The Series II WM/WN Holdens come with a touchscreen GM iQ radio with FM/AM, CD, backup camera capability, Bluetooth connectivity, and a USB/AUX jack.
Because cops don't deserve any of this, the Caprice PPV only has AM/FM and CD, and you're lucky to even have radio (the antenna port on these breaks off real easily). This had to be rectified as terrestrial radio is awful, and I only own one CD.
My car came with a spare "silverbox," AKA the unit that controls the media screen and HVAC. There are services out there that reprogram these to add/unlock capabilities. I live very close to one of these services, but still had to UPS mine in for the unlocking. Word gets back eventually: "CD player keeps cycling, antenna port is broken." Well damn.
No matter, I have a good, whole unit in the car. I can take its CD player, and.... who cares about radio? The Vibe hasn't even had the antenna hooked up since the Emergency Alert System feature of my Pioneer radio scared the bejeesus out of me for the third time.... It won't be missed. Of greater note was that I needed some wiring. Specifically, some wiring to add the USB/AUX port to the Caprice.
The Caprice people are an interesting bunch, and among them is a cool guy that makes these wiring sets for us using parts from Mouser. After an email and a Paypal (plus shipping) I receive THESE:
THAT are four micro harnesses. One for USB, AUX, G8 shifter tapshift function, and traction/trunk buttons. I currently am not planning on using the fourth, but we'll see what happens. I also needed some ports to connect these to. Specifically, GM 25832462. I also need a spot to put it, since the Caprice has no provisions for it.
But wait, I acquired a G8 cubby the last time I was at the junkyard...
I also don't like these auxiliary power outlets. USBs are better.
Wait for it...
By this time the radio unit had arrived, so I dug into removing the problem CD player.
Easy enough. Thank goodness I knew I'd buy a GM eventually, and had some torx bits on hand...
But here's where my project hit a sudden halt. I was going to add the unlocked radio and try and go about my day. But then I saw an ad on the Bookfaces...
You see, my car is a Caprice 9C1. That means it's patrol-car spec. It arrived brand new looking something like this:
Chevy also sold a detective-spec car; the Caprice 9C3. This is what that interior looks like.
The center console specifically is what we're looking at. And one of the attractions to my car was that it came like this:
Not quite 9C3, but it had 3/4s of the center console from a Pontiac G8 (Caprice 9C2?). I wanted the console, but staring at it bothered me just a little. I'm fortunately/unfortunately a stickler for details, and want stuff to work and look right. My car's Bluetooth didn't work, and the console was not quite right. I'm very glad I went for it, but the console was definitely not perfect.
BUT the listing that put me on hold was for these glorious parts:
The center support, cover, and middle piece (with shifter surround!) from a 9C3. I couldn't pass it up. Some paypals later, and they were mine...
Once they arrived, I began setting to work tearing apart my car...
Along the way we made some discoveries!
A data cable (??) for.... something.
This close-off plate. Ductwork usually routes conditioned or heated air to the vents in the center console. Because criminals are scum and don't deserve center vents, these are blocked off. I likely can't make G8 ductwork work, but I'll work to find a workable ducting solution to make the rear ductwork work.
My car's third pedal cable. And yes, my car has three pedals. According to some twelve year olds that makes me better than you, so ha!
(this picture sucks until you realize it was taken in low light. Also, that's not actually hooked up. I have no parking brake, something I will need to rectify soon)
Also found: An antenna cable, and split-loom set of wires going into the roof! The antenna cable was removed and will be disposed of or made into a neat tie. The split-loom cable goes to Narnia for all I know, so I'll need to remove some pillar trim and drop the headliner. But THAT is a can of worms I don't wish to get to.... Yet.
Also, this guy.
It's not actually cop equipment. It's for my trunk button. I need to get a new trunk button, and/or relocate this. Right now it's dangling. So not ideal, but workable for now.
With the car taken apart I can get to swapping the CD players...
Install the glorious, holy 9C3 center support
Adding the AUX & USB harnesses...
(the white clip is for the radio antenna. My port is broken so it gets to dangle)
Install the radio/HVAC unit and new cubby (including rewiring the APO outlet to work with the G8 harness.... that I already adapted to the USBs. Whoops).
Aaaaaannnndddd..... I'll be honest, progress here came to an abrupt halt. At this point I decided to fit the faceplate for the radio/HVAC back on to test and see if everything is working. Spoiler: IT WASN'T. It was like there was nothing there at all. No lights, no inputs, even the hazards button wouldn't work.
After a good night's rest I came to the conclusion that I was an idiot, and re-seated the harness plug. It worked immediately. Connected to my phone, streamed music, and made a phone call. So word to the wise: Take a nap. Get some rest. You'll figure it out better the next day.
With that back on track...
Side panels installed For Real this time (they were previously just hanging there on the lower trim, that's notably held on with a self tapping screw in the front). By the way, if anyone knows what that rubber block is, please let me know. It's held on by a piece of wood on the other side of the plastic.
The coveted 9C3 center cover goes on...
9C3 center trim (G8 trim is too long)
And hey-presto, she's a car!
While in there I added the wires for the G8 tap-shift function, but did not connect them to the body control module. I'll writhe on my back another day.
(that's what she said)
It's currently held in place with my handbrake. I also added lights to the center shifter. Red, of course, to match the steering wheel. Thus leaving me with....
Something that doesn't quite look the same as the car I took home. And I love it. I drove it to an appointment tonight and enjoyed every moment of Bluetooth streaming, and that interior.
It's not perfect, nor done. Console Part 2 is going to involve hooking up the parking brake, adding a power inverter for an AC outlet, a couple USB ports for the back seat, maybe make the rear vents work, wrap the better shifter surround with vinyl and installing that, and filling in that empty space in front of the shifter. I'd like a cell phone holder there but not sure how ugly it might look. Or how well it might work. There's a button set for there with traction control off and trunk. And once I do the G8 shifter wiring, putting the shifter in the 2nd gate will enable Sport Shift mode. It would make my neat center cubby redundant, unless I found some heated seat buttons that would fit. In that case, I'd have to tear apart the seats and add heating elements....
Anyway, in the next installment: Controlling and Exploring Bodies