Pioneer DMH-WT8600NEX Install - 2011 Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab Laramie

Jester77

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I am finally getting around to installing my Pioneer DMH-WT8600NEX stereo in my 2011 Dodge Ram 1500 Crew Cab Laramie. I have been putting off this project for a while because I just haven't had the time. My install will be a little more complicated that most because I am installing some side projects along the way since I have everything torn apart. I'll keep updating this post until I get everything installed. These are the items I picked up for this installation:

From Amazon:
Pioneer DMH-WT8600NEX 10.1" Multimedia Car Stereo Receiver/Android Auto/Apple CarPlay/Maestro
RAAYOO L002 HD 170 Degree Wide View Angle Universal Car Front/Side/Rear View Camera

From Crutchfield:
Metra 40-EU10 Antenna Adapter
iDatalink Maestro RR Interface Module
iDatalink HRN-RR-CH1 Factory Integration Adapter
SiriusXM SXV300V1 Tuner
Metra 99-6511 Dash Kit (Black)

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There are tons of online videos that will help you rip your dash apart without tearing anything up. I won't concentrate on any of that in this post as I'll assume you can get to the same starting point as I have without worry. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I have both upper and lower glove boxes removed, the center console trim, and the radio bezel/trim all removed. I would definitely say this install is not for the inexperienced person. An installation such as this takes some considerable skill, and more importantly patience, to do the job right. The key is doing the job right. The instructions that came with these parts is severely lacking, in my opinion. There were many instances during this installation that I had to do trial and error because the information was just not there, or was very vague. What I have documented is for my installation only. Use these instructions at your own risk.

IMPORTANT: Before you go any further, remove the positive terminal from the battery.

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1 - The first thing I did (besides rip the dash completely out) is to flash the firmware for the iDatalink Maestro RR Interface Module. It was fairly straightforward. You will need a laptop PC/Mac or a desktop PC/Mac to flash the module. You can get the software here.

During the setup, the software asks you a ton of questions about your setup, or how you would like your configuration to be. There were some things I just didn't know, like how I wanted the steering wheel controls to function. You can program the steering wheel controls to do a lot of different things. I just accepted the defaults and will probably go back some time in the future and re-flash the module once I get some time in the seat behind the controls. But, that means ripping the dash apart again to get to the module to re-flash it.

Before going any further, it should be noted that I had the factory REQ radio installed as seen below. There was nothing wrong with my factory stereo set up, I just wanted more modern features in a stereo that the Pioneer has (mainly navigation and HD Radio). I will probably sell this radio on eBay since I no longer have a use for it...and it works perfectly.

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2 - Step two is to marry the Pioneer factory harness (on the left) with the iDatalink Maestro HRN-RR-CH1 harness (on the right). There's no easy way to put it, this is tedious if you want to do it right. I opted not to use butt-splice connectors and wanted to use solder and marine-grade heat shrink instead. This method creates a worry-free installation. You don't have to worry about loose wires or connections causing trouble down the road.

IMPORTANT: The instructions what came with the iDatalink Maestro module I ordered from Crutchfield were wrong and outdated. Do yourself a favor and go online and get the latest instructions. You can get them here.

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These instructions are very specific for my vehicle type/year/trim and stereo model. I have the Alpine factory amplifier. The iDatalink HRN-RR-CH1 Factory Integration Adapter/harness already had the green, white, and black connectors (as listed below in steps two and three) connected. Since I had the factory Alpine amp, green-green and white-white connectors were made. I only made the connections in steps 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7. In addition, the iDatalink Maestro Module came with extra cables that I did not use (see red outlined box at the bottom of the below image).

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The Maestro comes with a "Radio Wire Reference Chart." For my installation, the wire colors I used are in the table below:

Wire Description​
Wire color on Maestro Harness​
Wire color on Pioneer Harness​
IlluminationOrange
Orange w/white stripe​
Reverse Light (reverse gear signal)Purple w/white stripePurple w/white stripe
Emergency BrakeLight GreenLight Green
Foot BrakeYellow w/black stripeNot used
VSS (Vehicle Speed Sensor)PinkPink
System Remote Control (connect if you have the factory Alpine amplifier)Blue w/white stripeBlue w/white stripe

It is important to cut the heat shrink to the desired width and place it on each wire you are going to solder BEFORE you connect the two wires together. I used 1/8" heat shrink as seen in the next image.

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All heat shrink pieces are cut to the desired length and installed on each wire prior to connection.

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I stripped the installation from the Pioneer factory harness back about 1/2 inch. The iDatalink HRN-RR-CH1 Factory Integration Adapter/harness is already stripped. Then I twisted the two wires together and applied an acceptable amount of solder to ensure the two wires were welded together. Be careful and do not apply too much solder. Contrary to popular belief, "The bigger the glob, the better the job" is a false statement. :)

Slide the heat shink over the connection and apply heat. I used a heat gun. Do this for every connection in the harness.

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Annoyingly, three of the wires in the Pioneer harness (purple w/white stripe, pink, and blue w/white stripe) were shorter than all the other wires in the harness. To make them all uniform, I added additional length wires to bridge the gap (color-correct and same AWG) for these three wires.

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3 - Step three is to test the harness. I connected the all the harnesses to the Maestro (steps 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7 from the Maestro instructions above), the Sirius XM antenna, the Metra 40-EU10 Antenna Adapter (to utilize the truck's FM/AM antenna), and GPS antenna to the Pioneer stereo. The purpose here is to ensure you have made all the necessary connections and everything is working properly before you button everything up. My truck came with two identical connectors that hooked to the factory radio (one grey and one white). In this installation, I only used the one with the grey connection. The harness with the white connector (inside red circle in below image) is not used.

Cable management and the finished install is forthcoming later in this post (I'm currently in the process of doing that). I have some side projects I want to install (HDMI input, rear and front cameras, and Esscort Redline 360c radar detector) that will need to be connected to the Pioneer while I have it apart. But, the stereo connections are correct and the Pioneer is operating as it should.

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In addition, my truck came with the Sirius XM capability from the factory. However, I would always get a "Satellite Antenna Error" anytime I tried to use the Sirius XM capability. If you are wondering why I purchased a new SiriusXM SXV300V1 Tuner/Antenna from Crutchfield, this is why. Some jackwagon mangled the factory antenna connector. Maybe one day I will rip apart the headliner and re-route the new Sirius XM antenna to the top of the cab. But for now, I'm just doing to install the antenna in the corner of the dash/windshield.

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The iDatalink HRN-RR-CH1 Factory Integration Adapter/Harness has an OBD II connector that plugs directly into the OBD II plug under the driver's side. I do not want to permanently occupy the front of the OBD II connector on my truck, so I will end up wiring the two wires that came with the HRN-RR-CH1 harness to the back of the truck's OBD II connector. I tested this connection on the Pioneer and it is pretty neat to have a real-time visual display of the truck's data.

End of basic Pioneer DMH-WT8600NEX installation.
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Jester77

Jester77

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HDMI Installation for Pioneer DMH-WT8600NEX.

Since the Pioneer has a HDMI input (mini-HDMI on rear of stereo), I decided to wire a HDMI connector somewhere in the truck to use in the event I wanted to view an auxiliary HDMI source.

I took my Dremel and routed out a section of the rear console trim panel and used Permatex Black Plastic Welder to adhere the HDMI connector to the trim panel.

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Here's what it looks like from the outside.

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I ran the HDMI cable (mini-HDMI to HDMI) through the center console up behind the radio compartment. I had excess cable so I rolled it up and cable-tied it to tidy up the installation (green circle below) and ran the mini-HDMI connector out the radio hole (red circle below). I'll plug this end to the back of the Pioneer.

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Jester77

Jester77

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Finishing Up

Well, before it gets too hot, I need to button up this install. The SiriusXM satellite tuner conveniently had a few slots to run zip ties to secure it. I secured it to part of the frame between the radio compartment and the upper glove box. I then ran the antenna up to the top right dash corner, just to the left of the front right speaker and affixed it to the dash with some double-sided tape.

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I ran the GPS antenna to the opposite side of the dash as well as installed a red-braided USB-C/USB-C cable to plug my phone in while it is in the cell phone holder (bottom left windshield area).

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I installed the microphone just to the right of the steering column and fished the wire under the dash and up through the radio compartment. Test this location out with a phone call and it works very well. I affixed it to the bottom instrument cluster panel with a piece of double-sided tape.

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Even though I'm not going to install them today, I ran the video cables for the front and rear cameras and rolled up the excess and laid them in the bottom of the center console. This way, when I do get around to installing the cameras, I don't have to remove the radio bezel again. I secured the connections with some heat shrink just to ensure they don't vibrate apart.

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Here's a shot with the radio bezel installed. I ordered a set of used auxiliary switches (row of switches below the climate controls) that I will eventually get around to installing. I have a dash camera, radar detector, and air horn that I'm going to use those switches for. The 4th aux switch will probably be for a light bar that I haven't gotten around to purchasing yet. I'll have to remove this radio bezel again once I install the relays for those aux switches, but they look better installed than that RAM logo that was there before. My 1500 didn't come with aux switches.

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I temporarily tapped into the back of the OBD II connector just to test the connection for the vehicle status. Works perfectly. Looks like I need to add some air to the left rear. The check engine light is not on, that's just an outline.

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I rewarded myself with a shot of Rush and The Spirit of Radio for the final install. This stereo rocks!

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The only thing left to do is permanently tap into the back of the OBD II connector and reinstall the kick panel under the steering wheel. I'm calling this install complete!
 

Dudro612

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Do you know what color the VSS wire is on the factory ram side?
 

Athlium

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This is very well done. I need to do something similar to my buddy's 2012.
 
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Jester77

Jester77

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Do you know what color the VSS wire is on the factory ram side?
I do not know, I did not look at the mating end wire from the truck.

Although the VSS wire on the Pioneer harness and iDatalink HRN-RR-CH1 Factory Integration Adapter are both pink.
 
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Willie Mosher

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Nice job, did about the same in my
Jeep 2 door. Same Radio. It Big project, still like add amp.
It takes you about 20 hours?
Ram look little harder the the Jeep.
 

cmore

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did you consider buying the wiring kit from crutchfield. about $20 IIRC. saves a ton of time and hassle IMO. just plug into the factory wiring.
 
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