: 98 - Catera Stereo Install - In Detail

02-09-13, 02:02 AM
Hi Gang,
Okay yes. The Bose system was/is nice. However, I have NO use for the tape deck and the CD player in mine finally stopped working.
So what to do? Time to replace it all.

I will be documenting the ENTIRE project here. I already have a few tips for those of you that want to do this on your own. I can say, if you take this to an audio place, you will spend at least $1000 in labor alone. SCREW THAT!

I have already done some and will post pics as soon as I can.
First let me say. I LOVE THIS little caddy. SUCH a nice ride, nice features. So I have no issues putting a fine "Audio Bumper" in it.

AMP and speakers.
I went with a JBL GTO‑5EZ 5-Channel Amp. Why you ask? Well, I had never heard it until I installed one in a Honda for a friend. WOW! it was nice. Now look, I do not plan to enter any contests, I just want nice sound and this will MORE than accommodate. One amp does it all. If you Audio freaks want more, you are more than welcome. This build out is for the regular guy/gal who wants a nice system with absolute minimum modifications.

Front Doors - I have two options here. I CURRENTLY have these speakers by JBL for the Front: GTO509C
These are 5 1/4. However, I am told 6.5" will work too. I chose the smaller ones because these will sound great and will provide me better install options. These are deep speakers and will require a special spacer to mount. I am hoping to be able to build a spacer which will prevent me cutting the door and still maintain the look of the door panel. We will see. I will keep you posted and post pics as I get everything done.

The TWEETER in the front door: As you know, the tweeter is mounted in the Upper corner, little black triangle. It is easy to remove. Simply use a door panel removal tool, (NOT A SCREWDRIVER!) and with the blade inserted between the tweeter and the door, rotate your hand back and forth until it pops loose. DO NOT REMOVE the little black tweeter screen. I did that and now I have to glue it back (Dangit!) The JBL tweeters fit best. Now, you will also have to BREAK the stock tabs off that hold the current bose tweeter. Big deal, just do it! Use flat tip plyers or equivalent. The Rockford Fosgate Prime's are TOO BIG. I suppose you can make them fit if you modify the foam pad behind the tweeter, but I chose to mount those (Rockford Fosgate Prime) in the rear doors.

Rear Doors and Tweeters: Currently there are cute little 3.5" speakers mounted to a 3-screw adapter. You have to remove the adapter. The speaker is attached to it, so once you remove the adapter, the speaker will come with it. bear in mind, there is rather sticky foam behind the spacer, so you have to use firm prying action to remove it.
Here is a tip. SOME Catera's came with a tweeter in the back door too (mine did not), as a result, mounting a tweeter is perfect. Even the door panel is set for it. Again, BREAK the tabs on the door panel where the speakers are. (I assume you have already removed the door panel. I WILL NOT tell you have to remove the door panel. You should already know how to do it.) I will connect these to the rear channel of my Head Unit since all of my amp channels will be used.

Because I used the Rockford Fosgate tweeters I had to user an Air-powered grinder to widen already drilled tweeter hole. If I had another set of JBL's, the tweeter would easily screw into the door with the supplied adapters. Oh well. No big deal. These will be fine too. Again, When I take more pics, I will post them up.

Again, I have to fabricate some sort of angled mounting spacer to get the 5" speaker in the door. Not sure how I am going to do this yet. No! I do not want to use Fiberglass. I will most likely build it form dense particle board. The whole idea is to make it look as stock as possible.

Rear Deck - This is where it will get fun. I can mount a set of 6.5" with little or no issue, or I can get creative and mount 6x9's. Really not sure yet until I tear it apart and look. To do a proper job, you have to remove the entire rear deck. I have the actual service manuals, so this will not be a tough task.

Trunk - for the trunk, check this out. I have this one: GT5-1202BR by JBL. It is a 12" Ported sub, that slides RIGHT underneath the current amp without issue. The way to place is speaker towards the back. This allows for the angle of the seat back. You mount the amp directly on to the back of the woofer box. This provides you quick access to the crossover controls simply by dropping the seat back. I will most likely use the current AMP rack as a place to run central wires and mount the front speaker crossovers. COOL, HUH!? So I can say with confidence. You can slide a nice woofer in there and STILL have tons of trunk space.

I will also devise a cool way to mount it securely. I have not figured it out just yet.

The whole idea is for me to install this system without trashing the current door panels or back deck.

The Stereo itself. I purchased a Sony CDX-GT700HD because it had the best price and best features. Sure, pick out any deck you want. I picked this specifically for the USB, 24-Bit, and 6-Preouts and 1 Preamp in. YOU MUST GET A DECK with 6 RCA outputs (Sub, Rear, Front). It just makes for cleaner installs and better sound. I saved this for last as THIS was a PAIN IN THE A$$. Oh man, I cannot even begin to tell you. You will need patience and time. You will also have to be ready and willing to drive your car around with no stereo in it and stuff hanging out until you have time to get back to it.
Really gang, it was a PAIN, but I have the stereo mounted and it looks great. No, it is not hooked up, but this the hardest part and it is all ready for wiring.

The Deck mods: Jeez, where do I begin? Well. The install kit you see being sold is only good for ONE thing. Making it look nice on the front. THERE IS NO way you can slide the deck-sleeve in, push the tabs to support it, then load your deck. There are MANY mods to do.

Since I have to pull my deck again to complete the wiring, I will update the images and show you want I did. In short, I had to bust off the "supplied" mounting Tabs on the install dash kit. I also have to cut the BACK of the stock car deck tray to allow for the size of the head unit. TIP, get a shallow deck if you do not want to cut it. I cut it and it was not big deal and my deck fit fine.

You also have to notch the dash kit on both sides about 3mm. ( I will take a pic - you will see it).

I also had to purchase a little spacer, washer- screw-combination set I developed to make it mount perfectly. And it did. It worked great. (Pics coming)

So...without further waiting, here is my first pic. It looks like this because I still have to pull the deck to complete the wiring. I just want you to see how clean it is. It is tight and really sweet.


I will take any questions and suggestions.
More to come.


02-10-13, 03:45 AM

I put one speaker and tweeter in the front passenger door today. Wow, what an ordeal.
Since I used a 5.25" speaker I was able to install my JBL component easily using the supplied adapter.
I had to perform additional mods:
1. Shave the formed tabs holding the old Bose speaker
2. Placed foam pad between the adapter and speaker mount.
3. Drill holes for the new speaker ( on adapter, not the car)and use clips to secure it to the adapter.

So, I have the speaker in nicely but the Catera has a complex wire-twist off Canon plug attached to the door so I have No way to run new wires.

I will be pulling the door and drilling new wire feed holes. No big deal; easy to do. Just time.

And.. It looks like I will not be installing speakers in the rear Door. I am quite sure the amp/ speaker combo I have will suffice.

Today I also learned it would be wise for me to install a 1-1.5 Farad Capacitor and Ground Isolation Block to save future hassle.

Since I have a good handle on the speaker mount for the door, I will take pics tomorrow and post them.


02-10-13, 05:48 PM
I had no porblem with the stock radio. Only thing that never gave me an issue. Also I did had the trunk mounted CD changer. I don't like the look of after market radios. Also the stock radio has no value if someone were incline to steal it.

02-11-13, 02:59 AM
I am not worried about someone stealing it. The deck is removable as is the face to prevent prying eyes. And...my car has a security system. The features with the deck I have installed are far and above better than the stock deck. Now, Back in 98, it was amazing. However, I like the new one and I am looking forward to using it.

Yes, I have to jump through a few hoops.
1) I have to get another wiring unit to maintain Steering wheel controls.
2) I need to get a Capacitor to prevent power drain (just in case),
3) Running the wires from the trunk to the deck is an ORDEAL.
4) Running the fused power from the trunk to the battery was a pain too.

..this is a good point to mention today's update...
Yes, I ran wires today and mounted the other door speaker. (Driver's side) I still did connect anything because I was too flippin tired! I did run all the pre-amp cables and connected them and re-mounted the deck to make sure I had space. Spacing was fine and it mounted back easily.

Gang..What I am going for here is nice sound system that is hidden.

Running the wires is crazy. I recommend running them all, (except for the passenger side speaker) down the drivers side. You have to pull all of the running panels, the back seat, the kick panel, the fuse cover, the spare tire, and the upper kick panel released by two or three large black plastic 90-degree tighten and release fasteners. This will expose the area to run the wires to the deck. Feed them all up and over the vent. You will see it. You have to crawl in there to see it all.

When you pull the spare tire, pull back the gray covering and you will see where the main wire harness feeds through. This is where all the wires get fed back through. Hide them all between/underneath the left most part of the seat padding.

Since there is so little space to pull the wires to the deck, I fed some 14 gauge speaker wire down till I saw it drop to the floor, then I taped/wrapped them down the speaker wire to maintain a thin(ish) pull. There is no way to shove them all up at once because the Pre-amp cables are thick. Once I taped them all up, I pulled the speaker wire back through pulling all of my cables in one shot. Easy

I found a Firewall grommet. Simply poke a hole large enough to slip the 4-Gauge battery wire through, but tight enough to maintain the seal. THIS WAS A BUGGER to do. Once you feed it through, use a long hook-like tool, (I used a snap-on hose tool), to pull the wire into view, then I fed it to the battery where I will connect it up. When you feed it through it will come up left side of the master cylinder. Sure you can get it easier if you pull the wiper shroud, but I did not feel like doing it and the hook tool pulled it through just fine.

Just to re-iterate. I am replacing the BOSE system entirely and putting a nice aftermarket system in. If you are reading this, you must know, this is a bugger of a job. The caddy is built nice and everything is tight. I am doing a really good job on this and I can guarantee if you choose to have this done at a shop, they will charge you a ton of money. Or, they might estimate an amount and then realize later they under-estimated.

I am also using/modifying the speaker spacers currently in the door. I do not want to trash the doors or rear deck.

SO...Currently I have run all the major wires, installed the door component speakers, installed the deck to make sure it fits with all cables attached (and it does).

My final step is to mount my rear deck speakers, run the passenger-side speaker wire and connect it all up. I do plan on using a 1 - 1.9 Farad Cap and Ground distribution block.

For the ground distribution block, I will run it down the spare tire drain and underneath to the bare frame. There is already a hole there, so it should be fine. I will most likely run ZERO gauge wire. Not sure just yet.

I almost done with it. I know I promised pictures, but I was by myself today and did not feel like it!

I will take any questions or comments if you are thinking of doing this on your own.

See ya later gang!

02-11-13, 10:03 AM
Well, you sound very talented.

02-15-13, 12:15 AM

Okay.. The aftermarket stereo is in and works great. I have a few things to do yet. Clean up my wires, etc.
Here are some things I found out the books don't tell you.

4" speakers will fit in the rear doors using the current Bose mounting spacers but you MUST modify them. Here is what I did. I shaved off the 4 little guide tabs holding the 3.5" speakers. Then I widened the hole just enough to fit the 4" speaker. With the speaker just placed, used a paint pen to mark where you will drill holes. Use a small bit just smaller than the self tap screw to prevent cracking. Drill the hole at about a 45 degree angle over the marks you just made. Again hold the speaker firmly on your spacer and use a hammer and bend/form the tabs over the lip to line up with your holes. Use a hand Phillips and mount your speaker. Repeat for other rear door.

The wiring harness you get will not work. You have to use a test light to find proper deck power, ground, illumination/constant hot. I still have not found them. When I do, I will post it. I just have it hooked to constant hot and ground.

What they show on crutchfield only applies if you are keeping the current system intact. I replaced the whole thing!

The perfect amp ground is the rear seat belt hold-down screw. Use a Large Eye-cap for the wire.

I want to use my steering wheel controls and the best one to use is from here:
I do not have it yet, but plan to.

The cleanest way to run wires to the rear speakers is the remove the wire running panel, the inner center-side panel. This is the panel just below where the seat belt mounts about head high. Once removed, use a 21mm socked and remove the seat belt collector roller. NOTE!!! BEFORE YOU REMOVE IT, pull as much slack as you can. Places something on it so it does not roll up and move it out of the way so you do not hit it. If it rolls up you will not be able to remount it unless you know how to finesse the belt roller. TRUST ME! Just do it like I said!

Once the seat belt roller is out, you will see firm rubber padding in there, grab it and stuff it up out of the way taking care not to tear it. Remove the in side grommet.

Here is the cool part! Squeeze the two plastic tabs hold the wire to the door and push them in. Now remove the lower outside grommet all the way and joila it is a wire plug. Separate the plug and now you can fish wire through the inner grommet underneath the seatbelt roller, out the lower outside grommet, up thought rubber tube ( slight mod required- slice it open, feed the wire, retape) into the door.

Try and keep the wire as close to the door as possible so the window does not hit it.

Reseat all grommets, re connect wire plug, reseat belt roller pad, mount seatbelt roller.

That is about it for now. More details to come.
If anyone has questions, please let me know.



Update again. Do not need a capacitor.
4" speakers fit great in rear doors. You can also get 3.5".

Sorry no pics.. Too much of a pain.
Ask me questions, I will respond.

04-01-13, 06:13 PM
Any updates on this.

I just came from the BestBuy shop and those guys are asking for 450$ to put in a new stereo alone no speaker replacement. They told me that the BOSE needs some sort of wiring harness that converts normal speaker wire signals to RCA in order to feed that info into the OEM amp then from there all wires go to the speakers. Now i need to go figure out where to get that harness and go from there.

08-03-13, 07:01 PM
I disconnected and bypassed the Bose amp. I recommend complete amp replacement. I mounted mine to the back of my Woofer cab.
My bose amp is still right where it is, just not connected.

Sorryf or the late reply. I have not checked my email attached to this board in a while!

Please forgive

10-30-13, 04:46 PM
how hard do you think it would be to put a double din in there?

11-02-13, 11:59 PM
Any updates on this.

I just came from the BestBuy shop and those guys are asking for 450$ to put in a new stereo alone no speaker replacement. They told me that the BOSE needs some sort of wiring harness that converts normal speaker wire signals to RCA in order to feed that info into the OEM amp then from there all wires go to the speakers. Now i need to go figure out where to get that harness and go from there.

Hi SORRY!. I have not read this thread in a while.

Putting a stereo in this car is a bugger! If you have the cash..Have a SUPER-GOOD-PRO do it. If you have the time, patience, ability, and tools, by all means do it yourself.

I still have not been able to find a decent Constant-Hot to use. I have test-lit everywhere too. I might just have to run a line right from the battery.


how hard do you think it would be to put a double din in there?

I dunno. Might not be too bad. The only hard part I can foresee is securing it. As you saw in my pic, my kit came with a space above the deck. Looks like there is enough room. I WOULD however, recommend a space-saver sized deck. Meaning one which does not protrude back so far. I had to modify my kit and really work with the wires to get the deck slide in well. It was a bugger.

11-13-13, 04:19 PM
Hello guys im planning to replace my stereo too with double din Pioneer, just want ability to plug usb, use bluetooth and mp3. what hardes I need to get and frame to install. How about buttons on steering wheel, will thay work ????
Thank you