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Old 13th July 2010, 23:19   #1
Jakg
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Default How To - Retrofit Harmon Kardon System

Harmon Kardon Retro-Fit Guide


There are 5 steps to Retrofitting the Harmon Kardon sound system. I have partially completed this, so will describe how to do it from memory – I fitted this about a week ago so I may have got a few steps wrong so do not take this as gospel. You will need the loom (or at least the connectors) to do a complete retrofit, and please remember that the loom is different for saloon and tourer, and for Symphony radio or the Hi-Line.

In this guide I am fitting the unit from a 2002 ZT saloon with a Symphony to a 2004 ZT saloon with an aftermarket Kenwood headunit. The information I provide is based on the findings from experimenting with the equipment I had, and I cannot guarantee it will be the same for everyone else. I am not responsible if you screw up or cut the wrong cable, and this is slightly harder (and definitely more arduous) than just fitting an amp, sub or speakers.

I’m not very good at writing a how-to, so it’s a good idea to read through the whole guide *before* you start in case I miss something.

The Harmon Kardon system is in no way the best designed system ever – there is lots of needless cable (and thus interference) due to the fact the amp is in the boot, and as the amp amplifies the speaker output from the on-board amp in your headunit, you get more noise than with a conventional amplifier. It’s also expensive (usually…) to buy versus 3rd party equipment that can often sound better. But that’s just not the spirit of retrofitting, is it?


What you will need to fully retrofit the Harmon Kardon setup:
1x The Loom – This is the wiring all the way from the headunit to the amp, from the amp to the speakers, to ground and to the sub. Without this it’s possible, but you need to be able to attach wires to each of the pins which will be a royal pain. If you can just get the connectors, you can always crimp on more wire if you need, but I always advise getting as much cable as possible! The loom will need to be from a car with the same body style as yours (Saloon / Tourer – due to the tourer being longer and having a different sub connector) and with the same head unit (i.e. Hi-Line or not Hi-Line).
2x Front Harmon Kardon Speakers - XQM101270 - The speakers that sit in the front doors. You can screw these into the existing mounts if you want, but usually when you get the system second hand you’ll get the brackets as well.
2x Front Harmon Kardon Tweeters - XQN100210 - Tweeters that sit on the front door, on the other side of the door to the mirrors. You can re-use your existing grills with these, or you can use the Harmon Kardon grills
2x Rear Harmon Kardon Speakers - XQM101270 - Same speaker as the fronts, but use a different bracket. You can screw these into the existing mounts if you want, but usually when you get the system second hand you’ll get the brackets as well.
2x Rear Harmon Kardon Tweeters - XQN100210 – Same tweeters as the front, but screw directly into the door card. If you your car didn’t have rear tweeters, you will need to either make up the connectors, or buy the connectors. These will need to be spliced into the main speaker wiring.
1x Harmon Kardon Subwoofer - XQA100000 - This part is unique to the saloon, and fits in the boot below the parcel shelf. You will also need the fixings (4x of both ADU6552 and DYP100850)
1x Harmon Kardon Amplifier (pictured - two amps, and the mounting bracket) – XQK100190 (without Hi-Line for Saloon) or XQK100310 (with Hi-Line for Saloon) – This mounts in the boot under the changer and just like the loom needs to be from the same body style and from a car with or without the Hi-Line just like yours. You will also need the 3x 8mm bolts to mount it with.
1x Harmon Kardon Parcel Shelf – this replaces the standard shelf, and adds a grill for the sub to vent through. You can modify your existing shelf to suit, or you can find a shelf with the grill in the right colour or your car.


Tools required:
Flathead screwdriver,
Crosshead screwdriver,
8mm socket,
T50 Torx socket,
Some method of joining wires (i.e. crimping or soldering),
Wire cutters.


Step one – Fit the front speakers:

To fit the front speakers, first you need to remove the door cards.

To do this, firstly you need to remove the window switch (if you have electric windows) – you can get a flathead screwdriver to get behind the switch and lever it out (it just pops off), and then you can pull the wiring out, then use a flat head screwdriver to pull the cover off the screw in the door handle and remove the screw, and then remove the screw from the vent (be VERY careful not to drop the screw in the vent!). Start by separating the door card from the door by pulling off each of the tree clips, and then to finally remove it give it a sharp pull upwards. You will probably break a few clips in the process (everyone does…) so it would be a good idea to have some spare. Once it’s loose, you can thread the handle through the hole to separate the door card – you don’t need to remove any of the wiring.
Once the card is off, to replace the speakers simply undo all the screws (4 in total), and pull the speaker out, and disconnect the cable (push the tabs on the plug together). To fit the replacement, do the same in reverse.

To fit the tweeters, you then need to remove the window trim – you can either pull it back a little or the whole way, it’s up to you. If you pull it towards the back of the window frame you should be able to separate it. Start by removing the cable (it just pulls out) and then push each of the 4 tabs on the tweeters in so that the unit pushes from the back out. You can then push the new tweeters in from the front until they sit flush (might take a little force / working the tabs), and then plug the cable to the tweeters back in.

At this point, always a good idea to test it works. Play some music and you should hear some sound from the tweeters and speakers, if not then fix the wiring before you put more trim in the way.

To put the trim back on, you simply need to attach it to the outside of the window, and then pull it back over the inside as well. Then simply refit the door card (ideally using replacing any broken clips) in the reverse of removal. Harmon Kardon tweeters will feature a grill with a gold “Harmon Kardon” for the front – you don’t have to use the HK grills if you don’t want to, and can simply unclip your old grills and re-use those.


Step two – Fit the rear speakers:

Remove the door cards (same as the fronts minus the screw in the vent).

Remove and replace the speakers (same as the fronts).

Remove the rear tweeters (if fitted) by removing the plug, then twisting them out.

Fit the tweeters (rear ones are sans grills) into the door cards themselves, at the top near the grill – they simply push in.

If your car had rear tweeters, you can plug the wiring straight in. If not, then simply splice the tweeter wiring into the main speaker wiring, taking care to note the polarity (this is how it is wired up from the factory). To make this a little easier, I always suggest taking as much wiring from the donor car as possible – I removed everything from the door hinge backwards which gave me a tweeter plug.

At this point, always a good idea to test it works. Play some music and you should hear some sound from the tweeters and speakers, if not then fix the wiring before you put more trim in the way.
Refit the door card (reverse of removal).

By this point, you already have a noticeable boost in quality just from upgrading the speakers. It’s up to you if you want to go the whole hog, or leave it at this.


Step 3 – Fit the amp.

First of all, you need the loom. If not, it’s possible to fit it but as long as you have the connectors and are happy splicing wires around. The loom itself:



My loom was taken from a 2002 ZT with a Symphony headunit; it had had a car kit (badly) installed so some of the loom had been a little butchered.

What I did was cut all the tape off, and then using the following pin-out guides traced what each wire did (dissembling connectors as I went).

Pin-out guides (courtesy of Reebs):




First of all – the first illustration is of the second connector, and is there purely to show you the layout of the numbering system – the first 12-pin smaller connector has no picture listed. Secondly – “Ignition switch (AUX) power supply” and “Ignition switch (AUX) supply” work fine connected to each other, despite the differing names.

Both “Ignition Switch (AUX)” must be connected to a permanent live. If connect it to a switched live, your brake lights will flash and your wipers will come on when you turn the ignition off. And if you connect one to switched and one to permanent, once you make the connection the car will instantly turn on without the key – to kill it break the connection or unplug the amp.

The ON/OFF signal line must be connected to the remote of the headunit. This is in the ISO pin-out somewhere, but I have no idea whereabouts – most aftermarket headunits have a remote on them anyway.

The amp is meant to be mounted in the boot in the driver’s side under the CD-changer, and so you will be running cables up and down the car.

The original location for the wiring loom was down the driver’s side of the car, then under the driver’s seat, along the transmission tunnel and up into the dash. This involves removing the driver’s seat and a lot of trim to get to, however. You *should* be able to get the cable under the wheel and still reach, but I haven’t tried.

A lot of ICE Guru’s always recommend running the signal / power down different sides of the car to reduce interference – I’m not totally convinced myself, but I did it anyway.

The loom has a few basic connections – first you will need power, which was originally taken from the ISO connectors in the stereo bay which is where I sourced mine from, you will need a remote connector to turn the amp on and off, which you can get from your headunit, and you will need the speaker outputs (brown ISO plug) – the amp takes all the speaker outputs (through the speaker cable directly unlike most amps), and then runs its own cables back up the car, and you will also need a ground. The rest of the connections in the loom are superfluous, and can be removed if you want – trace the connections carefully though, to understand what does what.

Now is a good time to slim down the loom – all I kept was the power wiring, the ON/Off and the speaker wiring – you will need the brown ISO input plug, and then the output wiring as well (trace from the pin-out – I can’t remember where it was on mine). If you have time, also a good idea to mark what each of the power / signal cables does.

To run the cable, you need to remove the trim in the side of the boot on the driver’s side (in my car it just pulls away but I doubt it should), and remove the rear seat base (pull up at the front, then push towards the boot and it should unclip and come loose). You should be able to mount the amp in the bracket inside the boot under the CD changer; it goes on with 3 bolts, and then ground the loom by hooking the ground up to the bolt to the left of the CD changer. I would also recommend finding the sub connector and putting this to one side for the time being and keeping it in the boot as you will need this later. Then you need to run the cable – I ran it over the top of the wheel arch and then under the rear seat. You will be running the cable under the carpet along the side of the car, so start off by removing the piece of trim that covers the edge of the carpet in the rear doors; on my car they were very loose so fell out once I got remotely near them. You then need to separate the seatbelt pillar trim from the body – I find it easiest to start of pulling from the bottom and the clips will come free. You don’t need to pull much out, just enough to run a cable through. You then need to pull the grey clips up that hold the carpet to the sill, this may take a little force but they will come out. Repeat this for the front carpet as well.

Once you have done this you should have a “channel” to put the cable in – it’s up to you how you lay the cable, but I chose to put the power down the driver’s side and the speaker cable down the passenger side, as I already had amp wiring in the same format. From the factory it was all down the driver’s side, and if you put any wiring down the passenger side you *will* need to extend it (not nice with the inputs and outputs for 4 speakers and positive and negative for each).

To get the cable from the carpet to the stereo, you will need to remove more trim – on the passenger side, remove the fusebox cover by twisting the two heads at the front 90°, and then undoing the two screws with no proper head with your fingers until they come out. The tray should then come out, and you can pull the small bit between the carpet and the fuse box cover out easily.

On the driver’s side, you need to get your head in the footwell and look for two screws at the end of the panel under the wheel – undo both of these and the entire panel should pull off and out, and then you can remove the bonnet release catch cover with brute force (helps to pull the catch up, and it won’t fully remove with the wiring for the boot release).

You will then need to remove the stereo and strip down the front console – guide here. Using a torch and lots of feeling, you should be able to thread the cable up from the carpet into the stereo bay.

First of all, unplug the brown plug from the back of your headunit, and use the one from the loom. In it’s place. You then need to splice in the relevant power cables from the head unit loom into the HK loom, so that it goes to both the stereo and the amp. A guide to show you where the various connectors are:


You want to be connecting A4 to the power cables in the loom. Ideally, the signal cables will reach into the stereo bay, so that you simply cut the cables from the old brown plug and splice them into the wiring going to the HK amp – the colours of each wire shows where it comes from, and this is the same in both looms so simply put the same colour cables together, nice and simple. If it doesn’t reach, then it’s time to run extra cables but this can get a bit confusing very easily. You also need to connect the remote from your headunit into the ON/OFF in the loom otherwise it won’t come on. Once this is installed, it should all just work, no configuration is needed. If you get no noise, check all the power and remote cables, and if you get noise from the wrong speaker e.t.c. then you have wired the speakers up wrong.

Once you’ve got it all hooked up, then you can put all the trim back in (although I would advise making sure EVERYTHING works first), except the rear seat and boot trim (you will need these for the final steps).


Stage 4 – Fitting The Sub

First of all – you will need the fixings. This is the only part I forgot to remove from the donor car, so I had to buy them from a dealer (Rimmers wanted £13.76, Kerridges wanted £13.26 or similar – yes I paid £13 for 4x screws and some plastic receptacles!). You need 4x screws and the 4x receptacles.

First of all, you need to fit the receptacles. They are a little cube with a larger square on one edge. You need to push the cube into the hole so that the large square is at the bottom, with the “cube” going through the panel to the other side – as the screw goes through; it widens this and holds it in place. To find the right hole in the bottom of the parcel shelf, test fit the sub to see where it lines up.
The next step is to get the vent prepared – if you look at the sub you will see a large black hole in the middle, this will line up with the hole in the parcel shelf with a rubber grommet in it. Remove the grommet (push it up, then you can bend it in half and pull it back through). Now you will have a layer of foam in the way – mine was already pre-cut for the vent, so simply pulling it a bit and it came out in pretty much a perfect circle ready for the sub to go in. If you have the shelf to fit, now is a good time to cut the red fir tree clip that is behind the vent before you make it impossible to get to.

To fit the sub, first of all plug the cable from the loom into the plug on the side. Then you simply slide it in at the top of the parcel shelf, the two plastic tabs should slide into the holes at the back of the parcel shelf, and the holes will line up with the receptacles you put in earlier. Once it’s in, you’ll need to hold it in position, and use your free arm to grab a screw. Then, using your third arm (told you this was awkward) you can do each screw up.

Ideally, you should test it but it will be easier to do this after stage 5.


Stage 5 – Fitting the HK Shelf

HK-equipped cars will have a different parcel shelf, with a grill over the opening vent to the sub. While this is not essential to make the system work, with the amount of air the sub displaces through the hole I think it will sound rubbish with a shelf over the top and lead to a lot of rattles etc.

To remove the parcel shelf, you need to strip several bits of trim away – first of all you need to fold the seats down a bit, I found it easiest to remove the small side cushion of the seats (pull slightly towards the front of the car and up), to remove the “lip” surrounding the boot opening behind the seats (if you pull at each of the fir tree clip points they will pull away quite easily, the rear pillar trims (they simply pull from the top – be very *very* careful of the heated rear window and antenna connections!), the centre seatbelt surround (the little plastic trim will just pop off) and to slide the left and right seatbelt out of the parcel shelf. You also need to remove the fir tree clip in the boot I told you to remove earlier if you forgot (if you did… you need to take the sub out to get it now). You will also need to remove the centre seatbelt anchor point – this is in the middle of the car, and goes through the body with a T50 Torx driver – nothing else will do the job. It will also probably be very stiff, require a lot of undoing and make your arms ache, but alas there is little you can do without electrical help. Once you have removed this, you should be able to thread it through the hole in the seat (and remove the seat to give you more access if you’d like), wiggle the plastic surround from the shelf off, and then thread it through the hole in the parcel shelf, and thus your shelf ready to be removed.

At this stage, you should be able to wiggle it free from each corner – there’s no real technique, just 3 fixings at the back it slots in and out of.

Once the shelf is removed you will be able to see the vent for the sub I mentioned earlier – to see if the sub is working, turn it all on then place your hand over the hole – you *will* be able to feel air coming out if the sub works.

To fit the new shelf it’s the reverse of installation – feed the centre belt through, add the trim, position the shelf, add the J-Trims (which will hold it in place), then the pillar covers, then the seat belt mounting point, the seat and then finally the small seat cushions. You may well find it hard (if not impossible) to get all 3 clips around the shelf – this is done before the window goes in at the factory, so access now is impossible – if it doesn’t go in, it’s not a massive issue.


Your then done! Time to enjoy!


Last points – if you have anything else that outputs to the speakers, you will need to rewire it – I use a Bluetooth Car Kit, which outputs directly into the speaker connections. I originally had this between the HU and the amp, however if the amp is off (i.e. the headunit isn’t playing anything) you will get no sound at all. To fix this, you need to wire the Bluetooth kit’s output between the amp and the speakers, as you will be splicing the wires directly take great care to get the out / in the right way round as I killed a channel on my HK amp by getting things the wrong way round.

Last edited by Simondi; 29th July 2017 at 22:44.. Reason: Updated guide by OP
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