There's just one problem...I've never stolen a car radio before. In this case, I'd just be modifying my radio, but how's it done? Turns out, all you need is a Phillips screwdriver, a willingness to bend dashboard molding, and the realization that the product's instruction writers should be fired. My chop shop resume is just beginning.
The aux input instructions in the package and online were awful. The writing (much like this blog!) was unintelligible so I got help from an engineer with advanced degrees. It's not that hard for Pacific Accessory Corporation (PAC) (or Pac-Audio) to hire a technical writer. Email me and I'll help.
For one, please include a chart that tells me which DIP switches should be up instead of having me call your support line. Using a combination of Nissan forums searches, radio wiring diagrams, competitor instructions, and finally trial and error, Silverman now plays music, GPS directions, and cell phone chatter through its speakers, accepting any device with a headphone jack.
To help the greater good and fill a void in the Internet, allow me to help those in need of better instructions. Aux input inputters of the world, who are installing the same product in a 2005 Nissan Altima with a 6-CD Bose radio, let me guide you as we overcome aPAC-NIS1's disastrous instructions.
Sure, I could've paid $50 for someone to install it, but where's the fun in that when I got to be frustrated installing this device for several hours over two days. With some luck, it'll take you about an hour. Merchants selling the product offer instructions that contradict each other so while one method may be better, safer, and faster than mine, this one worked for me. In other words, it's completely your fault for following these and short-circuiting your car.
Step 1 - Disconnect the negative terminal from the car battery. As cool as it is to have your hair stick up from electricity, the rest of your nervous system won't like it much, along with your heart. My battery terminal was tough to remove so be ready for some elbow grease. We held the wire away from any metal with the wrench's rubber handle. Electricity likes metals so keep'em away like the two hormone-fueled teenagers they are.
Step 2 - look at your dash one last time and say a prayer. It's time to go in. Make sure your door is open in case you have to be hauled out of the car and let someone know what you're up to. Note that this device only works on an Altima radio with a satellite ("SAT") button.
Step 3 - pull the HVAC molding down and away from the dash. Do this gently. You'll need to bend the molding just enough to get your fingers behind it. Wow, this hand model actually has two beautiful hands!
Step 4 - remove the four screws holding the HVAC controls with a screwdriver. Unscrew the screws slowly and be sure you catch them as they come out. I kept them in my door pocket.
Step 5 - pull off HVAC controls by pulling the unit out from the bottom and then down. What glorious wiring to behold.
Step 6 - gently lift the molding for the vents from just below the radio controls. This is held in place by four clips so you will have to carefully pop it off of the clips. This can be very fickle so take your time. You may have to wiggle it and use a flat tool to pry it off.
Step 7 - remove the four screws that hold the radio in place. These are difficult to catch and not lose when they come out. I used my finger to keep the screw in place, but it didn't always work as I lost one of them into the abyss known as my car's innards.
Step 8 - Pull the radio out. You're almost halfway done. Well not really, just one-third.
Step 9 - look at the pretty wire colors one final time before adding even more complications.
Step 10 - disconnect the connection on the far left of the radio and the connection second from the right (when looking from above). These connections can be difficult to remove and may require a tool to push the little knob down and away to unlatch the plastic molding from the radio. As tempting as it is, do not pull the connections using their wires. A second set of hands is really handy here (ha!).
In addition to incomplete dashboard removal instructions, the instructions that came with the device and those on the web offered zero help in knowing which connections to remove from the radio. That's why I'm writing this very long blog entry that may not help anyone.
Step 11 - as part of the necessary trial and error, the radio eventually had all of its wires removed. So for your edification, here it is from the back, but don't actually remove all of the wires.
Step 12 - connect the audio cable (3.5 mm cable/RCA), used to input the headphone, to the aux input's blue box. For once, a picture isn't needed, right? Good, because I didn't take one.
Step 13 - connect the aux input's bound of wires to the radio using the only two connections that will fit and match the open radio ports. The connections will snap into place.
Step 14 - run the other end of the aux input's bound of wires down from the radio to behind the cubby that's below the HVAC controls. This is tricky and requires some maneuvering and small fingers. There's a small opening between where the HVAC controls are and the cubby that pops open below. The circled connection disappears behind the cubby in the second picture and may require pulling it down from the cubby too. Ultimately the wire will come out the cubby (see Step 24).
Again, nowhere is it discussed what you should do with the aux input wires so let this be that somewhere it is discussed.
Step 15 - set the aux input's blue box DIP switches to: 1 - down, 2 - up, 3 - up, and 4 - down. I had to call PAC Audio's support line for this. Heaven forbid a chart for all makes and models would be included.
Step 16 - connect the circled connection in picture 1 of step 14 to the aux input's blue box and pull a decent amount of wiring into the cubby. The cubby will store the blue box and your audio input device when used. So convenient!
Step 17 - place the radio back onto its holder in the dash (reverse step 8).
Step 18 - reconnect the battery's negative terminal (reverse step 1); you should hear the radio's CD changer cycle. Some instructions suggested waiting three minutes with the key turned to the "Acc" position before moving to Step 19, but I don't think it matters.
Step 19 - turn the ignition switch to "Acc", turn the radio on, and press the "SAT" button...what do you see on the display? If you see "NO SAT" then that's not good. If you see something like "AUX-01" or "XM CH-001", then it worked! Go ahead and plug an audio device to the aux input to hear something. You may have to turn up the device's volume and the radio's volume. Let's pretend these steps worked so we can move forward.
Step 20 - screw the radio back to the dash harness (reverse step 7). Try to keep all wires down and away from the HVAC system as possible.
Step 21 - place the HVAC vents back into place on the dash (reverse step 6). It should wedge its way back to the original position.
Step 22 - place and screw the HVAC controls back into place (reverse step 5 and then step 4). Good thing you haven't lost the screws, right?
Step 23 - replace the the HVAC molding (reverse step 3). It will snap back into place ever so gently.
Step 24 - take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back, and revel in the awesomeness of your Altima's auxiliary input. Now I can run my MP3 player through the car's speakers or my MP3/bluetooth-enabled GPS. Better yet, both can be connected at the same time, just switching input choices to hear one or the other. Solid!