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.