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I was looking around the forum on a DIY for this, but was unable to quickly find one. Hence, I decided to document my process. This was one of the easiest cars I have ever installed a head unit into. Of note, this was done on an '04 Forester XT. I have auto climate controls, which allows me to skip the step of removing the wires, which I believe is necessary for those with manual climate controls.

Before I get to the steps/pictures. I thought it'd be nice to list a few things for someone who has never done this before.

Parts:
1) Double din unit. In my case, I bought a used Sony XAV-601BT (off Craigslist). The XAV-601BT has MirrorLink, which allows me to control some of the features on my phone via the head unit. Further more, a developer on an android forum, has modified the MirrorLink App to allow full mirroring on the unit.
Basically this --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoMsHIjXggU

2) Metra Turbo Wire Aftermarket Radio Harness for Subaru. I bought mine at Best Buy, because it happened to be on sale. This basically connects your aftermarket harness to the vehicle harness, without having to splice the vehicle harness. The wire colors match up to the aftermarket harness wire colors, to pretty much eliminate any confusion.
Metra Turbo Wire Aftermarket Radio Wire Harness Adapter for Select Subaru Vehicles 70-8901 - Best Buy

3) Wire butt connectors or closed end connectors - to connect the wires from the aftermarket harness to the Metra harness.

4) Wire heat shrink tubing (optional) - just makes things look cleaner.

5) Zip ties (optional) - if you're OCD like me, and want to keep everything neat and clean behind the dash.

Tools:
1) Auto Trim Tool Set - Not required, but IMO works better than a butter knife wrapped in cloth. Picked mine up at Harbour Freight (5 Piece Auto Trim and Molding Tool Set)

2) Wire stripper/crimper - Or, you can use a scissor and pliers

3) Phillips head screw driver

Now on to the good stuff! - when I write a DIY, I always write the description, then try to follow it up with a picture.

Start my removing the lower trim, around the shifter. In my case, I have a manual transmission (not sure if it is any different for the autos). The trim is easy to get off, and doesn't require any tools. Start from the bottom and just lift straight up.


Behind the trim is a harness that power the cigarette lighter. Simply unplug. I found that wiggling it horizontally helped to get it off.


After you've removed that, You will have access to two screws that hold down the bottom of the center console trim. Remove those two screws (circled in red).


Starting from the bottom, use the trim tool to pry off the trim. The hardest part was getting prying off the top. There are two latches horizontal to the top half of the radio, then three across the top. I took a picture of the unit from behind, to show where the top latches are (circled in red).


This was after I removed the trim. The approximate areas of the latches are circled in red.

Now don't go pulling the whole thing off just yet. There are three harnesses attached to the piece. Two connected to the auto climate controls, and one connecting to the hazard button. I found it easiest to disconnect the hazard button harness first, which gave me a little more play, in order to remove the two bottom harnesses that are attached to the auto climate controls.

Harness to the hazard button


And harnesses to the auto climate controls


Hazard button harness removed, and trim was turned to gain easier access to the climate control harnesses.


After that is done, you are left with just the radio. Remove the four bolts (red arrows).

There are two harnesses, and an antennae that connect to the back of the radio. Be sure to remove those. Additionally, there is another wire that is clipped onto the bottom of the right bracket (not sure what this is). I almost didn't see this before pulling out the radio.


After you remove the radio, unscrew the brackets, and mount them onto your new double din. Connect your aftermarket harness to your Metra harness, then connect the Metra harness to the vehicle harness. Don't forget to plug in the antennae. Then turn the car on and make sure everything works properly before you put everything back together! If all is well, reverse the steps and enjoy your new head unit!

The next few steps are for those who are mounting the double din in the top cubby, using the JDM double din navi housing.

Using the trim tool, I removed the top cubby. I thought this would be two separate pieces. I was wrong. It's just one big piece.


Disconnect the harness to the clock.


Here is a picture of my aftermarket harness connected to my Metra harness. I used some audio wiring to extend the harness by about 8" just to ensure that it would reach from the vehicle harness up to the top cubby. As you can see, I used a wire butt connector and heat shrink tubing to connect my aftermarket to the extended wiring. Then I got lazy, and used closed end connectors to connect the extended wiring to the Metra harness. If I could do it over again, I'd just use the closed end connectors on both ends. It would've saved time. Additionally, you can see that I used three zip ties to keep everything nice and neat.

Another tip. Go out and get an antennae extension cable. This one was $4.99 at my local Auto Zone. The stock antennae will not reach your head unit if you're installing it in the top cubby.


After connecting your wires to the head unit, mount the brackets that were supplied with your JDM housing to your head unit. Then mount the whole thing into the top cubby. They should screw into the 2nd and 3rd space (not the 1st and 2nd)


Then connect the Metra harness to the vehicle harness and turn on the car to make sure everything works! If all is well, put the JDM housing on, and put the rest of the dash back together!

Final product


I still have the stock radio in (but not connect), because I didn't want to leave a huge gaping hole in the middle while I wait for my two cubbies to arrive in the mail :lol:.

Enjoy your new head unit!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nice work!

Out if curiosity, any reason you didn't put this in the original location?
Thanks!

I generally do not like A/V receivers in the stock location, mostly because it sits much lower than your driving line of site. Not that I stare at my head unit when driving, but sometimes you look down to push buttons and what not.

Having the head unit in the JDM cubby allows me to keep a fairly good line of site when changing stations, etc. Again, not a HUGE difference, but I really dislike taking my eyes off the road, even if it is for only 1-2 seconds.
 

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Thanks!

I generally do not like A/V receivers in the stock location, mostly because it sits much lower than your driving line of site. Not that I stare at my head unit when driving, but sometimes you look down to push buttons and what not.

Having the head unit in the JDM cubby allows me to keep a fairly good line of site when changing stations, etc. Again, not a HUGE difference, but I really dislike taking my eyes off the road, even if it is for only 1-2 seconds.
Exactly my reason for preferring the GPS/nav on top of the dash, rather than in it.

BTW, very nice installation!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nice write up.
The new location looks much better but it looks very odd when you still have the existing unit in place. Could you not put a cubby in its place to store crap?
That's the plan. Just waiting on parts to get here. I'll probably run my USB cord into one fo the cubbies, so I can just connect my phone when I get into my car, and throw it into the cubby.
 

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Thank You

Thanks playa,, that was the exact info i was looking for. I am about to install a JVC KW-R710 head unit and set of 8" pyle driver subs with a kenwood 300 watt amp. I don't think i want to get as involved as the cubby hole speaker placement i saw in a thread on here, all though that was a sweet install. Just a simple ported box in the back up against the rear seats. I am a lil older now and would have filled the whole back up with speakers in my younger days, but i need the room for a few things, golf clubs, camping gear, fishing gear, groceries..
 

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suggestion/opinion

what is the best way to run RCA cables from the back of radio to rear cargo area for an amp. Under the center console through armrest area under carpet under rear seat. or down by all the kick panels and door trim area along the side and up by rear seat.
 

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what is the best way to run RCA cables from the back of radio to rear cargo area for an amp. Under the center console through armrest area under carpet under rear seat. or down by all the kick panels and door trim area along the side and up by rear seat.
Typically run them down the side, under the sill plates. Run the power down the opposite side of the vehicle. Don't forget to run the remote turn on wire for the amp, while you have everything apart. Be sure the wire you run for ground has bare metal contact. Fuse the power wires.
 

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thanks

Thanks TUGG

you are right not to forget the remote wire for amp, rca's down one side and the power down the other, where is the best place to get wire to the battery through firewall area on drivers side.
 

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Thanks Again

Sleeper,,Tugg,, Scooby,,,Playa,,,and all on here thank you,,, I did my head unit and sub/amp install today, down by the sill plates and door trim area and up under the rear seat is the way to go, all went well. Taking apart console area went pretty smooth following advised steps given from you guys. I used a few diff. tools than mentioned. I didn't take any "install" pics i figured everyone has seen a forester takin apart. I did get a pic of the box in the making and one when it was installed along with the new head unit, Will upload them tomorrow. I will have to say that those tiny clips for the climate controls were a bit of pain in the arse... lol Thanks again guys..
 

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head unit

I know i didn't install into the cubby on dash, but it was playa's bit on the removal on the console that got me through easy and the cable route was a big help, Here are some pics, I am going to carpet the box when i can find a remnant piece as close to stock as i can.
 

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Thanks Bobby. Thanks again for the brackets. Would not have been able to complete the install without them!
Does the cubby not come with brackets for the radio? Can those be ordered? I have a cubby on the way, I didnt think about brackets being seperate.
 

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Does the cubby not come with brackets for the radio? Can those be ordered? I have a cubby on the way, I didnt think about brackets being seperate.
I asked before I ordered mine and was told it didn't come with brackets but when I opened the box, they were in there.
 

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Does the cubby not come with brackets for the radio? Can those be ordered? I have a cubby on the way, I didnt think about brackets being seperate.
The OP bought his double DIN POD used & it didn't come with brackets. I gave him the brackets I didn't need from my POD.

I purchased 2 new double DIN dash top PODs & they both came with the brackets. :wink:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 
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