Of course, after she deposited her pennies and dimes and quarters into my stereo, it would no longer play CDs. (Let's just say that this was certainly one of those "you're really lucky you're so cute" moments.) My first attempt at fixing it was to poke around in the CD player a little bit, but it quickly became clear that this was going nowhere. I couldn't get any visibility inside the CD player with a flashlight. This was not looking good.
I should also mention that we have had some trouble with the stereo in the past couple of years. Sometimes the controls don't work correctly and the display looks garbled. Knowing that the stereo isn't in great shape made the choice easy… it was time to remove it and shake the life out of it like a penny bank and see if those babies would fall out.
What You Will Need:
- 10 mm socket wrench with extender (or something similar, I made 7/16 work even though it was slightly too big)
- Raccoon mask
- Plastic knife or flathead screwdriver
The first thing you need to do is pry off those plastic "wooden" looking panels on either side of the stereo. I used a plastic knife, because I wanted to minimize the risk of scratching the panels around it. You could use a flathead screwdriver or something similar, but do this carefully. The surrounding panels are rather soft and scratch easily.
These literally just pray loose and you can pull them out with your hands. Be gentle so be sure you don't break anything.
Now both panels are removed.
The next step is to remove the cover on the tweeter that is just above the stereo. It took some firm pulling with both hands on either side of it, but it eventually just pops off.
The "back" of it (closest to the very dirty windshield), pops up first. Then just pull it straight up.
Now you need to remove 4 bolts on the sides of the stereo. This is where you use your 10 mm socket. You can see the top bolt above my hand and then the second bolt further back. (I'm pointing at it with my very dry hand. Note to self: apply hand cream.) You'll take two out on the right and two out on the left (a total of 4 bolts).
Here are the bolts removed from the right side.
Now you can literally slide the stereo right out. Here you can see all the wires that connect to the stereo. The power and antenna are on the left (just pull these straight out), and then there are three other connections on the right. The white connectors require you to push in a little trigger and then slide them out. Luckily, these are all different sizes, so you don't have to keep track of which plug goes where.
And here is the sad (and exciting!) photo of my van stereo missing.
At this point, I took the stereo inside to figure out how to get those coins out. Unfortunately, no amount of shaking and rattling was going to get them out. Here's where your raccoon mask comes in.
After some Googling, I decided to try the "put double-sided tape on a popsicle stick" method. The only popsicle stick I could find around here was on my oldest daughter's raccoon mask. So be it. But, unfortunately again, this did not work.
Well, I had come this far, and I was not going back. So it was clearly time to start dismantling the stereo unit itself. I removed 5 small screws from the back of the stereo and removed the metal plate.
After about 10 seconds of jiggling, those little suckers finally came out. I wasn't sure whether the stereo was going to work or not, but at least I got my 35 cents back. One quarter and a dime.
Back out to the van I went (I strongly suggest you do this on a day when the weather is nice). Put the stereo back in place and replace the bolts. Be careful not to drop them into the abyss of your dashboard.
Replace the plastic cover on the tweeter by sliding the plastic clips into place and then pushing it down.
Cross your fingers. Put the keys in the ignition. Insert your favorite CD of children's songs.
SUCCESS! It works! Now go do something about those dry hands.
And don't let your 2-year-old play in the front seat while you vacuum out the van EVER AGAIN.