HOW TO: Aftermarket Head Unit Replacement
Well, I’ve done it. It sounds great and looks good, imho. Didn’t suffer too much damage. I lost one of the 4 screws that held the radio in place. I’m sure it will show up, as a rattle in the dash, or under my bare foot, or in a tire. I also managed to mess up the plastic tabs on half of the black plastic grip on the ‘oh-my-gosh’ handle, but it seems to be staying o.k. I had intended to let Best Buy do the install for me, but finally decided to just dive in and give it a go.
I had to back up and fix many miss-steps along the way. Hopefully my mistakes will make things smoother for you.
I gave up on waiting for a wiring harness from Scosche to retain the chimes, but decided to use tap-in connectors so I could remove them later and add the harness when it comes out. These are the ones I bought and they worked great.
You will need this adapter. Metra 99-3302 http://www.audiooutfitter.com/store/99-3302.html
or the Scoshe or American International equivalent. It is for the 2004 Malibu, the 2005 Equinox, the G6, or the Cobalt. A couple of small mods have to be made to it, which I will get to later.
You will need this antenna adapter. AI CR-06 http://www.aius.net/item.cfm?item=CR-6
Yes, I know it’s a Chrysler. Why GM is changing its antennas now is beyond me, and I had a lot of trouble figuring this one out. A tip on an HHR forum solved it for me. The picture is wrong on the link above, but my Best Buy had one and it does work. No GM adapter will.
O.K., let’s get started. First remove the chrome bezel around the gauges, just pull on it gently and work your way around and you will feel how it comes off.
Next start squeezing the black gauge tunnels and gently pulling them down and away from the gray surround, they have little notches that engage the plastic. MAKE SURE THE STEERING WHEEL IS AT THE LOWEST ADJUSTED HEIGHT! The gauge tunnel piece won’t come out otherwise. Pay attention to the little rubber feet on the back of the tunnel piece that rest against the gauges. They will pop off if you aren’t careful, and can be hard to find.
Next, remove the chrome trim ring around the shifter. It just pops up, but once again, be gentle. The left and right sides seem to be the easiest place to start. Once that is loose, you can separate the chrome trim ring from the black plastic circle that is sewn to the leather. You need to do this so you can get the boomerang piece lifted up past the shifter later.
The next piece to remove is the scoop shaped piece behind the handle grip. It is hooked in closest to the handle, so pop the farthest end from the handle first.
You can now see the two big silver bolts that hold the handle. I hesitate here because I’m not sure if you need to remove the black leather handle grip piece to get the handle out or not. I just assumed I did and managed to mess up the grip in the process. If after removing the two bolts, you can’t get the handle removed, you can pop the leather grip by putting a screwdriver in the seam closest to you and twisting. Be careful getting the back side seam separated, that’s where I messed up. Don’t do it the way you did the front, try sliding the right side piece towards yourself or away from yourself, do not pry this seam apart.
Now you’re all clear to pop the giant boomerang.
I found it easiest to start at the lower left of the gauge cluster, and work my way around clockwise. I just pulled it with my hands. The clips all popped fairly easy, the only scary part is the sides of the radio. There are two clips on each side and the piece is fairly thin at that point. I used a little Stanley mini-pry bar to slide up under the piece and pop it up.
Next, I unhooked the cigarette lighter plug. There is a little hole with a tab in the side of the plug. Just press in the tab with a small screwdriver and pull the plug loose. Now you should be able to swing the boomerang up clear of the radio. You might need to pop the three harness plugs on the back of the heat/ac controls, and the one on the dimmer. I had intended to remove all the harnesses, but the ones on the emergency flasher and fog light switch stumped me. I could have solved it in time I guess, but I got lazy and just wrapped some tie wire around the convertible top connection bolt to hold the boomerang up out of my way.
Now, finally, the radio is ready to be removed. 4 bolts and it comes out. Don’t lose one like some idiot I know.
There are two harnesses on the back of the radio. I’m trying to remember now, I think you just slide out the blue clips to get the harnesses loose. Whatever it is, it wasn’t hard.
Here is what I deduced as far as the wiring. NOTE: If you are replacing a MONSOON system, click here
Red and white stripe. ----------Power, switched. (or so I thought)
Black with white stripe. -------Ground
Green with white stripe --------?? EDIT: GMLAN serial data bus (this is how the car tells the original radio to turn off, plus activate chimes etc.) thanks for the info mcphelps
Gray---------------------------Dimmer (power varies with dimmer dial)
Blue---------------------------?? EDIT: Steering wheel controls
Gray and tan pair---------------Left front speaker pair. (tan is supposed to be -)
Dark Green/Light Green pair -----Right Front speaker pair. (lt. Green -)
Yellow/Brown pair --------------Left rear speaker pair. (brown -)
Lt. Blue/Dk. Blue pair ---------- Right rear speaker pair. (Dk. Blue - )
White with black stripe ---------?? EDIT:10V reference for steering wheel controls