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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have visited this forum a few times but haven't posted much. I know the consensus is that getting Android auto & Apple carplay on this car is close to impossible. Typically it's expensive and you get a second screen at the bottom. NO way I would do navigation that way.

I finally figured out a way to do it cheap, really cheap for $170 totally, lol. I got scared by the consensus and prepared to fail and so didn't want to spend much. Buy a better head unit than mine please. But I get steering wheel control, retain backup camera, the chime and even Onstar, lol.

Just captured a video and posted it on Youtube. Welcome to check it out. Here is the link:

I will make another one later to show you how to do it. If you are too excited to wait, I can answer questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I did cut some plastic inside and outside and didn't do a good job. I can never do those well. If you don't want to do that, it would be tough but most people can cut better than me probably. I need some molding work, as in the video. Suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you. I bought this car new and do want to keep this car long term. So I don't care that much.
 

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2011 Equinox 1LT V6 3.0L FWD 179k miles
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It looks like you cut away the door of the storage compartment up top? If so, you might want to locate the shortened molding/dash piece that is found in the models without that storage compartment (I.e. the larger screen) and install that for a “cleaner” look.

So - this is a Crutchfield unit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It looks like you cut away the door of the storage compartment up top? If so, you might want to locate the shortened molding/dash piece that is found in the models without that storage compartment (I.e. the larger screen) and install that for a “cleaner” look.

So - this is a Crutchfield unit?
No, it's not a Crutchfield unit. I don't think they have anything at 29 bucks. It's an unbranded ebay generic unit. I am guessing the hrn-rr-gm2 and ads-mrr are new? I did check not too long ago and found out that even the chime couldn't be kept. With these two items, honestly any unit would work, as long as you are fine with cutting some plastic pieces. Only 3 wires from the car are used, back up camera, antenna and the big radio 44 pins.

The biggest issue may be steering wheel controls. The signal needs to be translated by the ads-mrr and may not be recognized by the unit. If you buy an officially approved one, there shouldn't be any issues for sure. I was thinking about hacking into the car's original steering wheel control wire but don't know which one. Anybody knows which one is the right one?

My screen is 4cmx16cm. Is this considered as 7 inches and is it the smaller one? I did cut the top cover but I don't have storage. I will look into the shorter version. Thank you.
 

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2011 Equinox 1LT V6 3.0L FWD 179k miles
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Ok ... you updated the video with a lot more information since my last post.

Looks like you already had the larger factory screen, so you already had the shorter/smaller top molding (instead of the storage door/compartment). Still ... maybe you could obtain another smaller top molding and have a 2nd crack at re-shaping it around your replacement unit (or just holding onto it if you decided to reinstall the original factory radio again prior to selling the vehicle)?

So ... none of the dark buttons immediately below the radio work anymore, but the buttons on the Steering Wheel do work (along with the silver HVAC buttons immediately below)? How much of this lost functionality is actually replaced one-for-one on the new Unit ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok ... you updated the video with a lot more information since my last post.

Looks like you already had the larger factory screen, so you already had the shorter/smaller top molding (instead of the storage door/compartment). Still ... maybe you could obtain another smaller top molding and have a 2nd crack at re-shaping it around your replacement unit (or just holding onto it if you decided to reinstall the original factory radio again prior to selling the vehicle)?

So ... none of the dark buttons immediately below the radio work anymore, but the buttons on the Steering Wheel do work (along with the silver HVAC buttons immediately below)? How much of this lost functionality is actually replaced one-for-one on the new Unit ?
Correct. No dark buttons work. They connect to the OEM screen but the OEM screen is not even used. Those buttons are for radio, phone and time controls. They are now all on the touch screen of the new head unit. Except cd of course since I got a head unit without cd.

All silver buttons work. They are for HVAC, lock/unlock and some system settings like olm and tpms. They don't communicate with the radio or the screen even in the OEM settings and so of course, no affected.

Steering wheel control does work. So some radio and phone keys are duplicated on the steering wheel.

I was extremely happy, honestly to say. My biggest worry before starting was that the silver buttons would have issues. As it turned out, they are the last ones to worry about. The most difficult part became how to mount the head unit and this would depend on which head unit one buys.
 

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@handydoctor : Well, good job proving this is doable!

So let me get this straight: if someone’s Factory radio fails and they want to replace it with another Factory radio, they’re forced to either pay the Dealer a ransom to “Activate” it, OR ... use a software tool to patch in their vehicle’s VIN number so that it’s “recognized” on the vehicle’s local network (and not seen as an “invader”, or stolen). And this method maintains full Factory functionality with both the dark and silver buttons.

But you can buy an aftermarket (non-Factory) radio, fit it into your dash however you see fit, and it will mostly function without the patched VIN number ... even though it’s not “recognized” on the vehicle’s local network? You lose the dark buttons, but that functionality is now inside your replacement Radio unit.

But Android Auto/Apple CarPlay is just a function of the radio itself, so this project basically comes down to electrical wiring ... and you don’t even have to mix-n-match spliced wires ... an off-the-shelf wiring harness works!

I guess I’m puzzled as to why it was advertised that this couldn’t be done (or, at least, not for a LOT of money)? That claim must’ve implied a “Factory Installation”?

When was Android Auto/Apple CarPlay first introduced in the Equinox (or Terrain)? Was it during this same Gen-2 model run ... or was it when the Gen-3’s came out (2018+)? Is there a Gen-2 Android Auto/Apple CarPlay Radio that would fit seamlessly into your dash with some software hacking with the VIN#, etc ... to make it work ... or is this the solution that “cannot be done” (either physically, or without paying the Dealer ransom)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@handydoctor : Well, good job proving this is doable!

So let me get this straight: if someone’s Factory radio fails and they want to replace it with another Factory radio, they’re forced to either pay the Dealer a ransom to “Activate” it, OR ... use a software tool to patch in their vehicle’s VIN number so that it’s “recognized” on the vehicle’s local network (and not seen as an “invader”, or stolen). And this method maintains full Factory functionality with both the dark and silver buttons.

But you can buy an aftermarket (non-Factory) radio, fit it into your dash however you see fit, and it will mostly function without the patched VIN number ... even though it’s not “recognized” on the vehicle’s local network? You lose the dark buttons, but that functionality is now inside your replacement Radio unit.

But Android Auto/Apple CarPlay is just a function of the radio itself, so this project basically comes down to electrical wiring ... and you don’t even have to mix-n-match spliced wires ... an off-the-shelf wiring harness works!

I guess I’m puzzled as to why it was advertised that this couldn’t be done (or, at least, not for a LOT of money)? That claim must’ve implied a “Factory Installation”?

When was Android Auto/Apple CarPlay first introduced in the Equinox (or Terrain)? Was it during this same Gen-2 model run ... or was it when the Gen-3’s came out (2018+)? Is there a Gen-2 Android Auto/Apple CarPlay Radio that would fit seamlessly into your dash with some software hacking with the VIN#, etc ... to make it work ... or is this the solution that “cannot be done” (either physically, or without paying the Dealer ransom)?
Correct. This 3rd party radio doesn't even connect to the local network probably. Again, as I said earlier above, only 3 harnesses from the car are used. The antenna wire and the back up camera wire have nothing to do with local network. The big radio harness is mostly power and speaker wires, with steering wheel control. About 6 or 7 smaller oem connectors were tug away, without use at all. I'm sure some of them have something to do with local network. No wire cutting is needed at all.

So yes, as long as you can fit the stereo to your own satisfaction, any 3rd party stereo would work and save yourself a visit to the dealership. I'm not sure when the harness and adapter came out. I do remember I did check not too long ago, Crutchfield said it would lose quite some functions and expensive, same as the consensus here. Now if you check Crutchfield, it says it can be done without losing much, if anything. Except Crutchfield still expects you to put the stereo at the cd player location (dumb), use the hrr harness (not necessary and probably more difficult) and of course, a more expensive stereo (not necessary a bad idea).

Apple carplay came out in 2014 and android auto in 2015, later than my 2013. But it took gm a few years to put them into gen 3. And you are correct, they are just functionality of the stereo anyway, not much related to the car itself.
 
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