Any difference between the 2011 and 2012 Head Unit?

2012 CX-9 Touring
2012 Audio Head Unit REPLACEMENT discussion + some 2011 vs. 2012 differences

Hi everyone. I just bought a brand new 2012 CX-9 Touring and thus I'm a brand new member here.

I have the Bose stereo (no nav) and I have seen the posts about the 2011 model needing the factory head unit connected to keep the A/C working and also to adjust the clock. I also read that supposedly Mazda fixed the A/C issue so that wouldn't be a problem anymore when the OEM unit is disconnected, but it would still be needed to set the clock.

I also read here that Metra has a dash kit and a T-harness to allow connectivity to an aftermarket head unit and still allow the bose amp and sub to work.

I have a Kenwood DNX-7160 in dash nav and bluetooth unit I'd like to use in the car.

I can't find any postings here about the 2012 model and I'm wondering if the dash kits from Metra or Scosche will work for the 2012 as well and also if that T-Harness from Metra will still work on the 2012 like it did on the 2011.

I'm willing to order that stuff to give it a try, but I'd like to know if there are any changes between 11 and 12 either in the size/shape of the dash kit or in the wiring if anyone out there might know.

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Mazda CX-9, BMW MZ3 Roadster
I just got an '11 CX-9 and test drove the 2012. On the exterior the radio looks to be the same but I'm sure someone will chime in to confirm. I'm planning on changing my unit as well and just ordered the T-harness and dash-kit.
2012 CX-9 Touring
I'm hoping they're the same.

I've ordered the Scosche dash kit (which is listed for 2007 and up so hopefully "up" means 2012 also). I also ordered the Metra harness for Bose system integration (MZTO-01), which is only listed by them as good for 2010, but NCMazda6 used it on his 2011, so I'm going to hope we're good on the 2012 as well. Finally I ordered the AXXESS ASWC Universal Steering Wheel Control Interface to hook up to my Kenwood.

Hopefully, the A/C thing really was fixed and all I'll have to do is connnect the OEM unit to the T-Harness on occassion to change the clock.

I will let you know how this all turns out in the next couple weeks. Hopefully I can take some pics and post them here.

fingers crossed.
2012 CX-9 Touring
2012 touring Kenwood DNX7160 head unit install

Just going to keep the log of this effort here for you all. Here's info from a couple posts I've already made in other threads on this effort.......

I ordered the Scosche dash kit, the metra t-harness to allow the bose amplifier and speakers to continue to be used through the RCA output from my head unit, and the universal steering will control unit to install my Kenwood dnx7160 in mine.

I'm hoping it will all work.

I will try to post pics and more info with the results in a couple weeks when I can get time to do the install.

Again, this hasn't been confirmed to work yet, but here's what I ordered:

AMAZON: Axxess Interface MZTO-01 Mazda Turn On 2007-2008 Mazda CX-7 and CX-9 with Bose Sold by: Depot Repair Services, LLC. $59.52
(says 2007-2008 on one site and then on Metra site it is listed for up to 2010. Was used here by NCMazda6 on his 2011, so I'm taking a leap of faith that it will work on the 2012)

AMAZON: Metra Axxess ASWC Universal Steering Wheel Control Interface (Black) Sold by: audioonline $47.00
(hoping this will actually work with my phone hook and unhook controls as well as my Kenwood has bluetooth from Parrot built in. I'm doubting this will work though so probably just volume and that's about it) MA1545B 2007-UP MAZDA CX-9 DOUBLE DIN AND DIN WITH POCKET $34.95
(bought the scosche kit because in past experience, scosche kits just seem to be better built than metra. I suppose either woudl work fine though - hoping so anyway)
2012 CX-9 Touring
Took the dash apart on the 2012 today. I'm still waiting for the parts to come but wanted to tear into it a little bit to make sure everything looked OK before I run out of "holiday week" and have to go back to work.

I noticed that the Antenna is not standard either. Not sure why that isn't mentioned anywhere, but you'll definitely need an adaptor for any aftermarket head unit. Metra's web page acknolwedged it but while it comes up for the Mazda as a fit, it's listed as a Honda adaptor. I ordered it anyway from Amazon because it looked correct from the pic and it was only $8.99.

here's the link:

I'm going to assemble all of this in my thread also and start posting there as I go.
2012 CX-9 Touring
Some things to note about the disassembly of the dash.

1. Be VERY careful. I used the 2008 service manual .pdfs I found on this forum to walk through the process. Everything was the same as the 2008 on mine so I'm hoping that means this head unit install will go OK.

2. The plastic side trim pieces that run on either side of the center console are kind of stubborn. Mine are shiny black but these could be wood grain or some other color on other vehicles. Anyway, there is no obvious starting point. I started at the bottom with a small screwdriver and gently pryed enough to get my fingers under the bottom of the trim pieces to start pulling outward. The vinyl dash material is not very tough so it will mar easily with pry marks if you apply too much pressure. Anyway, once you get the bottom of the strip out enough to get your fingers under it, start pulling it out from the dash (straight back toward the center of the vehicle. Work your way up the strips with your hands to gently pull them free. They are stubborn and they WILL sound like they are breaking when they come off. But they do come off.

3. The little cubby box next to the power outlet is next. There is a rubber mat that needs to come out first. If you ever so gently pry up on the rubber along the edge nearest the shifter you will see an indentation in the plastic under the rubber. The notch is about 1/4 of the way from the driver's side (it's not centered). DO NOT PRY UP ON THE RUBBER PART. That is glued onto a plastic shelf and your goal here is to take the whole shelf out with the rubber intact. Get the screwdriver (cover it with electrical tape first or risk marring your trim pieces) and pry upward on the edge of the storage cubby "floor". It is a little stubborn but it will come out. Once you get that back edge pryed up across it's length, you should be able to remove it by grabbing it and pulling outward (toward the shifter). You might have to tilt it upward a little first.

4. Now, you have to remove the trim piece that goes around the shifter. The entire piece come straight up. I started with the front edge (which I just exposed by removing the storage cubby bottom) and worked it upward and back. It came free and then the whole piece comes up and over the shifter. The light bulb socket is there so if you plan to keep this part safely out of the way, depress the small plastic tabs on either side of the light socket and release it so you can set the shifter trim piece aside where it will be safe.

5. With the shifter trim out, you now expose a screw in the lower right corner of the console bottom (the storage cubby and power outlet section). Remove this screw and you can release the bottom of this piece from it's clips by grabbing under the bottome edge with your finger tips and pulling upward and back toward you. Once that releases, the top of that section unhooks from the upper console section. Keep working it gently and it should release from it's top hooks easily. The power outlet will need to be unplugged to set this section aside where it will be safe. NOTE: You may have to turn the ignition on and shift out of Park temporarily to completely get this piece out.

6. There are two screws on either side of the main console (about the same height as the air vents). If you haven't removed these yet, remove them now. Now the ENTIRE center console trim, all the way up and around the top of the dash to the center speaker comes off in one piece. Start at the bottom. pull straight back on either side with your fingers hooked under the bottom edge. Once it starts to release, work your way up either side pulling STRAIGHT BACK. Don't lift up as you go higher. All of the clips are made to release pulling straight back to the center of the vehicle. It should come loose pretty easily. Unplug the 3 connectors at the bottom for the HVAC controls and the connector at the hazard switch and the entire center console trim piece can be set aside in one piece for safe keeping.

7. From here, it's pretty easy. 4 screws release the head unit. Mine has a 10mm bolt attached to a metal tongue on the lower left that had to be removed as well that was not in the instructions for the 2008. Not sure if that is only a 2012 thing or they just missed it in the instructions. Once the bolt and the 4 screws are removed, the HU comes straight out. The wiring didn't let it come out very far however so getting them released was a little awkward. I used a small screwdiver to help press on the release and they all came out fairly easily. My HU had 4 connectors. Not sure what they all are yet, until I get the wiring harness. The grey one with the large black cable is the antenna. That's when I noticed it wasn't standard and I had to order an adaptor.

Anyway, that's where I'm at so far. there looks to be plenty of room in the dash for anything needed that goes with your head unit. My Kenwood has an XM Radio add-on that I'll be using.

One thing I didn't notice was there was no obvious antenna hook up in the HU for the Sirius receiver. I suspect that is likely a separate unit and the antenna lead plugs into that. I'm hoping that is there in the area so I can perhaps use that lead to plug into my XM unit (so I can use the OEM SAT radio antenna). Anyone know about the OEM Sirius set up in these?

That's it for now. Will keep you all posted. If all my stuff get's here this week, I'm hoping to get this done this weekend. Again, I've learned not to get ahead of myself so not counting on it - just hoping :)

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Mazda CX-9, BMW MZ3 Roadster
Thanks for pointers!!!

I ordered a Pioneer Nav unit, backup camera and similar parts excetpt that wiring harness since I don't have the bose system. I'm planning to start the install this holiday weekend. I've been away on business so haven't had a chance to see any of the we have to locate the VSS and reverse wire or is it in the wiring harness that plugs into the OEM radio?
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2012 CX-9 Touring
I can't remember where I read it, but I think the harness will expose those wires. I'm hoping so anyway. I really don't need either one for my Kenwood. The Nav works without the VSS (it claims to be less accurate but I don't think it matters honestly). My car has a backup camera so I'm hoping that means the reverse wire is right there also. I'll certainly let you know though what I find out.
Mazda CX-9, BMW MZ3 Roadster
I'm hoping those wires are there. It'll make the install more plug'n'play.
Oh are you planning to use the mic that came with the radio or use the one that's already installed in the car. My HU comes with one, and again I'm hoping the car's mic wire is in the harness so I can tap into it.
2012 CX-9 Touring
Same here, but I don't think the car's mic is that good. People have complained that the OEM setup doesn't sound that well. My Kenwood uses a Parrott setup and it did pretty well in my other car, so I'm OK if I have to use its mic, but would be nice to reuse the OEM one - I agree.

The OEM deck has about 5 connectors. After the obvious AM/FM antenna lead and the large power connector, I believe the others are probably for the Sirius, Bluetooth Module and the signal wires to the amp.

The problem is on the T-Harness, the picture only shows two connectors. The large one (with the "T" for connecting the OEM deck branching off it) then another set. I don't know what the other set is for but assumed it was the connector that led to the RCA leads.

I suppose we'll know soon enough, but I'm a little discouraged from Metra's site as well as that of the manufacturer (Axxess) that it doesn't mention any of those wires nor shows a wiring or connectivity diagram.

So, I'm expecting that stuff not to be there, but hoping they are.

I'd REALLY like to use the Sirius installation that's arleady in the car and take advantage of the built in antenna on the roof more than anything. I would hate to have to run that ugly magnetic one up there and sit it next to the built in one. My only hope is that because the Sirius module is relatively standard that if I can find it I might be able to tap into the antenna lead with another connector or something. My kenwood has the XM add-on, but they're pretty much the same anymore since they joined companies ( I believe Kenwood will support both XM and Sirius add-on modules anyway).
Mazda CX-9, BMW MZ3 Roadster
FYI, I called Metra to see if the Speed, Reverse and Parking wire was included in their wiring harness. They said it's not. Those wires are not included in the non-bose harness. Oh well, I'll try to find it or leave it out.

I have these wires hooked up on the Nav in my BMW and it does help and is noticeable. For example...if I'm traveling through a tunnel with no nav signal, I can see my movement through the tunnel. It uses the car speed to track my movement. So if there was an exit you have to take right after the tunnel (taking the Lincoln Tunnel to Hoboken, NJ) it'll prompt you to prepare to exit as you get closer. Also very helpful when you're in a big city. Lots of time the sat nav would loose signal but would be fine becuase of the speed sensor. I tested this wih the iphone gps which was all over the place when I'm in NYC.

From searching I came across that the speed wire is purple. In looking at the 2008 service manual, there's a Violet /White wire coming from the instrument cluster. If this is not it, there's a purple wire going to the Nav unit in the rear.
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2012 CX-9 Touring
Yeah, I'm having a horrible time finding information. for any year. Would be nice to just find a pin layout because I'll bet that harness in the dash has the vehicle speed sensor there. Maybe not.
2012 CX-9 Touring

The Scosche dash kit came today. Very solid and tight fit in the dash panel so I'm pretty happy with that. Should look very "OEM" when finished. I haven't mounted the head unit in it to test the fit yet as it's still in my other vehicle.

Also received the steering wheel control kit from Axxess. Directions on that are confusing but found another "supplemental" set on their site that is more clear and printed that off. Can't really tell if I'll be able to use the phone controls or not, but I'm hoping I can.

Can't do much else because I'm waiting on the antenna adaptor and the primary metra t-harness.

UPDATE #2 today:

The UPS man came and delivered the main harness (Metra MZTO-01) and the antenna adapter. That's everything I ordered so I should be ready to start the install tomorrow morning and hopefully finish it while I'm cooking the Turkey! will keep you posted. I plan to take some pics and try uploading some on this thread later.
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2012 CX-9 Touring
Called Axxess tech support on the Steering Wheel Control interface. They told me that I would lose the phone answer and hangup buttons (as well as the voice recognition button) on the steering wheel control since in the Mazda, those are controlled by a separate unit and not the OEM head unit. The volume and track change capability will still work they said, so that's cool.
Thanks for keeping us updated! If its not too much to ask, could you also post pics as you go along? Do you think the OEM Bose radio would fit in my CX-9 with standard radio? I've been thinking of retrofitting it to get a screen for a backup camera.
2012 CX-9 Touring
Don't know but I doubt it. The whole system has several parts that interconnect and probably one wouldn't work without the other. I honestly don't know though.

I'm hoping to start tomorrow and will take pics on my phone as I go. Hopefully I can then figure out how to get them uploaded from there.

The OEM radio would surely "fit" OK. That wouldn't be the problem. The problem would be that it has no speaker output because I believe it is pre-amp out only and the speakers are all fed from the BOSE amp. I'm not certain of that, but if I were building it that's the way I would have done it anyway (but that doesn't really mean too much).

I know the MZT0-01 harness does not create speaker leads and instead creates RCA leads to connect to your aftermarket deck.

Unless you run into a Bose OEM unit cheap, you'd probably be better off buying an aftermarket unit anyway. Mazda will charge you WAY too much to retrofit a Bose unit in there - even if the wiring in yours would support it.

You can get decent double din units these days from apline, pioneer, kenwood, eclipse, sony, and jvc (just about all of them really) for $500-ish if you don't want too many bells and whistles. In your vehicle, a standard wiring harness for your power and speaker leads would be all you'd need and it would go in pretty easy I'd think.
2012 CX-9 Touring
UPDATE: Started the install.

I started installing my Kenwood DNX7160 HU into my CX9 today. I have a bunch of pics that I've attached here to show the progress. Will hook up and test it out tomorrow. This is the spread of all the "stuff".

- far left are the harness kits from Metra / Axxess. One is the MZTO-01 to hook up to the OEM wiring and still use the bose amp to drive the sub and speakers. The other is AXXESS's steering wheel control interface.
- next to them is my Kenwood HU (I already have it mounted to the Scosche dash kit in this pic). Under the deck are the A/V connectors, GPS Satellite receiver, Line Out for connectors, and main power harness. Just to the right of all the connectors is the Rear Camera lead.
- just to the right of the HU is the microphone for the parrott bluetooth in the kenwood
- next to the right is the Kenwood XM Sat Radio module. There is a SAT antenna for that as well that is not pictured. I plan to use the OEM SAT Radio antenna but have to extend the cable. So I'll use the antenna I have temporarily until that extension cable comes in.
- even farther to the right is the USB cable for connecting the Kenwood to a computer for firmware updates. Then the Ipod interface connector. Then just under those AUX audio out leads.
- the bigger box with the grey and blue cables next to it is a small amplified sub that I was planning to add - just to help out the bose system with some more thump. I've decided not to install this yet because I can't find an easy access through the firewall to the battery for power. Maybe I'll put that in later depending on how the bose system sounds with the Kenwood.
- Finally, far right is the center console from the CX-9.

I ran the wires to the back hatch door to the license plate mount. I have pics of that part that I'll post separately.

The below pics are of all the wiring and connections.

1. Here's the AXXESS OEM integration kit. It has preamp RCA leads to connect to your aftermarket HU. It also has a T-Harness that allows connection of the original OEM HU when you need to change the clock.

2. This is the AXXESS steering wheel control integration kit. Checked with Metra/Axxess and they told me it will NOT allow use of the Phone answer/hangup buttons since those are connected to the Mazda Bluetooth unit (which will no longer be using since the Kenwood has bluetooth built in). There is another kit sold in the UK that might work for that and also promises to allow the clock setting from the steering wheel controls. We're waiting to see how this works for one of the other forum members. If it works better, I may order one of those.

3. THis is the AM/FM antenna lead adapter. It says for Honda, but it's needed on the Mazda bose setup as well. I've heard the non-bose setup has a normal antenna cable so you may not need this.

4. Here's everything connected to the Kenwood harness. I soldered all the connections and then taped them up. Hope I didn't screw any of them up! I should be able to just plug this all in tomorrow and give it a test run. Fingers crossed.
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2012 CX-9 Touring
Pics of the Scosche dash kit

Here are some pics of my HU mounted in the Scosche dash kit. It's a pretty good fit and even though you can see some light around the insert in the center console, it will not be noticeable once it's all mounted permanently.

The Scosche matte black finish matches the console matte black perfectly. The OEM bose unit was glossy black - and that's what my trim strips are on either side of the console but it still should look pretty good.

The angle of the HU compared to the console bothers me a little. I'd rather it mount more flush (or at least recessed so that it didn't protrude. My Kenwood has some tilt adjustments and I may get lucky and be able to tilt the screen to match the contours of the console a little better. In any case, certainly nothing I can't live with.
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2012 CX-9 Touring
Mounting my rear view camera

Here are some pics of mounting my own rear view camera on my CX-9.

First, yes, my CX-9 has a built in rear view camera. I wanted to potentially use it, but the wiring is all proprietary and I couldn't find any information anywhere to figure out how to potentially use it. Besides, I personally think the quality of the OEM camera is garbage and I liked the way mine looked on my Kenwood deck in my other car so I decided just to use it.

This was a big install. Took me all day. I removed the front and 2nd row passenger side seats from the vehicle and all the cargo area trim to get the wires run and properly concealed. I used the PDF manuals for the 2008 CX-9 that are posted on this forum elsewhere to figure out how to disassemble the stuff that wasn't obvious.

Anyway, not all of the wiring is in these pics, but the initial mount of the camera itself is.

1. THis first pic is of the camera mounted. My camera is made to mount to the top license plate bolts. It's hard to see, but it's the "bar" going across the top of my temporary license tag (you can see the lens in the middle).

2. There is a wire coming off the right side of the camera that I have to run through the tail gate and all the way to the front of the car to my HU. I didn't want to drill any holes, so I looked around and found that I could sneak the wire in where the electric switch is for power lift gate. That switch removes pretty easily. It's just to the right of the License Plate lights.

3. The end of the camera's cable is a micro-connector so it's small enough to fit between the metal body of the tail gate and the plastic housing that holds the license plate lights and this switch. Not perfectly "clean" but not drilling any holes in my brand new car so I'm happy.

4. Here's the other side of the tail gate with the panel removed. You can see the cable coming in through the hole that the OEM power lift switch wire occupies normally (left center of the picture). I just squeezed that to release that and used the hole to feed my camera cable through.

After that, I had to run the cable around the inside of the tail gate and through the top rubber wire grommet down into the body of the car. From there, up under the rear edge of the headliner, down the passenger side pillar and behind the cargo area trim to the floor where I fished it up to the front of the vehicle under the passenger side carpet. I don't have pics of all this though. Sorry.

Anyway, hopefully this helps if any of you want to do something similar.
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