Stereo upgrade advice - Jeep Commander Forums: Jeep Commander Forum
Electronics / NAV Discussion This section contains discussion about the electronics system and NAV system in the Jeep Commander.

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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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Stereo upgrade advice

Hey y'all, been awhile since I've been here.

Still got my Commander, and here's what I want to do:

I have the Boston Acoustics factory stereo system. It actually sounds fantastic. It's fairly limited, however, in special features. What I do have is the 6-disc changer which I never use, SiriusXM which I use frequently, steering wheel controls which I use all the time, and I believe it has an amp and subwoofer because this system has quite a bit of kick and bass for a factory system.

I want to keep *all* of that. What I want to change is the head unit so that I can have the bluetooth handsfree functionality and the ability to play music from my phone. That is the main functionality I want to add. Right now I am achieving it by using a $20 Bluetooth to FM transmitter powered off my cigarette lighter, and it works, but it's not very nice looking and results in a lot of cables and stuff being plugged in on my dash. I'm looking to move it into the dash for a more integrated look.

Getting Navigation, backup camera, video playback would be a bonus, but not a necessity.

I've done quite a bit of reading, but I'm not finding an easy path to doing this because I understand that in order to retain the satellite, amp/sub, and steering wheel controls, you gotta be careful how you change everything out.

Does anyone have any suggestions for achieving what I want simply and cheaply? Essentially I'd just like to change out my head unit for one that *adds* bluetooth media and handsfree function.

From what I read, I was under the impression that I could upgrade to the Jeep OEM NAV system with bluetooth and camera and all that, but it's like $1,000+ and not very nice. If the best option is to spend $500+ to basically achieve a nicer-looking version of what I already have via a $20 Bluetooth/FM trasmitter, I'll just stick with the trasmitter.

2007 Commander Sport 3.7L V6 QT1
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Last edited by CommanderFan; 06-15-2016 at 12:08 PM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 12:57 PM
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The BA system does have a factory amp, and the factory amp is digitally controlled through the CAN bus of the vehicle. Same thing for the steering wheel controls.


An aftermarket head unit, you'd find a solution to provide the proper level signal through the factory wiring harness to the factory amp. I do think there are aftermarket adapters solution for that.


But, the head unit won't turn on the amp or control the volume/balance/fade like the OEM unit, nor will the steering wheel controls work.


They do make CAN bus adapters that translate between the aftermarket components and the CAN bus.


Go to crutchfield.com that may have advice for you.


The PAC units, to do steering wheel controls and control the amp, they are garbage, they often burn out within a few months.


I just installed an iDataLink Maestro unit to replace the burnt out PAC units I used in the past, it works well except it doesn't have the RAP (retained accessory power) working right, I have NOT had the time to go back and troubleshoot why its NOT working.


Someone on another thread went with the Metra Axxess unit, and has NOT had any problems at all. This can translate the steering wheel controls (with an additional unit) and control the amp.


Oh, and the dash opening will NOT fit a standard double DIN head unit. The oem face plate is actually a little wider and the exact same height, there is plastic adapters to fill in the open space for a double DIN hu. The problem is, the OEM radio the body of the radio is smaller behind the faceplate, than the face plate. A double DIN H.U. the body behind the faceplate is the same size as the faceplate, meaning, for the Commander, the opening in the dash behind the faceplate is smaller and won't fit a typical Double DIN h.u. You'll have to do a lot of cutting up of plastic and maybe a bit of metal to open up the opening enough to fit the Double Din h.u.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 01:15 PM
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I have the BA system and went through a similar install for my head unit. It was a fairly straightforward install, but there were a lot of components to get it all to work.

First off, the head unit. There's plenty of space for a double din or single din stereo, but you'll need a dash kit to mount it into the stock opening. This is assuming you have the REC system, like I do. I'm not sure how much space there is in the dash for the newer systems.

You'll also need some CANBUS adapters to make it work. I personally used PAC SWI-RC and RP4-CH11 adapters to retain my factory amp and steering wheel controls, but there are lots of different options that'll do the same.

You'll also need an antenna adapter to convert the stock FM antenna fitting to whatever your new head unit needs.

Once you have everything, it's just a matter of wiring the CANBUS adapters to the head unit. The CANBUS adapters should plug directly into the stock wiring so you wont have to splice into any wires on the Jeep itself.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-15-2016, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by consumedbywater View Post
I have the BA system and went through a similar install for my head unit. It was a fairly straightforward install, but there were a lot of components to get it all to work.

First off, the head unit. There's plenty of space for a double din or single din stereo, but you'll need a dash kit to mount it into the stock opening. This is assuming you have the REC system, like I do. I'm not sure how much space there is in the dash for the newer systems.

You'll also need some CANBUS adapters to make it work. I personally used PAC SWI-RC and RP4-CH11 adapters to retain my factory amp and steering wheel controls, but there are lots of different options that'll do the same.

You'll also need an antenna adapter to convert the stock FM antenna fitting to whatever your new head unit needs.

Once you have everything, it's just a matter of wiring the CANBUS adapters to the head unit. The CANBUS adapters should plug directly into the stock wiring so you wont have to splice into any wires on the Jeep itself.
I was about to call you a liar, but I googled the REC radio first and from the pictures it does appear to be a much bigger radio with a different dash (at least behind the faceplate) with more room than the other radios. I had the RES radio.


So, it does appear if you have the REC radio, you'll have no problem. If you have the RES or the others, the bodies behind the faceplates are smaller than the bodies behind the faceplate of the aftermarket Double DIN radios, and you'll likely have to do some cutting.


I also had the PAC RP4-CH11, in fact two of them, they both failed, I gave up and went with Maestro.


I'm curious, the PAC RP4-CH11 does the steering wheel controls, so why did you get a SWI-RC also? That is what failed on my RP4-CH11, the steering wheel controls and the fact it made radio interference noise after the steering wheel controls burned out, making it impossible to listen to the radio for all but the closest radio stations.


I thought I read the PAC RP4-CH11 will control the Factory Amp, but it can't control the fading on the amp. I think the Maestro may have the same problem.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-03-2018, 11:13 AM
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Any luck on your upgrade and keeping the steering wheel controls. Looking to do the same.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-04-2018, 02:01 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongo View Post
I was about to call you a liar, but I googled the REC radio first and from the pictures it does appear to be a much bigger radio with a different dash (at least behind the faceplate) with more room than the other radios. I had the RES radio.


So, it does appear if you have the REC radio, you'll have no problem. If you have the RES or the others, the bodies behind the faceplates are smaller than the bodies behind the faceplate of the aftermarket Double DIN radios, and you'll likely have to do some cutting.


I also had the PAC RP4-CH11, in fact two of them, they both failed, I gave up and went with Maestro.


I'm curious, the PAC RP4-CH11 does the steering wheel controls, so why did you get a SWI-RC also? That is what failed on my RP4-CH11, the steering wheel controls and the fact it made radio interference noise after the steering wheel controls burned out, making it impossible to listen to the radio for all but the closest radio stations.


I thought I read the PAC RP4-CH11 will control the Factory Amp, but it can't control the fading on the amp. I think the Maestro may have the same problem.
That's correct, the '06 and '07 REC models had a completely different dash with a much larger stereo. I actually need a trim adapter to fill on around 1/2" on every side of my double DIN.

You're right, the RP4-CH11 is newer does include both features. I just checked and I'm using another model, C2R-CHY4 in conjunction with the SWI-RC. The C2R-CHY4 doesn't include steering wheel controls, which is why the SWI-RC is needed. I've had great luck with my setup for around 5 years.

Both options, the RP4-CH11 and C2R-CHY4 + SWI-RC combo, do lose front/rear fade functionality, but can still control left/right balance.

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