You can change the head unit and still have your steering wheel controls, I know several people that have done this, the stock system is average at best, not too bad when playing CD's but just average.
i have a kenwood excelon that is abt a yr or so old, its top of the line and all, do u think i could buy the NON navi and change that, keep the steering wheel controls and the bose sound for now atleast, oh and still keep the in dash cd changer....or does anyone know who i should contact to do so
FYI for all of those who would like to keep the steering wheel controls.
It is possible to do with an aftermarket headunit but it takes a lot of time and patience. Plus a lot of trips to radioshack. I did it to my old grandprix with a pioneer headunit. You need to take the remote control apart and reconfigure it to fit inside of the steering wheel. Extend wires and put the remotes buttons behind the steering wheels buttons. Now remember when you wire the remote in make sure you have EASY access to the battery. It will die and it will not be fun unless you make it an easy swap. Took me and a friend about 3 hours and some soldering guns, electrical tape, and a lot of wire.
I am pretty sure that Alpine offers an adaptor that can be used to get your steering wheel controls to work even without using their head unit, I have a customer that told me this I just have to confirm that next time I see him.
If your wanting to swap your factory headunit and keep your steering wheel controls, check out www.soundgate.com and www.pacaudio.com, they both make steering wheel control interface adapters. They work for most brands of headunits, and they plug in to the steering wheel control plug behind your headunit. Plug it in, hook up power, and your all done. It uses the same infared signals that your recievers remote does, to control it. Also www.soundgate.com has a bunch of interface adapters, if you want to keep the door chimes and on-star, cd changers, and make them whether you want to use your factory bose amps and speakers, or aftermarket ones. The digistar, for the door chimes and onstar is about 130$ and it will even mute your new aftermarket radio (if your aftermarket one has a mute wire) and the steering wheel control adapter is about 100$, but it sure beats taking your steering wheel and headunit remote apart!