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I retrofit MCU2, IC2, Tuner2, and FSD Computer into my HW2.0 Car

Here's my story of my DIY HW2.0 retrofit for MCU2, IC2, TUNER2, and FSD Computer:

I want to begin this post by offering the most honest caveat I can: I do not encourage you to repeat anything I have done. In fact, now that Tesla is offering the MCU2 and FSD Computer retrofits officially, I highly recommend you go do that. MCU2 + FSD is wonderful. I am presenting this post to hopefully provide some guidance and entertainment to members of this great community – a place that I’ve found endlessly fun for the past several years during my Tesla ownership. I make no claims that the guidance offered below is correct or suited to your circumstances.

Towards the end of January, late one night while tinkering with my Tesla, I had a realization – I finally knew enough about the Model S/X hardware & software architecture to attempt one of the most involved retrofits I’ve ever done on a vehicle – an MCU2/IC2/Tuner2/APE3 retrofit into my HW2.0 MCU1 Model S. After a LOT of research, and with tons of help from others in this community (thank you to those that helped; you know who you are), I wanted to share my success story of retrofitting MCU2/IC2/Tuner2/APE3 to work in my car. All told – I have a fully working MCU2/IC2/Tuner2/APE3 with all the Theater, Arcade, Caraoke, FM Radio, Web Browser, Dashcam, Sentry, FSD visualizations and other goodies you would expect.

“But Tesla now offers an official MCU2/APE3 retrofit!” you say…” Why would you want to do a retrofit yourself?” Good question…there’s a couple reasons I chose to do this myself:

  • I completed the retrofit a couple months before Tesla finally came out with a public announcement that MCU2 retrofits were officially official. I’d been waiting for Tesla to follow-through on Elon’s never-ending tweets promising a retrofit was coming and finally just decided I’d do it myself.
  • Tesla charges $2,500 for the MCU2/IC2 retrofit and does not include the XM/FM Tuner2. I thought I’d try getting Tuner2 to work – which I did.
  • I found a person with a wrecked 2018 Model S who was willing to sell me the MCU2, IC2, Tuner2, and wiring harness out of the car – everything I needed from a hardware perspective for a reasonable price. All in, I saved roughly $1,000 doing this myself compared to asking Tesla to do it. Honestly though, I probably put 100+ hours into this project and went from knowing nothing to knowing a lot. I didn’t really save time/money; quite the contrary. I did this because it was a ton of fun.
  • I got the APE3 (FSD Computer) unit on loan from a friend. I did purchase FSD from Tesla and will have Tesla install my forthcoming APE3 unit whenever they actually do it.

Come along as I take you through my journey of retrofitting the MCU2/IC2/Tuner2/APE3 hardware into my HW2.0 car.

mcu2-png.531258
 

KyleDay

Active Member
Oct 29, 2016
1,529
3,457
AZ
Does the MCU2 have premium audio ports only? My MCU1 came with standard audio, so that might be a nice side benefit to an upgrade.
Premium audio requires the external amplifier still. My car was base audio, so I got a base audio mcu2. See my post on mcu2 part numbers. It may have been possible to retrofit the external amplifier and additional speakers to upgrade my car to “premium audio” - but I already installed my own sound system ages ago.
 
View attachment 531277


If you made it to the end of this post, congratulations! You now know how crazy I am. Please don’t repeat my craziness – there were many long nights of thinking “how am I going to make this work?” I did it because it was fun, but now that Tesla is officially offering most (but not Tuner!) of what I did, I encourage you to go that route.

Kyle

Wonderful story! You did it because you could!
Thanks for sharing, I am so happy for you. :)
 
Then you just put the Tuner2 in place (hard)

Hey @kdday thank you so much for sharing your experience with us on this project!

You mentioned the incompatibilities in the wiring harness of the new radio tuner, but I was just wondering if Tuner2 is a direct fit on the analog tuner bracket.

Any modifications needed or does it fit in the same space and use the same evil screws of death as the old analog tuner?
 
Hey @kdday thank you so much for sharing your experience with us on this project!

You mentioned the incompatibilities in the wiring harness of the new radio tuner, but I was just wondering if Tuner2 is a direct fit on the analog tuner bracket.

Any modifications needed or does it fit in the same space and use the same evil screws of death as the old analog tuner?

It's not a direct fit unless you get the mount adapter, see photo here (which is incidentally taken by @kdday !)

Tesla confirms infotainment system upgradeability from MCU1 to MCU2 for $2500
 
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Reactions: KyleDay

EVortex

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jan 22, 2018
1,081
3,567
Florida
Premium audio requires the external amplifier still. My car was base audio, so I got a base audio mcu2. See my post on mcu2 part numbers. It may have been possible to retrofit the external amplifier and additional speakers to upgrade my car to “premium audio” - but I already installed my own sound system ages ago.
The Tesla premium amp is the same for MCU1 and MCU2. The wiring harness and connector on the amp side of the premium amp is also the same, but there are differences in wiring colors. Base audio drives door and dash speakers (less two midranges), but a few things change with premium audio. With premium audio, the base amp drives the rear door speakers, all three dash midranges, and the tweeters, while the premium amp drives the front door speakers, lift gate midranges and subwoofer. To upgrade from base to premium, you would need to add the additional amp (shares the same bracket as the radio tuner), audio wiring harnesses for MCU, amps, and speakers, subwoofer enclosure, speakers, and configuration. It would be a big job, but it is possible. I upgraded all speakers and the premium amp so I am familiar with some of what it would take, and that alone was a big job. For a base to premium upgrade, I know you can get a premium amp, sub enclosure and stock speakers on ebay. Wiring harnesses and other miscellaneous items could come from a salvage S. I estimate maybe $750 to $1,000 for used parts and a ton of labor. Worth it compared to an aftermarket replacement? Maybe not, but everyone has their own reasons, so maybe.
 

EVortex

Active Member
Supporting Member
Jan 22, 2018
1,081
3,567
Florida
Has anyone added XM to a glass roof Model S? I bought my car in March 2018 and was one of the first to get MCU2, but at that time you could not get XM with the glass roof because of the antenna placement. A few months later, Tesla started offering XM with the glass roof so they figured out a new way to deal with the antenna. This thread has got me wondering if the new antenna could be retrofitted. I know I can replace the FM tuner with FM/XM. Then I think I would need a configuration change and subscription. Anyone try this yet?
 

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