So you have a custom car with an outdated system and want to upgrade the radio; easy, right? It's just the radio. Let's look at this from an installer's perspective for a minute. When you have a source unit with multiple audio and video inputs and outputs, the change is not as simple as you might think. There are a lot of wires transferring the audio and video signals to their respective processors, and nine times out of 10 these cables were routed to the processor's brain in such a way that rerouting is more difficult than running new cables.

A clean installation involves clean tight wire runs so these cables are not orientated in a way that makes them easy to move. So one major challenge is finding out exactly where the wires were ran and if they can be moved. If not, then be prepared to buy new ones and have your entire car ripped apart for the re-installation of the new wires.

So when you think of your radio retrofit how much time did you allow for reconnaissance? No, this not a covert military operation, but even the installer who put the stuff in may not always remember exactly where he put the modules. So even though you might think that ripping out the old radio and putting in the new one should only take a hour, don't forget the time of taking apart major panels of your interior, and looking for the important components that have to be removed or reconfigured. Things like EQs, triggering devices and even video monitor source units may need to be accessed and modified when adding a new radio.

The moral of this story is don't underestimate the complication of an electrical component retrofit. Yes, you have a radio in there now; yes, you have wires in there now, but it doesn't mean that will work with the new unit or configuration that your new unit brings. Just follow along and we'll show you.