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Old 05-17-2015, 08:05 PM   #1
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Default May be going aftermarket for replacement radio

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https://www.gmforum.com/audio-afterm...eville-307097/
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I was reading about this 98 Bonneville with no volume and it reminded me about a recent problem with the OEM radio in my 2001 LeSabre.

The radio and speakers work great - love that sound. Last week the CD player started acting up. Sounds fine when playing. For the first 5 minutes or so after a cold start (from sitting overnight), one of several things will occur:

1. After inserting CD the radio will cut out (normal), the display will clear (normal), and then... nothing. Hitting EJECT may or may not work.

or..

2. Insert CD and.. the same as above but ERR (code#) will display as the radio kicks back in - CD stays in and may or may not eject after pushing EJECT.

3. Either of the above and.. CD will not eject while unit is on (radio or CD). Must turn power off, then on - sometimes the CD will eject immediately after power on.. more often, hitting EJECT after this will eject. So far, no stuck CDs (watch.. now it will stick )

4. On two occasions, the CD skipped and got stuck playing the same "groove" just like an old vinyl record - not at the same spots. I found an easy fix for that (by mistake) - just tap the << or >> .. or Track buttons real quick. This has always jump-started it again.

There are three specific things related to these symptoms:

1. When I cold start the car, even at 7:00 AM, the outside ambient air temp is already in the high 70s, and the interior of the car is quite a bit warmer.. high 80s at least (Central Florida).

2. My CD is kept in the front seat center armrest storage - it'* very warm when I remove it, and the radio is hot already from the air temp and sunload on the dash. Once I get moving with the AC on, symptoms will disappear.

3. The CD in question is one I ripped from Windows Media Player on my PC - about 18 songs of my old band. Maybe it'* the low quality CD material (Memorex CD-R) - who knows.. maybe it'* not the radio at all.

Note: Again, these symptoms only occur in the first 5 or so minutes after sitting overnight.
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I'm not really looking for a diagnosis. As I was reading the 98 Bonny thread (linked), it got me to thinking about putting in a good aftermarket head - I've got one of the best audio shops in the area only 1 block from my home.

As long as my radio doesn't completely lock up or eat a CD I can handle these temporary problems.
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If it does crap out on me, I'll be looking forward to an aftermarket that has USB ports so I can use my MP3 player instead of CDs. The only thing I will not like is the way it'* going to look when installed. I've seen many of these installations and they've been done very well, but the appearance of something that doesn't exactly fit in with the rest of the (interior'*) look kind of bugs me.

Some installations don't exactly fit the opening left by the OEM unit, and some kind of filler is used to cover the gap(*). Some of these are tastefully done.. some not so tastefully. I haven't talked to the shop I'm thinking of going to yet.. I'd like to find out if they're making their own adapter harnesses to plug the new head into the OEM connectors. I used to buy adapter harnesses from the Authorized GM Radio Warranty Repair Centers I dealt with over the years. These were mainly to put OEM radios from one model year into another - not aftermarket stuff.

Last edited by John01; 05-17-2015 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:57 AM   #2
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Either way, you are looking at a radio. Its not a matter of if, but when it does take a dump.

There are many stereos on the market. Don't go cheap in this department. 2 reasons. Quality and quality. You want something that is going to last a long time and you want something that will sound good at the same time.
Now, non-OEM stereos have never really looked good even with the best template. That'* something you will have to live with. Unless you want to spend a grand or so on a custom template that will mount your stereo and blend with the rest of the dash.
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Old 05-18-2015, 11:02 AM   #3
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Thanks, Mike.

I did a little online research looking for the power rating on my factory Concert Sound II system. Found an article that mentions it could be around 200 Watts (50W/Chnl) - so far, I haven't found the exact specs. This should include the lower ohm speakers (4 & 2 ohm..?) that could handle an aftermarket head with a little more juice.

It also mentioned being able to upgrade to a newer factory Delco unit with the features I want (USB and MP3, mainly). That would need an adapter harness (most likely) and reprogramming to wipe the VIN so it could re-learn mine. That would be real cool as it would fit nicely within the dash and look good too. Also wouldn't have people looking to "borrow" it.

Something more to think about. The Delco upgrade wouldn't be cheap, but it'* benefits could be worth a couple hundred $ difference over an aftermarket. It would be worth that much to me to have it look factory.

I'm satisfied with the factory sound.

My 2006 HHR had a factory XM-Panasonic 7-Speaker system rated at 270 Watts that blew me away.. I don't need that much.. yet..

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Old 05-18-2015, 05:09 PM   #4
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To reprogram a radio, you have to take it to the dealer and they use a Tech 2 to reprogram the radio to your vin.
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