Installing JVC KW-NT1 into a 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Big Horn

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By Lucas Lazore – SonicElectronix Lead Installer

Today my customer wanted me to install the new double-din JVC KW-NT1 with iPod and Satellite into his 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 Big Horn. The truck is so new that the dash removal instructions are undocumented, so I had to figure out a way to remove the factory stereo. Once I found the two screws hidden by a slip mat on the top of the radio bezel, it was pretty obvious that this was the place to start. I was able to pop the rest of the bezel out, with the exception of the bottom right side. Even with the bottom right side still screwed in, I managed to get a good enough look behind the bezel to locate the screw behind the 115V outlet trim on the front dash. Once the 3 screws were removed, the bezel pulled out and the radio’s 4 bolts were exposed. These bolts were easy to remove.

With all the necessary bolts and screws out, I removed the upper and lower glove boxes. The lower glove-box pulls right out, simply push in the sides of the box and pull down to remove it. With the lower box out you can see a single screw inside the dash holding the upper glove box tight. Once the upper box screw is removed, you can pop the top box right out and have plenty of working space to mount the satellite tuner and adapter. Rather than mounting another antenna for satellite radio, I decided to integrate the factory Satellite Antenna plug with the aftermarket stereo.

The truck has the standard sound system, so there is an empty center channel location on top of the dash. This made it easy to run the Navigation antenna near the windshield and snake the wires to the back of the radio. After mounting the navigation antenna, I only had the Bluetooth microphone to mount. I was able to remove the driver’s door pillar seal and feed the wire up to the ceiling without having to remove the pillar. The microphone has plenty of wire so I was able to mount the mic above the rear-view mirror and still plug it in on the back of the deck.

With all of my external modules mounted it was time to tackle the radio wiring. The Dodge truck still uses the CAN system so it required a special integration harness. I opted to use the PAC C2R-CHY4, only because we didn’t have stock of the Peripheral CHY-AH08, which is the harness I’m more familiar with. Turns out the harness are almost identical, which I appreciated because these harnesses are simple plug and play with the steering wheel remote interface also purchased. The harness gave me the Parking Brake, Reverse, illumination, SWC (steering wheel control) and VSS wire, although the VSS wire isn’t necessary for this unit. The vehicle also required an antenna adapter because Dodge went with the European style connector on this truck. I used the Scosche VWA-4B, which is an amplified antenna that produces improved radio reception.

With all the wiring connected, it was time to mount the unit using the Metra 95-6511 iso-mount bracket. Left to right the unit fits in the factory location. However, behind the dash there is a plastic radio box with metal bracing that is not true double-din height and has to be cut. No big deal, as my experience has shown me that many double-dins require some dash modification. After clearing the wires from the area, I used my Dremel and its cutting wheel to remove approximately half-inch from the bottom of the radio box and support bracket. With the ½ inch removed, the radio slid right into place and fit the radio bezel perfectly.

I decided to test the unit since it is new on the market. JVC greatly improved this unit’s processing speed compared to previous models. The unit is easy to use, responsive, and should last a long time. The Bluetooth is easy to pair and you can use the touchscreen to dial. I feel the iPod connection on the front of the faceplate was a poor design choice because it interferes with the screen display from certain angles. However, the integration with the iPod is flawless and there is no lag whatsoever. You can search by artist, genre, and playlists as if it was the iPods menu right on the screen. The new KS-U29 is also updated so that the unit will work with my iPhone/iTouch without needing an adapter. The Navigation was easy to use, and being that it is a HDD Nav you can navigate and play a DVD at the same time. Overall it is a great Navigation unit. I’m pretty impatient when it comes to processing speeds, but in the end this unit works faster than me.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Hey, this is all good information. I just bought a Big Horn this weekend and looking for a way to put my Kenwood 7100 (and all of the attachments) in the vehicle.

    I havent cracked mine open yet, but thought I would attempt to ask you some questions, if you dont mind.

    What all is needed for the steering wheel controls to operate the newly installed radio, that cable you pointed out?

    I have the truck that HAS the center channel, along with the subwoofer under the rear seat, not sure what I will run into there. Do you know anything about how that is setup? It is labeled “Alpine” so I figured there was some additional equipment, but the radio looks the same as your old one. I assume there is probably a couple of amps (one for the sub, one for center channel) hopefully they are connected via rca cables. Would be nice.

    Next question, probably the best one you might be able to answer. It looks like my system (Kenwood) is about the same size as yours. The Kenwood looks like it will fit without removing anything from top or bottom, but will have left over space on the side (kind of like your picture) but it looks like you have “filler” pieces on either side, did you make them or find them online/catalog?

    Well, it looks nice!

    thanks for the information.

    Chuck Turner

  2. Chuck, the radio should be identical to the size of the radio I used, so you will need to add all of the linked items to your cart:

    STEERING WHEEL CONTROLS:
    https://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_8762_PAC+SWI-JACK.html

    ADDING AMPS:
    https://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_18010_PAC+C2R-CHY4+-C2R-CHY4v1-.html

    RADIO ANTENNA:
    https://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_7009_Scosche+VWA-4B.html

    “FILLER” PIECES:
    https://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_14570_Metra+95-6511.html

  3. I am interested in putting this radio in an 07 camry. will I require and additional parts apart from the radio, dash kit, swi-jack and the wire harness to complete my installation? Also what was roughly the installation time to get it all operational?

  4. This is my JVC KW-NT1 GPS navigation REVIEW — written on June 26, 2009.

    First off guys, This is my very first review, so I apologize in advance if I missed anything.

    I have this unit for a TOYOTA CAMRY ’06 and I was like everyone else when I was trying to decide which model to buy. There were NO reviews online ANYWHERE other than the video reviews from Sonic Electronix and *********** (but they both did an okay job).

    I am satisfied with my purchase.

    The screen is nice, but when it is really sunny outside, the DVD video seems washed out because of the touchscreen layer. The GPS, radio, and ipod/iphone screens look fine. It’s just the DVD playback that is not bright enough under extreme sunlight. When the sun is a bit more forgiving, like during sunset, the brightness is fine. And when your car is under any shade, the brightness is fine. Overall, the resolution and colors look good and the brightness adjusts to your headlights.

    On other notes… The left side controls are touch sensitive, not physical PUSH buttons.

    If you have a USB cord connected to the front, it’ll block some of the screen view, depending on the height of the unit.

    The bluetooth function works great with the iphone. Fast and responsive.

    GPS options include 2D and 3D angle views. Includes useful Points of Interest (POI) locations with phone numbers you can easily dial to over bluetooth.

    I have not installed HD radio, Satelite radio, or a Rear view camera…. So I can’t comment on that.

    I did not install this unit myself… …. So I also can’t comment on that.

    If you decide to keep your steering wheel controls, you’ll have to buy a separate module. Using it will take some getting used to. — This is NOT the fault of JVC, but of the makers of the steering wheel controls module/adapter. The steering wheel control module is a little slow for the volume control. Instead of a light push or tap of the steering wheel buttons, you’ll have to give is a medium/hard push. Or you can hold the button down, but then the volume increases rapidly until you release the button.

    Pros:
    –Detachable faceplate – for added security. Includes soft case pouch for faceplate.
    –Easy slot loading disc access – No motorized CD/DVD tilt (my personal preference).
    –Works with iphone. Fast load times. Takes under 10 seconds to load.
    –Fast GPS. Fast SD card reads. Fast iphone controls. Fast CD/DVD reads.
    –FRONT AV and USB ports – USB charges the iphone while being able to use.
    –Reads burned CD and DVD+R discs.
    –Allows album art from iphone and SD cards.
    –GPS reads out street names. GPS shows split screen detailed turns and directions. Has GPS voice lane guidance (“get on the left lane” , “prepare to turn left”, etc.)
    –Can listen to music while being directed by the GPS navigation voice
    –Can play audio books at normal and above average speeds.
    –Has a simple adjustable equalizer settings
    –Reads my Sandisk 16GB (class 2) SD memory card – this is not official by JVC though

    Cons:
    –No volume knob.
    –Low brightness in DVD video playback under extremely sunny days. –Doesn’t automatically tag song or band names from the RADIO.
    –No real time traffic GPS updates.
    –No video playback from an SD card.
    –No button color light choices (a choice of blue, green, or red would have been nice). No screensaver choices or customizable menus.
    –Removing the faceplate takes getting used to. Not a big deal…
    –I had problems updating the firmware software through the SD card slot
    –must remove faceplate to access SD card slot
    –must keep SD card in the slot if you plan on adding your own customizable Points of Interest (POI) locations.
    –Speed limits are not always displayed… depends on your city

    Overall, I really like the unit. This is my first GPS in-dash unit. I would recommend it.

    I give it a 9 out of 10. A+

    The overriding decision for me to buy it was:
    — IPHONE compatible
    — built-in Bluetooth
    — fast loading times (music, GPS, startup time)
    — DETACHABLE FACEPLATE
    — no motorized CD tilt mechanism
    — front USB input

    I hope this helps!

  5. I am intereseted in Putting an amp in my 2009 dodge big horn. I want to keep the factory radio. I am assuming I have the RES radio because I don’t have a six disc changer. I do have 6 speakers and SAT. radio though. I don’t think I have a factory amp. The only difference in my radio from what I can tell is I have dash speakers. I would like to stay away from having the wires spliced. Any input would be great.

  6. Currently we do not carry a plug n play solution for the Dodge Ram w/o the digital amplifier. We always recommend the MTX re-Q OEM [https://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_9855_MTX+Audio+re-Q+-REQ-.html] Bass Restoration and Signal processor when you want to add a subwoofer to your system. The MTX reQ bass restoration module senses the input level from the factory stereo, adding more bass at high volume levels, while keeping bass response balanced when the volume is low. Now you can truly improve your sound while keeping your factory stereo and your steering wheel controls in tact.
    The unit installs like a typical Line output Converter, off of the rear speakers, so splicing is necessary.

  7. i have a 2009 quad ram(hemi) i also wanted the same unit showed above, i inquired about this unit through another site and they said that the aftermarket steering wheel control adapters haven’t came out yet that was around (June 13-15,2009) and that if i do get the JVC player without that adapter i will not be able to use the controls on the back of the sterring wheel.Where can i get the adapters from online.

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