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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of you looking to replace your factory radio with a new radio/nav unit, I wanted to let you know it can be done and you can retain SWC for audio! I have a 2007 Saab 9-3 with the GM head unit, non-Bose. These cars were made from March, 2007 onward. They use the GM lanbus architecture. For some reason, US retailers don't seem to have the right equipment. Many websites (Crutchfield, for one) will indicate that this cannot be done.

There are numerous posts about the Nexxia/installer.com solution with the CTSSA001 canbus adapter. Many people report this is flaky, where it will stop working. Nexxia also supplies an add-in for the harness to hook into RCA pre-outs. However, many people report ground interference with this.

There are a few reports of people using incartec.co.uk with success. I decided to talk with them. Spoke with Steve, who was very helpful. They have a canbus adapter (which is a german part...used for the sister car, opel). This actually works and retains steering wheel controls for audio. In addition, they have a line out harness--where you use the amplified outputs to avoid the ground interfence. The unit has adjustable levels, so you don't push too much to the factory amplifier. Steve explained that this would avoid the clicking of the RCA plug solution.

I had the local shop install this yesterday. The audio is AMAZING, and everything works! Steve at Incartec gave me a fair price, and made sure to label things so that the installers had no doubts what to do.

Wanted to let you all know that it can be done reliably with SWC for audio. (No luck, thanks to GM, for the phone controls in US cars due to the wiring not being live on the steering wheel...)
 

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Thanks for the post!

I'm one who has experienced flaky steering wheel controls [SWC] w a Kenwood DNX7160 (your predecessor unit) and the CTSSA001 leads of the Connects 2 brand (I had purchased from Dynamic Sounds in UK).

Coincidentally was talking about this with my Installer as I described the behavior where the SWC would sometimes not work (nor the backup camera which is wired into). No rhyme nor reason...whether applying brake before putting key in at startup...or vice-versa.

If willing to forgo the SWC for volume and station change he had suggested that we wire the backup camera differently ('directly')...details escape. Otherwise he was going to research it... But I'm one who constantly fiddles with volume and station so that option won't fly :).

Now we have our answer!

Funny enough I (like nearly everybody else) had bought my double din trim kit/cage from incartec -- but must have missed the 'one stop shop' for the SWC...and ended up buying the Connects 2 elsewhere.

[Actually, just about to purchase your unit as I 'bequeath' mine to a girlfriend--looking forward to the (reportedly) 3x quicker screen updates...pain in the ### though that Kenwood doesn't include lifetime map updates and otherwise want $140, shipped, to Canada for those!]
 

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Interesting. Have looked at this 2 din issue a few times as I would like an in-built navigator and reversing camera. Always seems to be same thing about their map updates being over the top in pricing. That final issue you touched about Bluetooth functionality, apparently it can be retained but only certain brands of HU support it. I really like the Saab Bluetooth (UHP?) in my 09 car, my wife uses it and that is really saying something.
 

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With either of those Kenwood units Bluetooth is built in so no loss in functionality (except in so far as you answer the phone via touch screen on unit rather than via steering wheel button, not a problem as incoming phone calls take over active screen with big 'answer' button). Bluetooth storage of phone #s (phonebook; last dialed; last incoming) all in Head Unit. For those who find the 7190 price daunting ($1299 here in Canada) the 5190 (at $899 CDN, BestBuy) sacrifices less than an inch of screen space (6.1 inch vs. 7.0) with knobs for volume control (which, if the SWC is at issue/ don't care to pay the $150 extra + installation...is the more ergonomic option).

I think the map updates in US are $90-ish. Still unacceptable given the price of units...needn't do every year though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here's a Pic

Hey there--here is a pic of the final. I didn't take any during the install. Also, thanks to stevedol for the tip on how to remove the vent--I was able to do this without it falling apart!
 

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Wow!!! It looks huge! Well done, neat instal. After reading your first post I have been doing some research on those Kenwood units.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Install

Thanks, it really makes a big difference! Very happy with the particular unit..fast, lots of features. Amazing, too, the improvement in sound quality just from changing the head unit and nothing else. I now feel like I don't need to sacrifice anything in terms of technology driving this car for a very long time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Older Saabs

No, you cannot use these parts with the older style radios. The change happened with the 07 model year. From 07 on, the radio and harness use the GM Lanbus architecture; before that, it was a Saab radio with fiber optics.

That said, you might reach out to Incartec to see whether they have parts for your car. Good luck!
 

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When I did my install I also ordered the SWC (and everything else) from incartec. Everything worked perfectly.

I made numerous posts on here telling people to get their stuff from incartec, but my suggestions were ignored and everyone still wanted to buy from nexxia for some reason.
 

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Using Bluetooth

The issue about being still able to utilise the inbuilt Saab Bluetooth is probably best told by a former poster here who gave me the following advice which states the issue a lot more in technical speak tahn I failed to do above;

My 9-3 has the factory Bluetooth implementation which uses the steering controls, voice control and the dash display to manage and make calls. I wanted to retain this in my aftermarket setup and there are several options available, but not many allow this to be retained.

When you make a call, the inbuilt BT kit routes a line level audio signal into the factory head unit, which amplifies it and outputs to the speakers, but ONLY if the telephone mute signal is present, which again comes from the BT unit.

Kenwood, Pioneer and others have inbuilt Bluetooth, so if you don't mind the steering controls and the dash display (under the speedo) not functioning for the Bluetooth, or if you don't have factory bluetooth, you can use any of these.

If you want the factory bluetooth to work (if you have it) with an aftermarket head unit, you need a unit that will switch to an aux input when it receives a mute signal. One JVC unit (KW-AVX640) and any Alpine unit that supports the function will allow you to do this.

I believe these guys;
www.paser.it now do an interface for Kenwood that works with the steering telephone controls for bluetooth. This unit will also provide can-bus speed and parking brake signals if your aftermarket HU needs them.

Next thing you'll need, if you have any additional amplifiers in the car is a 'Bose' interface which allows you to connect an aftermarket HU to the Saab audio amplifiers. They use a 'balanced line' transmission system, not Co-ax/Phono, so if you don't use the additional interface, you get clicking and popping in the audio path.

Big story, no easy solution, but without factory bluetooth, or if you are prepared to forego it, there is no real problem. I was just a perfectionist.

Not trying to be negative or anything as I think this whole 2 din issue has progressed dramatically thanks to people like the OP posting here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Loochy

Loochy--yes, thanks for jumping in here. I saw your posts and that's why I went the incartec route. Steve was great--they totally know what they are doing. In addition to the fact the canbus works, I like that the audio is crystal clear, no clicking or ground interference issues. I literally spent hours going through the posts and I was hoping to save others the time moving forward.

Also--factory bluetooth and swc for phones are two different things, I believe. In my car, the GM lan connection under the steering wheel was not connected to the buttons. Had it been, the incartec solution would have worked, per Steve. As others have posted, this seems to be something that is all over the map. I don't miss the buttons there, though, as the Kenwood buttons are huge and within reach. (Trust me, I was obsessing over having this feature).
 

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Loochy-- In my car, the GM lan connection under the steering wheel was not connected to the buttons. Had it been, the incartec solution would have worked, per Steve. As others have posted, this seems to be something that is all over the map. I don't miss the buttons there, though, as the Kenwood buttons are huge and within reach. (Trust me, I was obsessing over having this feature).
Can anyone elaborate as to exactly where this connection is and exactly what it looks like? I would like to check mine.

Thanks.
 

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I just ordered from Nexxia...hoping there product works as well :roll:
Nexxia and Incartec are just retailers, the product is made by Connects2. It's like buying a Coke at a gas station vs a grocery store.
 

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Nexxia and Incartec are just retailers, the product is made by Connects2. It's like buying a Coke at a gas station vs a grocery store.
From what I've read there seems to be a difference. For one, to install the connects2 part you need to do some tedious "connect the ignition wire, then turn on, then connect [other wire] etc.". And if you mess up you have to restart. Here are the instructions stating it: https://www.nexxia.co.uk/PDF_Files/CTKENWOODLEAD.pdf.

The thread I found where two forum people are discussing the difference: http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-191084.html

And I'm not sure that this is true by any means but it seems that the Nexxia route uses RCA connections while the incartec uses another better connection (not quite sure, I have yet to receive the parts).
 
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