'94 Miata - Stereo Adaptation

The final result - a 1997 Miata option cd changer (from a 1999 Protege) adapted to the 1994 dash center panel. 4/27/03

Getting there takes some work.

First had to decide how to make the wider DIN-type face and brackets fit into the narrower 1994 / Miata standard opening.

Decided that it would work to make the opening wider, but the DIN side-clip type brackets would not work.

Carefully cut away the sides of the opening. Note the attach holes for the '94 stock radio bracket get cut away.

If this has to be un-done, the dashboard center panel is not too expensive.

Also used the '94 stock under-stereo cubby, with a strip from the aftermarket radio insall kit glued along its top edge.

If I decide to later, I may get a 1 1/3 DIN high cubby that was stock for some '96-'97 stereo options.

View of DIN clip that is removed from side of stereo. Adapter bracket that I made uses the same attach screws.

The adapter bracket has several holes to clear the stereo housing features.

View of adapter bracket, other side. I made this by cutting away a thin cardboard template, then transfer the pattern to the metal. The bracket is .032" 6061 Aluminum sheet.

View of bracket from the front. It locates the stereo unit at the proper depth in the overall dashboard panel.

View from the back of the dashboard. The stereo is supported only by the brackets until the panel is installed, then the pin at the center of the back of the stereo engages an existing bracket. The grommet on this pin was missing, so I built it back up using a few layers of heat shrink tubing and finally wrapping with electrical tape. I believe the final diameter was about 3/8". This engaged the forward support bracket without problem. The stereo does not shake in the dashboard, and the cd does not skip.

The holes just to the left of the bracket have to remain clear for a panel retention clip. (It fell off in the car). The clip is in place in the next view of the other side of the panel.

Another view from the back. I stacked 4 thin washers on each of the sheet metal screws retaining the brackets because the screw length would have broken through to the visible side of the dashboard panel.

Finished product. It just plugs in with the stock connectors.

This view shows how the cubby is narrower than the stereo. A Miata-native stereo is built with a faceplate the same width as the cubby. But these are difficult to find, and cost about 2x as much.

Why bother with this? I like the look of a stock stereo, and most importantly, the aftermarket unit that was in the car when I got it had about a million incomprehensible very small controls. A stock unit has a few big, obvious buttons.

The only problem so far is that the dashboard night lighting for the stereo is on when the headlights are off, and off when the headlights are on. I guess the signal wire for that circuit is reversed from a Miata-native unit. 5/15/03