New Stereo Installation

This evening I decided to install the Kenwood stereo that arrived from England yesterday – this requires disassembling the center part of the dash, so I also took the opportunity to install my chromed toggle switch panel, and replace the silver downtubes with anthracite.


Here’s a photo sequence for how to install a new stereo … You will need torx drivers to remove most screws – normally #20 but I also needed #40.

#1 remove the downtubes
Open the glove box, and pull down on the knee bolster under the steering wheel, to get easy access to the two screws in each downtube, and remove them:

I remove the downtubes by forcing them out from behind the trim piece which is around the speedometer & vents – you can pull on the lower edge of this trim piece to loosen it, giving enough play to force out the downtubes (I find this much easier than disassembling the gear shift, mirror switches, cupholders, etc):


#2 remove the original stereo
With the downtubes removed, there are four torx screws holding the stereo in place – remove them and slide out the stereo, then disconnect the big (speakers/power) & small (antenna) plugs; both have clips which must be pushed to release them:

#3 install the fascia adaptor and the new stereo bracket
The fascia adaptor converts the non-standard MINI stereo opening to standard size, allowing a standard stereo mounting bracket to be used (except I found it very difficult to push any of the latching clips because of all the plastic behind the stereo opening):


#4 connect the new stereo and test it!
The wiring adaptors I got from MikeyTheMINI included one for the antenna and one for the speakers/power (which included a module to interface the MFSW buttons to the new stereo):

Be CERTAIN to test and make sure all the functions work before going any further (they all did for me, luckily)!

#5 Install the new stereo
Much harder than it sounds, because all those wiring adaptors have to be pushed in behind where the new stereo will slide in, without blocking it – I was able to push them back and then down (so I guess they end up mixed in with the HVAC controls); once the stereo slides fully in it will latch to the metal bracket you installed in #3, and lock into place.

#6 Replace the downtubes
Refitting is reverse of removal 😉
Push the downtube down onto its lower base, then force it behind the speedo trim piece – repeat for both. Then replace the two screws in each downtube, and force the speedo trim piece back into place.

14 thoughts on “New Stereo Installation

  1. I like how the dials on the new stereo, at a quick glance, almost look like the BMW propeller. :o) Kind of appropriate.

    Nice job, I’d probably still be strying to figure out how to open the glove box. :o)

  2. Mike,
    I have some rear speakers from a friend – but that install takes more than an hour!

    The yellow thing is a low washer fluid light – I wish it was red 😉

  3. Hum, I wonder why they did not just put that on the dash somewhere? It seems like the alarm lite is more important. I always thought the flat tire indicator lite, that’s down by the ebrake on my ’02MCS, was in a funny place, also.

  4. Robert,
    As we have discussed privately, PowWeb continues to have database problems giving trouble to many of their customers with no sign of improvement. You will not be surprised to learn that I am progressing with *another* web hosting move!

    And yes, the alarm light has been moved to the lights stalk – except that MINI apparently forgot to do it and the stalks are on national backorder, which is why GBMINI#3 still does not have an alarm installed 😦

  5. WOAH!, thanks so much, need to remove the stereo to get to the CD changer to install my iPod adapter. you laid it out perfectly. great site!

  6. I just added an AUX port on my MINI, thanks for the detailed directions – I never expected that I would have to take off so much to get to the radio.
    Just to add: when removing the side mirror control panel, it’s easier to get a very very thin screwdriver and slide it carefully underneath the panel and pop it out.

    Great, detailed instructions.

  7. Dear Ian:
    I am just about ready to replace my oem non-hk with an Alpine CDA 9857. Although a bit more expensive than the ’56, I’m doing it for it’s mfsw hardwire capability and also, at Crutchfield, the $29 ipod cable, antenna adaptor, facia, harness and shipping are included in the $349 price. Shipping is free, and no sales tax collected.

    But I will need to buy the $60 PAC SWI-ALP, which is the non-ir mfsw interface, also shipped free.

    With the pound exchange and shipping, Mikey the Mini’s harness would run me twice as much! Is there any reason why his harness would be a better choice? The only advantage I can see is less space being taken up because only a single unit is needed. And perhaps easier to install?

    Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.


  8. BTW, there’s a VERY interesting thread currently running on MINI2 about installing the Mini aux input. .

    (1) the Aux input can be installed without removing the radio. Just take off the knee bolster, feel around behind the radio, and snap in the connector.

    (2) better audio can be achieved using a Ziplink dock adaptor cominging out of the dock instead of a plug coming out of the earphone. This way, the iPods amplifier is bypassed.

    Full particulars in this infomative thread.

  9. Hugh,
    You’re right – the dollar exchange rate hurts Mikeys prices somewhat.
    Looks like you can get the Alpine for maybe $300 shipped, so you’re paying $110 for the adaptors compared with £75+shipping ($150 maybe) for Mikey.

    Installation is plug and play to a European (ISO) head unit but probably not to the one you plan to buy.

    I use Mikey / NewMINIstuff because they are very supportive and knowledgeable in the MINI community.

    I’ll be interested to hear how you like the Alpine …

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