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996 PCM2 upgrade options (no phone buttons)?


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First post, as usual, is a request for help from a n00b. In my defense, I searched the forum as exhaustively as possible before posting. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I am the owner of a new to me 2003 996 C4 Cabriolet with a PCM2 head unit that doesn't have phone buttons. I would like to add Bluetooth audio and phone input to the car. Here are the options I've been able to suss out, most of which appear to be dead ends.

I'd planned to replace the head unit, but once I learned about the apparent need to bypass the MOST bus, I started to worry that DIY would exceed my skill set, particularly since Crutchfield doesn't have a kit for the 996. I've gotten quotes on the order of $400 for the labor, or $2000+ for a full system, which is a little steep for my tastes. Is there a Crutchfield style replacement kit out there for MOST bus models? The only ones I've seen basically say here's the bezel and bracket, but you're basically on your own.

The mObridge and Denison options looked perfect, but they apparently need the phone button variants of the PCM2 because those have necessary additional software. Does anyone know an option to get Bluetooth wired in that doesn't require phone buttons?

I thought that maybe I could find a MOST bus replacement head unit, either third party or recycled Porsche PCM2 or higher with phone buttons. Has anyone tried that swap? Is it a major undertaking?

The final option appears to be inserting an FM modulator into the antenna circuit. But I'm concerned about having to fiddle win the this on longer trips while I try to find an open frequency. And of course, I'm not terribly optimistic about sound quality. Does anyone have experience with these, and a recommendation?

Thanks in advance.

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I ended up replacing the entire system in my 996 C4S, including the head unit, amps and speakers.  I went with a Kenwood unit that allows for Sirius/XM, Bluetooth with voice activated dialing, iPod/iPhone connectivity, Pandora compatibility, etc.  It was expensive, but it was a nice upgrade.

 

One thing to keep in mind is that the interior cabin noise of the 996 makes it very difficult to use a handsfree phone.  The engine noise and road/tire noise are excessive compared to more modern cars.  This makes it very difficult for your callers to hear or understand you.  If your main purpose for spending the money is for Bluetooth phone connectivity, then you might want to rethink your plan.  You would be happier with a nice bluetooth headset.  Your callers would be too.

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Thanks, Dennis.  Understood on the noise issue -- the main desire for me is to have some mechanism for getting sound into the speakers that isn't the radio or a CD.  I can't imagine why they omitted an aux jack of any sort.

 

I ended up going with the Tranzit HF FM modulator, which is giving surprisingly good sound and predictably mediocre hands-free performance.  The only issue is that it doesn't appear to reset properly if I've turned off the car for less than 10 or 15 minutes -- leave it on and it's fine; wait longer and it's fine.  This may all be resolved when I buy a new battery today; we'll see.

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