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Preamble

One of the few disappointing things about my Clarity Plug-In is the stock audio system. The dash integration is amazing, as well as, the inclusion of Apple and Google app interfaces. But...the stock sound is very flat, even when adjusting the bass/treble controls. It sounds great for talk-radio and low-volume background music, but it is severely lacking if you want high-end clarity or lower-end bass. Because there is not an option to upgrade the system through Honda, that leaves any of us audio-heads to figure out how to upgrade (if at all). I'm in the process of upgrading.

Upgrades

Head unit

The first thing I did was rip the head unit out of the dash. NO I DID NOT! The control screen is fully-integrated into most of the Clarity's systems and you CANNOT remove or upgrade it. So, I didn't start there.

Stock speakers

I watched a couple of YouTube videos of people that had upgraded their front/rear tweeters and door speakers. They involved not-so-carefully pulling out door panels and pillars to access the stock speakers. Against my better judgement, that's what I did. I went on Crutchfield to find speakers that fit the Clarity and my budget. I ended up with JL tweeters and Kicker door speakers. When they arrived, I waited a few days. re-watched the videos, and then started pulling things apart. It sounds like you are tearing the vehicle apart, but everything worked out fine. The first door took me about an hour to figure out how to remove the panel, extract the speaker, replace the speaker and then replace the doors. The first pillar for a tweeter was the same thing. The other doors and pillar took about 15 minutes each. So, the upgrade can be accomplished!

That was the good news. The results were mixed. On the high-end (drum cymbals, flute, etc), the sound is MUCH better and crisp. I'm very happy with the result. On the low-end, the bass is less-muddy and hits clean. But only to a point. There really isn't a deep low-end, even at lower volumes with the bass adjustment on full. Thanks to Google, I was able to find a few owners who have commented on this lack of deep bass in the Clarity vehicles. Although I haven't seen any official statements from Honda, the conventional wisdom on the Interwebs is that the head unit is curbing the lower bass output so that it would not blow the stock paper speakers. Based upon the tiny magnets on the stocks speakers, I can easily believe this to be true. And, the fact that much better speakers don't have depth, seems to confirm this point of view. At least it did for me.

Subwoofer

Subwoofers go in trunks. At least the ones I like. So, that's where I headed. I found a nice 12" Kicker sub and did some custom woodworking in order to frame the subwoofer into the upper/forward portion of the trunk area against the back seats. Along the the way, I attached an amplifier, audio capacitor and electronic bass-enhancer (a device which allows you to boost and shape the bass provided by the head unit). I'm not super-excited about this latter device as I'm still not convinced that you can add to much to a signal that has been dampened at the source. On the other hand, some of these devices get great reviews and I picked the one that was hands-down above the rest. So now, all I needed to do was to get a power line from the standard car battery in the front engine compartment run somehow to the trunk.

Power

Do you ever rate a personal project on the number of times that you run to Home Depot or Lowes? Depending upon how you manage the scale, this project is a 1 (if many trips are bad) or a 10 (if many trips are good). Granted, many of my trips were related to customizing the subwoofer. But, an equal number have been trying to handle getting power to the amplifier. (Full disclosure: This is where I am at in the project right now.) Running the ground wire is straightforward in that I can find a solid metal wall/floor in the trunk compartment in very close proximity to the subwoofer. I just need to peel back the carpet to find the exact location to pick. But then there is that long run from the amplifier to the car battery in the engine compartment...

...I watched A TON of installer videos which touched on, or focused on, running power in Hondas and other vehicles. The general approach and advice is to find the opening (a pass-through grommet) between the engine compartment and the forward part of the driver's or passenger's floor - and to snake a power line through the grommet opening. An alternative, less-recommended approach, it to run the wire along the wiring harness which feeds into one of the front doors (to control power windows, etc). This door approach gets the thumbs-down from most installers because it can pinch the wire or ruin the door's water seal, causing leaks in rain or puddles. So I pulled the carpet in the front of the car on both the driver and passenger sides. In both cases, there is a 1/2" to 3/4" grommet located somewhat near where your feet would normally rest. That's all well and good, except that when I tried to see where these grommets exited inside the engine compartment, it was obvious that these grommets were useless to snake wires between compartments. There was not enough clearance inside the engine compartment to feed a wire or pull a wire from the engine side. You can barely even see the grommets from that side. Lame. Not sure what these grommets might ever be used to address.

Question

So, this leads me to my question: How can I run power from the engine compartment to the trunk??? I've been trying to do all of the work myself, but have been unable to find a good answer or resource to assist online.

Plan A

Reach out to the owner community on this forum, and others, to see if any of you have solved this problem. Either by yourself, or with an installer, OR

Plan B

Buckle and go to an installer and pay them to figure it out for me.

I'm not far from Plan B at this point as I've invested in everything else. If any of you have a solution, I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR WHAT YOU KNOW!

Thanks!

Kevin
 

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can you get power from the power port of the center console? Are there any grommets in the trunk where you can snake a wire thru and run it under the car to the engine bay?
 

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In both cases, there is a 1/2" to 3/4" grommet located somewhat near where your feet would normally rest. That's all well and good, except that when I tried to see where these grommets exited inside the engine compartment, it was obvious that these grommets were useless to snake wires between compartments. There was not enough clearance inside the engine compartment to feed a wire or pull a wire from the engine side. You can barely even see the grommets from that side. Lame. Not sure what these grommets might ever be used to address.

Have you tried a fish tape to pull the wire? https://www.lowes.com/search?searchTerm=fish+tape I have used these in household electrical projects to snake wire behind a wall or pull it along rafters that are otherwise hard to get to. If you can see the grommet from the engine compartment, perhaps you can aim a fish tape at it to give you something to pull. Just a thought, keep us posted when you solve it.
 
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