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2017 Forester XT
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79 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I am considering replacing the radio on my 18 XT but had a few questions about it --
(1) is the XT radio the same as the non-XT?
(2) some sites (Crutchfield) had grouped the 18 with previous years, but I saw wisperings about the 18 wiring harness being different. Is this a concern?
(3) Is replacing the amp necessary it seemed like Crutchfield was saying to add a new amp?

Any input would be appreciated. I would also like any opinion on the difficulty of this -- I have never really worked on car electronics, but I am not dumb. Is this something best left to a shop?

Is it possible to undo these installations? I have had severe issues (posted previously) with the radio in my 17 XT, and am a little concerned about keeping my warranty in tact if I need to go that route again.

Thanks in advance!
 

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2018 Forester MT
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5 Posts
I replaced the radio on my 2018 Premium almost immediately after purchase (my previous Crosstrek was totaled so I took my aftermarket radio, harness, and bezel out and put the stock one back in before it was towed away). I really like my Forester but learned from the Crosstrek that the factory radios aren't worth keeping except for warranty and insurance purposes. I installed an iDatalink Maestro with the SU2 T-harness, everything just plugged in however I did have to remove pin 5 on the 6-pin harness connector that was shorting out to what I believe was the ground circuit for illumination that goes back to the BIU, aftermarket radios only supports illumination on/off and not stepped dimming like the factory radio (I don't recall the exact wire color but the pin is in between the other two on the lower row). The Maestro I believe is the only way to support the factory amp, there is a control circuit between the factory radio and amp that the iDatalink provides for aftermarket radios but my Forester did not have an amp so I referred to the install guide for the 2017 w/ no amp. I did not notice any difference in the instructions for XT vs NA, only for 6.2", 7" and 7" with Karmon and the T-harness includes RCA jacks by default too for the factory-amp option.

The major change with the 2018s is that the ODB port's CANbus now has a gateway that blocks signals, I had to tap the red/blue wires from the MFD above to the Maestro to bypass that gateway so technically the 2018s are not supported but it functions perfectly running the 2017 firmware. The T-harness makes wiring relatively simple but the issue with the illumination ground and Can makes this slightly more difficult than the standard instructions, and I ended up modifying the harness further to steal some extra otherwise-unused connectors off it and keep the radio on until the door is opened (planning to add an off-timer as a future mod).

Everything is designed to allow you to go back to stock, besides the CANbus taps no modification to the factory wiring or connectors are required as the T-harness includes the connectors that plug right in (for Starlink I just shoved the pink mute wire into the connector rather than cutting it off and butt-splicing). One other thing I found is that my radio did not have a dedicated power antenna output so I cut the wire leading from pin 8 on the 10-pin connector at the first junction in the harness and spliced to ACC 12+ (red) to ensure it wasn't getting fed from the radio amp turn-on lead
 
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