How To: Install JVC KR-XW610 head unit in a 2005 Subaru Forester - Parts 1&2 - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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How To: Install JVC KR-XW610 head unit in a 2005 Subaru Forester - Parts 1&2

How To: Install JVC KR-XW610 head unit in a 2005 Subaru Forester

Once upon a time, there was an innocent 2005 Subaru Forester whose console had never been opened. The console looked like this:



The Subie's crazy owner decided it was time to upgrade the audio head. What follows is a step-by-step set of instructions for installing the JVC KR-XW610 head unit (or KR-XW810 - they are physically the same) in a USA (LH drive) 2005 Forester X. This vehicle has an automatic transmission and manual HVAC controls. If your vehicle has 'climate control', then you can avoid several rather pesky steps. The steps below are organized as follows:

0. Prelims - Gearshift selection - Battery Disconnect

1. Removinge the existing head unit

The second part of this message will include:

2. Prepping the JVC unit - drilling the brackets

3. Installing the JVC unit

4. Testing the Install

5. Buttoning up and final steps

------

Part 0 - Place the gear shifter in Neutral (you may need to move it during this operation). Engage the parking brake.

Finally, disconnect the battery ground connector. Use a 10mm wrench on the battery connector nut. Place a rag or something over the battery ground post so it cannot accidentally re-connect.



-----

Part 1 - Removing the existing head unit

A. Temperature Control Linkage

Turn the Temperature Control setting to the 'hot' position - all the way clockwise. At the passenger side door, prepare a kneeling pad to protect your knees.



Look under the dash for the Temperature Control Linkage disconnect.



Ahhhhh, there it is!



With your left hand, make slight adjustments on the Temperature Control knob - jiggle it. With your right hand, pull the wire loop off the white plastic post. If you get the Temperature Control knob in the right position, the loop will come off easily and by hand. Remove the loop before pulling the tab - it's easier that way.

Next, grasp the 'tab' and pull it towards the outside of the car. With a little effort, it will come off and the silver-gray plastic end-stop (visible in picture) will slide out of its cage. Just let the cable dangle in the air... it won't go anywhere.

If you absolutely can't get this to work - it's mostly done by 'feel' - then this is the preferred position for more serious work on the linkage step. Be sure to notify 911 first so they can have their human extraction equipment ready in case you get stuck.



Relocate your activities to the driver's side. Essentially, you will repeat the above steps for the Vent Control Linkage. Start by turning the Vent Control knob all the way counter-clockwise, to extend the control wire. The Vent Control Linkage is not as photogenic as the Temperature Control linkage, but it disconnects the same way. Look at the pictures, make slight adjustments to the Vent Control knob and the loop will come off. Then, yank the tab and it will come off.

Here's the view under the dash.







Okay, you've done the most difficult task - definitely earned a beer. But there's still more work to do. At least you can now sit down on the job. Continue by removing the gear selector trim. Lift straight up with your finger nails - it should lift up easily.



Here's a pic of the trim removed and the wiring harness unplugged. (It really will unplug, but it probably won't be easy).



Here's the inside-the-console view. Note there are six (6) Phillips head screws visible. Remove only the top two screws. Leave the others alone.



Start at the bottom - where you removed the two screws - and pull the center console outwards. You should feel (or hear) the tabs as they come unsnapped. It helps to insert a plastic trim tool at the edge of the console and pry (or jiggle) at the same time as you are pulling. If you don't know what a trim tool looks like, look ahead to the picture of the JVC trim ring. It's sitting on a couple of plastic trim tools.

Note that there is a "center tab" above the Hazard Switch.



Disconnect the wire harness to the Hazard Switch. No other disconnections are necessary.



You're almost done. Remove the four (4) screws that hold the head unit in place. As you lift the head unit out, unplug the antenna connection and multi-wire connector. Finally, disconnect the ground wire from the bottom mounting bracket. For whatever reasons, on my vehicle this ground connector was hell to remove - I almost destroyed the terminal.

With the head unit removed from the vehicle, remove the two side brackets from the factory head unit (three screws on each side). You will re-use these brackets but not the screws.

To be continued . . . in Part 2


Last edited by dave5358; 02-10-2017 at 03:18 PM. Reason: Update picture links
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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How To: Install JVC KR-XW610 head unit in a 2005 Subaru Forester - Part 2

How To: Install JVC KR-XW610 head unit in a 2005 Subaru Forester

In a previous message, I described how to remove the OEM head unit from a 2005 Forester, in preparation for installing a new JVC head. The second part of this message will include:

2. Prepping the JVC unit - drilling the brackets

3. Installing the JVC unit

4. Testing the Install

5. Buttoning up and final steps

-------

Part 2 - Prepping the JVC head unit

My JVC KR-XW610 came installed inside a mounting cage. Remove the black plastic trim ring from the front. Then remove 4 small silver screws and remove the cage. It is not needed. You may or may not use the plastic trim ring - more on that below.



Decision Time: At this point, you need to make a decision as to how you wish to mount the JVC head. The Forester console is essentially flat and gently sloped, but the JVC unit is curved and slopes at a steeper angle. This front slope of the JVC unit does not match the the Forester console so some compromise is required. Here's the problem illustrated:





You could mount the head unit so that the entire front end protrudes from the console (and the large volume knob will extend even further). I didn't like that, but if you wish to go that way, then simply adjust some of the dimensions below.

After some trial and error, I decided that the bottom of the JVC unit would extend ~1/8" out from the console; the top row of JVC buttons would be recessed ~1/8" and the CD-slot would recessed slightly more. Here are a two pics of the finished result.





To accomplish, you need to drill two new holes in each of the OEM mounting brackets. Here's how.

One of the brackets you removed from the OEM head unit looks like this:



You will need to mark and drill two holes in each bracket. To mark the location, use a scribing tool. Don't have one handy? Then use a break-blade knife and a steel ruler. Do not use a pencil for this.



Using the scribe or knife, make lines A1 and A2. The lines are at the very edge of the existing holes.



Next, make line B. Again, it's at the very edge of the existing holes.



So much for the easy stuff. In the above picture, note Marks C and D. The distances to these marks from Line B are as follows:

Line B-to-Mark C = 7/16"
Line B-to-Mark D = 1/2"

These dimensions give the head unit a slight forward tilt. These dimensions resulted in the finished install shown up above.

If you want the complete radio face to protrude (so the rear seat passenger can adjust the radio), then use

Line B-to-Mark C = 15/16"
Line B-to-Mark D = 1"

Or, make both dimensions 1" - no tilt. You could also make the radio extend even more - just do the math. It you extend it out far enough, you can use the Trim Ring mentioned above and below to trim the opening.

Once you have decided on the mounting depth, scribe Marks C and D with your scribe or knife. Then, get a center punch and hammer and make small punches at the intersections of Line A1-Mark D and Line A2-Mark C.



Drill the holes in two steps. Start with a small bit (~1/8"). Be sure the bit starts in the indentation you punched above. Then drill the finished holes (~7/32" or 1/4"). Remove any drill flashing, or flatten them with gentle hammer strokes. Mount the brackets to the JVC head unit using the pan-head screws provided by JVC. The screws you removed from the OEM head unit are probably too short, so don't use them.


The Wiring Harness

When you purchased your JVC KR-XW610, you also purchased a wiring harness, right? For the Forester (and many other Subaru's) you need a Metra 70-8901 harness or equivalent. Match the wire colors of the vehicle harness to the wire colors of the harness shipped with the KR-XW610 - it's a no-brainer.

I put on heat shrink tubing, then soldered the wires, slipped and shrunk the tubing. But there are other ways to makes these connections. One lead on the JVC half of this harness is not used - the blue w/white stripe wire with a connector attached. This lead is designed to power an antenna or something which is ON with the head unit. If you install a subwoofer (I doing that next), you can use this wire to signal the subwoofer that the head is 'ON'.


- Part 3 - Installing the Head Unit

With the harness assembled and the mounting brackets drilled and assembled to the JVC KR-XW610, you're ready to start putting it all together. Look at the picture of the opened console:



The antenna connector is on the right.

The Hazard Switch harness is at the top of the picture.

There are 2 RCA connectors pictured - I added this cable for a subwoofer. These connectors should not be present in your vehicle.

Note the horizontal beam. When you reassemble things, the antenna cable and main radio connection cable must be routed from the rear and ABOVE this beam. The ground connector connects BELOW the beam.

Look carefully at the control cable from the Temperature Control mechanism. It passes to the right of the large wiring harness (black in picture, with camera flash glare). When you pulled the console out, it's possible for this to cable slip to the left of this wiring harness - definitely a no-no. Be sure to check this to avoid unnecessary grief.

Here's another pic showing the cable routing to the right of the large wiring harness



Okay, I've attached my new head unit harness (the combo JVC harness + Metra 70-8901) to the vehicle wiring and the head unit. As I slide the new head unit into place, be sure to pull this harness down and out of the way. Hey, it's crowded in there.



The head is installed and held by the top screws.



Decision Time: Plastic Trim Ring. You can use the JVC supplied trim ring or not. If you don't use it, it will probably end up on a shelf, next to the extra pieces that came with something you bought back in 1988. I decided to use it to avoid the 'shelf' problem..

However, you need to make a small modification, so the Trim Ring will clear the top center mounting post. In the following picture, note the small notch cut in the top center. I did this with electrical cutters, nibbling the plastic out in small bites. Finally, I used a file to clean up the notch. One less part on the shelf!

In this same picture are two of the plastic 'trim tools' which I used to remove the console. They really helped, don't scratch, etc. - a very useful set of tools to have. Look on eBay or Amazon.



You're almost home. Next, reconnect the Hazard Warning harness.

Check all the other connections - if you took it apart, now's the time to put it back together.


- Part 4 - Testing the install

Look at your work area. Is there any reason why you should not reconnect the battery ground? Make sure tools are cleared from the work area, no loose wires, etc. The Vent Control and Temp Control cables are not yet reconnected, but they're not electrical.

Note that the harness for the 12v socket is still disconnected and very visible. If you can see it, you can see that nothing is shorting, etc.

Under the hood, reconnect the battery ground. Just push it down - you can tighten the clamp later.

Test the new head unit. Power on. FM reception. Really cool colors. Okay, it's working, right? It sounds like a radio? Let's get back to work.


Part 5 - Buttoning up and final steps

Gently press the console back into place, but don't snap it in yet. Before you make the "final push", get out your kneeling pads. On the passenger side, check the Temperature Control cable. It should easily line up with the cage and plastic pin. Don't connect anything - just check that it will fit (or, at least, it looks like it will fit). Repeat this process on the driver's side for the Vent Control cable. It should be on top of it's final destination, ready to be reconnected. All okay?

Now, press the console into place. Use the heel of your hand to snap the connectors into place. When all snapped in, install the two screws at the bottom of the console. Note the alignment notches next to the screws. Here's the console, snapped into place.



I installed a microphone clip to hold my cell phone. It's handy if you leave your phone on 'vibrate'.



The shifter trim is easy to install. First, reconnect the 12v Socket harness. Engage the front end of the trim first - the back edge will drop into place easily.



Back to your kneeling pad. You still need to re-attach control cables on both Passenger and Driver sides. You can do this by feel - it's easier than it seems.

First press the silver-gray stop block into its cage.

Then, press the bottom of the Tab inward until it engages. If you do this correctly - align it correctly - it goes in quite easily.

Reconnect the wire loop over the post. Make slight adjustments to the appropriate control knob to make the loop align - makes it easier.

While your kneeling, bent over and working under the dash, take your free hand and turn the appropriate control knob. The cable should move smoothly, causing the mechanism to function. Check it in both directions.

Repeat these steps on the other side of vehicle/console.

Tighten the battery ground cable.

Grab a frosty devil and reward yourself. You've earned it!

------

Addendum: Some months after doing this install, I sold this Forester and bought an 06 XT. The XT came with a different model Subaru head unit . . . which sounded just as bad as the head in the 05 X. So, I made a quick swap between the two vehicles. As of this writing, I'm still using (and enjoying!) the JVC head unit. It fit perfectly in the XT. Here's the same head unit, brackets, etc. in the 06 XT. I've upgraded my cell phone and added a GPS.



In another forum post, I added a subwoofer to the first Forester. I removed it and reinstalled it as well - the control is visible in the area of the driver's right knee.


Last edited by dave5358; 02-10-2017 at 04:05 PM. Reason: Update picture links
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 06:42 PM
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Thank you for taking the time to show how to install a deck to make it look as nice as it works. I've installed over 100 decks over the years and have fought to get a nice look many times. I don't necessarily agree with where you decided to mount yours, but that does not matter. The fact that you spent the time to mount it where YOU thought it looks best is what matters. Thank you for taking the time to show others how to do this. You've shown here what makes the difference between a professional install and "slapping in the kit they sold me".

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for taking the time to show how to install a deck to make it look as nice as it works.
Thanks for the kind comment. I'll swear that the car makers and the after-market component makers must have joint committees on how to NOT make things fit and NOT look right. Arrrrrgh.

The JVC head works great - sounds great - a real improvement. It's modestly priced. I'm very pleased so far. I use this car on the road and good music makes the miles fly by.

I have a few more upgrades planned for this car: sound deadening material, new front door speakers and . . . a Kenwood subwoofer. All the parts are in-hand. I hope to get it all done this weekend. I'll post pics as I go along.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-09-2012, 06:54 PM
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I put a double din Kenwood in a Sorento and it took me 4 hours of cutting the inside of the dash to get it to sit right. It was 1/8" too low. When I got done it looked factory. It is just a matter of investing the time to do it well, not just right.

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 12:31 AM
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Hey guys im trying to remove the whole center piece for painting it but i cannot get the middle trim disconnected from those dang climate controls to pull it fully out of the car!!! how can i do that? thanks!


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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-25-2012, 04:42 AM Thread Starter
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Hey guys im trying to remove the whole center piece for painting it but i cannot get the middle trim disconnected from those dang climate controls to pull it fully out of the car!!! how can i do that? thanks!
Use your words carefully. Frequently, when someone says 'climate control', they are referring to the all-automatic computer controlled set-it-and-forget-it system on some later/deluxe Foresters. The system I described in the post at the beginning of this thread is not 'climate control' - it's a manual system in which you manually (mechanically) control the vents and manually control the hot water flow or temperature. The only thing that's even electric is the fan speed (and the computer is not involved).

To disconnect my manual system, look at the pictures above - there's no easier path to enlightenment. To disconnect the 'climate control' system, just unplug the harness.

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i disconnected the controls under both of the knee panels but when i discconect the harness there is still twon metal cables behind the consol holding it on? its those that i cant remove


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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-26-2012, 05:21 AM Thread Starter
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i disconnected the controls under both of the knee panels but when i discconect the harness there is still twon metal cables behind the consol holding it on? its those that i cant remove
You can 'unsnap' the panel and pull it out about 2-3". At that point, the two control cables stop any more outward movement.

Note that disconnecting each control cables involves _3_ steps. 1) remove the wire loop. 2) remove the silver-gray plastic stop piece (see pictures) and 3) remove the metal spring tab. Are one or more of these parts still connected? The details vary slightly, but these three steps are required on BOTH SIDES.

The spring tab may require some muscle or maybe a pair of pliers - particularly the first time you remove it. The loop takes a gentle touch - jiggle the appropriate control knob and the loop will just slip off. The silver-gray stop piece just slides in and out - nothing really holds it. After you've done this a time or two, you may discover that pulling off the metal spring tab will jerk out the silver-gray stop piece - they sort of come out together.

Once the above is disconnected, the whole panel will move out another 3 or 4 inches. I never tried to get it out much beyond that - really no reason to do so.

Does that help?

One last comment (or warning): behind the panel, examine your control cables and wires. - particularly the cable that controls the vent position (starts on right side - goes out by the driver's knee). Did you kink this inner control wire? If so, you have to 'unkink' it so it will work smoothly. It's possible to kink this wire if you spend much time screwing around with the panel. Don't ask me how I know this ;-)

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-29-2012, 03:50 PM
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Thanks

Dave5358. Thanks for your posts on the install. It was pretty helpful to study before embarking on something new. I just installed a KW-XR810 in a 2005 XS and the climate panel only has 2 harnesses (+ the hazard light harness). There are no mechanical parts to disconnect below on either side. Also, the stock bracket that comes with the Double DIN unit already tilts the JVC unit so it's flushed at the bottom but indented at the top.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dave5358 View Post
You can 'unsnap' the panel and pull it out about 2-3". At that point, the two control cables stop any more outward movement.

Note that disconnecting each control cables involves _3_ steps. 1) remove the wire loop. 2) remove the silver-gray plastic stop piece (see pictures) and 3) remove the metal spring tab. Are one or more of these parts still connected? The details vary slightly, but these three steps are required on BOTH SIDES.

The spring tab may require some muscle or maybe a pair of pliers - particularly the first time you remove it. The loop takes a gentle touch - jiggle the appropriate control knob and the loop will just slip off. The silver-gray stop piece just slides in and out - nothing really holds it. After you've done this a time or two, you may discover that pulling off the metal spring tab will jerk out the silver-gray stop piece - they sort of come out together.

Once the above is disconnected, the whole panel will move out another 3 or 4 inches. I never tried to get it out much beyond that - really no reason to do so.

Does that help?

One last comment (or warning): behind the panel, examine your control cables and wires. - particularly the cable that controls the vent position (starts on right side - goes out by the driver's knee). Did you kink this inner control wire? If so, you have to 'unkink' it so it will work smoothly. It's possible to kink this wire if you spend much time screwing around with the panel. Don't ask me how I know this ;-)


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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 04:36 PM
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Thanks bud. I appreciate it! Hopefully I'll be posting a success story in one of these threads over the weekend. Not sure why Subaru designed it to be such a PITA like that. The install on my WRX was a breeze.

Last edited by Geor!; 04-06-2012 at 04:45 PM.
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Thanks again, Dave. That was a breeze, thought the driver side tab was quite the you know what to get off.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-14-2012, 06:02 PM
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Hey Dave , thanks for the pictures and the steps. But I can't really understand which way to pull the "tab" in the line "grasp the 'tab' and pull it towards the outside of the car." of your original post. When you say towards the outside, do you mean in the same direction in which the wire extends? I could remove the wire loop but could not remove the tab and I did not try too hard, lest I break the tab itself.
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