MP3 Imput for my 2004 Subaru


To my astonishment it worked perfectly, I didn’t even need to add resistors or caps ( there are two there) and it is just about the same volume as the radio stations. I excitedly dug through some old parts bins to find a headphone jack. I ended up finding one (after 30 mins of digging) that had a dual throw, allowing it to switch two connections when the headphones are plugged in or out. Everything was going very smoothly with this project!

Next I wired the headphone jack to each side of where I cut the traces for both channels. Just to recap, when nothing is plugged in the radio plays, when mp3 player is plugged in it breaks the connection to the radio and plays the mp3. ( sorry for the crappy solder job, huge tip, small connections).

Subaru impreza outback mp3 modSubaru mp3 player

Next I routed the wires through to the front display where I could butcher a hole for the headphone jack. This involved breaking a piece off of the back light acrylic and snipping a corner off of the PCB, but there is nothing up in that corner it was just there to hold it snugly. Nothing some hot glue couldn’t fix, and besides there is a screw 1/2″ away.

Subaru mp3 player jackSubaru radio mp3

And here is the finished product. I am really satisfied with how this turned out. I was picturing something a bit gory, with wires poking out. The sound quality is on par with cd,and I believe that at the point where I connected the signal would have already been processed by the receiver, so it probably uses the same amplifier circuit as the cd player connection. My favorite part about this modification is there is no switch to use the mp3 player, just plug in and go. ( you may want to have the volume at a resonable level while pluging into the jack or unplugging, as it can be noisy). Maybe just turn it off first or something.

Subaru Mp3 jack installed

Finished Subaru Mp3 install


If any one else is interested in performing this surgery, let me know and I will give you some more important details about this head unit. I did have to nip the case inside to avoid wearing the wires and glued the solder connections on the back of the pcb. I didn’t want to get in there again. :)

Also, For the price of parts and shipping, I would consider doing this for you too , just leave a comment below and I will get back at you.

Here is a more detailed view and explanation as requested.

For starters I just want to recommend getting a hot air station if you are into hacking and moding stuff. Its so handy and precise unlike a heat gun. I have used it to remove glue, that black eposy form circuit boards, wax from candle holders… the list goes on. Mine cost $64 delivered from I know it isn’t a good one but it works well even with BGA’s…so who knows.



this first one shows that the traces for the Left and Right signals coming form the FM board are cut just before the capacitors which are in the following picture.

Stereo mod

Capacitors on the top of the board

So what is taking place here is when you insert the headphone plug into the jack it breaks the connection from the FM board to those capacitors and inputs the signal from your IPOD/MP3 player to those capacitors instead. this effectively mutes the radio and plays your music of choice.

Here is a diagram of what is going on;

HeadPhone Jack

this is the type of jack you are after Here.  Just make sure that you have the same switch configuration as this datasheet Here. Let me know if you have any problems finding one and I’ll help you out. Also if you need more help please let me know in the comments here, or at my e-mail.

Have Fun!

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1 response to “MP3 Imput for my 2004 Subaru”

  1. [...] this the hack instructions you followed? MP3 Imput for my 2004 Subaru – Electronics Junk If the "leg" that came off that you mentioned is just the leg of the capacitor, that [...]

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