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Old 01-29-2011, 10:41 PM   #1
Darth Martel
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Install of new Pioneer AVH-P3300BT with painted black Metra kit

Alrighty, first of all, the basics. Purchased the Metra kit from SparksAI (simple transaction and fast shipping). They also have the best price for the Metra kit I could find. Unfortunately, they didn't have the Pioneer head unit I wanted on the website so, didn't get a package deal. I picked up the Pioneer off of Amazon. Of course, after I bought it, a week or so later, it's at a lower price (by about $60). I also picked up some new Kicker 6x9's and 6.5" components but, those aren't installed yet so, I won't be discussing those.

My initial impression of the metra kit was just kinda meh. It looked decent but, there were some minor cosmetic issues. There was a black splotch underneath the controls where either the silver paint didn't adhere or some black paint somehow got on it. There were also a few blemishes on the finish like from where the plastic was cut off the molding. Not a big deal for a $200 unit but, I've seen them sold for upwards of $400+ and if I would have paid that I would have been pissed . These are minor imperfections though and I was planning on painting it anyhow so, whatever. I removed the switch panel and the LCD panel, sanded the thing down to get the clearcoat off and rough up the finish, gave it a quick clean, painted it black with some black enamel spray paint (2 coats with a wet sand in between), and then finally 2 coats of clearcoat. I'm not a professional by any means but, it looks pretty good. Pictures to follow. I replaced the 2 panels and it was ready for installation.

The faceplate of the Metra kit may not be to everybody's liking with the push buttons but, I prefer the looks over the Scosche kit. Taste is subjective. Whatever your tastes are, at least the faceplate seems fairly well built. I'm not too impressed with the mounting hardware for the double din unit though. It seems like cheap plastic and although it comes with the front part of the frame (which doubles as the single din frame... you have to cut the middle separator off) all in one piece, the sides aren't attached and they are mounted by snapping them in place. That was a cheap way to go about it and for the retail price, they should have something more solid than something that just snaps in place. One of the sides fell off while I was simply moving it from one place to another before I attached the frame to the Pioneer. Once attached, it seemed like it would be OK but, I didn't have 100% confidence like one should. Most likely there won't be any issues but, who knows.

The install directions are decent but, could be a lot better. Since the directions are specifically for a Camaro, I think they could have incorporated more detail. The majority of my install complaints are targeted more towards GM as opposed to Metra though. I've seen it on here that you don't have to remove the console to get out the HVAC and stock radio. I tried and it didn't work out too well. The biggest pain in the ass of this install was removing the console and the directions Metra gives you suck when it comes to that. It makes no mention of the shifter and if you don't unbolt the shifter from the console, that console isn't moving. PERIOD. I moved the console back as far as I could and tried to remove the stock faceplate but, that sucker wasn't budging. The Metra instructions say to pull from the bottom. Good luck doing it that way because even though you remove the 2 screws holding it in place, it doesn't want to go anywhere. Pulling from the bottom is difficult because there's no place to really grab on to. With the console still there, I couldn't get my fat hands in there good enough to grab onto anything. Once the console was removed, I still couldn't. Finally I took a small flat screwdriver and popped the top forward enough to grab onto the faceplate. Notice I said TOP and not bottom. Perhaps, I could have gotten the faceplate off without removing the console if I was instructed to pull from the top instead of the bottom. Since I was concentrating on the bottom and couldn't get to it very well with the console there, I had to remove it. Lots of headache and about an hour of time could have been avoided with better instructions.

The wiring instructions could have been better as well. Most notably, the speaker connections could have been more clear because the front speakers are connected to one harness while the rear speakers COULD be connected two ways depending on if you are running them off of an amp or not. This could have been explained better as it took me a little bit to finally "get it". There's a part of the instructions where they're running down the wire colors of a harness and telling you what they go to. On one wire they simply say, "we'll cover that later". They could have easily incorporated that into that section but, instead make you wait until later. They could have, at least, told you what the wire is. Instead it's a "to be continued" issue. Perhaps, that's nit-picking but, I found it annoying. As for the actual wire harnesses, they look to be well built and come with plenty of length for whatever head unit you'll be using. I haven't put in a new head unit in years but, it looks like most things have a standard color code and Metra follows those, thankfully.

The Metra kit comes with an adapter box for the Camaro and in the directions state that when programming, to look for a blinking LED. There was no LED that I saw. I followed the directions upon initially putting power to the unit but my steering wheel controls didn't catch. I had to force the unit to take them. Thankfully, their directions on how to force it were accurate and I got it to work. After installing everything, the Metra kit works as it should. I give it a score of 8 out of 10. They could beef up the mounting hardware and quality control as well as polish their directions up a bit. Overall, it looks pretty good and works as it should. I can recommend people buy it without reservation.

I was greatly annoyed at GM during this install for two reasons. Number one, removal of the console was a complete pain in the ass. What's sad is that I had to take it off once before to install my PDIM. I forgot what was involved. The key to the whole thing is the shifter. You have to put the shifter in gear, which of course, you can't do without the key in or without power. So, of course, before I began everything I disconnected the battery in the trunk. Number two complaint: When you remove the stock faceplate you will see the radio is held in by a couple bolts screwed into copper mounts. The same with the bottom of the faceplate. They are copper. Most people assume that when you see copper, that it's a ground path. This is the assumption that I made. Much to my dismay, that was not the case. So, when I had everything hooked up and I tried it, nothing powered on. I removed everything I had just put in and checked the connections and all was good. Was the documentation wrong? When troubleshooting, it's always a good practice to check your source and the grounds to ensure a path. That's when I discovered that those copper bases that I used for grounds, weren't grounds. It wasn't a huge deal as there is a ground point a few inches away. But seriously GM... a copper pad that's not a ground path?

Now onto the Pioneer 3300BT... The big reason I bought this head unit was that the price was far more reasonable than the flagship AVIC unit that had most of the same options plus nav. I don't really care about the nav and if I happen to change my mind later, I can buy a module and install that to this head unit. The screen is a little smaller but, that's fine. It's a touch screen, it has usb, bluetooth, and the big thing for me, Pandora link capability. Once I get everything installed, steering wheel controls programmed, and checked out the Metra kit, I went on to play with the Pioneer. The first thing I noticed was that it sounded pretty damn good with the stock speakers. Now, keep in mind that I've been driving a 99 Silverado for the past few months since the Camaro has been stored in my garage, and that thing has 2 stock speakers... from 99. So, I'm used to kinda substandard audio quality. I do remember the stock system sounding pretty good but, I definitely wanted more out of my Camaro's audio experience which is why I upgraded the head unit and will upgrade the speakers. The sound from the Pioneer was great with stock speakers and should be a noticeably better with new speakers. Programming the bluetooth was quite easy and calls were made using the touchscreen on the Pioneer. Very easy to do and sounded loud and clear. I then played with the usb. I plugged in a thumb drive with about 100 songs on it. It recognized it and indexed quickly and started playing within 8 or 10 seconds. All the ID3 tag info was displayed. A simple touch to the touchscreen enabled the random option and I used the steering wheel controls to advance to the next song. Worked just as I had expected. I already downloaded the Pandora link app for my Iphone so, when I plugged the Iphone in using the Pioneer Iphone cable, the unit recognized it and that it was running Pandora and it took over and displayed it on the screen. The only thing I was disappointed on was that the streaming was not supported via bluetooth. You have to hardwire connect the Iphone for both Pandora and Ipod music management. I'm pretty sure with the flagship model, bluetooth streaming is supported. I have heard talk of the sound quality suffering from the bluetooth streaming so, this is not a deal breaker for me. It would just be nice if I could pair up and go.

So... to sum up. Overall, I'm very happy with both the Metra kit and the new Pioneer 3300BT head unit. The Metra works as advertised, and replaces the HVAC controls with push buttons, gives graphical feedback of your HVAC settings, gives you double din capability, all the while retaining your settings and steering wheel controls. The Pioneer 3300BT head unit also works as advertised and does those things very well. The touchscreen is laid out intuitively and functions quite well to the touch. MP3 playback is great and displays all the important information you would want. The Pandora link feature works almost as easy as the MP3 playback function but with the limitations of Pandora (most notably the ability to skip only 12 songs an hour). It would be nice if bluetooth streaming of Pandora and Ipod/Itunes was a possibility but, with possible sound quality issues, I can live without it. Total cost of the upgrade (including Metra kit, Pioneer 3300BT, and Ipod cable) = $675. Not too shabby.

Here are a couple pics of the finished install. I apologize for my crappy Iphone pics. I was in my garage with a CCFL work light as my lighting source (which explains the weird glare). You can see the black finish on the Metra kit and how it looks against my interior.

And questions or comments are welcome...



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Old 01-29-2011, 11:00 PM   #2
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that looks awesome
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:01 PM   #3
Darth Martel
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Thank you


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that looks awesome
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:07 PM   #4
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Looks great
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:42 PM   #5
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I am going with a ipad mount...still retain the retro dash look with all the benefits of an ipad...video,web,music,ect...
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Old 01-30-2011, 12:06 AM   #6
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whats with the two cables sticking out of the front. is one for the ipod? and if so what is with the second one that looks like a 3.5 mm jack
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:08 AM   #7
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GREAT writeup! Excellent install... congrats!
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:26 AM   #8
Darth Martel
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They are both for the Iphone. They both come together into the standard Iphone interface connector.

http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CC4Q8wIwAg#

Another reason why I'm disappointed there's no bluetooth streaming. I can dress it up so it's not as noticeable but, still not as clean looking as I'd like with those sticking out.


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whats with the two cables sticking out of the front. is one for the ipod? and if so what is with the second one that looks like a 3.5 mm jack
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:27 AM   #9
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Thanks! I figured the more detail I give the more it helps people trying to figure out what they want to do.

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GREAT writeup! Excellent install... congrats!
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:35 AM   #10
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I thought about that myself but, I want to stream Pandora and my Iphone already does that. On top of the money spent on the IPad itself there would be a data connection charge to ATT and they already get plenty of my money. So, I went with using the Iphone as my data streaming device.

The IPad would be nicer since it does have a much larger touchscreen. My 3 options were IPad, carputer, or new head unit with IPhone. I probably would have gone with the carputer if I could tether my IPhone without having to pay an extra $20 a month for the capability. I simply went with the most cost effective way to achieve what I wanted.

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I am going with a ipad mount...still retain the retro dash look with all the benefits of an ipad...video,web,music,ect...
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Old 01-30-2011, 09:17 AM   #11
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Thanks for the write up, your opinions and honesty. Great job on an awesome install. Now time to enjoy your efforts.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:37 AM   #12
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Looks much better black for sure. I am going to be doing my interior pieces in black chrome and I eventually want to pick up something like this. Looks good man
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:11 PM   #13
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You can 10-22 my question. I found your response on another post (search, search, search.

"$450 off of Amazon"

great write up by the way...thanks

If I may ask, where did you get your Pioneer AVH-330BT? I have Pioneer's in all my other cars and would like to stick with that brand. And I like your unit since it has bluetooth as standard equipment vs. being "optional."

As with some members, I'm really not interested in watch video's or navigation. What about those who retain XM radio? Does that require an adapter or something to continue to receive XM?

Just curious....I'm contemplating doing this conversion, but don't wanna spend an exorbitant amount of money on a head unit.

thanks...

Allen
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Old 02-01-2011, 11:48 PM   #14
Darth Martel
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The answer to where I got my head unit is in your post in quotes.

AMAZON.COM

Prices vary though. Last week it was under $400. Who knows what it is now.

To have XM you need an adapter with this head unit. Just like the Nav, it doesn't come installed but, you can get an adapter to upgrade. What I really like about this unit is that it has what I want and is upgradable if I change my mind down the line. I've had XM for the last 4 or 5 years and have enjoyed it. I find now that I like Pandora a lot more and typically play my own MP3s anyhow. It's simply not worth it to me to keep XM.



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Originally Posted by Kunihiro View Post
You can 10-22 my question. I found your response on another post (search, search, search.

"$450 off of Amazon"

great write up by the way...thanks

If I may ask, where did you get your Pioneer AVH-330BT? I have Pioneer's in all my other cars and would like to stick with that brand. And I like your unit since it has bluetooth as standard equipment vs. being "optional."

As with some members, I'm really not interested in watch video's or navigation. What about those who retain XM radio? Does that require an adapter or something to continue to receive XM?

Just curious....I'm contemplating doing this conversion, but don't wanna spend an exorbitant amount of money on a head unit.

thanks...

Allen
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