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2014 FXT
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've had this write up in my member journal and have been fielding a bunch of questions offline about it so I thought I'd start a dedicated thread for it so all the information will be in one place. Hopefully it helps direct you to where to get the parts you need and how to install all the various pieces of an aftermarket head unit in your 2014+ Forester.

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Pioneer AVH-X8500BHS Install
*disclaimer, this was my setup for this radio and my car, your install may differ. Follow your radio installation manual. Test everything before putting it back together!

- Wiring harnesses (20pin factory, factory USB adapter, rear view camera duplication from MFD) were purchased from SVXdc* (ae64 . com)
* David's wiring help was extremely helpful for this install!
- The AWSC-1 was purchased from amazon (had Sept 2013 build date w/ latest firmware)
- The microbypass was purchased from microbypass on amazon
- The SiriusXM SXV200v1 antenna adapter was purchased from amazon
- J&L 60watt soldering iron and SE MZ101B Helping Hand were from amazon
- thin gauge electronics solder (it came in a tall thin tube with a white cap, it was coiled inside) and heat shrink tubing were from Radioshack
- 1 male 2 female Y RCA splitter from Radioshack

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Links to the "how to's" that I used
- how to remove all the factory radio & MFD trim pieces (no, it's not as easy as he makes it look your first time) *thanks Joe333x:
- How to Mod your Metra 95-8902 faceplate: NASIOC - View Single Post - 2012 Impreza stereo replacement

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Wiring tips
- your black (ground) wire will have 4 connections with 5 wires total: SVXdc factory black to pioneer black (1), microbypass black (2), aswc-1 black (3) and SVXdc brown black (4)
- your red (ignition power) wire will have 2 connections with 3 wires total: SVXdc factory red to pioneer red (1), aswc-1 red (2)
- your blue/white (remote power) wire will have 2 connections with 3 wires total: SVXdc factory blue to pioneer blue/white (1), microbypass blue (2)

Wiring the Main Harness
_ Black SVXdc <-> Black pioneer
_ Yellow SVXdc <-> Yellow pioneer
_ Red SVXdc <-> Red pioneer
_ Blue SVXdc <-> Blue/White pioneer
_ Orange SVXdc <-> Orange/White pioneer
_ White SVXdc <-> White pioneer
_ White/Black SVXdc <-> White/Black pioneer
_ Green SVXdc <-> Green pioneer
_ Green/Black SVxdc <-> Green/Black pioneer
_ Grey SVXdc <-> Grey pioneer
_ Grey/Black SVXdc <-> Grey/Black pioneer
_ Violet SVXdc <-> Violet pioneer
_ Violet/Black SVXdc <-> Violet/Black pioneer
_ Brown/Black SVXdc (see below)
_ Brown/Blue SVXdc (see below)
_ Brown/Red SVxdc (see below)
_ Light Green pioneer (see below)
_ Yellow/Black pioneer *unused, insulate and ignore*
_ Brown/Green SVXdc *I had SVXdc add the VSS wire, it wasn't used. Insulate and ignore*

Wiring the Microbypass
_ Black microbypass <-> Black 'radio harness'
_ Blue microbypass <-> Blue/White remote power on 'radio harness'
_ Green microbypass <-> Light Green parking brake wire (currently unused, coming off the pioneer harness)

Setting up the ASWC-1 (using SVXdc harness and ASWC-1)
_ Red ASWC <-> Red 'radio harness'
_ Black ASWC <-> Black 'radio harness'
_ Brown/Black SVXdc harness <-> Black 'radio harness'
_ Green/Orange ASWC <-> Brown/Red SVXdc harness
_ Black/Green ASWC <-> Brown/Blue SVXdc harness
** All I had to do for setup was turn the car to Acc On and wait, it auto detected everything
** By default, the ASWC-1 turns your 3 steering wheel phone buttons to radio controls, but there is an auto reprogram option you can do after the unit does it's auto program mode. Here is what worked for me:
_ _ after the auto program mode, there will be a steady LED lit up
_ _ TURN THE RADIO OFF <- this step will save you from resetting the ASWC 8 times
_ _ Press and hold the voice recognition button (not the pickup or hangup phone buttons) for about 4 seconds. The ASWC-1 LED will turn off.

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Routing the SiriusXM antenna
- Start at the back of the car, the base is magnetic so I put it on the roof behind my factory antenna
- With the rear door open, I pulled out that rubber plug (it's dead center) and the rubber hose. I then routed the wire into the rear door then into the headliner. I pulled back some of the gasket on the car frame and ran the wire down and left (looking toward the steering wheel). You run the wire all the way until you get to the bottom, then pull up on the hard black plastic cover (near the trunk latch). Fish the wire through the trunk floor, under your rear seats.
- Pull up the carpet covers under the drivers side 2 doors. You can then run the wire along the carpet there up into the cabin.
- Here I ran the wire behind the carpet (which is also behind the foot pedals) and into the area with the other radio wires
** I wrapped the SiriusXM piece with something soft so it wouldn't rattle behind the dash

Routing the Microphone
- I put the microphone above where the ignition key is. There is a flat spot right there. I don't know how good of spot it is, but I can always move the microphone later. It is out of the way but still in direct line with my speaking voice.
- The microphone visor clip actually has two parts, separate the flat microphone ball joint holder from the visor clip and you've got a flat surface for double sided tape.
- I ran the wire behind the steering wheel and into the radio wiring harness area.
* I tried to put the microphone where the factory one is. Getting in there is easy, attaching the microphone wasn't hard. What I didn't like was the gap from the headliner let the wire fall out. So I stopped trying.

Installing the Rear View Camera to HU Splitter Cables
- follow the instructions in the youtube video above to gain access to the back of the MFD
- FYI: the wire harness release tabs are on the bottom of these harnesses
- using a hanger shaped like a "C", fish the hanger through the channel that the MFD harnesses are in (you'll see it when you're there). It will come out behind the steering wheel (you can see it). Tape your extra RCA cable and violet/white pioneer harness lead to this hanger and pull it back out
- connect the 2 SVXdc harnesses between the MFD harness and the MFD
- connect the 3 RCA cables to your "Y" splitter (2 RCA cables from SVXdc's harnesses, one that leads to the radio compartment)
- solder together (or just twist/tape really well) the 2 green leads from the SVXdc harnesses
- I also wrapped all the cables in something soft so there wouldn't be any squeaking or rubbing. You can then push everything back into the MFD harness channel and reconnect your MFD
- you're going to need to go the pioneer HU settings and set camera (last page of settings) from OFF to battery (ground might work too) in order to enable the camera on/off button on your home screen
>>options for connecting the Reverse Gear Wire<<
(1) to your reverse gear wire so the camera displays automatically when in reverse
_ you will need to connect the reverse gear wire from the pioneer (for me it was violet white) to the forester reverse gear wire
_ go to this thread to find the wire ( The wire should be Brown/Yellow
(2) do not connect to anything, but reconfigure your reverse camera to be always on so you can look behind you when driving
_ will be updated shortly

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Helpful Tips
- If you find yourself with an MFD clock that resets every time the car gets turned off then on again, you probably blew interior fuse #15. This fuse is for remote door locks and interior lights, but apparently also gives power to the MFD clock's memory (go ahead, ask me how i found out)

- If you connect your wiring harness correctly (apparently the only things not screw up are power and ground) and you plug it in and he screen has lots of vertical pixelated lines, it's not your fault - you have a bad LCD. I thought I might have messed something up but it was a broken head unit. Luckily one was sent to me quickly (thanks Crutchfield).

- If you use the Metra faceplate (95-8902) yes you cut off both (x2) side mounting tabs. Also, the channel you cut doesn't need to be an exact size. Look at the image in the link I provided, that's about right. Don't overdo it but make sure it is deep enough and you have some wiggle room to mount the faceplate flush. To screw in all of the pieces, I black electric taped the metal factory bracket in place then slide the left side faceplate adapter in place with the faceplate on it. You push it flush and then screw the adapter in place. It ends up being that the screw is in the middle of the slot, more or less. Yes, the included screws are about 1mm shorter than you'd want. Yes, I test fit my faceplate a few too many times and the screws wouldn't catch. Be careful here.

2014 FXT
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Left side of radio mount:

MFD padded wiring harness (the blue wire is my violet/white R gear lead from the pioneer harness, the hookup didn't work so disregard that this is here):

All the MFD wires tucked away:

Back of the radio all buttoned up:

All the wires tucked low behind the fan controls so the radio doesn't overheat:

Where the reverse camera RCA wire was run (ignore the blue wire, it was my violet/white pioneer reverse gear wire run to the MFD for turning the camera on automatically when in reverse and it didn't work):

Where I routed the SiriusXM antenna wire from the roof (the antenna was placed behind the factory antenna as far back as possible):


And Done:

2014 FXT
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Using the Pioneer Head Unit With an MHL Adapter, HTC One and Pioneer AppRadio Mode & App

I've added the Axcel MHL HDMI adapter (sold at Lowes for about $25) to try out the AppRadio mode of the Pioneer AVH-X8500BHS.
- item 525870, model AXC-MHLM-B (available in store, sometimes near the other RCA and HDMI cables and sometimes at the end caps in the electric isles)
- confirmed it works to display on my Pioneer HU and it charges the phone simultaneously (when a micro usb from the Pioneer HU is connected to the MHL)

It's actually a pretty slick set up:
- connect your phone to the head unit via bluetooth, make sure you've downloaded the AppRadio app and tried it out
- plug the hdmi cable into the MHL, plug a micro usb cable from the head unit into the MHL (it didn't matter if I used the 1 or 2 USB port from the HU)
- plug the MHL into your phone and it just works (if you have any issues try turning off/on your bluetooth

- the AppRadio app only has a few built in apps (maps, contacts, audio, waze). With these apps you can control your phone from the Pioneer HU screen. It worked perfectly with Waze (although not my go to navigation map, I might have to start using it)
- I don't know if this is supposed to work, but if you open another app while AppRadio is running, it will display full screen on the Pioneer HU. My phone screen was perfectly mirrored on the Pioneer HU. I confirmed it worked with multiple apps (google maps, email, text, Xfinity to go, youtube etc etc). This would work perfectly if you wanted to set a destination on google maps and view it on screen
- The Pioneer HU seamlessly moves between it's own OS and the Mirrored smartphone screen by pressing the MODE button
- with everything connected, you can go to settings and mix channels so that you can hear both music and navigation play simultaneously

Here I took a picture of my mirrored screen while the phone was still plugged in. You can see on the Pioneer HU the image I'm about to capture.

2014 FXT
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Issues that have come up and how to fix them:

1) If you install everything without disconnecting your battery or the MFD power supply (which is the plug on the right side of the MFD when looking at it) the MFD will say radio disconnected. You have 2 options, disconnect the power supply from the MFD or disconnect the negative terminal from your battery for a couple of minutes.

2) hold for future use...

2014 Forester 2.5i CVT
124 Posts
Thank You!!!!!

I have been researching replacement options and this is the one I am favoring. I have never done anything like this and am very thankful that you, and others, have shared your project details, materials, and pics.

You answered some of my questions/concerns. But, do you mind if I ask about a few features?

1. Do all steering wheel controls function w/new install?
2. Hands free calling audio quality better/worse/no different than stock?
3. Does calling mute audio from blue tooth streaming like stock?
4. Does calling mute audio from usb connection for music better than stock? I find playing music via usb doesn't interact as well as BT streaming with hands free calling.
5. Similar question about using WAZE app with streaming vs usb connection. Auto mute during GPS voice prompts much better for my stock system when using BT music vs usb music.
6. Is audio quality of blue tooth stream music better with new install? I notice serious degradation of audio quality using BT vs usb or aux mini 1/8".

I'm a big fan of the WAZE app. I've used it extensively on the East Coast and it is generally very accurate and user friendly with directions. But, the best part, is the real time social-network of fellow drivers reporting speed traps, hidden police, accidents, debris & hazards on road. WAZE is the only "social-media" I'm proud to be a part of.

2014 FXT
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I haven't installed a car radio in almost 16 years... this was actually pretty easy. I'm glad I took the time to solder all the harnesses together and install it so everything looks nice and nothing has been squeaking or rubbing. I've been really happy with the radio and install so far.

1 - All the steering wheel controls work except the Voice Control/PTT. I have an android phone and another member has an iPhone 5S and neither of us could get it to work. The only way to bring up PTT is either from the phone itself, pressing and holding the home button on the radio or pressing the voice control button on the radio. All other buttons (volume, channel, pickup and hangup) work.

2 - Hands free calling is exceptional. The only thing I would change is the placement of my microphone. I mounted it kind of hidden near where the ignition key goes (there is a flat spot there) but I think there is too much background noise. I'm going to try a microphone cover, if that doesn't help one day I'll move the microphone to another spot. The issue I'm having is people say they can hear a lot of road noise when I'm on the highway. If I'm going less than 35mph it's basically crystal clear.

3 - Yes

4 - I'm not sure on this. I replaced my radio after the first 2 weeks and never tried this on the factory radio.

5 - If your phone is connected directly to the avh-x8500bhs (via USB/HDMI), it lets you have the radio and Waze playing at the same time. It works really well. You can have it mix audio channels and set the volume of each. I think you can also set it up to just pause the music and play on its own. I don't know how the factory radio worked, but if your phone is only connected by bluetooth, at least for me, it doesn't interrupt radio with voice guided navigation. The only way I get this to work is if i'm listening to music from my phone (or if the phone is directly connected to the radio.

6 - Everything sounds better with the new radio. It pushes 50 watts per channel and the sound on my stock Premium speakers is infinitely better. Though I need some more bass and better mid range and tweeters, so I will eventually upgrade my speakers and possibly add some sort of subwoofer.

The Waze app works great. Its always spot on for accidents and police traps. It just eats my battery so darn quickly... The Waze integration with AppRadio is really good. You can type on screen and pinch to zoom in and out just like on your phone.
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