help with aftermarket stereo on 2004 montana

supergrapes

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hi all-
Just joined yesterday and spent the day looking through the forums to see if I could find an answer to my question. I think it's officially time to turn to the experts.

I have a 2004 montana, no OnStar. The radio unit is completely shot, so I'm looking into a new unit. I browsed a ton of sites, all came up with radios that fit and some even had "2004 montana install packages" that came with tools, etc.
Then, I went to crutchfield, and when I was browsing some units, I saw a little note that said that, on this car, the factory warning system (chimes, door alarms, etc) are wired to the main stereo unit and that if I was going to change the stereo I would need this adapter to make sure I still had my chimes. The thing is, none of the other sites I looked at had this adapter or mentioned it, and I couldn't find any references to it on the internet other than "on SOME gm cars, this is the case" but nothing specific to the '04 montana. So, while I think it's likely that I'll need the adapter, I wonder if it's possible that crutchfield accidentally listed it on this van because it's a GM, rather than because it's actually necessary.

So I guess that's my first question. Anyone have any experience with this adapter, and is it necessary?

One more question: As I was browsing this forum and the internet about this adapter, I ran into a few other forums that implied that replacing the radio on this van is a little complex. Things like wires not lining up or being in the wrong place, extra wires, etc. I've installed stereos before, but only maybe like 5 and those were really straightforward so I'm far from an expert. Is the stereo unit in these vans really more complex than most?

Any input about any of these would be really appreciated.
thanks!
 

melsg5

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crutchfield is correct with needing an adapter if you do not want to disable functions
If you replace the factory radio, you'll lose the factory Video Entertainment feature.
You'll have to unbolt or cut out the factory stereo's rear support bracket to make room for your new receiver.
Your vehicle's warning chime is built into the factory radio. You'll need to purchase an adapter that retains the factory warning chime needed to keep audible safety warnings functioning and provides a switched 12-volt power source for your new radio. Crutchfield strongly recommends that you don't replace your factory radio without using a recommended adapter.
 

supergrapes

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Thanks for the reply!

I don't think I have a "factory video entertainment" feature... I just have a super crappy radio. I used to have a '98 montana (trans sport), and my 2004 literally has the exact same radio haha. That's one of the reasons I was wondering about how accurate that bit on crutchfield really was... I don't think I'm in any danger of losing a factory video entertainment feature, so I wondered whether I am in any danger of losing my audible warning chimes.

Is that pretty much the extent of the issues? If it's really just a matter of taking out the new radio, buying a $40 adapter, unbolting a bracket, and plugging in the new stereo, that actually sounds really straightforward.

Does anyone have any experience with these adapters? It looks like it replaces sound that used to be just wired into your car speakers with a tiny little external speaker.

Is it just as loud? does that speaker look really ugly mounted somewhere, or can it be mounted like inside the dash somewhere and still be heard?

I guess another question is, what chimes actually come through the radio? It mentions the door chimes, but what about like chimes that come on when dash light light up (low gas, low oil, check engine, etc.)?

Thanks!
 

supergrapes

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i see. I'd rather be safe and keep the sounds... I'm just worried about going from the chimes coming through a full stereo system to them going through a dinky little speaker.

Are there any stereos that KEEP the factory integration without needing an adapter? Given how many vehicles seem to need this adapter, I'm shocked nobody has made a compatible stereo that I can find!

So, I guess I'll give it a whirl, then. Anything else I should know before I take out the old radio? Do I need special mounting rings or any other equipment, or can I just replace all of the stock stuff and be fine?

thanks!
 
I put an aftermarket JVC into my 2006 Montana. I needed a special module to go inline with the new radio. You have to solder the wires to make up a new harness that will mate both radio to module, and module to factory harness. eBay has a good source for these modules, and they have a vehicle matching chart to ensure you get the right modules and cables. The warning chimes are actually codes on the GM data bus that are sent to the OEM radio. This radio has circuitry built in to decode the data and output re chime through the left speaker of your existing system. Aftermarket radios do not have this feature, since it would be impossible to make a unit respond to all the vehicle manufactures data busses, that an installer would possibly put this radio into. I've had success for both my Montana and 05 Grand Am.
 

Onefish

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I put an aftermarket JVC into my 2006 Montana. I needed a special module to go inline with the new radio. You have to solder the wires to make up a new harness that will mate both radio to module, and module to factory harness. eBay has a good source for these modules, and they have a vehicle matching chart to ensure you get the right modules and cables. The warning chimes are actually codes on the GM data bus that are sent to the OEM radio. This radio has circuitry built in to decode the data and output re chime through the left speaker of your existing system. Aftermarket radios do not have this feature, since it would be impossible to make a unit respond to all the vehicle manufactures data busses, that an installer would possibly put this radio into. I've had success for both my Montana and 05 Grand Am.
You mention a special module. What is that special module? Or is it a secret?
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