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Discussion Starter #1
Hello folks,

I just completed installing a new Prodigy P2 brake controller on my 2011 Ridgeline RT. What is different about my installation is that I installed it in the pocket with the flip down door under the radio, and I made it removable. Here, in case it helps others, is what I learned along the way.

First of all, I had the Honda hitch kit installed by the dealer when I bought my Ridge. This gives you a connector for the brake controller under the driver's instrument panel above the parking brake pedal, and a mating connector with a few feet of wire to connect your brake controller to. Much has already been written here about how to find the connector, so I won't duplicate that.

I wanted my brake controller to be easily visible and accessible when towing, and I wanted to be able to remove it when not towing (most of the time). I am very tall, so mounting it next to either of my knees was not an option.

I discovered that the Prodigy P2 jam fits (i.e. jam it gently in there) into the pocket below the radio. To see if this location was going to work, I made a long four wire cable, and made a long 4 wire cable to connect the pigtail that comes with the P2 to the pigtail that comes with the hitch kit. I connected this cable at the previously mentioned location just above the parking brake pedal, and tie wrapped it across under the instrument panel, with the last tie wrap just behind the connector for computer diagnosis, above the drivers right knee. I then ran the cable the cab temporarily (just above the "not an ashtray") and across to the open compartment above the glove compartment, where I stuff the excess cable, connected to the P2. I gently jam fitted the P2 in the pocket below the radio, and went towing.

With the P2 it this spot, I towed a trailer from Georgia to Texas with no problems. I could actuate the lever on the P2 without the P2 coming loose, and never had any issue with the P2 vibrating out of position, etc.

Due to my schedule, the P2 actually rode in my truck, installed this way, for about 2 months after I got back. Again, no issues.

Today I did the permanent installation. I removed the meter panel (instrument panel trim) and the radio according to instructions I found for installing an MP3 player where the pocket is. I am going to attempt to attach those instructions to this message.

Removing the instrument panel trim scared the crap out of me. So many connectors, so my little clips. I bought a trim tool at Harbor Freight to help me get it off, as described elsewhere on this site. There is a video on You Tube of removing the panel which was somewhat helpful.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE UNLOCK CODE for your radio. It is on a card that the dealer should have given you. Don't remove power to the radio without it.

Biggest trick from the instructions and the video: Shift the truck into 1st gear to get the gearshift out of the way. Be sure to block the wheels on the truck, it will roll like this. After shifting the truck into first, remove the negative cable on the battery, so that none of the connectors will be hot when you remove them.

Removing the panel trim itself (the clips) was WAY easier than I expected. No sweat at all.

Removing the cables was tougher, as each of the 7 connectors has a different locking mechanism, and you have to figure out what it is on each. (The drawing shows 8 connectors, but my RT only has 7.)

With the instrument panel trim off, the radio comes out with five easy to access screws. There are also three more connectors, two of them with very creative (frustrating) locking mechanisms for people like me who do not do this every day, but I figured them out.

I removed the pocket from the radio assembly with two more screws and a bit of force to pry the mount apart.

Examining the pocket, I see it has a locking mechanism for the pocket door that seems to be there to lock the pocket door under heavy acceleration. Problem with this, it could lock the door, and you would have to do all this disassembly to get it open again if it stuck locked. So I pried off the jam washer that holds it on and removed it.

I drilled a small pilot hole directly in the center of the injection molding mark on the back of the pocket. This will result in a hole a bit to the left (as you sit in the drivers seat) of the center of the pocket.

I then made this hole bigger with a half inch drill, first by just drilling a hole, then by using the drill as a poor man's router and widening the hole. I wanted the hole to be big enough that the P2 connector could fit through it.

I then reattached the pocket to the radio frame.

Now came the part I was sweating. Getting the cable routed from below the driver's instrument panel to behind the radio.

To do this, since a friend had borrowed my fish tape and not brought it back, I used a 25' tape measure as a fish. I pushed the tape measure down the same route that the radio wires take, which caused it to come out on the drivers side just about where that diagnosis plug is, but a few inches towards the front of the truck.

I then attached a single stranded wire to the tape measure, and pulled it back up from behind the radio. I then attached this wire to my four wire cable (still connected to the connector under the brake pedal, and still tie wrapped to the the diagnosis connector). I pulled my four wire cable up from behind the radio using the single wire, and used a mirror to watch how the four wire cable was ending up under the panel. It routed just fine.

At this point I went and did my happy dance, as this was the part I was wondering about.

OK, so next I measured an appropriate amount of four wire cable such that it had a little more slack than the radio cables did. It worked out that if I cut my cable at this point, and soldered the pig tail from the P2 to it, I would have enough total length to push the connector through the back of the pocket, and have it come out far enough to connect and disconnect the P2 as needed.

I pulled the P2 connector through the back of the pocket on the radio, measured enough slack out the front to allow it to be connected and disconnnected, then put a loose knot in the pigtail to act as strain relief if someone other than me starts to pull the cable out too far.

I put shrink wrap pieces on the pig tail, and spliced the four wire cable that I cut previously to the P2 pigtail. I soldered the splices, and then shrunk the heat shrink around them.

Now it was time for me to put it all back together. I pushed the P2 pigtail connector through the hole in the back of the pocket, and pulled it forward to the knot I made previously. I connected the other connectors to the radio and the hazard light switch (part of the radio assembly). I reinstalled the radio.

Lastly, I put the instrument panel trim back in position, and reconnected all the connectors (much easier to connect that remove). I pushed the panel trim back into final position by pushing at each clip location. Again, very easy.

I reattach the negative ground connector on the battery and tightened it down. I shifted back into park, and I was done.

When you attach the battery, the radio will ask you to enter the unlock code and then you need to set the time again. It seems to have remembered the presets.

Removing the battery also means you have to reprogram the drivers window switch auto function, by starting the engine, lowering the window all the way down, then running it all the way up and holding the switch in the up position for another two seconds.

I am wondering whether I will need to reprogram the "auto door locking" (I turn it off, I don't like it.). But I have not driven the truck yet as I write this, except to make sure that it starts, and that it will go into drive and reverse.

I connected the brake controller to the connector in the pocket, and its display says it is happy.

And so am I.

Hope this helps someone...

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There is not much to see. If the prodigy is out of the truck, there is nothing to see, the flip up door is closed. If it is in the truck, it looks like the picture I am about to attempt to attach.

BTW, I did not have to reprogram anything except the auto window down on the drivers side. Door locks were fine.

Kevin
 

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Thanks for the write-up and pictures. I will be doing a P2 in the next few weeks. This looks like it might be a good solution for me. Thanks again.
 
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