Parts Needed
to install an after-market Head Unit

Applicable to:
2012–2014 Subaru Legacy / Liberty / Outback *

* Cars with OEM Head Unit model CE617U1 and similar — see list below

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.

Applicable Head Unit Models

This page applies to Legacy/Liberty and Outback models with the following factory non-navigation head units:


See pictures in this post on  There may be similar HU models in other countries outside North America.  Model number is printed on the front of the HU, usually in the lower-right corner.

Power/Speaker Wiring Harness

All of the above models use Subaru's 20-pin harness for the power and speaker connections to the head unit (radio).  You will need my 20-pin "forward" harness with SWC wires ($12,  link).

Important: Be sure you tell me your OEM HU model number.  Your car's steering wheel phone/Bluetooth buttons are wired to pin #13 on the 20-pin harness (unlike some other 2010–2012 Legacy/Liberty/Outback models with OEM HUs made by Pioneer, where the BT buttons connect to pin #11).

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.

The models covered on this 'parts needed' page do not have the Vehicle Speed Signal (VSS) on the 20-pin harness (or any of the other factory radio harnesses).  If your new HU needs that signal, see my installation guide for where to find the factory wire to tap.

Steering Wheel Interface Module

If your car has audio SWC buttons (or you add them), 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), 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 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.

Note: Legacy and Outback models with the OEM HU CD617U1 do not have the parking brake, reverse gear, or line-level subwoofer audio signals on the 16-pin aux harness.

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.

I have a plug-and-play Subaru USB adapter cable you can use to retain your factory USB socket with an aftermarket HU.  See this page: Subaru USB adapter.  Price is $12.

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

The Hirose-style socket on my 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" (147 mm) between the two connectors.  That differs from Metra's AX-SUBUSB (which is ~19" or 480 mm).  Using shorter cables helps to provide more 5V current to your USB device.

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 (or the IS335 cable kit).  See this post for pictures and more information.

Also note: Pioneer AppRadio models SPH-DA01, SPH-DA02, SPH-DA100, and SPH-DA210 do not have any aux inputs!  The new 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 rear subwoofers made by Kicker, 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

With the HU models that have built-in Bluetooth for phone calls, the 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.  Unless you're especially skilled at analog electronic circuit design, you should plan to use the mic that comes with your new HU.

Dash Kit

The factory HUs in all 2010–up Legacy/Liberty/Outback models have a face that is non-standard size and shape.  You'll need a dash kit which provides a standard single- or double-DIN sized opening.  I don't carry any, but have listed options and more information here.

AVIC Parking Brake Bypass

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 (AVICD3, 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).

On most Kenwoods, some recent JVCs, Parrot Asteroid Smart, most Chinese HUs, and perhaps all HUs designated for markets outside North America, you can simply connect the HU's parking brake lead to chassis ground.

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.

Antenna Adapter

2012–up Legacys and Outbacks with the CE617U1 HU require a long Subaru antenna adapter for an aftermarket HU to reach the car's antenna plug.  See my post here.

I have 18" (~45 cm) Subaru antenna adapters (equivalent to the Metra 40-SB10-18) available for $8.

Cars with the CE617U1 actually have an OEM antenna adapter which converts from the Subaru-style antenna plug (near the floor) to a round Nissan-style antenna connector on the back of the OEM HU.  You could instead use a corresponding Nissan antenna adapter (Metra 40-NI11, Scosche NDAB, or similar) to convert from the end of the OEM adapter at the rear of the HU.  I have those antenna adapters available as well (also $8).  However, I recommend going with the long Subaru style, to minimize the number of antenna adapters.

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, please send the information requested on that page (in the section "To place an order").

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

© Copyright 2014 by David Carter.  All rights reserved.