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Volvo Double Din Radio Install

Published on January 11, 2012 by AndyB5

Remove the stock headunit by pressing in to release the tabs on the front of the radio, and pull the headunit towards you to remove it from the dash cavity. Disconnect the factory wiring harness from your stock radio. If your car doesn’t have a factory amp, skip the next step. If your car has a factory amplifier, you’ll be left with a harness that looks like the one below.


OEM double din radio
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Those two plugs allow the factory amp to work, but are not used with an aftermarket headunit. Disconnect the female side, and tuck them into the dash cavity. Your aftermarket headunit should have come with a color-coded wiring harness. In addition to this, you will need a Volvo wiring harness adapter. You can buy one at a local mobile A/V store or order one offline such as the Metra Harness. Take the harness that was included with your new headunit and solder the color-matched wires to the Volvo wiring harness adapter you just bought. Make sure to tightly wrap your connections after you are done soldering. Either use heat-shrink wrap (preferred) or electrical tape (pictured) In this picture, the Pioneer wiring harness in on the left side (male plug) and the wiring harness adapter (female plugs) is on the right side.


OEM to aftermarket harness
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Now to modify the factory dash cavity to accept the aftermarket receiver. Inside the dash cavity, you will notice 2 small ribs in the middle of the opening, one on each side. These are what allow the factory headunit to stay in place, and why retailers say you can’t fit a double-din headunit in these cars.


Remove radio
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To remove them, use a hacksaw to gently cut from the rib off the dash, and create a smooth opening like in the picture below. Use as much care as you can, but do not waste too much time here as you will not be able to see what was done here with the radio installed.


wiring harness volvo radio
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Your new headunit may or may not have included a metal “cage” used for installs. If not, you can buy one at any of the same places you bought the wiring harness adapter from step 4. Make sure to buy one for your brand of headunit.


pioneer radio install in a volvo
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Mark the locations of the outermost tab at each corner (highlighted in red above) on the inside of the dash cavity. Remove the bracket, and drill a 3/8” hole in the dash at each location. Take care not to press to hard against the dash to avoid drilling into anything behind the opening. The plastic is soft, and will be easy to drill through. These holes will allow the highlighted tabs on the bracket to be bent down into the hole and secure the bracket to the dash cavity (see picture below) but do not bend them into the hole just yet.


Remove oem radio and modify bracket
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Remove the bracket from the dash cavity and mount it to your headunit with the included screws. Note that I used a generic bracket, and had to drill my own holes for mounting my headunit to the bracket.


oem volvo radio brackets for double din
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After mounting the bracket to your headunit, you can connect all the wiring harnesses to your headunit. If you have a USB or iPod cable to run, now is the time to do so. I won’t get into where/how to run those cords in this install. If your car is equipped with a diversity radio antenna, you will see 2 radio plugs as a part of the factory wiring harness. You will only need to connect the larger of the 2 plugs, seen on the bottom in the picture below.


amp harness
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Once all the connections are in place, turn the car on and test that your headunit is functioning properly. Now you can slide your new headunit into the dash cavity, and depress the metal tabs into their holes in the dash cavity, like in the picture below. This will fasten your headunit to the dash quite securely.


install aftermarket bracket and trim
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At this point, you have a fully functioning double din headunit installed in your car, similar to the picture below. The last step is to install a trim bezel to cover the edges of the metal bracket and better integrate the headunit into the dash.


Aftermarket radio installed
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Most headunits include a piece of ABS plastic that will need to be cut to fit in the dash opening. If your headunit did not include a precut bezel, you can easily make one from 1/16” ABS plastic sheet. You can buy ABS online or in a craft store, and it can be cut with a utility knife and straight-edge. Secure the trim bezel to the dash with 3M double-sided foam tape.


trim back in place
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