Stereo swap from 96 SLS to 99 Eldorado + my findings after 8 hrs.
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Cadillac Seville / Cadillac Eldorado Forum Discussion, Stereo swap from 96 SLS to 99 Eldorado + my findings after 8 hrs. in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; I recently bought a 99 Eldo, it has an aftermarket JVC stereo in it that was installed poorly. I figured ...
  1. #1
    dou1t2 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Stereo swap from 96 SLS to 99 Eldorado + my findings after 8 hrs.

    I recently bought a 99 Eldo, it has an aftermarket JVC stereo in it that was installed poorly. I figured that I could get a OEM from a salvage yard or e-bay, or take it out of my 96 SLS. My SLS has 226K and I trust it to take me anywhere, but it has it's lil' quirks. I started researching a potential swap and found that it wasn't going to be as easy as I thought. I'm getting error codes and other wierd stuff going on with the Eldo and the JVC. After reading as much as I could today, it seems that the Head Unit (HU) controls a lot more than the stereo and if it has been removed or whatever it can and will disable things. I explained to a good buddy of mine that the HU is part of the brains to the car and this one is retarded! The lights flash at times, the mirrors move on their own volition, it serves up a number of error codes and so on. I decided before I take my working BOSE stereo w/ 12 disc changer from the trunk of the SLS, I should know what I might run into. I didn't know what was in my 99 Eldo originally, but found I could decipher codes on a few other sites. After reading 324 pages of RPO info, I only know I had a stereo with cd player, was it a BOSE, it didn't tell me. There is a wire connection in the trunk which appears to fit the 12 disc changer, which leads me to believe my swap may work. But if I pull the HU out of the SLS will it still run and I also understand that I will have to have it reprogrammed before going into Eldo. Any ideas or suggestions will be helpful. I also found this site which will accept VIN's for RPO info. The site that had been listed previously is down as some had written.

    www.decodethis.com

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    basscatt's Avatar
    basscatt is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Stereo swap from 96 SLS to 99 Eldorado + my findings after 8 hrs.

    this one is much better -
    will list EVERYTHING your car left the factory with -

    http://www.compnine.com/vid.php
    -----------------------------------------------

    There is a wire connection in the trunk
    which appears to fit the 12 disc changer,

    YES - that is exactly what it is -

    ALL 98 to 02 Eldos - 98 and 99 Sevilles - and 98 and 99 Devilles
    were all wired for the 12 disc changer in the trunk -
    and the 12 disc changer worked with both BOSE and non-BOSE units -

  4. #3
    MoistCabbage's Avatar
    MoistCabbage is online now Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    I don't think the free decoder on Compnine is working right now.

  5. #4
    stoveguyy is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Stereo swap from 96 SLS to 99 Eldorado + my findings after 8 hrs.

    i thought your headline meant you had tried to install the hu and gave up after 8hrs. i suppose it depends on what type of wire harness you find behind hu on the 99. if the factory harness is gone than you may have an issue. what is back there?

  6. #5
    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, slap in a big stereo
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    Re: Stereo swap from 96 SLS to 99 Eldorado + my findings after 8 hrs.

    CompNine has stopped the free one-per-day RPO decoder. Now you pay to play.

    The site listed in Post #1 will give you the basic car, base list price and a list of options - but not which options are in THAT car.

    About the best free option right now is to transcribe your RPO sticker and Google the master list of GM RPO's, then laboriosly translate your sticker.

  7. #6
    N*Caddy's Avatar
    N*Caddy is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Stereo swap from 96 SLS to 99 Eldorado + my findings after 8 hrs.

    To OP, is VERY SIMPLE to know what kind of sound system the car originally had, just remove the liner underneath the rear shelf (yeah the one held in place by those 4 black plastic nuts along the bottom edge of the rear glass visible once you open the trunk) and look at the speakers. If the speakers are just speaker then you have base sound system, if the speakers have mounted on the bottom side (underneath the magnet) an amplifier then you have BOSE sound system.
    If the speakers were replaced (better not) then you can still figure it out by looking at the harness for the speakers. If the harness is 2 wires then you have base sound, if is 4 wires (2 power and 2 sound) then you have BOSE.
    Generally speaking BOSE was the higher trim sound system, it was one of the few paid options. SLS and ESC are the lower trim level while STS and ETC were the higher trim level. People purchasing an SLS or an ESC were doing so because they could not afford an STS or an ETC (the difference was few thousand dollars). Now if you opt for a lower trim level (the base model) would you be likely to pay extra features like BOSE sound system?
    This is the reason why very few SLS or ESC vehicles have BOSE sound system. So your '96 SLS probably has base sound system, the '99 Eldorado depending on what is (ESC/ETC) is either base or BOSE.
    Do not get confused with the CD changer in the trunk, that has nothing to do with the sound system, both base and BOSE sound systems after '96 can be equipped with the disk changer (it was also a paid option). If you don't have the disk changer it doesn't mean you don't have BOSE, it just means the original owner decided to save ~$750 and not get the CD changer. Both base and BOSE car can be equipped with the CD changer but chances are a bit higher for the BOSE vehicles (is just financial odds).

    Now between '96 and '99 there are some changes to the HU (both base and BOSE).
    In '98 the Theftlock feature was introduced across the board.
    Other than that, base HU had no other changes and to be honest for somebody trying to retrofit a base HU in another vehicle the Theftlock is an annoyance that requires some $50 extra (will explain later).
    For the BOSE HU more changed were introduced in '98, a single slot CD player was added to the HU, the radio was enhanced with RDS (adds all the features you can possibly imagine in regards with the RDS, including updating the vehicle clock based on RDS) and few other changes like Home/Away settings.
    Any vehicle produced between (late) '96 and '97 CAN be retrofit with a '98+ HU as long as for BOSE vehicle a BOSE HU is used and for base vehicle a base HU is used. You CAN NOT install BOSE HU in base vehicle or base HU in BOSE vehicle (very important to understand this!).
    Noticed I mentioned "late" '96 above, well first of all we all know in '96 the Federal Government mandated that all vehicles MUST be OBDII compliant. This decision kind of caught GM by surprise so they were not able to fully update the vehicle by '96 production year, I mean were updated enough to be compliant but were not fully OBDII. This makes '96 a hybrid OBDI/OBDII. Some of the electronic modules were still OBDI and there are some unique things for '96. One of the last modules updated was the HU, some of the early '96 vehicle (i.e. mostly the ones manufactured in late '95 as a '96 model) did not have the OBDII HU, you can tell these vehicle apart by simply checking in the trunk if the CD changer cable is available or not. If no CD changer cable is kind of a bad news. I mean wire wise (to the HU) you have everything you need to upgrade to '98+ HU but if you want CD Changer you need to run the wires. Also I am not sure if the early '96 vehicle support the VIN request command on the data bus. I know you can retrofit a '96-'97 HU (it was done) but I am not sure if you can add '98+ (Theftlocked) HU. So better not have a '96 (early) vehicle.
    Now remember I mentioned about the addition of the Theftlock feature in '98 across the board. Well this is a feature preventing you to remove the HU from one vehicle and install it in another. What this feature cosnists of, the HU (keep in mind this is fully HU dependent) at start up asks the VIN on the data bus. The vehicle (IPC or DIM depending on vehicle and year) will return the VIN to the HU and the HU will compare to the one stored in its own memory. If is a match it means is still in the same vehilcle and will continue its starting sequence (i.e. you get your tunes). If is not a mactch will post a code for the IPC and will display "THEFTLOCK ENABLED" (or "LOCK" depending if BOSE or base) and will not start.
    When brand new (never ever installed in a vehicle) the HU has no VIN stored inside (is blank). When installed in the vehicle and turned ON for the very first time (generally this happens in the factory) it will ask the VIN and since it has none stored will store it (i.e. lock on this VIN).
    If you need to replace the HU, if the HU is brand new never, ever, ever installed in a vehicle then it will just work, if you get a used HU, then you need to do what is called "VIN relearn" procedure. There is a special command which can be sent to the HU on the data line (so the HU must be installed in the vehicle) to erase the previously stored VIN (you can also read the stored VIN so you can trace the HU to its original vehicle if you need to). Anyway this command can only be send with a GM preparatory tool called TechII (is kind of like the vehicle scanners you hear about only it is MUCH more expensive ~$3000).
    As I mentioned Theftlock is a feature preventing installing a HU from one vehicle to another, thus protecting you and me from having the HU stolen. GM has a protocol on how to perform the VIN relearn. You need to present with a proof of legal purchase of the HU stating the original owner's name and contact details (including a phone number) and the VIN of the donor vehicle. GM should check that the VIN of the HU is indeed matching the one on the papers. Most dealers will not bother with this but don't count on it. What most dealer WILL do however is charge a minimum of $50 for their effort, this is why I mentioned a Theftlocked HU retrofit involves extra cost.
    Now if you have a '98+ vehicle with base sound system and you want to install another OEM HU, you can use ANY (late) '96+ HU and since between '96-'97 base HU and '98+ there is absolutely no difference other than the Theftlock feature, well if you don't care about it in order to save ~$50 you can use a '96 or '97 HU only.
    If you have BOSE sound system, well since the '98+ HU ads the CD slot and the RDS, you will likely want to use a '98+ HU but as I mentioned it comes with the $50+ extra cost for the VIN relearn procedure. But surely you can install a '96 or '97 HU just as well (and no need to do the VIN relearn thing, will be just plug and play).

    You can recognize a HU with the Theftlock feature by the white “theftlock” logo printed on the bottom right side of the display cover.
    Also you can recognize the BOSE HU from the regular HU by the white BOSE logo printed on the bottom left side of the display cover. Well actually BOSE HU are quite different than base ones (there are extra buttons and so on) but Cadillac did a very good job to make the 2 HU look very similar, a non trained eye will not be able to spot the difference.

    Hope this was not confusing, is actually very simple once you get it.

  8. #7
    dou1t2 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Stereo swap from 96 SLS to 99 Eldorado + my findings after 8 hrs.

    Thanks for all the replies! I haven't started this project yet, I spent 8 hrs reading and searching. I thought the RPO sites might tell me if I had Bose or not, all they said was a AM-FM CD FF/RW stereo. I will check the speaker wires today to see if I have 4 or 2. To clarify, the 96 SLS has BOSE, which according to what N* said will not have the theftlock as it was made before they introduced that feature. If I'm lucky I will find 4 wires for the rear speakers and an original wiring harness intact in the 99 ESC, which should make the swap somewhat easy. My next concern would be what problems will I encounter with the HU out of the SLS, will it still run and give me wierd messages or ............................

  9. #8
    N*Caddy's Avatar
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    Re: Stereo swap from 96 SLS to 99 Eldorado + my findings after 8 hrs.

    It should run ok, however why are you not going to the local wreck yard and spend $25 on a replacement HU to have it in both cars?
    On your '99 if it proves to be BOSE then why not going the extra $50 and get the In-Dash '98+ BOSE HU.
    You are looking at a '98-'01 STS/SLS, '98-'02 ETC/ESC or a '98-'02 DTS/DHS. As long as is BOSE and it has the YELLOW!!!!!!!! RDS logo on the top left corner of the HU fascia it will work just fine. Just make sure you get some kind of a paper from the wreck yard that is legally purchased.
    You can check eBay too, you get it for about the same price however you have to pay shipping.

  10. #9
    curtc's Avatar
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    I have the Bose HU from my 2001 STS, $40+shipping. PM me if interested.

    I have the OEM Bose subwoofer too from that car, just throwing it out there in case someone needs one...
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  11. #10
    dou1t2 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Stereo swap from 96 SLS to 99 Eldorado + my findings after 8 hrs.

    Quick update, I work during the week and haven't had a chance to look into it further at this point. Well, maybe I could have but it's a 106 degrees at 6PM, and I really didn't feel like crawling into the trunk of the Eldo! I may get back to you curtc, and thanks for the offer. What N* says makes sense!

  12. #11
    dou1t2 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Stereo swap from 96 SLS to 99 Eldorado + my findings after 8 hrs.

    I finally had a chance to check this out tonight. The rear speakers have been replaced with 6x9 aftermarkets. I could see other wires, but really couldn't discern if they were 2 or 4. I did see 2 wires that had plastic connections or couplers on them that were wrapped in black, and could be a 4 wire setup. I have included a pic of the drivers door front speaker which is not currently hooked up to the JVC stereo, which is also pictured. Is this a Bose speaker? I think it fits the description of a Bose, from what I've read. It has an amp to the right of the speaker, or at least that's what I think it is. I started to remove the JVC, and realized I might not have enough time to see the 32 pin connector, that would fit the HU and then get it back together tonight, so I quit. I need it to be intact as this is my daily driver.
    Attached Images

  13. #12
    curtc's Avatar
    curtc is offline OCD - Obsessive Cadillac Disorder
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    That door speaker is NOT Bose, definitely aftermarket.
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  14. #13
    dou1t2 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Stereo swap from 96 SLS to 99 Eldorado + my findings after 8 hrs.

    Thanks, curtc. I guess I need a non-Bose HU then. Thanks for your offer of the Bose HU, but I can't use it apparently.

  15. #14
    N*Caddy's Avatar
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    Re: Stereo swap from 96 SLS to 99 Eldorado + my findings after 8 hrs.

    In my very long post I believe I mentioned you can tell if BOSE by looking if you have 2 or 4 wires to the speakers.
    The doors speakers are not the ones I would go first (you need to remove the door panel, not just the grille - very easy to brake those 4 clips that way). Is far more easier to look at the rear speakers, just unscrew the 4 very obvious plastic nuts along the bottom side of the rear shelf visible with the trunk lid open and remove the liner. You can see the bottom of the rear speakers along with the harness. Again very easy, I can tell is BOSE or base in less than 30 seconds even if it was messed with and none of the original equipment exists.

    Then on the other hand I see you have ESC and SLS, in these cars the chance to be BOSE is almost 0 to begin with. These are the base trim level, people bought them on a budget, so is pretty unlikely to order a hot dog in a gold plate.

  16. #15
    stoveguyy is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    I have found many non Bose cars with Bose marked front door enclosures. Seems to me the 95-96-97 cars all used the same plastic speaker housing whether car had Bose system or not. I think both versions had different amp modules inside plastic housings. I need a new driver side door panel but in a light cream color. I found a nice dark tan color one this week with good clips but wrong color. I always check out any 94-95-96 Seville in yard. 99% have broken door panels.

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