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2003-07 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Extended Cab

2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 Classic

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Extended Cab (Crutchfield Research Photo)

This article is an overview of your vehicle's audio system and its upgrade options. Looking for step-by-step instructions on installing a car stereo or speakers in your Silverado? We'll include a Crutchfield MasterSheet™ free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one for $9.99.

Overview

Chevy’s Silverado is a workhorse, one of the most popular vehicles on the road today. GM built this particular version from 2003 to 2006, and then kept it on as the 2007 Silverado Classic when they switched to the new body style. It’s a great-looking truck, but the factory stereo comes up a little short. There are plenty of ways to bring it up-to-date with better sound and extra features that’ll make this Silverado a complete package.

Note: The chassis discussed here, known inside GM as the GMT800, was replaced by the new GMT900 models in 2007, but still hung around for another year as the '07 Silverado Classic. If you have an '07 and you're not sure which version you have, check the exterior photos below and see which front end looks like your truck. If yours looks like the more subtle new Silverado, see our profile for that model.

 Silverado "Classic" 2007 Silverado "Classic" (Crutchfield Research Photo)
 2007 new Chevy Silverado

The new 2007 Silverado (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Factory system

Silverado factory radio

This Silverado’s factory radio also houses the truck’s warning chimes. (Crutchfield Research Photo)

These Silverados were equipped with a 4" tall AM/FM CD player, with options for XM Satellite Radio, OnStar®, and a Bose® speaker system. You can install almost any 2" tall (single-DIN) or 4" tall (double-DIN) stereo in the dash opening, but you’ll need to use a hacksaw to remove the metal support bar behind the factory radio to install any car stereo that's over 6-3/8" deep. A receiver with a flip-out screen won't work in this truck, because the dash overhang won’t allow the screen to fully extend when open.

You'll need a mounting kit to trim out the new stereo, a wiring harness that allows you to connect it without having to cut the factory wiring, and an antenna adapter that connects the Chevy antenna plug to your new radio. Crutchfield includes these installation parts at a very deep discount with most orders, along with our step-by-step instructions for your Silverado.

Silverado dash trim removed

You’ll have to remove a large dash piece to get to the old radio. (Crutchfield Research Photo)


You’ll need an adapter that allows you to retain all safety and convenience features, like the factory warning chime and OnStar. If your truck is equipped with the factory satellite radio option, you’ll lose it when you replace the factory radio. You can always pick a stereo that offers satellite radio reception, either from a built-in tuner or an add-on tuner, then call SiriusXM to transfer your subscription.

If your truck is equipped with the Bose system, you'll need a wiring interface to connect your new stereo to the Bose amplifier and speakers, while retaining all warning chimes and OnStar functionality (if activated).

Steering wheel audio controls

Not all Silverados were equipped with steering wheel audio controls, but if yours was, it's relatively easy to retain this convenient feature when you install a new stereo. When you enter your vehicle information, our database will choose the adapter you need to make your factory steering wheel controls work with your new receiver.

Tools needed: Panel tool, hacksaw blade (to remove rear support), 7mm socket, ratchet and extension.

Replacing your factory speakers

Silverado front door panel

This Silverado's front door contains a Bose speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Front door speakers

The stock front door speakers in the Silverado are 6-1/2" models, a common size with great aftermarket support. They utilize a simple clip-in plate for easy removal and installation, and you won’t have trouble finding a speaker to fit any musical taste or budget. You can put a 5-1/4" or 6-1/2" speaker in the front door with the help of an inexpensive mounting bracket, and you can even fit the slightly larger 6-3/4" speaker in there if you’re willing to drill some new screw holes. Crutchfield includes the mounting bracket (if needed) and speaker wiring harnesses with every speaker order. Trucks with the Bose system will have a tweeter up in the pillars. Non-Bose vehicles may have a tweeter next to the speaker in the door.

Tweeters (Bose® system only)

If you have the Bose system, your Silverado will have tweeters in the A-pillars (you’ll see the small grilles just above the dash by the windshield).

Bose tweeter in the Silverado

The Bose tweeter is located in the front pillar (Crutchfield Research Photo)

These are also easy to remove, and offer a handy mounting spot for an aftermarket tweeter. You’ll have to fashion a mounting plate to install a tweeter in the pillar, but some tweeters include adjustable brackets for locations like this.

Rear door speakers

You’ll find 4"x6" speakers in the rear doors in this extended cab Silverado, or if you have the Bose system, a round speaker in a 4"x6" bracket. Once you’ve removed the door panels to get these speakers, they’re extremely easy to take out, thanks to their clip-in plates.

Rear door speaker

The Bose rear door speaker is a round model in a 4"x6" bracket. (Crutchfield Research Photo)

You can install 4"x6" and 4"x6" plate speakers in these openings, or go with a 4" or 3-1/2" if you prefer. You’ll have to drill new screw holes no matter what you put in there, and we recommend using speaker baffles to act as gaskets because the new speakers will have some air gaps around the frames once installed.

Tools needed: Phillips and flat blade screwdrivers, panel tool, 7mm socket, ratchet and extension, drill with 1/8" bit, Torx T20 driver for 2005-up models

Bass in your Silverado

Some later models with the Bose system have a powered subwoofer mounted in the center console. You can remove this sub and its small amplifier, and replace it with an aftermarket sub if you power it with a new amp. We don’t recommend this route, though, because it requires a vast amount of time and effort.

Factory%20subwoofer%20locationThe Bose sub is mounted in the center console for bass reinforcement. (Crutchfield Research Photo)
Factory%20sub%20A closer look at the factory sub — it's a slightly oblong 6-3/4" subwoofer (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Here’s a better way to get great bass in this Silverado. You’ll find a large assortment of aftermarket enclosures that fit into a variety of locations in this truck, many already loaded with a sub, and some even with a built-in amp. The sub will still be tucked out of the way but will produce a much deeper, tighter bass kick based on the power of the amp you add.
MTX%20ThunderformThis MTX ThunderForm, loaded with a 10" sub and 200-watt amp, mounts under the rear seat. (Courtesy of MTX)

More options

There are plenty of other ways to improve your Silverado. Here are some of the ways Crutchfield can help.

Amps

Being a pickup truck, the Silverado has a noisy cabin. If you really want to hear your music without taxing your speakers, add an amp. There are plenty of inexpensive options that will give you the ability to hear your music loud and clear, especially when paired with some upgraded speakers. Mounting options abound; a best bet is under the front or rear seats.

Satellite radio

If your Silverado came from Chevy with satellite radio, you’ll lose it when you remove the factory stereo. You'll have a choice of choosing a new radio that works with an outboard SiriusXM tuner, or buying a Dock & Play radio which you can move from your vehicle into your home.

Security and remote start

There's nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to installing security equipment in this vehicle. The XK01 or XK09 XpressKit interfaces would be the best choice — they're ready to work in this vehicle right out of the box, no extra programming required. Both interfaces come with great instructions. You will need an extra relay to add a second accessory wire for remote start.

Navigation

An in-dash navigation receiver is an excellent option in this truck, if you’re willing to cut out the support that held up the factory radio. Or you can use a portable navigation unit, which you can move between vehicles as needed and keep tucked in a storage compartment when not in use.

3 ways to upgrade your Silverado

Quick & easy: This truck is easy to upgrade, so go ahead and swap out the front speakers and replace the factory stereo with a stereo that puts out more power. The difference in sound quality will be impressive, even if you keep the Bose amplifier. Your options for an aftermarket stereo are almost unlimited once you knock out that rear support, so spend a little more on a deck that you can upgrade in the future (preamp outputs, Bluetooth® functionality, iPod® adapters, etc.). You’ll need to pick up a couple of adapters to retain features like OnStar, steering wheel controls and door chimes, so factor that into your budget.

More bump in your truck: Once you have a new head unit with preamp outputs, expand your system with some amps and a subwoofer. The custom made enclosures for this truck are amazing — they tuck out of the way, and some come preloaded with some of the best subs on the market. Make sure you feed them enough power to really let them achieve their full potential.

Safety, sound and performance: Head unit, speakers, amps and subs — your truck sounds great, now make it more functional. Add a Bluetooth interface for hands-free calling and music streaming. Or mount a rear-view camera on the back of your Silverado, then connect it to your in-dash DVD receiver so you can get a clear view when you're backing up.

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