car stereos & components?
2002-2004 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan
2002 • 2003 • 2004
|Subaru WRX Sedan (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
The Subaru Impreza sedan originally rolled out in 1992 for the Asia-Pacific and European markets, and was subsequently upgraded to add a formal WRX performance variant in 1994. After winning a host of international autocross and rally championships with the little pocket rocket, Subaru decided to bring the WRX model to the U.S. market — a very smart move. In 2000, Subaru offered a number of enhanced performance packages in the Impreza Outback Sport. In late 2001, the WRX officially made its American debut, blowing away the press and consumers with its impressive speed combined with a freakish ability to hold the road in the most punishing conditions.
During the 2002-2004 model years, the WRX featured an AM/FM/cassette deck with a built-in 6-disc CD changer, driving a 6-speaker system with the option for a factory subwoofer. The front doors house 6-1/2" midrange woofers and separate tweeters, while you'll find 5" speakers in the rear doors. The factory sub, when present, is a flat box under the driver's seat. Read on for tips for replacing all of this gear.
|Factory radio in the WRX (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Replacing Your Factory Radio
Removing the factory radio is fairly straightforward, and you can install an aftermarket single-DIN or double-DIN receiver in this Subaru.
You'll need to use the factory brackets in order to install a new car stereo. If you have already discarded them, you will have to order replacement brackets from your Subaru dealer. A double-DIN receiver fits right into the space left by the original radio, and Crutchfield offers a dash kit for installing a single-DIN receiver.
Crutchfield also offers a wiring harness to connect a new receiver with this Subaru's electrical and speaker systems. It comes with a detailed instruction sheet that'll help you connect the harness to the wires coming from your new stereo. A Crutchfield MasterSheet is also available for the WRX, detailing step-by-step installation of a new stereo and speakers. (The kit, harness, and MasterSheet are included free with most car stereo orders.)
Installation Note: Your parking lights may flash when you reconnect the battery after installing a new car stereo. You have two options to stop this flashing. If you still have the keyless entry remote, press "Unlock" to defeat the flashing. If you don't have the remote, you'll find an Emergency Programming Override Button located under the dash (check your Owner's Manual for the exact location). Turn the ignition to the ON position and press the Override Button at the same time.
Tools needed for car stereo installation: Phillips-head screwdriver, panel tool
|Front door with the panel removed (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Replacing Your Speakers
In 2002 and 2003 models, the front doors hold 6-1/2" 4-ohm speakers mounted in a plastic bracket, along with separate tweeters near each door pull. You'll have to remove the door panels to access the speakers, but it's not much of a problem. You can install an aftermarket 6-1/2" or 5-1/4" speaker in the front door, with the help of a mounting bracket that replaces the factory bracket.
A speaker harness is also available that connects your new speaker to the Subaru speaker plug, and Crutchfield includes the bracket and harness with every speaker order. The door is a little cramped, with an available mounting depth of only 2-3/16". You won't find many 6-1/2" speakers that'll drop right in without modifying the doors, but you will find a decent selection of 5-1/4" speakers that will fit.
|Front door woofer (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
In 2004, the front door speaker changes slightly if you have a factory sub under your front passenger seat. The factory 6-1/2" speaker sits in a different bracket, and you can drop an aftermarket speaker in without any problem. Although the space in the door is still pretty shallow, you can also cut out and remove the rear of the plastic cup that houses the speakers. This will create more depth and allow you to choose from a larger list of speakers.
|Front door tweeter (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
The front door tweeters are 1-3/8" diameter with 13/16" mounting height, so keep those dimensions in mind if you decide to replace the original tweeters. You'll have to fabricate some kind of mounting bracket to put aftermarket tweeters in these openings. Crutchfield carries a universal backstrap that works great for these situations; it can be bent to cut to size as needed. No speaker harness is available for the tweeters, so you'll have to cut the factory wires.
Tools needed for front door speaker installation: Phillips screwdriver, panel tool, flat-blade screwdriver, T15 Torx driver
|Rear door speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
The rear door holds a 5" speaker in a plastic bracket, and it's not difficult to get the door panel off. You can install an aftermarket 4" or 5" speaker in this location using the factory mounting bracket, and a harness is available.
Tools needed for rear door speaker installation: Phillips screwdriver, small flat-blade screwdriver, panel tool
Bass Options for your Subaru WRX
|Factory subwoofer (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Some 2002-04 models were equipped with a factory sub housed in a rectangular enclosure beneath the driver’s seat. When you replace the stereo, you can keep this sub working by connecting the turn-on lead in the Crutchfield harness to your new car stereo. There’s currently no way to replace the sub in the factory enclosure, but a smaller, powered subwoofer like the Sound Ordnance B-8PTD should fit into the space nicely.
If you want serious bass without losing a lot of cargo space, JL Audio makes a Stealthbox® enclosure that fits perfectly in the rear driver-side corner of the trunk. It houses a dual 4-ohm voice coil W6v2 10" sub which handles up to 600 watts RMS, so you can imagine the kind of bass it can produce in the WRX's compact interior.
|JL Audio Stealthbox (courtesy of JL Audio)|
Security Systems: No transponder bypass or any kind of integration module is needed for security or remote start, and no extra parts are needed for door locks or anything else. All connections are located behind the driver's side of the dash below the knee panel, so it's a straightforward installation.
Hands-free phone calls: If you're keeping your factory radio, Parrot makes a T-Harness that allows you to plug in one of their Bluetooth car kits. Once everything's connected, your Subaru radio will mute when a call comes in, and you'll hear your caller through your WRX's speakers.
Good, Better, Best
Good: Subaru speakers aren't too bad, so replace your factory radio first. The extra power will make your system sound better, and you can select a stereo with Bluetooth® connectivitiy, iPod® controls, and other modern touches.
Better: Next, replace your front door speakers and tweeters with some decent component speakers. Because of the cramped space, your selection of speakers is somewhat limited, at least when it comes to speakers that will drop right in. With a little ingenuity though, you can get some nice speakers in there. Consider powering the front components with an amp to overcome the road noise that a Subaru generates a higher speeds.
Best: Add a sub. You'll be glad you did.
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