When I purchased Project WorkHorse, I knew there were a few things I would want to change or upgrade. Sure, I could have kept looking for a truck that had everything I wanted, but the 2019 Ram 2500 I did buy had almost everything that I felt I needed in a truck. However, after only a few short months, the first thing I realized was the basic 5-inch radio that came in the Ram was missing a few key functions that make life easier, especially when traveling. I came to the conclusion I definitely needed a radio upgrade.
I thought about going to a salvage yard to find an 8-inch or even a 12-inch-screen head unit to upgrade my truck, but then I realized that even after purchasing a used unit, I would also need to make a trip to the dealer to get it “programmed” in order for it to work in my truck. Most used radios can cost close to $2,000 these days and add in the cost of programming, and I quickly realized there is a better option. Enter Infotainment.com of Oviedo, Florida.
An Easier Than Ever Radio Upgrade
If you’re as seasoned as I am (read: old), then you surely remember a time when cutting and splicing wires was all that was required to replace a radio in your car or truck. It’s not that simple anymore, and switching a radio for an upgraded unit requires special wiring and programming to keep many of the factory functions. The radio in your truck is so much more than just a radio these days.
Infotainment.com was created to help car and truck owners by offering easy-to-install, plug-and-play, DIY upgrades that anyone can install with confidence. Infotainment is a company that transformed from an OEM parts supplier to an auto-electronics engineering company. Because of this, the items like the radio upgrade we are doing are factory units that are designed to be factory installed. They fit right because they are right.
Size Does Matter
In the case of my 2019 Ram, the 5-inch radio was able to play music and allow me to make phone calls and hands-free text messages. Since I travel quite a bit, I quickly learned the absence of the ever-important GPS and the not-as-important but still nice Apple Car Play and SiriusXM needed to be resolved. It’s no secret that I haul various things for various people, and having navigation is something I felt was necessary. Sure, I could simply mount my phone in a holder and use the Google Maps function on the phone screen, but that looks too cluttered for my OCD. Having a phone mounted somewhere with cords attached is not something I can live with.
The upgrade I acquired is UAV Radio Uconnect 4C NAV with an 8.4-inch display that incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Upgrade (SKU: C-BDLUAVHD-XL). The “kit” includes a UAV GPS Navigation Radio Module, a replacement radio panel (which is specific to the trim level of the truck), the radio bezel with the built-in 8.4-inch display screen, and the required wiring and connectors.
When upgrading 2018 and newer Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and RAM vehicles they are equipped with a device called a security gateway. This is a “signal blocker” that protects your vehicle’s computer from being hacked. In order to activate your new feature, again, like our new radio, you will need to temporarily install a bypass device while using Infotainment’s OBDGenie programmer.
The brain of the upgrade is the OBD Genie Programmer and Security Gateway Module Bypass included in the kit. But what does the OBDGenie programmer do? When you install a new feature into your vehicle, like a new radio, the OBDGenie is plugged into the OBD-II port under the dash to program the new feature. This means you do not need to make a trip to the dealer to “activate” the upgrade you installed.
This is an extremely necessary step and must be performed for this upgrade to work. With the radio connected to the truck, you will need to connect the included gateway security bypass. To do so, you will simply remove the two connectors from the factory-installed gateway module (Ram 1500 – located behind the driver’s knee bolster to the left of the steering wheel shaft) (Ram Heavy Duty – located behind the instrument cluster). Once these two connectors are disconnected plug them into the security gateway module bypass. Turn the vehicle to the run position and plug the OBDGenie programmer into the OBDII port. Once the Genie gives a green light, you are all set and can remove both the Genie and bypass. Then, reinstall the two connectors back into your gateway module and programming is complete.
Getting It Done
While this upgrade does require some interior disassembly and reassembly, do not let that scare you from taking on this upgrade. The center bezel is only held in place with two screws and several clips. Simply remove the two screws and pull the center bezel away from the dash. As far as removing the instrument cluster to connect the gateway module, it too is held in place with a few screws and is easily removed. The hardest part for me was getting my large hands through the opening behind the instrument cluster to connect the security module. Other than that, I could not believe how easy the installation was and that it took less than two hours — and I was stopping to take pictures.
While the new Infotainment system will not improve the performance of Project WorkHorse, it does create a more user-friendly interior, especially on those long hauls when I am not sure of the exact location I need to arrive. Also, no more fumbling through the radio stations trying to find something to listen to. I can now subscribe to satellite radio or use Apple Car play and not listen to commercials anymore. That’s a definite win to me.