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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-14-2019 Thread Starter
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Question 2010 LTZ Aftermarket Head Unit

Im about to inherit a 2010 LTZ to drive around for a year or two. Im turning in my 2017 Fusion Sport (coming off lease) soon, its going to be a significant step backwards, but if I can get rid of a car payment then why not. While I had my Fusion I really got used to Android Auto so I want to swap out the radio in it to get one that supports Android Auto. Im a very technical guy so Im sure it will be pretty easy, but I haven't used anything other than the factory radio since my 2002 Focus. This is also my first GM car so I have never had anything with OnStar in it. I did manage to get a build sheet for the car but thats when I found out that the LTZ was the top tier and came with most features standard (it has the Bose system, according to the build sheet). I dont have possession of it yet but I just want to get an idea of what I will need.

I started on Crutchfield to see what options were out there and what hardware I will need. Im a little confused on whats needed. Based on the build sheet, it has steering wheel controls as well as OnStar. I have no plans on subscribing to OnStar or really use any of its features. So if I understand what I have read so far I would need this: https://www.crutchfield.com/p_541RP5...Interface.html to keep the steering wheel controls and has a small speaker for the warning chimes. What Im not sure about is bluetooth. Isnt that something the radio has built in? Would I be paring my phone to the car or the radio?

Is there anything else I should be aware of or consider when replacing the radio? I dont plan to replace any speakers or the amp. I do have a 12" sub that Ill probably install as well but that will have its own amp and I would assume most aftermarket radios have a sub preout right? I dont really care much about OnStar or Sat. radio, but retaining their function without going way out of my way would be fine.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-16-2019
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Originally Posted by fletch8527 View Post
Im about to inherit a 2010 LTZ to drive around for a year or two. Im turning in my 2017 Fusion Sport (coming off lease) soon, its going to be a significant step backwards, but if I can get rid of a car payment then why not. While I had my Fusion I really got used to Android Auto so I want to swap out the radio in it to get one that supports Android Auto. Im a very technical guy so Im sure it will be pretty easy, but I haven't used anything other than the factory radio since my 2002 Focus. This is also my first GM car so I have never had anything with OnStar in it. I did manage to get a build sheet for the car but thats when I found out that the LTZ was the top tier and came with most features standard (it has the Bose system, according to the build sheet). I dont have possession of it yet but I just want to get an idea of what I will need.

I started on Crutchfield to see what options were out there and what hardware I will need. Im a little confused on whats needed. Based on the build sheet, it has steering wheel controls as well as OnStar. I have no plans on subscribing to OnStar or really use any of its features. So if I understand what I have read so far I would need this: https://www.crutchfield.com/p_541RP5...Interface.html to keep the steering wheel controls and has a small speaker for the warning chimes. What Im not sure about is bluetooth. Isnt that something the radio has built in? Would I be paring my phone to the car or the radio?

Is there anything else I should be aware of or consider when replacing the radio? I dont plan to replace any speakers or the amp. I do have a 12" sub that Ill probably install as well but that will have its own amp and I would assume most aftermarket radios have a sub preout right? I dont really care much about OnStar or Sat. radio, but retaining their function without going way out of my way would be fine.

If you have Bluetooth both built into the car and in your aftermarket head unit, you can connect to either one. Connecting to the car's Bluetooth offers the ability to use the Onstar mic in the headliner, but will not allow you to stream music via Bluetooth from your mobile. Conversely, connecting to the head unit's Bluetooth will enable you to stream music, but you will not be able to use the Onstar mic.

Some newer phones, such as my Samsung Note 9, support multiple simultaneous Bluetooth connections. This enables me to use to the car's Bluetooth for telecommunications and my head unit's Bluetooth for music streaming, since my '16 Limited LTZ (same body style as your 2010) and my aftermarket head unit both have Bluetooth.

I've not tried any of the Android units myself, but @jtrosky has. He may chime in with his thoughts, but, yes, an aftermarket head unit does typically have a dedicated subwoofer output jack.


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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-16-2019 Thread Starter
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If you have Bluetooth both built into the car and in your aftermarket head unit, you can connect to either one. Connecting to the car's Bluetooth offers the ability to use the Onstar mic in the headliner, but will not allow you to stream music via Bluetooth from your mobile. Conversely, connecting to the head unit's Bluetooth will enable you to stream music, but you will not be able to use the Onstar mic.

Some newer phones, such as my Samsung Note 9, support multiple simultaneous Bluetooth connections. This enables me to use to the car's Bluetooth for telecommunications and my head unit's Bluetooth for music streaming, since my '16 Limited LTZ (same body style as your 2010) and my aftermarket head unit both have Bluetooth.

I've not tried any of the Android units myself, but @jtrosky has. He may chime in with his thoughts, but, yes, an aftermarket head unit does typically have a dedicated subwoofer output jack.

Thanks for the reply. The wife and I both have S10+'s so yea, we can connect to 2 bluetooth devices at a time. I have been out of the aftermarket radio game for so long, but do some of these head units come with a mountable mics? Like couldnt I install a mic near the OneStar one (BTW where is the OnStar mic, actually in the headliner? In the rear view mirror?)? Seems like if a head unit comes with an installable mic that I wouldnt need to keep the car's built in bluetooth. Sorry for the possibly dumb questions.

Also any recommendations for a site other than crutchfield to shop around? Or any recommendations for an Android Auto compatible head unit? Ive heard that some ever have connections for aftermarket backup cams, even some having more that one input for cameras. A friend mentioned that some people use the 2nd camera input as a backseat monitor of sorts, I thought that could be a cool idea so that I wouldnt need the mirror I use currently to keep an eye on my son (rear facing car seat).
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-16-2019
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Originally Posted by fletch8527 View Post
Thanks for the reply. The wife and I both have S10+'s so yea, we can connect to 2 bluetooth devices at a time. I have been out of the aftermarket radio game for so long, but do some of these head units come with a mountable mics? Like couldnt I install a mic near the OneStar one (BTW where is the OnStar mic, actually in the headliner? In the rear view mirror?)? Seems like if a head unit comes with an installable mic that I wouldnt need to keep the car's built in bluetooth. Sorry for the possibly dumb questions.

Also any recommendations for a site other than crutchfield to shop around? Or any recommendations for an Android Auto compatible head unit? Ive heard that some ever have connections for aftermarket backup cams, even some having more that one input for cameras. A friend mentioned that some people use the 2nd camera input as a backseat monitor of sorts, I thought that could be a cool idea so that I wouldnt need the mirror I use currently to keep an eye on my son (rear facing car seat).

I think just about all of the aftermarket units ship with remote mics that you can mount anywhere you want. I put a Sony in my wife's vehicle a while ago, and I mounted the mic for that one just below the instrument cluster, just above the steering column. The Onstar mic in a Gen 8 Impala is mounted behind a round plastic grille in the headliner. At least mine is. Some folks who have installed aftermarket head units have actually replaced their Onstar mics with the mics that were supplied with their units. I understand that not a lot of labor was involved, but I wanted to keep my Onstar mic in case of an emergency.

I'm pretty sure that all aftermarket head units also have ports for backup cameras these days. They're fairly easy to install, and worth the few extra bucks. If you look closely at the photo in my sig, you might be able to see mine centered just above my license plate.

Sorry, I can't help you with any Android Auto unit recommendations. I've been quite happy with my Rosen 1210, so I've never really researched anything else.

With respect to shopping around, I suggest you find the unit with the features you want on Crutchfield, because you'll get the straight scoop with regard to fitment from there. If you want to shop price afterward, you can always use a search engine like Google to see what other vendors are asking for the unit.




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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2019 Thread Starter
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I just wanted to report back. I ended up getting an Alpine ILX-W650 from Crutchfield. They actually had the best price when you include the install hardware. I also went with the PAC RP5-GM31 harness to keep the OnStar and Bluetooth (even though I dont intend on using them) because it was only ~$15-20 more for that harness than the one that just kept the steering wheel controls. It was super convenient to make most of the connections sitting at my kitchen table. I got the basics working but then found that you have to set the parking break to change some settings. After doing some research I ended up buying a break bypass from amazon for about $8. I should get that and the RCA cables today. I also purchased 2 backup cameras (the Alpine supports 2 inputs) and put one on the license plate then ran the cables through the factory grommet where the tail/license plate lights come into the car. I plan to use the other camera as a backseat monitor for my son (still rear facing, and this would save me from putting a mirror on the headrest to see him. I ran most of the cables just waiting on a few more parts and I should be able to finish the install soon.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2019
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Originally Posted by fletch8527 View Post
I just wanted to report back. I ended up getting an Alpine ILX-W650 from Crutchfield. They actually had the best price when you include the install hardware. I also went with the PAC RP5-GM31 harness to keep the OnStar and Bluetooth (even though I dont intend on using them) because it was only ~$15-20 more for that harness than the one that just kept the steering wheel controls. It was super convenient to make most of the connections sitting at my kitchen table. I got the basics working but then found that you have to set the parking break to change some settings. After doing some research I ended up buying a break bypass from amazon for about $8. I should get that and the RCA cables today. I also purchased 2 backup cameras (the Alpine supports 2 inputs) and put one on the license plate then ran the cables through the factory grommet where the tail/license plate lights come into the car. I plan to use the other camera as a backseat monitor for my son (still rear facing, and this would save me from putting a mirror on the headrest to see him. I ran most of the cables just waiting on a few more parts and I should be able to finish the install soon.
I don't think you really any sort of brake bypass box. You should be good if you just run the harness wire labeled "BRAKE" (usually pink or pink/black) to chassis ground. That's what I did, and all of my functions work all of the time, including video playback.



Also, I power my backup cam from an ignition-switched circuit at the connector in the passenger side foot well, so that works all the time, as well. It's handy to be able to put that view up on the screen when I'm in crowded traffic situations.


http://www.tazcobra.com/images/Impala/My%20Impala.jpg
2016 Impala Limited LTZ

Last edited by Tesla; 09-27-2019 at 09:03 AM. Reason: Photo added
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2019 Thread Starter
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I don't think you really any sort of brake bypass box. You should be good if you just run the harness wire labeled "BRAKE" (usually pink or pink/black) to chassis ground. That's what I did, and all of my functions work all of the time, including video playback.

Also, I power my backup cam from an ignition-switched circuit at the connector in the passenger side foot well, so that works all the time, as well. It's handy to be able to put that view up on the screen when I'm in crowded traffic situations.

I guess Alpine got smart and now the radio needs to see the circuit go to ground. I noticed this when I was updating the firmware. I set the break, got into the menu, the radio rebooted but I wasnt able to get back into the menus until I released the break then reset it. I was going to make my own bypass (its just a relay) but for $7.50 the one I bought would be cheaper and easier than making my own. I just hook one side to the amp signal wire from the radio and the other to the break wire. This way the amp wire tells the relay to close and that sends the break wire to ground.

As for the cameras I might just tie into the power coming from the battery to the aftermarket amp im installing for my 12" sub (the cameras are going to be really close to the amp anyways). But I didnt think about it till now that the cameras would be powered all the time. So I might just get a small relay and again use the amp signal wire to turn on the circuit for the cameras (I dont think the signal wire itself will be enough to power both cameras).
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I use the retained accessory power wire in my 2007 Impala to turn on two modest amplifiers, power my dash cam, and power a front camera and a rear camera. All devices come on and remain on when the car is powered up. My headunit is a Rosen GM1010. It's nice to have the rear cam or front cam turn on when selected from a menu.

I added the front cam, not because I really needed it, but because there was an extra input on the Rosen and it was easy to do. The camera bracket is duct taped to the bumper, behind the grill. The tape is not visible and it is a secure mount (this may not work with all cameras if the bracket is small.) The front camera is the same model as my rear cam and gives a wide view of the front. It is marginally useful.


When a vehicle appears inches from my bumper at a light or stop sign, I switch on the rear cam. Because it is situated front and center, the Rosen display can probably be seen by the driver behind me, especially if it is an SUV. When the rear cam is on the parking lines are displayed on the screen. It serves as a signal that I am monitoring or possibly recording them and at the next stop they always seem to add more distance.
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I use the retained accessory power wire in my 2007 Impala to turn on two modest amplifiers, power my dash cam, and power a front camera and a rear camera. All devices come on and remain on when the car is powered up. My headunit is a Rosen GM1010. It's nice to have the rear cam or front cam turn on when selected from a menu.
Did you get a harness to go with that radio? I looked over the wiring document for the PAC RP5-GM31 that I got but dont see a wire specifically for RAP. Would that be the red ACC wire? I was thinking about using the power for the amp just so I dont have to run the power wire for the cameras all the way up the the radio.
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Did you get a harness to go with that radio? I looked over the wiring document for the PAC RP5-GM31 that I got but dont see a wire specifically for RAP. Would that be the red ACC wire? I was thinking about using the power for the amp just so I dont have to run the power wire for the cameras all the way up the the radio.

The harness on the passenger side floor, near the kick panel provides a good source for Retained Accessory Power (RAP). Camera power can be pulled from there fairly easily, as shown below (heavy-gauge yellow wire with stripe).



As you can see in that photo, I'm pulling power from that RAP wire for two different devices, my rear view camera and a radar detector.

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Originally Posted by fletch8527 View Post
Did you get a harness to go with that radio? I looked over the wiring document for the PAC RP5-GM31 that I got but dont see a wire specifically for RAP. Would that be the red ACC wire? I was thinking about using the power for the amp just so I dont have to run the power wire for the cameras all the way up the the radio.
Yes, there is a power/connection harness, but it is a Rosen brand harness made for this model. The Rosens are unique in that they are completely plug and play and do not require an aftermarket adapter to retain chimes etc but they do need the correct Rosen harness. There are a number of threads about the Rosens on this forum. You can find these units on Ebay, if available.

Power is supplied to the RAP whenever the key is turned to Accessories On, or the car is started, and stays on until ignition off and the door is opened. You won't find a wire specifically labelled RAP on an aftermarket harness. The RAP is where you should connect your headunit for the power-on signal. Many tap into the RAP at the fuse box on the passenger side, that requires one of those flimsy but serviceable metal piece fuse inserts. Tesla's solution mentioned above to get the RAP from the harness is a better approach and you can make a more secure connection.

Last edited by Lettermark; 09-27-2019 at 10:06 PM.
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