Parts Needed
to install an after-market Head Unit

Applicable to:
2015 Subaru WRX / STi *
2014–2015 Subaru Forester *

* Car models whose OEM Head Units do not have OEM Subaru Navigation
and do have OEM harman/kardon speaker & amplifier system

For other Subaru models and trim levels, see the main 'Aftermarket HU Parts Needed' page

When you contact me, let me know you've seen this "Parts Needed" page (FW2014hk)

Applicable Models

Cars with the following factory-installed Head Units (radios) — find number printed on face:

CF235KH, CF435LH, CF535SH, CF646UH, CF735CH, CV639UH

If your car does not have the OEM harman/kardon amplifier and speaker system, see this alternate guide for cars without h/k.

If your car has a different HU, check my other 'parts needed' guides).  E-mail me if you can't find an appropriate guide or if you have one of the above HU models but do not have the h/k amp and speakers.

Power/Speaker Wiring Harness

All of the Subaru models covered by this guide use Subaru's 20-pin harness for the power and speaker connections to the HU.  You will need one of my 20-pin "forward" harnesses that includes the 3 SWC wires.

You'll need to solder or crimp my harness to your new HU's power/speaker harness, creating an adapter that is mostly "plug-and-play."  See my Subaru 20-pin HU installation guide.

Vehicle Speed Signal

On these models, the factory 20-pin power/speaker harness includes a wire on pin #19 which provides the Vehicle Speed Signal (VSS).  A few aftermarket navigation HUs can use this signal.  If your new HU needs it, I can include a corresponding wire on my harness for an additional $1.

Speaker Signals in Cars With harman/kardon System

WRX/STi and Forester models covered on this 'parts needed' page have a separate OEM harman/kardon amplifier and speaker system.  You can tell by the "harman/kardon" emblems on all of your car's speakers.  The amp, located under one of the front seats in Foresters or under the rear parcel shelf in WRX/STi, drives all of your main speakers and subwoofer.

If you swap in an aftermarket HU, your h/k amp will continue driving all of your car's speakers (including subwoofers).

It had been widely thought that the OEM HUs in these cars sent line-level (low level, un-amplified) signals to the h/k amp.  However, people have found that the HUs actually are still outputting high-level (amplified) signals — the HU could be connected directly to speakers.

On the the 2009 Legacy/Outback HU models P-206UHB and P-206UNB with the h/k amp, the manufacturer's label shows that the output impedance is 10,000 ohms (instead of the typical 4 or 8 ohms).  The OEM HUs in other car models with the h/k system may have the same characteristic.

While some people have connected their aftermarket HU's amplified speaker outputs to the h/k amp without any problems, others have reported excessive "hiss" and volume levels that were too high.  So I'm now recommending that people connect a HU's line level (low level, un-amplified) outputs to the h/k amp.

I offer a 20-pin harness with male RCA plugs instead of plain speaker wires (similar to Metra 70-7553, except with the added SWC wires).  Picture.  Price is $14, or $15 with the optional VSS lead.

On the other hand, if you would prefer to bypass the OEM h/k amp, I can supply "forward" harnesses to connect to the factory speaker harnesses that are currently plugged into the h/k amp.  E-mail me for more information.

Steering Wheel Interface Module

The SWC wires on my harness are only part of the solution — that saves you from needing to splice into factory wires.  However, most aftermarket HUs also require a steering wheel interface module — either the Axxess ASWC (by Metra), one of the various SWI-* models from PAC Audio (SWI-PS, SWI-JACK, etc.— different models depending on your new HU's brand), or iDatalink Maestro, etc.  More people prefer the ASWC.

Many Subaru owners have installed ASWCs and given rave reviews.  In most cases, it programs itself and is ready to go a few seconds after the first power up.  You can also manually program it if you want to reassign any buttons.  Installation is much easier than with the PAC modules.

I have the ASWCs available.  See this page: .

To install, you will need to solder (recommended) or crimp some of the interface module's wires to my 20-pin harness and your new HU's harness.  I can't pre-wire the harnesses for you, since you will need to combine with your new HU's harness.

Retain Factory Aux Jack

Your factory HU has a 16-pin socket on the rear for its stereo aux input.  A factory harness connects from the back of the HU to the back of the 3.5mm aux jack in your armrest center console.  That harness has proprietary plugs at both ends.  The harness only handles the aux socket — not USB.  See more information about USB below.

I make an aux adapter harness you can use to retain your factory aux jack with an aftermarket HU.  See this page: Subaru 16-pin aux harness.  The white 16-pin connector on my aux adapter fits the end of the factory aux harness that is (or was) plugged into the back of your factory-installed HU.  My aux harness retains the stereo aux jack only, not the USB socket.

Also see next section for an additional signal your car might have on the 16-pin aux harness that you may want.

Car models covered by this guide do not have any additional signals on the car's 16-pin harness (i.e., you do not have the parking brake or reverse gear signals there).

harman/kardon Amp Trigger on Aux Harness

In car models covered by this guide, the h/k amp remote trigger signal is pin #5 on the 16-pin aux harness.  If you are retaining the factory h/k amp, you must supply +12V to this pin for the amp to work.  See pictures in this thread by 'djwhetzel' on NASIOC.

I can add the h/k trigger wire to my aux harness for an additional $1.  Or I can supply a harness with just that one wire (no aux) for $10.

Retain Factory USB Socket

Your factory HU has a socket on the rear for its USB input.  A factory harness connects from there to the back of the USB socket in your armrest center console.  That harness has proprietary plugs at both ends.  The harness only handles the USB socket — not aux.

2014–2015 Forester and 2015 WRX/STi models require a Toyota USB adapter (Metra AX-TOYUSB or PAC Audio USB-TY1).  I have the Metra AX-TOYUSB available for $12.  See this page: Toyota USB adapter.

Toyota USB Retention Adapter
(click thumbnail to see larger image)

The socket on the USB adapter fits the end of the factory USB harness that is (or was) plugged into the back of your factory-installed HU.  Opposite end is a standard male USB "A" plug (which you'll plug into your new HU's rear USB input).  Length of the cable is ~6.75" (170 mm) between the two connectors.

Before Ordering Aux and/or USB Adapters

Study the connection diagrams in your new HU's installation manuals.  With the cables and interface adapters required for some phones or iPods, it's sometimes not practical to retain your car's factory aux or USB sockets (due to the physical layout of all the pieces).

Older iPods sometimes use an interface cable which splits out into two plugs at the rear of the HU — one to plug into a USB socket and the other into an A/V aux input (4-pole style, with both audio and video).  Your car's factory 3.5mm aux jack supports stereo audio only — it will not support video for an iPod video cable.  So if you plan to use that kind of iPod cable, you may not want my aux harness.  See this post for pictures and more information.

Also note: older Pioneer AppRadio models SPH-DA01, SPH-DA02, SPH-DA100, and SPH-DA210 do not have any aux inputs!  The newer AppRadio 4 (SPH-DA120) does have an aux input (finally!).  I'm not referring to other recent Pioneer models with AppRadio mode.

If you're in doubt, check your HU's installation manual to see whether yours has any rear aux inputs.

Retain OEM Subwoofer

If your car has the rectangular-shaped OEM accessory subwoofer under either of the front seats, similar to this:

Subaru OEM under-seat subwoofer
(click thumbnail to see larger image)

...or one of the OEM accessory subwoofers made by Kicker (in the trunk or rear cargo area), those types of subs will work with an after-market HU without any modifications or special wiring needed.  All of those subs have a T-harness which taps power, ground, and the front speaker outputs from the radio's power/speaker harness.  See this post for details (post #4 in my 'Subaru stock HU Info' thread on NASIOC).

Can't Retain OEM Microphone

For the Bluetooth phone feature, your car has a factory microphone hidden behind the map light cluster.  The mic is in a small module with an amplifier circuit (see this thread).  The module's audio output is not like an aftermarket HU's mic.  Nobody has documented a good way to interface the OEM mic to an aftermarket HU.  See this thread for one attempt.  Unless you're especially skilled at analog electronic circuit design, you should plan to use the mic that comes with your new HU.

Multi-Function Display (MFD)

Recent models with the new dash design have a Multi-Function Display (MFD) at the top of the dash, above the head unit and A/C vents.

On some models, the MFD displays information from the HU (audio source, radio station, artist, song title, etc.).  When you switch to an aftermarket HU, you will loose that feature, since it requires a proprietary data interface (which no aftermarket HU has or is likely to have).  However, all other (non-radio) data screens on the MFD will continue working as before.

Some models have an OEM camera shown on the MFD.  When you switch to an aftermarket HU, your MFD will continue to display the OEM camera (no changes or modifications necessary).  If you would prefer to have the OEM camera redirected to your new HU instead of the MFD, see next section.

When you install your new HU, you must disconnect power from the MFD for more than 30 seconds, to make the MFD "forget" it had ever seen your factory HU (otherwise the MFD will complain that the OEM HU is missing).  See the MFD section of my installation instructions for details.

Redirect OEM Camera from MFD to Aftermarket HU

If your car has a factory-fitted rear view camera, that will be displayed on your car's Multi-Function Display.

Although I have made harnesses for a few people to re-direct the OEM camera to an aftermarket HU, I have suspended offering those until I can do some additional hands-on testing.  If you would like to be notified when I resume offering those, let me know.  I do not have any ETA.

Note that the 8- and 16-pin camera harnesses currently listed in my 'Products' pages (to connect an aftermarket camera into certain OEM HUs) are not applicable to any models covered on this guide.

If your car has a rear camera being displayed in the mirror, I don't have any plans to offer a harness to re-direct that to an aftermarket HU.

Dash Kit

The factory HUs in all 2008–up Impreza/WRX/STi, 2009–up Forester, and Crosstreks have a face that is non-standard size (8" wide instead of the standard DIN 7").  You'll need a dash kit to fill the gap or which has a smaller DIN-sized opening.

2014–2015 Forester and 2015 WRX/STi models have a new dash design (same as in 2012–2014 Impreza and Crosstrek) which requires different dash kits than the previous 2008–up models.

I don't carry any dash kits, but have listed options and more information here.

Parking Brake Bypass

Most aftermarket HUs with video capability have a system to block viewing video (and often also some menu functions) while your car is moving.  Most do this by requiring you connect a lead to your car's parking brake signal.  Some HU models also require connecting to your car's foot brake signal.  Some also use GPS.

In Subaru models covered by this page, the parking brake and foot brake signals are not available on any of the car's radio harnesses.  You would have to locate and tap into factory wires elsewhere (near the brake lever and/or behind the dash).

On most aftermarket HUs, there are ways to avert having to connect to your car's parking and foot brake signals.  On some, it's as simple as connecting the HU's parking brake input lead to ground.  That trick works on most Kenwood models, some recent JVCs, Parrot Asteroid Smart, most Chinese (no brand) HUs, and many HUs intended for markets outside North America.  Google "parking brake bypass" with your new HU's model number to find options.

With one exception, I do not offer any parking brake bypass devices for aftermarket HUs.

The one method I do have is only for older Pioneer AVIC X and Z models.  See this page: Pioneer AVIC parking brake bypass wire.

My AVIC bypass wire does not fit any of the new AVIC NEX models, nor any of the old models (AVIC-D3, -Z2, -FxxxBT, -UxxxBT, etc.).  For all of these other AVIC models, see the forums at  A software-only hack was found for the NEX navigation models (and it's been confirmed that you don't even need to connect the HU's parking brake lead).

I do not have parking brake bypass devices for any other aftermarket HU models (including Pioneer models starting with AVH-...).  Search on eBay or Amazon.  Be sure that you choose a device that is advertised to work with your specific HU model.  The smaller, solid-state type devices are much better than a huge 30 Amp automotive relay.

AM/FM Antenna Adapter

Most recent Subaru HUs have a standard Motorola antenna socket on the back, and the car already has an OEM antenna adapter (to convert from Subaru's proprietary antenna plug to a male Motorola antenna plug).

Cars with the OEM HU model numbers listed above (in the section Applicable Models) definitely have the OEM Motorola adapter and do not need an aftermarket antenna adapter.

If your Subaru's OEM HU is not one of the above models, you may be on the wrong 'parts needed' page for your car.  Otherwise, please tell me your OEM HU's model number (printed on the front) so I can verify whether you'll need an antenna adapter.

Retain OEM Sirius/XM Antenna

If your OEM HU has built-in Sirius/XM capability, your rooftop antenna includes a satellite radio antenna in the base.  You can retain that antenna with an aftermarket Sirius/XM tuner module by making an easy modification to the sat radio antenna connector (that was plugged into the back of your OEM HU).  See my installation instructions for details.

If your OEM HU does not have built-in sat radio capability, your rooftop antenna does not include the sat radio portion.  You would need to use the antenna that comes with your aftermarket Sirius/XM receiver, or research retrofitting the OEM rooftop antenna.

To Place Your Order

See this page for shipping and payment options.  Let me know if you have any questions.  When you're ready to place your order (or for an itemized quote with shipping), please send the information requested on that page, in the section "To place an order".

Remember to mention you've seen this "2014FW Parts Needed" page.

© Copyright 2014–2015 by David Carter.  All rights reserved.