Ford Transit DIY Aftermarket Radio Installation (Pioneer Android/CarPlay)

Ford-Transit-Radio-Upgrade-Metra-Dash-Kit-99-5832G-(HEADING)

Ford Transit DIY Aftermarket Radio Installation (Pioneer Android/CarPlay)

The Ford Transit can be upgraded with an aftermarket radio and we’ll show you how in the following article. We went from the basic Ford factory AM/FM radio to the Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX 6.94″ TouchScreen Multimedia Receiver: it has Android Auto & Apple CarPlay (wireless or USB), backup camera ready, DVD receiver, Bluetooth, SiriuxXM, etc. Sweet upgrade. Let’s get to work and get done with the installation!

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Time Spent

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Total Cost

$ 0 USD

Prerequisite

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Material

ItemDescriptionQuantityLink
Pioneer AVH-W4500NEXFlagship In-Dash Multimedia Receiver with 6.94″ WVGA Clear Resistive Touchscreen Display (Android Auto, CarPlay, DVD, etc.)1Amazon
Metra Dash Kit 99-5832GSingle/Double Din Dash Combo Kit for Ford Transit 2015-Up (includes wiring harness)1Amazon
Dual USB Flush Mount PanelFor Android Auto, Apple CarPlay & USB Stick Playback1Amazon

Part A: Dash Kit Installation (Metra 99-5832G )

(NOTE: the Metra Dash Kit includes comprehensive instructions, but here is our take on it!)

Metra 99-5832G Ford Transit Dash Kit

1- Unclip the dash panel above the radio:

There are no screws; just use a plastic scraper to pull UP.

Voilà!

2- Remove these two torks screws:

3- Unclip the factory trim panel:

4- Unplug the airbag & hazard cables from the factory trim panel:

5- Unplug the right & left vents from the factory trim panel and keep for re-installation:

Remove one screw per side, then unclip the left & right vents. (edit: that’s the picture of the new Metra panel, but the factory panel is pretty much the same thing…)

6- Unplug the airbag & hazard panels and keep for re-installation:

7- Install the left & right vents to the new Metra Panel:

Use the screws provided in the kit.

8- Snap the airbag & hazard into the new Metra panel:

9- Install the 4 plastic panel clips (included in the kit) to the new Metra dash panel:

That's the white thingy in the picture below.

10- Install the 12 metal panel clips to the top Metra dash panel:

There are different types, follow the Metra instructions!

11- Now, trim the plastic brackets below:

A carpenter knife will do just fine.

After:

12- Install the left & right radio brackets to the head unit:

This step is iterative... Install the bracket where you think make sense, then install the front dash panel to see if the head unit fit nicely into the cutout. Probably not, so make small adjustment to the bracket and check again. Repeat this until you're satisfied with the location of the radio!

13- The radio is secured with 4 screws:

14- Install the Metra dash panels in place:

There are no screws, it just snaps there.

We did it!!

... Huh wait; no we didn't... we still have to wire the radio... Keep reading!

Part B: Wiring the new radio

Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX

The radio and the vehicle have a bunch of wires… The idea is to connect the radio wires to the vehicle wires in a specific way. For example, we must match the front-left speaker wire of the radio to the front-left speaker wire of the vehicle. To guide us, each wire has a unique color. Use the following table to make the appropriate connections:

ITEMAVH-W4500NEX COLORMETRA HARNESS COLOR
GROUNDBLACKBLACK
BATTERY CONSTANT POWERYELLOWYELLOW
SWITCHED POWER (ACC)REDPINK
ILLUMINATIONORANGE/WHITEORANGE
PARKING BRAKELIGHT GREENN/A*
FRONT-LEFT SPEAKER (-)WHITE/BLACKWHITE/BLACK
FRONT-LEFT SPEAKER (+)WHITEWHITE
FRONT-RIGHT SPEAKER (-)GREY/BLACKGREY/BLACK
FRONT-RIGHT SPEAKER (+)GREYGREY
REAR-LEFT SPEAKER (-)GREEN/BLACKGREEN/BLACK
REAR-LEFT SPEAKER (+)GREENGREEN
REAR-RIGHT SPEAKER (-)VIOLET/BLACKVIOLET/BLACK
RIGHT-RIGHT SPEAKER (+)VIOLETVIOLET

*Pioneer radios won’t let you watch movies (and disable some settings) if the parking brake is not engaged, for obvious safety reasons. To enable the watch-drive-and-die feature (and enable all settings), this microbypass can be installed: amzn.to/35xugJg. How to install the microbypass: youtu.be/__3IF9LWBCA

To connect the wires from the Metra kit to the radio, use crimp caps:

Part C: Dual USB Flush-Mount Panel Installation

Dual USB Flush Mount Panel

The Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX radio has 2 UBS ports that allow Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or read from a USB stick. So we bought a USB flush mount from Amazon (Buy on Amazon) and installed it as follows:

1- Remove the blank USB factory panel:

Use a plastic scraper to pry it off. Disconnect the AUX jack.

2- Trim the plug at the back of the USB port:

Before:

After:

3- Make a cutout for the USB mount (it's approximately 1" diameter). Then install and secure it to the panel using the provided plastic nut:

4- Route the USB cables from the USB mount to the radio:

It's tight in there. We had to remove some plastic parts and use lot's of patience and dexterity. Good luck!

We made it! Now plug the USB cables into the radio.

That's it! good work...

Ford-Transit-Radio-Upgrade-Metra-Dash-Kit-99-5832G

...But there is still room for improvement:

Ford Transit Front Speakers Upgrade

Sketchy Clock

Ford Transit Hack: Add Speakers to the Headliner

On Second Thought...

FORD TRANSIT METRA DASH KIT: Nothing to say here. We really dig it, it looks just like a factory install!

 

FIRST RADIO UPGRADE (2017): JOYING ANDROID HEAD UNIT:

We first installed a Joying Android radio and used it for two years. It’s a “cheap Chinese” product so it worked OK 80%, but the 20% worked more-or-less:

  • The bluetooth disconnected every 20 seconds or so (which made calls or streaming music almost impossible).
  • The GPS quit working after about an hour (which made Google Maps pretty much unusable).
  • The touchscreen worked REALLY WELL, but the interface lagged a lot.
  • And other minors bugs.

After two years, the defects grew on us and we finally decided to upgrade. Once again, this proves buying cheap chinese products is just not worth it in the long run…

 

SECOND RADIO UPGRADE (2019): PIONEER AVH-W4500NEX

We installed this radio in December 2019, so it’s still too soon for a review. At first glance, it is definitely a NICE UPGRADE:

  • All the features work as they should (as expected from a high-end device).
  • It took us some time to get used to Android Auto, but we’re really starting to LOVE THIS! The interface is streamlined to minimize distraction, without loosing too much features. Google Maps & Spotify is what we use the most and it’s perfectly integrated into Android Auto!
  • There are many audio settings to fine-tune the sound to match our setup / our taste, that’s an improvement from the Joying unit.
  • So far we’re VERY HAPPY with it 🙂

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about us

Nice To Meet You.

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

26 thoughts on “Ford Transit DIY Aftermarket Radio Installation (Pioneer Android/CarPlay)”

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NOTE: We can't possibly read/answer all the comments anymore, due to high volume (wow!) and the built-in SPAM filter. If you wish to contact us directly, please use the contact form available in "My Account" (faroutride.com/account).
Thanks for your comprehension and your support, you're awesome! See you on the road.

- Your hosts, Isabelle and Antoine.
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  1. I have seen others adding 10inch screens. The issue I have with the smaller screen is glare. Most the time so much glare with smaller screen cant see anuthing.

    Reply
  2. Hi Faroutride! I’m thinking about to replace the am/fm factory unit by an OEM cd player/bluetooth unit. Do you thing that the factory harness are already for all OEM radio option? You saw the factory harness and connectors so, by memory, is there any unused connections? (for steering control or backup camera for example) Thanks for you nice reference site.

    Reply
  3. How did you get the backup camera to show up on the head unit as that factory setup only has it come through the rear view mirror?

    Reply
      • I actually managed to pull it off today. I spliced into the rear view mirror wires and cut the end off an old RCA cable and it worked great! Now I’m getting reverse on both mirror and the radio. One big issue I’m having is the metra clips don’t seat/re retain properly at all and the dash won’t stay in place. Really at a loss for what’s going on but it seems you didn’t have this problem as me and some other Amazon reviewers did

        Reply
  4. Hello! We are in the process of converting our radio on our transit. Did your radio controls on your steering wheel still work after the upgrade? Been following your website and have been beyond impressed! Thank you!

    Reply
  5. So I have a question about the metra panel… does the radio screen in your opinion sit back far enough to be blocked by the vent from the drivers point of view?

    Reply
  6. We bought this same unit for our van. Are you still having the Bluetooth dropping out issues? I was having the same problem and performed the most recent upgrade on the joying web site which is supposed to fix this issue, however now I’m still having the Bluetooth issues and I’m also no longer cable to connect phone through USB. So I’d advise not upgrading software if your considering.

    Reply
    • Thanks for letting us know about the update; we haven’t perform it and will most likely not!

      We’re still having the issue, so we don’t really use the Bluetooth anymore… we might upgrade to a more high-end unit at some point.

      Reply
  7. Can you elaborate at all on how you routed the USB cables (specifically, what plastic you had to cut out)? I’m having a heck of a time trying to figure it out. 🙂

    Reply
    • Oh boy, it’s been a while… the plastic just behind the dash console. Cause the radius is too tight to pass the rigid part of the USB cable. Sorry, no pic.
      I remember you have to get angry at some point, then it works.

      Good luck!!

      Reply
  8. Hello Antoine, your site is amazing and inspiring. Thank you for so thoroughly documenting your planning decisions, choices and costs. I will be purchasing a 2016 Transit HR in a few days. I really like this radio unit but I’m concerned about the Bluetooth not working consistently. Have you tried installing a firmware update? Is there one available?

    Reply
    • I would only recommend this radio if:
      – Spending over 800-1000$ for a good brand is out of question
      – You don’t mind issues like Bluetooth disconnect and Google Map not working randomly…

      It’s a cheap unit, not a great unit.

      We haven’t tried to upgrade the firmware; the instructions are half Chinese / half mumbling and the video shows that the unit was super slow after the upgrade! Nothing to inspire confidence…

      Reply
    • We haven’t tried it and like we mentioned in the “Second Thought” section, our Bluetooth disconnect every 10 minutes so we don’t really use the Bluetooth.

      Cheers!

      Reply
  9. So you’re… on the road now? And your first blog post is… replacing your radio?

    This lifestyle may not be for you. Then again if you have enough money to slowly turn your van into a moving apartment (but where will you fit the treadmill?) best of luck to you.

    Reply
    • Hi Declane,
      You can’t really understand who we are and our situation just by a few blog posts and some instagram shots. It’s more complicated than that. So far we’ve biked, camped at a lake a few days, traveled through the province; but we didn’t blog about it because we don’t have to if we don’t feel like it. We needed to unplugged a bit.

      We had to leave our house by august 15th (sold) but we haven’t exactly finish the van conversion. So here we are visiting friends, family, finishing the van while we live in it. We plan on crossing USA border by august 3rd: this will mark the “real” beginning of our journey.

      This website generates some revenue by referring products that we installed and tested in our van. More products = more revenue = more time on the road! How neat is that??!!

      So, Declane, the internet might not be for you. It’s complicated.
      Anyway, cheers mate!!!

      Reply

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