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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently replaced/upgraded the 8.4" Uconnect head unit in my 200c with a Kenwood DDX9907XR, mostly in order to have Apple Carplay in my 200. I figured I'd share some info on the upgrade in case anyone considering doing their own head unit swap would find it helpful. I went with the Kenwood in part because of availability (head units are in short supply right now) but mostly because it had wireless Carplay, a capacitive touchscreen, iDatalink compatibility, and had good reviews.

I used the following parts for the install:
  • iDatalink Maestro RR
  • iDatalink Kit-C200 dash kit
  • iDatalink Nav1 GPS antenna adapter
  • Metra 40-EU55 radio antenna adapter
The install is fairly straightforward, especially with the dash kit, though there are 2 places you need to cut in the radio cavity to make room. One is plastic and is very easy with a hacksaw. The other is metal and while the Crutchfield instructions said it could just be wiggled around enough until the weld broke that did not work for me and I ended up having to use a power saw to cut it. A Dremel would work too. It could also be cut by hand using a hacksaw but would take a while (I tried before breaking out the power tools). Even with these being removed the factory head unit can still be reinstalled if needed. There is plenty of space inside the dash to stash the wires and the Maestro off to the side, under where the air vent is. This also means I can access the Maestro by just removing the trim and leaving the head unit in place.

Thanks to the Maestro RR I retained all the factory settings including climate control. The Safetytec alerts still work fine as well, this was something that wasn't entirely clear from the instructions since iDatalink also sells an auxiliary speaker for this purpose, but I think that's only needed in cars without the factory amp. I was also able to reuse the built in GPS antenna using the Nav1 adapter (the Kenwood doesn't have maps but uses the external antenna with wireless Carplay).

A few things to be aware of if you want to do a similar project:
  • The OEM USB does not work properly with this head unit. The Maestro came with an adapter and I was able to get power to my phone but it would not read unless I plugged it directly into the wire on the head unit. I left it disconnected for now since I have wireless but I will probably run a cable into the center console once I buy a long enough extension.
  • The built in microphone also does not work. I put the aftermarket mic in the edge of the headliner at the windshield by the mirror with some double stick tape and ran the cord through the driver side A pillar. A bit of work but it hides it nicely. There's a picture of it on the headliner below.
  • I did not install a SiriusXM tuner but that is an option and there is an adapter to reuse the OEM antenna.
  • I did not have the flashing odometer or need a proxi align but to be safe I disconnected the battery before removing the old head unit and didn't reconnect it until the new one was connected and ready to test.
  • Aside from the factory USB and microphone the other things that I lost are the factory AUX input and Uconnect Access (which I haven't subscribed to in several years anyway).
  • If you do not care if you have an optical drive or not consider getting a short depth head unit. There is enough room for a full size one and I got it to fit but it is a tight fit and a short depth would make things a bit easier when installing.
So far I'm happy with the new head unit. I still need to get a USB extension and also play around a bit with the equalizer to get it sounding how I want but aside from that everything works great.

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Nice write up. I’m glad it all worked out. Would you mind telling us what everything ended up costing you? I know radios can be really low to really high depending on features , but I’m more looking at everything you bought in order to retain all the Chrysler features.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sure, like you said the head unit itself will be the most variable cost. The most important thing for being able to maintain the OEM features is that it has to have an iDatalink port. Many head units from Kenwood, JVC, Alpine, Pioneer, and Sony are supported. The head unit I used cost me $950 but there are cheaper options that lack some of the nicer features like a capacitive touch screen or HD radio but will still work with the iDatalink Maestro. It's worth reading some reviews to see what you like and pick the best head unit for you.

As for the rest:
The dash kit was $140 (keep in mind that it includes the vehicle specific cable/wire harness for the Maestro that you'd otherwise have to buy separately.
The Maestro RR was $150.
The GPS antenna adapter was $15 (if your car does not have a factory GPS antenna you won't need this since you'd just use the one that comes with the head unit).
The AM/FM radio antenna adapter was also $15.

There will also be some miscellaneous supplies. You'll need a way to connect the wires from the iDatalink harness to the head unit's harness. I used Posi-twist connectors but there are plenty of options including soldering if you want to go that route. You'll probably also want some double stick tape, foam wrapping or tape in case anything rattles, and some small zip ties for securing cables inside the dash.
 
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Paul, Just a few questions. I'm not sure if I would buy this head unit. But hope you can answer these questions since you replaced it with an aftermarket one.

1. Does remote start work?
2. Do heated and cooled seats work through the display HVAC?
3. Heated steering wheel on/off?
4. Steering wheel buttons (volume, vr, etc..)

Those are the biggest things I'm concerned about.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
1. Yes, remote start works like normal. UConnect Access remote start from the phone app no longer works but that's to be expected since the wireless module is in the OEM head unit. If you didn't subscribe to it you'll never even know it's gone. Remote start from the key fob works just fine.
2. Yes the heated and cooled seats work and it still has the option to have them turn on automatically if the temperature is above/below a certain point. If you look at my 6th image above of the climate control screen you can see the controls for the heated and cooled seats. It does show 3 levels since that's just the icon it uses but when you touch the control it still only has 2 levels for each like the OEM.
3. The heated wheel works as well. In the image of the climate control screen it's the button in the lower right corner.
4. The steering wheel buttons work and actually are improved. The Maestro handles the communication between the steering wheel controls and the head unit and when you configure it you can change the controls to do different things besides the default. You can also add a second operation to many of them that is triggered by holding the button instead of just pressing it. This can be changed later too though you need to connect a PC or Mac to the Maestro using a USB cable to do so. I put the Maestro in a space under the right climate vent so I can get it by just removing the trim panel and not have to take out the entire head unit.
 

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Thanks Paul! I now see the heated/cooled seats and the heated steering wheel. I don't care about the Uconnect since I never subscribed to it and that is going away anyways with 3g.

I've been looking at Kurto2021 thread on his Alpine ilx-f309 install. I see it has the heated and cooled seats. But no heated steering wheel icon in his picture of the HVAC. So far he hasn't responded. I think you said with the imaestro and a laptop you can enable features? Maybe he didn't do that at that point. He did say in a later post that "all features work"

I looked at the Pioneer DMH-WT7600NEX at best buy. Everything is sold out and they said they are hard to find. I could buy online but I prefer best buy with free install. Plus if it doesn't work like heated steering wheel then I can return easier. I'll have to wait until they get in stock.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't think you can enable features that don't exist but you do tell it your VIN and also select from certain options during setup so it can figure out how your car is configured. Since Kurto2021 later said it was working I'm guessing it was not enabled and either required them to change a setting on the Maestro or for iDatalink to make a change to their firmware for the 200.

It's definitely hard to find a head unit right now, that's part of the reason I went with the one I did, it was available. If you go with that Pioneer keep in mind that at least Crutchfield says it won't fit the 200. It's possible it can still be made to fit but there might be more modification required to do so.
 

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Yeah crutchfield says it doesn't but Best Buy does on that pioneer one. I thought about an open box Kenwood 1037s at a local best buy. But they told me they wouldn't install it. Likely the same modifications you had to do with cutting a piece of metal and plastic. They said they wouldn't even try due to that. So, did you install this yourself or have a local shop do it? If you did it yourself is the wiring all plug and play with the imaestro, antenna, harness, etc...? Or do you have to cut and splice various components?

If it is plug and play I can tackle myself. But I'm kind of worried about if I have to start cutting wires and best buy won't help if I mess it up.

As much as I like the 1037s features I don't think it is worth taking on myself. Plus it is almost too big for this car. The pioneer is a nice size at 9" It at least doesn't cover the vents up there.

Thanks again for all the information. Your install looks great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I did it myself. The only part that involves any cutting is the sub dash modifications. Both the instructions from Crutchfield and from iDatalink that were included with the dash kit show exactly where to cut. Looking at the Pioneer I'm pretty sure they'd have to cut to make that one fit anyway, so I'm no sure why they'd refuse to install the Kenwood but not the Pioneer. It looks like the part that goes in the dash is single DIN so unless it's a lot more shallow then it looks in the pictures the metal piece would still be in the way. There probably is a dash kit to take a single DIN so it may work.

The wiring is plug and play as long as you get the appropriate adapters. You do have to connect some of the wires from the Maestro cable to the cable that comes with the head unit but it's pretty much just match up the colors and the Maestro instructions explain it. I used Positwist connectors for it but anything that makes a good electrical connection will work. The rest is plug and play. The Uconnect head unit has a large harness on the back that you unplug and then plug into the Maestro cable. You also unplug the antenna cables and plug them into the appropriate adapters or leave them in the dash cavity for ones you're not using (like the 3G antenna). It's fairly easy as long as you follow the diagram.

I agree that the Kenwood 1037 screen would be a bit much. Though to be fair when I was shopping I wasn't really interested in the floating screen units and wanted something that looked a bit more stock so I may not be the best judge of that.
 

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Paul, I ended up buying that open box 1037s. Have it all installed but I have no AM and FM barely comes in where I'm at in a large metro area. Traveled to a smaller area and FM works great for some reason.

I'm a bit confused on the wiring of the am/FM antenna adapter. Does the solid blue go to solid blue from vehicle harness? The is one that says P. Cont and another that says Ant. Cont. I tried with the solid blue ant. Cont connected to solid blue and didn't notice a difference. So I disconnected that reading that it acts as a ground when connected. Plus we don't have a powered antenna with a motor. I think we have an antenna that needs to be powered on through this blue wire. Do I hook it up to a blue/white wire? I thought that was for the amp...

I also think I have the antenna adapter plug (aqua) in the wrong plug from vehicle yellow. The instructions didn't have much guidance and they aren't marked from the vehicle or old radio.

There were 3 plugs from the vehicle that they all fit and I tried them all with no difference. A purple one that currently has the blue GPS. Aqua to the radio antenna. And a white one empty now.

What do those 3 actually go to lol? Is the white one for the antenna? And will there be one left unused? I plan to get an xm tuner that I didn't know was required main thing is to get better am/FM reception.

I plan to make another post one I get some pictures. Android auto worked great!

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, you need to connect Ant Cont to the adapter. It is used for motors but in cars with a film type antenna like the 200 this supplies power to the booster amplifier. P. Cont should connect between the Maestro cable and the head unit cable to supply power to the built in amplifier.

The AM/FM antenna is the white connector. Plus that into the adapter along with Ant Cont and it should work. The yellow one is a combination GPS and SiriusXM. If you are using both there is a splitter you can buy to allow this without installing another antenna. You do not need it to get better AM/FM though so only get one if you want satellite radio. The pink/violet one is for the 3G antenna and will likely just be left abandoned in the dash.
 
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Great post!
 
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Yes, great that Paul had this posted with the info. I wasn't even sure that it was possible to retain the heated/cooled seats and wheel. It does and a lot more.

I haven't posted about my head unit install yet. Because I'm actually going on my third, yes third one. I have the worst luck but hoping this third one is the lucky one. I haven't had time but I will post about it to help others like Paul did!
 

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The built in microphone also does not work. I put the aftermarket mic in the edge of the headliner at the windshield by the mirror with some double stick tape and ran the cord through the driver side A pillar. A bit of work but it hides it nicely. There's a picture of it on the headliner below.
A base microphone can be connected to aftermarket receiver. You need to pull out pins 39-40 (mic 2) or 29-30 (mic 1) from the receiver connector (named on pic - Radio C1) and connect (twist) them to the 2.5mm audio micro-jack (or 3.5mm phone mini-jack) and put to new receiver.

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I don't think you can enable features that don't exist but you do tell it your VIN and also select from certain options during setup so it can figure out how your car is configured. Since Kurto2021 later said it was working I'm guessing it was not enabled and either required them to change a setting on the Maestro or for iDatalink to make a change to their firmware for the 200.

It's definitely hard to find a head unit right now, that's part of the reason I went with the one I did, it was available. If you go with that Pioneer keep in mind that at least Crutchfield says it won't fit the 200. It's possible it can still be made to fit but there might be more modification required to do so.
Thanks for this awesome info! I have a follow up question: Besides for the climate controls/heated seats/steering wheel buttons which you already addressed above (confirming that they are properly programed to be controlled by your new head unit), what about all of the other features/menus that were accessible from the OEM head unit? For example, toggling the safety features options, like the rain sensing wipers, tones on/off for lane change warning, sensitivity of the parking sensors, etc.

What I'm trying to confirm is that all of the menus that are accessible from the OEM head unit, are accessible on your new one.

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes, all the OEM settings (aside from the ones related to UConnect or Uconnect Access) are still there. As long as the head unit has an Idatalink port and the Maestro is configured and connected properly there will be a menu with vehicle settings in it. It's not quite as nicely laid out as the OEM head unit and is an extra menu layer down but it is perfectly functional and since I rarely change those settings I'm not concerned about that. The frequently used settings like climate are still easy to access though. Here is a picture of the top level vehicle settings menu (the menu items scroll so it's a little cut off and there are more items that I would need to scroll down to see). Since you mentioned the safety items I also took several pictures to show you the complete safety and driving assistance menu (like the other menu the text is a little cut off but it should give you the information you want)
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Yes, all the OEM settings (aside from the ones related to UConnect or Uconnect Access) are still there. As long as the head unit has an Idatalink port and the Maestro is configured and connected properly there will be a menu with vehicle settings in it. It's not quite as nicely laid out as the OEM head unit and is an extra menu layer down but it is perfectly functional and since I rarely change those settings I'm not concerned about that. The frequently used settings like climate are still easy to access though. Here is a picture of the top level vehicle settings menu (the menu items scroll so it's a little cut off and there are more items that I would need to scroll down to see). Since you mentioned the safety items I also took several pictures to show you the complete safety and driving assistance menu (like the other menu the text is a little cut off but it should give you the information you want)
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View attachment 59270 View attachment 59268 View attachment 59269 View attachment 59271 View attachment 59272
This is literally exactly what I was looking for - Thank you!
 

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A base microphone can be connected to aftermarket receiver. You need to pull out pins 39-40 (mic 2) or 29-30 (mic 1) from the receiver connector (named on pic - Radio C1) and connect (twist) them to the 2.5mm audio micro-jack (or 3.5mm phone mini-jack) and put to new receiver.
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Аdd information. This is how I connected the factory microphone to my aftermarket JVC.
Use pins 29 and 30 (left microphone on mirror) for 3.5mm mini-jack.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That's pretty cool, might save some people pulling off trim panels to run the aftermarket mic like I did. I already got the thing installed so I'm not going to bother changing it but your solution is definitely easier for new installs.
 
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