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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 9:58 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 2:44 pm
Posts: 140
Location: North Lincolnshire
Car Models: '05 9-5 2.2Tid Vector Wagon
Having tried, and ultimately failed to get along with the Denso Navigation head unit in my '05 9-5 Wagon, I decided I wanted to upgrade and put the nice Pioneer double-din receiver in, which I had in my previous '02 Aero. Swapping the AS3 head unit out in my old Aero was a piece of cake and took just a few minutes to do, because it used standard ISO connectors, so it was just a simple matter of switching the cage, correctly assigning the switched and permanent live's, and away you go, done! But the Denso unit, oh my, it is somewhat different........

I have taken the time to write this thread for you, which is a nod to the guys on this forum who were good enough to take them time to help me by sharing knowledge and information, and even practical expertise. The following is intended to give a little help and advice to anyone finding themselves in the same position as me, with a terrible factory head unit that they want to swap out for a better, more modern one! If anyone has any particular questions hereafter then please either PM me or post in this thread and I'll get back to you, plus there are plenty of other guys on this forum who're far more clued up than me who are always happy to help too! Here goes...

I won't go into the ins and outs of why I dislike the Denso Navigation head unit and wanted to swap it out. Let's just says it's Carp and I couldn't stand it any longer!

But the problem is that this particular head unit doesn't use the standard ISO block connectors like just about every other head unit does (if it did, this job would be soooo much easier). It uses another, more unusual type of connector made by Delphi, and the individual wires are mixed between both plugs (see images). Now, these unusual Delphi plugs/tails are harder to find than rocking horse carp!
There are a couple of interface cables you can buy from InCar Tech, but be advised they aren't cheap, in fact the cheapest one I was able to find costs almost £60! The other one, includes this same interface cable but also includes other things too, such as a fascia adapter ect, and it's around £150 I think (can't quite recall now, but it's around there)...

Now, I have just spent over £1500 on this car, having it recommissioned after having been stood for several years. So even if I could afford another £60 on it, I really couldn't justify it for one small interface cable for my stereo - plus the wife, with a completely straight and serious face, said "No!", so that was kind of it really....

So, with that ruled out, the only option I had was to chop wires! This is something I really did not want to do as I absolutely hate the thought and the sight of crimped wires, but seriously, you just cannot buy those Delphi plugs, so if you're in my position, you have two choices, a £60 interface cable, or chop wires....

The good thing though, is that Denso had the sense to realise that likely at some point down the line, their head unit would be regarded as being way out of date and maybe even not working properly (such as in my case) and that the owner would want to swap it out for something better and more modern - so they put a wiring guide on the back of the unit to help you if you need to know which wires are for what (see image)....

I have to say, for me anyway, this job would have been near on impossible to do without that simple guide! And I would never have guessed that the wires were mixed between both plugs too! You would figure that the first plug would be the power and earth's (like an ISO plug) and the speaker and AMP connections would be on the second plug, but they aren't!

Assuming you don't have a Haynes manual to help you, here's a brief how to begin?....

* You will need a new set of MALE ISO connector plugs with tails, a set of good quality crimping terminals, some time and some patience, AND if you want to do it exactly as I have done it you will also need an adapter cable for the car's built-in amplifier, otherwise you won't get a good sound from your chosen replacement head unit. This is because the factory head unit sends an unamplified signal to the car's built-in amp, which then of course amplifies the sound and sends it to each speaker. By replacing the unamplified factory head unit with one that is undoubtedly amplified, you will be sending a pre amplified signal to the car's built-in amp, which will then send a distorted sound to the speakers - you have to compensate for this by using ground loop isolators (there are guys on this forum who know much more about this than me, and would be happy to help you out some more with it - just do as I did and post a thread asking for help)...
* Once you've removed the factory head unit, disconnect and remove the heater control switch box, S.I.D display, hazard light switch, headlight switch, front fog switch, ESP switch, headlight aim switch (if applicable)...
* Adjust the steering wheel rake and reach to their respective maximum travel (as far out and as low down as possible), and remove the steering wheel coving trim (one torx head underneath, and two on the fron behind the steering wheel)...
* Disconnect and remove both the indicator and screen wiper stalks...
* Remove the ashtray (this can be tricky to do so take your time and don't lose your rag - speaking from experience)...
* Now remove the entire fascia panel - There are seven screws and a few spring clips that hold it in place. This is a good guide that first helped me a few years ago...
* This next bit is crucial! Using the image below of the wiring guide for the plugs, cut just one wire at a time and label it. Repeat this for each and every wire until you have cut each plug off completely. You don't need to bother with the Ebus cables doing it this way (I presume they're for the steering wheel controls, which will now be redundant). You also don't need to both any of the other plugs, only plugs A & B. You will need an AM/FM radio adapter if you want to receive any radio signal however, because the again, the plug for this radio is a different size to normal (I haven't bothered with mine personally, as I don't listen to FM radio)...
* Now it's just a matter of stripping the ends (one at a time of course), crimping your chosen terminal on firmly onto each wire until all are done...
* See the images below for what it should look like at this point, with each wire carefully labelled up and crimped...
* Then you will need to repeat this with your ISO tails...
* Then it's just a matter of matching them all up carefully and correctly and plugging each one in...
* Remember to join the car's 'B14 Antenna Trig' wire with the Blue wire on the ISO tail. This will turn on the car's internal amp and the radio amp...
* Carefully remove the factory head unit cage from the dash fascia panel and secure it with the removed head unit for any future use or whatever you've chosen to do with it, and then very carefully and securely fit the cage for your new /replacement head unit...
* Lastly, just as an option if you want the new head unit to continue working after you switch the engine off as the factory head unit does (and I suspect you probably will), you will need to run a new length of wire from the headlight switch (use a multi meter and find which one is live with the key in the 'off' position, and tap it with a suitable splicing terminal and run the new cable over and tap into the car's '+15 Battery' wire, this should work perfectly...

You should all be set now, as far as the wiring surgery goes! At this point, before refitting the fascia or anything else, I would advise you plug your replacement head unit in and power up, just to make sure you have everything in the right place and everything works as it should.

Once you are happy the new head unit is working as it should, and you have the switched ignition and positive live the correct way around, unplug it and the set about reassembling the dash fascia. Refitting is a direct reversal of removing.

Now you're set. Plug in your new head unit, carefully lock it into the cage, put on whatever trim surround you have, fire it up, set all your levels, then just cruise and enjoy a far better sound from a far better head unit!

I sincerely hope this thread helps someone, and as I said before, if anyone has any questions, just post a reply or PM me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks for reading, and here's the images...











The 9-5 is definitely the right Saab!

PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:20 pm 
UKS Addict

Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2005 5:31 am
Posts: 5923
Location: Bucks
Car Models: Saab NG 9-5 Aero
We were instructed that in-line splices should be staggered within a wiring loom :geek:

PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2021 11:00 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2019 1:40 pm
Posts: 5
Car Models: Saab 9-5 2.2TiD Estate
Can I ask what you did with the original Denso unit from your 9-5?
My unit has failed and I just want a straight swap so I can listen to the radio.


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