The stock radio in my 98 interceptor, note the lack of tape deck or cd player.
View of the top of the radio, note how shallow the depth of the radio is
Back of radio, nothing fancy here. The radio uses the standard antenna connector even though the car has no external antenna but instead the radio antenna integrated into the rear windsheild defogger grid.
I installed an aftermarket clarion single DIN headunit with CD Player into my 98' interceptor. The new headunit gets excellent radio reception utilizing the integrated rear window antenna, perhaps even a little better than the stock radio did.
1995 and later vics technically have a 1.5 DIN radio, but it is commonly called double DIN. Many japanese cars have true 2.0 DIN radios, these are taller and will not fit into a vic without modification.
The Scosche FD1280 Truck/SUV mounting kit allows use of a single DIN radio and provides an extra storage pocket. Schosche kit did specifically list the 98' crownvic on the application list, but I still had to use a grinding wheel to make it fit in the dash opening. Maybe a place like Crutchfield stocks an easier kit to install.
The front door speakers were 5x7's, Infinity Kappa 572.3cf 5x7
Speakers were a straight bolt-in and sound excellent.
Car speaker application guides giveconflicting information about the
size of the rear speakers in 1998 crown victorias. Some list 98' vics
as having 5x7's while others list the 98' crownvics as having 6x9's. It
appears as though all 1998 & earlier crown vics will have 6x9
cutouts in the rear, and the later 1999+ ones will have 5x7 cutouts in
the rear. But if you are purchasing your speakers from a merchant that
has a strict return policy, it would probably be worthwhile to
physically measure the openings in your parcel shelf ahead of time to
be sure of the size.
Mounting depth is not much of a concern with the small temporary spare that many of the 97' & earlier vics come with. But if you've got a 98' or later vic, you need a fullsize 16" spare to physically fit over the front brake components and some of the deeper speakers will hit the spare tire. Also, observe closely the rear trunk lid latch springs that run from one side of the trunk to the other. Infinity Kappa 693.3's would not work in the rear deck of my 98' vic because they use a basket shape rear frame that hits the latch torsion bars.
Ford uses a couple of different radio harnesses depending on audio options, some of the higher end audio systems come with external amplifiers and a factory sub. Radio harness connectors changed in the vics starting with the 98' model year, so make sure to closely examine the application guide on any harness adapters you may purchase. For my 98', the Scosche FD16 harness connector worked out well.
98'-02' radio connectors:
Radio plug used on 98'-02' crown vics.
On police interceptors, this will be the only radio plug in the dash harness. On civilian vics, there may be additional radio connectors for features such as cd changer, factory amplifier, steering wheel radio controls, etc.
Pinout of the plug pictured above.
Got too many clocks? Jump PIN 4 "Disable Radio Clock Input" over to PIN 11 "Ground" to disable the clock on your radio.
If you have the deluxe radio with the factory subwoofer and
in the trunk, you'll also have this connector plugged into the radio.
If your car came from the factory equipped with a radio with CD changer controls, you'll also have this connector plugged into the radio.
C258 is from a 98' towncar, take note of the extra wires for
the cellular phone and steering wheel radio controls. Also note that
the towncar radio is tied into the SCP multiplex network for features
such as speed sensitive volume control and delayed accessory off.
Additionally, some 1998 and later lincoln towncars obtain data on
how brightly to
illuminate the radio nighttime backlighting from the LCM via SCP data bus. So if an upper level town car
radio is installed into a crown vic, you might not be
able to read the front panel buttons during the dark nighttime hours
without the use of a flashlight.
1997 & earlier crown vic and grand marquis radio connectors:
1997 and earlier vics use the above radio connectors. The same connectors have been in use since the mid-1980's.
Pinout of the black connector pictured above.
Ford shares radios among a number of different vehicles, even though
1995 and later vics do not have power antennas, PIN 2 is still hot when
the radio is turned on. This can be useful if one desires to keep the
stock head unit, but connect aftermarket amplifiers and need an amp
turn on lead.
Pinout of the grey connector pictured above
2003-2010 crown vic radio connectors:
Starting in the 2003 model year, upper level ford crown victoria
and mercury grand marquis ls's recieved a new 24 pin sanyo radio
replace the old 16 pin one.
However, 2003+ police cruisers and base civilian crown vics
still use the same connector that has been in use since 1998.
Note: This radio connector diagram
is from a 2004 crown victoria, and the wiring color coding scheme will
vary on some of the later vehicles.
The upper level 03+ crown vics also have newly revised cd changer connectors as well:
And on some radio's you might find subwoofer connector in use too
The easiest way to remove the radio is to use "DIN Tools" avaliable for around $5 at the autoparts store. Radio removal is straightforward, insert the din tools into the holes on the front of the radio, click them into place and slide the radio out of the dashboard.
If you are unable to locate DIN tools, you can remove the radio by
unbolting the black plastic trim peice that covers the speedometer and
from the dashboard. Note this method is very time consuming compared
to using the proper tools.
Some crown vic owners have also reported successfully removing their factory radio by using a couple bent coathangers. But this method is not recommended if you think that you may ever want to reinstall your old radio at a later date. Because coat hangers are not typically the proper diameter and are likely to damage the plastic holes on the face of the radio as a result. And coathangers may also damage the spring clips that hold the radio in place.
Set of DIN tools
DIN Tools inserted into a radio.
Other thoughts and issues
There is plenty of space in crownvic trunks for subwoofers and
amplifiers. But make sure when mounting amplifiers and grounding screws
not to drill into your vehicle's gas tank, its below the big hump in
the trunk in
between the trunk pit and passenger compartment.
An interactive guide to mounting equipment in the trunk of your
vic is avaliable here:
Running 4 guage wire for amp power from the engine compartment to the trunk is quite easy in crown vics. There are large unused electrical conduits on both the passengers and drivers side above the rocker panels for police equipment and 4 guage power wire will slip through them with little effort. If your interceptor was ever in service, there's a good chance you have some holes predrilled through the firewall as well. Make sure when running low level RCA cables not to run them too close to the power wire for the amp, because high current draws in power leads generate magnetic fields that can induce noise into the RCA cables.
Sideview of factory ford radio. Notice how the radio tapers in size
from the front to back. The front of radio is a 1.5 DIN size, back of
radio is a single DIN size. The shape of the radio is unique, but is
required to clear the defroster duct work at the back of the dash.
2003 vics have a redesigned dashboard and the radio can be 1.5DIN
at both the front and rear.
If for some reason, you absolutetly need to be able to fit a full
din radio in your 1995-2002 crownvic, the part # for the 2003
duct work is:
|3W7Z-18D453-AA||Nozzle and Duct Asy., Heater
& A/C Demister
The part # for the 1999-2002 defroster duct work that restricts you
1.0 DIN radio at the rear of the radio is:
|XW7Z-18D453-AA||Nozzle and Duct Asy., Heater & A/C Demister||$95.88|
Be warned, that swapping the defroster duct work is a time intensive
task and requires removing the dashboard from the vehicle. More
documentation on dashboard removal is avaliable by clicking here or by clicking here
Some vic owners prefer to keep the factory look to their stereo install. A few have swapped in radios from other ford vehicles such as ford explorers, econoline vans, and lincoln town cars. This option greatly lowers install time and planning, just slide the old radio out, unplug it and slide the new radio in and connect the electrical plugs. Sources for used radios include local salvage yards and auction sites like http://www.ebay.com. Another alternative is to get the radio directly from Visteon (http://www.visteon.com), the company that makes many of the radios for ford.
CD Player equipped ford radio installed in a vic. Many ford radios like the above one are equipped with RDS (Radio Data Stream) that allows among other things the radio to display "rock", "classical", "country", etc depending on which type of radio station is being listened to. Note that not all radio stations broadcast are RDS equipped, in some areas none are.
Also note that the radio above has a built in self test that will
on each speaker individually and also perform some other diagnostics.
documentation on this topic is avaliable by clickling here.
Back of a 98' radio. If you're swapping this radio into a car
CD changer or subwoofer, only one out of the three connectors on the
of the radio will be used.
Closeup of radio connections.
Back of a 96' radio. Note the connectors are very different compared to the 98+ ones.
Adapter to use a 98+ vic radio in a 1997 and prior crown vic, premade ones avaliable from vendors such as www.radiosandmore.com
If you are comfortable soldering, you can make your own adapter by
cutting the male radio plug off a salvage yard vic and purchasing some
radio interconnect plugs at a store such as walmart or radioshack.
To install the front speakers, the door panels first need to be
removed. 1995 and later crownvics use a combination of screws and
C-shaped molded plastic clips to retain the interior door panel to the
door. There's a screw towards the bottom back of the door panel towards
the b-pillar. Another is inaccessible until after the door window and
lock switch control panel is removed. Later vics will also have a screw
near the latch inline with the armrest and one that is only accessible
after the cup that covers the door handle is removed. After all
fasteners are removed, lift the door
panel upwards while pulling away from the door.
DO NOT USE a prybar or friction clip removal tool to try to remove
the door panel as you will damage it. The door panel in 1995 and later
crown vics is not held to the door using "friction clips" like found in
older cars. More details on this topic are avaliable by clickling here.
The rear speakers come out from inside the car, they are not removed through the trunk. To remove the speakers, the parcel shelf cover first has to be removed. To remove the parcel shelf cover, the back seat and third brake light cover have to be removed.
Two c-shaped clips are welded to the metal floorpan in the rear of
the car. To remove the seat bottom from the c-shaped clips, push one
corner of the seat backwards while lifting upwards and you should feel
the rod disengage when it comes to the opening in the clip, repeat on
the other corner of the seat. Will now need to use a 1/2" drive ratchet
to remove the nut at each corner of the seatback that holds the
seatbelt and seatback in place. After the two nuts are released, the
seatback will lift upwards and can be removed from the vehicle.
The parcel shelf cover is held in place by a couple trim panels,
clips, a third brake light cover and on some later models the child
Above a a few pictures of wrecked crown victoria police cruiser rear
parcel shelves. The blue cruiser is a 00', the white a 99' and the
silver an 01'. The metallic silverish box on the top of the parcel
shelf is the antenna isolator that allows the radio to use the
defroster grid as an antenna. The wiring and raised area of the
sheetmetal in the center rear of the parcel shelf are for the third
brake light. The three hooks visible on the parcel shelf of the 00'
& 01' cruisers are the child seat tether (LATCH) anchors. They are
standard equipment on all 2000 and later crown vics, but unavaliable on
1999 and prior models.
The circular hole with the flat line across the bottom towards the
drivers side speaker hole is for the factory installed subwoofer. But
1998+ crown vics never actually recieved a factory installed subwoofer.
However, all 2003 and 2004 mercury marauders did as did a very
limited number of well optioned 1992-1997 aerobody crown vic LX's. And
the assembly is a "plug and play" upgrade for some 1998+ crown vic lx
owners. If you're observant when looking at the radio and power
distribition section of the ford electrical and vacuum troubleshooting
manual (EVTM), you'll notice various references to the subwoofer. And
some upper level LX trim level owners with premium sound will find a
mysterious four pin connector dangling unconnected behind their rear
seat. In such instances, just plug the subwoofer in, bolt it to the
parcel shelf, and install a lincoln town car cartier or signature
radio. Then you'll have an audio system that sounds much better than
the factory crown vic one and takes up a minimal amount of additional
trunk space. Click here to view some pictures of
the subwoofer assembly in question.
Additonally note that you need a ford crown victoria, mercury grand
marquis or mercury marauder subwoofer housing to fit in the factory
hole cut in the rear parcel shelf. Lincoln towncars have a different
rear parcel shelf than their crown vic and grand marquis counterparts.
And the subwoofer housing is also a very different design than the
crown vic one. However, the subwoofer amplifier in the towncar is
nearly identical to it's crown vic counterpart. And the amp is also
strikingly similar to the one used in the lincoln ls.
And keep in mind that not all 1998-2004 lincoln towncars recieved
subwoofers. The 98+ town car executives (M81) do not have factory
installed subwoofers, but most all of the 98+ signature (M82) and
trim level towncars do. Click here to view
some pictures of a factory towncar subwoofer assembly.
Radios that will NOT work in your vic:
Pictured below is a dual media radio from a ford truck, it has both
player and a cassette deck. Problem is that the radio is 1.5DIN at the
and 1.5DIN at the back of the radio. Some ford trucks like the crown
use a radio that is 1.5DIN at the front and 1.0DIN at the rear. A
opening in a ford truck that is 1.5DIN at the front and 1.5DIN at the
will accomadate a radio that is 1.5DIN at the front and 1.0DIN at the
But a crown victoria dash opening that is 1.5DIN at the front and
the rear will not accomadate a radio that is 1.5DIN at both the front
In summary: a 1995-2002 crown vic radio will always physically fit
dash opening of another 1995-2002 crown vic or grand marquis, a crown
radio will also fit in most ford trucks. But a ford truck radio may or
not fit in a crown vic. You are physically going to have to look at the
prior to purchase to determine whether it will fit in your vehicle or
And here is a picture of a dashboard mounted 6 disc cd changer. But
it won't physically fit in the dashboard of an 02' or prior crown vic
either due to being a 1.5DIN profile at the rear like the dual media
radio mentioned previously.
Also pay attention to the mounting system that retains the radio in
the dashboard. Some ford radios are still held in place using screws
that pass through metal protruding tabs on the radio and then into the
dashboard. On such radios, the two holes that the din tools insert into
on each side will not typically be present. You could probably modify
your dash to accept such a radio, but it adds complexity to the install.
At a quick glance, the radio pictured below may seem like it would
work in a 1998 or later crown vic. This is not the case though as this
is the back of a "premium sound" radio. The connector on the left is
for the power, the one on right is for low level signal wires that
to the trunk mounted amplifiers. The radio pictured below does not have
any amplifier chips built into it and any sound you may be able to get
of it will not be louder than a whisper.
Also be aware that some of the upper level radio systems used in
ford vehicles have factory installed subwoofers. In such vehicles, the
mid & high pitched sounds are directed to the regular speakers. The
low bass sounds are directed to the factory subwoofer. This system
typcially sounds very good as far as factory installed sound systems go
and is also more compact spacewise than a comparable sounding
aftermarket stereo setup would be. But if you attempt to use a
subwoofer enabled radio without the subwoofer, your music will sound
very "tinny" because you'll be missing all the low bassy notes.
Below are some pictures of ford focus & mercury cougar radios.
Not only do radios from these vehicles have completely different
electrical connectors than the crown vic, but they have a faceplate
that isn't flat, and many of these radios are also 1.5 din at the rear
Some crown victoria owners have inquired whether selecting a
different oem radio for their crownvic is really as difficult as
mentioned above. If you go to your local ford dealership, the only
choices for radios in your car will be what was factory installed in
your vehicle that year. If you like to tinker, and don't mind some
trial & error, then an oem radio swap from a different ford vehicle
could work. For reference, click
here to view a list of radio models that have been avaliable in
different ford vehicles over the past few years.
And if you need your oem radio serviced, click here to view a list of
ford authorized service centers.
EIA Color Coding Scheme:
Many aftermarket radios and radio adapter harnesses comply with the
EIA (Electronics Industries Association) Standards color coding scheme
|12 Volt to Battery||Yellow|
|12 Volt to Ignition||Red|
|Speaker (Right Front)||Gray (+), Gray with Black Stripe (-)|
|Speaker (Left Front)||White (+), White with Black Stripe (-)|
|Speaker (Right Rear)||Violet (+), Violet with Black Stripe (-)|
|Speaker (Left Rear)||Green (+), Green with Black Stripe (-)|
|Antenna Out||Dark Blue|
|Amp Remote (Turn on)||Dark Blue with White Stripe|
|Illumination / Dimmer||Orange|
Other points of intrest:
If your crown victoria has a factory radio with cdchanger controls
and a ford branded cdchanger (XU3F-18C829-AB) is later installed, the
part number for the cable that connects from the back of the radio to
the trunk is XU3F-14588-DA. If the cd changer is being installed in a
vehicle with bucket seats and a center console, such as a mercury
marauder or a police interceptor, there is a shorter cable
(XU3F-14588-AB) avaliable that is designed for console mounted
cdchanger applications. On crown vics with cd changers installed at the
factory, the changer itself is physically located in the trunk against
the drivers side rear quarter panel behind the wheel well.
Music CD's only hold around an hours worth of music, some have significantly less per disc. To listen to a few hours of music without continously swapping discs, many people opt to install a CD changer to automate the process. If you have the harness already in the car and a radio with cd changer controls, adding a changer should be easy, just open the trunk and plug it in.
CD changers are an expensive if purchased from ford. OEMs tend not to manufacture audio components inhouse, instead they contract with major manufacturers such as sony, pioneer, clarion, etc. for the task. That's good news if you're looking to save money, because there's a good chance that you can use a non-ford branded changer with your stock radio. Try contacting the people at www.crutchfield.com for information on this option.
If going the pre-owned route, do be aware that CD changers have a finite lifespan and will eventually "wear out" and need costly repairs.
Another option, is to put your tunes into MP3 format. At a reasonable 128kb/s sampling rate, one can fit around 10 hours of music onto a standard cd recordable disc.
This option has a few advantages including:
MP3 capable car decks have steadily been coming down in price, some
entry level decks can be purchased for as low as $200. Most independent
car audio shops now stock mp3 capable decks, as do big chains such as
BestBuy and CircuitCity. Additionally, some newer ford vehicles come
with a factory mp3 deck
that will fit
in a crown vic. Visteon
also sells such radios aftermarket too. And for the electronic
has details on constructing a custom mp3 player for your car.
As another option, an adapter that inserts into the tape deck of the
factory radio and contains a cable with a headphone jack on the other
will connect to an seperate external portable mp3 player could be used.
While playing MP3 cd's through an adapter of this type will typically
better sound quality than listening to a cassette tape, overall sound
is poor compared to installing a real MP3 headunit. Similarly, adapters
exist that plug into the radio antenna feed and broadcast the signal of
an external cd player over a preset fm channel. These devices do
yield better sound quality than their tape deck adapter counterparts,
still not as good as a headunit with mp3 capability integrated into it.
So if you've driving a rental crown vic for a few days while on a
trip, one of the adapters discussed above would be very appropriate.
if you own your crown vic outright and have no plans to sell it any
soon, you should do the job right and replace the factory headunit with
mp3 capable counterpart. Not only will this yield you better sound
but it will also eliminate the possibility of an external cdrom device
around the car and possibly obstructing access to the brake and
pedals. It will also eliminate the possibility of an external cdrom
becoming an airborne projectile and causing personal injury in the
event that your crownvic becomes involved in a collision with another
Radio Reception Technical Service Bulletin (TSB)
In TSB 09-19-2, ford motor company addresses problems that are
sometimes encountered with the radio antenna integrated into the rear
window glass. Officially, this TSB is only applicable to 2008-2010
crown victorias. But unofficially, it also covers the 1995-2007
crownvics that use the same radio antenna setup. You can view a copy of
this tsb by clicking here.
In TSB 04-24-5, ford motor company addresses repairing damaged rear window defroster and antenna grid lines. You can view a copy of this tsb by clicking here.
TSB 04-1-7 for the 2003-2004 lincoln ls also has some information
that might be useful to crownvic owners. This TSB involves relocating a
windshield motor wiper ground to eliminate a clicking/popping sound
occurs on am radio stations. Although crown victorias do not have a
rear windshield wiper, crownvics in active police use might have
grounds for aftermarket police equipment located near the rear
windshield frame that could cause the same problem.
Also, TSB 04-1-7 has a note about installing aftermarket cellular telphone antennas on the rear windshield that is applicable to crownvics too. "CELLULAR PHONE ANTENNA BASES INSTALLED OVER THE ANTENNA GRID ON THE BACK GLASS CAN AFFECT AM RADIO RECEPTION/PERFORMANCE. DO NOT PERFORM THIS TSB IF THERE IS A CELLULAR PHONE ANTENNA BASE INSTALLED OVER THE ANTENNA GRID." Window mounted external cellular telephone antennas were popular in my area of the country back in the 1990's and early 2000's because of poor reception issues from the limited number of cellular telphone radio towers. External cellular phone antennas have fallen out of favor in the past few years around here because the cellular network carriers have spent lots of money errecting large numbers of cellular base stations making poor reception a non-issue in most spots. But if you're living in a sparsely populated rural area of the country, you might sometimes still encounter cars with external cellular antenntas on the rear window glass.
Radio Reception Special Service Message (SSM)
Radio Antenna Troubleshooting Tips
The crown victoria rear window with the am/fm radio antenna
integrated into it works really good in most crownvics with reception
comparable to an external mast antenna. However, a small number of
crownvics have problems with this antenna arrangement and get poor
reception. Below are a few possible troubleshooting ideas:
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