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Discussion Starter #21
I finished up the wiring harness adapter. It will be installed between the OEM male radio plug and the female plug on the back of the radio. I used the Metra 71-1729 male ended harness and the 70-1729 female ended harness to fabricate it.

Although I haven't yet confirmed things by removing the radio, the Metra 70-1729 is missing some pins for 14 sports application. The 71 harness has a pin and wire in every slot (with 4 or 5 that aren't used in this application) while the 70 has some wires in unused spots and 3 or 4 missing pins / wires depending on the model Ridgeline they are going into. Not sure WHY Metra did this but I would expect trouble using the 70 harness for any of the years of Ridgelines (09 on) that it is supposed to fit.

My solution was to buy an extra 70 harness and cut it apart to harvest the additional pins and wires. I was then able to slide in the pins into their proper spots. You carefully push them in from behind using your fingers and then drive them home from behind with a small screwdriver pushing on the metal of the pin connector.

All the non speaker wires are joined to their matching counterparts. The front and rear speaker outputs coming from the radio (male 71 side) are connected to speaker wire extensions that will go to the high level inputs on the amplifier. I had some speaker wire that was the same gauge as OEM (18 I think) that I used for this purpose. I also attached some heavier gauge speaker wire to the rear speaker connections on the female 70 harness side that will connect the rear speaker outputs from the amplifier to the OEM wiring for those speakers. The heavier gauge wire won't really do much since it down sizes to the OEM size but it should be a better fit to the amplifier's connections. For the front speakers / tweeters I will run new speaker wires from the amp so the OEM wiring will be abandoned but will remain intact.

The amp has voltage sensing turn on so I decided to go ahead and make use of that feature, rather than connecting in an amplifier turn on wire. Hopefully this built in feature will be reliable.

Here's a pic of the harness. I have also included the correct (I believe) wiring schematic for my 14 sport.

I will update more later when I can find time to tear into the front of the truck . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Wow, 10 months later and I finally found the time to finish up (stage 1 anyway) of my STOCK stereo upgrade!

Reader beware; this is a rather lengthy, detailed and boring account of my project. Hopefully it will be helpful to someone out there. . .

Here’s the complete parts list so far (prices are approximate):

Front Speakers: JL C2-650 Components $150
Rear Speakers: JL C2-650x Coaxials $110
Amp: Rockford Fosgate PBR300x4 $160
Amp and speaker wiring: NVX true spec 4 gauge single amp wiring kit with 16 gauge speaker wire aprox $60, Knu Koncept Bassik 2 way Min ANL fuse distribution block $12
Metra 71-1729 female radio harness $15
Metra 70-1729 male radio harness qty 2 $14
Metra 72-7800 speaker wiring adapter (for my rear speakers) $6
Noico 80 mil 36sqft car sound deadening mat $60
Scosche SAHR6 speaker mounting adapters qty 2 $20
Kinivo BTC 450 Bluetooth aux in adapter $36
Miscellaneous stuff like fuses, soldering supplies, heat shrink, sealant, epoxy etc $20

Thats a total of around $660

Last summer I had installed the coax JLs in the rear doors using the mounting and wiring adapters (I’m using factory speaker wires for the rear doors.) I also applied sound deadening mats inside the door cavity to about 70% outside door metal as well as a good amount of the inside door structure.

I also had previously fabricated most of the wiring harnesses for the connection to the radio and to the amplifier. I made my own male to female adapter (see pic in previous post) that allowed for all connections to be made without cutting the OEM wiring.

For my final push I installed the JL components in the front doors and stock tweeter locations. I also installed the small Fosgate 4 channel amp under the dash to the right of the blower motor.

The single most difficult part of this job was running the new speaker wiring into the doors. The passenger side was relatively easy. It involved removing the rubber wiring bellows from the door and using a single strand of 14 gauge Romex wire as a fish tape to pull the wire up through the rubber bellows and inside the truck. The wire strand can be navigated through the bellows and into the truck by guiding from the outside by feel with your fingers as it travels its way though. Once the fish wire is through I used electrical tape to connect it to the speaker wire and a bit of WD40 to lube it up prior to pulling it through. I had the glove box removed at this stage to make things easier.

The driver’s side (front) speaker wire is another matter. On my 14 and presumably on all Gen1s there are ample wires entering the door (due to the complicated window and door lock controls) and Honda uses hard connectors at the door penetration (underneath the bellows). This means there is no extra spot to run the wire. I ended up drilling a hole directly next to the hard connector and was able to fish a wire up through the bellows to where I could grab it up under the drivers dash. I used some sealant around the new wire penetration. Since my hole was right next to the existing hard connectors the rubber bellows fits over and hides it, keeping it looking stock and safe from the elements. Bottom line is that this was a PITA to do but I but I was bound and determined to run new speaker wire to the fronts.

For the front door speaker install, I again used the sound deadening mats, this time getting even better coverage of both sides of the door cavity than the rears. To mount the speakers I used the Scoshe adapters sealing them to the door panel and speaker with silicone sealant. Even though I now have plenty of experience removing and installing the door panels, I managed to break a clip mount on the passengers door cover. Some of the clip mounts are really fragile and I think it is best to do the work in warmer temps so the plastic is less brittle. I scuffed the area around and inside the broken clip mount and then glued it back with some JB Weld. It seems to be holding just fine.

While doing the new tweeter install, I was surprised to see that Honda has improved the stock tweeters from what they used on my 06. The stock tweeters appear to be a small yellow poly cone operated by a substantial magnet. This would help to explain why I felt that my 14 Sports radio actually sounded better than my 06. Its because the tweeters actually do something. For those looking to “Pimp” there sound by replacing the stock tweeters, be aware that if you have a later model with the improved tweeters, the upgrade will be much less obvious than on the earlier models . . . .

I surface mounted the JL tweeters in the stock location using epoxy to permanently hold their basket in place. I used a forstner bit to drill the holes. I gently clamped the tweeter covers upside down to a piece of 2x4 while I drilled the hole from the back side. This gave me a nice clean hole to drop the tweeter mounting cup into. I’m not sure if I prefer this surface mount approach. They probably sound better this way but aesthetically I think I prefer the hidden (like the stock tweeters) approach that I used on my previous 06. No big deal either way. . .

Under the dash, I mounted one JL crossover on the driver’s side and one on the passenger side. I used high strength velcro tape to mount them; the drivers side next to he steering column and the passenger side on the door side of HVAC assembly.

I crimped all speaker wiring connectors using the appropriate connectors and a high quality crimping tool. I also used heat shrink tubing to insulate and reinforce each connector. Lots of time went to into making sure the wiring was the right length, routed neatly, and well secured with zip ties. It always amazes me how long it takes to do a neat wiring job . . .

Next up was the Fosgate amp install.

I first decided where I was going to mount the small amp. There is ample space to the right of the HVAC blower assembly and this location offers easy access with the glove compartment either dropped down (bumper pins removed) or entirely removed in five minutes with two bolts. There is also plenty of airspace for a small amp like the Fosgate. With the location decided, I fabricated a mounting bracket using two existing bolt locations in this area. The amp firmly mounts to the bracket with two bolts and is oriented so that I can adjust gain and change some settings by looking up from below the dash.

For the power wire, I decided to use 4 gauge wire for my install. It’s big enough to give me the option of adding a powered Bazooka (behind the rear seat) subwoofer later. First off, I spent some time adjusting and securing the 4 gauge wire and fuse assembly coming from the battery. I decided I wanted to bring the wire through the firewall on the passenger side since this where I had chosen to locate the amp. There is a large collection of wires entering the cab on the passenger side but it ends up coming through behind the fresh air / fan motor assembly making it a challenge to successfully pull a large 4 gauge wire through the existing opening. Instead I gritted my teeth an drilled a hole a few inches to the drivers side of the HVAC assembly where I could easily run it through and install a proper grommet. I then brought the wire in to a small fused distribution block (1 wire in, two wires out) that I located behind the dash just to the right of the glove compartment. From the distribution block I ran an 8 gauge wire to the amp’s removable power harness connector along with an 8 gauge ground wire that is attached to an existing empty bolt hole in the steel tubular crossmember that runs behind the dash. The fuse located near the battery is a 60 amp one while the one at the distribution block is the recommended 30 amp one for the Fosgate.

To install the sound input and out put wiring for the amp I removed the stock radio and installed the custom male / female ended harness that I had previously fabricated. The amp is able to accept high level inputs so the harness has the factory radio’s speaker wires extended to reach the amp’s input connector. The amp is also able to turn itself on and off by sensing sound input (voltage sensing) so I didn’t need to run a turn on wire. While the factory radio was out it was a small matter to run the driver’s side speaker output from the amp’s output connector to the crossover near the steering column. I also again took my time to neatly route all the wires and secure them with zip ties away from the amp’s power wires.

Before bolting the amp to its bracket I tested its operation and adjusted the gain as best I could. Remarkably, the amp fired up on my first try! I didn’t have too much success with the standard gain level adjustment where you start with the gain low, set the radio at 2/3 volume and then turn the gain up till you hear distortion. My ears were bursting before I heard distortion so I settled on the using the Fosgate’s recommended setting for most applications. This ended up closely approximating the volume characteristics of factory radio BEFORE I installed the amp. With everything working as it should I bolted the amp to the bracket and reinstalled the glove compartment.

Stage 1 install done!

How does it sound? In a nutshell, I am pleasantly surprised with the performance. I was certainly expecting much improved overall sound. Playing from a quality CD, imaging is excellent and the sound really has nice balance and clarity. What i didn’t expect was the bass performance. The music doesn’t sound like it is missing anything on the bass end at all. There’s rumble and there’s punch. I’ve dialed the bass setting on the stock radio back to zero. Good CD’s sound very well balanced while Pandora stuff coming through the Kenivo tend to be a bit more bass heavy. . .Perhaps this is in part a function of the stock radio’s built in equalization to deal with the truck environment and crappy stock speakers? Perhaps the Rockford amps built in PunchEQ circuitry is playing a role? Overall, it lessens the urgency of putting in subwoofer. I’m sure the bass would be better handled by one, allowing the door speakers to “better focus” but for now I am not suffering in the least.

Here’s some pics . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Forgot to mention. I connected the Kinivo up to the factory aux input (in the cubby over the glove compartment) using a right angle mini jack cable. The cable runs from the jack down through a small hole to behind the dash where it connects to the Kinivo. The hole is directly below the jack in the cubby floor and is hidden by the rubber liner. You can barely tell its there when the aux port flap is closed. . .
 

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Awesome Job!! I was wondering if anyone installed amp next to cabin filter..Very detailing install..Quick question, did you use step drill bit for hole on firewall? Was it easy to drill hole?
 

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Discussion Starter #30
For the hole in the firewall I used a 16" long standard drill bit. I think it was probably a 5/8" bit but I don't remember off hand. I do construction for a living so I have a collection of large long drill bits for installing bolts in framing.

I drilled from the inside out as there wasn't much room in the engine compartment. The glove compartment was out for this procedure and I put some metal protection over top of a few fragile items in the engine compartment that I didn't want to accidentally damage when the drill bit pushed through the hole. Drilling the actual hole only took a few moments with a sharp drill bit and good drill.

Once the hole was drilled I cleaned any burrs with a file and put some paint on the exposed metal.
 

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Thanks for explaining about the hole on firewall, I figure it be hard to drill from engine bay to interior!
 
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