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Old 04-13-2013, 05:51 PM   #1
foolycooly
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Default Pioneer AVH-X5500BHS Installed in 2011 WRX

This was my first time attempting any sort of audio work myself. However, I didn't like the idea of paying someone to do something that I thought should be pretty straightforward, so I did my research and completed the install this afternoon. Despite my hours of planning/researching, I still made a number of stupid mistakes that I hope other newcomers will learn from in this thread. I'll give my review of the unit at the end.

This thread was very helpful: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=2316694

---

HARDWARE:

1. Pioneer AVH-X5500BHS (purchased through a third party seller on Amazon for about $370).
2. 20-pin "forward" harness (purchased from SVXdc)
3. Axxess ASWC-1 (purchased from SVXdc)
4. Parking brake bypass (purchased on ebay for $18)
5. Soldering Iron/Solder or crimps/crimper (I used rosin core solder from Amazon)
6. Wire strippers
7. Heatshrink tubing/electrical tape
8. "Second Hand" type tool or something to hold the wires while you solder ($5ish on amazon).
9. Dash kit (I chose the Metra kit from amazon for around $10).

---

PREPARATION:

The head unit comes with its own wiring harness, USB cable, and bluetooth mic. The wiring harness will be connected to the 20-pin forward harness from SVXdc, the ASWC, and the parking brake bypass. Matching the colors is pretty straightforward thanks to the EXCELLENT guides by SVXdc on www.ae64.com. Below are some pictures prior to soldering.

1. Upper-left: Axxess ASWC-1
2. Left: Pioneer Harness
3. Right: 20-pin forward harness
4. Lower-right: Parking brake bypass



The largest junction is a 5-way ground tie between all of the various components:



Parking brake bypass' orientation and heatshrink. The white harness on the bottom is SVXdc's 20-pin forward.



A lot of unused wires from the ASWC-1:



I stripped an extra 1/4 - 1/2" from most of the wires:



This is how I wired the parking brake wire from the pioneer harness to the bypass (it came with the red clamp pictured above by default). I figured I would leave most of the wire intact in case I needed to run it in a legit way to my parking brake for some reason:



These two wires on the pioneer harness remain disconnected:

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Last edited by foolycooly; 04-15-2013 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 04-13-2013, 05:52 PM   #2
foolycooly
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Cheap soldering iron from Amazon:



I wrapped the clamps on the second hand in electrical tape to prevent any damage to the wires. My technique was to set the soldering iron very hot and hold it behind the wire. I let the wire itself heat up until touching the the solder to the top of the wire (opposite of the iron) caused it to melt. The flux/solder combo draws the liquid solder toward the heat and through the wire, creating a very solid connection.



Before solder:



After solder:



I used a lighter to complete the heatshrink. Keep it moving constantly and don't bring it too close--you don't want to melt the wire insulation itself.



Finished up:



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Old 04-13-2013, 05:52 PM   #3
foolycooly
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INSTALLATION:

I struggled for a long time to get this trim piece off. I was starting in the lower right corner and trying to pry it with a putty knife wrapped in electrical tape. This was the wrong approach. I was finally able to get it loose using just my fingernails on the MIDDLE right-hand section. It took some pretty serious strength, but I finally got one clip to pop loose. The rest followed easily enough.









A number of items need to be unplugged from the back of the stock unit for it come loose:







I then connected the completed harness to the factory 20-pin location:



I removed the HVAC routing piece under the head unit opening (two screws) to leave myself more room. Connect the USB cable, the BT mic, and the ASWC 3.5mm jack (to the W/R slot, NOT THE AUX SLOT) I routed the USB cable to the glovebox and the bluetooth mic down and to the left under the steering wheel/pedal assembly area. A flashlight and patience helps.

Everything ready to be plugged in:



Left some slack on the BT mic to determine where I wanted to mount it. I originally pulled the a-pillar trim and maplight cluster to try to route it to the OEM location and determined it wasn't worth the effort. Sorry for the dirty car.

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Old 04-13-2013, 05:52 PM   #4
foolycooly
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Test fit:



REMEMBER TO PLUG THIS IN. This antenna, along with the 20-pin connection are the only stock items that need to be plugged into the new unit. Without it, you will not get any radio reception (ask me how I know).



I had to manually program the ASWC. The auto-detect works for the volume up/down, seek up/down, and mode. The phone buttons do not work correctly by default (assigned to track up, track down, and mute), so I manually programmed all of the buttons. I don't believe this HU supports PTT, but I got the on-hook/off-hook buttons to work.

Put the trim back on and power it up:







This is where I mounted the BT mic (using the two sided tape that comes with the unit). It is almost completely hidden from view and I am told I sound fine.



Can't see the mic from straight on:



---

IMPRESSIONS:

My initial impressions are very good. Local stations come in much more clearly than the stock unit. BT audio quality is phenomenal. Like...night and day difference from stock. This is what I use for most of my driving and I was concerned about the connectivity/quality. Metadata is displayed and everything works flawlessly.

The unit itself is very responsive and all of the menus are well laid out and very intuitive. Color customization is nice and the stock red option matches the gauge lights perfectly.

Overall, I am glad I performed the installation myself. After I figured out a few dumb mistakes (plugging the ASWC into the wrong 3.5mm jack, and forgetting to plug the stock antenna wire in), everything went pretty smoothly.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Last edited by foolycooly; 04-15-2013 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 04-13-2013, 05:55 PM   #5
BoyBlunder
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What a fantastic guide. Definitely keeping note of this thread for when I do my install.

Thanks.
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Old 04-13-2013, 07:03 PM   #6
foolycooly
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One issue I have noted already is that the "seek" buttons on the steering wheel (up/down) control track changes while in BT audio mode, but they do not change presets when in radio mode (they tune up or down). I would assume if I re-programmed their functions to preset change then I would have the opposite issue.

I'm not sure if there is a way to program buttons to do more than one function using the ASWC--I will have to look into it.

Last edited by foolycooly; 04-13-2013 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 04-13-2013, 07:14 PM   #7
maizer89
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that's just a limitation of the awc, usually aftermarket radios with steering wheel controls only change the radio station instead of jumping from presets like on the stock system. It's my only pet peeve about installing an aftermarket system, but if you find a solution that would be awesome
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Old 04-13-2013, 07:21 PM   #8
foolycooly
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Yeah I assume it's because the ASWC doesn't know what mode the system is in...it just outputs one function. It seems to be the way that pioneer designed each mode since the included remote has separate functions for each mode (seek vs. tune). But who actually uses those remotes?
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Old 04-14-2013, 12:11 AM   #9
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That's a clean looking install, nice work.

Have you used the advanced app mode? I debating between this unit or the CBINS ipad install for my 07 wrx wagon.
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Old 04-14-2013, 12:11 AM   #10
1dweeb
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Great job with the pictures.
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Old 04-14-2013, 10:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexwagon02 View Post
That's a clean looking install, nice work.

Have you used the advanced app mode? I debating between this unit or the CBINS ipad install for my 07 wrx wagon.
I haven't tried it yet. I have an iphone 5 and didn't want to drop another $50-$80 on the extra cables needed to get it to work. Plus I hear the functionality is pretty limited. I am going to try to see what works with the regular usb cable when I get a chance.
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:02 AM   #12
Vossatron
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You need one of these

http://www.iaperformance.com/product...jbavikvobg5qp5

Also, to install it, you use the metal brackets off the stock unit and not the plastic one used with the stock bezel.
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Old 04-14-2013, 03:31 PM   #13
yes4idol
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How did you manually program those onhook/offhook buttons? Can you provide some more details?
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Old 04-14-2013, 03:36 PM   #14
foolycooly
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The ASWC has a manual program mode--it's all in the instructions. Basically you follow a list of commands in a certain order to assign each button (volume up, volume down, seek up, seek down, etc.). The ASWC "sees" all of the buttons...you just have to tell it what you want each one to do.
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:40 PM   #15
Not-EWRX
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I bought this unit a couple days ago and i'm going to intall it in my 2013 WRX. I have one question though, did the pioneer unit come with the trim piece around the radio? The black one to the left and right of the radio.
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Old 04-15-2013, 12:03 AM   #16
FLEX'N WRX
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OP doesnt mention... Unless the 3rd party seller supplied it, its not included with the Pioneer unit.

The surrounding dash kit(metra, scosche,etc), or AV panel(below) is needed.




...good writeup OP
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:13 AM   #17
foolycooly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Not-EWRX View Post
I bought this unit a couple days ago and i'm going to intall it in my 2013 WRX. I have one question though, did the pioneer unit come with the trim piece around the radio? The black one to the left and right of the radio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FLEX'N WRX View Post
OP doesnt mention... Unless the 3rd party seller supplied it, its not included with the Pioneer unit.

The surrounding dash kit(metra, scosche,etc), or AV panel(below) is needed.

...good writeup OP
Yep--I got the Metra kit from amazon:

Amazon.com: Metra 95-8902 Double DIN Installation Kit for 2008-Up Subaru Impreza/WRX Vehicles: Car ElectronicsAmazon.com: Metra 95-8902 Double DIN Installation Kit for 2008-Up Subaru Impreza/WRX Vehicles: Car Electronics


The fit and finish is nice. I might consider the JDM surround in the future, but I'm not sure it is it worth $100 to me right now.
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:28 PM   #18
ericsson
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How the hec are you getting 23.4 MPGs!!?
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:42 PM   #19
Not-EWRX
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Thanks for the heads up. I'll have to put that on order.
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:45 PM   #20
foolycooly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericsson View Post
How the hec are you getting 23.4 MPGs!!?
Haha...I was actually getting 26-27 on the cobb stage 2 map (invidia TBE and AEM CAI). I'm protuned with an EBCS now and I average 22-23. How much of this is attributed to a heavier foot is hard to tell.
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Old 04-16-2013, 12:04 PM   #21
08BlackWRXCT
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i just ordered this same HU yesterday! Cant wait for it to come in... how are you liking it so far?
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Old 04-16-2013, 12:19 PM   #22
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I am really enjoying the unit after a few days of my commute. I played down the HD radio in my OP, but it really is a pretty amazing difference compared to the stock unit. I listen to mostly sports/talk radio during my morning drive and everything comes in much clearer. When it's in full digital/HD I would say the radio music is on par with BT-audio before.

BT audio is much more powerful and clean now. I could see how adding a sub would enhance it further by taking some of the bass out of the speakers, but it really is much improved over the stock unit.

Also, startup is very quick. The unit is fully functional within 5 seconds of turning the key. It takes an additional 5-10 seconds to pair to my iphone 5 (about equivalent to the stock unit).

The only minor annoyance is the seek vs. track thing on the steering controls. I left it on BT audio skip since I use that more frequently. I have to manually change radio presets (but I only do that 2-3 times during my morning commute).
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:25 AM   #23
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Glad your liking it and glad its a big step up from stock. I had the Kenwood DNX6190 and as much I liked the NAV included the sound was very flat, the UI was very poorly setup and it was very slow and sluggish loading between screens. HD radio was a big selling point for me, as I listen to a lot of local radio and of course I got the Sirius module as well. Might get the NAV later on down the road but for now I like my phones Google maps. Are you using an iPhone or android phone with the X5500BHS?
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:53 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 08BlackWRXCT View Post
Glad your liking it and glad its a big step up from stock. I had the Kenwood DNX6190 and as much I liked the NAV included the sound was very flat, the UI was very poorly setup and it was very slow and sluggish loading between screens. HD radio was a big selling point for me, as I listen to a lot of local radio and of course I got the Sirius module as well. Might get the NAV later on down the road but for now I like my phones Google maps. Are you using an iPhone or android phone with the X5500BHS?
iphone.

I was shopping for a navigation unit for a while but came to the realization that spending an additional $4-500 wasn't worth it. I think google maps on my phone is superior and I really didn't want a laggy interface. I do not believe you can use google maps through the app mode on this unit (pioneer-specified apps only), but as I mentioned earlier, I don't have the necessary cables to try it.
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:21 PM   #25
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The only problem I have with this unit is the slow track changes with the iPod cable and steering wheel controls

Love everything else!
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