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Old 07-20-2017, 11:04 AM   #1
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New owner 2003 986 - Radio upgrade questions

New owner/member here.

I had always liked the Boxster, but it was not in the cards for many years. Recently I was searching around a bit and came across a pristine 2003 with 37k miles for a reasonable price not too far from me and it worked out. Below is a picture of my son in it.

After we got it, we did the PPI (post purchase inspection ) at the local dealer and were lucky that all was well.

This site has been very valuable for information and I have done some searching, but I wasn't able to find my answer via search terms.

The car has the original CDR-23 radio (Bose speakers) and I'd really like use my iphone for songs via Bluetooth or even a basic cable if needed.

This isn't a daily driver, so a significant upgrade with nav, xm, etc isn't needed. The car runs with the top down 98% of the time, so a basic system is fine.

My request:

- Any recommendations for a simple bluetooth adapter that someone with zero skill can install?

- Pictures/recommendations of an upgraded radio that would fit and look 'similar' to the surrounding elements? Bright silver of course would not be an option, but a black frame with orange lighting would fit in, right?

Thank you in advance.

Mark


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Old 07-20-2017, 11:59 AM   #2
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Check out the thread linked below. The Continental stereo seems to be a good option to maintain factory look. A 2-din touch screen also looks good, but more money.

http://986forum.com/forums/performance-technical-chat/66343-continental-tr7412ub-stereo-installation-review.html
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Old 07-20-2017, 12:08 PM   #3
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There are many BT adapters from all sorts of places. Try Amazon
I used this one before I swapped my system (also an 03)

https://www.amazon.com/GOgroove-FlexSMART-Transmitter-Multipoint-Microphone/dp/B003PPGOC0/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1500581254&sr=8-16&keywords=bluetooth+fm+transmitter+for+car
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Old 07-20-2017, 01:08 PM   #4
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Because your car is a 2003 it has the MOST (is the least) fiber optic bus. So I think you'll need some kind of adapter to swap the radio if you don't want to do a lot of rewiring. Check out this recent thread.
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Old 07-20-2017, 01:28 PM   #5
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If you go on-line (you tube) there is some decent guides to help you install a simple aux cable that you can then use to plug into your iphone. I did it a year or so ago and it was really straight forward as a DIY project. I'm not usre of any bluetooth options without installing a whole new stereo system.... good luck!
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Old 07-20-2017, 01:58 PM   #6
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Here's the BT / FM unit I use

First of all, congrats on the new (to you) 986

Between my 2005 XKR and my 2004 986s, I've bought and tried 6 or 7 BT to FM devices. They are all plug and play as you requested but none of them come close to CD quality, especially if you are in a city with lots of FM stations. But, they will let you play your music today without modding your car. The one which performs the best in my context is the Nulaxy KM19:



I have the best results (practically no distortion, no signal clipping and acceptable background white noise) by using FM 107.7 or 107.9, setting my iPhone 7 equalizer to 'small speakers' and 90% volume on the iPhone. I can answer the phone and use the KM19 buttons for next and prior song selection. It also has USB for phone charging and a second USB port for playing MP3??? (Just a guess, I've never tried it).

The KM19 has a 3.5 analog stereo input jack which might alleviate the clipping with without using the iPhone GE but the whole point for me was to keep the stock radio and not have any extra cables. There is a newer model of this unit available now on Amazon.

You do have to unplug the KM19 after each ride because it does not have a power switch and the 986 receptacle is always hot.

YMMV because these things are really sensitive to the particular car and surroundings.

Also, it works for me because the music only serves as a compliment to my Borla exhaust
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Last edited by Oldcarguy; 07-20-2017 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 07-20-2017, 02:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by achillies View Post
. . . There are many BT adapters from all sorts of places. I used this one before I swapped my system (also an 03). . .
That looks like a good recommendation. I just ordered the 'no flex neck' version to give it a try.

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Old 07-20-2017, 02:32 PM   #8
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Don't know what your intentions are for the Bluetooth adaptor but a solution that may work if all you want is to play audio from your phone would be to use a simple lightning cable.

Me and my father found one on eBay that fits into the stock radio on one end and is lightning on the other. We did have to cut a small hole in the storage cuby to run the cord through though and disconnect the 6 disc changer in the process (big loss I know)
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Old 07-20-2017, 02:42 PM   #9
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Congrats on the new car and welcome to the club.

I have a 2004 and I wanted to keep the radio stock as I have an anniversary edition.

The best choice is the iSimple TransitBlu:
https://www.amazon.com/iSimple-Hands-Free-Calling-Streaming-Smartphones/dp/B00FRU5UNA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1500590092&sr=8-1&keywords=isimple+tranzit+blu+hf

I installed this in my vehicle and it has been perfect in every way. I use Xmradio, Waze, and hands free calling with it. The sound quality is excellent and it was easy to install. Let me know if you have any install questions, I can walk you through it!

Here is a picture of my installation:
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Old 07-20-2017, 03:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by algiorda View Post
Congrats on the new car and welcome to the club.

I have a 2004 and I wanted to keep the radio stock as I have an anniversary edition.

The best choice is the iSimple TransitBlu. . .
Hey Al, thanks! You reminded me that I still have one of these new in the box (as in product packaging, not the car ). I bought it for the XKR and never found the correct antanne adapter. Another project on the schedule.
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Old 07-20-2017, 04:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldcarguy View Post
Hey Al, thanks! You reminded me that I still have one of these new in the box (as in product packaging, not the car ). I bought it for the XKR and never found the correct antanne adapter. Another project on the schedule.
No problem Fred.

You'll need one of these:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GU11BA6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

and one of these:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GU13ID4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldcarguy View Post
First of all, congrats on the new (to you) 986

Between my 2005 XKR and my 2004 986s, I've bought and tried 6 or 7 BT to FM devices. They are all plug and play as you requested but none of them come close to CD quality, especially if you are in a city with lots of FM stations. But, they will let you play your music today without modding your car. The one which performs the best in my context is the Nulaxy KM19:



I have the best results (practically no distortion, no signal clipping and acceptable background white noise) by using FM 107.7 or 107.9, setting my iPhone 7 equalizer to 'small speakers' and 90% volume on the iPhone. I can answer the phone and use the KM19 buttons for next and prior song selection. It also has USB for phone charging and a second USB port for playing MP3??? (Just a guess, I've never tried it).

The KM19 has a 3.5 analog stereo input jack which might alleviate the clipping with without using the iPhone GE but the whole point for me was to keep the stock radio and not have any extra cables. There is a newer model of this unit available now on Amazon.

You do have to unplug the KM19 after each ride because it does not have a power switch and the 986 receptacle is always hot.

YMMV because these things are really sensitive to the particular car and surroundings.

Also, it works for me because the music only serves as a compliment to my Borla exhaust

I bought one similar of yours....(T10 fm transmitter). And I also installed an auxiliary input cable adapter on my 2002 base cdr-220 radio. I found out that the 1/8 audio jack on the side of these fm transmitter can also output music. So no need to use the Fm transmitter mode. Audio can go directly to the Aux in. May be yours can do the same ? Much better audio quality. I'm really happy with this setup.

Just sayin....
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by pomerlo View Post
I bought one similar of yours....(T10 fm transmitter). And I also installed an auxiliary input cable adapter on my 2002 base cdr-220 radio. I found out that the 1/8 audio jack on the side of these fm transmitter can also output music. So no need to use the Fm transmitter mode. Audio can go directly to the Aux in. May be yours can do the same ? Much better audio quality. I'm really happy with this setup.

Just sayin....
Nope. Not going to do anything to make music better. BT, by nature, has audio quality on par with Decent FM radio....Frequency response, stereo separation and signal to noise are all about the same. If you transmit via BT and use the above device to convert to an AUX input (again, not really an option for your car), the signal is not improved is just isn't being modulated to a spot on the FM band. Modulation will affect signal to noise and , to a lesser extent stereo separation but it won't make the music CD quality just because it is now on a wire.


First off, adding AUX in via cable is not a viable option for 2003 and 04 cars. What to do? Lots of great ideas already posted so it gets down to price point and how stealth you want the installation to be.

The devices that plug in the cigarette lighter work well and run $20 - $30 online.
The iSimple Tranzit Blu will hide behind your dash, with only one small button (the size of a quarter) needing to be accessible. The device runs $75-$80 online and works great. It intercepts the signal coming from your antenna and switches it to your BT source. Think of it this way, it uses your antenna cable as an Aux in.

Congrats on your car..looks like you got a nice one!
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:21 PM   #14
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Perfect, thanks Al!

Hi Mark8122, I totally forgot about the iSimple unit. Lots of good reviews and thanks to Al we know which antenna adapters to buy. As dghii said, the iSimple hijacks your wired FM antenna connection to send the BT signal to your radio. Easy to install and no wired connection to your phone. They've been around a long time:

http://isimple.com
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Last edited by Oldcarguy; 07-20-2017 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 07-21-2017, 06:26 AM   #15
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Thank you to all for some great and detailed replies!

It looks like there3 options that would meet what I am looking for:

Plug & Play bluetooth adapter from amazon - $20-40

Transitblu - $80+ install (I'm a novice, so I'd probably pay)

Continental full radio swap - $200-255 parts + install

Thank you again
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Old 07-21-2017, 08:17 AM   #16
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Hi Mark,

Any radio replacement will cost more than $250 because of the MOST bus system. You either need to completely remove the BOSE system and replace the AMP, HU, and speakers or try to find a MOST conversion which there doesn't seem to be at this moment. I think the estimate is more like 500-1000 to upgrade the system.
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Old 07-21-2017, 08:44 PM   #17
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Mark,
It looks like you have 3 good options. I've never had much luck with the FM transmitters. I just installed the iSimple Tranzit Blu in my 04 with CDR23. It took about 2 hours. I ran a 12v switched wire from the fuse box using the empty A6 fuse spot. I followed algiorda's post which was really helpful.
I'm really happy with the operation of the Tranzit for both music and phone, from my android phone. It sounds great with the existing Bose amp.
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Old 07-24-2017, 03:28 AM   #18
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I'm going to call the dealer to see what they can do, possibly me bringing the continental. I've also ordered one of the BT recommended. I'll update what I find out
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Old 07-24-2017, 06:01 AM   #19
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New owner 2003 986 - Radio upgrade questions

Just wanted to say - nice looking car. I like the yellow calipers. I have a similar 03, and I also have good luck with the Nulaxy (more recent version than pictured above). Absolutely plug and play, little to no interference on 87.9 for me, and very inexpensive.

Like many of us, I most often don't even turn on the radio as the sound of the flat six is my music, but it's nice to have this device for road trips for listening to music from my phone and using the Waze app through the speakers.

I also want to keep the stock look, and have the MOST wiring - and there is no easy or cheap upgrade of the head unit. And that Becker CDR23 is about the worst I've ever had in a car. Mine has a delayed reaction when using the tuner or volume controls, and also shuts down after an hour or two of continuous use.


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Old 07-24-2017, 02:06 PM   #20
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Well, I'm bailing on the BT/FM cigarette lighter plug retransmitters. Just can't get the overall quality I want. I just want as clean a sound as I can get from the CDR23 and no external wires, plugs, etc for phone connection.

So, as soon as I have the time in goes the isimple tranzit-blu.

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