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Stereo Install 92-99 Lesabre

06-23-2011, 09:58 PM
Head unit installation, 99 LeSabre with Steering Wheel Controls
(earlier years will be similar, but not necessarily identical)
-92-94 although the outwards appearance of the dash looks very similar, the mounting and stereo cavity is very different. 2DIN stereos will not fit without significant modification of the stereo cavity. The stereo connector is different also.
-similar models: Oldsmobile 88.

What follows is a description of a JVC KW XR-610 head unit. The main reason I'm posting this is to add or clarify certain installation instructions that are unclear or not present in the installation manual.

I chose this particular head unit for the following reasons:
-large buttons
-auto-dimming display
-customizable colour display
-compatible with Axxess ASWC (Axxess Steering Wheel Control)
-looks good in a Lesabre

The basic instructions for connecting up the speakers and power were as expected. However, a few critical omissions in the instructions made this job for some one with little experience with electronics:
1) Antenna Power issue: Antennas embedded in the rear window also need power for the antenna module. It's not necessarily obvious that this must be connected in the installation manual. If you leave it disconnected you will have poor AM reception.
2) Autodimming function issue: JVC does not specify how the dimming wire works, only to connect it to the dimming wire of the vehicle. Not all dimming controls work with the JVC and if you connect the wrong one, your JVC display will not dim.
3) Steering Wheel Control issue: The ASWC instructions may not identify the correct data signal wire for the steering wheel control on the vehicle harness. Even within GM, the data signal wire could be in several positions. If you connect it to the pin specified by Axxess, it may or may not work depending on your vehicle.
4) Pin positions, adapter harness issue: The Scosche adapter harness lacks pins in the positions necessary, or are in the incorrect position to get the automatic dimming on the JVC to work, and for the ASWC to get the data signal for the steering wheel controls. Look at the "adapter harness.jpg" and you will see there are no wires or pins in F5 or E6. F5 should be beside the orange wire, and E6 is clearly not present. This would normally leave the installer with two options: leave out the steering wheel controls and auto dimming, or cut into the vehicle harness.
5) HVAC display dimming issue: I could not figure out how to re-enable the dimming of the HVAC digital display. If anyone has a workaround for this feature in a 99 LeSabre, let me know. I've put this question out on two well respected forums and had no solutions to any of the above problems, including this one.

I have solutions for issues 1-4 above, and they are dealt with in the installation procedure below. I have left some normal details out, such as how to solder, which speaker wires to connect, etc. If you don't know how to solder, find out, then practice on some spare wire. It is worth it. Instructions on how to connect the speaker wires are well written in the installation manuals.
-head unit
-Scosche GM03B wiring harness
-Scosche MDA1B / MDA1
-American International GM-K422
-Spare wiring harness (may not be necessary): for extra connector pins
-Axxess ASWC

-7mm socket driver
-jewelers screwdriver set (smallest blade screwdriver you can find)
-wire cutters/strippers
-soldering iron

-heat shrink
-electrical tape

A. Remove Old Stereo (92-99 Lesabre)


A1) Carefully remove the vents from the bezel. Careful, they do crack easily. Turn the vent to one side and pop it out.
A2) Gently pull out on the faux wood trim. Start from the outside first and work in. It should just pop out.
A3) With the 7mm socket driver, remove the screws from the tops of each vent port, and three more from the lower part of the upper bezel. Begin by popping the bezel out from the top and tilt it downwards. It will not come out fully until you complete the next step.
A4) With the wheels blocked and parking brake set, put the car in 1st gear and tilt the steering as low as you can. Gently pull down on the bezel so that it pops out. Try to avoid cracking any of the plastic. Place the vehicle in park again. If you do crack any parts, JB Weld or other epoxy plastic glues make a decent repair because it remains somewhat flexible.
A5) Using the 7m socket driver, remove the three screws holding the stereo in place. Pull the stereo out, disconnect the antenna and stereo connector.
A6) Inspect the stereo connector in the dash. Make sure you have these wires: Verify voltages with your voltmeter.
F1: BATT (ORN: +12V all the time)
F2: IGN (YEL: +12 with ignition on)
F3: ANT REL (DK GRN: signal going TO an antenna module. Verify with applicable FSM wiring diagram)
F4: INCAND DIM (GRA: will not be used with most aftermarket stereos)
F5: VF DIM (YEL: 0 V no head/parking lamps; 12V with head/parking lamps)
F8 or F9 GND (BLK Verify 0 ohms between this pin and metallic ground. These seem to have variable resistance through the dimming switch.
F12-F15: speaker wires. Verify with applicable FSM wiring diagram.
E1: DRK GN: Data signal wire. Will remain unused
E4: PPL/WT: VAC DIM signal to HVAC. Will remain unused.
E5 OR E6: LT GRN (E6 if you have dual automatic climate control) Check to see which of these is the light green wire, verify with applicable wiring diagram. Write down which pin has the light green wire as you will use this later.
E12-E15: speaker wires. Verify with applicable wiring diagram.
E16: GND. (BLK: Verify with ohmmeter.)

B. Prepare Electrical Wiring Connectors

You will need to solder the wires from the head unit wiring harness to the Scosche GM03B adapter harness, and also to the Axxess ASWC harness. The rest is plug and play.

NOTE: Solder in a well ventilated area. Solder contains lead which is harmful to breathe. Make your splices as compact as possible. See any service manual for ideas on soldering techniques (it's quite simple). Don't forget to insert the heat shrink on the wire before you solder, and place the heat shrink away from the connector while soldering. After soldering, slide the heat shrink over the solder splice and use a match to shrink the tubing. This makes very reliable connections.

B1) Solder the speaker wires together as indicated on the installation instructions.
B2) Cut the ground clip off the end of the ground wire (BLK) of the head unit harness and solder it to the ground wire (BLK) from E16 of the GM03B harness. You may also solder related ground wires of the ASWC to this wire.
B3) Solder the battery wire (YEL) as indicated on the installation instructions.
B4) Solder the ignition wire to both the RED wire of the radio harness AND the RED wire of the ASWC.

Solution to issue 1:
B5) Solder the ANT REL wire (F3 BLU on the harness adapter) to the blue remote out wire of the head unit. If you have a power mast antenna, this is probably obvious. If you have the window grid type antenna, you may not realize this needs power too.

Solution to issue 2:
B6) If your head unit has autodimming like the JVC XR-610, it may require 12V switching power that goes ON and OFF with headlamps. The ORG/WT wire on the harness adapter may have to be moved from F4 (variable 4-8V) to F5 (12 V with headlights ON). This wire is 5th down from the BATT (YEL) wire.

Solution to issue 3:
B7) Determine what wire from the ASWC must be connected to the steering wheel control wire, and which pin (F5 or F6) contains the steering wheel control wire (data line). You will have to move or add a pin to this position. Solder the ASWC signal wire to the steering wheel control wire of the adapter harness.
B8) Wrap all wires with electrical tape to keep them organized. You will thank me later for doing this simple step.
Solution to issue 4:
You may have to move several pins around on the radio adapter harness. The dimmer and steering wheel control wires may be in the wrong positions to work correctly with your stereo. See image "adapter harness end view.jpg" below.

To move a pin, insert the smallest blade jeweler's screwdriver into the connecter as shown in "moving pins.jpg". When you see it begin to push out, gently pull on the wire to remove it. You will likely have to rebend the metal locking tab on the pin. You may now insert the pin into the correct position for your application.

C Installing Head Unit
C1) Assemble the dash kit. The instructions for the American International kit were extremely poor, but it's not hard to figure out.
C2) I had to remove the plastic bezel rim from the JVC and metallic sleeve. The dash kit then bolts directly to the JVC which can then be bolted into the dash just like the stock radio.
C3) Plug in the connectors. Set the programming of the steering wheel controls before installing.
C4) I found that I could tuck the ASWC module just above the dash vent to the left of the stereo.
C5) Tuck the harness adapter as far up and back as possible, and as much of the wrapped wire up and back as possible. See how much easier it is to tuck this wire back when it's wrapped in electrician's tape? You can mail me the beer now.
C6) It was a little tricky to slide the head unit all the way in. If it doesn't go in with some pressure, slide the head unit out and tuck the wires in again. I did it, so can you!
For my "blog thread" on my installation, including a couple of images of the stereo, see the following thread:

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