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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, nice to be back on the forum!

This year my mom decided that she wanted to drive a minivan again after a few years on some Fiat 500Ls. Long story short, she loved her first minivan before my parents had kids, and now I, the youngest of 3, am almost 17. She wants one because of the comfort and space as well as for long family trips that we take sometimes.

So about a month ago, my dad (who has been fixing wrecked cars as a hobby or job his whole life) won this 2018 Grand Caravan GT on an auction down in Jarupa Valley, California. The van has 35,000 miles and didn't come with a key. We paid much less than we would have if it were on IAA or Copart, and this has been our experience with another car recently, and it makes sense since these auctions likely aren't watched as much by salvage buyers. Just this last week we finally got it delivered up here, and our findings have been interesting.

So first of all, it's wrecked in the front right. The radiator is hit below the bumper, and the front airbags are blown. There is also scraping down the right side.
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By the dirt and dust accumulated on the car, it looks to have been sitting wrecked for at least a year. Frustratingly, the rear pop-out windows have been open for that entire time, causing a lot of dust to accumulate inside, especially in the back. I was able to close them.
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The van is missing its radio. When we first got it, I noticed that there were some loose wires going to where it was as well as connectors, but I didn't suspect anything at the time. It looks like the radio was removed in a hurry as one of the brackets is bent.
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This van has been forklifted during the process of auctioning, and so it has an issue my dad says has happened to several stow-n-go vans in his experience. There are dents in the bottom of the front bins, preventing the seats from going all of the way in. He says they are dents in the metal and need to be straightened out manually.
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The front console was also pulled off of its clips but left in place. It seemed wierd for a van with a rental agency on the front plate.
Last weekend, our neighbor who is a locksmith came to program a key to the van. However, long story short, it wasn't able to be programmed and he only figured it out a few days later. It turned out that one of the connectors for the OBD port had been cut. We got a connector from a junkyard for reference and I soldered the wire back together.
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With the key programmed, the van starts up, although it needed a new battery.
So tonight, my uncle who works full-time as a bodyman was over and we had him take a quick look at the van. He confirmed that the damage is relatively light, and while he was looking at the radiator, he noticed something. There were wires going to the lower grille that were cut and didn't lead to any stock lights. He said that those went to strobe lights at one time.
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He went around back and, sure enough, there were extra bulbs in the backup light chambers.
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The conclusion is that this was, at one point, an undercover/passenger police vehicle, and that they got a front plate liner from the local rental agency to make it more convincing. This explains a lot of weird things about the van: the removed radio and jostled console, the cut/tapped OBD line, the fact that a rental van was listed on a government auction, and possibly even the missing key and dark tint.

Anyway, that's the story up to this point. I should be updating as we get the van fixed but progress may be slow because we have a lot of other projects going on. I just have a few questions. What are the options for replacing the radio? It would be nice to have bluetooth, I understand Carplay/AA would not be possible without going aftermarket, right? And are those wires stock or for the lighting?

Thank you to all who took the time reading this and thanks in advance for any help!
 

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First of all, welcome to the community. I honestly believe you made the right choice joining us as this site is probably the one most useful resource for all owners of any Chrysler minivan, be it a brand-new Pacifica or a heavily modified 1st gen turbo.

Your dad has certainly picked up a specimen with quite the backstory and I'm sure he can make it all good to go again. That said, one thing I would recommend you to check out on a former police vehicle, especially an undercover unit, are the engine hours. You will do this using the EVIC (i.e. the little screen in the middle of the gauge cluster which I believe should exist in a GT). If you don't have that, I'm sure someone else can tell you how. The reason is that it most likely spent a lot of time idling, often for prolonged periods, so the 35k miles don't really mean anything in that case. A high hours reading would indicate that the van had worked quite hard in its past life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think he checked the engine hours and they were a bit high, I don't remember the specific number. Definitely something to watch out for. His current truck is a 2014 Ram 1500 with the same engine and 135,000 miles. We have both seen a lot about taking care of it. The main thing we've seen is that the oil should be changed every 3000 miles strictly, and that's part of why we got a low mileage vehicle this time.
Just tonight, he found an ad for a full DVD system out of a 2008, including the radio. It's really cheap and the guy says he still has it. A few days ago I read through the thread about retrofitting it in a 2011 from back in the day, and they said it's pretty much identical to 2008-2010 so it looks possible. Is there anything that will stop a 2008 system from going into a 2018?
The listing doesn't seem to include the C pillar inputs. I've seen some posts talking about HDMI inputs in a 5th gen, but I swear I saw AV inputs once in a 2016 T&C limited. Was this an option, or an update, or am I mistaken? It would be nice to source an HDMI port if it would plug into the 2008 system but it's not a necessity as the screens are still low resolution and adapters can be bought.
On a lighter note, does anyone know what it looks like for the calipers to be painted red? My mom likes her car to look fast :cool::cool:
 

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I think he checked the engine hours and they were a bit high, I don't remember the specific number. Definitely something to watch out for. His current truck is a 2014 Ram 1500 with the same engine and 135,000 miles. We have both seen a lot about taking care of it. The main thing we've seen is that the oil should be changed every 3000 miles strictly, and that's part of why we got a low mileage vehicle this time.
Just tonight, he found an ad for a full DVD system out of a 2008, including the radio. It's really cheap and the guy says he still has it. A few days ago I read through the thread about retrofitting it in a 2011 from back in the day, and they said it's pretty much identical to 2008-2010 so it looks possible. Is there anything that will stop a 2008 system from going into a 2018?
The listing doesn't seem to include the C pillar inputs. I've seen some posts talking about HDMI inputs in a 5th gen, but I swear I saw AV inputs once in a 2016 T&C limited. Was this an option, or an update, or am I mistaken? It would be nice to source an HDMI port if it would plug into the 2008 system but it's not a necessity as the screens are still low resolution and adapters can be bought.
On a lighter note, does anyone know what it looks like for the calipers to be painted red? My mom likes her car to look fast :cool::cool:
As someone who added a lot of high end features to low end vehicles, I can help with this.

Yes, any 2008-2019 GCV or T&C overhead console & wiring will fit your van. However, be mindful that there are different colors of the plastic trim, including pearl, grey, black, and a few others. Another few things to take note:
-2008 overhead screens were only 8 inch, and very poor quality. In 2009 they discontinued the 8 inch screens and replaced them for 9 inch screens, which stayed until 2013. In 2013 they discontinued the normal 9 inch screens and replaced them for blu-ray 9 inch screens, and the quality is really good. And with the blu-ray screens came the HDMI connector on the driver side C-pillar, it is one long cable that connects directly to the main overhead screen from the C-pillar.
-If you add the dual screen system, you must also be mindful of the wiring itself. From your photo, looks like you have the Uconnect hands free module and the backup camera. So the harness you get must be a van that had the Uconnect module under the driver side window air vent, and a backup camera or at least the cable for it from the radio. Fortunately, the Uconnect, backup camera, and rear VES system is one harness piece that is separate from the main vehicle wiring harness. You can either replace yours for one equipped with the VES dual system, or just leave the original there and just add the new harness on top. But don't get them mixed up.
-The dual screen system includes a dvd player under the climate controls, and the wiring for it is included in the wiring harness mentioned above if it came from a van with the dual screen system. The 2013 and newer system has a bluray player which replaces the old regular dvd player under the climate controls. In my van I have the non bluray player under the climate controls and it plays perfectly fine on my blu ray screen so I'm not sure what exactly changed, I know the connector is the same on the non bluray and bluray player itself.

A few more notable items for you, the connectors on the driver C-pillar are RCA connectors for the screen you mentioned can be added and is very simple. The wiring goes from the 2'nd row overhead screen, straight towards the 2'nd row driver side window, then along the edge and down the C-pillar right to the place you plug the devices in. That panel piece is held in from behind onto the rear quarter panel with 2 or 4 Philips screws and the rest are metal clips. If you add the bluray system, the HDMI cable and RCA wires runs together. And if you do decide to get the bluray cable installed, the factory HDMI panel at the C-pillar includes 2 USB charger ports. The wiring is already present in your van for the USB chargers.

Now as far as the radio goes, any 2008-2019 radio will work. However, if you like Bluetooth audio streaming then make sure your radio is a 2011 or newer as it wasn't a part of the radio firmware. The RBZ code is the touch screen radio with the Bluetooth capability, The RHB radio is 2011 and newer NAV radio. When bluray was introduced in 2013, the radios were given a firmware change and the color of the display when on is a dark color instead of a light blue color to match the blu ray screens. It's a minor thing but I much prefer the dark color, which is now installed in my 2009 caravan along with the dual screen system but only the 3'rd row screen is bluray at the moment.

If you have any questions feel free to ask here or message me directly, happy to help with your projects!
 

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Just tonight, he found an ad for a full DVD system out of a 2008, including the radio. and they said it's pretty much identical to 2008-2010 so it looks possible. Is there anything that will stop a 2008 system from going into a 2018?
The listing doesn't seem to include the C pillar inputs. I've seen some posts talking about HDMI inputs in a 5th gen, but I swear I saw AV inputs once in a 2016 T&C limited. Was this an option, or an update, or am I mistaken? It would be nice to source an HDMI port if it would plug into the 2008 system but it's not a necessity as the screens are still low resolution and adapters can be bought.
On a lighter note, does anyone know what it looks like for the calipers to be painted red? My mom likes her car to look fast :cool::cool:
10 years!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As someone who added a lot of high end features to low end vehicles, I can help with this.

Yes, any 2008-2019 GCV or T&C overhead console & wiring will fit your van. However, be mindful that there are different colors of the plastic trim, including pearl, grey, black, and a few others. Another few things to take note:
-2008 overhead screens were only 8 inch, and very poor quality. In 2009 they discontinued the 8 inch screens and replaced them for 9 inch screens, which stayed until 2013. In 2013 they discontinued the normal 9 inch screens and replaced them for blu-ray 9 inch screens, and the quality is really good. And with the blu-ray screens came the HDMI connector on the driver side C-pillar, it is one long cable that connects directly to the main overhead screen from the C-pillar.
-If you add the dual screen system, you must also be mindful of the wiring itself. From your photo, looks like you have the Uconnect hands free module and the backup camera. So the harness you get must be a van that had the Uconnect module under the driver side window air vent, and a backup camera or at least the cable for it from the radio. Fortunately, the Uconnect, backup camera, and rear VES system is one harness piece that is separate from the main vehicle wiring harness. You can either replace yours for one equipped with the VES dual system, or just leave the original there and just add the new harness on top. But don't get them mixed up.
-The dual screen system includes a dvd player under the climate controls, and the wiring for it is included in the wiring harness mentioned above if it came from a van with the dual screen system. The 2013 and newer system has a bluray player which replaces the old regular dvd player under the climate controls. In my van I have the non bluray player under the climate controls and it plays perfectly fine on my blu ray screen so I'm not sure what exactly changed, I know the connector is the same on the non bluray and bluray player itself.

A few more notable items for you, the connectors on the driver C-pillar are RCA connectors for the screen you mentioned can be added and is very simple. The wiring goes from the 2'nd row overhead screen, straight towards the 2'nd row driver side window, then along the edge and down the C-pillar right to the place you plug the devices in. That panel piece is held in from behind onto the rear quarter panel with 2 or 4 Philips screws and the rest are metal clips. If you add the bluray system, the HDMI cable and RCA wires runs together. And if you do decide to get the bluray cable installed, the factory HDMI panel at the C-pillar includes 2 USB charger ports. The wiring is already present in your van for the USB chargers.

Now as far as the radio goes, any 2008-2019 radio will work. However, if you like Bluetooth audio streaming then make sure your radio is a 2011 or newer as it wasn't a part of the radio firmware. The RBZ code is the touch screen radio with the Bluetooth capability, The RHB radio is 2011 and newer NAV radio. When bluray was introduced in 2013, the radios were given a firmware change and the color of the display when on is a dark color instead of a light blue color to match the blu ray screens. It's a minor thing but I much prefer the dark color, which is now installed in my 2009 caravan along with the dual screen system but only the 3'rd row screen is bluray at the moment.

If you have any questions feel free to ask here or message me directly, happy to help with your projects!
Thank you so much! This is incredibly helpful. I just have one question if you know, was there a change in resolution for 2013 or just screen quality? Again you are such a superhero for this information, it is really enlightening.
 

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Thank you so much! This is incredibly helpful. I just have one question if you know, was there a change in resolution for 2013 or just screen quality? Again you are such a superhero for this information, it is really enlightening.
It's still a 9 inch screen but it has a lot more pixels, maybe double what the non bluray screen has so yes.

I only found one bluray screen at the junkyard so far, so I've installed it into the 3'rd row as the 2'nd row is a bit different. I played a movie in the dvd player and got both screens to display it. I then paused the movie and both screens had the exact same image for comparison: I tried my best to take a photo at the same distance from the screen and also holding it steady, it was hard to get a good photo during the day so I tried in the dark garage.

The non bluray screen (the 2'nd row)
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The Buray 3'rd row:
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The bluray screen has much more accurate coloring, and the quality of the video is a lot better then the non bluray screen.
I also noticed the bluray screen seems to show more on the sides of the screen, compare the building on the bottom right for example: On the non bluray screen, there are 6 windows on the top of the building visible, and on the bluray screen you can see 6 and a half. Or the chimney on the house far left, I'm not sure why this is.
-Another good area to see the difference is the buildings and people to the left of the main street. We can't see the people's legs on the non bluray, and on the bluray we can!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello again, it's been a while so there is a bit to update.
We picked up a second van. Long story short, the owner was selling it because they were told the engine was faulty, we bought it on that premise, and then found out that it only needed the coolant Y pipe under the engine that is a common failure on these vans. It's a 2013 T&C with 130,000 miles.
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It needs a detail very badly, it had an exhaust leak that may or may not have been resolved, and it needs a windshield. It is equipped with the one-screen DVD system including an HDMI port, and the screen is not working. We ordered the cable that commonly breaks and replaced it, but with that installed the issue persists. DVDs play fine on the radio screen.
We plan to finish this one up and sell it. My mom wants to keep going with the caravan because it's in much better condition.

Some progress has been made on the Caravan. We had a relative bring parts down from a junkyard in Idaho on their way to a family event. They are in the right color, but their bumper was already gone, so we picked up a 2011 (wrong silver) bumper from another place since the van is going to need paint work anyway. As my dad was putting the bumper together, he found that the frame was bent and so it had to go to a shop with a frame rack to get straightened. It just got back, so hopefully it should be able to return to the road within a few weeks.
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We found a 2013 T&C in a salvage yard with the single screen HDMI system. I pulled the ceiling console out as well as the HDMI cable and the C pillar panel. I started trying to remove the wires going from the C pillar to the dash but they look to join in with the rest of the harness. Also, the wrecked van is hit in a way that niether of the right doors open so it might be impossible to remove at all. I cut the harness tips out with the radio to see if it could be spliced into this one.
One thing I think I forgot to mention is that this 2018 has the premium audio system. I don't know how much that complicates things. I could compare the connectors I cut out to the wires hanging out of the radio.
With all of this, I have a few questions:
  • What else could be wrong with the DVD screen in the red van? I plan on testing the junkyard screen to see if the signal is getting back there.
  • Are there mopar harnesses for retrofitting this stuff independently of other harnesses? We looked at the A/V input harness in the junkyard van and the part number seems to refer to a 2013-only part. This might be impossible without completely removing the headliner and dash of both vehicles if there isn't a simple solution.
  • For handling the amplifier, does the van need a different harness, radio, both, or neither?
Again, thank you so much for any advice!
 

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We found a 2013 T&C in a salvage yard with the single screen HDMI system. I pulled the ceiling console out as well as the HDMI cable and the C pillar panel. I started trying to remove the wires going from the C pillar to the dash but they look to join in with the rest of the harness.
I thought you wanted the dual screen system?

And while you are correct that the harness goes under the dash, it does not join the rest of the main wiring harness. Instead, the screen/dvd player/uconnect wiring is a separate piece from the main dash harness. It is clipped into the back of the air vent ducts, but it does not directly tape or merge into the main harness.

The wiring goes from the passenger side A-pillar (there is a small 3 way connectors that goes to the passenger footwell), then straight behind the ducts to the center dash (in-between the ducts). That leads to the radio (2 connectors), down to the ground and dvd player (if equipped). From the center of the 2 ducts, it leads to the driver footwell, where the CAN lines make a loop in the system via 2 connectors on the VES harness connecting to 2 main wiring connectors, including power. These are located right above the steering column visible if you look straight up. From there, a section of wire splits off to the Uconnect module which sits right behind the headlight switch, the rest goes to the driver A-pillar for the mike wires. This is the complete wiring of the overhead screen system, Uconnect, and the dash part of the backup camera wiring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I thought you wanted the dual screen system?

And while you are correct that the harness goes under the dash, it does not join the rest of the main wiring harness. Instead, the screen/dvd player/uconnect wiring is a separate piece from the main dash harness. It is clipped into the back of the air vent ducts, but it does not directly tape or merge into the main harness.

The wiring goes from the passenger side A-pillar (there is a small 3 way connectors that goes to the passenger footwell), then straight behind the ducts to the center dash (in-between the ducts). That leads to the radio (2 connectors), down to the ground and dvd player (if equipped). From the center of the 2 ducts, it leads to the driver footwell, where the CAN lines make a loop in the system via 2 connectors on the VES harness connecting to 2 main wiring connectors, including power. These are located right above the steering column visible if you look straight up. From there, a section of wire splits off to the Uconnect module which sits right behind the headlight switch, the rest goes to the driver A-pillar for the mike wires. This is the complete wiring of the overhead screen system, Uconnect, and the dash part of the backup camera wiring.
We looked and couldn't find any vans with the dual screen system that were the newer screens, so for now we are going with this. I think my mistake was I didn't realize the backup camera was part of the same harness. I did notice that the HDMI connection goes straight from the C pillar to the screen. If I installed the harness from the screen to the radio, would it transmit the sound from HDMI without the rest of the input harness? I guess I can use an AUX cable if that doesn't work. At this point, I think I have all of the information I can find. I will just have to see if this is possible. We might have to take crowbars out to the junkyard to get those doors open and remove the dash and harness. I will also try to install the connectors for the radio to the cut wires and see if the speaker setup is different.
 

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We looked and couldn't find any vans with the dual screen system that were the newer screens, so for now we are going with this. I think my mistake was I didn't realize the backup camera was part of the same harness. I did notice that the HDMI connection goes straight from the C pillar to the screen. If I installed the harness from the screen to the radio, would it transmit the sound from HDMI without the rest of the input harness? I guess I can use an AUX cable if that doesn't work. At this point, I think I have all of the information I can find. I will just have to see if this is possible. We might have to take crowbars out to the junkyard to get those doors open and remove the dash and harness. I will also try to install the connectors for the radio to the cut wires and see if the speaker setup is different.
I'm not sure you understand my experience with these vans, I have done 6 dual screen installs into 2009-2016 year vans which did not have any screens. I also done several backup camera installs, Uconnect installs, and I have made my 2009 SE have a few less features then a fully optioned out town and country limited model, including power sliding doors, power liftgate, infinity 10 speaker system, and auto climate to name a few.

You don't need the newer screen system harness, the only difference between the old and new harness is the HDMI cable. Even the RCA jacks wiring is the same minus 3 less wires for AUX 1 which is replaced with the HDMI port. Everything else (for the screen system wiring) is exactly the same, and the fact you already have the HDMI cable means that now you can get any dual screen harness from any 2008 and up year van with the dual system, which will be way easier to find then the newer 2013 bluray exclusive ones. You will still need to find the bluray exclusive dual screens, but in the mean time (if you really need the dual system now), you can connect any 2008 and newer screens into your van, even mis match them like I did since I can't find the bluray 2'nd row screen, but I do have the bluray 3'rd row. As long as the 2'nd row screen has black/orange connectors, and the 3'rd row has grey/white, it will work.
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As for the HDMI cable itself, you can put it anywhere you'd like, it just must plug into the primary screen. With the HDMI cable unplugged from the screen, you will retain everything else that's plugged in, you just won't be able to use the HDMI port on the C-pillar. That HDMI cable is exactly the same on the single screen system as it is on the dual system.

Don't forget that programming is necessary for this to work, connecting all the modules and wires is only partial success.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you again for your response. I am indifferent to having dual screens and they seem hard to find in a junkyard, so I will go with whatever is most convenient.
Don't forget that programming is necessary for this to work, connecting all the modules and wires is only partial success.
I found this in an old thread:
"The dealer got all the codes to apply to the VIN today and was able to activate the system. Codes required were: XRV RDJ RD9 RF5. The RDJ code was the one that gave the dealer trouble as it would not add in for them and they had to go up the chain and request it be added at a higher level up within Chrysler."
Is this the programming you are talking about? If so, is it possible to use AlfaOBD (an app designed for Chryslers) to program these codes, or does it require a dealer visit?
 

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"The dealer got all the codes to apply to the VIN today and was able to activate the system. Codes required were: XRV RDJ RD9 RF5. The RDJ code was the one that gave the dealer trouble as it would not add in for them and they had to go up the chain and request it be added at a higher level up within Chrysler."
Is this the programming you are talking about? If so, is it possible to use AlfaOBD (an app designed for Chryslers) to program these codes, or does it require a dealer visit?
You can use AlphaOBD to activate any feature you'd like, including the dual screen system. The way it works if you find the function you are looking for "such as 3'rd row screen present" and you change the parameters from "not set" to "set".

Should you add it yourself, you need to do these changes:
-2'nd row screen present "set"
-3'rd row screen present "set"
-position of fully muxed VES "set to 2'nd row"
-CD changer (or dvd player) set Only if you decide to add it, the system can work without this
 
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