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Cavalier stereo upgrade (applies to all 2000 and up GM)

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  • Cavalier stereo upgrade (applies to all 2000 and up GM)

    I finally got tired of the AM-FM radio in one of my Cavaliers and decided to upgrade to something with more bells and whistles. Should be pretty easy, I have installed radios before. I bought a double DIN radio, mounting kit and connector to plug the new radio into the factory harness. The connector came with a note that the GM radios no longer have switched power going to them and you must provide it from a fuse in the fuse box. That should have run up a red flag--but it didn't. So I installed the stereo (which worked just fine) except I noticed that the light in the odometer had gone dark--the numbers were there but you needed a flashlight to read them. To make a long story short (and after much fooling around) it turns out that the 2001 and newer Cavalier radios are part of the class 2 serial bus system. Removing the radio opens the bus which then doesn't allow data to flow between various controllers back to the body control module. The indication that something is wrong is (in the case of the Cavalier) the loss of the odometer illumination! So, I now find out that there are adapters that you can purchase that will make the serial bus think the factory radio is still in place, will provide a chime for keys, seatbelt, doors etc. (the chime was orginally in the factory radio) provide power for the radio and keep the odometer illumination on. If you have upgraded and have this problem, or are thinking of upgrading yourself or having a stereo shop install a radio for you, make sure one of these adapters that are made by Metra, PAC, or Axxes are part of your installation.

  • #2
    Re: Cavalier stereo upgrade (applies to all 2000 and up GM)

    I've experienced this also. I wasn't too happy when the harness adapter cost almost as much as the stereo. The harness I bought ran all the way to the trunk, where I had to place the old radio and plug it in, then the rest of the harness ran back up to the front, where it tied into the new stereo. My odometer light is out, and the door chime doesn't work. Everything else seems to. I also had to run another wire from the fuse box to power the new stereo. The harness has a connector for an additional chime module that cost extra. I'm ok without the chime, but I'd like my odometer light back!
    2000 Cavalier

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    • #3
      Re: Cavalier stereo upgrade (applies to all 2000 and up GM)

      I used the PAC adapter (because that what was available at the local box store) and everything is working -----execpt the darn odometer light! On this adapter, the stock radio is entirely removed, the door chime comes out of the adapter and it also supplies the "retained power" feature so your radio stays on until you open a door after you remove the key. No extra wire to the fuse box. I have the Metra unit on order to see if it can fool the bus into thinking there is a radio somewhere in the system. The bus is now functional, however with the missing radio, the body control module is still upset and turning off the odometer light.

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      • #4
        Re: Cavalier stereo upgrade (applies to all 2000 and up GM)

        Just purchased my first CNG vehicle, a 2000 Cav. I immediately decided I want to upgrade the stereo and found this thread. Interestingly, my odometer light is already dark with the factory stereo still in place. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

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        • #5
          Re: Cavalier stereo upgrade (applies to all 2000 and up GM)

          You are going to need to get a scan tool and check the status of the class 2 serial buss and check that each item on the buss is operating. I don't know about other scan tools but the GM Tech2 will show what is supposed to be on the buss and it's status to identify which unit is not reporting. I don't know why the odometer light goes off when this buss has a problem but it may be being used to signify when there is a problem unit on the buss or a open wire.

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          • #6
            Re: Cavalier stereo upgrade (applies to all 2000 and up GM)

            Thanks! I'll find some place to have it tested. It looks like any aftermarket stereo is going to require the Metra kit which is apparently about $80 if you shop around online. (Best Buy wants $150 for it.) Add in a bezel adapter and I'm looking at a minimum of $200 for a stereo with a USB/iPod input. Oh, well.

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