Monday, April 25, 2016

2006 RAM 1500 Radio/CD Player Replacement

Several years ago, the factory radio/CD player on my Dodge RAM 1500 started acting up every time I tried to listen to a CD. At first, it took a few tries to get the CD to start playing, until one day it simply quit working altogether.

I've had Sirius-XM on the truck since the day I drove it off the lot back in '06, so I wasn't in a hurry to address the issue right away, although I missed listening to self-help and motivational CDs every once in a while.

Plus, since I've accumulated a pretty nice music library which I have available on my Sony MP3 player, I managed to get by for close to five years without listening to a CD.

But recently, the little auxiliary inlet started to fall apart, I assume in great part due to accidentally pulling on the MP3 player cord. This forced me to constantly have to wiggle the plug in order for the music to sound good, so it was time to either have the original unit repaired or install a replacement unit in its place.

Repairing anything nowadays is quite expensive, so having the original radio fixed would have been costly as well as a pain since I would've had to be without tunes for as long as they kept the radio. So the best alternatively was to find a factory unit in good condition.

I searched eBay to see what was available and was lucky to find a refurbished OEM unit in fine condition and for only $125 offered by 1 Factory Radio. But before making the purchase I decided to contact them to see if this unit would be the right one because of the satellite radio.

Derek, the 1 Factory Radio representative, replied within an hour and explained that the satellite portion was controlled by a separate receiver box, so the radio I was considering was—most likely—the right one. However, to make sure it would be a plug-and-play swap, he asked me to look at mine and see if it read REF under the tuning knob. I checked and it did, so I went ahead and ordered it.

I received the refurbished radio within two days and last Saturday I decided to go ahead and swap the units. I watched a couple of videos on how to remove the dash portion that would give me access to the radio, but the videos were not 100% specific to my truck, so I had to figure out a few things myself.

Here are the step-by-step how-to photos on removing the console, trim pieces, part of the dash, and then the radio. Since I worked alone on this project, I added additional comments to some of the pictures to explain how I removed each section.

Above: The first thing that has to come off is the center console.

Above: There are no bolts that secure the console, just a few clips. So in order to remove it,
all you need to do is grab it and pull up the back first. Then the whole thing comes off.

Above: Close-up of one of the clips that secure the top portion of the console in place.

Above: Three 8mm bolts hold the base of the console in place.

Above: Once the three bolts are loosened, the base comes off.

Above: Remove two more 8mm bolts in order to reach additional bolts that secure
the bottom edge of the dash.

Above: Once the two 8mm bolts are off, you can remove the base piece followed by
the console trim. That one is a press fit so you must pull it down for it to come off.

Above: The are two 7mm bolts that secure the bottom portion of the radio/AC trim plate.
You will need an extension in order to remove them. They are a pain to get to, but they must be removed.

Above: Once the 7mm bolts are out, you will need to grab the front panel with both hands.
The best place to do this is where the arrows are shown. Place four fingers of each hand in the spots
where the red arrows show, and your thumbs in the opening shown by the blue arrows.
Grab a firm hold and pull the dash out.

Above: The trim plate will hang in there held by a few connectors, but out of the way for you to remove the radio.
The shifter leveris in the way, but I was able to leave it in parking and remove the dash.

Above: The radio is held in place by four screws.

Above: With the four screws out, the radio can be removed. But first, you must unclip the two connectors. Press the tabs shown by the arrows and they will come off. Then unplug the antenna (orange arrow) and the radio is free.

Above: The refurbished radio is on top.

Above: Connectors and antenna plug are identical.

Above: Notice the REF by the tuner knob. This is a satellite radio.

Above: And here's the refurbished OEM radio installed. Everything works as new.

Above: Time function is okay, and I tested the CD player and auxiliary which also work fine.

Above: Reinstalling dash trim and console pieces is quite easy.

One parting thought; If you plan to swap OEM radios as I did, before you remove your old radio make sure you write down all your settings, such as favorite radio stations, AM, FM, and satellite. This will make is a snap to reprogram your new unit to your liking.

Again, special thanks to Derek at 1 Factory Radio for his assistance to make sure I got the correct OEM radio for my Dodge RAM 1500 pickup.

Thanks for reading.