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Installing a Double Din Radio in a JK Wrangler (Pioneer NEX, removing 430N)

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over the next few posts i'll document my experience with replacing the factory MyGig 430N radio in my 2016 Wrangler Unlimited just as a reference for others. there's nothing particularly complicated about the install, but there were a couple "gotchas" i'll mention.



factory schmactory


i was able to sell my factory radio on eBay to cover the cost of the new radio plus several of the items needed to install it.




the Alpine "premium" audio system in the 2015+ JK's is actually not bad. my biggest complaints with the sound are not having a real multi-band EQ to tweak and that the subwoofer isn't designed to handle the really low bass common in electronica and some hip-hop/rap (it's not bad at all for a lot rock/pop).


i hope to replace the sub eventually, but for now i wanted to "wake up" the existing components with a better head-unit. that and the 430N had a lot of little things that annoyed me - from the out-of-date UI to poor MP3 file handling to the clunky phone integration.



replacement head-unit choice


i went with the Pioneer AVH-4200NEX double-din head unit. the Nex series are some of the nicest stereos available (nothing wrong with Alpine either, except the price tag). the 4200 is a particularly good value as it gives you all the same features as the more expensive 7200 & 8200 except navigation (and the 8200's capacitive screen). the 4200NEX cost me $450 from Amazon.




i wasn't concerned with losing nav since i prefer to use my tablet setup for that. if you're planning to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, the multi-touch screen on the 8200 is probably worth the extra cost.




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(fireworks pic courtesy of Kaspily for dramatic effect!)



let's spend some money!


this was my initial shopping list:


  • Pioneer AVH-4200NEX
  • MicroBypass Parking Brake simulator thingee. some radio functions are only enabled when the parking brake is engaged, the MicroBypass is a 3 wire module to defeat those restrictions. note that you don't need this for the 7200 or 8200NEX, there's a hidden on-screen button in them that disables the in-motion safety features (search YouTube for it).
  • iDataLink Maestro RR (ADS-MRR) and the matching CH1 wiring harness (ADS-HRN-RR-CH1). these parts and the accompanying online instructions made install a breeze, highly recommended over any competing steering wheel or factory amp interfaces/harnesses.
    if you don't have a factory amp, the UConnect system, or any steering wheel buttons - you can skip this and just buy a typical harness from Metra i think.
  • a double din dash mount... i used the one from XScorpion, but it did require some modifications to fit just right.
    i still prefer the flat appearance it has to the sculpted curvy look of the Metra one (not sure if the Metra fits better without mods or not). do NOT buy the one from AI, it's crappy soft plastic and had some manufacturing defects (and didn't fit any better than the XScorpion).
  • Metra 40-EU10 antenna adapter.
  • i had to refresh my supply of uninsulated crimp connectors. i had plenty of heat shrink to cover them already. IMHO, this makes for a more compact and better connection than the typical insulated butt connectors. soldering is nice too, but i don't think it's necessary if you get a good crimp.
  • i didn't install XM radio, you'd need the Pioneer XM tuner for that - and to keep the factory XM antenna i think you'd need a Fakra Curry K Female to SMB Female adapter.



i didn't purchase the Pioneer CD-MC20 Auto-EQ Microphone yet. the NEX radios can perform their own RTA and give you a baseline EQ and time-alignment setting for your car's interior, but you need that special mic.


other extra stuff i did purchase:


  • the radio comes with one USB port extension cable. i used this little panel plus this adapter to have both USB ports, the HDMI port, and the AUX input all accessible. it fit in place of the factory USB port inside the center console by just trimming the existing hole about 3/8" taller.
    however - removing the center console is an absolute huge PITA, especially if you have all the factory options and therefore more wiring connectors to deal with. i wouldn't recommend this unless your OCD is off-the-charts like mine. instead, this plus this might be easier to mount elsewhere (since drilling a round hole is simpler than cutting a perfect rectangle). here are some basic instructions for removing the center console, if you must.
  • 128GB SD Card. warning! the Nex radios technically only support SDHC cards, which top out at 32GB. However, you can re-format a larger SDXC card with the NTFS file system instead of the default exFat format they come with - then the Nex will read and use the larger capacity cards. this is not recommended by SD Card makers as the card can become corrupt if you are moving/adding/erasing files. i plan to load my entire MP3 collection and rarely need to update the card after that.
  • cameras. i tested (and returned) quite a few no-name vehicle cameras from Amazon. they all sucked pretty hard IMO except one - the Airysee AS-205B. it's not impressive by any means, but was much better than all the others and still only $30.
    the Nex units have the capability for 2 cameras. one shows automatically when you shift into reverse but either can also be viewed by pressing an on-screen button at anytime. for now i'm going to run a backup and a front bumper camera. the front one will be for self-spotting (especially looking over steep hills as i crest them). i may one day add something like the Crimestopper or PAC multi-camera switches for more inputs.




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out with the old...


plenty of people have already shown how to get the dash apart so i won't repeat all the details, here are some good references:



i see a lot of people take out the main dash trim without first removing the 3 a/c vents. i recommend removing the vents as it places less stress on everything and then you don't need to pry to get the window switch panel out.


taking out the vents is really easy once you get the hang of it, but there is a "trick" to it. i found this video easy to follow:



be sure you've removed all 4 of the 7mm screws before you go yanking on the big panel. here's what you're taking out:




the factory radio is held in with 4 more 7mm screws and a friction fit into a metal bracket. that bracket has to come out in order to fit a full double-din aftermarket radio. it's held in with just 2 screws.





more later...

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Very cool description. Thank you.

I am having the Metra dash kit, which I already used for my first headunit swap into my jeep. I also will connect the SiriusXM SXV300v1 tuner, which I got of eBay pretty cheap. The connection to the Jeep Sirius antenna will be done with the iDatalink ADS-HRN-ANT-SAT1 antenna adapter.

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sounds good Chris - i didn't realize you had a previous double din radio in there. so you pretty much just have to flash the Maestro and connect the harness wires... oh, you're doing a new amp, speakers, sub and such too - so you've got plenty of work to do ;)

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... and in with the new!


i also needed to trim about 1/8" of plastic from the top of the opening for the radio (not in the visible trim piece, in the dash sub-structure). the plastic is soft and a sharp utility knife works great. you can see i've trimmed the top right half or so here:




then i test fit with the mounting kit... i ended up drilling one extra hole in these plastic "ears" and enlarging another to get them to line up just right with the radio face.




i also cut off the plastic alignment nub from the back of these pieces so that the radio would center vertically. then still had to file open the front facing round holes in these that the main plastic trim piece lines up into.


all that adjustment wasn't strictly necessary, but i wanted a perfectly even gap around the trim pieces and radio - which i finally nearly got:




i also added a strap made out of universal exhaust hanger to stabilize the back of the radio. this isn't necessary, but everything felt a little flimsy to me without it.




it's attached using a pre-existing screw just above the back of the radio:






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wire it up


i was confused at first because the Maestro "RR" came in a box that says "AR" and iDatalink used to sell a different product called the "AR". a little white sticker on the side of the box confirmed part number ADS-MRR so i went with it. not sure what they are up to there, even the actual unit says "AR" but everyone refers to these things as the "Maestro RR". whatevs...


you need a Windows computer with Internet Explorer to program the Maestro. after installing a plugin, you connect the RR with the supplied mini-USB cable, create a free account on the iDatalink website (http://maestro.idatalink.com/weblink/login), login and then a little wizard interface steps you through the setup.


the online configurator lets you keep as little or as much of the factory UConnect system as you want, as well as program the steering wheel buttons to whatever functions you'd like. you also pick what radio you are installing and at the end it flashes your module and gives you links to download a couple PDFs with further instructions, including the wiring diagram.




i didn't keep any of the factory UConnect features (bluetooth pairing & phone integration, voice commands, USB port). the Nex can do all of these things on it's own, and IMO better.


here's a photo of my completed wiring harness:




the Maestro installation PDF covers everything, but here are some key notes:


  • from the Pioneer harness, i had a yellow/black wire left unconnected (with a tag labeled MUTE). there's also a yellow/black wire coming from the Maestro, but it DOES NOT hook to this! otherwise most of the wires match up in color. be sure to see the extra page detailing differences for a few select wire colors depending on radio brand.
  • form the Maestro harness, i had a brown, pink, and the yellow/black wire left unconnected. i also had the light green left unconnected because it was hooked only to the MicroBypass unit on the Pioneer harness. if you have a 7200 or 8200 you'd match up the light green wires.
  • if you keep any of the factory UConnect features, you'd have an additional cable going from the Maestro to the head unit.
  • the red connector isn't used for anything (on the left).
  • the black connector on that same end with the yellow & red twisted wire pair goes to the included OBD2 cable & plug.


the extra wires leading off towards the bottom of my photo are just power & ground for the cameras. i did also tape off my unconnected wire ends before i installed this (so they wouldn't short out on anything).


i added some foam padding to the side of the Maestro and wedged it over on the right between the vent and the dash. the JK's dash makes the install really easy as there's plenty of room for all the wiring.




i removed the center console completely to install that breakout panel i mentioned before (in my shopping list).




as i said previously, it was a pain to remove the console and probably not worth it except i also had a drink spill fiasco at some point so i took the opportunity to thoroughly clean the entire console and beneath it.




you can reuse the factory microphone if you want (depending on you Maestro configuration), but one of my complaints with the UConnect system was that callers couldn't hear me clearly. i'm hoping the Pioneer microphone and this new location for it improves that.




rubbing alcohol was used to prep the plastic for the double-sided adhesive pad that came with the mic.


i poked a little hole in the top of the steering column cover to route the wire through so it wouldn't get pinched against the dash trim when the steering wheel is in the full up position.




at this point everything is installed and working great except the cameras. i have the power/signal cables for them connected to the radio and coiled up in the floorboard still. one evening after the sun goes down i'll have to route them and mount the cameras.


so far i really, really like the 4200NEX - in terms of both sound and features.


i'll update this thread once the cameras are in and also post my experiences with the Nex after i've used it a bit more!

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sounds good Chris - i didn't realize you had a previous double din radio in there. so you pretty much just have to flash the Maestro and connect the harness wires... oh, you're doing a new amp, speakers, sub and such too - so you've got plenty of work to do ;)


Yes, quite some work to do. I hope, I get everything done that day, I am in SFO. My new front and rear cameras are already wired and work with my old headunit. So I hope, everything will be just plug and play. I have the rear one wired via a switch, to be able to turn it constantly on and also additionally via a diode from the brake light wire, so that it also gets power on, when I am in reverse.


I am interested to know, whether you get the transmission fluid temperature shown on the gauges screen. I saw mixed information on this for the JK. There seems also to be a problem at the moment, if the OBD2 plug get´s taken off. Then sometimes the gauges seem not to work after it is plugged in again. There is a patch on the way and I have a beta firmware for this on my Maestro RR.


As I am not having UConnect, I do not need to worry about using it, but the voice control only works with the Pioneer microphone. So in case somebody wants to use the voice control, it is better to turn UConnect off in the headunit menu.


I am planning to use Wago clamps for the wire connections, but I am not sure, whether they are holding up in a vibrating jeep.

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As usual, a very well done how-to Kris.

Thankfully it won't be lost to the photo bucket fiasco.

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As usual, a very well done how-to Kris.

Thankfully it won't be lost to the photo bucket fiasco.


thanks Jim.


i've used Google for photo sharing/hosting for a very long time. i'm not in love with the newer Google Photos compared to how their Picasa service worked, but at least they kept all the Picasa shared photo/album links working when they shut that down.

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