Disclaimer: This post is going to be useful to very, very few people but I suspect for those people it will be super helpful, so here we go.
When I bought my 2008 Dodge Viper, it came with the standard type of radio for that time period — a simple radio and CD player. However who the hell listens to CDs anymore? I certainly don’t so I set out to be able to hook my iPhone up to my car.
While I easily found a kit to do this for my Mustang, Vipers are a much rarer car so there are way fewer solutions. That said this same radio is used throughout many different Chrysler Group cars so it may be worth seeing if you can find a kit meant for a different car but the same radio.
I decided to go the official route by using the Mopar iPod Interface Kit (82209616). It was designed for iPods rather than iPhones so it’s not perfect, but we’ll get to that later.
Start by removing the metal ring that goes around the shifter. I don’t have a picture of the before but it’s just some standard hexagonal socket bolts (use an Allen wrench). You’ll end up with this:
Now that it’s removed, lift up the shifter cover and use two wrenches to loosen the bolt so that you can unscrew the shifter. I’d turn the bolt as little as possible so that when you reconnect the shifter, it’s as close as possible to it’s previous state.
Once that’s done, you can just grab the whole cover and pull it off. Note that the power connector for the cigarette lighter will be connected to this so you’ll need to disconnect that connector before you pull it too far off.
I wouldn’t bother messing around with the hand brake — you can just turn the cover so it’s out of the way.
Now that that’s done, you can remove the whole center console faceplate by undoing all of the hex bolts. Be careful with the foam that’s up near the air vents and you’ll need to disconnect all three power connectors near the bottom of the panel.
These connectors have a little push tab you have to push in in order to remove them from the socket.
Now before you remove screws that are holding in the radio, I recommend you tape up the big hole that is below the radio so that you don’t drop a screw down the hole only to never see the screw again.
In order to actually slide the radio out of the dashboard, I had to cut a notch into the plastic in the upper-right of the radio area. It’s covered up by the face plate so it’s not a big deal. I’m told however that you can also bend that side panel out far enough to get the radio out but I didn’t have any luck doing that.
When removing the radio, you’ll need to disconnect two connectors along with the radio antenna. These connectors also have little tabs you’ll need to press down on.
Okay, the radio is out! Now it’s time to install the kit. Start by mounting the box. The best place I managed to find to mount it is on the driver’s side of the transmission tunnel. It gets warm, maybe even a bit hot there, but it doesn’t seem to mind. I chose to mount it there because I didn’t want to do silly things like drill holes in my glovebox or anything. I used the included double-sided Velcro to attach it.
To get the wiring that goes between the box and the back of the radio down to the box, I pushed a stiff copper wire down through behind the radio and into the footwell. Then I attached the wiring to the stiff wire and pulled it back up.
Then it’s just a matter of reversing all of the steps to reassemble the radio and center console. Don’t forget to connect anything!
For the white cable that is actually connected to the iPod or iPhone, I ran it under the edge of the transmission tunnel cover (the blue bit in my earlier photos). You can pry it back slightly next to where you leg goes and push the cable undernearth it. You’ll never even notice it. It comes out behind my seat, near the end of the transmission tunnel, where I can connect or disconnect the little extension cable.
To use the kit, I usually select the music I want to listen to before plugging in the device since the device only works in dumb mode. That means you must control your music via the radio and not via the iPhone. Lame, I know. I usually just do Songs → Shuffle and then hit skip song on my radio if I don’t like what came up. It’s just too much of a pain in the ass to navigate your music collection via the radio’s controls.
UPDATE: iOS 7 appears to have removed iPod mode meaning that it no longer hides the controls in the music app when plugged into your car. You can now control what’s playing directly from the phone even when it is plugged in.
Other apps like Pandora or Last.fm work completely normally which is why you’ll probably not want your iPhone hidden inside of your glove box. I usually put it upside down into the empty ash tray slot (I tossed the actual ash tray).
Important note: since the kit was designed for the old iPods, it uses the old Apple connector pin assignments. This means while it’ll connect fine, it won’t actually charge your iPhone. To resolve this, I purchased an adapter off Amazon that remaps the pins to the modern way.
Questions? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it. 🙂