2006 Jeep Commander Radio 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 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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2006 Jeep Commander Radio Upgrade Advice

I know there are other threads on this, but some of the information is a little confusing and in some cases out of date. I have an 06 Limited (Hemi) Commander that has the in-dash 6-disc changer (pn: P05091176AA; under the barcode is says issue 1 - RAQ CD). My first goal was to buy a replacement factory unit since the CD player doesn't work and there is no aux or bluetooth (hands-free is required by law in IL). The options for upgrading to a newer year radio are confusing to say the least and ridiculously expensive. Since I don't seem to be able to find a factory unit that doesn't cost a kidney, then I may have to bite the bullet and go aftermarket. Just so we are clear on my goals, I'm not adding/changing speakers; I just want a head unit that works and I would really like to add hands-free. I'm very grateful for any advice I can get on the following:

1. Are there any reliable head units out there that don't require me to install an external mic that will look hideous no matter what I do?
2. Can anyone recommend an install kit that will allow me to keep my wires and mounts factory so I can go back to a factory unit if I get lucky and find one cheap?
3. Will I have to kiss my steering wheel controls goodbye, or is there a harness that will make them work?

Thanks everyone! :-)
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-03-2018, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lopab23 View Post
1. Are there any reliable head units out there that don't require me to install an external mic that will look hideous no matter what I do?
2. Can anyone recommend an install kit that will allow me to keep my wires and mounts factory so I can go back to a factory unit if I get lucky and find one cheap?
3. Will I have to kiss my steering wheel controls goodbye, or is there a harness that will make them work?
1. I can't say whether any aftermarket units exist with a hidden mic, but it's easy enough to hide an external mic. I ran mine just under the gauges and hid it on the steering wheel. It's completely hidden and still works just fine.

2-3. You'll need to figure out what head unit you want to replace with before deciding on an adapter system. For most simple head units, I'd recommend the PAC RP4-CH11, as it's an all in one unit; simply splice it into the aftermarket stereo wiring harness and plug it into the factory loom, and you'll get sound through the speakers and steering wheel controls. It also runs about $100. There are other options on the market as well, but I've found this one to be the best budget option.

The RP4-CH11 does remove some features from the BA system, including front/rear fade. If you want to retain these features, there's a more expensive option, the iDatalink Maestro. This system is more expensive, usually close to $150 for both the computer module and wiring harness, and you'll need a PC to program it for your car, but it adds a lot of functionality. From what I understand it retains fade, and adds many vehicle system monitors. If you buy a head unit to cooperate with it you can add digital gauges to monitor different systems (you can go on the Maestro website to see what functionality is supported on any head unit you're considering). It supports many new Pioneer, Kenwood, JVC, and Alpine models.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-04-2018, 12:30 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lopab23 View Post
I know there are other threads on this, but some of the information is a little confusing and in some cases out of date. I have an 06 Limited (Hemi) Commander that has the in-dash 6-disc changer (pn: P05091176AA; under the barcode is says issue 1 - RAQ CD). My first goal was to buy a replacement factory unit since the CD player doesn't work and there is no aux or bluetooth (hands-free is required by law in IL). The options for upgrading to a newer year radio are confusing to say the least and ridiculously expensive. Since I don't seem to be able to find a factory unit that doesn't cost a kidney, then I may have to bite the bullet and go aftermarket. Just so we are clear on my goals, I'm not adding/changing speakers; I just want a head unit that works and I would really like to add hands-free. I'm very grateful for any advice I can get on the following:

1. Are there any reliable head units out there that don't require me to install an external mic that will look hideous no matter what I do?
2. Can anyone recommend an install kit that will allow me to keep my wires and mounts factory so I can go back to a factory unit if I get lucky and find one cheap?
3. Will I have to kiss my steering wheel controls goodbye, or is there a harness that will make them work?

Thanks everyone! :-)
@lopab23;

It seems like you keep asking the same - or very similar questions over & over again in different threads; For the most part, we all have different model years with different trim packages & options and have bought our Commanders at different points in their vehicle lives, which means some Commanders have had upgrades done by the time we've taken ownership of them - and then others are bone stock, like mine was when I bought it in 2014.

Sounds like you are looking for someone to tell you verbatim, exactly what you need to do your project - and that's a tough ask, because only YOU know exactly what you have & exactly what you want the end result to be and while guys like myself, can give you advice based on our experiences - it may not be the route that you want to take, due to price, complexity or what have you.

Therefore, sometimes you have to make the effort to do your own research - even if that means driving to a car audio shop, presenting them with your scenario and asking them some questions. You can even go as far as getting a written estimate/quote from the shop, where they'll actually list all the part numbers, manufacturers & prices for you; Most reputable car audio businesses will provide a written estimate or quote, free of charge.

Now all that being said there are a couple of key questions that you haven't provided an answer for:

1) First off, are you doing the work yourself? Or are you going to take it to a car audio shop that specializes in this kind of work?

2) Secondly, are you on a budget? And if so, what's the most you are looking to spend?

From my experience, I can tell you that the factory head units are generally not very reliable; (I'm sure there are some here who will disagree & say they've had the original factory head unit since they bought their XK new and have had no issues with it) However, based on my experience with them (I went through 3 of them in a 2 year time-span, before I switched over to my Pioneer) they simply do not last - due to old, outdated/poor technology and/or because they have been sitting around on a shelf somewhere, for a number of years not in use. You will not find a "new" factory head unit for the XK that's not at least 8 years old - and that's a best case scenario. I think this is why, in general, they don't last very long.

My 2008 XK is a Sport Model; (It has no steering wheel controls for the head unit) it came with the MyGIG Media Center 430 CD/DVD/MP3/HDD with a single disc player - it did not have U-Connect from the factory, meaning it was not Bluetooth/hands-free capable.

I wound up installing a Pioneer AVH-X490BS CD/DVD RDS AV head unit with Sirius XM Receiver but I'll tell you up front, I had mine installed at a car audio shop & it was not cheap. the entire job - Pioneer head unit, Sirius XM Receiver, wiring adapter for the factory back-up camera & labor was about $750.00 but that's still cheaper than the price of one factory MyGIG head unit from FCA by about $150.00

As far as your external mic question, I really don't know what you're referring to - I have no external mic on mine, so, maybe that's a feature that the Limited's have that my Sport doesn't.

You asked about steering wheel controls - I don't have steering wheel controls, but the techs at the shop I went to asked me if I had them because they were going to order an additional wiring adapter to wire the head unit into the steering wheel controls - so it can be done. That's what's nice about going to a professional car audio place, they have the resources at their fingertips to look up whatever wiring adapters you will need - as opposed to coming here and just trying to ask somebody who may not know exactly what it is that you're looking for.

I love the Pioneer, I had it installed this past February. Although it probably took me 2 months to really master all the different menus and find where all of the different audio features & sub-menus are (and there are quite a few of them) it is a very capable, reliable head unit. I have full use of my factory back-up camera as well as Bluetooth/hands-free capability with my smart-phone. It also has the ability to use different Android apps like Spotify, Pandora and a couple of other Smart-phone type music apps (something related to the Apple I-Phone comes to mind) although I opted not to have those features configured, because I'm not an online/smart-phone music guy; I still like to buy CD's and listen to Sirius XM and the regular FM radio but the Pioneer I have, does have that software installed & available to be configured for use.

So, I hope this was helpful for you; here are some pics of the Pioneer AVH-X490BS CD/DVD RDS AV head unit installed:















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Last edited by Big Blue; 08-08-2018 at 08:21 PM.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-05-2018, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Byron, IL
Own a Commander?: Yes
Model year: 2006
Trim Package: Limited
Power-Train: 5.7L V-8 Hemi
4WD
If 4WD - system: QD-II
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Daaaaaaang!!! That Commander is seriously bada$$ Blue!

I thought I only asked about radios on one thread, but I apologize if I have gone too far (I honestly try to practice good forum etiquette). I thought it would make more sense to start a new thread then keep derailing an old one (my apologies for that as well). I have asked different questions because my first inclination was to pick up a replacement factory unit. Personally, my 2010 Limited had 175k miles on it and I never had a single issue with the radio (boy am I wishing I had thought ahead and taken it), but replacing even the exact unit I have now seems more expensive then it is worth. Basically, as you stated I can spend the same amount of money (or less) and get a much better unit. I think I'm over this thing looking stock so long as I have a radio I'm happy with. Now, on to your questions.

1) After taking the current radio out to get the part number, I'm fairly confident that this is something that I can do myself. I've actually replaced a factory stereo before (many moons ago), so I have a pretty good idea of what is involved. I'm not looking to upgrade the speakers or add amplifiers, so this should be relatively straight forward.

2) I don't want to spend more than a couple hundred which might be feasible if I do all the work. That depends on finding a harness that will integrate with my options which is why I'm asking for advice here. I've actually done a fair bit of research so far, but I'm finding that most of these companies claim to have a product that works perfectly. Experience has taught me that they can't all be right and if someone has a similar vehicle and real-life experience in a particular product working, then it will save me a lot of trial and error. We can all benefit from each others experiences and I plan on doing a write-up in whichever direction I take in hopes that my experience can help someone else. :-)

3) By external mic, I'm referring to the hands-free option. I know my 2010 had a factory-integrated mic which was either in the dash somewhere or possibly the headliner. A few of the aftermarket radios I've looked at appear to require running a cable to setup a mic. I don't really want to do that (I can never seem to be able to make something like that look nice), so I was hoping that someone makes a head unit with the mic built into the face for instance that would not require me to run anything extra (hope that makes more sense now).

I think I have it covered a little better and again, I'm not trying to be a pest and don't mean to come off like I expect someone to hand me all the instructions. I'm just not very mechanically inclined and figured the advice from board members who actually have a Commander is much more reliable than aftermarket company claims. ;-)

Thanks again for your response and for sharing pics of your install and ride!
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-06-2018, 06:43 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2015
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I gotcha, that's kind of what I was thing about when you mentioned the external mic thing, but I was not 100% sure.

And I wasn't trying to imply that you were being a pain - so if I came across that way, I apologize.

I'm thinking if you really want a decent head unit, you are probably going to shell out at least $300-$350 for the head unit and whatever adapters you will need.

Do you have any particular brand of aftermarket stereo that you prefer?

Alpine, Pioneer, Kenwood, JBL, JVC?


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Last edited by Big Blue; 08-08-2018 at 02:33 PM.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-07-2018, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Byron, IL
Own a Commander?: Yes
Model year: 2006
Trim Package: Limited
Power-Train: 5.7L V-8 Hemi
4WD
If 4WD - system: QD-II
Current Mileage: 103k
Posts: 23
Garage
Thanks for the feedback Blue, and no worries... :-)

Again, your setup looks awesome and if I had a bigger budget I would probable be doing something similar. After really weighing in all the options, I have decided to roll the dice and go a slightly cheaper route and not go with a bigger name brand (I know, I know...this may blow up in my face...lol). I figured that I already don't have XM anymore or Nav, so I don't really need them. As for the steering wheel controls, I've driven plenty of vehicles without them and it's not the end of the world for me. I'll try to remember to take pictures during the install to go with my write-up. I found a unit on Amazon manufactured by Boss along with a basic wiring harness. I got a basic install kit as well, but I'm not sure how good it will look since my radio opening is not perfectly square; the knobs on either end are part of the opening as well. Gotta put my installation skills to the test...lol
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-07-2018, 01:33 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: East Coast of Florida
Own a Commander?: Yes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lopab23 View Post
Thanks for the feedback Blue, and no worries... :-)

Again, your setup looks awesome and if I had a bigger budget I would probable be doing something similar. After really weighing in all the options, I have decided to roll the dice and go a slightly cheaper route and not go with a bigger name brand (I know, I know...this may blow up in my face...lol). I figured that I already don't have XM anymore or Nav, so I don't really need them. As for the steering wheel controls, I've driven plenty of vehicles without them and it's not the end of the world for me. I'll try to remember to take pictures during the install to go with my write-up. I found a unit on Amazon manufactured by Boss along with a basic wiring harness. I got a basic install kit as well, but I'm not sure how good it will look since my radio opening is not perfectly square; the knobs on either end are part of the opening as well. Gotta put my installation skills to the test...lol
Thanks for the kind words, I really never planned on going as crazy with my XK as I did, but, as I started doing modifications, I kept getting more ideas which eventually led me to where I am now - but the trend continues as I have a few more things I want to do. Hopefully, I'll get to the point where I'm content - I'm just not quite there yet.

I sold my stock XK rims & tires about a month and a half ago to a local couple in Virginia who own 2 Commanders - the one they showed up in was an '08 Limited with the Hemi - it was a pretty nice ride, but, it was essentially stock.

They started walking around Big Blue and noticing all the upgrades and the little details of all the work that I've done on the exterior and they were kind of amazed, then I opened up the doors for them, so they could get a good look at the interior and they were just awe-struck & kept going on & on about it every time they noticed something else that I had changed and/or upgraded. It's times like that, that make me realize just how much time, work & money that I have invested in this rig.

After I talked to them for about a half an hour and listened to all of their feedback I was taken back a little, to hear that kind of praise coming from fellow Commander owners in person - and to see their reactions, made me come to the conclusion that pictures of Big Blue, really don't tell the whole story.

Anyway, I hope you do post some pics of your new stereo when you're finished with the installation to go along with your write up of how the install went.

Good luck with the job @lopab23.


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Last edited by Big Blue; 08-08-2018 at 09:35 AM.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-07-2018, 09:18 PM
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and this has what to do with radios??
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-08-2018, 08:41 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2015
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and this has what to do with radios??
First off, just to be certain that you understand the pecking order here, I don't have to explain myself to you.

If you didn't care for my post - you didn't have to read it; I was responding to a comment that the OP made in his previous post.

Now that being said, I can easily assume that the purpose of your post was solely to be condescending, obnoxious & belittling since you contributed absolutely nothing at all to any facet of this thread - or the posts within it.

You would have been better served keeping this comment to yourself @Creek.

I've seen a lot of snide remarks coming from you over the last few months, pertaining to my posts specifically; Particularly in the new member section when I'm trying to straighten out new members who don't read the required reading before posting & don't complete their user profiles as stated in the forum rules - and I've been ignoring them - until now.

So consider this a formal warning - if you have nothing informative or relevant to contribute to the thread you want to post in - don't post anything.

Posting snide remarks or comments with the sole purpose of flaming, badgering, belittling or insulting another member without contributing anything at all relevant or useful to the thread - or a post within it, is a clear violation of forum rules;

Further inflammatory behavior of this nature will not be tolerated - and it will be dealt with accordingly with progressive discipline going forward. You can consider yourself put on notice - but I'll follow this post up with a forum infraction - just to get it on the books & make it official.


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Last edited by Big Blue; 08-08-2018 at 08:32 PM.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 08-08-2018, 08:21 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
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First off, just to be certain that you understand the pecking order here, I don't have to explain myself to you.


WHY, i THOUGHT YOU WHERE A moderator BUT DIDN'T REALIZE YOU OWNED THE SITE?

You are supposed to keep the information in a thread pertinent to the thread. I did not see it this way. ergo.......... ego I guess

I guess having been on this site since 2006 means nothing to you if that is the case banned me there are others sites to get the same information. f you can't take me telling others to fill out the new member info before you do so be it.

Ban me if you wish.

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