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Range Rover Sport iPhone Docking Station Installation Instructions for Apple CarPlay

These are instructions for installing a USB port in the cupholder of a 2017 Ranger Rover Sport to use with an iPhone dock and Apple CarPlay. Other docks may be available for Android phones (the USB connection is universal).

This project may also work on other Land Rover vehicles (full-size RR, LR Discovery) or model years. The key component is for your vehicle’s cup holder to have a removable plate in the bottom, which gives you access to the insides of the center console for running the USB cable and saves you from having to take the center console apart. And on that note, a huge thank you to member pmanchuck who discovered (or at least showed me) that the bottom of the cup holder has the removable plate!

The main difference between pmanchuck’s installation and mine is that I wanted mine to be futureproof. Apple recently changed the cable connector on the iPad from lightning to USB-C. Chances are that the same may happen to the iPhone in the future. Having a USB port in the cupholder allows me to easily change the phone’s cable. It also gives me flexibility should I should I ever switch to Android (slim chance, but I’m keeping my RRS for at least the next five years, so you never know).

Here’s what you’re going to need:
iPhone dock: https://www.ebay.com/itm/iPhone-car-mount-holder-stand-for-cup-holder-Charge-and-connect-to-Apple-CarPlay/292746688639
USB 3.0 cable: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01NAMU8KY/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
A new Lightning cable in the box: https://www.apple.com/shop/product/ME291AM/A/lightning-to-usb-cable-05-m?fnode=97

These are the tools I used:
Drill
45 degree right angle drill adapter (https://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-Right-Angle-Drill-Adapter-DWARA50/203867866). This is a must for drilling into the armrest box.
1 1/8 spade bit
7/64 and 3/16 drill bits
Plastic trim picks (a flathead screwdriver will do if you don’t have any)
Precision pick (https://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-Precision-Pick-and-Probe-Set-4-Piece-60004H/302435929). Again, a flathead screwdriver should do if you don’t have one.
Utility knife
Pliers
File
Super glue
Vacuum cleaner

Project Time:
It took me an hour and a half from start to finish.

Note: Instructions are on three consecutive replies as the forum allows only for a maximum of eight images per post.


Let’s get started!
First step was removing the plate on the bottom of the cupholder. I used a precision pick to pop it out.



Next was removing the USB dock in the armrest. I used a plastic trim pick. The dock is held down by small tabs. Slide the pick (or a screw driver) under the sides and start prying. It’ll start to come loose. Keep going around it until it’s free.



With access to both ends I stuck my phone upside down into the cup holder pointed towards the armrest box and took a photo. As you can see in the pic below, the cupholder piece is not open on that end.



Running my hands on both ends I quickly realized that the “wall” is just a thin piece of plastic. So, I decided to drill through it.

I could have used a thick drill bit but decided to use a spade bit instead. The piece is at an angle, so I thought a spade bit would make it easier to drill through. Whichever way you go, this is where you’re going to need the 45-degree drill adapter. That is the only way to get the drill into the cup holder and drill that hole.

Make sure you have the USB dock in the armrest out and out of the way before you drill!






Next was to drill the USB port hole. You have a few options here. I decided to use the USB cable I bought because it mounts flush on the bottom of the cup holder and comes with a nut to secure it tight. I had also bought this one which would install on the side wall of the cup holder, but decided against it because the hole wasn’t round (harder to get right) and because of the cup holder’s curve it would not sit flush.

The easiest way to drill the hole centered is by counting the little squares on the bottom pattern. Count eight squares on all four sides and you’re smack in the center!

Also, the best way to drill the hole through the cup holder and the plate is by putting both back into the car. That way everything is secure and in place. I used a 1 1/8 spade bit.



After I drilled the hole I dry-fit the USB cable and found out two things: There is a small tab on the bottom of the plate which would not allow me to screw the nut all the way in to secure the USB cable. Also, there is a small bump on the plastic piece under the plate which didn’t allow me to push the plate with the USB connector all the way in. So, they both had to come out!



I used a utility knife to score the tab (just a few passes are enough) and a pair of pliers to brake it off. It came out perfect!

 

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Discussion Starter #2
For the bump, I drilled a pilot hole through the cup holder hole to mark where I needed to drill.



The hole needs to be wide enough to accommodate the USB connector and the bump is off-centered and close to the end. So, it’s gonna get messy when you drill it. After a few tries, the spade bit kept jumping off, so I decided that there was enough of a score on the plastic and I broke off the piece with pliers. The finished job is not clean and pretty, but it worked ok.



I wanted to make sure the hole in the cup holder and plate were free of debris. So, I used a file to clean the shavings attached to the ends.



Next was to drill the hole for the cable in the armrest box. I thought aligning the cable with the words HDMI was a good spot as it would allow me to connect to the right-side USB. I drilled a pilot hole with a 7/64 drill bit and then used a 3/16 drill bit to drill the actual hole.



I used a utility knife to cut into the hole for running the USB cable. Make sure you cut into the hole. If you cut out the knife could jump and cut the cables!



Dry fit the USB cable after you cut. Mine fit perfect!



Next step was to install the lightning cable on the dock. I used a new cable because it comes neatly wrapped with tabs into a circle that fits perfectly under the dock! I put two drops of super glue on the bottom to make sure the lightning cable will always remain secure.



Before I put the pieces together, I did two things: gave everything a good vacuum and tested the setup to make sure everything worked ok. You don’t want to put everything back together only to discover you have a dead cable.

Once you test functionality and confirm Apple CarPlay works, the final step is putting everything in its place.

Make sure you go in this order:

Sit the cup holder on the plate and thread the USB connector through both. Tighten the connector to both in the back with the plastic nut.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Run the USB cable from the cup holder into the armrest box.



Push the plate/cup holder down until the plate snaps into place.



Secure the USB cable into the hole you drilled in the armrest box with enough for it to reach the USB port.
Push the USB dock down until it snaps into place.



Connect the lightning cable to the USB port in the cup holder.



Push the dock down into place and voila!



Enjoy the convenience of docking your iPhone for Apple CarPlay and charging




I uploaded these instructions as a downloadable PDF for your convenience. You can get them here.

Jose
 

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2016-2018 Range Rover Sport
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This looks really great! Thanks for sharing!

Excellent write up!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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My question...
I have the same dock, how the heck did you manage to push the lightning connector through the hole? I can't do it, thinking of either returning the dock or flle away some plastic on the cable or dock to make it work.

-ThinkMac-
 

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Discussion Starter #6
ithinkmac, you have to push hard and you must use an original Apple cable (third party cables won't work). It took effort to push the cable in. The guy who makes them says on his website he did that on purpose so the cable stays in place when you dock the phone.
 

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Jose,

That was a job well done. Thanks for taking the time to photo-document this an write up such detailed instructions!

Steve
 
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