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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 02:08 AM Thread Starter
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New head unit

I'm taking a little risk here creating a new thread, because I have seen many radio threads. I'm not that familiar with forum etiquette. Feel free to educate me.

I've had my Sky for less than a day and have already decided to get a new more modern head unit (am I using the right terminology?).
I would like some advice on installation, needed connectors, etc.
Here are a few things I might want:
- Steering wheel control
- Rear camera
- capacitive touch
- Maybe some basic hardware buttons
- bluetooth (multi phone), usb, SD
- Voice commands
- Use with android phone and with ipod
- Use google maps (from phone)

This will be my first radio install in for about 10 years, so any help would be great.

And by the way, thanks for this great forum. I hope to contribute as often as I can. I'll get some pics of my 'new' Sky up after I clean it up a bit.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 08:42 AM
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If you don't care about OnStar the way to go is with the Axxess BX-GM3 kit, easy to install and doesn't interfere with the audio signal coming from your new HU. If you have the Monsoon system, solder RCA connectors onto the harness and connect them to the preamp outs on your car.

I had really bad luck with the OnStar kits (and I don't care about OnStar, anyway)--one of them kept causing a dead battery and the other was audibly reducing the sound quality.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 10:47 AM
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I put a Kenwood in mine about two years ago and like it but it could stand an update...a lot of features missing that the newer radios have. Even so, I love it and the sound quality improved just with the head unit.

You need to decide if you want to keep OnStar or not. I didn't and don't miss it but you also lose your chimes like when the key is left in the ignition and your turn signal click. All those tones are played through the stereo and, I believe, the OnStar modules retain that. There may be a kit out there now that keeps those but not the OnStar but I have no idea. I don't miss the chimes.

You also need to find out if you have the Monsoon system or not as they have different harnesses IIRC (or it could be an easy fix like mstrjon mentions). Easiest way to tell is turn up the bass, throw in some heavy bass music, turn up the radio and see if you can feel the subwoofer thumping (it is located behind the passenger seat). Most cars have the Monsoon system. If you have a multi-disc CD changer I believe that was ONLY available with the Monsoon system.


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Robotech View Post
You need to decide if you want to keep OnStar or not. I didn't and don't miss it but you also lose your chimes like when the key is left in the ignition and your turn signal click. All those tones are played through the stereo and, I believe, the OnStar modules retain that. There may be a kit out there now that keeps those but not the OnStar but I have no idea. I don't miss the chimes.

You also need to find out if you have the Monsoon system or not as they have different harnesses IIRC (or it could be an easy fix like mstrjon mentions). Easiest way to tell is turn up the bass, throw in some heavy bass music, turn up the radio and see if you can feel the subwoofer thumping (it is located behind the passenger seat). Most cars have the Monsoon system. If you have a multi-disc CD changer I believe that was ONLY available with the Monsoon system.
Robo, the BX-GM3 keeps the chimes without running them through the speakers--it has it's own built-in speaker for the chimes. It also retains the accessory power after key-out, and provides a harness for the steering wheel interface. The BX-GM3 also works in both Monsoon and non-Monsoon cars, as I said, if you have Monsoon, solder RCA connectors onto the "speaker" wires, and connect them to your pre-amp outputs; if you don't then just wire them to the speaker outputs of your new head unit. It also only costs around $50.

If you don't care about OnStar, there's no reason not to get the BX-GM3. (I don't work for Axxess, I promise!)
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 01:26 PM
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Good to know! Thanks mstrjon!


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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robotech View Post
You need to decide if you want to keep OnStar or not.
I don't care about OnStar. My car currently has the Monsoon system with 6-CD changer. I haven't used CDs in a long time.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 08:52 PM
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I'm looking at upgrading my headunit. I just need to decide on the features I want/need. I don't think I care if it is touchscreen or not. I don't want DVD/CD capability. I'd like to play music from USB and a decommissioned iPhone, but I don't care about streaming to the unit, and in fact I don't WANT to do that. Being able to have a passenger sync their phone for navigation would be okay. Main thing I want is to retain my chimes and my steering wheel controls.

I just started looking today, and man, there are a bunch of options just inside the same manufacturer.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunger88 View Post
I don't care about OnStar. My car currently has the Monsoon system with 6-CD changer. I haven't used CDs in a long time.
A nice thing to do as well is a good documentation of your install and post to us here, we all like living through members mods! Pics are all appreciated!

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SARBlade View Post
A nice thing to do as well is a good documentation of your install and post to us here, we all like living through members mods! Pics are all appreciated!
Good Idea. I'll take some notes during the install. I don't know how long, I haven't picked the one I want yet.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Can someone help me out with a current list of extra stuff that I will need when I install my new head unit (connectors, interfaces, etc.)? I am getting mixed results when I search the forum, and I hope to only remove the dash once.
Only the BX-GM3 is mentioned in this post, and I'm not clear on all that gets me and if it is a required component for a clean install.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 08:56 PM
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Crutchfield.com
It is your best friend for all of the connectors, interfaces, harness adapter etc and their customer support is excellent.
If putting in the year make and model of your car and current radio does not give you all the part information you need, give them a call.
It's all they do.

I had a Kenwood DNX8120 and they told me everything I needed to install it in my Sky with a properly fitting faceplate and working steering wheel controls.

I recently replaced it with a Kenwood DDX9703S which is their latest and greatest model, sans GPS as smartphones have that.
This unit has both iPhone and Android car play. If you have a blackberry or windows phone, you will be limited to Bluetooth only.

I was able to reuse all of the previous wiring this time around which made the install super easy.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 02:30 PM
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Ditto that suggestion. I used the 'chat' function on their site and the rep was EXCELLENT! Helped me narrow it down, didn't take long, the rep had a quick answer for every question I had (w/ links), and the unit was inexpensive in my mind. The harness adapter to let me keep controls is $141 though!!! IS there a cheaper place to get the stuff that'll let me keep the steering wheel controls, or should I bite the bullet? Of course I'll check the prices of the whole deal at my local shop (L&H) and see what it costs for the whole shebang from them. I like to try to keep my business local, but if I don't go with them, I will definitely go through Crutchfield.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 05:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunger88 View Post
Can someone help me out with a current list of extra stuff that I will need when I install my new head unit (connectors, interfaces, etc.)? I am getting mixed results when I search the forum, and I hope to only remove the dash once.
Only the BX-GM3 is mentioned in this post, and I'm not clear on all that gets me and if it is a required component for a clean install.
You need the BX-GM3 to keep your door chimes and retained accessory power. You'll also need the ASWC-1 to keep your steering wheel controls. The harness for the BX-GM3 is prewired to support the ASWC-1. You'll also need a DIN/Double DIN mounting kit and an antenna adapter if you want to keep your FM radio.

If you have a car with Monsoon then you'll need to buy 4 RCA "pigtails," solder them into the audio connectors for the harness on the BX-GM3, and connect them to the preamp outs on your head unit. If you don't have Monsoon, you won't need the pigtails, just connect the audio wires in the harness to the speaker outs on the head unit.

When it's all wired up it will look like this:



Crutchfield looks overpriced, you're paying a really high premium so you can have someone tell you on the phone everything I already said above.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 09:18 AM
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It's not a high premium, but you are paying Crutchfield a little more for the following
1. The time they spend to research and develop a plug in play no cutting or soldering solution with a factory looking bezel for your car
2. Unlimited Customer Service and Support if you need it.

They will sit on the phone and talk with you for hours if needed from the beginning to the end of the process.

Yes you can buy the parts for as dirt cheap as you can get them, but then you are on your own if you run into an issue, especially if one part doesn't work and you sourced them in multiple places.

To me, spending a little more, to get quality Customer Service is always worth it. I don't own a Sky because I am poor. In the grand scheme of costs, especially when I factor in how much my time per hour costs, Crutchfield is not that expensive.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Elff View Post
It's not a high premium, but you are paying Crutchfield a little more for the following
1. The time they spend to research and develop a plug in play no cutting or soldering solution with a factory looking bezel for your car
2. Unlimited Customer Service and Support if you need it.

They will sit on the phone and talk with you for hours if needed from the beginning to the end of the process.

Yes you can buy the parts for as dirt cheap as you can get them, but then you are on your own if you run into an issue, especially if one part doesn't work and you sourced them in multiple places.

To me, spending a little more, to get quality Customer Service is always worth it. I don't own a Sky because I am poor. In the grand scheme of costs, especially when I factor in how much my time per hour costs, Crutchfield is not that expensive.
Yeah what he said, Crutchfield really is the way to go. Pay a little more now but should you have problems later of any sort, they won't forget you exist like some other bargain sites.
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