with the antenna wire. Then just insert the unit back into the dash cavity and replace the 4 mounting screws. Before replacing the facia panel / cables. Turn the ignition to accessories (first click) and turn the stereo on. Check all functions (radio / CD / iPod etc) to make sure everything is working, as you dont want to remove that facia again if possible!

Step 7: Now that its working fine, turn the key off. Next step is to re-fit the facia, its basically the same as the removal (just reversed ofcourse) with the addition of taking care when first placing the unit back on, make sure the two control cables go back to the same spot they came out of (so you can reconnect them). Also make sure to plug in the wiring looms into the A/C controls and hazard lights at the top.

Step 8: When youve got the unit back into place, you'll need to refit the control cables. Just take your time, once they are both back on and working (give each one a test by turning the dials after you connect the cable).

Step 9: Refit the two screws a the bottom of the facia kit and re-fit the shifter surround.

Step 10. OK, now all thats left is to refit the glovebox / surround and youre done: