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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone know how or have pictures of removing the radio? What trim pieces need to come off and what the clips look like that hold them in?
I've found Crosstrek videos showing the vents on either side of the radio being pulled off but a firm tug on mine and they're not budging.
Before getting medieval on them and regretting it, would anyone have a diagram or pictures?

Thanks.
 

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The trim around the vents on the Ascent does come out if pulled outward. Te careful with that trim though because the clips that hold it on are very fragile.
I've found Crosstrek videos showing the vents on either side of the radio being pulled off but a firm tug on mine and they're not budging.
might I ask why you plan on removing the radio?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks.
Initially it's exploratory. I wan't to see what's behind it and if removed what stops working.
I like to have my music local. I don't stream stuff and have ~600gig of media. Some of it is in a format that the base radio won't play.
I don't like the media player. The way it browses music and forgets what folder you were in just a moment ago.
I don't have playlists so the 'play all' plays everything by alphabetical order using song title not file name.
Steering wheel control only does next track and volume. Anything else requires me to look at and touch the screen.
Android Auto is limiting and I'm not sure about steering wheel controls in it.

I had built a carputer for my Outback using RideRunner. It took a bit but I got it to do exactly what I wanted.
That was 9 years ago and things have progressed. My radio now has control over parts of the car so I might not be able to get rid of it.
My hope is I can build a system that would, if not replace, work along side of the factory system. Maybe build a tablet mount that would cover the factory system. That would bring it closer which would be nice not having to lean forward to touch the screen.

Like I said, right now I want to evaluate what I have to work with. I'm just starting my quest for a system that does what I want how I want.
It may take a while but I'll post progress.
Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Being at work and lacking my usual tools I grabbed the all purpose prying tool...the butter knife.
Slipping it behind the upper corner I was able to pry with increasing force without damaging anything.
You can see the blue clips that hold things together. These clips require much more force than other methods of holding trim panels.
You can actually remove them from the piece (and store in a bag or something) and reinstall the trim so it kinda looks normal. Makes it easy to remove the trim again if you're not done with the project but don't want the dash completely tore up.
The trim above the glove compartment and on the side of the dash did not need to be removed but I took pictures anyways to help others.
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There is a large about of non-entertainment vehicle configuration and control in that head unit...your Ascent is not likely going to be happy if it's not there and fully plugged in.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah, I've been through the menus and it's not anything that I can't live with but there's probably more that it does.
I'm taking it slow and trying not to do anything that's not reversible.

The panel just above the display needed to be removed. Pull forward carefully to disengage the clips. I took the panel apart and placed some tint in front of the LEDs for passenger airbag so it's not so bright at night. I know there's a dimmer but I wanted them more dimmer ;-) than the rest.
There is a module on top of the radio that has its own connector. Not sure what it does.
Lots of connectors into the radio.
I removed all the clips and put everything back. It looks normal but will be easier to take apart next time.

I'm going to see what a tablet can do. I think I could make a bezel to go over the existing radio to hold the tablet. Original radio would stay in place and the tablet would hinge somehow to access it.
We'll see. I can't seem to find forums for carputer like there was 9 years ago. Everybody seems to be living with Android Auto. I've found some launchers that look nice but have to investigate media players and steering wheel controls. I've got a JoyCon that will emulate a keyboard so if the launcher and media player have shortcuts that could work.

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It may not just be what you can live without...it may cause issues with the vehicle directly if it's missing. Just be sure you clearly understand the implications in that respect. It could be as simple as annoying lights, but it could go well beyond that given the level of integration. It may affect serviceability, too. Gone are the days of easily swapping out a "head unit" for something third party with many vehicles, even with interfaces like the Maestro to keep certain vehicle functions.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I installed some headlight protection film instead.
I think you guys are right that more things will be affected than I think but I'm still going to see whats affected.
What I want and what I'll end up with may be completely different but I won't know unless I try.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I didn't use the serrated edge. It slipped easily between and with it's smooth edges didn't mar anything. I also didn't twist it, just pulled straight.
If it wasn't a knife it would have been some other flat pice of something.
 

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What do you plan to put in its place? There are no audio systems that I know of that will fit there. I can't imagine how you're going to retrofit something into that space to be more functional than what you're removing. If you're just looking for better audio, there are other options.

You're removing a multifunctional component that, unlike head units of the past, is an integral part of the vehicle.
 

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I am now thoroughly convinced that davekra could completely disassemble an Ascent with nothing but his trusty butter knife.

Great post I never intend to replace the head unit but now I know how my interior trim is held in place and to use the non-serrated part of the knife when taking my car apart.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The module on top of the radio is a Backup Unit Assembly Part# 83131AN00A
This is what's inside.
Looks like some sort of power supply/regulator given the large capacitors and stuff. Probably other functions as well.
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Discussion Starter #16
The display is combined with the buttons and attached to the front with a multi pin connector.
The display and touch screen are available from Aliexpress for about $110. If the display is available maybe a controller is also. Us the controller to display an hdmi signal from some head unit?
The labels are from the display its self.
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All three displays are run by the control units. On 8" systems, they're driving three LCD screens (its own, the one under the hood, and the one between the driver sweep gauges).

CANBUS connects to the main unit, which is then fed through to the other units.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
With the radio removed (including the Backup Unit Assm module) the car started. No warning lights on the dash. The other two displays seemed to work.
However, I couldn't shift out of park. Might be a single wire that needs a signal or something more complicated.

I believe I will work towards a complete new system and try to push the factory one further into the dash so the new one can go over it.
I found a thread on NASIOC that speaks of the system of a 2017 even monitoring if the speakers are connected. This seemed to be related to SOS function or Starlink which I don't have.
They also spoke of putting a resistor on the amp outputs to satisfy that speaker sense function.
Does anyone know if there is a separate amp on the base model with the 6.5" system? And where it is?

I'd like to find a non-functioning 8" system to use the front bezel. If anyone has one or knows where to get one I'd appreciate the opportunity to buy it. (If it's a reasonable price)
If nothing else I'll make one but it'd be easier to start with a factory one.
Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
One more thing..The steering wheel controls. I found the two leads that go to the radio and can read a small resistance change with each button.
Thing is it's not enough of a change for the Joy Con to read the separate buttons. My Outback worked fine with the Joy Con.
Does the Ascent no longer use a resistor ladder for the buttons? What method does it use?
Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
More searching on the steering wheel controls and I found some wiring diagrams. Looks to be two sets of four buttons with three wires.
I was one off on the connector. It's the 28pin connector, pins 20, 21 and 22 with 20(purple) as the common.
The Joy Con now sees all eight buttons. One step closer.
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