I recently installed a new aftermarket stereo in my 1999 Volkswagen Beetle. I was kind of forced into getting a new radio because I took my car in to a shop to diagnose a battery drain and they ended up cracking my factory radio when they pulled it out.
I have no real experience working with cars, and the install definitely took a lot longer than expected, but I think this is a task that most people can handle. My install was complicated by the fact that the shop that diagnosed my battery drain also removed the fuse to the radio (fuse 42, fyi) and didn’t tell me about it.
I ordered most of the parts I needed off of Amazon.
The stereo I bought was the Sony Xplod CDXGT55UIW. It has both USB connectivity with iPhone support and an AUX port for connecting anything else. It definitely beats the tape deck in my old radio.
Here’s the full list of items I needed:
This is needed to remove my factory radio. See this YouTube video for details on how to use it. Some of the reviews said they were flimsy, but I didn’t have a problem with them.
This harness connects to the wiring harness that will come with your aftermarket stereo. It allows you to simply connect the color coded wires together. The Metra harness comes with the wires already stripped, so that is a nice plus.
This is an adapter for the radio antenna. It is easy to just plug in.
American International VW-K1008 Single DIN Installation Dash Kit You will want a dash kit for the install so it will sit flush with the dash and fill in the space around the stereo. If you don’t care what your car / radio looks like, then you can skip it. I picked this dash kit because I didn’t like the look of the Metro one on amazon. I ordered it from Sonic Electronix for $7.99.
This item is optional. They are little wire connectors that really speed up the install. Instead of soldering or shrink wrapping wires together, you simply twist the two wires together and screw these caps on and you get a tight / sealed connection. Check out the link above to Crutchfield, they have super fast shipping.
In addition to those mentioned above, I needed a couple tools : a star screwdriver (for two bolts that you have to take out to use the dash mount kit), pliers (could probably get away without if you buy the Posi connectors), and a razor blade (I used for stripping wires).
For installation instructions, there is already a great how-to over on the New Beetle forums. It was very helpful with my install and includes step-by-step and photos.
A couple things I have to add to it that I learned: - The hardest part of the install was fitting all the wires and antenna adapter back in along with the radio. I ended up pushing the harness and wires as far down into the dash hole as possible. It is tricky, but not impossible (kind of felt that way at first!)
After I connected all the wires and plugged everything in, I put the key in the ignition and tried to power it on…nothing happened. I really didn’t know how to troubleshoot it and burned a lot of time trying to figure out why it wasn’t working. I figured I must have wired something incorrectly. As I said earlier, check your fuses. Mine had been removed and as soon as I popped in a fuse to position 42, it powered right up. Here is the New Beetle Fuse Diagram to reference.
I have a CD changer that is located in my trunk. I just ignored it in my install as I don’t plan on using it. It is the blue plug.
If you have a Windows Phone, you can’t play music via USB but you can charge your phone. An android phone shouldn’t be a problem as they allow mounting as usb. I bought a 8gb micro USB flash drive to put music on and just leave it in all the time. It is small enough that it won’t get bumped into and the face plate can be removed with it in.
Overall it took me a few hours to install this since I had issues and lack car skills. If everything went as planned, I would say it would have taken an hour or so. Feel free to ask any questions. I’m no expert but I am happy to answer easy questions :) Good luck!
Here is the final result: