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1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 10-16-2002, 12:03 AM   #11
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Default Radio Install

Originally Posted by SSEiguy
Hey fuddyduddy121 -

I had totally forgotten about this topic being here... Glad you kicked it back up to the top.

Turns out the splicing of the wires did not fix the HVAC display issue for me either... so I've been working on the issue on and off for the last couple months. Here'* what I've found so far:

This "issue" only affects 92 and 93 Bonnevilles with the digital HVAC display/controls. The HVAC VF dimmer only works properly when fed through the radio first. Direct wiring won't work... the display goes black. Not hooking up the wire at all causes the display to be at full brightness (which is the way mine is right now).

I thought about stashing the original 92 stereo in the trunk, too, but thought of another approach that I'm going to try. We know that you can install a later model stereo into the 92-93 models successfully, as you and I have both done so, but the problem lies with the HVAC display. I got to thinking... the 94 Bonnie has the newer style stereo, but has the same (or at least similar) HVAC display as the 92-93s, so they must have changed the VF dim circuit wiring in 94. The 95+ cars had a major makeover with the HVAC system, so I know those aren't even close to ours.

So I hit the library and started digging through wiring diagrams, and sure enough! The HVAC display from a 94 -should- work in a 92-93, provided you swap the wires at pins 4 and 5 (Data Link Circuit) and wire in the VF dim circuit directly instead of having it feed through the stereo first. All the other pins on the 94 match the 92-93 units.

I am going to pick up a 94 HVAC display as soon as I can find a cheap one to test my theory. Will let you know how it goes, and if it works, will provide the wiring changes necessary to do it.

BTW - What kind of mods did you make to your 2001 stereo to get it to fit into the dash opening? Mine lines up good on the right side, but the holes and alignment pin don't line up on the left.

92 SSEi
I was beginning to think I was crazy with this problem, until I saw others had it here. It seems as if everyone with an aftermarket stereo is a 92 or 93 SSE/SSEi must have this problem.

I should take some pictures of the install. The R side lined up perfectly, but as I recall, I had to drill a hole in the radio bracket on the L side for the peg, and also had to drill a hole in the dash on the L side to hold the lower piece for the screw.

In addition, I had to take the rear bracket off the old radio, saw off the part above the midpoint, and then screw it on to the new radio, because it didn't have the rear bracket. Don't forget about the slightly modified wiring harnesses.

By the way - The Trans Am radio is just like the 94-99 Bonneville Radio. It is not like the new ones in the 2000-2002 Bonnevilles. This means that it will work fine with our situation. (It might have been from a 2000 Trans Am, not a 2001; I can't remember for sure)

In addition, I dug up the correct pin connection for the steering wheel controls. It turns out that pin No. 13 on the top row (third from right) is the correct pin to receive the signal. As I recall, there was one other pin that also works with the steering controls, but it'* almost like it was desinged for controls on a different Pontiac, because it makes all of the buttons do the wrong things (might have been pin 14). On the existing 92-93 radios, the SWC goes to the separate connector on the other side of the radio, but on the newer ones it goes right to the 20-pin connector with the other wires.

Let me know how the climate control thing works. They only made that 94-climate control for one year; I think you can tell the difference from the "AUTO" button; it'* different looking than the 88-93 model.
1999 540iA Sport
Former 93 SSEi Owner
Former 89 SE Owner
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Old 10-16-2002, 01:45 AM   #12
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I hate to be the party basher, but when I had my Jensen head unit in the car (before building that really cool boombox for kim out of it) my digital hvac display worked and dimmed just fine....the deck didn't, but the HVAC did. I bought the kit and installed it though, and the Jensen may have been compatible.....I don't rememer a blank wire, but I can check when I get home and look at the old harness. I have a 93.
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Old 10-16-2002, 05:25 AM   #13
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Hey Willwren,

I'd be REAL interested in learning more about this. Any details you could provide would be great...

The circuit in question involves the following wires...
A DK GRN wire that enters the radio at PIN 6 in the main 20-pin plug - then it does something funky inside the radio and exits the radio as a PUR/WHT wire at PIN 3 on the plug that'* separate from the standard 20-pin one. That PUR/WHT wire is the one that goes to the HVAC display and controls the VF dimming.

If your HVAC display dimmed with the aftermarket head unit installed, then that kit you have must have done something with that circuit. It sure would be nice to get this figured out... that damn HVAC display is so bright at night it looks like I have neon lights installed.
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