Ford Probe FAQ

1993-96 Ford Probe Audio FAQ

The 1993-96 Ford Probe is an excellent platform for high performance mobile audio installation. Simplicity in design and adequate room, allow for both the novice or the professional to install a wide variety equipment. The following Frequently Asked Questions are presented as a reference aide those with questions concerning these models. While every effort was used to ensure the validity of the below information, it is the responsibility of the installer to verify that the vehicle in question does adhere to the same specifications as the one used below. Any questions or comments are encouraged. If you are having difficulty in reading this document this please feel free to download the latest version of Netscape .

1. What type of audio systems came with 93-96 Probes?

2. How good is the factory radio?

3. How good is the factory amplifier?

4. What can I replace that will make the biggest improvement in sound quality?

5. How can I determine if my stereo is a premium system?

6. Can I upgrade a premium system or do I need to replace the entire system?

7. What type of speakers will fit in my Probe?

8. What about the subwoofer?

9. How do I replace the radio?

10. What about a power Antenna?

11. What type of wiring adapters are needed to install my new system?

12. When replacing the speakers, which wire is the positive lead?

13. What are the wiring codes for the factory amplifier?

What type of audio systems came with 93-96 Probes?

The 1993-96 Probe has basically three audio options from the factory. The standard AM/FM radio, a premium AM/FM Cassette, or a premium AM/FM CD Player. All of the systems power 4 speakers. The premium systems have an external amplifier, and an optional seven band equalizers. The CD system also utilizes a powered subwoofer.


How good is the factory radio?

The standard AM/FM radio is of marginal quality. It suffices to say that it can easily be upgraded with minimal investment. The premium systems are of better design, and are actually approaching the aftermarket in sound quality. The main reason to replace these units are to go to a unit with more options thus giving you more flexibility. The premium systems are full preamp models. That is they do not have an onboard amplifier, and depend on a higher quality external amplifier to amplify the signal. These models require a replacement model with both front and rear preamp outputs, to interface into the factory amplifier.


How good is the factory amplifier?

The biggest weakness of the factory amplifier is lack of power and an affinity to alternator noise. The estimated power of this amplifier is about 12 watts per channel with less than 1% distortion. The alternator noise can be eliminated with the addition of a filter to the preamp input line, easily added when the radio is installed. It can power a medium quality system, and deliver quite acceptable performance. It is located under the passenger rear speaker in the quarter panel and is secured with three bolts.


What can I replace that will make the biggest improvement in sound quality?

Without a doubt the speakers are the weakest link with these systems. Followed then by the head unit, the external amplifier, and then last the subwoofer (if so equipped).


How can I determine if my stereo is a premium system?

Most of the Probes came with the premium systems. Unless your car is a 251A without the Group 3 option, then it is a premium system. If it is a 251A without the Group 3 option, then it has to have the premium system as an option on the window sticker. All models equipped with an equalizer are premium systems. There is a possibility the dealer could have installed a basic AM/FM Cassette as a dealer installed option. But this would be an exception rather than the rule.


Can I upgrade a premium system or do I need to replace the entire system?

You can upgrade the system piece by piece if you so wish. A variety of low cost adapters are available to let you pick and choose the components you would like to replace.


What type of speakers will fit in my Probe?

The front speakers are 6 inch in diameter, and have a maximum depth of 2½ inches. Ninety five percent of the 6 inch category speakers will fit with no problem. Some 6½ inch speakers will fit with minor trimming of the metal door panel. The rear speakers are 6x8 inch. This category is very limited in selection but with some of the over the counter adapters the following will fit: 4, 4½, 5, 6, 6½, or 5x7 inch. Minor trimming of metal will allow a 6x9 inch model to fit. Try to stick with a high quality 2-way or 3-way speaker design to maximize the improvement in sonic qualities.


What about the subwoofer?

Due to the integrated amplifier design of the subwoofer it might be better to just disconnect and replace it with another option if you want to upgrade it. Believe it or not the rear speaker locations have enough flat area to fit 10 inch woofers behind the factory 6x8 inch locations. This would involve a lot of metal cutting and the relocation of the factory amp, but it is a possibility to those so inclined. Be sure to add insulation behind the speaker to avoid a too boomy sound.


How do I replace the radio?

The radio is held in place by two retaining clips on each side of the unit. There is an aftermarket tool to remove it, however four two penny nails inserted 1/4 inch into the provided holes on the face plate will release the clips. The radio will then slide out through the front of the console. The standard DIN opening will house a variety of models of aftermarket units. One note is that most of the aftermarket units have a rear support mounting hole in the center rear of the radio. The factory radio has a plastic adapter mounted on the back that places the support peg at the top of the unit. Simply remove the bracket and mount it to the rear of your new unit to retain the stock location of this peg. Slide the unit back in making sure the rear support peg inserts into the proper mounting location.


What about a power Antenna?

An excellent example would be the Harada MXB22. This antenna will replace the factory unit and utilize the under the fender hardware that came on the factory antenna including the factory O-ring seals. This hardware insures the antenna will be both perpendicular and adequately secured as well. There is a 5 wire harness secured to the fender bulkhead beside the antenna location. The functions are listed below:

Antenna Wiring Harness Schematic
Description Function Factory Wire Color Harada Wire Color
Positive Trigger Lead Trigger Antenna Up Green w/t Yellow Stripe Green
Unswitched 12 Volt + Constant Power Blue w/t Red Stripe Red
Switched 12 Volt + N/A Blue w/t White Stripe N/A
Ground N/A Black w/t Yellow Stripe N/A
Ground N/A Black N/A

A 12 inch long piece of 5/8 inch tubing will be needed to extend the drain tube and reach to the factory drain hole plug in the bottom of the fender well. The factory antenna connector will unplug from the base of the unit. A female to female adapter is needed to connect the power antenna to the factory cable. Use the supplied mounting bracket to secure the base of the new unit and to ensure a good electrical ground.


What type of wiring adapters are needed to install my new system?

There are a variety of wiring adapters that apply to this model. These adapters basically allow you to plug your aftermarket stereo into the factory wiring harness. This is great for those that do not want to cut into the factory wires. There are several manufactures of these harnesses available from your local audio outlet. I will give example model numbers from the Metra line of harnesses.

If the standard AM/FM radio is being replaced. Then standard Ford wiring harness adapter will apply (70-1770). This is composed of two adapters one for the power wires and the other is for the speaker level outputs.

If a premium system is being replaced there are two options. You need to determine if the factory amplifier will be utilized or not.

If it is, then the premium sound wiring harness will apply (70-5511). This is composed of a power adapter and an amplifier integrator plug. This adapter does not have RCA type plugs wired in, so a preamp adapter can be used if you want to reduce a speaker level signal to line level. This allows a preamp signal to flow directly through to the amplifier.

If the factory amplifier is to be bypassed or replaced, then the another premium sound wiring harness will apply (70-5514). This is composed of a power adapter, an amplifier integrator, and a amplifier bypass harness as well. This by will give the most options. First you can plug in the amplifier bypass harness and wire the amplifier integrator with speaker level outputs and the signal will flow from the radio, around the amplifier, and to the speakers. Second you can cut the amplifier bypass harness in half and take either preamp or speaker level signals and input them into a replacement amplifier and use the other half to output the amplified signal down the factory harness to the speakers. Currently I am unaware of any adapters that will incorporate the factory equalizer into and after market system. Below is a chart to help in your selection of the proper harness assembly.

Radio Wiring Harness Guide
Original System No Amplifier Use Factory Amplifier Bypass Factory Amplifier
AM/FM Radio 70-1770 N/A N/A
AM/FM Cassette N/A 70-5511 70-5514
AM/FM CD N/A 70-5511 70-5514

If the factory stereo is retained, and the amplifier is to be replaced the then only the amplifier bypass harness is needed (70-5513).

Note: The power lead to the factory amplifier is only 14 gauge wire. This will not carry enough current to run a high power amplifier effectively. You will need to run you own power wire for this application. The output speaker wires are also only 16 gauge wire and will also need to be upgraded as well.


When replacing the speakers, which wire is the positive lead?

Wiring color codes seem to change from year to year, but here is what I have found:

Speaker Wiring Harness Schematic
Position Positive Negative
Front Left Blue w/t Green Stripe Blue
Front Right Blue w/t Black Stripe Blue w/t Orange Stripe
Rear Left Green w/t Yellow Stripe Dark Green w/t Orange Stripe
Rear Right Blue w/t White Stripe Green w/t White Strip

If these don't match your car, then a simple test will tell you which terminal is the positive. Using a 1.5 volt battery, and two test wires, touch the battery to the speaker. When looking from the top of the speaker, if the cone rises when current is applied. The positive connection will correspond to the positive terminal of the battery.


What are the wiring codes for the factory amplifier?

Again, wiring color codes may change from year to year, but this is the way they are decoded on the Metra amplifier bypass adapter (70-5513).

Amplifier Wiring Harness Schematic
Description Factory Input Color Metra Wire Color Factory Output Color
Amplifier Turn On Light Green w/t White Stripe N/A N/A
Ground Black N/A N/A
12 Volt + Light Green w/t Red Stripe N/A N/A
Front Left Positive Blue w/t Green Stripe White Brown
Front Left Negative Blue White w/t Black Stripe Light Blue w/t Black Stripe
Front Right Positive Blue w/t Black Stripe Gray Light Green
Front Right Negative Blue w/t Red Stripe Gray w/t Black Stripe Light Blue
Rear Left Positive Light Green Green Violet w/t White Stripe
Rear Left Negative Green w/t Red Stripe Green w/t Black Stripe White w/t Red Stripe
Rear Right Positive Dark Green w/t Yellow Stripe Violet White
Rear Right Negative Dark Green w/t Blue Stripe Violet w/t Black Stripe Yellow

The input signal can be either line level, or speaker level depending how you have it wired up front. DO NOT connect a speaker level signal into the factory amplifier, it is only designed to for line level input.


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