T10 Head Unit Installation and Review – Android Auto and Apple Car Play Head Unit for the 5th Gen 4Runner
If you’ve grown bored of the OEM head unit in the 5th Gen 4 Runner, or are just longing for a bigger screen, smaller knobs, better sound, and pretty much full Android tablet functionality in your dash, the T10 from Cartrimhome might be for you. The install is relatively easy, though if you have an extreme phobia of breaking plastic parts, or you’re not a fan of spaghetti wiring harnesses, you might want to bribe a friend to help with the install. A delicious beverage usually does the trick.
Introducing the T10 Head Unit
The T9 has been around for awhile, and the T10 is a definite improvement. Not just in the feature department, but it’s also an easier install. You’ll notice right out of the box that the backside electronics of the T10 are much slimmer than the T9, so it’s lighter to handle, and all the wires are much easier to shove back inside the console when everything is all wired up.
In this article, I’ll briefly cover how to remove the OEM unit, wire up the T10, swap over the plastic parts from the OEM, and install the T10 into your 5th Gen 4Runner. I’m using an iPhone XS (Soon to have a 13) to connect to the Android head unit, and also as a hotspot. I am NOT using a SIM. If you intend to use a SIM, I’ll have some instructions on the install, and a few notes at the end of this article.
Find It Online
Tools & Materials
- Philips screwdrivers of varied sizes, or small screwdriver kit
- 10mm socket and driver
- Prying tools provided in the T10 kit
- Towel or soft object to cover gear shift
OPTIONAL: SWAPPING THE FACE PLATE
Mostly likely you can skip to STAGE 1. I originally received a T10 with a silver face plate and the interior of my 4 Runner is black, so I asked for a black faceplate and received one shortly thereafter. The swap wasn’t incredibly difficult, but I used my lifeline and phoned in some questions to my friend Mark Mollat aka @ofrd_adv. He also has a video on his YouTube channel that walks you through the swap in case you break the screen as most often that’s the reason people need to swap out the faceplate.
Luckily I managed to do the swap without damaging the screen. The glass screen is held to the plastic faceplate with adhesive tape, and removing it was a bit sticky. But, the hardest part of the swap was dealing with all the little clips and ribbon wires that I hadn’t worked with before. Once I learned how to unclip and clip those (Thanks, Mark!) the swap was relatively easy. If you have to do this swap, just make sure you clean the screen and glass cover inside perfectly before putting it back together. I had mine fully assembled and realized I’d left a wealth of forensic evidence sandwiched inside and had to go through the assembly process twice.
But let’s get to the install…
My OEM unit, with scratched screen 🙁
Step 1: Remove the Plastic Side Trim Pieces
Sitting inside the rig, the first thing you’ll need to do is remove the plastic side trim pieces. You can start with either one. Hold it with both hands pinching top and bottom. Wiggle it back and forth left to right while pulling out until it comes off. Then remove the other side.
Step 2: Remove the Air Control Knob Assembly
Hold on to both sides. Pull one side out and away until it comes out, then do the same on the other side.
Step 3: Remove the Air Control Knob Wiring
Squeeze on the tabs on the side of the white plastic insert and push it through the hole.
Squeeze the tab on the plug and remove it, freeing the control assembly. Set it aside.
Step 4: Remove the Four 10 Mm Bolts
Remove the four bolts from the silver metal tabs with a 10mm socket. These will not be used with the T10, so I just bolted them back into place after the install for safekeeping.
Step 5: Pull Out the Oem Head Unit
Place a towel or something soft over the shifter knob. You’ll see why shortly. Wiggle the head unit and faceplate assembly gently and pull out. The six tabs beneath will release. Hold on tight and don’t drop the unit onto the shifter knob.
Step 6: Disconnect All Wiring From the Oem Head Unit
Begin removing all of the plugs. There are small buttons/tabs on each that will push in and release the plugs. Be careful not to break them. Even though you have a towel between the screen and disaster, don’t put weight on the unit. I scuffed my OEM screen (see above) doing this while doing another install. Also watch the metal brackets on the bottom of the head unit as they will scratch other parts of your console if they rub while you are removing the plugs. It helps to have someone supporting the head unit while working in the truck.
Step 7: Remove Plastic Parts and Vents
Remove the head unit from the vehicle and take it to a flat workspace. To do the T10 swap, you’ll need to remove the vents, the plastic around the air vent direction adjusters, hazard switch and top panel from the OEM and install them on the T10. Start by removing the two screws holding the plastic top panel, one on the left of the top and one on the right.
To remove the vents, use the plastic tools provided or a small screwdriver to gently pry the tabs apart from one vent at a time. They will un-click from the faceplate. Take your time and don’t break the tabs. Unscrew the small plastic trim pieces from around the air volume dials. Remove them and put them aside for reinstall into the new faceplate.
Step 8: Remove the Hazard Wiring Harness
Hazard assembly still attached to OEM unit. Plug detached from metal plate.
Gently squeeze the tabs together on the white plastic bracket, pry it away from the metal and remove it from the body of the head unit. Squeeze the prongs of the other attachment together and pull it out. Press on the tabs of the hazard switch and pull it out of the faceplate.
Hazard light assembly detached and ready to remove from OEM unit.
OEM Head Unit with all necessary plastic parts and hazard switch assembly removed.
Step 9: Prepare to Wire the T10 Head Unit
This can be done on a table or work bench, and then moved into the 4Runner to install. Cartrimhome provides all the wiring and harnesses you need to do the job, and then some. I opted not to use a few based on our desired setup. And some were just not necessary. See the diagrams below for a layout of everything provided.
Fist Box (Contents):
- USB – 4 pin
- USB – 6 pin (Same wiring and functionality as the 4 pin)
- USB cable that connects your OEM USB to the head unit
- SIM card harness with RCA plugs and SIM Tray
- Backup Camera harness
- Main Harness
- Optional microphone – Did not install
- Antenna for SIM – Use this if you want to use a SIM card. If you will be using your phone as a hotspot, you can leave it out.
- RCA connectors for subs, amps, etc. – Did not install
- CAN Bus device
- Wifi Antenna – Did not install – T10 has one already installed.
Second Box (Contents):
- A set of prying tools
- A bag of rubber caps for unused RCA female cable ends.
- Careful with the SIM tray if you’re installing a SIM – It’s a bit fragile.
- Two plugs on the wiring harness will not be used.
- Not all harnesses and wires provided by CTH will be used
- Don’t cut any zip ties off the wiring harnesses. Leave them intact.
- Be careful with the screen and knobs of the head unit. When working, use something soft (possibly foam block or foam packaging that came in the shipping box) to hold the faceplate and keep the knobs from pushing against your work surface. Don’t let the knobs hit any surface as they can press into the glass and crack the screen.
There’s not a specific order that this has to be done. But, I worked from the center out to make sure nothing got in my way as I worked. When plugging the white male ends into the female sockets, they should go in pretty easily and make a click sound when they are fully seated. A couple of mine took a bit of effort to click into place. And a couple didn’t give an audible click. In these cases, I used one of the provided plastic tools to push gently down on the edges of the white plug until they felt fully locked in. To check and make sure they are secure, pull up lightly against the weight of the head unit. If the head unit lifts off the work surface, you might be pulling too hard. Be careful as the wires can pull out.
Step 10: Connect Wiring Harnesses to the T10 Head Unit
Wiring Guide for T10 Head Unit:
- Plug in the USB cable. Four pin plug goes into the four pin socket.
- Plug in the second USB cable. 6 pin plugs go into the 6 pin socket. There is no difference in the functionality of these two. The wiring is the same. One just uses a six pin plug for some reason.
- Put this USB cable aside as it will be installed into the Vehicle later.
- If you’re installing the SIM harness, plug it in until you hear it click. I installed mine in case I want to add a SIM later. But, I’ll be running my head unit off of my iPhone hotspot.
- Plug the backup camera harness into the corresponding socket. Note that 5a will connect to 6e.
- Plug the black plug (6b) from the main harness into the socket marked “Power”. Do not cut the zip ties. 6d, will plug into 11. Note that 6d is a wide, twenty pin white plug and is hidden in the mass of wires in the photo. The radio antenna (6a) plugs in just above the GPS and 4G. There is an 8 pin plug on the wiring harness that has two blue wires (6c). Plug that into the corresponding socket in the head unit.
There are two yellow male RCA jacks. One is attached to a smaller white plug and one to a larger plug. Use the male yellow RCA from the larger harness (6e) and plug it into the yellow camera female RCA, 5a. Make sure this is the harness plug that connects into your vehicle in step 16, not one of the left over harness plugs.
- You will not install part number 7. Put it aside.
- The GPS cable goes to the upper GPS jack and screws on by hand. Then tighten slightly with a needle nose pliers. It will still turn at the junction for flexibility. Don’t over-tighten.
- The 4G antenna attaches to the plug just below the GPS. Tighten by hand, then gently with a plier. This doesn’t need to be installed if you are not using the SIM. I installed mine in case I want to use it in the future.
- I did not use part number 10. I believe it’s for audio amplifiers and/or sub-woofers.
- See step 6 if part 11 is still rolling solo.
- I did not use part 12.
- Red X’s mark sockets that did not get used in our install.
If your head unit and wiring looks like the picture below, you’re ready to install the plastic parts you removed from the OEM head unit in step 7.
Step 11: Test the Head Unit
Successful test of the wired T10 head unit. I tested my T10 head unit before swapping all of the OEM plastic parts. I simply plugged in all of the plastic plugs from the head unit to the truck, turned the ignition key and made sure it was getting power. It was, so I moved to the next step.
Step 12: Install the Plastic Parts Into the T10
These parts are a direct lift from the OEM unit (shown above for reference). There are clips and a few screws holding them in that will need to be handled carefully. Take your time with the clips and don’t force anything.
Take your time on the top tray and make sure you use the correct size of screwdriver so you do not damage the screw heads or the holes they go into. There are two sets of screws from the removal of the OEM head unit. Use the larger screws for the top tray. These screws were a bit stubborn, and I slightly stripped the heads as a result. So, I drilled out the holes in the T10 very slightly and the screws went in easily.
The hazard switch has two clips. It will only go back on one way. Arrow points up 😉
RH Vent goes right. LH vent goes left. Before we install the vents, you must install the small plastic outer air volume dial trims on either side of the face plate. There is a right and left side. Use the smaller screws. Two on each side. These took a bit of finessing to get the small pegs into the holes and the screw holes lined up. Take your time and make sure these are fitted correctly before threading in the screws.
The vents install from the rear of the faceplate, and have clips on the top, bottom and sides. Just push until all of the clips click in. I had to use a small screwdriver to finesse a couple of them into place. A couple didn’t seem to go in perfectly, which left a small gap between the vent and faceplate. I’m pretty OCD, so want things to be perfect. But, if you look at this from the front it’s not visible. You can only see them if you’re sitting on the dash looking straight down onto the head unit. And that’s probably not going to happen.
Step 13: Remove the Yellow and White Clips From the Oem Head Unit
Next you’ll need to remove the yellow and white clips from the OEM head unit and install them on the T10. Be careful and take your time so you don’t break them. I know, I keep saying this… I used one of the plastic tools provided and pried gently under the edges of each clip and pulled them off with my hand. There are a total of six. When you snap them onto the T10, yellows will go on top and bottom, and the white tabs go in the middle on each side. Make sure you push them all the way on until they click into place.
Step 14: Prepare to Install the Full T10 Assembly Into the 4runner
T10 head unit with all wiring, vents, plastic and hazard assembly installed.
I scratched my OEM screen on the gear shift when I did a prior install. So, trust me, it’s a good idea to cover the gear shift with a towel or something soft as the screen will likely come into contact with it at some point. But, be careful not to put pressure on the screen regardless or it may crack.
In the truck, start with the SIM if you’re using one. We didn’t, so it’s not pictured here. Put it into the SIM holder on the T10. Make sure the SIM card is flush and locked in place before closing up the SIM tray. I went ahead and installed this harness in case I want to use a SIM in the future.
Step 15: Install the Usb Connector Cable
The USB connector cable (Part 3 that we set aside earlier) goes to the gray square plug on the truck end, and goes to either one of the USB’s on the T10.
Step 16: Connect the T10 Wiring Harnesses to the Truck
Work from the truck to attach the harnesses. They all have different numbers of pins and sizes of plugs, so obviously plug the ends that fit into the ends that they fit into. This should be fairly self-explanatory. There are seven white plugs open on the wiring harness, and two will not attach to anything. (See photo below) Just let those hang.
There will also be a second USB to use to attach your phone or TPMS, etc. Make sure you run that to a spot that’s accessible once the dash is closed up. I ran mine just below the left side of the glove box for now.
Step 17: Reconnect the Hazard Plug to the Truck
Step 18: Position the Gps in the Dash
Run the GPS to the right behind the vent, so it’s facing up. I stuck mine just above the right air vent. Leave the 3G in the middle if you chose to use that cable.
At this point, I turned on the ignition and did another test to make sure the T10 was getting power and it was. So, I proceeded to close up the project.
Step 19: Tidy Up the Wires and Install the Head Unit
Tidy up the wires as much as you like and shove them into the cavity in the vehicle behind he head unit. Align the head unit so the six tabs go into their corresponding holes. Push the corners of the radio until it clicks into place. You’ll hear 4-6 clicks. Main thing is to make sure that it’s secure and easily pull out. Mine didn’t click as perfectly as I’ve been told it should but it still felt solid.
Step 20: Re-install the Air Knob Control Assembly
Next, install the air control knob assembly by first reconnecting the white clip and plug that you removed when we started. Then, simply push the control assembly straight forward until it clicks into place.
Step 21: Re-install the Plastic Side Pieces
Set the side pieces in position and firmly push them onto the console with both hands until they click in place. Wipe off your console with a clean, dry, soft cloth (preferably a computer screen or phone polishing cloth).
Pro Tips After Installation
- Using your phone as a WiFi hotspot is the way to go since you take advantage of the T10’s 5ghz WiFi.
- Disable SIM1 (China eSIM). It may cause issues if you introduce American SIM cards as they conflict with each other. SIM2 is where you’d add your local SIM card if that’s direction you go.
- Known SIM cards that work: T-Mobile (and their variants like Mint mobile). Also note that ATT works, however once they kill 3g it will no longer work. SIM cards from all other carriers like Verizon and Sprint will not work.
- After installation, perform a pinhole RST reset, which will remove all Chinese network settings from the factory.
The pinhole RST is in the lower right corner of the product.
- Also, remember that this is essentially an android tablet for your car, and occasionally you’ll need to perform reboots if you encounter anything funky, just like you would on a cell phone or computer.
- Soft reboot is done by the pull down menu on top and hitting reset. 90% of the time a soft reset will take care of any anomalies.
- After making a setting change usually a hard reset is needed for it to take. Hard reset is done by pressing the reset button on the faceplate with a paper clip or SIM card tool.
- Test your reverse camera. If it looks like the below photo, you’ll need to go into camera settings and switch from PAL to NTSC. The default in mine was PAL, which is a video format standard used in Europe.
Back up camera with PAL setting
Back up camera with NTSC setting and Rigd Ultraswing blocking my view. Thanks to Mark Mollat, aka ofrd_adv for the help and technical info in this section!
When everything was all back together and I powered up the fully installed T10, it was a bit like the 4Runner came to life. I didn’t have anything against the OEM head unit other than the scratch I’d previously put in the screen. It worked and did it’s job. But, once you have a legitimate fully functioning smart device in your dash, you see what you’ve been missing.
I’m an iOS guy and was a bit concerned about connectivity with the T10. With a few taps, my phone was connected wirelessly and playing music. No problems at all. And the sound is noticeably better. Just having an EQ makes a big difference to me as well.
The one thing that could be improved is the microphone. When stopped without the engine running, the person on the other end of a phone call can hear you at about an 8 out of 10. As soon as you start driving, the engine noise and road noise must effect the mic and it drops to 5 out of 10. As my lady said, I sounded like I was under water, and she got annoyed and didn’t want to talk to me. If you want to change out the mic, there’s a mod for it. Just not getting into that here.
Beyond these basics, just play around. Download apps. Google stuff. Do all the things you do with a new tablet or smartphone. With the T10, the possibilities seem almost endless. I’m personally just touching the surface (literally and figuratively), but my 18 yr old son taps around on it like he was born with it in-hand. Which… I guess he kinda was. Thanks for the help, Deegan! And thanks again to @ofrd_adv for the technical help and advice via text.
As a bonus the T10 was loaded with a few Britney Spears songs. Thank goodness she’s getting the royalties now that her father stepped down from his conservatorship. Enjoy!