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Radio Swap troubles and tips!

firemedic10584

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I know this isn't the best spot to post, but I feel it's the section on the forum that gets the most traffic so I'm hoping the mods will let it stay here. I'm hoping it gets some valuable info to any of you out there who may be looking to swap your 5" radio to the 8.4" radio.

We started the process for my dads truck, 2023 base Big Horn with the 5" radio, about a month ago. Initially, we bought just the outer radio bezel (the portion with the AC controls), a like new 8.4 radio screen with UC5 and the cables we needed to convert the factory wiring to the new UC5 radio. Waited for everything to come in and the day finally came to get it all installed. I was confident after reading through the forum about swaps and speaking to a couple of the "expert" members who deal with the radios all the time, that we would have no issues. My dad is in about 650$ at this point, not a huge amount of money, but enough money that I want everything to go smoothly and if it didn't, I'd feel like a POS having him be out that money. Also, we got scammed during this process for a radio bezel but that's another story lol.
So, long story short - if your truck has the factory 5" radio, the main trim piece (the portion with the AC vents), it will NOT accept the 8.4" radio trim piece. It looks identical in pictures and even holding it in your hands. But it does not seat correctly, leaving a gap at the top where the two parts meet. I tried grinding down the middle screw points and tabs because that appeared to be the hold-up. It was not. It just absolutely would not seat correctly. So we admitted defeat on that. I went back and read the 18 page thread regarding the 5" to 8.4" radio swap on this forum. I found only one member who made mention of this. He had the exact same issue we did. I guess I missed that the first time I read through it. So, we sent some parts back, sold a couple parts and started over. This time, buying the whole trim/bezel/radio as one unit from another member selling their 8.4 UC4. After waiting for it to arrive over a week, we finally got it all swapped over and installed today. My dad had the single zone AC controls, which that bezel with the 8.4" screen cutout was the hardest piece to find. We swapped that over since the new radio came with dual climate controls, swapped over his lower switch panel with the tow/haul buttons, and got it all buttoned up. Went out to the truck, got everything plugged in and fired up. The radio initially had the controlls / buttons that the truck is came from had (dual climate, heated seats, etc.). The volume also did not work. It would show it was turning up and down, but the sound never actually would change. I decided to get my AlfaOBD out just to see if there was a radio setting in there I could change just to see. I did find a "radio head unit size" in there. It was currently set to "absent". I changed it to the 8.4 and tried the radio again. After that, everything was working perfectly. The options my dads truck did not have were now off the radio, the volume was working correctly and everything was good to go. Idk if the truck just finally recognized the new radio and updated itself or changing that setting in Alfa did anything. But anyways, this turned into a longer story than I hoped, but I'm hoping someone out there will find this and save themselves the headache of buying the wrong parts and having to go through what we went through.

So the main point of the story - the factory 5" radio AC trim piece WILL NOT accept an 8.4" radio trim piece. You have to buy the whole piece that came factory with an 8.4" radio.

I didn't really take any pictures since it was pretty much all plug and play as far as the wiring goes. And I'm sure you all have seen the 5" radio and the 8.4" radios lol.

Hopefully this helps someone in the future!
 

ZFORCE

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Thanks for the write up! I don’t even have my truck yet but I can’t stand the tiny screen it will come with. I’m buying my truck from a probate sale and it’s caught up in legal! Since you didn’t post pictures, did your dad’s original setup look like mine? Where did you get the AlfaOBD? Also I keep reading about the need for a wiring harness, can you tell me more about it and what it does and where you got it? I’ve started reading the 18 page thread but really it should be a simple explanation instead of 18 pages! Thanks again.
 

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firemedic10584

Ram Guru
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Central Florida
Thanks for the write up! I don’t even have my truck yet but I can’t stand the tiny screen it will come with. I’m buying my truck from a probate sale and it’s caught up in legal! Since you didn’t post pictures, did your dad’s original setup look like mine? Where did you get the AlfaOBD? Also I keep reading about the need for a wiring harness, can you tell me more about it and what it does and where you got it? I’ve started reading the 18 page thread but really it should be a simple explanation instead of 18 pages! Thanks again.
Yes, same radio as yours. AlfaOBD is an android based app - you can download it to an android phone or tablet. It's 50$ for that, then you need the security bypass cable and OBD reader, both can be had on Amazon for about 50$ total.
You only need the harnesses if you're going from a UC4 (has the big 50 pin connector on the back of your current radio) to a UC5 radio, which instead of the big 50 pin connector, it'll have a big blue and a big green connector. You shouldn't need the harnesses. Just make sure you get a non-nav radio (one with flat black trim, not gloss black) that will be plug and play for your setup.
 

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