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2008 Escalade
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I drive a 2008 Escalade short box with every option they had that year. While the factory unit and options are nice, it lacked some features I wanted like a USB port and aux input that I didn't have to use in the rear of my center console. Recently, with the phenomenal programming assistance of fellow member Dsminva, I successfully upgraded my 2008 factory unit to a 2014 nav unit. Despite all the rumors 2008 Escalades could not be upgraded, it can be done with the right programming.

It's the exact clean, factory upgrade I was looking to complete.

This forum has been good to me so I thought I'd give back by doing my own write-up on how to install the nav unit and perform the USB upgrade. It's much easier than you might think. This can be done with any year factory nav unit, I just wanted the newest. As well, you'll see I upgraded two USB ports. You can do 1 or all of them, the main idea is to show you how it's done. You can also just update any port to be a clean looking USB port and not do the radio upgrade. It's all up to you.

Here are the added features of MY upgrade (older radio units may not have all these features):

- USB connection that displays music info on the nav screen and can be controlled from the screen or steering wheel. It also charges as you use it. I put this USB port in my center console.
- Second USB connection for charging only. This is a faster charge and it's always on, so you can charge while the vehicle is off. This is next to the cup holders.
- XM Traffic and Weather. You have to buy a new XM tuner if it's older than 2012 to get the full features. They can be found for less than $100 online. Added bonus is that multiple members have not had to activate the XM/Sat subscription, it automatically plays every station. Who knows how long it'll last though.
- Faster processing speed with newer units (2013/2014).
- Screen looks to be a higher resolution (not night and day but a subtle improvement).
- Back-up lines for reverse camera that turn when you turn.
- NOTE: The 2014 nav unit does NOT have tilt screen or a 6-disc changer. It is 1 disc. I didn't care much for either feature, so keep that in mind.

What you will need for this install (you can order according to what you desire, this is just how I did it):

- 2014 nav unit (or whatever you choose).
- New XM Tuner if you want to use XM/Sat traffic and weather (radio has to support it as well).
- 2 GM USB ports (receptacles) and 1 GM USB cover (retainer). USB receptacle part #20944422 and USB cover (retainer) part #20983937. I used the 1 USB cover (retainer) for the center console USB port. You CANNOT put a cover on the USB port next to the cup holders. It is a different style retainer (no cover) and will not fit one with a cover unless you plan on trimming and gluing plastic. I kept it as simple as possible. Anyway, they look like this:
GM USB Connector and Lid.JPG
GM USB Connector Rear.JPG

- 2 USB 2.0 Male to Mini Male cords. NOT micro (the newest style) but the older mini style. GM only uses mini usb for both the back of the radio and the back of the USB ports. 1 cord should be 5 feet long and the other as short as you can find. Too long is not a big deal since you can store it underneath everything (just less hassle). Here are what the cords should look like:
USB Mini Cable.JPG

- 1 USB 2.0 Female to Mini Male adapter for the USB cord coming from the radio to the center console. Again, both the back of the nav unit and back of the usb port use a mini usb connection. You cannot buy a mini to mini usb cord so you have to get an adapter to make your USB 2.0 male to mini male cord connect properly. Here is what the adapter looks like:
USB Adaptor.JPG

- Plastic trim removal set. You can get one at any auto store, harbor freight store, or online. Need them to safely remove your trim to get to the radio and center console wiring.
- 7mm socket for radio screws.
- Philips screwdriver for removal of center console lid and rear center console bezel.
- OPTIONAL: Cigarette lighter removal tool. The old receptacles are clipped in and require either two small flathead screwdrivers or a specialized tool to push two little tabs out and release the cigarette lighter portion from the retainer. You have to push the two tabs out from the inside of the port (little black tabs in the middle). The specialized tool makes it happen in seconds. You may have to fight it with two screwdrivers, but it can be done. Here's what the tool looks like:
Cigarette Lighter Removal Tool.JPG

When it's all said and done the finished project will look like this:

Complete Dash Install.JPG
Cigarette Lighter Install 4.JPG
Center Console USB 1.JPG
Center Console USB 2.JPG

The "how-to" will be in the next post.
 

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2008 Escalade
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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
How-to:

Please keep in mind there are image limits set by the website. I can't post a million pictures so I will leave out what I think are obvious pictures. Don't quickly give up, look and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Step 1 - Remove trim pieces and swap radio

I'm going to cheat and use a nice video from Youtube on how to remove the trim pieces and radio. They might go into more detail than what you need depending on if you already have a GPS antenna or if the nav unit brackets are already installed, but it's better to include it all for those who may not know or have it.

- You'll need to fully remove the cup holder bezel to perform the USB upgrade. They don't show it, but all you have to do is unclip the power source from the back of the original port. As well, when you put your new radio in plug the long USB cord into the back of the radio with the mini male end. Run the 2.0 male end through the back of the plastic molding behind the unit to where it runs beneath the cup holder bezel:
Cigarette Lighter Install 6.JPG

The music drove me nuts, my apologies ahead of time :). Here's the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMO3j35jejU

Step 2 - Run cord under center console and upgrade console port (inside console - not the rear port to back seats)

You'll need to remove the lid and console box bezel. This only requires a philips screwdriver.

- Fold down rear cup holders. Remove two screws then grab the rear radio/climate control and push up/pull out from underneath. It'll feel like it's breaking but it's just the clips fighting you. It'll come out. Here are the two screws you remove:
Console Screws 1.JPG

- Once the rear control is removed you can unclip everything and set it to the side. You now have access to the 5 screws holding the console lid on. They are just underneath the back of the lid, you'll see them. Remove those screws and pull the lid up and out, set it to the side.

- Remove the center console box bezel. This is the plastic/fake wood piece surrounding the felt box. There are 4 screws holding it in, it's easy to take out. 2 philips screws on the front of the bezel where the wood trim meets the front cup holders and 2 philips screws where the dark plastic meets the rear cup holders (you can see them in the pic above where I point out the rear control screws - they're just below those two screws). Once you have all 4 screws out it just comes off. This gives you access to run the USB cord from the radio and down through the bottom driver side of the center console (where all the other wires are running). Go ahead and run it through now.

- Upgrade cigarette lighter port to USB port. From inside the box, either use the special removal tool shown in the first post or two little screwdrivers to unclip the lighter from it's retainer (the cover and surrounding is the retainer). You'll push the lighter port from the back end toward you as you apply pressure to the clips, it comes out from the front. Once it releases the lighter port will slide out then the retainer should come out too. Simply push the new cover retainer (with USB logo) in first then the USB port (receptacle) into the retainer. Viola it's in!

- Take USB cord and plug it in the back of the new receptacle. Any extra cord should be neatly wrapped and zip tied so it doesn't interfere with putting everything back. MAKE SURE TO TEST IT FIRST BEFORE PUTTING ANYTHING BACK ON!!! Here's what mine looks like with everything off and the new cord plugged in as well as after I put the console box bezel back on:
USB and Wires Rear Console 1.JPG
USB and Wires Rear Console 2.JPG

- Assuming everything works, put the console box bezel back on (4 screws), then the lid (5 screws). The inside of the box should look like the pictures I posted in the first post, a clean factory USB and cover. Great job!

Step 3 - Upgrade charger port on cup holder bezel

Reminder, this will only be for charging. It will not operate through the radio. This charger will charge faster than the radio USB now in your center console.

- Remove cigarette lighter from bezel. Just like you did for the center console, you'll need to unclip the lighter port. It's also two pieces (retainer and receptacle) so the lighter port will slide toward you. You will need to leave the retainer in and slide the new USB receptacle through that. If you break yours like I did mine, the part number for that specific retainer is #25749635. Again, it's a different retainer than the one with a cover so do not order the other one. It should look just like the picture I posted in the first post. The USB port does not click into this retainer like it did in the center console, but it's a snug fit. I used a little adhesive to make sure it does rotate or move. That's up to you to use or not. Now that it's upgraded, set the cup holder bezel aside.

- Take the cigarette lighter port you just removed out of the cup holder bezel and clip it back into it's power source. I wrapped mine in electrical tape since the sides are exposed. Insert a standard USB charger plug-in (like you can get online or from any store - you probably already have a dozen like I do). Then plug the other (hopefully shorter) USB cord into the charger with the 2.0 male end. You should have the mini male end free to plug into the upgraded USB port in the cup holder bezel. It should look like this:
Cigarette Lighter Install 1.JPG

- Tuck the lighter/charger behind the black plastic molding underneath your climate controls/switches. I zip-tied mine so it doesn't move, rattle, or come loose. Mine looks like this:
Cigarette Lighter Install 3.JPG

- Plug USB mini male into back of new USB port in the cup holder bezel and push the bezel back into place. Should look like this:
Cigarette Lighter Install 5.JPG

CONGRATS, YOU'RE FINISHED! Now it's a clean factory look like you've always dreamed of having!

Feel free to set up your ports however you want. This is just how I chose to do mine. Hope this helps!
 

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08 Escalade ESV awd, 05 Yukon Xl Denali awd, 06 SRX sold
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Great write up, now to find me a 2014 nav radio and xm box
 

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2008 Escalade
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. I debated posting sale links of everything but those go bad quickly.

MODS - Can you retitle this thread to "How-to: Nav Unit Replacement and USB Install" I dont want people thinking it's only for a 2008 Escalade.
 

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2010 Premium w/ ALL options + 2004 Pontiac GTO LS6 "Beast"
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To clarify -

"- XM Traffic and Weather. You have to buy a new XM tuner if it's older than 2012 to get the full features."

Weather didn't start being offered until 2012. Otherwise excellent writeup.
 

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2008 Escalade
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Discussion Starter #6
To clarify -

"- XM Traffic and Weather. You have to buy a new XM tuner if it's older than 2012 to get the full features."

Weather didn't start being offered until 2012. Otherwise excellent writeup.
Good catch, it's been edited.
 

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Great write up. It helped me install the usb plugs. Can you elaborate more on the cigarette lighter one. Is it plugged into the nav as well? I don't have my nav yet, but starred the install ahead of time. Thank you in advance.
 

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2007 Black Escalade EXT
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I have a 2007 EXT with Nav & XM. Do I have to buy a newer radio to add the USB port to play music? Does my unit already have the Mini USB input on the rear of the radio.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Great write up. It helped me install the usb plugs. Can you elaborate more on the cigarette lighter one. Is it plugged into the nav as well? I don't have my nav yet, but starred the install ahead of time. Thank you in advance.
No, the cigarette lighter in my install does not hook up to the nav unit. The usb inside the center console hooks up to the nav. BUT that doesn't mean you can't hook yours up to where the cigarette lighter usb hooks up to your nav. I set it up the way I did because I wanted my iPod and cord concealed in my center console and I wanted to keep the constant power cigarette lighter functioning to still always charge even when the vehicle is turned off. If you bypass the cigarette lighter power plug and run a usb to your nav unit it'll only charge when the vehicle is on.

I have a 2007 EXT with Nav & XM. Do I have to buy a newer radio to add the USB port to play music? Does my unit already have the Mini USB input on the rear of the radio.
If you still have your 2007 factory nav unit then no, it doesn't have a USB port in the rear. USB was added to 2010+ nav units. If you bought your escalade used, who knows, the previous owner may have upgraded it. Likely not, but it only takes ten minutes to pull the unit out and look.
 

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denaliguy said:
No, the cigarette lighter in my install does not hook up to the nav unit. The usb inside the center console hooks up to the nav. BUT that doesn't mean you can't hook yours up to where the cigarette lighter usb hooks up to your nav. I set it up the way I did because I wanted my iPod and cord concealed in my center console and I wanted to keep the constant power cigarette lighter functioning to still always charge even when the vehicle is turned off. If you bypass the cigarette lighter power plug and run a usb to your nav unit it'll only charge when the vehicle is on.
Got it. Thank you.
 

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1999 Escalade, 2004 CTS, 2003 ESV, Now 2008 Escalade
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You have to get a newer radio, you have a 07 so it wont be a problem to change. I used oemautopartsco.com ask for doug, if you want the nav traffic you will need to change your xm receiver to a 09 and if you want nav traffic and weather you will need a xm receiver from a 2012 and up. You can also get a isimple module and you will get Bluetooth audio, Bluetooth, 3.5mm and a usb for under 200.00 and keep your radio I went this route because I had a 08 and I did not want to give up my tilt screen and 6 cd/dvd changer
 

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Hi, I installed my new nav, 2011 with the usb upgrade. The phone will charge but it won't play any music. When I plug it in, it will start music and right away go back to what it was playing before. Thanks in advance.
 

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1999 Escalade, 2004 CTS, 2003 ESV, Now 2008 Escalade
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dl72 said:
I did that too. Still nothing.
call Doug from autopartsco.com he is a expert in this field. Tell him spy shops (Stephan) referred you. He sells some kind of usb wire for it, ask him.
 

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SpyShops NY said:
call Doug from autopartsco.com he is a expert in this field. Tell him spy shops (Stephan) referred you. He sells some kind of usb wire for it, ask him.
Ok. Thank you.
 

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denaliguy said:
Did you end up figuring out your problem?
Hi. Yes thank you. I unplugged everything and checked everything out. Plugged it all back and it worked. Even have the grid lines in reverse. Thank you.
 
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