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Discussion Starter #1
I just completed installing an upgraded audio system in my 2008 RTL. I am (was?) a complete newbie to car audio installation, never having pulled off any interior panels or wiring before. I was always afraid I would break something or create rattles or cause some electrical issue. After getting installation labor quotes of $600 to $800 or more from Best Buy and other local car stereo shops, I was motivated to attempt it myself by researching here on ROC and on the Web. After 3 full days taking my time, researching
on ROC and with Crutchfield and taking over 70 pictures, I have fully installed the system and it all works correctly. That said, if I made any errors or you see any dangerous situations in the pictures PLEASE speak up so I can correct it and prevent others from doing it.

First, huge credit and kudos to all of the ROC members here who have shared their mobile audio knowledge and experience (especially with photos!). Without their posts there is NO way I would have attempted this and I would be about $800+ poorer. So, thanks laserguy, rollinhonda, IanRTL, hofffam, norcali_bali, Truckin', htaddict, martinnyc, shovelhd, pgatour2b, tryme1x, nbot, coolbob and others too many to mention. Also, huge thanks to Crutchfield for their amazing tech support available late even on Sunday nights and the 4th of July! I am writing this experience to pay it forward and hopefully help any other Ridgeline owners who are considering upgrading their audio systems.

Here is the link to all of the pictures with descriptions of each: http://s66.photobucket.com/albums/h257/Soulbender/2008 Ridgeline Stereo/

Here are the system components in order of installation:

  • Dynamat: Two 2 Door Kits (10435), each with 4 12" x 36" strips
  • Door Speakers: Polk DXi-650S Slim Mount 6.5" Coaxial speakers (2 pair) (includes speaker brackets and speaker harness adapters)
  • Amp Wiring Kit: Scosche Revopak8 8-Gauge Revo Series Single Amp Wiring Kit (smaller 10-12 gauge kit would probably have been fine for Bazooka)
  • Subwoofer: Bazooka 8" powered (BTA-8250D)
  • Subwoofer Control: Bazooka RBCM-250
  • XM Receiver: Pioneer GEX-P920XM
  • HD Receiver: Pioneer GEX-P20HD
  • Traffic Tuner: Pioneer ND-TMC10
  • Steering Wheel Controls: Metra Axxess ASWC
  • Head Unit: Pioneer AVIC-X940BT (includes dash kit, antenna adapter, wiring harness, and full Pioneer 1 year warranty)
  • Parking Brake Bypass: MicroBypass
Here are the tools I used:



SHOWN:
  • Posi-products Car Stereo Connectors (for splicing/connecting wires)
  • Posi-products Wire Taps (16-18 gauge, expensive and did not work very well on smaller wires such as the Metra ASWC.)
  • Wire Tap-In Squeeze Connectors (14-18 gauge, cheaper from Radio Shack and worked first time on smaller wires such as Metra ASWC and vehicle speed sensor tap)
  • Tiny flathead screw driver (to pry up various small panels that the no-scratch tools cannot fit such as dash bezel and 3rd brake light screw covers)
  • Pliers (to squeeze down the Wire Tap-In connectors)
  • Hammer (to hit the prick punch to create pilot holes for speaker brackets)
  • Prick Punch (to create pilot holes in door metal for speaker brackets, prevents drill bit from walking)
  • 10mm box end wrench or socket (to disconnect battery negative terminal)
  • Box cutter (mostly to cut Dynamat, also impromptu wire stripping)
  • Philips head screw driver (to remove/attach door panels, head unit and 3rd brake light)
  • #10 x 1/2" self-tapping sheet metal screws (useful to create new ground points on the frame wherever needed, only used 2 myself)
  • 18 gauge wire (needed to connect ground for Metra ASWC (brown wire from vehicle harness) and to connect to vehicle speed sensor wire (white/red) in passenger kick panel)
  • No-scratch Panel Removal Tools (used mostly to remove plastic pop rivets and around headliner, about $15 on Amazon)
NOT SHOWN:
  • Drill with 1/8" and 9/64" drill bits (to drill grounding holes into frame (twice) and to drill speaker bracket holes in doors (12 total))
  • #10 x 3/4" self-tapping sheet metal screws (need 12 to attach speaker brackets to doors)
  • Sharpie pen (to draw out holes to cut on Dynamat)
  • Wire strippers (mostly for 16 to 18 gauge wires)
  • Dynamat Roller: Part 10007
  • Wire Fishing Kit/Rod (to help route amp power wire through firewall, and run wires under B pillar panels between front and rear door sills)
  • Duct or Masking Tape (to secure wires to the fishing rods)
  • Zip ties (small to medium, to clean up wiring runs under the glove box and possibly in the sills)
  • 1/2" Loom (to clean up wiring runs under the glove box and in the sills)
  • Double-sided tape or velcro (optional to mount XM and HD receiver boxes under front seat to carpet and Bazooka remote control to pocket cubby under head unit)
  • Portable work light(s)
Here are some overall tips before you get started:

  • If you are doing this yourself, I cannot emphasize enough how helpful Crutchfield technical support is. Others here on ROC recommended them, I was skeptical, now I am a believer. They are a little more expensive, but their inclusion of the various brackets, adapters, full warranties and unparalleled technical support are HUGE for confidence when you get into a sticky situation where you are uncertain. They are open until midnight EST most days, they answer after two rings, and answered every question without hesitation.
  • Another pair of hands and eyes is often helpful, such as pulling fished wires through, reaching hard-to-reach places under the dash, and holding the head unit while you are wiring up harnesses, Metra ASWCs, holding lights in position, etc. Kudos to my wife and son for helping me out.
  • Spend a week or two in advance researching the components you want to install on ROC, Crutchfield, Youtube and on the web. Read customer reviews, read forum posts (even when installed in other vehicles) and look at the pictures to see how other people have done it.
I will address each of the component installations in separate posts below.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Door Panel Removal
==================
This is SO easy, anybody can do it, seriously. Plus, Crutchfield sends you detailed walk-through instructions for the rear and front door panel removals as part of their Master Sheet. The only snag I ran into was the blue wire connector on the panel was REALLY hard to get off with my fingers on each rear passenger door.

Here are some links on ROC that helped me:
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1585
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1587
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33901
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28170&page=3

After you remove the small panel and two screws behind the door pull, you see the door cable attached. First, pry out the green connector from the plastic frame bracket. This will allow the white bracket to rotate out, and then you can carefully pop the metal fitting out of the white bracket.


First, pry the green fitting out of the plastic door handle frame. Then pry the metal fitting at the end of the cable out of the white bracket.


After disconnecting the door handle screws and popping the door brackets along the sides and bottom (none are across the top), you can lift the door panel up and pull it gently towards you. Then you can unplug this connector by depressing a small button on one of the sides.


The courtesy light plug is easy to remove, just twist it 90 degrees and it should pop right out.


This is what the inside of the rear passenger door looks like after removing the interior door panel. Note the locations of the holes where cables or wires penetrate through the plastic; this is important to know if you are installing Dynamat.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Door Speaker Removal
====================
This is what the rear door speaker looks like (i.e., small and wimpy and light as a pancake). To remove, use a flat head panel tool or flathead screwdriver to press down on the metal clip at the top. This will allow the speaker to pivot towards you away from the door. Then just lift the speaker out and upwards.


The back of the speaker has a plastic connector; just unplug it, and then lift the speaker out from the bottom two slots (they are not screwed down or anything).
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Dynamat Installation
====================
I was unsure about installing Dynamat initially, but Best Buy wanted $80/hour to install it. We spent about 2 hours on the first door learning the ropes and cutting the holes, and then about 1 to 1.5 hours for each of the other doors (i.e., about 5 or 6 hours total). We took our time and did multiple test fittings with the templates to make sure we did not cover up any important holes or cables. It started going much faster as I gained confidence and experience. I doubt an installer would have been quite as meticulous, although I am sure they could have gone MUCH faster. Even so, I am guessing it would have required at least 2-3 hours for them to complete all four doors, so $160 to $240 for the Dynamat labor alone.

A few tips:
  • Dynamat is REALLY sticky once you peel off the backing, so take your time to get your template cuts and test fittings right.
  • Dynamat is EVEN STICKIER when the temperature is 105 degrees (hotter in the garage). However, this does make it easier to roll on and mold/fit into nooks and crannies once applied.
  • Do not worry if you have to make even 2 or 3 or more cuts to create your Dynamat templates around the various holes and cables. You can always go back and reapply the Dynamat cuttings/leftovers afterwards.
  • Do not feel compelled to keep the Dynamat in a single sheet. I generally tried to keep each 36" sheet together, but it is so sticky sometimes it is just easier to cut it in half and position the separate pieces.
  • Be careful with the Dynamatc aluminum coating, it IS sharp and will cut you. Mechanic's gloves might help, but the Dynamat was so sticky I couldn't use them. Just be careful.
  • The roller tool is helpful to apply pressure and push the Dynamat into the door curves and moldings. You can save about $15 if you take the time with your hands and fingers though, but they may be a little sore afterwards.
  • Yes, you DO need to take off the moisture barrier. I am unsure whether or how it would work applying the Dynamat over the floppy moisture barrier plastic, but didn't want to chance it, so I followed the instructions and recommendations and removed the barrier.
  • Absolutely do NOT COVER UP the door release handle or door lock mechanisms with Dynamat! Or, you will wonder why your driver's side door handle assembly cannot fit back into the enclosure, and then you have to cut out and detach a bunch of really sticky Dynamat from around the cable and get it all working again. I only made this mistake once, heh.
The plastic barrier on the inside of the door is sealed to the door using some type of sticky, stretchy glue bead. If you are going to install Dynamat or equivalent, you can remove this barrier, but keep the barrier intact and note where the holes are located so you can cut corresponding holes in the Dynamat for the door cables.


When removing the barrier, some of the sticky sealant will remain stuck to the doors. You can easily remove it by taking a previously removed bead and dabbing/sticking it repeatedly on the residue. Or, if you are installing Dynamat, you do not have to bother since it is equally sticky and will cover it anyway.


First half of Dynamat applied after cutting out appropriate holes for the door cable, door lock, and door armrest support (yellow square brackets in middle). Note cutout on right side for small hole to reattach door panel later.


To minimize costs and effort, child labor may be used to roll the Dynamat into the nooks and crannies.


Using the moisture barrier as a guide, use a Sharpie to mark out where holes are needed in the Dynamat on the door, and then cut them out using a box cutter. Note that this requires multiple test fittings to make sure the holes line up before you peel the backing and apply the Dynamat.


Note how holes are cut for any screws or panel attachment points, and especially for the door release cable (center) and the door lock mechanism (upper right).


Applying the lower portion of the Dynamat sheet (which comes in 12" tall by 36" wide sheets in the Extreme 2 Door Kit (4 sheets in each kit).


Use a Sharpie to mark out where the speaker bracket holes and slots are located, and then cut them out using the box cutter. You can cut the Dynamat here if you want, but it is a bit difficult and awkward. I used a wide board on the tailgate and did all of my Dynamat cutting there with my box cutter and Sharpie, and then performed test fits on each door area before applying.


Applying the Dynamat under the speaker location after cutting out the holes for the screws and slots. Note, if you do not cut out those holes, you can still drill through the Dynamat but it will foul your drill bit and be kinda messy. Note that I still had to use my box cutter after this to cut out the hole for the actual speaker.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Door Speaker Installation
=========================
Installing the door speakers is REALLY easy, anybody can do this in about 20-30 minutes per door. These Polk coaxials alone made a HUGE sound difference over the stock speakers, particularly the tweeters which added much more brightness and clarity to the music.

These posts from jch explain the speaker installation process in good detail:
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1585
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1587
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=44483
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33526

Here are some of my pics:

The black bracket on the left is one of four speaker brackets that Crutchfield sent me along with my Polk DXi-650S speakers (2 pair). Ignore the spool of 1/2" felt liner, which I initially planned on using to put on the back of the brackets, but used Dynamat instead (better choice).


Ordered two pair of these speakers from Crutchfield (which includes the door speaker brackets and speaker harnesses to connect to the stock speaker wires in the doors). Pick up some #10 x 3/4" self-tapping sheet metal screws from any hardware store to mount the speaker brackets to the doors (12 needed total). The speakers should include four longer screws to attach the new speakers to the brackets. The stock speaker (left) is pathetically smaller and MUCH lighter than these aftermarket Polks.


Close up of attaching the Polk speaker to the speaker bracket. Note that a foam gasket is included with the Polk speaker and is placed between the speaker and the bracket. Once the four screws are secures, the speaker/gasket/bracket are ready to mount to the door.


Place the speaker bracket on the door and mark the three attachment holes with a Sharpie.



Using a prick punch and hammer, create small pilot holes/indentations on each of the marked bracket holes. This is helpful to keep your drill steady and drilling exactly where you want it. Otherwise, the drill bit wants to "walk" around until it bites, which probably will not be where you marked.


Use your drill and a 1/8" (or 9/64") drill bit to create three holes on the three marks from the speaker bracket.


Dynamat is applied and speaker is mounted using the three #10 x 3/4" screws. Note the Polk speakers have to be rotated about 30 degrees to the right of vertical for the four mounting holes to align with the speaker bracket.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Amp Wiring Through Firewall
===========================
I was unsure about finding a good spot to go through the firewall on the Ridgeline, and only managed to find a few posts with pictures that indicated the general areas. So, I took some more pics to make it as clear as possible where to look, cut, fish, etc.

Here are the ROC threads that were helpful for me:
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showpost.php?p=176988&postcount=18
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showpost.php?p=369498&postcount=1

Never having installed a car stereo or amp kit or anything before, I did alot of research on the Web (e.g., Ridgeline Owner's Club FTW, Youtube, Crutchfield, DIYMobileAudio, etc.) to know what to expect. However, even with all of that prep, I still did not have many clear pictures of exactly where to pierce the Ridgeline firewall using an existing hole. Based on a couple of posts in the ROC forums, I managed to find this grommet located above and behind the brake master cylinder, on the far "right" side of the engine bay if you are looking from the front bumper. The fishing rod is pointing/touching the grommet area.


Fishing rod pointing to general location where the amp wiring kit power cable can be run into the cabin.


The location where the firewall grommet comes into the cabin is above the driver's pedals and up to the left. You basically have to lay on the driver's side floor mat and look up and to the left, and you still cannot get a good clear shot/picture of it.


Looking at the driver's pedals, the firewall pass through grommet is located up and to the left, but is not visible in this image. This is provided to at least give a general idea of where to look.


Use duct tape (or masking tape) and attach the amp power cord to the end of the Fish Rod, which you will use to push through the firewall grommet.


Use box cutter to create a small hole on one side of the grommet. Be careful to avoid cutting any of the wires in the harness! Then use your fish rod and wire to push the wire into the cabin.


As the rod and wire come through the firewall, pull it through and guide it around all of the metal and wires and stuff. Note that it is difficult to reach, so having a petite assistant with small hands and arms is beneficial, but not necessary.


Run the amp wire along the existing black loom wire harness between the battery and the air intake. You can follow this back towards the firewall and use zip ties in a few places to keep it positioned away from any moving parts.


After you have run the amp power wire through the firewall using the fish rod, then you need to begin removing the driver's side sill plates (front and rear) and kick panel to route the wire. After trying to use your cool new panel removal tools for a minute or two, put them down and just use your fingers to pry up the carpet-side of the sill plate and left up firmly but gently to pop out the three plastic rivets holding it in place. Be sure to remove the gas filler door handle cover first!


Use one of your panel removal tools to pry out the round black plastic clip above the foot rest.


View of the sill panel removed, weather stripping pulled partially out to allow removal of the driver kick panel.


Pull the panel gently to the right to release the single white plastic pop rivet, and then upwards to remove it from the truck.


Note the three black plastic pop rivets under the sill panel and where they fasten into the frame.


Use your Fish Rod again to take your amp wire from the driver side from sill area, under the B pillar (i.e., the post between the driver seat and the passenger seat behind it) and into the rear driver's side sill plate area.


After fishing the amp power wire through, detach from the Fish Rod and run it to the back seat plastic housing area. If left the extra slack on the floor for now until I was sure how much I would need after everything was connected.


You can remove the plastic panels under the rear seat with your fingers by detaching the six white plastic pop rivets.


Many of those plastic white pop rivets will pop out of the plastic panel instead of the body, so you will need to use your panel tool to remove them and reinsert them into the plastic panel before you remount it (see next image).


Carefully use your panel tools to remove any of the white plastic pop rivets that detach themselves from the interior panels when you are removing them. Try not to break them, but if you do, they are cheap and easily replaced at your Honda dealer.


From this point, you can run the amp power cable under the rear underseat plastic panel. I used this opportunity to drill a 9/64" hole in the exposed metal body near the center seat belt, scraped away the paint, and used a #10 x 1/2" screw to create a grounding point for my 8" Bazooka tube to be installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
XM Antenna Installation
=======================
Initially, I was unsure where to mount the XM antenna. The local installers suggested the dash (front center or near passenger A pillar), and Crutchfield suggested on the roof after running the wire outside the vehicle and up under the windshield weather stripping. As many have mentioned, I do not like having such thief bait visible outside the vehicle, plus it could scratch the paint, get knocked off in a car wash, etc. Fortunately, a ROC member (martinnyc) came up with a solution in this thread that is just awesome:
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=34647

This is the Pionner XM kit that I added to my head unit.


One of the ROC forum members (martinnyc) posted a thread with a brilliant mounting location for aftermarket XM antennas inside of the 3rd brake light housing. Pop out these small plastic red screw covers first with the small flathead screwdriver.


Use a philips head screwdriver to remove the two screws.


View of the 3rd brake light area. Note the white mounts where the screws go? You put your XM antenna behind either of those.


Remove the grommet to allow you to route your XM antenna wire connector in to the cabin. Note that you are going to plug the plastic XM connector into this hole, NOT the magnetic XM antenna itself (which is probably too big and a really strong magnet, would be a nightmare if you managed to squeeze it in the hole...don't do it!).


Note the pink plastic connector? This is what you push through the hole in the 3rd brake light area. Do NOT try to push the magnet through that hole, just place it behind one of the two white screw mounting tabs.


You get extra points as a l33t n00b installer if you can inexplicably cause your wires/cables to get tangled and knotted.


Insert the pink connector through the hole (not the magnetic antenna).


After you pass all of the XM antenna wire into the cabin (leaving only the magnetic antenna portion in the 3rd brakelight area), then you can route the wire under the headliner using your fingers and/or a panel tool. As you route the antenna under the headliner near the rear window, be sure to leave a little slack for the antenna that is in the 3rd brake light area. I found it pretty tight after I was done routing, and the wire is against metal there, so you might put some tape or something to protect it from rubbing and eventually cutting. Again, credit to martinnyc on the ROC forums for this idea, I am just showing it in use.


As martinnyc suggested, use a credit card or other slim item (e.g., panel removal tool) to stuff the thin antenna wire between the cloth headliner and the plastic C-pillar panel.


Route the XM antenna wire under the weather stripping, per martinnyc's guidance.


Remove the passenger rear door sill, and route the XM antenna wire and the RCA speaker cables that will go from the sub (Bazooka 8") to the head unit


Route the XM antenna, subwoofer remote wire and RCA speaker wires under the passenger B pillar. Just pull the B panel out gently near the carpet and use a fish rod if you want...no need to unscrew anything.


As I routed wires and cables on the passenger side, I dumped their ends in the passenger floor board knowing that I would eventually need to bundle them up and route them up under the dash to the head unit. Provide plenty of slack.


This Bazooka remote control unit is handy if you want to adjust the level of subwoofer amplifier gain and crossover frequency from the driver's seat on the fly, rather than having to stop, park, flip up the back seat and adjust the controls on the subwoofer.


Use the fish rod to tape and connect the wire and run it under the passenger side B pillar.


I installed my two Pioneer add on units (XM receiver and HD receiver) under the front passenger seat. Each of them requires a ground, and while I could have used the front passenger seat bolt (a supposed no-no), I instead opted to drill a 1/8" hole in the sill plate, scrape away the paint, and ground both units there.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Bazooka Tube 8" Subwoofer Installation
======================================
I had a separate thread discussion earlier about whether to go with a sealed enclosure and amp or just go with a simpler Bazooka tube installation. For various reasons, I ended up going with the powered 8" Bazooka tube (instead of the 6" version). It fits just fine under the rear passenger seat and can easily be removed or adjusted when needed. More importantly, I am REALLy happy with the bass performance it provides. Using the remote control unit, I can control the subwoofer's crossover (up to 125 Hz) and gain from the driver's seat. Plus, I set the Pioneer head unit crossover levels and HPF accordingly, and the sound is much better than I anticipated. I realize that a
dedicated amp and sealed enclosure have other SQ benefits, but for the money and simplicity I am very happy so far with the Bazooka. It can get more boomy and reverbish than I will even need, so I just dial it in for my rock and metal music and go double-kick drumming happily down the road.

The following thread was helpful:
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37285&highlight=bazooka

A few tips:
  • You do not need the FAST connector unless you are keeping your stock head unit.
  • The powered Bazooka tube I received includes a 12 gauge wire with a 30 amp fuse built into it, presumably for use connecting to the battery. I had already used my 8 gauge wire and 50 amp fuse from my amp wiring kit. This makes me think I could have probably gotten away with not buying/using an amp wiring kit, and instead just splicing a 12 gauge wire run to the Bazooka tube and a 16 or 18 gauge remote wire from the Bazooka to the head unit. The Bazooka also has an included ground wire.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Glove Box Removal
=================
The cool thing about doing this is you learn how to replace your in cabin air filter as well! They charge you stupid amounts for doing this at the dealership. See this thread:
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9130&highlight=pollen+filter

You will need to remove the two glove box connectors/wheels and the guiding arm connection (easy stuff). Removing these items will allow the glove box to drop open to the floor, but it will still be attached to the dash via its lower back hinges (which is fine). You do not have to remove the glove box completely from the truck. Doing this will allow you to route the various sterero wires on the passenger side up under the dash to the head unit.

To remove the glove box, there are two plastic tabs on the inside of the left and right walls. Use a panel tool to pry them up, and then slide them back towards you and out of the holes.


Note the attachment of the glove box guide arm to a screw on the outside of the glove box. Remembering this later (or referring to this image) will help you reattach the glove box when finished.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Head Unit Installation
======================
This is the part where I was most nervous. The idea of taking apart the dash and dealing with all the wires (guts) just seemed daunting. Plus this is where all of the various wires and runs had to connect from the XM, HD, subwoofer, Metra ASWC and parking brake bypass. After some online research and studying the harness installation guides, it really was not too bad. Plus, Crutchfield sends you instructions on how to remove the dash panel and factory radio as part of the Master Sheet. However, you do need to be patient and make sure your connections are good (tug on the wires gently after splicing or tapping to ensure they are snug).

A few tips:
  • Having somebody to sit in the passenger seat and hold the head unit for you is helpful when you are trying to splice, tap and connect all of these different harnesses.
  • If you must set the head unit down or on the passenger seat (scoot it all the way forward), lay the head unit (in its dash kit) on its side, rather than sitting upright because this puts too much weight/pressure on the pocket slot housing underneath and will cause it to bend.
  • Navigation Head Unit - If you have a navigation head unit, you will also need to connect a wire from the Pink vehicle speed cable on the head unit to the Ridgeline's vehicle speed sensor. This is discussed in htaddict's thread here (http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18624). I cut about a 6 foot length of 18 gauge wire, spliced one end to the pink wire using a Posi-Connector (not a Posi-tap), and then TAPped the other end to the White/Red wire in the passenger kick panel. Again, the Posi-Tap bit me here because it did not pierce the wire. Using the Radio Shack Tap-In Squeeze connector worked first time.
  • Navigation Antenna - I wondered for a while where to place my navigation antenna. I was going to place it in the 3rd brake light along with the XM antenna, but the cord is only 9 feet long so is too short. I did not want to mount it externally, nor did I want to use the adhesive pad and stick it to the dash. After doing some research on various forums for other AVIC owners, I found that one popular (and effective) method is to simply mount the antenna on top of the head unit metal case (i.e., inside in the dash). Heh, so simple but it works so well! The top of the case is metal, so it reflects the signal well (i.e., similar to the metallic pad that comes with it). Plus, the head unit is only an inch or two below the dash top and the satellite signal goes right through the plastic. I've been using it all week and seems to work great. I am a little curious whether the signal strength would be better on top of the dash or the roof. Also, I was a little concerned about having a magnet so close to the head unit electronics (i.e., they often do not mix well), but it is near the back of the head unit (i.e., not near the SD slot) and I have the metallic pad underneath it. No issues so far, /crossfingers.
  • Parking Brake Bypass - I *highly* recommend using a parking brake bypass so you can use the navigation system without having to stop and put on the parking brake. Most other navigation units let you change navigation settings while moving, so this is frustrating. Anyway, there are several videos on Youtube and elsewhere that show you how to manually modify the harness and which wires to connect using a relay and other methods. However, for simplicity, I recommend the MicroBypass units being sold on Amazon (and elsewhere, I think). They are generally about $10 (plus shipping), which is a fair price compared to buying all the parts and spending the time to create it yourself. Plus, the guy that makes them ships them out REALLY fast and will swap them if you manage to buy the wrong one (which I did). There are a few different versions available, so you might send the Seller an email first with your planned head unit model number and he can make sure you get the right one. Just do a web search on "MicroBypass", or look it up on Amazon.
The Metra Axxess ASWC installation really IS easy and straightforward, requiring only four (4) connections. I meant to take a picture showing these exact wires and connections (maybe somebody else has one they can add to this thread?). Here are the connections:
  1. Black ASWC wire spliced to the ground wire (can connect to the same black ground wires used by the harness and head unit)
  2. Red ASWC wire spliced to the red switched power wire (can connect to the same red switched power wires used by the harness and head unit)
  3. Grey/Red ASWC wire TAPPED to the Green/Red wire located in the Ridgeline vehicle harness. This is the harness that was attached to the factory radio, and you may need to pull back some of the electrical tape covering the wire/harness bundle to give some flex to the wire. For about 30 minutes I could NOT get my ASWC to recognize the truck and work, it just kept on blinking. That is because the TAP to this Green/Red wire was NOT working. I used the Posi-tap connector here 8 times, and it kept missing because the wire is so thin and small. Finally, I went to Radio Shack and bought some Wire Tap-In Squeeze Connectors (14-18 gauge, about $2) and it worked first shot.
  4. Take a NEW piece of 18 gauge wire (i.e., not provided with the ASWC kit) and use a TAP to the BROWN wire on the Ridgeline vehicle harness. Again, I recommend a Tap-In Squeeze rather than the Posi-Tap (or you could do old school soldering and heat shrink). Take the other end of that new 18 gauge wire and run it to ground. You can use the same ground connection as the head unit and harness.
Here are some helpful threads I referred to:
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=41029
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?p=624956
http://ls1tech.com/forums/stereo-electronics/1540191-axxess-aswc-install-walk-through-2001-trans-am-steering-wheel-controls.html
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33946
http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18624

Now that all of the wires have been run on the driver's side (i.e., amp power wire) and passenger's side (i.e., XM antenna, amp remote wire, amp control cable, subwoofer RCA connectors, XM receiver power and signal, HD receiver power and signal), I was ready to install the head unit. First thing is to use the little flathead screwdriver to pop out the panel on either side of the steering column. Look for the little slots.


After you detach the plastic dash bezel, it will be connected by about 8 different wire harnesses. Just reach behind the harness and use your fingers to find the small release button on each plastic harness and wiggle each connector out of its socket. Then you can remove the bezel from the truck and get it out of your way.


There are 5 screws holding the stock head unit in place, plus a single green plastic harness connector to the hazard light button in the bottom left.


The stock dash cavity is pretty large in there, which makes installing your new head unit and all of its add ons (XM, HD, Metra ASWC, Parking Brake Bypass, etc.) much easier.


Here the Pioneer stereo wiring harness has been attached to the Metra wiring harness, which will be plugged into the factory Ridgeline harness. It looks like a mess and was initially intimidating, but once you spend time looking at the wiring diagrams, splicing the wires, and learning which colors do what functions (e.g., speakers, constant power, switched power, ground, illumination, etc.) it begins to make sense. NOTE: These wires are pretty thin (but sturdy), which makes the Posi-Tap connectors I used fail to pierce them (i.e., either missing to one side or other, or just pushing the wire up). I used the Radio Shack blue wire taps (14-18 gauge) to much better effect. The Posi-Connectors worked great for splicing (vs. tapping).


Yay, after connecting the various wires and harnesses, my head unit powered up successfully. However, I had to make several more adjustments to reconnect a constant power wire and a ground wire that came loose when stuffing in the dash, multiple tries to get the ASWC to work (because the Posi-tap was not piercing the green/red wire), and to install the correct MicroBypass (the one I ordered from Amazon was incorrect, but the seller was awesome and fast shipping me out a new one).
 

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Congratulations :cheerleader:

I really love to see threads from members that never did anything similar, took the time to read, learn and more than anything got help from many members of the forum and posted a thread with step by step details for other members to see and learn from.

I have always been a fan of threads that show the "how to" pictures and steps with details, part numbers of kits needed, extra thread links etc to do the installation, rather than threads that just show the end result and list of components.

Congratulations again, and thank you for posting your detailed thread, we are happy to see the outcome with or without much help from members of this forum.
 

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That is super! Very informative and helpful besides.
 

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Congrats on a great install and one of the most comprehensive 'How to" post I have seen.

Well done and thanks for sharing!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks guys, it was definitely rewarding doing it myself. I wish I had taken a picture of the Metra Axxess ASWC and the specific wires on the vehicle harness to tap into. I remember wanting to see a picture of that before attempting installation just so I would know what is involved.

I also wish there were some detailed step-by-step pictures showing the installation of a license plate-mounted backup camera and running the wires under the truck. I saw a few threads and YouTube videos of the Honda camera and routing through the truck bed, but I want to see the under-the-truck method. I would like to see exactly which materials to use, where to route the wires (and loom or carflex conduit) along the frame, the available spots to enter the cabin from underneath (are there existing grommets?), and where best to tap into the reverse wire. I suppose I could just go ahead and have them install it at Best Buy ($75) and then take pictures afterwards. :)
 

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Thanks, I have been searching for radio install instructions as I am new on most installations.


Sent from my Autoguide iPhone app
 

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Razorback:

One thing I'm curious about, I know Crutchfield customer service is great, but speaking of 'support' there have been some complaints about the Metra dash mounting pieces not having enough support, driving some owners to substitute Scosche dash adapters.
Curious if you had any issues.
 

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Awesome! That is one great threat... maybe sticky worthy? Glad to have contributed... it's definitely rewarding to see everyone's previous work and input complied like that! Great work!! :beer:
 

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Razorback:

One thing I'm curious about, I know Crutchfield customer service is great, but speaking of 'support' there have been some complaints about the Metra dash mounting pieces not having enough support, driving some owners to substitute Scosche dash adapters.
Curious if you had any issues.
The Metra dash kit worked OK for me, but the plastic was a little flimsier (is that a word?) or bendable than I would have liked. I did notice that after the head unit and pocket/cubby were mounted in the dash kit (but not in the dash itself), the heavy weight of the double din head unit caused the plastic to bend backwards, causing a gap between the head unit surround and pocket/cubby surround sections. So, I was always careful to hold the head unit/dash kit combo from the sides (i.e., near the screw holes), or to lay it on its side on the seat while I worked on the harness wiring. In other words, once the head unit is in the dash kit/plastic, try to avoid setting the unit upright on anything or the head unit will tip backwards and strain the dash kit. Lay it on its side instead.

From other reviews I read, others had similar complaints about the Scosche dash kit. Hard to believe that nobody out there offers a good, sturdy metal-based dash kit.
 

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The Metra dash kit worked OK for me, but the plastic was a little flimsier (is that a word?) or bendable than I would have liked. I did notice that after the head unit and pocket/cubby were mounted in the dash kit (but not in the dash itself), the heavy weight of the double din head unit caused the plastic to bend backwards, causing a gap between the head unit surround and pocket/cubby surround sections. So, I was always careful to hold the head unit/dash kit combo from the sides (i.e., near the screw holes), or to lay it on its side on the seat while I worked on the harness wiring. In other words, once the head unit is in the dash kit/plastic, try to avoid setting the unit upright on anything or the head unit will tip backwards and strain the dash kit. Lay it on its side instead.

From other reviews I read, others had similar complaints about the Scosche dash kit. Hard to believe that nobody out there offers a good, sturdy metal-based dash kit.
That's interesting, well thanks for the details. It sounds like with a little care, once you get it in place for good, there should be no issues. It does seem like they could have used some metal shimming, or a higher grade of material to give it more substance.
 
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