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For 1998 did 80-Watt Premium Sound have a separate mounted amplifier?       #: 745
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 Posted: Tue Apr 3rd, 2018 04:30 am
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wh23g3g
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I've got a Premium Sound AM/FM Cassette/CD RDS radio I pulled from a 1998 Ford Explorer that I want to install in my 1998 Ford Ranger. I want to know if it should have a separate amplifier. If you look under the many Ford parts catalogs online it does show a separate amplifier part# F4UZ-18B849-A but underneath it says its for AM/FM Cassette. I have a factory 1998 Ford Ranger workshop manual that doesn't include any mention of an amplifier under the audio section. It just shows the radios available and that it could have 2 or 4 speakers. In the factory dealer brochure it calls the top of line audio system 80-Watt Premium Sound with RDS. Again no mention of an amplifier. Does that mean the radio is rated 80-Watt? My 1999 Dodge Dakota has the Infinity Sound system with a factory Amplifier that's rated at 100-Watt and it shows it in the factory repair manual. I've tried the RDS radio I have and it sounds good I just didn't know if it should have an amplifier. There is no where to hook one up on the back but there is an empty slot that says AMP. Most all the radios I've pulled out of these years Rangers all had that AMP spot on the back of the radio. I've never actually found a Ranger that had a factory amp. The only mention is in the Audio manual that originally came with the truck but I believe it just explains all the audio options for 1998 Fords not specifically Rangers. It says if you had the Mach audio system it would have a separate amplifier and subwoofer. I believe they came in the Mustangs and Explorers but not sure. I have an aftermarket Sony cd player in my Ranger now that way outperforms the Premium Sound radio but I like the simplicity of the Premium Sound radio the Sony is so complicated to setup again if you ever have to disconnect the battery. Anyone actually have a 1998 Ford Ranger with the Premium Sound and actually has a factory amplifier?



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 Posted: Tue Apr 3rd, 2018 05:48 am
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Same radios can and were used in a multitude of vehicles with same or similar equipment.

The OEM head units sound good to the average person but I can assure you that the Head Unit isn't all of the 20W per channel it would have you believe. Look at any decent brand 2x25w or 4x25w amplifier on the market. They're bigger than your radio itself because the amplifier has a real MOSFET regulated power supply in them usually, unless you've got Tube ones ;)

Factory speakers weren't even that so much in power handling. That's what makes them sound good. Max power is near 20-25w, there 6-12ohms and the radio throws a whopping 8-12w at them and they sound full and good for standard wizzer coned drivers.. many aren't even true 2-way spkrs. Premium sound MAY get you a 6 spkr setup of sorts but same principle applied.

The MACH 460 system was just that, a 230w /460w system(s) available in certain cars. If I recall it was in Direct competition with GM's "Monsoon" BOSE system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsoon_(speakers) I think ONLY the explorer had a separate amplifier in the back but that may have been just for the OEM sub.

I mean how many times do you really disconnect the battery in your truck?

Last edited on Tue Apr 3rd, 2018 05:56 am by Undrstm8ed



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 Posted: Wed Apr 4th, 2018 11:43 pm
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It's mostly just for the ease of use on the factory radio. Just for normal listening to it sounds good. It's amazing too that these used Premium RDS radios still sell for more than an a new aftermarket cd player. I see them selling on Ebay all the time sold over $100. I was just wondering if a 98 Ranger did come with Premium Sound would it have the separate amplifier mounted somewhere. Even though there is no mention or wiring diagram of any amplifier in the 98 Ford workshop manual some owner's on other forums stated they had one mounted along with the driver's side speaker. However, no one specifically with a 1998 model.  Out of all the Rangers I've went through at the salvage yard I've never actually found one that had a factory amplifier. It must have been a low odered option like the limited slip differential. I know later on they had that Tremor model that came with the sub and amp but I don't hardly see any of those models come up for sale. I did look at my speakers one time in my 98 and they said Premium but it looks like there was only one speaker available in 98 so they probably all said that.

Last edited on Wed Apr 4th, 2018 11:44 pm by wh23g3g



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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2018 08:12 am
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wh23g3g wrote:
It's mostly just for the ease of use on the factory radio. Just for normal listening to it sounds good. It's amazing too that these used Premium RDS radios still sell for more than an a new aftermarket cd player. I see them selling on Ebay all the time sold over $100. I was just wondering if a 98 Ranger did come with Premium Sound would it have the separate amplifier mounted somewhere. Even though there is no mention or wiring diagram of any amplifier in the 98 Ford workshop manual some owner's on other forums stated they had one mounted along with the driver's side speaker. However, no one specifically with a 1998 model.  Out of all the Rangers I've went through at the salvage yard I've never actually found one that had a factory amplifier. It must have been a low odered option like the limited slip differential. I know later on they had that Tremor model that came with the sub and amp but I don't hardly see any of those models come up for sale. I did look at my speakers one time in my 98 and they said Premium but it looks like there was only one speaker available in 98 so they probably all said that.
To my knowledge, unless you were getting into a Lincoln Town Car/Mark VIII or something old school High-line like vehicles with the equally old premium JBL setup or some of the old Rangers/Bronco II's came with common grounded speakers (amplifier was mounted under the dash top under what looked like a 5x7 perforated dash cover). I've yet to see any Passive radio setups in these trucks over the years. In fact unless it came with the addition of a Subwoofer, I can't recall too many a vehicle on the Ford or mercury side of the fence.

And to be honest, a $200-300 CD player today is Mattel - My first radio compared to 20 years ago audio scene. Back in the early 90' late 80's working in the car audio world it was easy.. EASY to find dozens of willing young men dumping thousands of dollars into car audio systems. It was great money back in the day. Everyone wanted that $15k+ system and they either paid for it or stole it to be honest. I've seen crazy enough excess funds known as "expendable income" thrown at cars and the scene is still alive and well but much more junk on the market than ever. Its almost as if Fast & furious came to car audio too and ruined that scene.

Back in the day, it was easy to clock $600-1100 for a custom enclosure tuned for the specific vehicle.. A grand or more for all of the wiring and cables, fuse and distribution needs.. god forbid you ran into a dual alternator or multiple battery setups too.

No one makes quality or even real functionality anymore. Everyone enamored listening to Pandora or Spotify, RSS or Audible. No one owns 'anything' tangible. Markets have figured out a way that rather than you spend $30 bucks on CD's once a month. They can club you for $10-12 a month for all of these subscriptions and make millions as another middle-man in the process of over consumerism. Today its a throw it away society and the word of the day is -- " Engineered Obsolescence "

Last edited on Thu Apr 5th, 2018 08:13 am by Undrstm8ed



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 Posted: Fri Apr 6th, 2018 03:53 am
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Well I was just curious to see what the Premium Sound system for a 1998 Ranger consisted of so I checked with my Ford dealer a VIN of a 1998 Ford Ranger Splash I was thinking of purchasing that came with Premium Sound to see if they showed the amplifier part# with it when looked up by VIN. They said it didn't come with an amplifier but they gave me the original part# of the radio it was a F87F-18C868-DA. It was an AM/FM/CD/Cassette RDS radio. It's a regular cab Splash too. So I guess the 80-Watt Premium Radio option in the 1998 Ford Ranger brochure was just the top of the line radio for that year from Ford. I guess it consisted of just the radio and some, what were suppose to be quality speakers for the time. So there's nothing really special about the 98 Ranger Premium Sound system. Even the speakers now show no different part#'s for Premium vs. w/o Premium sound. I'm not sure if they shared different numbers back in 98. So I guess when this aftermarket Sony cd player starts giving me too many problems I can just put back in this Premium Sound Radio I have. Maybe some different speakers might improve the sound. It doesn't sound bad right now but the speakers are 20 years old and have 380,000 miles on them, sometimes they fade in and out too.



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 Posted: Tue Apr 10th, 2018 09:33 pm
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I just got a Premium radio from a 1998 Ford Ranger part# F87F-18C868-DD. I installed it and it was like there was no power at all, not with the door open or with ignition on and power button pressed. Nothing. I swapped out the power supply board that I had replaced in another radio a year ago with a new one. It still did nothing when I hooked it back up. Almost like it wasn't getting ground. Then I did notice this ground tab on the back. Any idea where it leads to? I tried rigging up a ground wire and touching anything metal under the dash but maybe I never found a good ground. Does anyone know exactly where the factory ground would be that connects to that tab? I've got the 98 Ranger radio wiring diagram and it shows 3 grounds made into the 16 PIN connector already. Do you still need the ground wire connected to this tab? Anyone know how to bench test these?  



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 Posted: Wed Apr 11th, 2018 12:57 am
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The ground tab was unoccupied on the RDS ford sterio I took out of my 98 truck.

It actually worked and sounded great but the display did not work, was a known issue so it was useless and I threw it away.

The factory ground is in the harness. There are multiple grounds in the harness.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 11th, 2018 01:03 am
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AND I imagine bench testing would be cool but the ranger radio is so easy to get in and out I test radios IN MY RANGER!



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 Posted: Wed Apr 11th, 2018 08:06 pm
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At times, ford ran a larger 12/14 gauge ground wire with a connector to that tab much like the older ford radios with the 12ga flat braided ground strap that use to attach to the back of the radio.

Easy test for you to check is tap the ground wire or a part of the dash to that tab or the radio chassis near it obviously will work equally it seems and see if that cures your issue.

Also, if you have a DVOM or even a simple computer safe test light. You can check your harness for ground, ign, and hot just to be sure a fuse didn't go out on you.

If all works as intended, the radio could be shot.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 11th, 2018 11:32 pm
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Yeah I took the radio completely apart and noticed a wheel like ballast that had melted on the back of the motherboard. It's round, white with gold wire wrapped around it. Don't know if it is a ballast but looks like it. Not sure if that's why it doesn't power on but possible. I swapped power supply boards with the explorer radio and it works so I know it's not that. I might unsolder that wheel off of the explorer board and solder it onto the ranger radio to see if it works. Luckily it was only a $20 waste rather than a $50 waste for the salvage radio.



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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2018 12:35 am
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Sounds like you are describing a "choke" did it resemble one of these?

Attachment: chokeme.jpeg (Downloaded 30 times)



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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2018 04:05 am
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Yes it looks exactly like the donut shaped one. It melted in one spot. Would that cause it to have no power? I was going to swap it out with another one that I had from the Explorer radio since they both have it and I know it works.



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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2018 10:44 am
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You can try but more than likely whatever caused it to fry is the problem or whatever caused it to fry took a lot of stuff out in between. Just an opinion from a fryer from way back.



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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2018 10:32 pm
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If a choke fried there is a lot more components burnt.



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 Posted: Fri Apr 13th, 2018 04:20 am
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Probably toasted the whole radio. That's why I'm thankful I only ordered the $20 radio from a salvage yard on car-part.com rather than some of the other salvage yards that popped up with the same radio for $50-$100. It wasn't very easy to unsolder either but I did get it off. I'm not sure if it fried or not. It's only one small portion of it that melted. Not sure how it happened. Maybe someone hooked up an aftermarket amp to the radio? Not even sure that would do that anyway. I don't see any signs of burnt resistors or broken solder anywhere on the board. I was just curious to see if I could take the entire radio apart to see if I could find out something obvious why it wasn't coming on and I knew the power supply board was good because I tested it on another radio before swapping it over. If I do get an original Premium radio I'll order one from one of the professional rebuilders. Everyone seems to have tossed them long ago and went to aftermarket but I prefer the simple settings and proper look of the oem radios. My factory 100-Watt Infinity sound system with factory amplifier, factory cd/cassette player in my 99 Dakota sounds pretty good so I wanted to see if the Ford premium sound was comparable. I still haven't found out 100% for sure if the 98 Rangers with Premium Sound had an amplifier. The radio rebuilders I've contacted said they all had amplifiers if they had 3 plugs on the back and that's why the BASS would be soft without an amplifier plugged in. But I remember having the same 3 plugs on my AM/FM Cassette radio too. So I'm not sure. Ford told me that 98 Rangers even checking one VIN that in fact had Premium Sound did not come with an amplifier. It doesn't even mention it in the Ford factory service manual either.



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Id go as far as stating outloud, UNLESS a Ranger had a Subwoofer amplifier as an option.. I'd be willing to stake my left nut on the fact NO rangers came with an outboard 4 channel amplifier like you seen in the OLD JBL setups or a MACH system.... Just saying the energy you're investing in such a search is fruitless my friend and you would likely see a minimal difference in it in comparison to the infinity system outside of an acoustic scan/RTA meter "flat" curve of the cabin. The Ranger, especially in the Standard cab form has so many ridiculous square standing waves because of the shape of the interior albeit the Dakota isnt too far off itself.

Even a small investment in a small 4 channel amp, even as simple as 25w x 4 with the addition of even a 6"-8" sub in a small enclosure, stock radio, rewire of stock speakers, would sound better than EITHER system by itself in stock form... in my opinion. Everyone hears something different but if you're just stuck in having a stock radio for simplicity in interface, there's a half a dozen or better ways to integrate aftermarket with stock even on a budget so long as you add to things rather than cut corners.



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"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." - Thomas Paine


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 Posted: Fri Jun 15th, 2018 04:28 am
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I was in the salvage yard getting some parts and I came upon a 1998 Ford Ranger extended cab that had a clean Radio/CD/Cassette, almost looked new. It looked just like the 80-Watt Premium RDS radio pictured in the 1998 factory brochure but didn't have the RDS button or black heat sink on the back. It cost like $23 and I took out the Sony aftermarket I had in my 98 and this one sounds just as good if not better than the Sony radio I pulled out. Even on my original 380,000 mile speakers it's clear, it gets a lot louder than the Sony aftermarket. It's also simple to change settings on. I noticed it looked like in 1999 that the Ford Ranger's now called this same radio the 80-Watt Premium sound radio, which no longer had the RDS button. I was told by the companies that rebuild radios the 1998 RDS radio wasn't very reliable and that this later one was a lot better sounding. The number on it is XL2F-18C868-AB. I thought all 98's with Premium Sound should have the RDS button. Anyway it's working good for now so it will stay.



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