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Aftermarket Command center

2573 Views 18 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  The Raven
I drive a 2006 Cadillac CTS and my Navigation, DVD..."command center" is so out dated im looking for a good aftermarket "Command center" that still allows me to use the buttons on the steering wheel, or just a all around great system. I tried looking but i really dont know what im looking at.
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Yup it's definitely possible to install an aftermarket Nav unit and retain the factory DIC, but it's not for the inexperienced. Also, be prepared to sacrifice something...there's really no way to do it perfectly. No matter which method you choose, you will loose something.
what do you lose if you retain the DIC?

i thought that was the whole point of figuring out how to retain the DIC (so you don't lose anything)
You lose XM, OnStar, the ability to fade front/rear, and you gain line noise from the hacked low-level connection to the factory amp. You also lose either the ability to program the number buttons on the left of the steering wheel to the stereo functions, or you lose the wheel volume control on the right side of the steering wheel. You also loose the RAP function. Finally, you loose the clean looking center stack as there are no aftermarket nav units that curve properly to match the curvature of the dash at that point.

There are workarounds for alot of these problems, but it's impossible (at least with what we know at this time) to fix ALL of them, and it gets very complicated to tackle any of them. I'm re-doing the install in my wife's 2007 CTS (new nav unit), so i'm going to address some of the issues that I have a clue on how to fix, and i'll post up my results when i'm done.
Now here's some points I want to make just so it's clear to everyone how this works...

Things I retained.
The DIC function should be just about completely retained. The only weird part is that you will now have all the function buttons and not be able to use them anymore (which really isn't a problem in function or form, just weird). Also, if you are not VERY careful in the cutting part of the install process, you can cut off any number of backlight LEDs affecting your DIC.

- I can fade from front to back and left to right
But only if you bypass the factory amp (Bose or non-Bose) and run all speaker wires directly to the new navigation unit. Otherwise you can fade using the DIC, but all you are doing is modifying speaker volume levels as the actual signal going to the factory amp is two channels and not four like it should be.

- I can adjust the bass treble and mids via the stock DIC like normal.
...and you can also adjust bass and treble on the new nav unit, which is also weird to me because I don't like two points of EQ. I personally set the amp at flat EQ and use the nice parametric function on my Avic-Z3. I will note though that this really isn't an "issue" per se because the sound is great either way and it doesn't affect appearance at all.

- My steering wheel 1-4 buttons are programmable as well as the volume works.
However, you can only program the 1-4 buttons to control the HVAC and DIC, NOT the new nav unit. OR you can buy a PAC translator unit and you WILL be able to program those buttons, however in this case your volume wheel will not work.

- I can use the stock radio knobs....actually I turned my aftermarket DIN all the way up and control the volume with the stock knobs and steering wheel control.
Yes that is fine, except that on alot of aftermarket nav units, the cooling fan is tied to volume level, so turning the unit's volume all the way up also means the fan will be running full out and will be quite audible. This was a major issue in my install.
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^^^^^Raven is very correct on everything....he was actually one of the many ppl I contacted in order finish my install. I would definitely listen to all he has to offer.
Its mainly a thing of does this affect me or will not having this be ok. You have trade offs as well as pros that I feel outweigh each other. Its a personal preference for the end user.

Oh and I forgot to add that my LED's dont work on the left and right sides, which bothered me at first but doesnt anymore.
Yeah I should also mention that I am an extreme perfectionist. I won't stop work on a project until it is absolutely perfect...thus i'm getting ready for my 3rd re-install on this project.

This will also be the third different nav unit i'm trying. With each attempt, I iron out a few more issues. This time I intend to get the RAP function working properly on the Nav unit, and get ALL interference of any kind out of the low-level signal channel so that I can just crank the factory amp all the way up and remove the factory volume knob (no more dual-control for me, thank you).

The best part for everyone else is that all of my struggles are going to result in a wealth of information for the forum. I WILL make everything work the way I want, it's just that some of my fixes are very advanced and will not be workable for 75% of members. Nonetheless, i'll post up the best guide that I can.
^ I just spent the last while browsing that thread and the links from it, it looks to be the way to go. My largest complaints with the car have been no aux, no bluetooth and no V8. I can fix two of those issues with an in-dash GPS and get rid of the Garmin on my windshield. It makes the car look a bit more modern too, which is always a plus.

Most reviews have stated that Kenwood has great GPS, terrible iPod support, Pioneer reviews have stated the polar opposite; great iPod support, bad navigation. That said, the AVIC-X920BT looks great and I'll be doing more reading on it when I get home. The 920 and 960 say they support Sirius XM via "optional tuners," so it'll be worth a look.
When Pioneer introduced the X series (as an update from the F-series), they fixed alot of the really big issues with the F-series. The X units are really pretty damn good, and offer a combination of features you really can't get anywhere else. I highly recommend them. I'm told the NEW Z units are the same (z110bt and up)
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