Kenwood DDX9902s – What you buy when your factory 2012 F-150 navigation radio craps out
A couple months ago, a long time customer of mine came into the shop with his 2012 F-150 in need of a new stereo. I asked him why he was considering upgrading and he sheepishly explained to me the stock “POS” navigation screen had stopped functioning properly and shortly thereafter it had an unfortunate encounter with his fist and it now definitely needed to be replaced.
Aside from needing a working radio, the customer was interested in Apple CarPlay and didn’t necessarily need on board navigation since he would have access to Apple Maps. His 2012 Ford F-150 was equipped with the following features that would need to be integrated with or retained:
- USB and Line Input (Aux)
- Reverse Camera
- Steering Wheel Controls
Additionally, his factory navigation screen had been the display for all climate control information. Luckily, there is a very cool company out there that specializes in this type of integration and feature retention called iDatalink.
Kenwood was the first to partner with iDatalink. iDatalink is a pretty cool company that specializes aftermarket automotive electronics integration. As a result of this early partnership, Kenwood stereos tend to have more advanced integration features compared to other brands out there like Alpine and Pioneer. Although I had not sold a Kenwood DDX9902s yet, I knew this was really the best solution for this 2012 Ford F-150 and for the customer’s needs. At the time, the Kenwood DDX9702S and DDX9902s were the only two head units on the market that offered the advanced iDatalink integration capability (including climate control ability) and Apple CarPlay (Kenwood has since also introduced the DDX6702s and DDX6902s).
Although there is technically no installation dash kit for this vehicle (2012 F-150 with the OEM navigation), we were able to mount the aftermarket double din DDX9902S in the factory navigation radio opening. After we installed this stereo, I was pleasantly surprised to find the OEM volume knob controlled the new Kenwood radio. This install was accomplished using the iDatalink Maestro RR and FO1 harness. For anyone considering doing this work themselves, please keep in mind you need to set up an account with iDatalink and you will also need an iDatalink weblink programmer and access to a PC with Internet Explorer.
The factory reverse camera was retained by identifying factory Video +/- and shield and hard wiring these connections to the Kenwood’s reverse camera input. Combining the Kenwood DDX9902s along with the iDatalink Maestro RR and FO1 harness, we were able to retain the factory amplifier, factory Sync USB and line input, factory steering wheel controls and climate control information.
Additionally this interface allowed us to display vehicle gauge information and access additional helpful vehicle information. Although the iDatalink Maestro RR did not retain the factory SiriusXM in this particular vehicle (if memory serves me correctly, there was actually an issue with the OEM sat tuner, otherwise I think it would have actually been retained), we were able to simply install the SXV300 tuner and retain the OEM SiriusXM antenna using the iDatalink SAT1 adapter.
After getting an estimate from the dealership to replace the stock navigation, I probably would have punched my dash too. Thankfully, in the end the customer was able to upgrade his seemingly proprietary stock stereo to an aftermarket stereo that will essentially never be outdated (assuming you always have an up to date iPhone or Android phone). Although this customer had an iPhone, the Kenwood DDX9902s is also Android Auto compatible.
What if you don’t have the factory Ford navigation radio? No problem, you can still enjoy this kind of seamless integration using the iDatalink Maestro interface. Visit Maestro.iDatalink.com to see what kind of integration features are available for your vehicle.