Suitable stereo system replacement

kborro01

Original poster
Member
Dec 18, 2021
13
Montana
So I'm thinking about modernizing the stock 6 CD changer Boss system that is my 03 Envoy. It has the boss system in it and I want something with GPS and Bluetoothand backup camera. Any recommendations? I would like to find something that is as plug and play as possible and can still utilize the steering wheel controls. Thanks in advance.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,671
Ottawa, ON
There isn't anything really plug and play. Whatever you choose, you will need an interface to connect that head unit to the wiring and keep the Bose system working with it. I'm a fan of the PAC RP version of the adapters. To keep the steering wheel controls working, use this method:
Steering controls on Android HU

As far as what type of head unit to use, I'm a fan of Androids as you can do a lot with them. They basically have everything and can install apps. However my last one was an Eonon for full size trucks and it was hot garbage. There are lots of brands, types and Android versions out there. I haven't bought or looked at them lately but I would recommend that you get one with real buttons rather than just touch buttons. I know @Blckshdw recently replaced his and may have some comments.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Donor
Supporting Donor
Member
Jul 22, 2015
2,724
There's an audio subforum on the site.

I'll give you the quick version, but you'll want to browse the subforum.

The interface / harness products I like are from Axxess / Metra. Others here like PAC. I'd stay away from Scosche, myself.

First -- the stock system is 'Bose'... 'Boss' is an aftermarket car audio company, but you're replacing 'stock', so that has to be Bose. Just so we're on the same page...

You want GPS / BT / backup cam. You probably also want to retain your chimes (they're built into the radio), and you want SWC retained. You also want to retain the amp that's built into the factory system (although they're known to break, given enough time).

You'll need:
- Radio interface harness (either one that retains the amp, or one that lets you add your own amp)
- To retain Bose amp (and OnStar, if you use it): GMOS-04​
- To build new system with either no amp or a replacement amp: Metra LC-GMRC-01​
Both of these come with the external 'chime box' (which provide door chimes, driver info center (DIC) audio notifications, etc., etc.). They'll also preserve RAP (retained accessory power, which keeps the radio on for 5min at key-off, or unless you open a door, sooner.)

Also note that Metra is revamping their harnesses -- you can still get the above at Amazon, but you won't find these listed at their own website. These are the cheapest options; their 'new' ones are more 'universal', but that universal compatibility comes at a higher price point.

By using a harness, you'll preserve the vehicle's CANBus (the OEM radio is on it), and save yourself a LOT of headache figuring out the wiring connections. The harnesses contain the corresponding interface plugs that connect right up to the GM harnesses -- no wire cutting. You wire your aftermarket radio harness to the adapter harness, and plug right into the GM harnesses after you remove the radio (oh, and you'll need to cut out a piece of plastic from the back of the dash to fit the new radio in; no biggie).

- The radio / head unit
You have many choices here, at many price points. Depending on what smartphone OS you use (Android, Apple), you can get a unit that will leverage that OS' mapping apps (and save $$$, vs. actually having GPS built-in, which also needs to be updated from time to time, etc., etc.)

Since you want GPS, you'll want a double-DIN size radio (and a cheap installation kit to go with it, along with an antenna adapter (GM uses a proprietary sized plug that doesn't fit standard inputs).
To use the smartphone with the radio for maps, you'll want something with a USB interface built-in. Front is more convenient, but most double-DIN / touchscreen units have rear inputs, so they can maximize the display screen size. Adapters are available to run cabling to an outboard USB input (recycle one of the 12v power plug receptacles to mount it)


- Steering wheel controls (SWC):
I like the Axxess ASWC-1. It integrates nicely with the GMOS-04, easy to program.
Same applies as with the radio interface harnesses, as far as availability, etc.

- Backup camera: Again, lots of choices / price points. You'll need to wire it to your reverse lamp circuit, so it turns on automatically. You can also wire them to switched +12V (which will allow you to turn the camera on at any time -- but you'll need to activate it manually for 'reverse' gear).


Those items above will allow the most plug-n-play, allowing you to re-use your factory amp / speakers.

If you want to go farther than that...

To replace the speakers in the front doors requires adapter mounts, as GM / Bose used 8" mid-bass drivers in the front doors. You also have tweeters in the upper / front dash. The factory amp provides the crossover duties.

The factory amp is behind the rear passenger side panel, unless you have a long wheelbase (EXT, XL); then it's on the driver's side.
 

Blckshdw

Moderator
Nov 20, 2011
10,708
Tampa Bay Area, FL
My 1st Android HU was made by Xtrons. Got it off Amazon. Pretty good unit, did everything I wanted. BT, download apps, GPS, and supported dual RCA camera inputs (I run a backup cam installed in the trailer hitch, as well as one at the top of the lift gate glass). Came with a dashcam, but they are dependent on their own software, and theirs is kinda lacking. It had an oversized 10" screen that had to be removed every time I wanted to open the dash up. So that was a bit of a pinch point.

I ended up damaging the unit, as I bumped the ignition with the key in it one time while putting the dash panel back on, and the radio came on. In a moment of idiocy, I reattached the screen to the base while it was powered up :dunce: Scrapped the display and base unit on the spot. :duh:

It had been a few years so it was out of warranty, so went hunting for something newer and better. Got an Eonon unit, and had a similar poor experience. A number of the features did not work correctly, most importantly it wouldn't let me program more than 3 steering wheel button functions before locking up. Sent it back for an exchange, and the next unit did the exact same thing. It was also a 10" screen model, since I was spoiled with the previous one.

Couldn't find anything else that had what I wanted without blowing too much money that I didn't have, so I reached out to Xtrons support and was able to get a refurbished model of the one I had before. That's the running I'm running today and pretty happy with it.

I'm running a PAC interface and chime module. Non Bose, but running a 5 channel amp for my subs and door speakers.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mooseman

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,671
Ottawa, ON
Just my own experience with Metra/Axxess is they are garbage. I had two or three of them fail on me, all the same way where it wouldn't shut off the radio and there was no sound. Each time it happened after a battery disconnection.

I've had zero issues with PAC. In my Saab, I had used the PAC RP4-GM11 however I wasn't able to get the steering wheel controls to work with it. Probably something with the Android unit's wiring for them.

Also recommend an installation kit for mounting the radio in the dash. On my TB, I had to slightly trim the black bezel so the screen could clear it. This would not be necessary if you get one of the larger screens that sits on top of the bezel.
 

kborro01

Original poster
Member
Dec 18, 2021
13
Montana
Thanks for all the advice. I decided to go with a Garmin DriveSmart™ 76 MT with a wireless Backup camera that interfaces with it. Looking at the owners manual and some of the online stuff, I get the impression that somewhere on the stock unit is an Aux input.
 

Forum Statistics

Threads
23,490
Posts
639,920
Members
18,723
Latest member
RonaldRedd1961

Members Online