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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was doing a bit of research myself but I know there are some very knowledgeable members on this forum and I'd rather listen to your expertise than read a bunch of possibly real/possibly fake reviews.

My 2003 Expedition's factory in-dash 6 disc CD changer just bit the dust (with CDs still stuck inside) and I need to replace it before we go on vacation at the end of July.

Features that are important to me:

  • Easy installation (I'm not, by any means, an electronics or tech guru)
  • Bluetooth (more for streaming music from our phones than for calling...but I'll use the calling feature occasionally also)
  • direct OEM size replacement
  • Good backlighting
  • if it has a CD player, that's a bonus. Not a necessity.
  • back-up camera would be a great bonus. Not a necessity either.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

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I was doing a bit of research myself but I know there are some very knowledgeable members on this forum and I'd rather listen to your expertise than read a bunch of possibly real/possibly fake reviews.

My 2003 Expedition's factory in-dash 6 disc CD changer just bit the dust (with CDs still stuck inside) and I need to replace it before we go on vacation at the end of July.

Features that are important to me:

  • Easy installation (I'm not, by any means, an electronics or tech guru)
  • Bluetooth (more for streaming music from our phones than for calling...but I'll use the calling feature occasionally also)
  • direct OEM size replacement
  • Good backlighting
  • if it has a CD player, that's a bonus. Not a necessity.
  • back-up camera would be a great bonus. Not a necessity either.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
My $0.02:

On the installation side of your question, ordering from a source like Crutchfield will include bracket & trim kits for mounting and cosmetic finishing. You'll also receive wiring adapters.

In terms of dash disassembly, the Expedition is a fairly easy install. If you can turn a screw driver and be careful with prying/unsnapping dash trim pieces in your 13 year old vehicle, you'll do just fine with a mounting kit. I mention age because plastic gets brittle - and even when its new, knowing which way to pull and pry on snapped in place components is an important part of opening up a vehicle for service.

On the wiring side, it's a simple plug and play proposition. The kit will include bare ended wires terminated to a plug that fits directly into the Ford wire harness. The head unit will include its own bare ended wire/plug that connects to the adapter (more than likely) color for color. It really doesn't get much easier. The only minor challenge is how you choose to join the bare ended wires to one another. There's a ton of ways to do that, the easiest (IMO) is to run down to your local home improvement store and pick up a supply of small gauge wire nuts. Grey or blue for 18 to 20 AWG should do the trick.

From there, you have choices of head units that are all over the map. If you can swing a slightly higher price, your universe of selection will open up greatly. STRONGLY recommend staying with a brand name you recognize (Sony, Kenwood, Pioneer, JVC, ETC). Some brands have been purchased by venture capital groups seeking to sell on brand names from the past (like Jensen for instance). Most of the brands in that category have little resemblance to what they once were. Having said that, brands you may not be all the familiar with are seeking to build their place in the market by offering lots of features in the lower price range.

On the other hand, big brand names have a reputation to protect - and fund R&D/engineering to keep up with and/or innovate the entire market. So it's "usually" safe to go that route if you are willing to pay a slight premium.

Features are easy to ID. The search engine and data base @ Crutchfield is invaluable. Should you decide to purchase from them, kits, adapters and installation instruction come in the shipment to your door. Their prices might be a bit higher than elsewhere but the pre & post purchase resources they offer are nearly priceless should you ever need them. Go there, poke around. You'll find out quickly what's available in your price range.

Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Excellent information. I looked around their website and their prices are actually really good. I found a ton of brand name head units in my price range. I'll definitely be ordering from them. Thanks for the info!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
For as much cargo space as the Expedition has, it's REALLY lacking in "gadget" space. The giant folding front center seatback/console (it's a 9 passenger) doesn't open, the glove box isn't much deeper than the owner's manual, and the door pockets are as restrictive as you'd expect them to be so I ended up going with a 1DIN unit. The install kit for the 1DIN has the little pocket thing that is normally pretty useless, but in the Expedition it at least gives me a place to put my phone. The install was pretty scary at first but I managed to get it done. The kit from Crutchfield came with a pre-amp and a pre-amp converter that I couldn't figure out where to put. I'm pretty sure my factory radio didn't have an amp. I ended up leaving those adapters off. Hopefully that was the right thing to do. But anyway, everything seems to work. Thanks again for the advice.
 

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For as much cargo space as the Expedition has, it's REALLY lacking in "gadget" space. The giant folding front center seatback/console (it's a 9 passenger) doesn't open, the glove box isn't much deeper than the owner's manual, and the door pockets are as restrictive as you'd expect them to be so I ended up going with a 1DIN unit. The install kit for the 1DIN has the little pocket thing that is normally pretty useless, but in the Expedition it at least gives me a place to put my phone. The install was pretty scary at first but I managed to get it done. The kit from Crutchfield came with a pre-amp and a pre-amp converter that I couldn't figure out where to put. I'm pretty sure my factory radio didn't have an amp. I ended up leaving those adapters off. Hopefully that was the right thing to do. But anyway, everything seems to work. Thanks again for the advice.
Sweet! Congratulations on a job well done.

Always good to reap rewards of your efforts.

Enjoy!
 
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