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Stereo/DIC replacement in latest model?


St0rmD
01-13-2004, 10:13 PM
I just bought a 2004 Malibu LS and I am intested in exploring options for stereo replacement.

However, in the new GMs the OEM stereo serves double-duty as a "Driver Information Center" which is the only way to access certain car features like your trip-odometer, Security system, remote-entry/starter system, basic engine diagnostics (fuel economy, oil life, check-engine warnings, etc) and in the case of on-star equipped vehicles (mine isn't), a lot of that system is in the radio now too.

This radio is a slightly different version than the model I have, but the basic idea is there, although the buttons on mine are labelled differently (GM press photo, probably from a pre-production vehicle or something):

http://subversatile.net/pics/malibu_radio.jpg

So just ripping the system out and throwing in an after-market head unit doesn't seem to be a good option. I don't particularly want to lose access to these features, but would like to have a hard-disk based mp3 jukebox.

Among the options I'm looking at are, getting a Rio Karma and an extra docking cradle, which I will use to fabricate a custom car-dock which will feed into the line-in on the head unit (assuming it has one...I haven't ripped it out yet to check, but I think there is an option for a CD-changer).

Another option is an all-out ballz to the wallz CARPUTER project, which I could attempt to interface to the wiring harness under the dash (I'm guessing it's a standard radio harness, and an OBDII interface), with a touch-screen interface, GPS, navigation, more in-depth OBDII diags/displays, my whole music library, and whatever other blingtastic goodies I can think/figure out how to include here.

Option 1 is likely as a near-term project (by the summer, maybe). Option 2 is pretty far-fetched, and I imagine would take me a year or more of acquiring parts, fabricating custom bezels, integrating electronics, and doing patchwork programming and scripting which I may or may not be qualified for (probably I'd be biting off almost more than I can chew if I actually pursue this route).

But this thread is to get more ideas, both for other ways to approach the problem of how to I get my digital music collection into my car without losing the DIC that's already there, and for what I can expect when I tear open the dash. Does anyone else have one of these cars, or know anything about these new radios, what their interfaces are, or alternative ways to access the information and features they have, if you do decide to replace the unit with an aftermarket stereo system?

Among solutions I am NOT interested in is to get an mp3 jukebox with a low-power FM transmitter to transmit to the radio. I have a high-quality digital collection (everything encoded either in high-bitrates or lossless codecs like FLAC), and I don't want a crappy FM interface that's not going to sound as good as a direct line-in.

GregNico
02-05-2004, 04:50 PM
I have the MAXX LS and I just joined this forum today to look into the same question that you posted. Was hoping to find an answer. I had just upgraded my 98 malibu sound system in the summer with the a JVC9750 mp3 cd stereo and 4 ch amp and Boston speakers. Also had an aux input for by XM sky Fi.
But now although the car is a great upgrade the sound and options cann't come close to what I had. I looked into soundgate.com about an FM transmitter for XM that the tech was well informed about the whole lan system that this 04 has or at least the MAXX. He said they just came out with an (wireless) FM transmitter that handles the 7 antenna's in this car??? and transmits on any settable freq. plus 83.3 as a standby (need to reverfiy). I was thinking about going that route for the xm but am holding off till soundgate or others have had a chance to come up with an interface (probably 6mo. out min.) for a direct input and / or an option that would allow be to install a radio w/ mp3 and keep the original display in place.
Has anyone removed the faceplate to see if the radio control buttons and the display are actually 1 piece. Sure are taking up a lot of space....

modified post I received the PDF file and talked again to soundgate it is a wireless VIDFM40T and VIDFM8T

ponchonutty
02-05-2004, 10:29 PM
I have the MAXX LS and I just joined this forum today to look into the same question that you posted. Was hoping to find an answer. I had just upgraded my 98 malibu sound system in the summer with the a JVC9750 mp3 cd stereo and 4 ch amp and Boston speakers. Also had an aux input for by XM sky Fi.
But now although the car is a great upgrade the sound and options cann't come close to what I had. I looked into soundgate.com about an FM transmitter for XM that the tech was well informed about the whole lan system that this 04 has or at least the MAXX. He said they just came out with an (wireless) FM transmitter that handles the 7 antenna's in this car??? and transmits on any settable freq. plus 83.3 as a standby (need to reverfiy). I was thinking about going that route for the xm but am holding off till soundgate or others have had a chance to come up with an interface (probably 6mo. out min.) for a direct input and / or an option that would allow be to install a radio w/ mp3 and keep the original display in place.
Has anyone removed the faceplate to see if the radio control buttons and the display are actually 1 piece. Sure are taking up a lot of space....

modified post I received the PDF file and talked again to soundgate it is a wireless VIDFM40T and VIDFM8T

Well, I would look to people at METRA and other higher end stereo replacement parts makers. You can contact them at www.metraonline.com I know for a fact that they already have data retention pieces for most of the '04 cars and might even include your car but I have not talked to them in a few months. There was another place that I found on the web that was real high tech as far as what they were making. I can't remember their name though. I know automakers have for years tried to end the stereo swapping people do. I think there should be some sort of law against it. It takes away our freedom to choose what to do. Just think of the poor sap that has one of these cars 4 years down the road and it quits. I bet it would take about $2k to replace it. Heck, just a plain OEM Delco CD player is $800!!! The first thing I did when I brought home my new Silverado and Jeep Liberty was yank that factory crap. :evillol:

St0rmD
03-21-2004, 10:39 PM
After driving the car for a couple months, I have noticed that Delco CD players, for as expensive as they are, suck ass. I bought a CD, opened the shrink wrap, took it out of the case, and slid it into my dash, only to have it skip in several places. What the god damn?

I really need to peel this dash open and take a look at how the DIC is connected to the stereo, and to the car, and figure out how I can get rid of this awful piece of crap. If there is any justice in the world there will at least be an input for a trunk-changer, which I can hijack to be an input for an auxilliary unit I can build. I'm torn between ripping out the change tray under the stereo and installing a cradle for a Rio Karma, complete with power and line-out, or putting a PC with a full selection of mp3/ogg/flac files in the trunk (although I'll need to figure out how to control it from the driver's seat).

I'm thinking the former would be easier, and would also have the benefit of me being able to carry my music around with me, although I'd like it better if there were Karma's available with larger hard drives, because I hate having to swap playlists around with my pc.

inetport
02-06-2005, 01:04 AM
I have almost the same problem with the Malibu except I am trying to dump the XM, and replace it with Sirius. Sirius is a far better product and if you add in the extra cost of internet access, and premium channels on XM, Sirius is much cheaper in the long run. Sirius is one price for everything including Howard Stern when he switches Plus Sirius has twice as many and MUCH better rock stations then XM.
What I want to know is if there is a way to replace just the DIC (Driver information center) with a smaller unit that has no radio. Then I could buy a GOOD after market stereo with Sirius and still have all the functions of the DIC. I already found you can buy an FM transmitter in Bust Buy for $45 that goes in line and will block out everything on the frequency you choose. I have tried using the basic wireless FM transmistters and they do not work. You constantly have to change channels as you drive around, since the FM stations that are broadcasting are not blocked out. I purchased an adaptor for the Pioneer unit in my Ford truck and hooked the Sirius up and it is great The Malibu has no way to hook an external CD player up so that option is not available with GM. The unit at Best Buy appears to be the only option right now. That FM unit plugs right in line where the FM antenna plugs into your stereo. On the Malibu you can easily reach up behind the radio from the passenger side and plug it in. (the cover on the side is held with Velcro so it is very easy access). Once installed, when you turn the power on it blocks any FM signal on what every frequency you choose and will only allow the unit plugged into it to send a signal on that frequency to the radio. Then you can hookup anything to it that has a sound output, Sirius, XM, Ipod. I have heard of people removing their current radio/DIC and putting it under the seat or in the trunk so the DIC still works but that just makes the car look like crap. Sooner a later there has to be an aftermarket unit to replace this.

l3adMonky
02-08-2005, 08:45 PM
i have your answer. it's made by kenwood. it's called the music keg. go to this website "http://www.kenwoodusa.com/excelon/excelonKeg.jsp"; to check out more. it connects to your computer so you can download your mp3s to it (it also plays FLAC files by the way). then it plugs into your car. now if you want to keep your stock radio this might be the best option. i don't know if it has line level inputs so it can connect directly to your stereo. it does have a separate controller for it, because it was meant to directly connect to a kenwook head unit. the controller for sure uses fm modulation it's possible that it can be changed for direct input though. it depends on how their fm modulators work. check it out though, msrp is only 300 bux which seems less then your carputer. other than that you can use the jukebox in conjunction with a kenwood headunit and then use a radio adapter kit which relocates your radio in your car, that way you'll keep the features of your current radio, have a new more powerful radio, and you'll be able to transport your files from your computer to your car and keep the connection completely digital.

dagimp@cox.net
11-24-2006, 09:42 PM
Ok guys, first day ,first answer for some.
swaping radio with info system; can be done but as posted above the info system does alot. I put in an Eclipes 5495 double din head. put the factory radio in back under fuse panel. now I have the best of both worlds, great stereo and the ability to see and/or reset oil life,trip odo ect.
hope this helped.
dagimp:banghead:
P.S
info system can be bypassed.

shadow5599
01-03-2007, 11:42 PM
I found this to replace the DIC/Stereo:
http://www.scosche.com/scosche_caraudio.aspx?CategoryID=5&ItemID=GM1593B

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