AL514 might be able to help with the amp's location. I can share a few details on the amps I'm familiar with, but you'll have to take it from there.
All Chrysler radios put out speaker-level output and will run speakers directly. All of them will also work with an amplifier. Chrysler amps do not increase power or volume. They only modify tone response for the shape of the vehicle. For that reason, there are just a few radio model numbers to cover a wide range of car models. The thing you must watch is when the car has an amp, that radio puts out very little bass. It is made up in the amp so if you use that radio in a car with no amp, it will sound tinny unless the bass is turned all the way up. If you use a non-amp radio with an amp, it will have too much bass unless you turn it way down.
With Ford and GM radios, there are radios that don't require an amp, and they can't be used with an amp. There are radios that are used with an amp, and those must be used with an amp or you won't be able to hear very much. For those cars you have to get the right radio. Also, they do their tone conditioning inside the radio by changing about a dozen parts. That means there is a different radio model number for almost every car model of that year. They all look the same and plug in the same, but you can end up with less than ideal sound if you use the wrong model.
I know the imports have a number of radio variations that fall somewhere in between the two extremes I described, but I'm pretty sure your radio needs the amp if that's what it came with. I worked on a lot of radios in the '90s but never ran into an import using an amp back then. I haven't kept up because every manufacturer except Chrysler became selfish with their radio service manuals to cut the little guys like me out so they could make big profits by grossly over-charging for their radio repairs. There aren't many repair shops left other than the two factory-authorized repair centers.
Other than the high cost of repair, original equipment radios are generally a lot better than most aftermarket radios. The older '90s Chrysler CD / cassette combos, for example, built for them by Mitsubishi, are the best car radios I've ever seen. GM CD-radios throughout the '90s had a 100 percent failure rate of their laser assemblies and when you sent one in for repair, (typically $450.00), all they did was install a completely new CD mechanism that would develop the same problem in a few years. A lot of people just installed aftermarket radios, so to combat all the lost revenue from the repairs they weren't getting, they started to build the Body Computer into their radios. Those could not be removed, so owners HAD to get them repaired.
They started that with a few 2002 truck models and it took off from there. I am pretty sure you can remove your radio without affecting anything else, but the issue then is the amp, and this is an area where i'll have to make up a story that sounds plausible! Most higher-quality aftermarket radios have speaker-level outputs AND "line-level" outputs that come out on wires with RCA jacks on the end. Those are the same jacks you'll find on the back of vcrs and many tvs. If you use the speaker wires, you need to bypass the amplifier in the car, or just unplug everything and run two new wires to each speaker. (In every car model since the mid '80s, both speaker wires have six volts on them so no speaker wire can be grounded like in older cars). You can check at places like Best Buy. Or online places like Crutchfield to see if they offer an amp bypass plug. That would allow you to wire the new radio's speaker wires right to the car's wires in the dash. That way they'll get connected right to the speakers through that bypass adapter plug.
If you elect to use the line-level RCA jacks, you must use an amp with that and this is where I'm going to tell you things I don't know. I don't know if all amps, whether factory or aftermarket, amplify the same amount. If they do, you can simply connect the RCA plugs to the car's wiring and the original amp will be in the circuit like it was before. Of course the amp has to be working or you'll have the same no-sound you have now. Every aftermarket radio has a yellow or blue "power antenna" wire. That gets 12 volts when the ignition switch and the radio are turned on, and it is the one used to tell the amp to turn on. If you forget to connect that one, the amp will be turned off.
I haven't looked lately, but other than the ridiculously-rude amps the kids put in their cars to impress us, I don't recall seeing regular amplifiers in the electronics stores. That, and the fact that almost all aftermarket radios will work in any car that has or doesn't have an amp suggests to me they will work with any factory amp. If you decide to go with a new radio, try it with your amp first. You can always bypass the amp later if that's the way it has to be. Personally, I would stick strictly with factory equipment because it's designed for your specific car. The biggest feature of the one-size-fits-all aftermarket stuff is the "wow-factor" of cool lights, and a pile of switches that are so tiny, you have to pull over on the side of the road to change your mind. Also, each switch does multiple functions depending on how long you press it, which switch you pressed before it, etc. The car is supposed to take us from one place to another without having to walk. Being constantly entertained seems the common need today, but the distractions of operating today's cars are high enough without adding a complicated radio. They all get AM and FM stations, and they all play CDs. It's just a matter of how they look when they're doing it, so what are you gaining by switching to something else?
Monday, September 19th, 2016 AT 1:05 AM