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Old 09-23-2010, 12:21 AM   #1
GIJeff
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Default How do I install an amp to a factory Malibu head unit?

I'm wanting to surprise my fiance w/ a amplifier/sub for her birthday coming up, but I don't want to replace the head unit. I've got the amp, sub, box, and wiring it. How do I connect the amplifier to the factory head unit? I've never done an install to a factory unit. What type of converter/adapter do I need? Thanks.

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Old 09-23-2010, 12:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: How do I install an amp to a factory Malibu head unit?

All of the stereo shops and maybe even places like walmart sell a high level to low level adapter that essentially has speaker inputs with pre-amp outputs. Should cost you somewhere around 25-30 bucks.
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: How do I install an amp to a factory Malibu head unit?

Ok thanks. I was looking at some on eBay, I'll prob get it there. What wires on the back of the head unit do I connect to the converter? I'm not diverting speaker wires to it, am I? Are there wires specifically meant to go to the convert for the amp, or am I taking those wires off of something else?
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: How do I install an amp to a factory Malibu head unit?

Yes, you are using the head units speaker wires. If you like, you can just tap off of the rear speakers in the trunk.
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: How do I install an amp to a factory Malibu head unit?

You will still need a power source for the remote turn-on of the amplifier. If you don't won't to pull the radio you can tap off of an accessory fuse.
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: How do I install an amp to a factory Malibu head unit?

You can do it in the trunk. There's power available at the fuse block above the left wheel, behind a carpet "door".

Pull down the speaker cover to access the speakers. I'll suggest that you see about soldering and using heat shrink tubing on the connections you make. If that's not in your bag of tricks then use good quality crimp connectors. Route the wires away from sharp edges (yeah, I know I prob. don't need to say it, but others read these posts as well) to keep it from shorting out.

If all this just ain't gonna happen by you in time, consider having a pro shop do it.
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: How do I install an amp to a factory Malibu head unit?

Thanks for the help.

To clarify:

For the line converter, there should be 8 speaker wires, right? FL, FR, RL, RR, + & -. I splice all 8 of those into the speaker wires coming from the head unit while leaving the current connections complete to send signal to the speakers, right? (I've never installed a line converter before)

For the remote, the factory head unit will already have a remote wire attached, right? I can just splice the remote wire into that, right?

DrivenDaily,
[q]Pull down the speaker cover to access the speakers[/q]
What is this for? For the remote wire in the trunk? I didn't understand which part you were addressing.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-23-2010, 10:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: How do I install an amp to a factory Malibu head unit?

A line converter will generally have 2 inputs. L+, L-, R+, R- and two pre-amp outputs. You stated that you were just adding a subwoofer so you can tap into the rear speaker wires without having to pull the head-unit. All you will have left to connect then is the amp +, -, and the remote turn-on wire. This wire needs +12 volts to turn on the amp. I"m not sure that your factory radio has one? DrivenDaily was trying to tell you that you can tap into an accessory fuse at the fuse block at the rear left side of your trunk so the amp will turn on when you turn your ignition key to "accessory." You can use the gain control on the amplifier to adjust the output of your subs to your taste.
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Last edited by budman65; 09-23-2010 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 09-23-2010, 10:57 PM   #9
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Default Re: How do I install an amp to a factory Malibu head unit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by budman65 View Post
A line converter will generally have 2 inputs. L+, L-, R+, R- and two pre-amp outputs. You stated that you were just adding a subwoofer so you can tap into the rear speaker wires without having to pull the head-unit. All you will have left to connect then is the amp +, -, and the remote turn-on wire. This wire needs +12 volts to turn on the amp. I"m not sure that your factory radio has one? DrivenDaily was trying to tell you that you can tap into an accessory fuse at the fuse block at the rear left side of your trunk so the amp will turn on when you turn your ignition key to "accessory." You can use the gain control on the amplifier to adjust the output of your subs to your taste.
Oh, I get to the fuse box by removing the speaker cover? It isn't just out in the open?

Am I losing any signal by doing it this way - only converting the back speaker lines? Or will it sound exactly the same as an aftermarket deck w/ connections meant specifically to go to an amp?

I'm not sure how many input wires mine has, because it is in the mail, but I thought I saw a few on eBay that had 8 wires, not 4? If mine have 4, I just connect to the rear speakers.. if they have 8, do I connect to all of them, or will just to the rear work?
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Old 09-24-2010, 03:12 AM   #10
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Default Re: How do I install an amp to a factory Malibu head unit?

The speaker cover is the "rug" used to line the trunk, and there's one on the underside of the rear window deck where the speakers are installed. Dropping that will give you direct access to the speakers and therefore the wires.

The fuse block on the left side of the trunk is behind a little door that is cut on 3 sides with a little handle. That will provide access to the fuse block, from which you can access power.

The remote signal you'll need to turn on the amp will depend on how it's designed. If it uses a sensing circuit to detect that the speakers have been energized then it's automatic. If it needs a key-on signal then you can get that from the fuse block. If you can't find an acceptable key-on at the rear fuse block then you'll need to run one from somewhere else.

As far as what to hook up to what, wait for it to come and read the instructions. (Yeah, I told a guy to read the instructions!) It should be laid out very simply. If you have difficulties after reading them, get on here and ask and/or find an audio shop to ask them for a little guidance.
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