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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-22-2016, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Aftermarket Stereo for 2008 Cobalt - Wiring Harness Fiasco

I am attempting to install an aftermarket stereo in my girlfriend's 2008 Chevy Cobalt LT and I could really use some advice. Here is a bit of background:

Over the past year, the front speakers have started intermittently distorting at low volume. These are NOT the factory speakers; I installed aftermarket SONY speakers about 2 years ago. Due to the intermittent issues and the low-volume distortion (speakers have not been abused at all), I believe the culprit is a bad head unit. I bit the bullet and bought a nice Alpine CDE-W265BT double-din stereo along with the wiring harnesses.

I have installed some older car stereos in my day, but none that required special harnesses for door chimes and turn signals, and certainly none that required a separate converter harness to keep the steering wheel controls.

The guy at the audio store sold me a PAC LCGM29 wiring harness and assured me that it would keep the door chimes and turn signals. He also sold me a PAC SWI-RC harness for integrating the steering wheel controls.

I have everything laid out now, but I am confused about how to interface the multiple wiring harnesses. Does anyone have experience with this type of setup? I very much appreciate any advice you can offer. Thanks!
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-23-2016, 08:44 AM
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Didn't you get instructions with the harnesses?

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 06:33 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coby7 View Post
Didn't you get instructions with the harnesses?
Yes, the harnesses came with instructions, but they are not entirely clear to me. The wires are for the most part color matching. I have used butt couplers in the past for stereo installations, but because this job has 3 harnesses (stereo harness, factory harness with chimes and turn signals, and steering wheel control harness), I found out that I should probably use closed-end connectors so that I can connect all 3 wires.

With that behind me, I am still confused about where/how to make the connections for the steering wheel harness.

Here are the PAC instructions for the steering wheel harness:
The SWI-RC's wire color we are going to use is Green. This is the Green wire on the SWI-RC, not the vehicle!
The other wires on the SWI-RC, white, yellow, orange and blue wires are not used for your Chevrolet Cobalt.

This leaves you with a Red, Black and two loop wires. These wires will be discussed down below.

2. Picture of the Chevrolet Cobalt plug.



The vehicle's factory harness connector is viewed from the pin side not wire side.


3. Connecting the SWI-RC's steering wheel control input wire to vehicle plug.


Read the note in the chart below.
Connect the SWI-RC's Green wire to pin 11 (dk. blue) in connector 1 of the above connector.
Connect pin 14 (white/black) in connector 2 to +12v accessory.

4. Connecting power and ground wires.


Black wire: Connect the SWI-RC's black wire to chassis ground. This is usually a black wire on the aftermarket wire kit.

Red wire: Connect the SWI-RC's red wire to a switched +12volt wire. This is usually a red wire on the aftermarket wire kit.

I isolated the green, red, and black wires on the SWI-RC, since these are the only wires to be used. The Chevy factory harness connectors shown in the picture appear to be the plugs that go directly into the stereo head unit. From what I have seen online, everyone is tapping into a connector directly underneath the steering column. Is there a matching harness connector in this location that I need to route the green wire to, or do I only focus on the wiring directly behind the stereo head unit?

On the stereo head unit factory harness connectors, I located the #11 pin (blue) and the #14 pin (black/white), but how I am I supposed to connect to them? Surely I'm not supposed to alter the factory connectors by removing these wires from the plugs and connecting them directly to my SWI-RC? The only way I know to keep the factory wires in place and make the necessary connections is with a T-Tap connector, but the instructions specifically say not to use T-taps.

The other mystery to me is how to connect the #14 pin. Assuming I use a T-tap, the instructions say to connect the +12 V accessory wire (red) to the #14 pin. But the instructions also say to connect the +12 V accessory (red wire) to the red wire from the stereo harness. I can't connect to both places....
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 07:17 AM
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The switched voltage in a Cobalt is pink (not red) and called Ignition 1 Voltage. Maybe this pin-out will help you a bit.



I usually pull out the pin from the connector and solder on the crimped portion of the pin and re-insert back into the connector, this makes for a clean install. But I realise that not everybody has pin extractors. So your other option is to strip a half inch section of the wire jacket and solder to it and tape over the junction point. You can also cut and strip and join all 3 in a butt connector or in-line. Do you have a picture of your harnesses?

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-24-2016, 10:44 AM
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honestly Ive always ran my radio to the fuse box and speakers straight to the hu

---------- Post added at 12:44 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:44 PM ----------

I however have no chimes. Doesn't bother me a bit.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2016, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coby7 View Post
The switched voltage in a Cobalt is pink (not red) and called Ignition 1 Voltage. Maybe this pin-out will help you a bit.



I usually pull out the pin from the connector and solder on the crimped portion of the pin and re-insert back into the connector, this makes for a clean install. But I realise that not everybody has pin extractors. So your other option is to strip a half inch section of the wire jacket and solder to it and tape over the junction point. You can also cut and strip and join all 3 in a butt connector or in-line. Do you have a picture of your harnesses?
Where is that connector plug with the pink wire, Coby7?

Here are some pictures I took:

















I am holding the 3 harnesses together in the last picture. I think this is the correct setup?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 03-26-2016, 11:42 AM
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You seem to have everything necessary there and the proper ones by the looks of it. The ignition one voltage is available on pin A8, D6 and D7 of connector C3 of the BCM fuse block.

C3




---------- Post added at 02:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:39 PM ----------

Be careful not to mix-up the 2 dark green wires on the radio plugs.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-02-2016, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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After wiring everything up with the harnesses, I attempted to install the stereo and got nothing-----no power, lights, or sound whatsoever. After looking more closely at the harness, I realized that the left harness seemed to be missing some wires, as only the rear speaker wires were present. I took the harness back to the store where I bought it and they accepted the return and sold me the correct harness.

Got everything re-wired and installed this morning----success! The chimes work, and I programmed the steering wheel controls to work with the new Alpine head unit. Bluetooth mic is installed and working, so overall I am satisfied with the installation.

The only problem is that I am still getting speaker distortion!!! This was the main reason for installing a new head unit. The speakers are aftermarket Sony's that I installed about 3 years ago. They worked great from the get-go, but over the last several months have started noticeably distorting, even at low volumes. I have a hard time believing the speakers were overdriven to the point of damage, considering that the factory head unit didn't have very much power and my girlfriend keeps her music at a reasonable volume.

Any idea on what could be causing the problem? Now that I know the head unit is not the cause, I am going to take a closer look at the speakers. Another theory is that the speakers may be grounding out (what the guy at the store told me). If replacing the speakers AGAIN is the fix, I'll do it, but I would hate to spend the money, time, and effort only to have the new speakers distorting, as well. If anyone has encountered this problem before, I definitely could use some help.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-02-2016, 04:42 PM
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Knowing the Cobalt, water got at your speakers if they weren't weather proof properly. Take one apart and check with an other speaker.

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