Android Head Unit Install on 5th Gen 4Runner

 In 5th Gen Mods, Accessories, Install

Android Head Unit on 5th Gen 4Runner

HOW TO INSTALL THE T8 ANDROID HEAD UNIT INTO A SR5P – 5TH GEN 4RUNNER

This is a step-by-step process to install the new T8 Android head unit into a 2018 SR5 Premium. The head unit boasts a beautiful 9” display and was developed by CarTrimHome, the Chinese manufacturer who also introduced the TRD Pro Replica grills to the 4R community.

When I came across the unit, I knew I had to have it.

I, like many others, have had constant issues with the OEM Entune system, from constant freezing or delays to outright crashing multiple times a week.

Here is what I’ve found Since Owning:

PROs:

  • Less than $500 with the current promotion
  • 100% plug-and-play solution
  • Apple CarPlay compatible
  • No need to cut or trim any part of the dash
  • 2 year warranty
  • No more Entune!

CONs:

  • 2 GB of RAM (4 would have been ideal)
  • Apple CarPlay is not wireless (requires the dongle, also sold by the manufacturer)
  • Not a well-known company (like Kenwood, Alpine, etc.)
  • No XM capabilities
  • Screen glare (can purchase a generic 9” anti-glare film from Amazon)

PARTS USED:

  • T8 Android 9” head unit: Check Price
  • Car trim removal pieces (included with head unit kit)
  • Harnesses (included with head unit kit)
  • 10 MM Socket
  • Screwdriver

STEP 1: REMOVE THE TRIM PIECES SURROUNDING THE OEM UNIT

Dash Install 4Runner - Step 1

Removing the trim pieces is straight forward. The majority of the center console removal is a series of clips that must be unsnapped. We’ll start with the left and right trim pieces towards the bottom of the console.

Each side is held in by 5 clips. Grip the trim piece along the top and bottom with your hands and pull straight towards you to remove.

Next, insert your plastic trim removal tool below the lower lip of the A/C control unit then use a twist motion to unhook the bottom clips holding it in. Pull the unit towards you and upwards to release the top clips located on each side.

Dash Install 4Runner - Plastic Trim Tool

Once the clips are removed, unhook the single connection (green circle below) using the ‘pinch-and-pull’ method.

Using your 10 MM socket, remove the 4 bolts. After this step, you should be able to gently pull the OEM unit towards you.

Bolts in Dash

DO NOT PULL IT OUT FORCEFULLY – there are a number of connections on the back.

STEP 2: UNHOOK CONNECTIONS FROM THE BACK OF THE OEM UNIT

Remove all connections from the back of the OEM unit using the ‘pinch-and-pull’ method. You don’t need to worry about what goes where since the new Android unit is plug-and-play and no two connections are the same size.

Remove Entune on 4Runner

Bye bye, Entune!

STEP 3: TRANSFER OVER A/C VENTS AND HAZARD LIGHT SWITCH

Move A/C Vents and hazard light switch

We’ll need to move over the two A/C vents and the hazard light switch from the OEM unit to the new Android unit. The A/C vents are held in by 4 clips – one on each side. I found it easiest to insert a small flathead screwdriver behind each clip, working my way in a clockwise pattern until each clip was unhooked, and then pulling the vent straight up. Repeat the same process on the other side. The vents will snap right into the new unit and lock into place.

To remove the hazard light switch, you’ll need to remove the screw located on the OEM bracket. Then, wiggle the switch out through the front of the OEM unit and into the Android unit.

STEP 4: PLUG IN CONNECTIONS TO THE BACK OF THE ANDROID UNIT

Believe it or not, the hardest part is done. Using the visual diagram on the top of the new Android unit for reference, we’ll plug in a few connections:

  1. Connect the GPS cable to the bottom left of the unit
  2. Connect the WiFi dongle to the top left of the unit
  3. Connect the two ‘Camera’ cables to the first two ports on the unit (one on top of the other)
  4. Connect the ‘CD In L’ and ‘CD In R’ cables (they’re labeled) into the second and third ports of the center row
  5. Plug in the other two connections in the middle and bottom right of the unit

Your connections should look similar to mine unless you have a subwoofer – you’ll have something plugged into one of the other ports according to the diagram on top of the back of the unit.

As you can see from the pictures, I didn’t have anything plugged into the 3rd / last row of the unit.

You’ll know you are done with all the connections when nothing from the new unit remains to be connected.

STEP 5: CONNECT OEM CABLES TO THE BACK OF THE NEW UNIT

Connecting the New Dash Unit

We’re ready to connect the OEM cables to the new unit. As I mentioned previously, the good news is no two connections are the same size, so it really is just a matter of connecting two similar pieces until you hear them snap. You should not have to use any force during this step.

I was worried because I had two OEM connections that didn’t have a home. One was for the factory GPS, the insulated cable that runs down from the top of the center console. The other was for XM radio, which the new unit does not support.

STEP 6: VALIDATE YOUR CONNECTIONS THEN TUCK WIRES BACK AND REASSEMBLE THE CENTER CONSOLE

Once everything is plugged in, gently tuck all the wiring back into the dashboard, but do not snap the new unit into place yet. I recommend turning on the 4R and ensuring everything powers up as it should. I validated the following:

  1. Unit has power and turns on.
  2. The radio works and I can listen to local stations.
  3. WiFi works, if available where you’re doing the install.
  4. The backup camera works when I shift into R.

Once everything looked good, I turned the 4R off then snapped the Android unit into its new home.

Reinstall the appropriate trim pieces starting with the A/C control unit – don’t forget to connect power to the back of the unit.

Once it snaps into place, install the left and right trim pieces.

That’s all she wrote!

FINAL

Android Head Unit on 5th Gen 4Runner

Now, you can access the Google Play store and download all the apps your heart desires.

Please remember that although this unit allows for a lot more flexibility than Entune, that you should still exercise caution when driving.

Just because you can watch YouTube or other videos doesn’t mean you should. #endPSA

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Showing 37 comments
  • Carlo
    Reply

    This is great! Hopefully we will see soon other companies releasing new models.
    I wish there was an option to have black dashboard instead of silver though.

    • atul
      Reply

      Glad you like it. The company does have a black version. It is not shiny like the interior from the TRD Pro – it’s matte black.

      I agree though. Maybe this will push more companies to release equally competitive solutions for the 4R community.

      • Carlo
        Reply

        You are right! I missed that, thanks.
        Also, in the options I see a ‘driving recorder’. Do you know what it is for?
        And did you try to use CarPlay as well?
        Thanks

        • Atul
          Reply

          I believe the car recorder is just a camera the manufacturer introduced, but I don’t have it nor did I buy the CarPlay dongle. I’m just using my phone via BT and use it as a hotspot for the unit when I need data.

          I’m working on a post one week install review of the unit where I’ll talk about what I’ve learned since installing it. Stay tuned.

  • Rob
    Reply

    Looks fantastic! Since you can access the Play store, couldn’t you DL the XM app and stream music thru it?

    • Atul
      Reply

      I was told that this was an option but since I use Pandora (free version) instead of XM, I cannot validate the functionality without being able to login to XM once the app is downloaded.

  • Shwell
    Reply

    Great write up. Been keeping an eye out on feedback for this unit. Very interested.

  • Kerbs
    Reply

    Does the head unit have an auxiliary in that that you could hard wire an external XM receiver? Thanks

    • Atul
      Reply

      If you visit the manufacturer site and scroll to the 3rd to last pic, you can see all the available inputs.

  • David Callaway
    Reply

    Has anyone did any serious research/digging into firmware/software? Secure? No surprises? Just don’t use billing info or logins?

    • Atul
      Reply

      It’s funny you ask that. I haven’t done any deep digging into the unit (I’m an Apple fanatic vs Android) and don’t plan to. I’m just playing it safe and not logging into anything sensitive (home alarm system, smart home apps, etc).

      • David Callaway
        Reply

        Did you swap the brackets from the side of the factory HU before install for OEM mounting or just snap it in as is after connections? I’m installing on a 2019 TRD Off Road and seeing only small differences (Had to swap over the vent control labels via 2 #00 phillips; looks like my vent clips were a little different but still fit fine; hazard switch is a little sticky since fit isn’t very tight but seems operable and given how little I use them not a concern. I may be pausing my install for a bit though to see if I can splice in the factory GPS and Mic since kinda silly to have both….btw if anyone is knowledgeable on whether I can just cut the factory GPS line and splice in the after market connecter please let me know. Looks like just a standard *coax but since I can’t disassemble/unpin the aftermarket like I can the factory I’m a little wary. Plus just glancing AM Mic is 2pole 8.5mm which don’t see anything clear on OEM wiring

        • David Callaway
          Reply

          nvm re: brackets….they don’t fit

          • Atul Bhandari

            Correct, sorry for the delay. The brackets from the side of the OEM unit do not need to be installed with the new unit. The only thing you need to transfer over are the two vents and hazard light switch. I didn’t tackle any splicing to use the OEM mic/GPS – it was much easier to just use the new GPS, personally. I know some folks just used the 3M tape to secure the GPS to the top of the unit (behind the dash) so it’s functional but out of view. I just opted to secure it near the clock – it’s not an eyesore for me.

          • David Callaway

            Yeah, I figured out the OEM GPS just sits on a little tray behind the clock under the dash. I just used a flat head to lift off the clips and a hook pic to pull it out and swap the antennas. I did also have to move a couple other little bits like the Open/Close vent indicators next to the vent wheels and the tray on the top with a few #00 phillips….now I just need to figure out why my backup camera isn’t working.
            I got pictures of the GPS tray if you want.

            This head unit is pretty awesome though. Going to be spending waay too much time customizing but I do that with my phones too. Thanks for this writeup and getting me started on this. Entune was the only thing that bothered me about this vehicle. Too used to a bypassed brake switch on my last truck

          • Peter Shaw

            Could you send the pictures of the GPS antenna swap? Will probably do the same on mine…

          • David Callaway

            So not sure how to add pics…maybe Brennan or Atul can pull these and put somewhere better…and I’m not just giving access to my whole drive. Try this: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1cTY0fcK6WO_UKkbR_vu–INhUQGt4epX?usp=sharing

          • Brenan - Trail4R

            We are in the process of adding a media upload within comments. Should have it done this week or next.

          • Peter

            Thanks, David! Looks rather straightforward. Let us know if the 3m tape holds up after the summer…

  • Wes
    Reply

    So I freaking love this headunit. It’s the best looking one I’ve seen ever for 4runners.

    The only negative is the RAM, 2GB is, in my opinion, not enough to run the apps on here. 4GB is standard today, but my guess that this unit is older and therefore the processor is older as well too.

    I would really really love a review of this unit on YouTube. That would be another deciding factor for me.

    • Atul
      Reply

      I’m working on a written review for the site and hope to have something by tomorrow or Thursday. I did post a few clips of the new unit in action on my IG if you want to see how it looks. @that_white5thgen4r

  • ChrisB
    Reply

    This is great and I can’t wait for your post install review! My questions (yes, some are as obvious as they seem).
    1. This will integrate and use the backup cam by simply plugging in?
    2. This eliminates the CD player? (No, I don’t use it just being sure I understand.)
    3. Does the ODBC tool add on require a monthly service to then use? I’ve seen that most appear to need some sort of service to have any value.
    4. I see where you said the inputs list was given, but between the car-play adapter and the truck’s current auxiliary input, can they play together? I mainly would want to be able to use the existing plugs on the dash and not have a new set of wires hanging out somewhere in order to leverage them.

    • Atul Bhandari
      Reply

      Hey ChrisB. I submitted a one week follow up to Brenan yesterday that has a number of these questions answered, but I’ve answered again below.

      1. Yes, the OEM camera will be plug and play.
      2. This does not allow for CDs.
      3. I think once you have the ODBII reader, you can download an app from Google Play to view the data. There may be some free versions, but I would expect something common like ‘Torque’ to have a fee.
      4. Are you asking if the existing AUX/USB down towards the bottom of the center console still work with the new unit? Honestly, I haven’t tried that. I live off my iPhone and Bluetooth and haven’t ever used the OEM plugs. I’ll give it a shot later today or this weekend and follow back up.

      • Chris B
        Reply

        Thanks Atul. I would most likely blue tooth it myself, but if CarPlay requires a connection, I want to be sure that three are no new/additional cables hanging somewhere. Will keep an eye out for your review.

  • Chris
    Reply

    Where did you end up mounting the external mic if you used it? I ordered my unit this week, and I’m debating on where to put it. I like a clean install that looks OEM. I imagine the cable length is the determining factor in where it can go. Install looks good!

    • Atul Bhandari
      Reply

      Hey Chris, I didn’t end up using an external mic, but if the length allows for it, I would personally place it at the top of the head unit, near where the clock resides on the 5th gen. That’s where I currently have the GPS device sitting. There is enough room to slip the wire through the top without it being an eyesore.

  • Grant
    Reply

    I know this says 5th gen – but i have a 2010 limited with the JBL audio. However, it looks slightly different than the 2014+. Do you know if this will also work for the 10-13 folks?

    • Atul Bhandari
      Reply

      I don’t think it would. To be sure, I’d recommend reaching out to CarTrim directly to confirm.

  • Scott
    Reply

    Atul – Thank you very much for posting this information and I have a few questions!
    1.) How is the sound quality compared to the stock Entune system?
    2.) I have an Android phone and wanted to know if this will work wirelessly without connecting to my phone with a hard-wired adapter? And, if I decide to use Android Auto for whatever reason? Basically, do I need a hard-wired adapter as I am trying to stay away from having to plug in and unplug my phone every time I get in an out of the vehicle? I do know the a adapter is required for iPhone and Carplay, but was hoping this was not the case for Android.
    3.) I know you have pictures of the back of the unit, but was wondering if this would work with the “OEM AUDIO PLUS” plus system that Frank just reviewed on March 16, 2018?

    Any thoughts were be greatly appreciated!

    • Atul Bhandari
      Reply

      Hey Scott,

      1) Unless you’re an audio hound, the sound quality is comparable to OEM. I noticed a small difference, but my passengers have not. You can customize settings using Equalizer application with ease.

      2) If you’re using Android, I’m 99.25% certain it will be wireless. Only us iPhone guys have to plug-in to the CarPlay adapter.

      3) I don’t have OEM Audio Plus but someone else I helped out with purchasing the unit reached out to them directly and they said they would make it work if you shipped them the unit. To be on the safe side, I would contact them and confirm what that process would look like. I don’t want to steer you in the wrong direction.

      • Scott
        Reply

        Thank you very much for you honest feedback and will certainly reach out to OEM Audio Plus regarding integration with their setup!!

  • Marc
    Reply

    Will this headunit work with an amp and after market speakers? I’ve read that people have been saying the sound quality is worse than the oem unit

    • David Callaway
      Reply

      I’m installing right now and though can’t give you a definitive answer (like “yeah I installed it and it works”) it does have Right channel, Left channel, and sub outs plus “Amp Ctrl” and “Amp Det” splice ins.

  • chuff
    Reply

    Is there an easy way to accommodate a second (front facing) camera with this unit?

    • Mike
      Reply

      Yes a second camera can be added in the composite Yellow RCA plug separate from the back up camera.

    • Atul Bhandari
      Reply

      Yes, definitely. CarTrim also sells a front facing camera for relatively cheap.

  • Chris Young
    Reply

    So, any suggestions on mating this thing to an OEM 2010 p-1850 radio. Only one of the T8 Harness plugs match the toyota harness. Is there another harness for the T8?; or where can I get a wiring diagram for the OEM radio so I can start splicing?

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