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Discussion Starter #1
My girlfriend has a 2011 Caliber with 38k miles on it. Nothing fancy, pretty much base model. I honestly hate that car but she likes it and I don't have to drive it!

Her factory head unit is starting to give out and occasionally puts no sound out, sometimes gives popping sounds for a while and sometimes works properly. I sourced a OEM Chrysler head unit to replace hers with from my buddies that run an audio shop. Girlfriend insists on not having an aftermarket head unit installed.

OE unit is out of a Jeep but basically the same unit.

Ripped the old one out and stuffed the new one in, went to test it before closing things up. Car started once, stalled about 2 seconds later and wouldn't start again. It lit up every warning light on the dash. No codes thrown over OBD. Didn't even get promoted to enter a code for the head unit. Put in the factory unit and the car would start but lights still lit on the dash. Disconnected the battery to let things settle and everything was fine with the original unit.

New unit didn't even light the display. It did light the backlighting for the buttons but that's it.

After the battery disconnect everything is back to how it was before with the original unit in place.

With the number of audio installs I've done, including the wiring, head unit with CANBUS, amp and glassed in box in my Audi, I've never seen any car react like that. Nor had my buddies that run and own an audio shop.

Anyone have any experience with this?
 

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The reason you do not have to enter a code is because the head units are coded to the ignition otherwise it would be a pain every time you disconnect the battery.

Taking a unit from another vehicle is a crime prevention measure. The dealer has a starscan utility that can recode a legally sourced used unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That seems odd to me. Even with cars like Audi I have no problems with swapping parts, it won't send the vehicle into a panic, then I just code the part, essentially put the part into a learn mode and pair it to the system it's installed in. I use VCDS for that in VW products.

To have a head unit cause a vehicle not to start, paired with the VIN or not, seems rather sketchy.

I expected canbus things but didn't expect Dodge to disable the entire vehicle due to a non essential part. Makes me wonder what this thing will do if I have to replace a BCM or other actually important module. Between the CVT and constant recalls I hope I can convince her to ditch it.
 

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Last recall I have was 9 years ago, anything you can share. Sub-frame rust maybe?

I would swap to an Android HU (syncs to the system when new) but I've never had any issue with the stock one.
 

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The head units in the 2010-2012 timeframe seem to differ from year to year...they look the same but the part number printed in tiny letters in the bottom corner of the face differs. It could be a mismatch between the original unit and the replacement, or the replacement itself is faulty.

Also keep in mind that in some cars the head unit is one of the controllers in the CANBUS network. Not saying that's the case with the Caliber but it's something else to consider.
 
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