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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Yes sorry...not the "A" Pillars but in the dash. So here is where I'm at. I'm going to buy two new harnesses and start there. I believe these are the right ones.

Kenwood harness - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08PFF97VS/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=AHIY6I5590OIR&psc=1
Metra Harness - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002BEUBW/ref=crt_ewc_img_dp_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

I'm hoping to connect the RCAs into the head unit, and the few remaining wires into the head unit harness. Good place to start?
 

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The second antenna wire would be there if you have the diversified antennas (pole and inside your rear window)
Correct. Dumeinao is talking about the small antenna-looking gray wire that you grabbed at the beginning of your new video. You can't use this with an aftermarket radio. Only the stock unit can accept 2 antenna wires and resolve the best signal from each.

I took another video with more detail this time. The more I dig into this the more screwed up stuff I find...

I did find the 3 white wire bundles in the lower right (just as you said). However, those aren't plugged into the head unit in anyway. There is another group of wires coming up in that same area and those go to the head unit.
I looked at your new video. First, let me say that all previous owners are idiots (in reference to the AC "amplifier" being thrown behind the radio...this has nothing to do with audio by the way).

It looks like to me that they took the wires from the back of the 3 white connectors, that normally go to the amp, and pulled them up into the radio cavity. OK, not a rediculous step. But it would imply that the stock amp is no longer in the equation. Can you verify this by completely disconnecting all wiring from the stock amp and see if your stereo experience remains the same?
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
@bitshftr thanks for the info. I did remove the two wiring harness from the stock amp a few weeks ago and if I do this, the head unit doesn't even turn on. I think this means the factory amp is still in play yes?

Do you think me getting two new wiring harnesses and using the RCA as the low voltage audio transfer won't work?
 

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1987 MA71 R154 Pearl White, Blue Velour
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Ok now that's interesting. If unplugging the stock amp cuts power to the head unit, that would imply that the amp either provides or passes-through the power for the head unit. I would think pass-through, but with a factory unit design they may have "all-in-one'd" it.

Is there a color coded wire going from the amp to the head unit that matches the input of the amp that would imply a pass-through?
 

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If unplugging the stock amp cuts power to the head unit, that would imply that the amp either provides or passes-through the power for the head unit.
That is, in fact, the case. The radio gets its power from the amp.
 

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1987 MA71 R154 Pearl White, Blue Velour
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I looked up your Kenwood Kenwood DDX616

It has an internal amp, so is not simply a passive head unit that needs a separate amp.

As mentioned earlier, unless they put a step down device to be able to use the factory amp and wiring, that's a problem.

In my 87 example, the factory head unit had the amp built in. So, when I put the Alpine amp between the head unit and the speakers, the Alpine stepped down the power, then also high passed the front speakers and low passed the rear. This was exactly what I wanted because the rear channels are only 10" subs, and the front 6.5 mids and tweeters, each of which have their own crossover also.

Anyway, the point is in your case it sounds like they tried to leave the stock amp in place, keeping the factory speaker wires, but inserting a head unit with its own amp, without turning the amp off. If the factory amp only expects line level inputs from the factory head unit, that's a problem.

I would venture that if you can by pass the factory amp all together, and wire direct to your kenwood you'd be better off. Or something similar. (y)
 

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Do you think me getting two new wiring harnesses and using the RCA as the low voltage audio transfer won't work?
Honestly, I don't know that new wiring harnesses will do any good. You've already got both harnesses...they are just connected with butt connectors. The problem is that we don't know exactly where each Kenwood-harness wires goes right now. Here's what I'd like to see (sorry, this is some tedius work):
  1. How many pins (used or not) does the Metra harness connector have?
  2. For each wire in the Kenwood harness, list its color (and use if it's labeled) and list the color wire from the Metra harness that it connects to, and then follow that wire all the way to the bottom right area of the radio cave and list the color of the stock harness wire it is connected to.

BTW, the bottom right area of the radio cave, where the 3 stationary white connectors are, is called the IH1/IH2/IH3 group. IH3 is a 2-pin connector closest to the firewall. IH2 is a 6-pin connector (between IH1 and IH3). IH1 is a 10-pin connector furthest from the firewall. IH1 carries the front speaker wires. IH2 carries the rear speaker wires. IH3 carries the subwoofer wires.

The front speaker wires split of behind the dash, and go to the door speakers and the tweeters.
 
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It looks like to me that they took the wires from the back of the 3 white connectors, that normally go to the amp, and pulled them up into the radio cavity. OK, not a rediculous step. But it would imply that the stock amp is no longer in the equation. Can you verify this by completely disconnecting all wiring from the stock amp and see if your stereo experience remains the same?
I suspect that this statement is true, except that they left the power pass-thru going from the amp to the radio. If this is the case, then the stock amp is currently only serving to pass power to the radio, and not to actually output sound to any speakers. And I'm guessing that the stock subwoofer is not getting any signal at all. You can leave it like this, just using the Kenwood's built-in amp for sound, and grab a different source for power to the radio, and totally disconnect the stock amp.

Or, you can try the new Metra harness from Amazon that you linked to, but what we don't know is if the stock amp is meant to receive the same line-level signals that the Kenwood's RCA jacks output. Plus, you'd have to put the "pulled" wires back to the amp, basically making everying stock again so that the Metra harness would work in its intended configuration.

Can you get a picture of the stock amp, where the 3 wiring connectors go into it? I wanna see if there are still 3 connectors there, or just 2 (or just 1).
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
My idea behind buying the two new harness was two fold:

1 - Clean it all up. Current harnesses don't have RCA.
2 - The Metra harness has the 4 RCA cables which, from what I'm told here, would connect to the low voltage RCA connectors on the head unit. This would remove the need to connect the high voltage speaker wires from the head unit harness. "IF" the factory amp is still in play, perhaps this would solve the volume problem. Let me know if I'm wrong.

At this moment, I don't have time to rip apart my dash again (will do it tonight), but I was able to peel back the passenger side carpet and interestingly enough I don't see an extra wire set. The first picture here shows extra wires next to the IH connectors (my fingers are on them). The second pic shows nothing extra. Is it possible the stereo installer spliced them in below the left most IH connector?

Extra wires - Meet Google Drive – One place for all your files
No extra wires - Lower IH Connector Housing.HEIC

Below is a picture of the AMP connectors. This is as close as I could get without removing the seat. I can do that too...just not at the moment.

AMP Connectors - Factory Amp Connectors.HEIC
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Quick Update:

I decided to try the new harnesses first. I purchased a standard Kenwood harness for the head unit and the Metra 8112 harness for the car. My goal is to use the RCAs for audio output instead of the harness speaker cables and see if the volume issue persists. If its gone, great. If not, I start taking apart more stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Quick Update:

I decided to try the new harnesses first. I purchased a standard Kenwood harness for the head unit and the Metra 8112 harness for the car. My goal is to use the RCAs for audio output instead of the harness speaker cables and see if the volume issue persists. If its gone, great. If not, I start taking apart more stuff.
 

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Also, and i should have thrown this out first. You could always take it to a different shop and ask them what they think.

If you approach it from the angle of " I have this Kenwood stereo and would like to make it work with/without the factory amp" they may be able to give an audio insight that makes perfect sense. This might also be a time/money value proposition. Don't settle for what the first shop did.

To that point, when I had my 02 4Runner head unit swapped out so my daughter could have XM, BT, GPS and a back up camera, I just took it to a shop. When I saw what they had to do to put the back up camera in, I was sure I'd made the right choice. :ROFLMAO: (y) I could have done it, but not in the 1-2 hours it took them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Believe me, if there was a reputable shop near me I'd bring it to them in a heartbeat and just have them fix everything. Best Buy is the only audio place around and I'm not confident they would do a great job. Maybe that isn't fair of me but its another Best Buy that did the original install 10 years ago. I'm fairly good with electrical / car stuff so I'm going to give it a whirl. If I royally screw it up, I'll find a good place and bring it there.
 

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Look for local Tint shops. In my area, those two professions seem to go together. The tint shop that I bought the sub box for my Supra also tinted my X5 flawlessly.
 

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And that same shop blacked out my chrome window trim on the X5. Its now black and white and void of chrome, just as it should be :ROFLMAO: :D
 

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This diagram should help:
 

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Since you bought new harnesses, I'd be tempted to rip out all of the modified wiring and wire the whole thing up correctly, one wire at a time. You can see on the right page that the blue, red, white, and brown are the line-level outputs from the stock stereo to the amp. Those would be your RCA connections from the Kenwood to the stock amp.
 
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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Yup, that is my plan. From what I can see though it seems like its normal for the right stereo cavity to have IH1, IH2, IH3 and another group of wires going down. My plan is to take the non-IH wire hundle harness (circled below), plug that into the new Metra and wire the Metra into the new Kenwood harness. If it works, that means nothing else was modified and if the volume is normal that means it was just mis matched wires the whole time.

Electrical wiring Automotive tire Rock-climbing equipment Carabiner Gas
 
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