Surprisingly productive day wrenching on the wagon last night. I thought I was just going to pull the bumper, fix the hood latch, and bolt in the new horns, but I ended up doing so much more than that.
Quick recap: the plastic retainer that held the hood release cable in a functional spot decided that 30 years in an engine bay was more than it could handle and disintegrated, leaving me with an inop hood. The internet suggested removing the bumper was the solution to this problem. While I was in there, the Civic’s horns were inop, so now seemed like as good of a time as any to fix that.
With all that said, I launched in. The bumper on this car, as it turns out, is stupid easy to remove. Eight bolts held on some plastic cladding and armor and then two long bolts and some elbow grease released the bumper cover from its moorings.
It soon became apparently why at least one of the horns wasn’t working: it didn’t exist!
The other looked in rough shape too, so I felt quite justified in replacing them. For better or worse, I couldn’t find OE replacements so, at my boss’s suggestion, I went with something called a Hella Supertone. Apparently the Subaru bros love these.
After connecting them, I can see why. They are, by far, the loudest, most irritating horns I have ever heard. The 500Hz high tone on its own sounds like the Roadrunner and is hilarious, but when combined with the 300Hz low tone... dear god. Together they are also very, very loud.
I feel bad for my friend that rents the garage apartment, as I kept tooting them, giggling, tooting them, and repeat.
Anyway! So... mission accomplished? Loud and annoying is sort of the point of a horn, but I might see if I can rig up a way to only use the high tone when I’m not wanting to be a complete ass. Then again when would I ever use something like that?
So... moving on. Shockingly, the wisdom on the internet was mostly incorrect on the hood release thing. It turns out I can manipulate the hood latch with the bumper off... if I am willing to cut a hole though the AC condenser and the radiator. Given I asked the question on a mostly 4th gen forum, I assume this is different on a 4th gen vs my 3rd gen. Or that guy was an idiot.
Ooooor what he really meant is take the bumper and front grill out and then reach a pair of pliers through a narrow hole into the engine compartment, grab the cable, and pull.
I’m sure that is what he meant....
So anyway! Hood open, I reattached the cable and gave it a generous glob of silicone sealant to hopefully keep it in place. Replacements appear to be not a thing so if that doesn’t work I’ll have to 3D print something. Or more silicone. Or JB weld.
Anyway, with that done and plenty of time before I needed to hit the sheets, I decided to do a few more things!
First up was replacing the Civic’s sad, sad antenna, which had apparently broke and been “repaired” with electrical tape by the PO. The end result of this was the radio didn’t work and the antenna rapped on the hood when you went over bumps.
With the radio out (I’m getting to that) it was easy to tie some mule line to the old antenna cable and remove the old antenna while paving the way for the new one.
The new one, courtesy of $13 and Amazon, was basically the same as the old, except not broken, and went in mostly easy. The line kept getting snagged, but eventually I got it threaded back to the radio and ready to go.
A few weeks ago I ripped out the radio. It was a “Dual XDM16BT” which has the honor of being one of the cheapest radios I have ever seen. $20 and it has bluetooth! What could go wrong!
Well... to be honest it did work and looked pretty OK, but I couldn’t get my phone to connect to it so.. out it came!
Removal was... surprisingly easy due to the PO not actually... installing it. It was just hanging out in the radio hole. Loose. Once it was removed you could really feel the quality. Seriously this is the lightest car stereo I have ever laid hands on.
Well OK then. Moving on! The new radio, an Axxera unit with a suspiciously similar model number, XDMA7800, was heavier and more radio shaped, though three times the cost and had a sticky volume knob.
Luckily whoever did the previous install used the correct harness adapter, rather than just lopping off the factory harness as most people do, so electrically it was plug and play to fit my new harness!
To finish the install I needed to run a USB line for my dashcam (which I ran off the radio’s USB port for install cleanliness) and the microphone for the handsfree system. I won’t bore you with details, but that was fairly easy.
Getting the new radio in was... less so. Basically I could get it almost in before I hit... something. After fussing with it for a while I dismanteled the ash tray to get a better look. Turns out the stock radio support was trying to guillotine the harness! Some creative wire nudging and we were in!
Next up was the speakers!
I think they needed to be replaced! Curiously the passenger side speaker was also missing. I... have no response to this. Also as stock this car only has two speakers total. I, similarly, have no response to this.
Install was remarkably easy. Each speaker cover is held in by two screws and then you have complete access. No door card removal needed.
Speakers were replaced quickly and now I have a fully functional AV system, functioning horns, a (probably) working hood release, wired in dash cam, and a non-jankity antenna.
Also a bit of a mess.
Overall though... success!