: How to install a double DIN aftermarket head unit w/steering wheel controls

07-24-09, 11:18 AM
I find stuff on the internet all the time that helps me 'do it myself'

I figured I'd offer this write up as my way of 'giving back'.
Before I get started, I want to point out a few things:

1. This isn't an argument about brands
2. Anyone that has extra input, PLEASE share (the more info the better)
3. If you don't need the info, then it isn't for you. This is for those that still need to install one or more of these items.

Now that that's out of the way, before you get started, there are some items that you'll need:

(Note: This install was done on a 2004 Escalade ESV)

Aftermarket Stereo/Radio/Head Unit

Bose/Door Chime Retention Adapter (I used the GMOS-04)

Steering Wheel Interface Adapter (I used peripheral)

Antenna Adapter

Double DIN dash kit

7 MM socket and wrench

Philips screwdriver (and possibly a jewelers screwdriver)

Crimp caps (or butt connectors - whichever you prefer)
I personally prefer crimp caps. To me, the provide a more secure connection. If you go to the installation bay at Best Buy, usually you can get an installer to give you a handful or so for free.

Electrical tape

Crimp Tool

Wire Stripper Tool

and last but not least, lots of Patience

Ok, first you want to pry off the dash trim piece. I started on the side closest to the passenger seat

Then go to the other side and do the same.

After you pull these back, you'll want to put the vehicle in first and put your e-brake on. Then tilt the steering wheel all the way down. This will give you clearance to get the dash piece out. After you pull it out, set it aside somewhere. (I just sat mine in the back seat)

Now you can put the vehicle back in park. Your factory radio will now be able to be removed. There are three 7 MM bolts holding it in

Remove those bolts, and be sure to put them in a safe place, because you'll need them for reassembly. Then slide the radio forward.

In the back of the radio, you'll have two wire harness plugs, and an antenna plug. If you have factory nav, you'll also have the GPS antenna plug. Disconnect all of these to remove the radio

At this point, to save you some time I'll include a tip that I found out after I was well into the install. You'll have a lot more space to work with if you go ahead and detach the HVAC control assembly from the dash as well. You don't have to disconnect the cables, just the bolts and clips. There are two 7 MM bolts holding it in, and 4 clips - one at each corner

******Removal is done! Now for the fun part - let's begin the installation!

First you want to take your Onstar/Door Chime/Bose retention adapter (I used the GMOS-04) and plug in the two ends that match the factory plugs

Plug the other end into the adapter itself.

Plug the other wire harness into the other side of the adapter, and cut the 'brown loop' wire, and tape it up

Next, get your steering wheel adapter ready. Pay very close attention to the wires. You'll need a steering wheel adapter specific for your radio. Since I installed a JVC, I needed the SWI-JACK (JVC, Alpine, Clarion and Kenwood). Make sure you get the proper adapter for your radio.
For mine, the 'brown loop' also needed to be cut

There are several wires coming from the steering wheel adapter, but only THREE of them will be used.
The Black for ground
The Red for ignition and
(in my case) The Green for the steering wheel wire

Now that the two brown loops are cut and taped, you can begin connecting wires.
First start with the ground. Twist the wires together from the radio, the Onstar adapter and the steering wheel adapter, and then put a crimp cap (or butt connector) on to secure them
***Tip*** If you want to be able to watch the DVD's play while the vehicle is in motion (not in park), connect the parking brake cable to the ground. This does not damage the radio at all. Cut this wire to the same length as the ground, and save the rest - you'll need it for the steering wheel wire****

Next you'll want to connect the red ignition wires together. There should be three - one from the radio, one from the Onstar adapter and one from the steering wheel adapter.

***FOR NOW - this is the last wire that you will connect from the steering wheel adapter!!!***

The speaker wires from your radio's wire harness will NOT be used!
The Onstar adapter has RCA cables that must be plugged into the corresponding RCA outputs from your radio
***Tip - Red = right and White = left***
The Onstar adapter also provides a vehicle speed sensor wire, which I think is pretty cool, even though my nav system doesn't need it. If yours does, this will save you the headache of trying to locate it.

Continue connecting all of the corresponding color coded wires.
NOTE**Be sure to connect the remote/amp turn on wire properly! If you connect it to the power antenna wire, you will only have sound when the FM/AM radio is playing!

Once you're done, it's a good idea to use some electrical tape and group the wires together. This not only looks a lot neater, it'll also make it easier to cram everything back into the dash when it's time to reassemble.

Now you can connect the antenna adapter

Now that that's done, you can take the extra wire that you cut from the parking brake wire for your radio, and connect it to the corresponding wire for your steering wheel adapter. Mine just happened to be green - make sure you read the instructions for your specific adapter to ensure you connect to the proper wire.

Now you'll need to run this wire back behind/inside the dash so that it comes out under the steering column.

To make it easier to get to the steering wheel wire, remove the bottom trim piece under the steering wheel. There are two 7 MM bolts you'll need to remove, and then it'll just pop/slide out

After you get that piece off, you'll want to locate this ginormous wire plug.
If you have trouble locating it, just follow the wires coming from the steering wheel.

It will be easier to tap into the wire you need if you remove this plug. To do so, VERY CAREFULLY take the gray handle and rotate it to the right. It's a very tight fit, so go slowly and be careful.

Once that gray handle is rotated all the way around, you'll need something to slightly pry on the bottom to be able to pull it out.

Once you get the plug out, orient it in a way that you are looking at it as if it was still plugged in. This light green wire is the one you need to tap into.

With the plug/harness facing the connector, this wire is on the left side towards the bottom (B31). It's in between a green and black wire (top) and a gray and white wire (bottom)

How you tap into this wire is up to you. You can use a wire tap connector or a different method. I would recommend that you DON'T cut it.
What I did was trace the wire up and away from the actual plug so that I'd have a little extra room to work with. Then I took my wire stripper and made an opening on the coating, then carefully separated the strands of wire to make a small 'hole' between them. Then I stripped the end of the wire that I was running from my adapter (after cutting it to lenght/fit) and ran it inside the 'hole' and wrapped it around. Then I covered it very tight/secure with electrical tape.

At this point, all of your wires should be connected (the wires that you'll actually be using). For all of the extra wires, you'll need to either tape them up at the ends or put a crimp cap on them. This is to ensure that they don't cause any type of short once they're behind the dash.

Once everything is all taped and crimped up, do a little 'clean up' again by using electrical tape to group the wires together. Go ahead now and plug all of the connections into your radio (wire harness and antenna adapter)

Now you'll need to turn on the vehicle to program these adapters BEFORE you start reassembly.

If at this point your vehicle doesn't start - don't panic. You probably forgot to reinsert the plug under the steering wheel (uh.......not that I made that mistake or anything)

For the Onstar adapter, there are two potentiometers that you may need to adjust. 'Potentiometer' sounds like a really big word, and it is, but don't worry. All they are, are adjustment knobs.
On my model, there was one next to one of the wire harnesses, and one on the side. One of these is for the radio volume and the other is for door chime volume. The instructions tell you which is which.

Once you're done making those adjustments, you'll need to program your steering wheel adapter. Follow the instructions for your particular model to ensure you do it properly.

Once you're done with these, you can turn off the vehicle and get started on the dash kit. Follow the dash kit instructions to get the fit for the Escalade. Even though it was for double DIN, mine had a small bar across the middle for single DIN. If yours does as well, carefully cut this off to make it a flush double DIN opening.

Once the dash kit is assembled and ready for installation, get your radio ready. If it came with a trim ring and metal sleeve, remove them. At this point, you'll need just the radio itself.
Take the supplied screws (that should have come with your radio) and screw the radio into the dash kit on both sides.

Once you're done with this, you're ready to reassemble everything (finally)

I suggest going very slow and being very careful during reassembly. Put the radio in before reattaching the HVAC controls. There is a large cavity to the upper left behind where the radio will sit, and a smaller cavity to the upper right. What I did was cram the steering wheel adapter into the upper right cavity first, followed by the Onstar adapter, then followed with the wires split up between the two cavities. For me, at this point it was a plus that I left the wires longer instead of cutting them short (those that I connected.)

Once you get the radio bolted in, reattach all remaining items and you're done!

I hope this helps someone get through the install.
If anyone else has any installation tips, PLEASE add them. The more info, the better!

I had more pics, but we're limited to 15, so I included the ones I thought were most important.

07-26-09, 03:08 PM
This is an awesome write up. I tried to do it but I snapped my flash memory card after taking the pics. I'm dumb :) How hard was programming the PAC Steering Wheel Adapter? I haven't done mine yet, but everything else is EXACTLY as you mentioned it.

07-26-09, 06:13 PM
The steering wheel adapter was pretty easy.....once I read the instructions. It's pretty straight forward. You just connect the three wires, and before you put it back into the dash, there is a specific order that you press your steering wheel buttons for the adapter to learn the controls. Only takes a couple minutes to program.

Oh, and my steering wheel adapter was Peripheral, but I'm sure it would be the same for a PAC

07-27-09, 05:38 PM
I like the steering wheel writeup, I just installed a Pioneer AVH-P3100D (in-dash dvd, double din) but decided to wait to do the steering wheel portion until I got more information, which thankfully you just provided. I have an EXT and also installed a CarAudioFactory custom sub-box, the one that replaces the entire backwall. I have the slot-ported version for two 10's. IF any EXT owners are reading & wondering, YES - the box was well worth the cost & expensive shipping. It looks great and sounds great, I highly doubt any under the seat box could compete.

07-27-09, 09:39 PM
Glad I could help

08-06-09, 02:10 PM

08-06-09, 02:19 PM
:welcome: Where are the pic's of the head unit? Which head unit did you go with? Thanks Donald

08-06-09, 02:51 PM
I went with a JVC KW-NX7000



08-09-09, 11:33 AM
:welcome: WOW! That looks Great! Thank you for spending the time to post up your Thread!! Donald :thumbsup:

08-10-09, 10:56 AM
Thanks - I think next I'll add how to install a flip down monitor

10-10-09, 12:24 PM
This is very helpful, I'm planning to do this as well. Only different head unit. Thanks for the write up.

12-11-09, 05:36 PM
Thank you so much bro. You saved me a lot of head ache. Everytime I stopped to think what next, all I had to do is follow your directions and it went well. You are the man!

12-12-09, 02:16 PM
Maybe as a way of REALLY giving back you could come install a DD in my 02!! :)

12-15-09, 09:46 AM
Thank you so much bro. You saved me a lot of head ache. Everytime I stopped to think what next, all I had to do is follow your directions and it went well. You are the man!

Glad I could help

Maybe as a way of REALLY giving back you could come install a DD in my 02!! :)

Maybe if you were in NC

12-15-09, 11:37 AM
haha, I will be there tomorrow!

01-25-10, 09:37 AM
Quick question - which factory head unit did you have before the JVC?


01-27-10, 07:23 AM
I had the factory nav unit ('04, non-touch screen)

01-28-10, 12:10 PM
Nice job! Thanks for the excellent article!

02-26-10, 02:04 PM
Would this work for an 02 EXT?

03-01-10, 01:17 PM
The '02 doesn't have a Double DIN radio opening, so you wouldn't be able to install a Double DIN head unit without modifying your dash trim piece. Aside from that, I'm sure most of the rest would be pretty similar.

03-03-10, 12:58 AM
Light modifying on the 02. Its not as difficult as you'd think!

03-05-11, 09:36 PM
Great and Perfect writing!
I do have exact same factory system as yours, non-touch screen nav, 6 disc change and rear seat dvd player, etc..
I also have planning to install JVC or Kenwood for main Navigation, But I want to install other single din player instead of factory 6 disc player?
Is that possible to do that? any advice?

03-07-11, 01:29 AM
Thanks for the nice post. I also intend to replace the stock head unit and will follow your guide.

03-10-11, 06:35 PM
Great and Perfect writing!
I do have exact same factory system as yours, non-touch screen nav, 6 disc change and rear seat dvd player, etc..
I also have planning to install JVC or Kenwood for main Navigation, But I want to install other single din player instead of factory 6 disc player?
Is that possible to do that? any advice?

You could replace that 6 disc pretty easily. The cover pops off, and then you just unscrew it. Then you'd be able to run cabling behind the dash to splice into whatever head unit you install. It's a single DIN size, so anything that size should fit.
I plan on replacing mine - I'm just a bit of a MAJOR procrastinator, and I just haven't gotten around to it.

10-17-12, 04:43 PM
Post a new thread instead.

08-25-14, 11:14 AM
I just purchased a 2004 Escalade ESV. Did this install retain the rear seat controls for the stereo?

the cadillac man
08-25-14, 03:50 PM
I just purchased a 2004 Escalade ESV. Did this install retain the rear seat controls for the stereo?

Yes it does