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21 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi! Here's yet another quick DIY to add an aftermarket sub & amp to a 3rd gen V :).

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The first thing you need to do is locate the firewall grommet that's in the engine compartment so you can route the positive (red) power wire that'll connect the battery to the amplifier. In this picture you can see that the grommet is located sort of in the middle. Pull out the grommet with pliers and cut out a hole big enough to fit an 8 AWG wire. If you're using a thicker wire (i.e., 4 AWG) you'll probably need to cut out a larger hole on the grommet. Push the wire through the grommet and then through the firewall opening. The wire will come out easily on the other side. If possible, cover the wire with plastic tubing to better isolate it.

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Notice that the power wire comes out on the driver's side. For a cleaner installation I routed the power wire behind the components of the lower dashboad, as you try to push it. This could be a little tricky because a soft wire will just bend every time it bumps into a component from the dash. What I did (and have done in the past) is used a clothes wire hanger, which I pulled and bent to make it long. Then I attached the power wire with tape to the tip of the clothes hanger wire and pushed it behind the lower dash. Then I just grabbed the tip from the passenger's side end, detached the power wire from the clothes hanger wire tip and pulled the wire. I know this is the poor man's solution but it's worked for me every time.

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Once you have the power wire routed through the passenger's side, proceed to add the power fuse that came with the amp power connection kit. I found a good place to sit the fuse housing (not too far from the battery), as you can see in this picture. Using plastic cable ties attach the power wire to other components inside the engine so the power cable won't sit loose in the engine compartment. I also found I convenient cable that ran behind the battery so I attached the power wire along this (rather thick) cable.

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Next, I routed the RCA pre-amp, remote, and power wires under the passenger's front seat as well as the rear right seat. For quick instructions how to route both the RCA pre-amp and remote wires refer to picture # 11 from this link. Also this link will show you how to install an aftermarket head unit, which will allow you to connect both the RCA pre-amp and power-on remote cables to the amplifier.
The reason I decided to route the amplifier wires to the vehicle's cargo area is because I found out that an aftermarket amp will not fit comfortably under the passenger's seat (see the pictures on part II of this tutorial).
Once you have routed the three different types of wires to the right hand side of the cargo area, you need to attach the ground power wire to the car's chassis. I found a convenient plastic panel that covered part of the vehicle's hardware which was very easy to remove by prying its top off with a flathead screwdriver. In this picture you can see a conveniently located bolt where I grounded the negative (black) power wire. You need to remove the bolt with a 10mm ratchet--I believe that's the correct size. If you don't have metric size sockets you can use the closest match in inches. It'll do the job just fine--darn foreigners; when are they gonna learn that the world operates with the Brittish-American unit system ;)

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To route the ground wire out of the plastic panel I drilled a small hole on the panel. See the detail on the picture where the ground wire attaches to the bolt. Notice the clean look once the panel is put back in place. Remember that an amp ground power wire should not be longer than 3 ft (90 cm for those of you who prefer metric units). By the way, the ground wire size I used is also 8 gauge (AWG).

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What I did next (although you may leave this step for last, according to most manufacturer's instructions) was attaching the red power wire to the battery. I love Honda's improvement on its 3rd gen battery positive terminal. You can see that there's a perforated extension that protrudes from the actual terminal. I used this to make a clean attachment to the positive power wire along with a small bolt, nut and power washer. There's even a back opening on the red terminal cover that allowes for the power cable to come out! Gee, you have to love Honda for making these types of "small" improvements! My 2nd gen V sure didn't have that.

Please refer to part II of this tutorial for the final installation steps.

21 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Adding a sub & amp to 3rd gen CR-V (part II)

Please refer to part I of this tutorial for previous steps.

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In this picture you can see the power wire finally routed and attached to the car's battery. I covered the other end of the wire with a thick piece of plastic to prevent a short circuit. Of course, most professionals will advice you to disconnect the positive terminal from the battery until the final amp & sub installation is completed. I just was lazy to do it that way and since I've installed this kind of equipment before, I decided to take my chances. But you can follow the "conservative" route if you want.

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Once the wires have been routed to the right side of the vehicle's cargo area, proceed to connect the wires to the amp and make sure it works fine by turning on the head unit. After you've tested the amp and made sure the sound is coming out correctly, you can make fine adjustments to the amp unit to suit your musical taste. As soon as you're done making fine adjustments to the sound, go ahead and mount the amp on the sub's enclosure--if you wish. In this example you can see how I piggybacked the sound amplifier to the back of the subwoofer enclosure in order to keep the two together in one single unit. Notice also how all the wires run unobstructed off the amp.

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You can see how the final product will look like. The amp is attached to the back of the sub enclosure so it's not visible in this picture. Do notice, however, the clereance from the bottom to the top of the cargo cover panel. It's less than 13". If you add a larger enclosure you won't be able to close the cover. This, of course, will only allow for a small sub enclosure to be installed but believe me, it's all you need if you have a sufficiently powerful sub speaker and amp (i.e., 500 watts RMS).

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In this final picture you can see how the sub enclosure fits nicely under the cargo cover panel. Also notice that when you close the other half of the cover panel the amp/sub rig is fully concealed--for security purposes, of course.

Here's a few considerations that are worth making mention of. First, the sub enclosure in this picture is for a 10" sub speaker. It has a .85 cu. ft. capacity, which is enough for a good and tight bass sound. The enclosure is not vented, for I wasn't able to find a vented box that would fit under the cargo cover. Later on however, I found that Sonic Electronix ( does carry one that's ported and might fit under the cargo cover, although is longer than the one you're seeing. Second, consider pairing up a good Class D amp with a sub. In this case, for example, I used a 600W RMS amp (1100W peak power) with a 2 ohm speaker. The 2 ohms enable the amp to provide the total 600 watts RMS power (or close to it). A 4 ohm sub, on the other hand, will half the amp's RMS power, of course. Class D amps are used primarily to power subwoofers because of their higher power efficiency--these amps don't get very hot--even if you play your music at really loud volumes! Next, consider using adequate wiring for your rig. Thinner wires will lower the amp's rated power, which will affect the sound strenght reproduced by the sub. Follow this interesting link from Rockford Fosgate to check how innappropriate wiring could adversely affect the amount of actual watts that your amp delivers ( Finally, consider acquiring an aftermarket head unit that pomps out at least a 4-volt pre-ampped signal. I've learned that the stronger the signal an amp receives, the cleaner the music it will deliver.

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This picture shows how a medium to large amplifier will not fit nicely under the passenger's seat. Granted, this picutre shows a longer-than-usual amp but notice how it'd seat on the floor across the seat. Here I had removed the seat to see if it was possible to install an amp underneath it. Also pay close attention to the bump that runs sideways under the passenger's seat as well as the three-branched vent outlet--or at least that's what I think it is. Those two things would make it extremely hard to install even a normal size amp under the passenger's seat--not to mention the fact that when the vent pumps out hot air it'll add to the amp's heating factor.

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Here's another picture that shows how an amp would be very hard to fit right under the passenger's seat. This extra long one will just not fit. I think it's important to mention that I had previously removed the bass sub unit that came originally with my EX-L. This was due to the fact that after replacing the stock HU, I realized that the sub unit would be useless simply because the connection to it was lost.
In addition, a particular problem that I noticed with the EX-L model is that the passenger's seat is rigged underneath in such a way to accommodate the factory-installed subwoofer unit, which is actually a very awkwardly designed box that contains a small (80 watt) amp as well as the sub speaker itself--which is also very small. The crossbar that's actually weldded to the bottom of the seat prevents, in part, the installation of an aftermarket amp--because then you wouldn't be able to slide the seat back and forth. However, I'd be curious to see if other CR-V models that didn't come with the stock sub unit installed would permit the installation of an amp right under the passenger's seat--either on the car's floor or under the seat itself.
Please let me know if any of you have attempted (successfully) to install an amp under the passenger seat in a 3rd gen V--without making it protrude too much off the seat itself, that is.

21 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! I ran the wires just along the floor, under the mats. Since I have the weather rubber mats installed on top of the regular ones, you don't really notice (or feel) the wires.
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