Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Upgrading the front speakers on the 2015 Honda CR-V Touring

Hello folks,

I recently upgraded my 2015 CR-V Touring front speakers since I thought that the stock speakers didn't sound great.

It was a significant learning experience and I wanted to document how to do it here to help others.

I decided on the Polk DB651S speakers having read many reviews on them. I got them from Crutchfield in their Outlet section. I chose Crutchfield because of their stellar reputation and lifetime support of their products.|[rank399]Car%20Speakers&nvpair=FFBrand|Polk%20Audio

It cost me $62 shipped to my Maryland address. I thought it a good deal since it comes with the adapter cables (Metra 72-7800 Speaker Harness) and the spacer adapters (Scosche SAHC634) so that it would fit into the limited space of the door panel. Also included is a downloadable PDF file with general instructions on how to install the speakers in my CR-V. I say general because it didn't really include all the small tips that would really help you install the speakers. You need some ingenuity to install the speakers, IMHO. I've tried to include as many of these tips as I can.

They were technically "Open Box" speakers, however, I could not tell the difference between them and a new pair. The speakers were sealed in plastic and all the parts (speaker grills, screws, allen wrench, hex bit and the warranty card and instructions were all included. The "Open Box" specials aren't always available.

Tools needed:
small flat head screwdriver
medium (#2) Phillips head screwdriver
trim and molding tool set from eBay or Harbor Freight
electrical tape (not critical but helpful)

First- Removing the passenger side door panel

I'll start with the passenger side since it's a bit simpler than the driver's side.

Remove the sail panel where the tweeter is located. Pry off the side nearest the window with the trim tool. There are two tabs that need to be unlocked from the window side and two friction fit pieces near the frame side that need to be pulled out. Do not pull too hard on this piece or you'll break something. (Don't ask me how I know this DAMHIKT). The tweeter is connected with a locking connector. Press the tab and pull the connector off the tweeter.

Roll the window down before you remove the window control and door lock panel because it won't work after you remove the connector. Start by inserting a trim tool piece in between the panel and the door in the space in the door pull area. This is the least conspicuous area and can get you started with separating the panel. Be careful around the silver colored sections as they are soft and show every misplaced trim tool mark (DAMHIKT!). There are LOTS of tabs in this section so be patient and don't pull too hard as they will eventually come free. There are tabs all the way around this piece so use your trim tool and insert it between the door panel and the control panel gently and then lift. The panel inserts below the arm rest slightly so you should pull it forward and up to remove it. Once you have it somewhat off, you'll need to remove the switch connector which has a tabbed release you'll need to press with your fingernail and then pull the white lever up which helps to remove the connector. Put the panel someplace safe.

There are 3 screws holding the panel to the door. First, remove the plastic cover inside the door release by inserting a small flat head screwdriver into the small tabbed key at the top edge of the small cover. Remove the 2 phillips head screws. Then using the small flat head screwdriver, lift the rubber cover inside the door pull area to reveal the 3rd screw. Remove it. Keep the covers and the screws in a safe tray or bag so you don't lose them.

Once you have the screws off, use the large curved trim tool and insert it between the panel and the door close to where the speaker is located and pry the panel loose from the door. You'll swear you're breaking each of the 10 green plugs when you do get them off. However, they will come off cleanly. They just make a loud pop when they release. When you have the panel loosened, lift the panel up so that the lip of the panel comes free from the window well. The passenger door still has the handle and door lock cables connected. Pull the panel back slightly and unlatch the door lock by pulling on the black locking piece away from the panel. It swings open. The cable sits in a slotted opening on the panel. Remove it from that and then pull the cable with the balled end out of the lock mechanism holder. The same is true of the door opening cable. It sits in a slotted opening on the panel below the lock cable. Pull the white locking piece away from the panel. It should swing away and open up. Remove the cable from the slotted opening and remove the cylindrical shaped cable end from the door opening mechanism. You should now be able to place the door panel some place safe. Don't put it anywhere where it might fall over and scratch the panel! (DAMHIKT!)

You should now be able to see the original speaker in all it's glory. Unscrew the one screw (put it in a safe place) and pry speaker off the door since the foam holding it in place is kind of sticky. I inserted my screwdriver into the screw hole and popped the speaker back.

OEM speaker upside down.

There are two tabs which hold the bottom portion in place. Lift the speaker up and it should come free. The connector has two locking tabs. Squeeze the connector on both sides and it should pull off. Now put the speaker aside and connect the Metra 72-7800 Speaker Harness to the connector.

Mount one of the speakers to one of the Scosche SAHC634 adapters. This is trickier than it seems. There are multiple holes available on the Scosche as well as the Polk speakers. I chose four that were evenly spaced and that matched the speakers. The Polk comes with two sets of screws and screw holders. Use the chromed ones instead of the black ones as they fit better. Squeeze them flat and them place them over the 4 holes you've chosen. You'll do well to use a little electrical tape to hold these little suckers in place. They fall off constantly otherwise. (DAMHIKT)

VERY CAREFULLY screw the speakers to the Scosche adapter. Don't tighten the screws all the way yet. Leave it kind of loose. You'll see why in a second. Any slip of the screwdriver will go right through the speaker cone! Luckily, I don't have any first hand knowledge of this but I've worked on tons of speakers and screwdrivers! Connect the Metra adapter wires to the new speaker. There is a thin connector and a thick connector. Be sure to connect these to the right posts (thick to thick and thin to thin) to be sure you've got the right polarity. Now that you have the speaker mounted and connected. Test it by playing the radio. If you've right, you should hear a thin sound coming from the speakers. Once it's mounted in the door panel, the bass will increase dramatically.

Now try placing the speaker with adapter into the existing speaker opening. There are two tabs on the Scosche spacer that fit into the two tab openings in the door panel. You'll notice that it won't fit the first time. You'll need to carefully press down on the adapter until it inches down to where you can insert the one screw and have it fit to the rear mounted nut in the door. When you try to insert the one large screw, you'll notice that the speaker frame is in the way! Try nudging the speaker down. If it doesn't move enough at first, then loosen the speaker mounting screws until you can get the screw into the large hole. The large screw won't get past the speaker frame and I couldn't figure out a way to get this to work so I just screwed the large screw down to the frame of the speaker. I know this isn't optimal since it might bend the speaker frame, but it works.

With the speaker in place, it's time to replace the door panel. You'll need to reconnect the door lock and door opening mechanism cables and the switch panel with the door lock and window opening buttons. Hold the panel near the cables. Insert the door lock end with the ball into it's socket and insert the sleeve end with the notch back into the slot. Snap the white lock back in place. Do the same with the door opening cable and slip the sleeve end back into it's slot. Snap the black lock back in place. How thread the door lock and window opening cable back through the opening near the arm rest. We'll reconnect the switches later. Now, to replace the panel, insert the window squeegee portion (the top edge) into the opening for the glass window. The trick is to insert the front edge first. Lift the back edge up a bit so that you can insert the front edge into the opening. If you try to place the back edge in first, you'll waste a lot of time! (DAMHIKT!) With the front portion inserted into the window opening, the panel will pretty much drop into place very quickly. Check to make sure the green studs are positioned over their respective openings and that the switch panel connector is accessible through the arm rest opening. Now pop the green studs into their sockets by popping your hand over each one individually. They should go in with a resounding pop!

Now reconnect the switch panel connector. Be sure the white lever is pulled out. When you push the connector back in the lever should draw in and eventually sit flush with the connector. Try to pull on the connector a bit to make sure it's seated properly. Test it with the car in accessory mode to be sure you don't have to reopen it in case it isn't working! Reseat the switch panel back into the door arm rest by inserting the back end into and below the padded arm rest section. Then gently press down all around the panel to make sure it seats properly. It should sit flush with the door panel.

You're done with the passenger door!