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Pioneer AVIC-X930BT installed

Old 10-11-2011, 07:58 PM
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Pioneer AVIC-X930BT installed

Okay, so after some minor fitment issues, I got the new Pioneer installed. I can post some pics of the final install soon, but in the meantime, I'm having three main issues with the radio and Metra kit that I wanted to address:

1. I'm getting a lot of engine noise. As soon as I start the engine, I can hear a high-pitched hum coming from the speakers, and then a shrill whining that gets higher pitched during acceleration. However, it seems like if I drive the car for a while, the noise lessens a bit. We did run RCAs from the Pioneer's pre-outs to prevent double-amping, so there is no issue with stuff being too loud. I bought ground loop isolators just in case there was noise, but I wanted to make sure these would help before I installed them.

2. The auto-dimmer feature on the radio is not working. We connected the dimmer wire on the Pioneer to the dimmer wire on the Metra harness. The guy at Metra told me to just tape off the dash illumination wire, which we did. But, the radio does not dim when the headlights are on. Not a huge deal, but it is pretty damn bright at night. Any AVIC owners know what to do with this?

3. In true Metra Axxess form, I'm having problems with some of the HVAC controls. My A/C, front defroster, temp control, fan speed, hazzard lights and display all work fine. All the LEDs work as well. However the center mode button and rear defroster buttons do not work at all, and I can't switch between fresh and re-circ air (it's currently stuck on fresh).

Now I will add that while the dash was out, I did the solder fix for the temperature control. That did seem to work, because now I have full control over the temp, where as before it would only go from full cold to full hot. And then sometimes I'd get max heat all of sudden when the A/C was on the cold setting. So, is there any possibility I could have affected the Mode and rear defroster buttons in the process? Or am I just looking at a common Axxess box malfunction? All connections appear to be tight coming from the box.

All-in-all though, I'm loving the new headunit, and I can't believe how much better the stock speakers sound... and I haven't even played around with the EQ yet. I also installed the bluetooth mic, iPod cable and an XM tuner - all of which are working great. I actually switched my Sirius account to XM, because I realized the Pioneer interface with the XM tuner is superior to the Sirius tuner. Like I said, I'll take some pics of everything, but I still don't have the entire dash back together yet, since I'll probably be taking the radio back out again soon.

So, any advice on the above issues would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Olorin2 View Post
Okay, so after some minor fitment issues, I got the new Pioneer installed. I can post some pics of the final install soon, but in the meantime, I'm having three main issues with the radio and Metra kit that I wanted to address:

1. I'm getting a lot of engine noise. As soon as I start the engine, I can hear a high-pitched hum coming from the speakers, and then a shrill whining that gets higher pitched during acceleration. However, it seems like if I drive the car for a while, the noise lessens a bit. We did run RCAs from the Pioneer's pre-outs to prevent double-amping, so there is no issue with stuff being too loud. I bought ground loop isolators just in case there was noise, but I wanted to make sure these would help before I installed them.
You are going to need a ground loop isolator to resolve this issue. Fairly common circuit that you can find online. I think there are a few threads on it here as well.


2. The auto-dimmer feature on the radio is not working. We connected the dimmer wire on the Pioneer to the dimmer wire on the Metra harness. The guy at Metra told me to just tape off the dash illumination wire, which we did. But, the radio does not dim when the headlights are on. Not a huge deal, but it is pretty damn bright at night. Any AVIC owners know what to do with this?
You actually want to connect this to a true DC signal that is high when you turn on your p-lights/headlights. The dimmer wire in the harness is not a full DC signal, so that is why you are not seeing it work (i.e. it is a pulsed signal that is controlled by the dimmer next to your steering wheel). To get this to work, run a wire from the pioneer/metra harness to the light in your glove box (that light only comes on when the plight/headlights are on).

3. In true Metra Axxess form, I'm having problems with some of the HVAC controls. My A/C, front defroster, temp control, fan speed, hazzard lights and display all work fine. All the LEDs work as well. However the center mode button and rear defroster buttons do not work at all, and I can't switch between fresh and re-circ air (it's currently stuck on fresh).

Now I will add that while the dash was out, I did the solder fix for the temperature control. That did seem to work, because now I have full control over the temp, where as before it would only go from full cold to full hot. And then sometimes I'd get max heat all of sudden when the A/C was on the cold setting. So, is there any possibility I could have affected the Mode and rear defroster buttons in the process? Or am I just looking at a common Axxess box malfunction? All connections appear to be tight coming from the box.

All-in-all though, I'm loving the new headunit, and I can't believe how much better the stock speakers sound... and I haven't even played around with the EQ yet. I also installed the bluetooth mic, iPod cable and an XM tuner - all of which are working great. I actually switched my Sirius account to XM, because I realized the Pioneer interface with the XM tuner is superior to the Sirius tuner. Like I said, I'll take some pics of everything, but I still don't have the entire dash back together yet, since I'll probably be taking the radio back out again soon.

So, any advice on the above issues would be greatly appreciated!
Wish I could provide advice for 3, but there are a few threads here on the metra kit regarding AC controls. Could be as simple as a firmware update.
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:52 PM
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Thanks for the tip about the dimmer! I will definitely try that. As for the engine noise, I do have ground loop islolators in-hand, but I didn't know if they would solve this problem. But, I'll put them in and see what happens. I have a set of these: http://www.crutchfield.com/S-5S10HPe...PAC-SNI-1.html

Anyone else have some input about the HVAC controls? I'm fairly sure I have the latest firmware on my box, which should be v1.5.


Originally Posted by paimon.soror View Post
You are going to need a ground loop isolator to resolve this issue. Fairly common circuit that you can find online. I think there are a few threads on it here as well.



You actually want to connect this to a true DC signal that is high when you turn on your p-lights/headlights. The dimmer wire in the harness is not a full DC signal, so that is why you are not seeing it work (i.e. it is a pulsed signal that is controlled by the dimmer next to your steering wheel). To get this to work, run a wire from the pioneer/metra harness to the light in your glove box (that light only comes on when the plight/headlights are on).



Wish I could provide advice for 3, but there are a few threads here on the metra kit regarding AC controls. Could be as simple as a firmware update.
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:44 AM
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The switches not working are most likely caused by the extension cables. The wires that are giving you trouble are on the cable between the temperature control side of the OE HVAC module and the Axxess module.

The Axxess module has two connectors on one end, and three connectors on the other. You want the 14-way connector on the end that has two connectors. The wires that are involved are pins 3 and 4. Pin 1 is on the upper left when you are looking into the connector on the box, pin 3 is to the right of pin 1, and pin 4 is below pin 3. Check those wires on the extension cable.

It that is the problem, you can call Metra and ask for another extension harness. Good luck.
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by RX8Geek View Post
The switches not working are most likely caused by the extension cables. The wires that are giving you trouble are on the cable between the temperature control side of the OE HVAC module and the Axxess module.

The Axxess module has two connectors on one end, and three connectors on the other. You want the 14-way connector on the end that has two connectors. The wires that are involved are pins 3 and 4. Pin 1 is on the upper left when you are looking into the connector on the box, pin 3 is to the right of pin 1, and pin 4 is below pin 3. Check those wires on the extension cable.

It that is the problem, you can call Metra and ask for another extension harness. Good luck.
Thanks man. I was hoping someone could tell me which wires were involved. With most of the functions working, I wouldn't think the entire box needs to be replaced.
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Old 10-12-2011, 04:07 PM
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1. Reground the headunit directly to chassis. Do not use the ground wire in the factory harness.

2. Though paimon.soror's theory/statement is correct, I used the factory dimmer wire on my Pioneer D3 without issue. So I kinda doubt it's any type of pulsed high signal. I'd give it a try on the factory wire. If it doesn't work, his glove box light trick should work fine.

3. Psssh No clue man. It seems like 50% of installs with the Metra kit has HVAC issues of some kind. A real disappointment from Metra if you ask me. They've never been known to produce high quality stuff, but the failure rate on this kit seems to be insane. The only thing I can suggest is returning your Axxess box back to where you bought it and trying a new one, or shipping it to Metra for the latest firmware update.
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:32 AM
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Off topic, but did you do the bypass that allows the HU to play DVDs while driving? I want to do it on my x920 but I don't know how annoying the ebrake light would be when it always on haha.
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by firebirdude View Post
2. Though paimon.soror's theory/statement is correct, I used the factory dimmer wire on my Pioneer D3 without issue. So I kinda doubt it's any type of pulsed high signal. I'd give it a try on the factory wire. If it doesn't work, his glove box light trick should work fine.
Thats strange, maybe the D series acts a bit differently than the X series. I couldn't get the factory dimmer wire to work well with the unit. I already had a wire going to the glove box light for my gauges so it was easy enough for me to tap into that.

Originally Posted by Stars25 View Post
Off topic, but did you do the bypass that allows the HU to play DVDs while driving? I want to do it on my x920 but I don't know how annoying the ebrake light would be when it always on haha.
Yup, bypass is easy enough, you just move one pin over on the metra harness, and then ground it with the pioneer ebrake signal wire and you are all set. There will not be a ebrake light or anything. Check youtube for video instructions.
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by paimon.soror View Post
Thats strange, maybe the D series acts a bit differently than the X series. I couldn't get the factory dimmer wire to work well with the unit. I already had a wire going to the glove box light for my gauges so it was easy enough for me to tap into that.
Just a note, "dimmer" wire is different than "illumination" wire. It's really been too long since I've been behind the headunit, so I can't speak if the RX8 has both. But maybe that's the issue.

This type of confusion is commonly what causes problems and is why many installers just ignore the wires altogether. Probably why Metra told him to just tape them off too. Just make the customer deal without having the illumination feature versus risk screwing something up.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:15 AM
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Yes, the metra harness only has a wire that is labeled illumination whereas my x920 has an illumination wire and a dimmer wire, but the dimmer wire on the HU is the same orange/white color combo as the harness illumination wire. But I just put the two illumination wires together.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by firebirdude View Post
1. Reground the headunit directly to chassis. Do not use the ground wire in the factory harness.

2. Though paimon.soror's theory/statement is correct, I used the factory dimmer wire on my Pioneer D3 without issue. So I kinda doubt it's any type of pulsed high signal. I'd give it a try on the factory wire. If it doesn't work, his glove box light trick should work fine.

3. Psssh No clue man. It seems like 50% of installs with the Metra kit has HVAC issues of some kind. A real disappointment from Metra if you ask me. They've never been known to produce high quality stuff, but the failure rate on this kit seems to be insane. The only thing I can suggest is returning your Axxess box back to where you bought it and trying a new one, or shipping it to Metra for the latest firmware update.
Thanks again for the help. I am also really disappointed that a product can be so unreliable, but I knew the risks going in. I just really wanted to upgrade the technology in my 6 year old car, and there aren't many options. Luckily I have a friend who installs these things pretty regularly and can help troubleshoot any problems. The benefit here of course is that many people here have experience with the RX-8 specific application.

As for the dimmer, we did connect the factory dimmer initially and it doesn't work. I'll try paimon's suggestion when we take it back out. And yeah, Metra definitely just told me to tape off the illumination wire. Didn't get a chance to do the bypass yet either, but that'll be something else I'll do when it's out.

When I ground the headunit to the chassis, should I also use the ground loop isolators? Or will this degrade the sound somewhat?

One other little issue: Has anyone had a problem with one of their HVAC buttons sticking when the dash is bolted in and everything is tight? My rear defroster button depresses fine when the faceplate is not clipped and bolted in the dash. But when it's in there and I press that button, it sticks and I can't get it to pop out unless I loosen the dash piece. There's no flexibility in how much you can move the HVAC controls around, so I wonder if the hole in the Metra faceplate is just a little off. I guess I could sand it down a little...
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Stars25 View Post
Yes, the metra harness only has a wire that is labeled illumination whereas my x920 has an illumination wire and a dimmer wire, but the dimmer wire on the HU is the same orange/white color combo as the harness illumination wire. But I just put the two illumination wires together.
I thought I remember the Metra harness having a dimmer wire and not the illumination, and we just connected dimmer to dimmer - and then taped off illumination. Okay, a little confused here! I will confirm this when the headunit is out of the dash again.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Stars25 View Post
Yes, the metra harness only has a wire that is labeled illumination whereas my x920 has an illumination wire and a dimmer wire, but the dimmer wire on the HU is the same orange/white color combo as the harness illumination wire. But I just put the two illumination wires together.
Exactly. I've seen these two wires swap colors on different brand headunits and different vehicle harnesses of even the same brand. It's complete bologna and I don't know why the industry has had a hard time standardizing this. Illumination SHOULD be solid orange and just switch between 0V and 12V. Dimmer SHOULD be orange/white and have a variable voltage on it. But often times, this is not the case.

Originally Posted by Olorin2 View Post
As for the dimmer, we did connect the factory dimmer initially and it doesn't work. I'll try paimon's suggestion when we take it back out. And yeah, Metra definitely just told me to tape off the illumination wire. Didn't get a chance to do the bypass yet either, but that'll be something else I'll do when it's out.

When I ground the headunit to the chassis, should I also use the ground loop isolators? Or will this degrade the sound somewhat?

One other little issue: Has anyone had a problem with one of their HVAC buttons sticking when the dash is bolted in and everything is tight? My rear defroster button depresses fine when the faceplate is not clipped and bolted in the dash. But when it's in there and I press that button, it sticks and I can't get it to pop out unless I loosen the dash piece. There's no flexibility in how much you can move the HVAC controls around, so I wonder if the hole in the Metra faceplate is just a little off. I guess I could sand it down a little...
With the way it's hooked up now, try turning on your headlights and then dimming your dash light way down/up via the wheel left of the steering wheel. Any changes to headunit display? Regardless, when you rip it out again, try the factory illumination wire. This should work.

I really wouldn't worry about the ground loop isolators just yet.

Haven't installed the kit in my 8, so I'm not sure. Haven't read of anyone else having this problem though.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by firebirdude View Post
Just a note, "dimmer" wire is different than "illumination" wire. It's really been too long since I've been behind the headunit, so I can't speak if the RX8 has both. But maybe that's the issue.

This type of confusion is commonly what causes problems and is why many installers just ignore the wires altogether. Probably why Metra told him to just tape them off too. Just make the customer deal without having the illumination feature versus risk screwing something up.
Yea thats gotta be it, on Pioneer harnesses it is usually the Orange/White wire that is labeled "Illumination", thats the one that I have going to the glove box light. I dont recall seeing a "Dimmer" labeled wire ... meh.
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Old 10-19-2011, 08:09 PM
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So tonight I had the headunit back out to try and address some of these issues. Shortly into the process we could not get power to the radio, and we spent an hour trying to figure it out. A connection had come loose that we didn't see.

Anyway, we didn't have time to do everything tonight, BUT we did re-ground the radio to the chassis. Still have engine whine though the speakers. It's on every source, and it stays constant (doesn't increase in volume when I turn up the radio volume). So I'm going to try the noise filters, unless someone else has any other suggestions?

I also got a chance to do the navigation bypass, which seems to work well. At least something went well tonight!
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:18 PM
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Curious, but how does the negative terminal on your battery look?
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by paimon.soror View Post
Curious, but how does the negative terminal on your battery look?
It looks good, no corrosion as far as I know. I can check it again tomorrow though. One year-old yellow top. Why do you ask?
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Old 10-20-2011, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Olorin2 View Post
It looks good, no corrosion as far as I know. I can check it again tomorrow though. One year-old yellow top. Why do you ask?

Because a dirty ground terminal can make engine whine worse.

Are you sure the whine is in the radio, and not the amplifiers?
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Old 10-20-2011, 06:39 AM
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Right, remember that some components of the engine are tied to ground. If you do not have a stable reference, there could be some noise generated along the lines.
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Old 10-20-2011, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Rote8 View Post
Because a dirty ground terminal can make engine whine worse.

Are you sure the whine is in the radio, and not the amplifiers?
No aftermarket amps connected - just the stock Bose amp at the moment.

I also wanted to mention one other thing, unrelated to the noise issues. I bought a second Metra kit (again from Crutchfield), to use for spare parts. What I got was apparently an older version kit than what I got the first time. The faceplate had a horrible orange-peel finish on it, and the Axxess box was marked v1.0 instead of 1.5. The box itself is also physically different. It's the one with the blueish sticker on the top, with screw mounts on the side.

So for those looking to buy the kit, beware of older kits still floating around. I actually bought my original kit back in Janurary, so apparently companies (even Cruthfield) are not really paying attention to the version. Looks like Metra also vastly improved the paint quality of the dash faceplate. I would not have put the older version in my car, simply because of the bad paint job.
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Old 10-20-2011, 07:00 AM
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Maybe I missed it, but I don't know if you are using the OE Bose amp or an aftermarket amp. Pio low level outputs are not balanced, and that's what the Bose amp expects to see. A GLI should solve the problem. You could always go high level and pad the signal, but I would try the GLI first.
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by RX8Geek View Post
Maybe I missed it, but I don't know if you are using the OE Bose amp or an aftermarket amp. Pio low level outputs are not balanced, and that's what the Bose amp expects to see. A GLI should solve the problem. You could always go high level and pad the signal, but I would try the GLI first.
Yeah, I have no aftermarket amps hooked up right now. Like I mentioned earlier in the thread, I'm using RCAs to the speakers, and I'm not sure if that is contributing to the noise. The alternative though is not desirable either, since just using the standard speaker outputs would cause the double amping effect, afaik.

Could you go into a little more detail about high level outputs and padding the signal? I will be trying the GLI this weekend though. Hope that does it.
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:53 AM
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Take a look at the attached pdf. This is used to pad speaker level into GM amplifiers, but should be about right for the RX8 Bose as well. The bad thing is that you have to solder in, and properly insulate, 12 resistors. The good thing is that they are very cheap (at Radio Shack or other places), and they will attenuate differential signals but not affect common mode signals, thereby reducing the audio level without introducing noise.

You can always change the value of the 18 ohm resistor to fix the level matching, but you probably won't have to. A larger value will make it louder, a smaller value will make it quieter.

Let me know how this works if you do it - feedback is always a good thing.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
PadResistors (2).pdf (9.5 KB, 203 views)
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Old 10-20-2011, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by RX8Geek View Post
Take a look at the attached pdf. This is used to pad speaker level into GM amplifiers, but should be about right for the RX8 Bose as well. The bad thing is that you have to solder in, and properly insulate, 12 resistors. The good thing is that they are very cheap (at Radio Shack or other places), and they will attenuate differential signals but not affect common mode signals, thereby reducing the audio level without introducing noise.

You can always change the value of the 18 ohm resistor to fix the level matching, but you probably won't have to. A larger value will make it louder, a smaller value will make it quieter.

Let me know how this works if you do it - feedback is always a good thing.
Thanks a lot. I'll show this to a buddy of mine, who's helping me with this. We'll probably try the GLIs first, but will definitely consider this as a backup.
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Old 10-21-2011, 10:22 AM
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Dash lights out after Nav bypass

Okay, so I hate to add to the list of problems here, but I ran into something else after we did the Nav bypass the other night. My dash lights and evening gauge lights all went out shortly after driving last night. Turns out the illumination fuse blew and any replacement fuse blows immediately now upon turning the radio on. At least the primary (white) lights stay on on the gauge cluster, but I can't switch to the red ones. The dash (HVAC), console and steering wheel lights are also all out.

The only real change we made was in the grounds for the headunit and Metra harness. Trying to find a good chassis ground, we ended up grounding the radio to one of the studs under the ashtray area, where the shifter plate sits. For the bypass, we move the Mute wire on the harness up one pin. Then I believe my friend connected this to the eBrake wire and the ground from the Metra harness.

Another thing I noticed after this procedure (before the fuse blew) was that when I pressed some of the HVAC buttons, you could hear a little noise/popping in the speakers. Haven't had a chance to pull it back out, but I definitely wanted to get some input before we started troubleshooting.

Thanks again!
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