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  •  Cab Radio Replacement

    We had had enough of the Sony stereo system that came with our '05 RB; despite repeated attempts to clean the face-plate contacts, we could only operate the radio using the remote. I settled on a Kenwood KDC-MP345U: reasonably priced, nicely equipped and simple replacement for the Sony. The job actually was easier than I expected, despite a snag or two I encountered.


    Before beginning, I pulled the radio fuse in the engine compartment and disconnected the house batteries.

    Then the first problem arose: removing the old radio. Easy enough if one has the removal tools that came with it; I did not.

     rb134 So I made a set. After reviewing the Sony manual and the pictures of the removal stool, I was able to make them out of a piece of pipe hanger, cut length-wise and one end folded over to make the needed catch. Nothing fancy, but they worked.

    Here I have inserted my tools, one on each side. I pushed them until I heard a click and then pulled forward. Voila - out slid the radio. It helped to grip the tools with pliers to pull.

    It turns out I made this a little more difficult than necessary, for I think I could have merely pried out the entire plastic housing without removing the actual radio box first.

    rb136  Once the radio and plastic housing was removed, I was pleasantly surprised to find plenty of slack wire with which to work; that's not normal for Lazy Daze. 
     rb138 After sorting out the wires, it became apparent that LD did not use standard car stereo wiring colors. The wires in the foreground are in the Sony wiring harness, which is spliced into the LD wires with the red (and 1 blue). If you're interested, you'll find the wiring code at the bottom of this article.

    I debated about splicing the Kenwood wire harness directly into the LD wires, but instead I spliced it into the Sony wires, after cutting off the plug. That way, it was color-to-color match, making it less likely that I'd mess it up.

    But....be careful crimping. I learned the hard way that it's easy to squeeze the crimper a bit too hard and break the wires off. Although my initial test of the radio worked, after I installed it the right rear speaker wasn't working - had to put a new connector on one of that speaker's wires.

     rb141  After getting the wires spliced and the harness and radio antenna plugged in, it was time for a test. Amazingly, it worked as advertised right away.
     rb142 In this back view I have slid the radio into the new plastic housing (the back of its small storage bin is on top of the radio). I also attached the DIN bracket that fits nto a chassis-mounted guide that securely holds the back of the radio in place. A tip: the bracket actually needs to be lower than shown here - when I first put the radio into the dash, the bracket was pulling down the back of the radio too much so that it didn't sit well in the dash. I had to remove it and put it down about another half inch. 
     rb145  Before sliding the radio in place, I put a couple of plastic ties around the wire bundle to hold them neatly together.
     rb144 And here is the final result. 

    Great features of this radio are its USB and Auxiliary inputs. The radio will control an iPod, and I can connect our satellite radio receiver and my smartphone to it as well. My only regret now is that I did not get a radio with Bluetooth capability.

    Lazy Daze Stereo Wiring Color Code

    When replacing our cab stereo, I discovered that the factory does NOT use the standard color codes when wiring in the cab radios. I jotted down the colors while I had the radio out:

    Standard Coding
    Lazy Daze
    Constant Power
    Switched power
    Orange (same as above)
    Amp remote turn-on
    Not used
    Power antenna
    Not used
    Left front - pos
    Left front - neg
    Right front - pos
    Right front - neg
    Left rear - pos
    Left rear - neg
    Right rear - pos
    Right rear - neg