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2018 Forester Limited
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Discussion Starter #1
I stopped by the local Subaru dealer and asked about trading in my 2018 Forester for a newer one... Well long story short, it isn't happening.
So I am looking at what I can update on my 2018 Forester.

After market head unit is one of the things I have on the list.
I have looked at Crutchfield and have an idea, but wondering what I can do that has everything.
Large screen , android auto, vehicle information , navigation probably isn't needed since android auto would have it.
SD or USB for media.

I don't know what is a good one.
Last time I actually replaced a stereo it was in a 77 MonteCarlo. (That was different times)

Thank you.
 

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04 Forester 2.5XT 5MT
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Ive been looking at the Pioneer AVH-3400NEX as a single DIN head unit for my 04fxt but it still has a flip up screen and both apple car play and android auto compatibility. Reasons I like this particular one over others are the price for the value and the ability to reduce cabin lighting driving at night but does everything and more than my newer chevy cruze.

PS. crutchield has it reduced by $85 right now
 

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04 Forester 2.5XT 5MT
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the bottom half that will be left empty im planning on either putting a wireless charging pad what i can just toss my phone in the cubby hole or my cb radio if it fits
 

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2018 Forester CVT
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135 Posts
I too have a 2018 Forester that had the 7" infotainment and I replaced it with a Kenwood 9904s that being said; I retained all SW controls and kept the the telemetric unit which is stuffed down and has t-taps for some OBD2. I used a Idatalink Maestro and SU2 harness which kept the rear camera to function correctly. You need to keep the telemetric unit to keep the front speakers although you can jump the wires if you choose. I still have Starlink and does communicate with the Forester. Although my intention was CarPlay as I have Apple products which ever you choose look at what the outputs of the USB in mHA in my Kenwood it was rated for 1.5 and does re-charge the battery. I did loose the the two USB in the console but found an aftermarket one and used a step drill for the hole opposite of the cubby hole that has 12vdc connectors and does look OEM. I think with the Pioneer someone has the right connector to retain the USB in the console. My preference was the cubby hole although I had no choice at the time.
The hardest part is removing the two 10mm bolts on either lower side of the infotainment. Depending on your tool set tape each extension and socket so hopefully you won't loose a bolt or socket LIKE I did! There are videos out there I did not have to remove the driver side except for the small one plastic fascia that had a Philips head screw and being upside down I was able to angle the extension to the socket. I was very apprehensive to drop the air bag. Also get an extension tool that has a heavy duty parts magnet unless you have small hands.
For being 73 and having two hearing aids the sound dramatically improved compared to infotainment OEM. So I would wait and listen before upgrading your speakers.
That improvement could have been caused by being upside down. Oh I forgot to mention you have to drop the glove box. The Scoche trim makes it look like OEM.
Lou Cioccio
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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1,945 Posts
I stopped by the local Subaru dealer and asked about trading in my 2018 Forester for a newer one... Well long story short, it isn't happening.
I think as time goes on and the ramifications of carbon buildup and oil dilution in the 2019 direct injection engine come more to the forefront, you'll be happy you kept your port injected 2018.
 

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2014 Forester 2.5 Premium CVT
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45 Posts
Adapters adapters adapters...

Last time I actually replaced a stereo it was in a 77 MonteCarlo. (That was different times)
Awesome, I had a couple Monte Carlos from the 80's.
Get ready for a doozy. If you are DIY'ing, you're about to get a crash course. It is a PITA. Feel free to PM me if you have questions.

1. The cheap Metra harness from crutchfield DOES NOT have the pins in it for steering wheel controls. You should order the 20 pin forward harness from ae64.com (or others, possibly amazon). Steering wheel control module gets wired in a three way between the headunit and the car.

2. Check out ae64.com for his other adapters, as well as diagrams for wiring your 20 pin harness.

3. USB adapter, you may want to keep the factory USB port in the console, this ALSO requires an adapter, HOWEVER this port may not work with Android Auto/Apple Car Play, because the phones/headunit are very finicky with which cables it will work with. I suggest testing the functionality before you secure the headunit in place and put back together.

4. Antennae... Modern headunits will at least have a GPS antenna (even non-GPS ones, because of the Android Auto/Car Play functions) and possibly a XM antenna. If you already have Nav, you have the antenna, but you will need an adapter (I'm trying to find the right one myself now). Or you can run the ugly little magnetic antenna to your roof through somehow (also not easy unless you leave it sloppy in a door jam, or leave it on your dashboard).

5. Headunit Microphone. There are no adapters that I know of to re-use the factory mic for the bluetooth system. You will have to run the one that comes with the headunit. It might be easiest to route just above the steering wheel, but I snaked it to the sunglasses cubby.

6. Backup camera - They make adapters to have the backup camera appear on the larger headunit screen instead of the MFD. Your choice if you want to do this.
 

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2018 Forester Limited
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Discussion Starter #7
Awesome, I had a couple Monte Carlos from the 80's.
Get ready for a doozy. If you are DIY'ing, you're about to get a crash course. It is a PITA. Feel free to PM me if you have questions.

1. The cheap Metra harness from crutchfield DOES NOT have the pins in it for steering wheel controls. You should order the 20 pin forward harness from ae64.com (or others, possibly amazon). Steering wheel control module gets wired in a three way between the headunit and the car.

2. Check out ae64.com for his other adapters, as well as diagrams for wiring your 20 pin harness.

3. USB adapter, you may want to keep the factory USB port in the console, this ALSO requires an adapter, HOWEVER this port may not work with Android Auto/Apple Car Play, because the phones/headunit are very finicky with which cables it will work with. I suggest testing the functionality before you secure the headunit in place and put back together.

4. Antennae... Modern headunits will at least have a GPS antenna (even non-GPS ones, because of the Android Auto/Car Play functions) and possibly a XM antenna. If you already have Nav, you have the antenna, but you will need an adapter (I'm trying to find the right one myself now). Or you can run the ugly little magnetic antenna to your roof through somehow (also not easy unless you leave it sloppy in a door jam, or leave it on your dashboard).

5. Headunit Microphone. There are no adapters that I know of to re-use the factory mic for the bluetooth system. You will have to run the one that comes with the headunit. It might be easiest to route just above the steering wheel, but I snaked it to the sunglasses cubby.

6. Backup camera - They make adapters to have the backup camera appear on the larger headunit screen instead of the MFD. Your choice if you want to do this.
Sounds like a lot of adapters to check out.
 

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2018 Forester Limited
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I too have a 2018 Forester that had the 7" infotainment and I replaced it with a Kenwood 9904s that being said; I retained all SW controls and kept the the telemetric unit which is stuffed down and has t-taps for some OBD2. I used a Idatalink Maestro and SU2 harness which kept the rear camera to function correctly. You need to keep the telemetric unit to keep the front speakers although you can jump the wires if you choose. I still have Starlink and does communicate with the Forester. Although my intention was CarPlay as I have Apple products which ever you choose look at what the outputs of the USB in mHA in my Kenwood it was rated for 1.5 and does re-charge the battery. I did loose the the two USB in the console but found an aftermarket one and used a step drill for the hole opposite of the cubby hole that has 12vdc connectors and does look OEM. I think with the Pioneer someone has the right connector to retain the USB in the console. My preference was the cubby hole although I had no choice at the time.
The hardest part is removing the two 10mm bolts on either lower side of the infotainment. Depending on your tool set tape each extension and socket so hopefully you won't loose a bolt or socket LIKE I did! There are videos out there I did not have to remove the driver side except for the small one plastic fascia that had a Philips head screw and being upside down I was able to angle the extension to the socket. I was very apprehensive to drop the air bag. Also get an extension tool that has a heavy duty parts magnet unless you have small hands.
For being 73 and having two hearing aids the sound dramatically improved compared to infotainment OEM. So I would wait and listen before upgrading your speakers.
That improvement could have been caused by being upside down. Oh I forgot to mention you have to drop the glove box. The Scoche trim makes it look like OEM.
Lou Cioccio
I looked at Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX looks like it could be overkill, but still searching for a good one with options I want.

Adapters look like it would be the largest challenge and the USB, Camera, Steering wheel control.
 

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2018 Forester Limited
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
One thing I have noticed is that most bypass the factory amp, is this something that is common ?
 

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2014 Forester 2.5 Premium CVT
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45 Posts
I looked at Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX looks like it could be overkill, but still searching for a good one with options I want.

Adapters look like it would be the largest challenge and the USB, Camera, Steering wheel control.
Crutchfield says it's high-end install kit retains the factory amp, it also includes most adapters, however I would still purchase a 20 pin harness elsewhere, otherwise you will end up splicing into the factory harness, or at least having to run a jumper cable for the missing steering wheel control pins.
 

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2018 Forester Limited
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22 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
It was mentioned that the backup camera with either the Kenwood line (with Idatalink Maestro)
Or Pioneer with adapter.

Would a Kenwood backup camera work without the Idatalink ?

And if I could get a Kenwood DDX9705S would that only have camera with the Idatalink?

Also the Idatalink looked pretty neat, but would that disable the other connections. Such as RAB functions, Air conditioning etc.

I also have been checking Pioneer stereos.

From what I am seeing and let me know if this is correct.

If I was to get a Kenwood DDX9705S.
I would need iDatalink Maestro ADS-MRR
And iDatalink HRN-RR-SU2

Then I would have everything I wanted for BAckup camera, OBD2 data, Steering wheel controls, Blutooth ,
Factory amp.

Is this correct ?

And lets say I went with a different Headunit such as Pioneer AVH-W4400NEX
Would be the same adapters. ?

Same with Alpine iLX-207?
 

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2018 Forester CVT
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135 Posts
All would work except OBD2 iDatalink has an upgrade to the MRR called a MRR2 that will give functionality for the OBD2 plus firmware for the MRR2 for 2018 and newer. All your “messing” with is radio and SW functions for radio and phone. I was aware of this when I replaced my 7” infotainment radio. When the new one becomes available it an easy removal to swap out the MRR’s with the new one that you’ll need to program for the 2018+.
That upgrade is for mid summer of this year.
Lou Cioccio
 

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2018 Forester Limited
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Discussion Starter #13
So the rest of controls would work just not the obd2 for the MRR module. Looks like that also has steering wheel controls and factory amp hookups as well. Not sure about waiting for MRR2. But if it's easily swappable. May have to change it at a later date.

After reading it back sounds like I just repeated everything you said... Maybe just nervous about the entire thing. Don't want to tear everything apart and find out I missed something.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A6003 using Tapatalk
 

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2018 Forester Limited
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Discussion Starter #14
I did a ton of research, and here is my latest questions and updates.

I think I narrowed it down to 2 radios.



Either the Kenwood DDX9705S



or the Alpine iLX-207



I would like to play video or at least hear something going down the road, Such as youtube or similar (I would do an override)



I know Alpine will only use a USB drive with some videos on it. (Not a huge issue really).





One thing that I have noticed is that I have not seen a way to connect Factory amp without the Maestro ADS-MRR and HRN-RR-SU2.

I believe I can connect some stuff with connectors with both radios, but factory amp is one.

Also I do not know how 4 regular door speakers and 2 front tweeters would hook up with any of the radios. Correction. I may have 8 speakers. Harmen Kardon system. I also think I do not have an sub built in. Having issues finding stock head unit specs.



Can the Maestro set fix that problem with it running to factory amp?



I can get the Maestro items for around 140$.





Summary:

What is a better radio?

Best option for all speakers working correctly ?



Sent from my ONEPLUS A6003 using Tapatalk
 

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2018 Forester Limited
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Discussion Starter #15
OK this may be my last update.

I seen headunits at 3 stores,
ended up going to 2 installers.

And contacted Idatalink.

Looks like I am going to wait a few months for iDatalink to get there new components and go from there.(Know it was suggested)

I am still open for any Head Unit suggestions, but I feel as though my excitement and feeling rushed has gotten the better of me.

I truly apologize for the obsessive behavior I may have shown.


Thank you all for getting me on the right track and all the great suggestions that were made.
 

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doesnt your 2018 have a touchscreen for a head unit??? mine does idk where you would begin to replace those lol good luck brother
 

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2018 Forester Touring CVT
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69 Posts
It is my understanding that there is no interface available from IdataLink or any headunits to the amp under the driver's seat in the 2018. From what I could cobble together over the last 3 years, amp's analog inputs for each channel expect a Fixed (not variable) High Level (like speaker level, not 1v) and they are High Impedance. The volume/balance/fade commands are serial strings into an RS-232/422/485(?) port. It appears that no one is going to build an interface. One way I suppose would work is to get a headunit with built in amps and use the variable speaker outputs to feed the high level, high impedance inputs. The headunit volume/balance would work. The one problem is the serial command to the amp to tell it it's at high volume so the head unit actually has control. If the amp were to go to low volume (maybe with a battery disconnect), you could not get any sound out if it again until you send a new High Volume serial command and where will you get that?

It's so impractical the you need to remove it from any upgrade.
 

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2015 XT Touring CVT
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129 Posts
It is my understanding that there is no interface available from IdataLink or any headunits to the amp under the driver's seat in the 2018. From what I could cobble together over the last 3 years, amp's analog inputs for each channel expect a Fixed (not variable) High Level (like speaker level, not 1v) and they are High Impedance. The volume/balance/fade commands are serial strings into an RS-232/422/485(?) port. It appears that no one is going to build an interface. One way I suppose would work is to get a headunit with built in amps and use the variable speaker outputs to feed the high level, high impedance inputs. The headunit volume/balance would work. The one problem is the serial command to the amp to tell it it's at high volume so the head unit actually has control. If the amp were to go to low volume (maybe with a battery disconnect), you could not get any sound out if it again until you send a new High Volume serial command and where will you get that?

It's so impractical the you need to remove it from any upgrade.
I just replaced my HU and kept the factory AMP. David at AE64.com has all the harness your need. you need to repin a few things from the store bought harness to make it all work and the speakers cables go into RCAs rather than wires. Reach out to him and he can get you set up with what you need.
 
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