How To Replace an RV Stereo (Helpful Guide and Tips)

Stereo replacement is easy. The only difficult part of this project is deciding which stereo and brand you will get. There is a lot to choose from and it may take a while to find the perfect one for your RV or trailer. Many owners suggest staying away from RV stereos made by RV-related companies.

The way to replace the old stereo is to find a new one that fits your set up. Then remove the wires from the old and attach them to the new device. After that, it is all fine-tuning and where you want to place the speakers.

To learn more about this project just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can get a great new stereo to replace your old one. There are some great options available to choose from.

Can I Replace My Factory Radio?

Can-I-Replace-M-Factory Radio

This has been done for decades but with recent technological changes, it is a lot harder to change your factory-installed radios. It all depends on the type of radio, where it is, and what other functions it performs.

Modern radios are not like the radios made from the mid-1900s to the late 1900s. Technology has seen to that as standard car radios do more than just play music received through an antenna.

They are now designed to handle MP3 and other players, Bluetooth connectivity, and so on. They are just not simple music producing devices anymore.

What all this means is that you have to evaluate your music listening needs, which sources you want to use, and if your 12-volt system can handle the change.

Since most RVs are set up to play 12-volt stereos, that is the power source you should look at buying. You can try installing a 120-volt system but some RVs and trailers are not equipped to handle those options.

Then you have to consider the number of speakers you want to install. Some owners have internal speakers and are not happy with their sound. They want to add additional ones to get better sound quality.

Your new stereo will have to be able to handle the additional speakers. Plus, you would need some good spots to place them. There is a little more work to replace an RV factory-installed radio today than there was 50 years ago.

Is It Hard To Install a New Stereo in My RV?


Not really, the difficulty lies in getting the same size of radio and making sure it fits the old hole. Because the newer radios are smaller than the older models, you may find this to be a difficult task.

That means you will have to adapt the hole to meet the size requirements of the new radio. Once you decide on the size of the radio and how to patch the hole, you still have to decide on the features.

Some people like those modern radios with USB ports. They found they could dispense with their older CDs, cut down on weight, etc., by transferring the music from the CDs to the USB drives.

When it comes to removing the old radio, there is more to it than just removing the screws and snipping wires. There is usually a wiring diagram on the top of the old radio and you should take some time to label those old wires before you snip them.

You will definitely want to label the speaker wires so you know how to connect them when you install the new radio. There are different wire connectors on the old and new radios, so you have to be careful how you snip those wires. Especially if you want to use the old radio in some other vehicle, etc.

This is not a difficult task, it is just that you have to be careful and make the right decisions before you act.

How do I Remove an Old Stereo From a Camper?


With anything electrical, it is not a very difficult process. If you are not caring about the space or do not intend to replace the old radio, then you just remove the screws, snip the wires and then pull the old radio out.

Make sure to use electrical tape or wire nuts to secure the wire ends before stuffing them back into the cabinet or wherever they are located. That is the simple way to remove an old radio. Then cover up the hole with something durable but attractive.

However, the slower more careful method will have you measure the opening so you can make plans to fill the remaining opening the new radio will not cover. You will need to do this first so you have something to attach to the new radio to secure it.

Whatever you use to fill that hole is up to you but you want the material to blend in and look nice. Once that problem is solved, simply remove the screws holding the stereo in place. Gently slide the old stereo receiver out and be careful where you place it.

The wires attached to it may not be that long and you may need a stool next to you to place the radio on. Then check the diagram to see which wire goes where and properly label them.

If the wires can be pulled out of the lugs by moving a red or black switch, then you do not have to cut any of the wires. Just loosen the wires and then pull them out of their connection terminal.

Once the wires are off, make sure to get to the power cord before moving the radio. The power cord can be designed to attach to the radio in different ways so don’t assume but check.

Once you see how it is attached, remove the power cord and move the old radio out of your way. You may or may not be able to use the old power cord on the new radio. If not, then you may have to go deeper into the cabinet to remove the old power cord and install the new one.

Connecting the old wires to the new radio is a matter of placing them in the right terminals. Just be careful as new radios often have upgraded connections so make sure to follow any instructions that come with the new radio.

The problem with modern instructions is that they are often written by people who do not know the English language.

Tips For Replacing a Camper Stereo


1. Some people are saying to not buy a radio with a CD player, but if you have a strong collection of CDs, this is not a good idea. Get a new radio that fits your music collection.

It does not matter if a radio/stereo is called a dinosaur. It is expensive to upgrade your music collection.

2. Before you buy disassemble your old radio first. This lets you see the type of connections it has and helps you find a new radio that will be compatible with the current wiring.

If you don’t do this, you may end up having to rewire the entire system to make it all compatible.

3. measure your old radio’s space carefully. Chances are it is going to be bigger than your new radio and the new one won’t fit right. This means you need to take some time to find some material to fill the hole and look nice.

You can relocate the radio and fill the hole completely but that requires a lot more work than is necessary. That work includes rewiring everything.

4. Replace the factory radio with a car radio. Not only is the car radio already wired to work with 12-volt power, but it also comes with a lot of nice features that can expand your music listening.

You also have a lot more choices when it comes to car radios so you can find one that fits your music collection and listening needs.

5. Make sure you buy a new radio that allows you to hook up extra speakers. There will be those times when you will want music on your patio, in your bedroom, and in other locations.

Standard speaker locations won’t fill those needs and you will have to wire in more speakers to get sound where you are relaxing or working.

6. Before you start, make sure to have all the tools you will need handy. It just wastes time to go looking for a screwdriver, etc. Have some power tools nearby also so you can make sure the adaption of the hole goes smoothly.

How do I Get My TV To Play Sound Through My RV Speakers?


There are two basic reasons why you are not hearing your TV through your RV’s sound system. The first reason is that the TV is not connected correctly to the system.

The second main reason is that the RV’s sound system is not working. The fixes for these problems is one, to make sure your television set is hooked up correctly. Two, that the RV system is working and not broken.

Three, make sure the RV’s sound system is turned on and that the volume is turned up. If everything is okay, then check to make sure you connected the right wire to the right port.

Here are some tips on how to do this:

1. If you are using an HDMI cable, make sure it is connected to the HDMI port on your TV and your RV’s system.

2. If you are using an optical cable, then hook it up to the optical ports on your TV and RV’s sound system. The TV side would be the output port and the RV side would be the input port.

3. If you are using a coaxial cable, then connect to the coaxial output on your TV set and the coaxial input on your RV’s sound system

4. If you are using RCA cables, then connect the red & white RCA outputs on your TV with the red & white RCA input ports

Most of the time it is all about making the right connections to have your television set play through your RV’s sound system. After you have hooked the cables you want to use to their correct terminals, turn on both the TV set and the RV sound system.

If you are not hearing any sound, adjust the volume on both devices. If you are still not getting any sound after doing that, then call in a technician to diagnose the problem. Or spend some time doing trial and error till you solve the problem.

Some Technical Tools You Can Use To Get Sound

Can-I-Replace-M-Factory Radio

There are some different ways to get sound from your TV to your RV’s sound system. Here are a few options you can use:

1. Use an audio/video (A/V) receiver- just make sure it is compatible with your TV

2. Through A DAC- this device converts your TV’s digital sound to analog which can be played through your analog RV sound system

3. Use a Bluetooth Driver- no wires are needed when you go to this device for help. This will connect your TV to a Bluetooth-compatible speaker in your RV

4. Use RF Modulator- this device is for older TVs and should convert your television’s sound into an analog signal so it can be played on your RV’s sound system

Some Final Words

Replacing your old or factory-installed stereo in your RV is not a hard task to do. If you know how to connect and disconnect wires, then it should not take that long to do.

The difficulty is finding the right new stereo and if it will be compatible with the music sources you like to use. The brand does not matter as long as you get a device that is made to top standards, produces great sound quality, and is not too complicated to use.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help with the installation.

Leave a Comment: