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Thread: Can I still use SW controls with an aftermarket HU?

  1. #1
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    Question Can I still use steering wheel controls with an aftermarket HU?

    Can I still use SW controls with an aftermarket HU?

    I considered this a “newb” question…. Wasn’t sure if it should have been posted in the Car Audio Section or this. This is a long post with a lot of pictures for reference *Fair-warning*

    The reason why I’m asking is because I have an 03’ Jeep Grand Cherokee, and there is limited room to mount an LCD screen. I have thought about what I could do and I have a couple of options though.. Here are a couple of pictures, so you can understand a little better of what I’m talking about.



    My jeep is Identical to this picture above with the exception of the ashtray. Mine actually has a little “cubby-whole” in place of the ashtray like the picture below -- not that matters.



    The idea I have, is to mount the LCD screen (preferably 8.4 Xenarc TS) where the factory radio is.

    (Note: Here is a picture of 7” Touch screen placed in from the wood trim piece -- looks to me like I have plenty of room to work with)


    The trim piece measures 6 ˝” from the bottom of the center air vents to the top and is 10 ˝” from side to side. I’d have no problem hacking up that trim piece if I had a second one, but now, I am a little scared because to purchase another wood-grain part from the factory is $352.00 !#$!@?! For some reason real rosewood costs a lot? LOL. Jeep parts are expensive anyways.

    Right now I’m looking into purchasing an aftermarket “wood trim kit” to see if I can find something that will match the factory trim kits. Dunno if I’ll have any luck with that or not.

    So what are my options?

    1) Remove & relocate the factory head unit somewhere else in the vehicle so I can still utilize my factory steering wheel controls

    2) Replace factory head unit with this
    and place the actual head unit under the seat and relocate the faceplate somewhere on the overhead console like seen here

    This is the option i'm leaning towards right now. But I still need to know if I can make the SW controls work with an aftermarket head unit. I have the pin-outs for the factory controlls and radio as well as wiring diagrams... And can I make this work with the carputer?

    Idea taken from here

    3) Keep factory head unit in its current location and mount the LCD below, and relocate the AC and heated seat controls. Then remove the little cubby-whole all together. This may be impossible and is the last thing I want to do.

    Here is a picture of how much room I have to work with once everything is removed.



    Note: Reference pictures taken from here and here

  2. #2
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    I'm also interested in a solution where the existing SW controls can provide input to carputer.

    I'm driving a 2001 Chrysler Grand Voyager (Town & Country in the US).

    I believe that Chrysler/Jeep uses something called CCD for signaling. Has anyone seen an interface that can receive CCD events and perhaps transform them into Alpine format (M-Bus/AI-net).

    Anyone?

  3. #3
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    I do know about the CCD? Can you explain how that works? I’ve never heard of that before.

    I do know that the steering wheel controls do not directly go to the stereo. They first go through the BCM (Body Control Module) which is basically a big relay station that will flip a relay and then talk to the radio once one of the buttons on the steering wheel is pressed. (someone correct me if I’m wrong?)

  4. #4
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    Jumping on here, as I am keen to know the answer as my mate wants to put a pc in his Jeep but doesnt want to lose the SW controls, the option I have been considering for him, has been a touchscreen suspended from the roof, where the compass is (might not be in all models) and then sound travelling through the radio as a "mimiced" audio in
    Nano ITX / 512 MB / 60 GB / Panasonic slot load / M1-ATX / Bu303 / Sound blaster 24 / PPi amps / rockford sub

  5. #5
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    alright im doing a CarPuter in my 99 Grand which is the same styling up to 2004.

    To the original poster, i have mocked up every situations

    1 - loosing the vents, and molding in a 7inch touch screen or rebuilding alot of hte dash for a 1din indash and a 1din radio.

    2 - not loosing the vents, this is the way im doing because i dont like the look without the center vents, and they do provide alot of air flow. I'm just removing my Kenwood headunit, putting in a 1 din in dash touch screen and below that in the extra 1/2 din ill be putting in a dvd drive. The computer will be under the rear seat.

    3 - if u install the headunit somewhere else their really isnt anywhere else to extend the headunit too unless you are really good at fabricating.

    Why do you want to keep a headunit?

    Relocating the controls down to the bottom would be insanely difficulat, as their is not a hell of alot or room behind it.


    To keep steering wheel controls you need the SWIX from pac then you gotta hack it for hte carputer i believe.

  6. #6
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    alright im doing a CarPuter in my 99 Grand which is the same styling up to 2004.
    Great, I’m glad to see more jeep lovers doing this. I have a couple friends who want to do the same thing but are going to let me take the first plunge so they can learn from all my mistakes -- how nice of them huh? lol

    To the original poster, i have mocked up every situations

    1 - loosing the vents, and molding in a 7inch touch screen or rebuilding alot of hte dash for a 1din indash and a 1din radio.
    I do see what you are saying. Those vents do push a lot of air to the rear seats. However; I can justify losing those vents. I did cover them up once and tested the air-flow out of the other vents. I didn’t have any problems with the cooling or heating with those center two vents covered. But the one thing I don’t want to do is re-build the dash and have it look out of place because half the screen would be covered with wood trim while the other half isn’t. I want it to look good when I’m finished. I can’t stand something to look like $H!T.


    2 - not loosing the vents, this is the way im doing because i dont like the look without the center vents, and they do provide alot of air flow. I'm just removing my Kenwood headunit, putting in a 1 din in dash touch screen and below that in the extra 1/2 din ill be putting in a dvd drive. The computer will be under the rear seat.
    I’m thinking of scraping the idea of the 8.4” touch screen and going to a 7” touch screen. After some measurements *I think* I can manage to fit the 7’ screen behind the wood trim and keep center vents. I would have to cut into the trim piece to make this work, but I think with a mill I can do it. Maybe I’ll just have to bite the bullet and purchase another trim piece from the factory. I’ll use a slot load combo drive and I’ll mount that in the center console. Just in front of the arm rest.


    3 - if u install the headunit somewhere else their really isnt anywhere else to extend the headunit too unless you are really good at fabricating.
    Well, I don’t really think you understand what I’d like to do with the head unit. What I was thinking of doing is to move the factory head unit under the seat ( I.e. extend the wires and hide them under the carpet) so I could still use my steering wheel controls. I have the pin-outs for the factory amp and head unit so I should just be able to wire the PC directly into the head units AUX hookup correct? Or my second option is to buy an aftermarket head unit with a detachable faceplate and “remote mount” the face plate in the center console or around the headliner somewhere (have not decided) and still keeping the actuall head unit under the seat. (If it’s under the seat it’s hidden. It can be held down with a metal bracket for allI care.) Then run the PC into the AUX hookup on that. (Considering this can be done right? -- someone step in here if I‘m off track)

    Why do you want to keep a headunit?
    Well, for one I’d like to have the option for FM radio and whatnot. Plus my main concern was to keep the steering wheel controls. (Perhaps I’m making this more difficult than it has to be?)


    Relocating the controls down to the bottom would be insanely difficulat, as their is not a hell of alot or room behind it.
    I agree, and this is the last thing I want to do. I highly doubt it could be done at all.


    To keep steering wheel controls you need the SWIX from pac then you gotta hack it for hte carputer i believe.
    Thanks! The SWI-X is available at crutchfield.



    I did notice on their website that there is a list of vehicle manufactueres this is compliant with "GMC, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, Cadillac, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Acura, Honda, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Range Rover, Saab, Volkswagen and Harley Davidson vehicles."

    I didn't see Jeep or Chrysler anywhere. But it does look like it will work with an aftermarket head unit. I think I can make it work with this. Do you have any personal experience with this? Or literature and wiring diagrams for this unit? As far as hacking it for the computer what do you mean?

  7. #7
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    I do see what you are saying. Those vents do push a lot of air to the rear seats. However; I can justify losing those vents. I did cover them up once and tested the air-flow out of the other vents. I didn’t have any problems with the cooling or heating with those center two vents covered. But the one thing I don’t want to do is re-build the dash and have it look out of place because half the screen would be covered with wood trim while the other half isn’t. I want it to look good when I’m finished. I can’t stand something to look like $H!T.
    "The width is 10-1/8", the height is approximately 4-3/8". The height dimension is somewhat close as I have an Overland and the trim does not have the break line between the radio and the vent. If you need it more exact I can measure one of the dash overlay trim pieces I have at work for you."

    From the WJ man himself, milous.

    now this - http://www.mp3car.com/store/product_...products_id=33 is about 7x5 so it wouldn't fit, without either putting above the dash and fiberglass it in or something, but then you dont have room for a dvd upfront which means you gotta put it somewhere else.

    Well, I don’t really think you understand what I’d like to do with the head unit. What I was thinking of doing is to move the factory head unit under the seat ( I.e. extend the wires and hide them under the carpet) so I could still use my steering wheel controls. I have the pin-outs for the factory amp and head unit so I should just be able to wire the PC directly into the head units AUX hookup correct? Or my second option is to buy an aftermarket head unit with a detachable faceplate and “remote mount” the face plate in the center console or around the headliner somewhere (have not decided) and still keeping the actuall head unit under the seat. (If it’s under the seat it’s hidden. It can be held down with a metal bracket for allI care.) Then run the PC into the AUX hookup on that. (Considering this can be done right? -- someone step in here if I‘m off track)
    I started to think, and i remember people with WRX put theri 1 din on the dash, so i looked on ebay and their is a dash pod ( http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...category=33675) and people cut that out to put a din in. Now look at the dash of the WJ, you see the same type of area, it would be nice to put a 1din headunit up their, then put a indash screen and dvd in the normal location. I emailed milous again and ask whats under that, its alot of work, and if you ever try to sell the jeep ur kind of ****ed.

    I pm'ed another member on this forum, who does some fabrication so ill see if he says its possible to put a screen molded in, with a dvd.

    Another member here(check the mac section) is molding a screen in, but it will be above teh acutal trim piece and moldedin.

    Keep me in the loop.

    You know their is USB FM right? I plan to find a good one and hopefully just loose the headunit all to gether.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Distorted_Axis
    I do see what you are saying. Those vents do push a lot of air to the rear seats. However; I can justify losing those vents. I did cover them up once and tested the air-flow out of the other vents. I didn’t have any problems with the cooling or heating with those center two vents covered. But the one thing I don’t want to do is re-build the dash and have it look out of place because half the screen would be covered with wood trim while the other half isn’t. I want it to look good when I’m finished. I can’t stand something to look like $H!T.
    I have a '98, which has a somewhat different config than '99+, but ditched the center vents. With it properly covered up with plexi, air pressure is dramatically increased at the other vents, so it was actually not much of a loss. It took a lot of swallowing to sack up and do it, though. There is one vent just to the right of center, just like your '04, so that covers me if I ever have anyone sit in that rear middle seat. Not worried about that.

    As for the faux wood grain - that was going to be a problem, because the bondo was going to need to attach to that part of the plastic panel and making it sync up would have looked fake. So I repainted everything flat black and dropped some glossly black over some of the parts that were originally wood grain. Flat black is a very close match to stock and the gloss black matches the steering wheel. I am really satisfied with how it turned out. Left the faux wood grain on the glove box for now, and I think it will look fine. They used a darker, more natural looking version on my 5.9 that does not stand out like the orange did on my '96 Laredo or that first picture.

    The whole reason behind this was that I wanted to keep the headunit, but the downsides became that I had to route it through the line-in of my sound card. The quality was never great, but now it's even worse. Going that route, I essentially lost the fade controls. Fortunately, the main reason I wanted to keep it was to avoid the abyssmal carPC radios and keep the steering controls, at least for radio.
    Audio: 4 * Rainbow Audio Germs + Infinity Basslink / Case: iStarUSA S3 / CPU: C2D P8700 / MB: Jetway NC64-LF / SC: ASUS Xonar Essence STX / RAM: Crucial 2x1GB 1066MHz / HD: MTRON 2.5" 30GB / DVD: Panasonic UJ-815B / PSU: Opus 180w / LCD: Xenarc 700TSV

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