2013 Mitsubishi ZJ Outlander stereo upgrade.

Would you rather have this?  ….   Then read on!

Stereo_In_WM

*** DISCLAIMER – ALL INFORMATION GIVEN HERE IS IN GOOD FAITH BUT I ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY IN THE WAY YOU CHOOSE TO INTERPRET IT, USE IT OR ITS ACCURACY ***

*** I though this was clear below but – THIS WAS DONE ON THE BASIC (NON ROCKFORD) HEAD UNIT – I HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT THE ROCKFORD-FOSGATE AMP OR ITS CONTROL USING AN AFTER MARKET HEAD UNIT ***

Also – do not expect any response to questions you may ask about this information, although I will try. If you feel that you are in any way incompetent – don’t wait for me to point it out, go to a professional to get the install done.

Levering panels and plastics: modern vehicles are mostly plastic inside, removing panels and fittings requires a gentle but firm hand to lever the parts apart. Do not use quick snappy movements or you risk doing just that – snapping a plastic fitting or scratching the finish on a visible surface.

Explanatory note: When I talk about OEM gear in the following article, I’m referring to any parts, cables, accessories that originally came with the Outlander. I also mix the words ‘head unit’ and ‘stereo’ referring to the same thing. This article was written in Australia where we are right hand drive, we also solder wires as opposed to ‘soddering’ them (which sort of mildly sounds like some sort of life choice).

Crappy stereo?

Why on earth do car manufacturers insist on putting half assed, partly dysfunctional head units in new cars? I have a 2013 Outlander Aspire,  top of the range here in Australia – well almost – at the time I could pay another $5000 for the Rockford-Fosgate stereo, electric tailgate, adaptive cruise control… but that was another $5000 I wasn’t willing to part with.

The head unit functionality was marginal to say the least.

–          The Bluetooth audio and iPod connection had frequent drop outs, I suspect due to the fact that the Bluetooth/USB module was separate to the head unit.

–          Navigating the menus was a half way attempt – you never quite got to where you wanted to go in a timely fashion, which kept your eyes from the road for way too long.

–          The damn thing never remembered where you were up to in a song or a podcast, always restarting it from the beginning after turning the power off.

–          The rear vision camera was blurry.

–          No DVD/Video support

–          And on and on.

About the same time I replaced the stereo in our other car, a 2003 Pajero, as the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) one had died. I put a double-din Pioneer (AVH-X3500DAB – now replaced by the AVH-X3600DAB) in its place. I was mildly impressed (we engineers are a conservative bunch) with the performance, even with the old 15W dual cone standard speakers! It had DAB+, played DVDs, a quick and responsive interface, logical menu system and no wacko quirks (well, no serious ones that I’ve found yet).

After having it for a few weeks, I just had to make it fit into the Outlander. During a car sound sale I purchased another one. This will be great I thought, both cars with the same head unit, no gnashing of teeth by the better half when trying to figure out each one. My research showed that it looked possible.. I wanted to retain the steering wheel controls, I wanted it to be seamless and look like part of the car, I wanted it to use the existing reversing camera and hands free microphone.

Above all, I wanted to make it a neat install with the ability to revert back to the old OEM stereo if needed; no chopping of wiring looms, etc

One of the installation problems associated with new cars is that most of the electronics is tied together with the CAN communication bus – a data bus for sending information around harsh electrical environments like cars and machinery. As I found out, for example, the fact that you have selected reverse gear is communicated to the stereo via the CAN bus. Most current stereos sense reverse by directly tapping into a wire that changes from 0 to +12V (or vice-versa) when reverse is selected.

I will describe how *most* of these problems can be circumvented in the Outlander. This is all accumulated knowledge from measuring, probing cables and scouring over the Outlander wiring diagrams

What you will need

2 x AP0113 Mitsubish wiring harness by AerPro (APP0113)  –  why two? See the steering wheel control section.

1 x Metra 95-7015CHG double din dash kit for a 2014-up Mitsubishi Outlander (eBay)

1 x AXXESS ASWC-1 Universal car OEM steering wheel control interface module (eBay)

Wire, other bits and pieces as mentioned in the following description and oh.. and a new head unit.

Basic connections

For just replacing the stereo and getting sound out, it is all pretty simple. Connect the AP0113 between the wiring loom C109 connector and the ISO connectors at the end of the Pioneer loom. This supplies Battery and Accessory power, speakers, ground, illumination (to sense when headlights are on) and the Antenna relay control – which can switch an auxiliary amplifier on or in this case it supplies power to the antenna amplifier at the antenna.  Just connecting this and the radio antenna and you will have a working stereo.

Getting the dash apart – just involves getting a thin flat lever around the edge of the silver rim and gently levering. I used a 12 inch steel ruler but a butter knife might do. Be carefull not to mark the plastics. I notice that there are a lot of places selling kits containing an assortment of ‘spludger’ type tools for cars for this task. After the surround has been removed, disconnect the ventilation control cables and put it somewhere safe. The stereo itself comes out with four screws.

This is the rear of the Mitsubishi OEM unit:

OEM Stereo Rear_WM

 

The OEM stereo has a double din body size but a larger face area than the Pioneer unit. This required the use of the Metra facia kit. It comes with a left and right mounting bracket, made of plastic, which mount onto the facia trim using four PK type screws. Even though the brackets are plastic, once it is all together and mounted on the new stereo it seems solid enough. The facia has the same sparkly finish as the dash in the Outlander and looks quite the part.

But you want more… you want the steering wheel controls to work, and the rear camera to connect, and the microphone to work for hands free, and … so let’s go through it bit by bit.

OEM Camera

To use the OEM reversing camera is the hardest part of this upgrade. For a start the camera uses a Mitsubishi custom connector, designated C107, on the rear of the stereo unit. The hardest bit is the fact that the supply voltage for the camera seems to be 6-7VDC (6.8V actually), present between the CACC line (C107, Pin 41, White/Black Stripe) and CGND is earth (C107, Pin 45, Violet). The video feed from the rear is fed down a coaxial cable until it gets to the radio at just prior to C107, where it is spliced to two wires on the connector CMP+ (Active signal – Pin 46, White) and CMP- (Coax Shield – Pin 47, Black).

Camera_Wiring_Diag

To utilise the rear camera you need to supply it with the correct supply voltage + to CACC and GND to CGND. I accomplished this using an LM7806 Regulator with a 1N4007 diode in the ground lead to boost the output by 0.8V…

Outlander_Cam_Voltage

This gives a composite video signal from the camera, and I have it working well in my setup.

Not everyone will be able to build such a circuit, you might try using a dedicated 6V DC converter designed for servos used in the radio control hobby, sometimes called a battery eliminator circuit. I have not tried this and can’t vouch for it as a solution.

I then cut the end off of an RCA video cable and spliced it directly to the coaxial cable coming from the rear (centre conductor to CMP+ and Shield to CMP-. The picture below shows the little 6.8V power supply I built to run the camera.

Rear Cam_WM

Rear Cam 6V8 supply_WM

There are no marker lines on the image from the Outlander  camera, these were generated by the OEM system I was replacing, so my rear camera doesn’t have the warning marker lines superimposed on the video..  The OEM camera works a treat into the Pioneers Rear Camera input which leads us to…

 Reverse Sense.

This is how the head unit knows to switch the rear camera vision on and it’s a real pain in the Outlander, it is available digitally on the CAN bus but if you just want to have a single wire sense to the reverse on your head unit, then you need to go hunting. It is not available on C107, the camera connector or anywhere else on the stock AV head unit wiring.

I traced the circuit diagrams and found that the reverse light signal appears at the ETACS ECU panel (to the left and behind the glove box on RHD vehicles). It enters the ETACS on connector C421 (Pin 9) and exits on C418 (Pin 12) via a blue wire. This wire then goes down to the rear of the car to connect to the reverse bulbs. The bundle of wires containing this wire bypasses another connector panel (below the ETACS) – see photo. The problem is that there were at least three blue wires running in this bundle.Reverse wire_WM

Finding Reverse wire_WM

To find the right one I used my multimeter connected to a pin and inserted the pin into each wire, turning the car on, selecting reverse until I found the wire that changed when going to reverse, third wire I tried in my case. The voltage present was around 10.6V when reverse is selected and 0V normally. The Pioneer setting was to switch the camera video through when the sense wire was at Battery.

I labelled the wire and ran it behind the glove box to the stereo area.

But wait there’s more…

Handbrake Sense

After you’ve hunted down the Reverse sense, now you have access to the Handbrake wire as well if you need it. It is on the connector panel below the ETACS on C24 (Pin 2) and is purple. Quite easy to find, it is the purple wire in the photo,  this wire is switched to earth via a diode when the handbrake is applied. Use your meter on the diode setting when you confirm this (it will be 100-200k ohms on the Ohms setting if you don’t have a diode setting).

I labelled this wire and ran it with the reverse wire to the head unit.

Handbrake Wire_WM

HBrake Reverse Wires_WM

OEM Hands Free Microphone.

Well this was a lost cause. The original hands free mic is in that perforated area between  the reading lamps. There is an amplifier attached to the mic up there and is powered via the connection to the blue tooth module. I experimented but couldn’t get a clear audio connection by piggy-backing off the returning audio. In the end it was easier to run the supplied Pioneer mic from the head unit via the dash area and up the windscreen pillar behind the plastic cover on the inside, away from the curtain air bags, then pushed up into the head liner adjacent to the windscreen.. There is a bit of space up in the reading light assembly  – enough room to hide the new microphone, attaching it with the Pioneer supplied double-sided tape. The dome/reading light assembly just levers out of the roof head liner with a large flat steel ruler as a lever.

USB Connection

Another crappy Mitsubishi innovation with the OEM gear is to use non-standard USB sockets on their Hands-free adaptor and the original stereo. They look like USB but the housing is smaller. Apparently if you strip off the metal shield on the USB connectors they can be “made” to fit.

It would have been really nice to use the built in USB cabling to the centre console, but the weird USB connector has put me off. I may, in the future, hack off the end of the OEM cable and solder in a standard USB connector but for now I have the Pioneer supplied USB cable running to the glove box and that’s where the iPod resides.

 Wired Remote / Steering Wheel Controls

Steering wheel controls… I purchased an Axxess ASWC-1 to translate the steering wheel controls to those suitable for the Pioneer. I had considered ‘rolling my own’ but I went for the easier pre-built option.

The steering wheel controls basically consist of switching resistors across two lines that connect to connector C109. The APP0113 harness does not have these pins installed and as I wanted to avoid soldering two wires to the harness, I bought two APP0113 harnesses (they’re about $16 each).  I carefully removed two pins and the connected wires from the donor harness to fill the empty SWC connections (Pins 2 and 12) in the installed harness. In the photo showing the two circled added pins, the top pin (pin 2) goes to the Black/green wire on the ASWC-1, the bottom pin (pin 12) goes to earth.

Aerpro Connector_WM

Aerpro Cable and Donor_WM

If you’re really interested these are the values for the steering wheel resistances (in Ohms):

No button press               5.3k

Mode button                     260

Volume Up                         1.57k

Volume Down                   2.02k

Previous                              1.07k

Next                                      660

Speak                                    2.6k

Off Hook                              3.06k

On Hook                              3.54k

 

Following the instructions for the Axxess unit worked well but the Phone buttons do not work for the phone, they are re-mapped, Speak does nothing, Off Hook is Mute and On Hook is Next Track. I have tried manually remapping them but it looks like either the ASWC-1 does not output the right phone control codes to suit the Pioneer or the Pioneer unit doesn’t support phone control via the wired remote input.

The only extra thing I did was use the supplied window mounted DAB+ antenna, just watch the pillar trim here as it sits rather snug close to the windscreen glass and may rub on the coaxial cable coming from the antenna. The cable ran down the pillar on the inside, avoiding the curtain airbags, and with the Reverse and Handbrake sense cables ran across behind the glove box to the stereo.

Things to (possibly) do:

Make use of the Mitsubishi USB connection.

Make a delay circuit for the Accessories power to the stereo. My car is key-less (push button) start – when you turn the car off it all goes dead. Not like a regular key ignition where you turn back to accessories then off, you need to push the button again to get accessories back on. I’m thinking of putting a 10-15 second relay in so you can choose to hit the button again within that time to keep accessory power going to the stereo and not drop its power.