Radio and Antenna:                                                                                           FAQ Home

Volvo Maintenance FAQ for 7xx/9xx/90 Cars                                                                                                                     Version 5.0

Radio Code Input

Radio Code Lost

Radio Removal

Antenna Won't Fully Retract

Antenna Replacement

Antenna Rack Comes Out

Power Antenna Rebuild?

Radio Static in 740

Radio Cassette Flashes “Head”

Radio LCD Display Bulb Replacement

Radio Mounting Generic Kit

Radio Wiring Color Reference

Adding an Aftermarket CD Player

Speaker Removal

Amplifier Failing; Location?

Radio Code Input.  [Query:] After replacing my car batteries my factory stereo will not turn on. It displays EEEEEE message. Can you please help me fix this?  [Reply: Steve Ringlee] You need to enter your four-digit radio anti-theft code after you turn the radio on.  The unit will display “Code”, after which you punch the four digits.  If the unit won't accept the correct code (you have three tries before it chokes and displays “Eeeeee”) then turn the radio on, leave the ignition key at KP I for two hours to reset the unit and try again. If you've lost the code, you will have to visit your Volvo dealer to obtain it.

Radio Code Lost. [Problem: Lost radio security code.] Go to the closest Volvo dealer with your VIN #, and proof of ownership. Ask the dealer to access Volvo on their computer and look up the code for you. They should do it for free. Make sure you write it down. While they are on the computer, ask them also to get your key code #'s if you don't know those. They could come in handy some day.

Radio Removal.  [Query] Does anyone know how to remove the radio from the dash of the 940 Turbo Wagon? [Response 1: George Chow] To get the CR-814 out (and nearly all decks from the 7x0 and 940), pull out the two knobs on each side.   You should see tabs inside the radio from the resulting gap. Fashion a tool with a piece of stiff wire that has a hook on each end. You can use this tool to pull the tabs inward. To remove the radio, use the tabs inward while pulling the deck toward you. It should come off easily. Beware of the trim piece that'll come loose and don't flex it too much else it will break.
 [Response 2: Red Fox] If it is the SC-810 radio, the vertical bars on front plate are the releases. Push them in with a screwdriver and they will pop out, then pull them out a little farther and this releases the radio to slide out. Note: If you don't know the security code for the radio, do not unplug it.

Antenna Won't Fully Retract. I futzed with both power antennas on my 740's, and have come to the conclusion that the mast must be kept meticulously clean, otherwise it will may not fully retract. So, whenever I tank up the car with fuel, I grab a paper towel, wet it, and run it up and down the mast a few times. Also, it took a lot of cycling of the mast(s) to get them completely cleaned of years of accumulated pukey. I used WD40/Liquid Wrench/ other similar spray lubes on either a paper towel or shop rag. Then commenced to cycling the mast(s) and rubbing (Imagine what the neighbors were thinking: some sort of fetish, rubbing your mast with a rag...!) But, it worked. Usually, I wipe them down/clean them about once a week as a part of the routine carwash/vacuum.

[Another note:] I have also seen it recommended (in the Popular Mechanics Auto Column) that after you clean off your antenna mast that you get a piece of waxed kitchen paper (such as Cut-Rite) and rub it on your mast. The paraffin off the paper keeps the mast "slippery".

[Another note:]  I had little success in getting my 780 antenna to retract completely, despite numerous attempts of all sorts. The PO had had the mast replaced (after it was broken off because it didn't retract completely...) but he never got it to work right before or after the replacement.  I have now solved the problem and, since I understand it is a fairly common one, here are the steps (usual disclaimer - this is for extreme cases):
1. Make sure that the mast is not in any way bent. Check by putting something straight (such as a ruler) against the mast and turn it - do not trust your eyes.
2. Remove all the grease from inside the main assembly (the black thing inside the car) - the grease prevents proper grip on the mast's "tail" and isn't necessary to lubricate a mainly nylon mechanism.
2. Cut off whatever is not useful from the mast's nylon "tail" (about 2 inches in my case). This is a simple way to reduce drag. To find out how much you can cut off, extend the antenna completely (I did that by turning on the radio and disconnecting the antenna in extended position). Check 5 times before you cut!!!
3. Keep cleaning the mast. I have taken to wiping it off every other day or so with a dry tissue and there is still a little dirt coming out (even though I cleaned it frequently both before and during opening up the whole thing...).

Upon reassembly the antenna retracted completely most of the time. Now, a few weeks later, It retracts 100% of the time. At this point, I am not using any lubricant when I clean the mast. I will of course have to in due course, but an excess of lubrication seems to create problems.

Antenna Replacement. The mast and the nylon line come in one unit - about 20 bucks or so, so don't bother trying to fix the existing one. The one from IPD does *not* come with instructions. A list member faxed me a copy of his official Volvo instructions. The mast is attached to a nylon line that rewinds down into a housing attached to the motor. When the line breaks, the end can remain in the housing, in which case you need to loosen the unit to open the housing enough to get the piece out. It actually made the whole replacement easier for me to loosen the unit (I didn't need remove it entirely). Run the antenna up and down a couple of times, *before* you button everything up all the way, as you might need to play with how far the end gets inserted into the housing, to make sure the antenna retracts completely.

 You have to remove the power unit if, after removing the interior panels to get to it, and removing the antenna mast and what's left of the nylon/plastic cable, you still can't see any of the cable that's still attached to the unit. If you can see it, turn radio on, grab what you can, and steadily pull it out. The inside of the unit is basically a plastic basket or spool, that simply grabs the teeth of the cable. The part I goofed on was once I had the antenna mast and cable out, and the power unit, I didn't realize how the power unit was put together. The Imparts one might be different, but the Volvo unit (made in Japan) 'case' has only one screw, and is basically pressed together, and will come apart almost completely in half, although it doesn't look like it at first. There is a silicone gasket also, so try not to pry it. I tore mine, which made it slightly tougher to put the case back together with the gasket in place, but not too bad. It was a longer job than I had been led to believe, though now that I've done it I can see how the mechanics at a dealership can do it in 15 minutes or so.

The insertion part is a bit easier, but only if you have the technique or are patient. I did this twice, because I mistakenly thought that the smaller metal part of the antenna mast (the part that goes 'inside' the car all the time) could not be fitted over the mast that I had already installed (p.s., it can fit over it). For those of you who only have a broken mast, but do have access to the cable, you're lucky. Turn the radio on, grab the cable and steadily pull it out. To put the new one in, with the mast nut off and the teeth of the cable facing the front of the car (not left, right or back) feed it in, trying not to spin it. It may take a couple of tries to get the feel of the end of the cable going through the tubing and hitting the spool of the power unit. You know you're they're if you (or an assistant), turn off the radio, with you pushing gently down on the cable, and the cable gets grabbed by the spool. Once it is, (watch out the mast doesn't whip around and get you), mount the mast back, put on the mast nut, and recyle the radio power 5 times or so. It will eventually take up the slack it detects, and you're done. This part is really only five to fifteen minutes, even for a mechanical klutz. And if you don't get it, you haven't broken anything anyway. The instructions with the mast are pretty good, and have pretty good diagrams. The instructions have you doing all of the insertion with the entire assembly apart, however. It was a lot tougher more work that way, and more difficult I think.

Antenna Rack Comes Out.    [Query] I was cleaning and lubricating the antenna on my '91 740 sedan as a part of routine maintenance when I got distracted and the radio got turned on or off - I don't recall which. But it caused the plastic strip that pushes the power antenna up to come completely out of the tube. I assume this goes down into some sprocket or geared wheel of some sort. I tried to simply place it back into the tube but it doesn't grab or do anything. I also turned the unit on hoping it would grab and re-feed itself but nothing worked that way either. The plastic piece I am referring to is has notched teeth on it just like a timing belt. The end, strangely has no metal piece or any special shape to it that would connect with any part down in the tube in any special way. It just is a certain length of plastic with these notches in it, that feed into something. There must be some kind of gear down in the tube? Or is there a hole that I am missing and need to get in back into?
[Response 1: Rick] You're on the right track (no pun intended). Turn the radio on and push the plastic feed into the hole until it stops, then turn on the off and it will feed it self into the gear box. If it doesn't work then take the cover off the box and hand feed it.  [Response 2: Tom Irwin] Rick is completely correct. The length of nylon track goes through a couple of guideways on the way down, so don't be shy about giving it a gentle push to ensure the track is in the gearmotor assembly before switching off radio and engaging retractor motor.  Only one more thing to mention, if it doesn't work at first...change the orientation of the track/gear/teeth. That is, if it doesn't grab right with the teeth facing the back of the car...then turn the assembly 180 degrees around so the teeth face the front of the car. Then, turn the radio off and the retractor motor should grab it up right away and pull it back down the hole.

Power Antenna Rebuild?  [Query:] The power antenna on my '89 760 is stuck in the fortunately) up position. The motor still cycles on and off, but the antenna doesn't move. There's some play (up and down) in the antenna, and before it stopped moving it sounded like a gear in the unit was trying to engage but couldn't. The unit (in the trunk) looks sealed. I haven't removed it - yet.  Can I rebuild it?  [Response 1: Michael Pardee] The power antenna unit can be opened, but the usual failure mode is the breakage of a plastic "caterpillar" track which changes the rotary motion to an extend/retract motion. Repair is probably hopeless.  [Response 2: RLS] Volvo sells a replacement mast, including the nylon caterpillar, which can be (carefully) wound back into the motor/gear housing. It costs about forty bucks. I replaced my antenna, which would only extend about 2/3 of maximum, with a $9.95 permanent mast purchased at AutoZone.

Radio Static in 740. [740 has radio static on the AM band; how do I fix it?] [Solution 1:]
I use to install car stereos and one way I used to get rid of the "audio tach" was to clean the terminals on the alternator. If your Volvo has a separate voltage regulator, unplug the regulator and twist the wire bus one or two times. So it looks like a rope. This will screw with the RF radiation that the alternator makes. Make sure you clean the contacts and put some dielectric grease on them prior to connection. Make sure you DISCONNECT THE BATTERY before starting or you could fry the regulator. If anyone has questions about stereos problems, feel free to e-mail me

[Solution 2:] Regarding Kirk's recent AM radio static in his '90 740, I had an identical problem. I have no idea what precipitated this, but I had been doing the normal "tuneup" items like replacing cap and rotor, plugs, etc. The only real before-after delta was some body work which required re-aligning the front driver's door hinges, and I suspect that the body guys mucked around the wiring harnesses in the process. I ended up ameliorating (not fixing) the problem with the following:

Radio Cassette Flashes “Head”.  [Query:] Shortly after we bought the 745 this past June, I noticed the word 'HEAD' flashing on the stereo when a cassette was playing.
[Response:]As I recall, this "head" indicator is connected with a timer built into the stereo. After 20 hours of tape playing, the player indicates a cleaning is in order. The timer must be reset manually.  All you have to do is press the right right hand tuner button while the tape is playing and hold it in until the "head" indicator resets itself.

Radio LCD Display Bulb Replacement.  [Tip from Colin Roberts :applies to UK cars] I posted a msg here some time ago about my radio lcd display not being lit up, seems other people had similar probs, all the buttons were lit, but not the lcd, i have now stripped the radio down and found out how to replace the lights, Well, no one could help me, so out came the radio! All that is behind the display is 2 capless bulbs (12v.)  Here is the method for those of you that are good with a soldering iron and can do very fine work.
First obtain 2 or more 12v very tiny capless bulbs, these are about 4mm long with just wires coming out from the bulb, ( i have these as I work for a company that used lots of different types of bulbs)  Remove the top and lower panels, and also the facia panel , (after removing all the knobs and tape button).  Disconnect the 2 plugs from the tape unit, then remove the 2 bulbs
(could have yellow wires on)  from the front of the tape unit.  Remove the tape unit complete,
on the front main inner panel there are 3 screws that have to be removed, this allows you to pull the panel out from the chassis, (not too far though) on the back of the pcb there is a black plastic panel, this has to be eased away from the pcb as well. NOTE : the pcb will only come out about 1/2 inch as it is connected to the main pcb by 2 ribbon cables, DO NOT OVER STRETCH!
Now for the tricky bit, look at the lcd display, it has a box round it, this has 4 tabs holding it to the pcb, carefuly prise the tabs up and then remove the box, and you will see the 2 bulbs !
It is a bit of a job to desolder the bulbs, but it can be done and fresh bulbs fitted, the old bulbs will have a green rubber cover on them which should be put onto the new bulbs before they are fitted.
If you feel that it is a bit too tricky to replace these bulbs, I would think that a local radio repair shop could do it, if the radio was stripped down right up to the point when you can see the old
bulbs, all he would have to do is de-solder the old bulbs and fit new ones, then you could re-assemble the radio yourself.   PS: If you took the radio to a local repairer, not stripped down, he
would probably say it could not be done as it needs special bulbs. But I now know better!

Radio Mounting Generic Kit.  [Tip from Dave Morgan]  We have a winner on the radio mount kit. For those of you who still need one, check your local car stereo place and ask for a Metra 99-9222 Volvo Multi-purpose kit. It will handle all 200 and 700 series cars from '75 to '93 and has mounts for both the upper and lower dash on 200 series models. I paid $15 for the kit but I bet you can find it cheaper somewhere else.

Radio Wiring Color Reference.  [Reference Information courtesy of Custom Car Stereo at which is a good general reference for car audio and security]
Wire colors in your car might be different than colors described here.   Use the given colors for reference purposes only.  Always test wires to make sure they are correct.  To check hot, ignition, lights, dimmer, use a test light or voltmeter.  To check speakers     use test radio. To check speaker polarity (assuming you don't have a polarity tester): Touch (for a very short period of time) one wire to the positive side of a 1.5-volt battery (any size), and the other wire to the negative side.   If speaker "pops out", then polarity is correct.  If speaker "pops in" then polarity is reversed.  Make sure that the wires you are going to check for speakers do not have any power.

Adding an Aftermarket CD Player.  [Query:  What adapter do I need to add an aftermarket CD player to my Volvo?]  [Response 1: Andre Lam] There are two wholesale companies that provide the cables (also available are kits for '96 and newer Volvos that need the digital converters): (for a specific parts list see the following:) Both companies list the EXACT same part number (VOL-ALP), so someone is making this cable for BOTH companies. All I have to do now is find a local retailer to order the part for me. Stinger Electonics also provides a retail locator, Metra does not.
[Response 2: Steve Ringlee]  Make sure that the add-on CD changer is compatible with the electronic data bus used by your factory radio.  For more information about system compatibilities, see the following links: See also the following links to understand more about integrating CD players with Volvo radios:

Speaker Removal.  [Tip from Tom Irwin.  Applies to 960 and in some cases 940]

Front Dash Speakers:

Rear Deck Speakers:

Amplifier Failing; Location?  [Query]  I have a 1992 960 and it has a problem with the amplifier circuit. When I try to put a fuse where the amp circuit is - fuse 32 I believe - it fries instantly. Does anyone know what this can possibly be? Or where the amp is located? [Response: Jeff Wickersham] Your amp has probably short circuited somehow and crossed a soldered positive lead with a ground. The amp is located above the drivers side knee panel, to the left of the steering wheel. There are two bolts holding it to a securing point, and a bosh relay or something is attached to the amp itself. The amp has a rectangular connector which connects it with power and the speaker wires, and a din cable coming from the radio. Disconnect the amp, then turn the key to acc and put a new fuse in. If the fuse blows the problem is in the wiring, if not, it is in the amp somewhere. You can find a used amp for a reasonable price.

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