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33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have done this install on the exact same car once before, got rear ended and totalled so now I’m reinstalling using a few improvements and tricks I’ve learned, thought I’d post it to help anyone out! I’ll be making posts on this thread as I go.

Lotta Pilot-specific tricks in here as well as general audio install tips. Using this overall as a log for myself really-- please provide constructive feedback and please feel free to PM me questions!

I’m doing what I haven’t seen too many people here do, put all the amps under the 3rd row seat. I’ve seen some people put amps in the trunk compartment, but to me that’s wasting storage space— not gonna store anything under the 3rd row seat!

One of the best tips I learned the hard way from the first time I did this: man, just take all the panels off that you need to get off from the get-go, and put them in your apartment until the project is done.

Anyways, here we go:

--- Power Wire ---
First off, where all electricity starts!

I am using 4 AWG Copper Wire (no copper-clad aluminum! (CCA)) for this project. Make sure when buying wire on Amazon to read reviews, sometimes it will say 4 gauge but isn’t true AWG. On the battery terminal end, I didn’t feel like crimping the wire myself, so I bought a pre-made one, cut it and stripped it. I use a breaker instead of a fuse because it’s easy to turn off power when doing work; you can find these easily on Amazon. You can mount the breaker/fuse to the existing screw on that piece in the picture; it's an M4 threaded screw, you'll have to get a longer one than the stock one, and a couple separator washers.

I cut a hole (more like stabbed one with a knife) in the rubber boot on the engine side by the drivers side pedal to get through the firewall. I cut the hole from the inside actually.

Cut off the whole “tab” on the interior side of this boot to get the wire in there:

Here’s some power wire routing along the floor:

This HVAC vent part is super hard to get by, hardest part of the routing really. For smaller wires, there’s another way to go around it, which I’ll get to. But for this big fatty, I opted to go around the HVAC, and go under the seat:


That tiny red wire is the remote wire, which I’ll piggyback onto a fuse in the fuse box. I’ll get to that later. But as you can see, since it’s smaller, I was able to route it differently along the seat (under the HVAC, not around it).

The power wire then gets tucked under the rear panel, and comes out behind the seat mount, and goes to a splitter block to send power to the amps:

As you can see in this pic, I highly recommend taking the front bolts off the 3rd row seat so you can see your whole work area better. I use bungee cords to hold these up (looped over the top, hooked to the baby seat mount things, I'm sure you will see this in later pics).

--- Amplifier Placement ---
On my first build, I kept the carpet in under the 3rd row seat, and this was totally fine, worked well. But my amps were just thick enough where with the seats folded down, they were right on top of them, allowing for no heat to escape. So this time around, I cut the carpet out under the 3rd row seat. To do this, I had to take off the other bolts to completely remove the seats.

After removing the carpet, I put some Dynamat on the metal of course (we'll get to Dynamat later), but by knocking the metal it seemed that this isn’t that much of a resonant area so Dynamat not really necessary. After the Dynamat, I put sheets of adhesive-backed CCF (closed cell foam) over the whole surface. This will prevent vibration from the amplifiers and such, looks clean, and will be a good surface for mounting the amps with industrial-strength velcro, as opposed to just sitting on top of the carpet in my first build.

825 Posts
I suppose you have two RF R1200-1Ds mono amps powering two subs, plus I guess a 3rd amp (4 channel) for the door speakers? That splitter block feeds two 4-gauge wires and what looks like an 8 gauge. Now according to the specs on the R1200:
Recommended Fuse
(not included)
150 A
Average Current Draw (13.8V Music)
55 A
Max. Current Draw (13.8V Sinewave)
110 A
You think a single 100A breaker is enough for two of those? At '55A average' I would expect just those two amps tripping it on a regular basis unless your install severely under-utilizes that power.

Also, no idea what is your 3rd amp, but if it is for the door speakers, it is likely a 50-amp max. I hope you got an inline 50A on that 8AWG somewhere.
Just wondering what sort of subs are you putting in there..

825 Posts
Also, 'prevent vibration from the amplifiers '? Amplifiers don't vibrate... Unless you mean 'prevent vibration from subs from affecting the amplifiers'. But if your sub enclosures cause so much chassis vibration that you have to protect your amps from it, you are going to have major sound quality issues.

33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Amplifiers don't vibrate...
Astute observation.

Unless you mean 'prevent vibration from subs from affecting the amplifiers'. But if your sub enclosures cause so much chassis vibration that you have to protect your amps from it, you are going to have major sound quality issues.
Anything that is hard metal/plastic on hard metal/plastic has the potential to create rattling noises, be it from road vibrations, subwoofers, whatever. Since I'm not screwing my amps down hard, they have a potential to wiggle and thus should have some sort of dampener between them and other hard surfaces (the floor).

Not all vibration caused by subs is transferred through chassis vibration. Do you really think chasing bass rattles in the front doors is from "chassis vibrations"? No, it's from acoustic vibrations from the movement of the air from the bass.

I suppose you have two RF R1200-1Ds mono amps powering two subs, plus I guess a 3rd amp (4 channel) for the door speakers?

You think a single 100A breaker is enough for two of those? At '55A average' I would expect just those two amps tripping it on a regular basis unless your install severely under-utilizes that power.

Also, no idea what is your 3rd amp, but if it is for the door speakers, it is likely a 50-amp max. I hope you got an inline 50A on that 8AWG somewhere.
Just wondering what sort of subs are you putting in there..
I really appreciate your interest in my thread and you trying to help and look out for me like that! But you went wrong in assuming my amplifiers-- the R1200-1D is my only sub amp. More on my amps coming soon.

33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
--- Equipment: Amplifiers / DSP ---
Here is how my equipment looks laid out:

After the 12V terminal block, I have:
  • 1 power wire going to a 4-channel amplifier (left) (Pioneer GM-D8704) - 100W per channel @ 4-ohm load. This goes to my 2 front door speakers, and my 2 front tweeters. I go higher wattage than my speakers require-- just set to a lower gain and you won't blow em. From what I've read, better go higher than lower, for clipping and SNR purposes.
  • 1 power wire going to my sub amp (right) (Rockford Fosgate R1200-1D) - 800W @ 2-ohm load. I also have a 60W fuse in this line alone, pretty much purely because I had it from another project, and because it doesn't hurt.
  • 1 power wire going to a screw terminal block (middle). The other side of this block has +,-, remote for both:
    • My DSP (not installed in picture-- it will be where the large empty space is) (Dayton DSP-408). The other terminals on the terminal block are all the high-level inputs for this DSP, coming from the original 4 channels from the stock head unit. We'll get there later. I would love to afford a more expensive DSP (maybe Helix), but this DSP-408 really gets the job done at a much better price. Maybe I'll add tuning in this thread as well.
    • A 2-channel amplifier for my rear door speakers (middle)(Sound Storm SMC2.100) - 38W per channel @ 4-ohm load. So really, I could just have a 6-channel amp-- but I decided to go active tweeters later on in my previous build, so made sense to "add on" a 2ch amp to the 4ch one I had-- and it's small for the space... not best quality brand, might want to upgrade later... In my first build, I used this small amp for the tweeters, and the 4ch one for the 4 doors, but the Pioneer has lower SNR, and now I have 100W tweets, so yep, I'm sticking the passengers with the cheap amazon amp, using the Pioneer for my front 4. Whatever, passengers won't notice a thing. Rear door speakers are 45W though, so I'm kindof breaking what I said about the "higher wattage amp than your speakers need"... again, might upgrade this amp sometime.
Regarding my speakers, we'll get to those later.

Also, the thin red wire in that pic is all my 12V "remote" connections

--- Grounds ---
As you can see in my picture, all my grounds are mounted to seat bolts. Do some research, this is heavily debated: many say it's fine; many say that seat bolt connections may not provide a good enough ground bond to the battery.

I went with it because it's what I did on my original build, which sounded and worked out fine. In addition, you can see that Honda bolted to the same types of pieces of metal in various other parts of the car. I would be curious to measure the resistance between one of the seat bolts and the battery ground lug though. But like I said, seems to work fine.

The space in the firewall boot would allow a separate GND to be ran, but the kink in that run would be that HVAC passing by the seat... worried about cramming too many cables around that or the panel won't pop back on. Hey, maybe someday I'll try it.

33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
--- Floor Deadening ---
In order to get under the carpet, you have to take some panels off.

First, this one:

From Honda service manual:

You can shift to N without turning car on by sticking key in this slot:

Electrical component harnesses are easy to remove on this panel.

Next, this one:

It's all clips. You kindof have to bend it to get it out.

Finally, pry off the cover of this footrest with a screwdriver, then use a socket to remove the nuts:

The carpet has a clip that must be popped out in order to fully pull it back. I have never succeeded in removing these carpet clips without breaking them. I couldn't find the exact clip at O'Reilly Auto Parts, but found one that works.

Clean all surfaces with isopropyl alcohol before applying deadener:

Deadener (Dynamat) applied:

Couple notes on Dynamat:
Dynamat is relatively expensive IMO. There are dozens of deadeners on Amazon (ie Noico brand) that cost a fraction of a price. I'm sure these are fine. Some cheap deadeners are asphalt-based though which can get smelly in extreme heat. Many people say that other, more expensive brands than Dynamat are even better, but many people have said that they have been using Dynamat brand for over a decade and that it performs excellent-- I'm fine with Dynamat.

My Dynamat job here isn't the prettiest. If you look at some tutorials, people will use deadener rectangles spaced every few inches to save weight (milage) and $$$ on deadener, saying that 70-80% coverage is adequate. I did about 90%, but I didn't sweat getting every single square inch. I could have put 1 big sheet over the top of that big cable, but I wanted to go under it. Some of the small chunks there are just because I wanted to finish up the Dynamat sheet.

My passenger side looks much better:

Make sure to get a deadener roller for applying deadener, and roll it in both directions. The grooved rollers are so that you can see where you've been on the foil, make sure to get every square inch.

33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
--- High-Level Input from Stock Head Unit ---
Although my DSP has a bluetooth dongle to bypass the HU entirely, I at least want to have the option of using the HU. Unfortunately the HU on the Pilot seems like a huge PITA and pretty expensive to replace with aftermarket, so I'll be keeping it stock and tapping into existing speaker lines. I'll be using these guys:

I'll be using 20 AWG wire for this. High-level inputs to devices always (as far as I know) have high impedances (=low current). My DSP actually specifies in the manual that its are 100-ohms-- 20 AWG is more than OK for that, given its max current ratings.

Speaker wiring diagram from Honda service manual:

I think I paid like $30 for 1-month access to this manual and just took a bunch of these screen grabs, so I'm dishing em out for free!

Right Rear:
C403 harness diagram:

As you can see by the wiring diagram, I want pins 5 (+) and 4 (-) for my 2013.
C403 location:

My pic:

Left Rear:
C401 harness diagram:

I want pins 15 (+) and 14 (-).
C401 location:

23 Posts
@Badger414 you can get a full range signal from the tweeters because (as you mentioned) they're in parallel with the mids. Running new wires to the doors is also pretty easy. The sail panels easily fit a tweeter (if you use a hole saw bit-mine were the LPG 26NA's). This generation of Pilot provides a great basis to work on.

33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Front Right:
I don't have a picture of C761 from the manual, but it's the same pin pattern as C401 above, so look at the pin numbering and wire colors in the main wiring diagram-- 11 red, 4 brown on C761, and carry this over to the C401 diagram. C761 is located behind the passenger's kick panel:

Front Left:
You wanna tap into C752, it’s right above C401 and is circled in this pic:

Pin #s are in the wiring diagram. Red is negative here according to the diagram, weird I know.


Routed and zip tied under the black cable. I put different colored e-tape on each wire every 3 feet or so so if I ever have to do maintenance I can just know which is which.

to the DSP terminal block:

Kept some slack coiled under the carpet:

Don't forget to unplug the stock tweeters:

33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@Badger414 you can get a full range signal from the tweeters because (as you mentioned) they're in parallel with the mids. Running new wires to the doors is also pretty easy. The sail panels easily fit a tweeter (if you use a hole saw bit-mine were the LPG 26NA's). This generation of Pilot provides a great basis to work on.
Was gonna go with the tweeter taps for the fronts but ended up finding an easier tap location near the floor. They're in my above post.
Running new wires to the front doors is easy... rear seems near-impossible... have you done it?
Yep, tweeters are on the sails in a custom built pod, I'll get to that on this thread!

33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
--- Rear Door Deadening ---
Every door in the Pilot has 3 screws to take out:

Then use a plastic panel popper tool to pop from the bottom up. Once off you have to disconnect the wire harness, and pop the door handle out. Then, remove the cottony "vapor barrier" as they call it.

First thing I do is cram butyl tape (butyl rope) between the door and the support bar;

Honda actually did a good job already, just fillin' in their gaps.

Then apply Dynamat to as much as the inside as I can-- I basically did this in x4 12"x12" squares.

Next, gotta cover those big holes. I'm using a masonite-type board called "tempered hardboard" I found at Home Depot for ~5 each. It has a smooth, coated side that's supposed to be better for water resistance, I'll make that side facing the exterior. Most people use aluminum for this; I thought it was too expensive. I traced the holes out on a stencil and jigsawwed it out:

Applied butyl tape around the edge of the hole to make a gasket:

And screwed it on with self-tapping sheet metal screws:

For the next hole, I smartened up and went and bought some posterboard, forget the cardboard, 10x easier:

And my butyl taping job got much better the second time around as well!:

Screwed on:

Finally, I Dynamatted over that using 1 full sheet:

covering up some of the tiny holes with CLD or butyl tape.

A lot of people like to leave their panel screws exposed for maintainability. In my eyes I'd rather put in work later in the off chance that I have to, vs. putting it in now guaranteed. Since I did a good job rolling the Dynamat, I can see every screw head underneath it, so I would just have to cut circles around them. I can also see the edges of my panels under the Dynamat, so those are also as easy as tracing with a knife if they need to be removed.

33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
--- Rear Speaker Wiring ---
For speakers, I will be using 14 AWG OFC wire. 14 AWG is definitely overkill, but hey, run it once, gives you chance for higher power speakers later on.

So the rear doors have absolutely no way of accessing the boot to the door, so I had to use the stock wires by cutting and tapping them. If I ever wanted to re-wire to stock, I'd just make a jumper from the "source taps" to the "speaker taps".

For the left, I cut the other side of C401 (other side being my source signal taps):

For the right, I cut the same side wires on C403:

All wired up to my 2Ch amp for the rears:

33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
--- Rear Speakers ---
Nothing fancy for the rears, just some Rockford Fosgate R165X3 45W coaxials.

--- Rear Speaker Mounting ---
I am using some rings that mount to the weird-shaped Honda speaker mounts. As you can see in my door pics, I first put Dynamat on the metal where the speaker's going to be mounted, in order to slightly decouple / reduce vibrations. I then butyl-taped the backs of these:

Though the plastic mount is convenient, I still ended up putting screws in the bottom 2 holes:

After mounting, I put more butyl rope around the outside edge as well.

Now that I'm using the stock wiring for these, these adapters are super handy and plug right into the stock harness:

And the + and - fit perfectly on my speaker's terminals.

I will be using some of these speaker cups. These always say "improves bass", but really, without cutting you are creating an incredibly small sealed enclosure with them, which will actually raise the Q and reduce bass. I use these and cut them as a "water umbrella" over the speakers since water can get in your doors, as well as for creating a soft gasket behind the speaker for mounting.


Final mounting:

I used 3/4" sheet metal screws-- they just go into the plastic of the speaker ring and do not go through to the metal of the door. By mounting the ring to the door and the speaker to the ring, this allows the speaker to be less coupled from the door metal and reduce vibrations it sends through the door-- however, there are risks with only screwing into plastic, but these aren't strong midbass 100W drivers though, so these screws will be fine.

Finally, I put a foam ring around the edge-- this will be compressed by the plastic panel to form a seal that prevents sound from bouncing off the plastic and back into the door:

It fit around the speaker a little too perfectly, so I used my thumbs to squish it around the base so the speaker rubber doesn't touch it at all.

33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
-- Front Door Wiring --
I'm doing an active setup with tweeters and woofers, so 2 speakers per door-- fitting the 14 gauge through the front boots was tricky. I know this is a sin, but I had to slice the boot in half to get the wire through halfway, then push it the rest of the way:

And then sealed it with electrical tape:

Then wired everything to the back, zip tying it up:


I've found the best way is to go under this little "tunnel" under the HVAC, then reach way down under the 3rd row carpet, grab the wire and pull it through.
After this, I have a tiny amount of each wire "coiled" under the 3rd row carpet to give slack for workability purposes.

For the tweeter lines, I used some 600 Hz bass blockers to prevent any accidental damage to the tweeters due to pop or what not:


As I said before, I'm color coordinating all my wires-- green and yellow are front left and right, and "double rings" means tweeters!

All tidy:

33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
--- Rear Door Panel Decoupling ---
So, this is why you start with the rears (least care about) first-- gotta learn some stuff for the big leagues (front).

So, I applied CCF (closed cell foam) everywhere, in order to decouple vibrations from the plastic interior panel:

Then for the panels, I used tesa tape on all clips to prevent from rattling. Not sure why the audio community loves this stuff so much, but it's thin, and works:

Then, I put patches of CLD on the large surfaces of the panel:

And theeeeen I actually put CCF over the whole panel as well... but, I ended up ripping all of it off. At this point, I hit an issue where my door panel would not go on. I asked about this issue in a different thread. Forget MLV on the Pilot, no way it would fit. To get the door on, I ended up having to rip all CCF off the plastic panel, as well as all edges of the inner door:

I also had to take a knife and slice that speaker ring to about half thickness.

And even then, it just barely popped on, with a ton of pressure. I think one of the main problems is the screws, they might be the "limiting factor" on thickness, considering they are hex heads, not panheads. Should have got panheads. Would also be better if I had cut circles of the Dynamat around them to reduce thickness on their points.

The thing that I question here is, aren't the parts that stop the door panel from popping on due to the CCF, the exact parts where the plastic touches and the rattles occur? Sounds like I'm just going to have to play the cat and mouse game of listening for rattles, adding a little foam, repeat-- hopefully though, there are none the first time.

Another thing I learned the hard way: cut the hole for the door handle with the handle in the place it's going to be located, so you get the correct direction/location.
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