After much thinking about the problems, the only way that I could think of was to get rid of some of the wire to allow it to be tucked inside the passenger side kick panel. Cutting down the ignition and other wires was not a problem but the RCA leads for the speakers were a bit more daunting being a central wire surrounded by a conductive sheath. I got some new connectors and tried to solder those but after I messed up two (and got some rather painful burns on my fingers!) I decided that it would be easier to cut and splice the original wires and connectors.

That proved much easier (for my skill level at least) and after the necessary modifications were complete I reinstalled everything. This time I manged to tuck the wires inside the kick panel and close that up properly. The head unit was still a pain to fit into the dash but I managed and put the newly modified panel on.

The panel still doesn’t fit right – not a problem of my modifications, it’s obviously just not a great quality piece – but I got it on. To my dismay I realized that the head unit was set too far into the dash and I would need to remove it and adjust the mounting ears (again). I’m not quite sure how to avoid this except by trial and error – which is a long job with the unit being so hard to remove and install.

That said, it looked reasonably okay and I left it as we had a trip to Niagara for my wife’s birthday coming up. The results turned out to be rather mixed.

My initial impressions were good. The unit functioned well and I had plenty of sound from the system, it sounded good to my (unprofessional) ears and I had plenty of volume for my tastes. The car antenna was up all the time – a little annoying but always the case with the C4 system and I’d already ordered a switch to bypass it.

The first night away we arrived at our hotel and the antenna stayed up when I turned the car off! There wasn’t much I could do on the road and we carried on though I was a bit worried that the power might still be connected and flatten the battery.

It stayed like that the next day and then the third morning we came out to find the antenna down!?! I switched the head on and the antenna dutifully came up and seemed to be working okay, which was puzzling. The following day on our way back my wife muted the unit and when she tried to bring the sound back it was silent – checking my mirrors I noticed the antenna was now down and the speakers are not powered when that’s the case.Obviously some kind of gremlins there – I suspect my soldered connections aren’t as good as I thought…

The antenna issues are annoying (especially as I don’t even listen to the radio!) but more of a problem was the speaker “pop” I was getting.

I’d read about this online and hoped it wouldn’t be a problem but it really is a real pain. The speakers pop when you start up, close down, change function etc. but the main problem is when trying to just use the Nav software on it’s own. Every time it tries to give you a direction it triggers the pop and you miss half the message. I got around this by leaving the music on quietly but obviously it’s a real problem. From what I’ve read, the only way around this is to replace the entire set-up – something I was trying to avoid.

My thoughts at this point are to get another harness and get it shortened professionally (hint to Metra – Vette owners will happily pay you double for a harness that just fits correctly!) and install the bypass switch, this should take care of the antenna issues. As for the popping, I’m really not sure at the moment.

Previous posts in this series

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5