Join Date: Aug 2012
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I bought a Pioneer AVH-X3500BHS head unit after looking at quite a few alternatives. The big things I liked about this unit are:
Built-in HD radio tuner
SiriusXM ready (via a cheap and easy to plug in SXV200V1)
Pandora connect so I control pandora from the radio rather than my phone
USB, and via a cable can use the existing USB plug
Nice graphics and I've set my kids as the background photo
The few downsides are:
It beeps for every keypress - volume changes or anything
The presets for stations are triggered by small buttons on screen (and not the steering control)
The steering control triggers a literal up and down frequency change instead of cycling through presets
I bought it from Crutchfield because I was hoping their 'Mastersheet' would allay my fears about doing my first ever radio swap. Other forum members had said they really trusted Crutchfield but I found that the parts they supplied were inferior and the Mastersheet wasn't useful. I used entirely materials from this forum or documents that came with the product.
Nevertheless, the install was surprisingly simple. It took several hours but that was mostly me just trying to figure out what to do.
With the HU Crutchfield also sent the wiring harnesses, antenna adapter and receiver kit (mount). I also bought an SXV200V1 satellite tuner and Posi-products car stereo connectors (which ended up being great). From Amazon I bought a Metra ASWC steering wheel control interface and from another place online I ordered a TOYUSB cable so the existing USB cable would work.
1. Remove side panels and existing radio. I put some painters tape where I was worried I might scratch things.
2. Remove A-frame panels and run microphone wire from the center roof area above the rear-view mirror down through the panels, under the dash and up to the radio
3. Work the Satellite antenna through to the trunk area of the car and mount just behind the existing antenna. (I did this months ago for an external receiver so I just reused the antenna)
4. Use the instructions that came with the radio and the wire harness instructions to wire the Crutchfield wire harness to the new radio's harness. This was more simple than I expected and the Posi connectors made it quick and easy.
5. Wire in the few wires from the steering wheel control using the instructions PDF from the Metra website. I used short solid wires from a kid's electronics experiment kit. I plugged these into the harness that was behind the dash and then taped them in place using electrical tape. These wires connected to other existing wires. For my ground connection I had to cut the existing ground wire because I had too many wires coming to one connection.
6. Wire up the radio's green wire to the parking brake
7. Connect the antenna adapter, SiriusXM connections, mic, usb connector and assembled harnesses. Cover any unused wires with tap.
8. Connect the radio and test.
9. It worked fine the first time so I assembled Crutchfield's crappy mount and put everything in place.
I mentioned in another post that I might use the existing microphone instead of the Pioneer one that came with the radio. However feedback provided to me from people I called made me think that the Pioneer antenna mounted above the rear-view mirror provided the best sound. You can't see it in the photos but it comes out the divot in the ceiling fabric that is above the mirror.