paranoid_android74 Dork
4/1/16 10:16 p.m.

What started as a "what radio" thread before has turned into me nerding out on stereo stuff for the last few weeks. It started with the purchase of a $38 radio to replace the original tired Clarion in my 91 Saab 900. What simple ideas turn into...

First the evilbay radio:

I was going to put it in the dash and add this iPod cable and have basic tunes when I wanted them:

But when I bench tested the setup, I didn't get anything through the head unit. So off to the interwebs I went. It turns out Alpine used a couple different protocols to communicate with CD changers and/or auxiliary input devices. The one I have is plain old "M Bus", and it isn't smart enough to do this. It has to see a specific output from an Alpine CD changer before it will switch sources. Some later models had "M Bus" with "Versalink" technology, and then it evolved into "AI Net". The latter two would let me do this. So I installed the radio anyway and resolved to figure out a way to hack the protocol with an Arduino that will let me play whatever I want. That will be in phase two or three of this project.

So step one, wire in the Saab harness pigtails I ordered to preserve the stock setup. Naturally the clips broke off as I was installing them, so out came the ty-raps. I also ran a RCA and a 16-4 cable to the passenger front seat so I can add a powered subwoofer some day. This is it so far:

I took the center "console" loose so I could run the cables behind it and then under it. As soon as I found the clip I bought I will fasten the tubing so the passenger seat doesn't smoosh it:

The radio is in and works. It is far brighter than the two new instrument cluster bulbs I put in, but at least I can see the dash in the dark now!

Before doing all this, I took the speaker grilles/vents out and cleaned them up and removed the nasty fabric grilles. I found a stainless fry pan thing for $2, traced the diameter of the grilles, painted them black and then used a soldering iron to sort of melt the stainless into the plastic. They should be far stronger than a speaker grille needs to be, and no vibration:

Now for speakers! Installed two home made bass blockers as these will be in the dash. I decided to go with Polk Audio db series speakers from Crutchfield for the dash. The rear speakers are as yet undecided.

The driver's side dash speaker fit in perfectly, but the passenger side had some interference between the dome tweeter and the plastic grille. But it fit nevertheless.

And that's all I have for now. I'll update this thread with more information as I figure it out/can afford it.

Mezzanine HalfDork
4/1/16 10:54 p.m.

Great work!

I've got a killer system in my '85 900s with a Denon head unit, lacking only in some sound staging in the front. Those dash speakers make good high-mid fill, but the front really needs some dedicated mids in the doors or somewhere.

I have some plans to make an enclosure in fiberglass using the front bottom edge of the door cards, but it is like twelve pages down on the list. Not likely to happen anytime soon.

DrBoost UltimaDork
4/2/16 2:40 p.m.

Ohhh, I like this thread.

4/4/16 8:45 a.m.

Ernie: "OOOoooOOoo, OK, OK, OK, OK Bert, I'll clean it up so clean you wouldn't recognize it" Bert: "HA!"

Girl Of An Age from EMF: Schubert Dip (noted in cubby on cassette)

Nice "clean up" of the audio so far. I like the trick with the stainless mesh. Have you tested it out at high volume?, does it truly not rattle? Have you tried this before?, do the stainless to plastic "welds" hold long term? (also love the MI vanity plate!)

12/18/18 3:39 a.m.

Hi everyone,

I know this is an old thread, but I just bought an '88 900 and are in the proccess of installing new speakers and headunit. I ran into a problem with fitting the speakers to the front dash grill because all the plastic pins that are supposed to keep the speaker in place are broken. I notice that the thread starter used some sort of clips to keep the speaker in place. Does anyone know what these are called? I don't know if they are Saab/model specific or not.

See attached image:

Best regards,


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