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radio/nav upgrade options for 2003 Accord?

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radio/nav upgrade options for 2003 Accord?

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  #1  
Old 09-29-2018, 11:04 PM
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Default radio/nav upgrade options for 2003 Accord?

So I recently acquired a 2003 Accord EX V6 on short notice (to add to the 94 Accord which still needs a timing belt)... and I like the car. If it's able to run reliably for me I hope to keep it. Maybe even upgrade things like the stereo and such esp because the CD player is broken, and despite a CD/AUX button I see no auxillary audio in. (is there some way to add one easily?? just to plug my phone in and not use an FM Modulator)

Yet i'm looking at that factory dash trapezoid and that wierd volume/power button BELOW the climate control buttons and trying to figure out how anyone can make a decent replacement for that which doesn't look like crap. I've browsed amazon a bit, and some is chinese stuff I dont trust to last, and some looks pretty nice but is real old specs because this is an older car by now not the hot new thing.


I wont have the money or such to be upgrading until at least next summer but I can dream. What are some of the AESTHETIC looking options to upgrade to which wont make things look all wonky? I've got a dual zone climate control model if it matters - and if the power/volume button isn't replaced (the one between the climate temps) I wouldn't mind reusing it for something if that's even possible.. (maybe subwoofer volume, I dont know)

I'd like to have some kind of nicely sized display on this for use with an Android car setup. Heck i'd just mount a phone there (and maybe there are nice phone mounts that go right there in the meanwhile) because it's hard to beat Google Maps honestly with traffic and weather and I wouldn't mind having SMS ability and such in car either. A bigger screen is nice IF there's a bigger res to go with it - I use a Samsung Galaxy somethingorother Tracfone with 1280x720 screen right now which is about as small as i'd like to go in res, more might be even nicer if screensize got bigger. Yet I wouldn't like the 800x480 screens i'd seen on head units even if larger size.

I love the sound of the factory speakers - I don't need an upgrade, just comparable or slightly better power from the head unit. I would definately add an amplifier and subwoofer though and have thoughts on what. (a pair of Bill Fitzmaurice AutoTubas) So i'm mostly looking for... aesthetic looking upgrade, some 1280x720 or higher res screen as large as "doesnt throw off aesthetics", prefer some reliable decent model to a chinese knockoff that will die in 4 months unless known to be reliable... rather not spend much over $400-500 for head unit upgrades and install cost (that doesnt include sub/amps) and if I spend nowhere near that that's fine too. ($100 might be decent) I'm just not sure whats out there, or if there is a "trick option" lots of people go to or what for this car because I never had one before.



 
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  #2  
Old 09-30-2018, 11:36 AM
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There are many options out there for you. I went the easiest route which only cost me around $250. I have the ex model that comes with a factory sub. I wanted to keep the Honda look so didn't change the factory radio. I hardly use the CD player because I have an XM subscription. I decided to install a Bluetooth module because now everything we do is from our phone. I also upgraded all the speakers to get more of a crisp and deep sound. The speakers I had in mine were great but just wanted a little more. Below is what I installed and I can't complain. With something like his you can save by installing yourself. It's straightforward

USA-Spec BT45-Hon3 USA-Spec BT45-Hon3
(4 years no problems)

Aux input/USB charger Aux input/USB charger

6x9 speakers 6x9 speakers

6x9 connectors 6x9 connectors

Tweeters Tweeters

tweeter bass blockers tweeter bass blockers

6.5 door speakers 6.5 door speakers

This is to give you an idea of which way to go. The speakers I chose were not the best but they sound a lot better than the factory ones
 

Last edited by keep_hope_alive; 10-01-2018 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 10-01-2018, 12:56 AM
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I'm surprised at how much the AUX input costs. And the refusal to provide warranty support thru amazon purchases at the first link.

I also wonder if there's anywhere I could demo the speakers in person, i've always found the factory Honda ones in the EX to be amazingly clear, I only really had a hankering for some more bass which is the job of a subwoofer anyways. Could you describe how the sound was different and better maybe?

I'm pretty sure that i'd really like to have a different head unit though, just one that matches the visual factory look for the most part, esp with the CD player already broken and ideally to add navigation ability and touchscreen on the display. :)
 
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:40 PM
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Adapters are certainly pricey, but they do a highly specific task.

You won't find a head unit that looks like OEM for your car. They will all look like a rectangle in a cheap plastic housing. Some Asian companies make what looks to be a model specific upgrade with (usually) an Android-based interface. The challenge is they are poorly documented, poorly supported, random menus are in Chinese, and basically a gamble you have to decide if it's worth it.

There are some radio kits that include the HVAC controls to allow for an aftermarket head unit, they are also pricey and then you have the cost of the head unit itself, and a steering wheel control adapter.
 
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Old 10-01-2018, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by fixinmyself
I'm surprised at how much the AUX input costs. And the refusal to provide warranty support thru amazon purchases at the first link.

I also wonder if there's anywhere I could demo the speakers in person, i've always found the factory Honda ones in the EX to be amazingly clear, I only really had a hankering for some more bass which is the job of a subwoofer anyways. Could you describe how the sound was different and better maybe?

I'm pretty sure that i'd really like to have a different head unit though, just one that matches the visual factory look for the most part, esp with the CD player already broken and ideally to add navigation ability and touchscreen on the display.
You can go to Best Buy to demo speakers. Probably not the ones I bought but the updated models.

I'm saying the sound was improved because my car is 12 years old and for all 12 years I've raised the volume up on the spirited weekends/road trips. Lol. The tweeters and door speakers started showing there wear. I knew I wanted speakers with a crisper sound that gave me a surround feeling. The set I bought did just that. I don't need to really go past 30 on the volume because you hear every instrument and word. It's just more clearer and crisper. If I did it again I would go with a better tweeter set but I'm happy with what I purchased. Now with bass I have an advantage because the EX came with a sub factory installed it's definitely all the bass I need and am looking for. If you can see the speakers I listed are 3 ways. Meaning your crisp clear sound is coming from all around instead of just the front (BIG DIFFERENCE). If I'm correct if you don't have the EX (6 disc changer radio or Navi) your amp is smaller so you will not get the same power. I had the 6 disc radio but decided to put in the Honda Navi giving me navigation. It's old technology but it does the job.
 
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Old 10-01-2018, 10:29 PM
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I have the EX - it had a 6 disc changer but no nav. However the changer is broken - disc 3 is stuck and wont come out, and trying to put other discs in no longer plays. This is why i'm not too interested in keeping the original head unit.

I dont need a perfect look just not a horrible look. The double DIN ones stuffed in there look pretty bad - but some of the integrated head units with replacement dash plastic don't seem too wonky. I just dont know if they are any good either - they might look okay, but are they crap? Etc. Perhaps nobody is making anything since then since it's an older car by now by model. I was also wondering whether "amazon and crutchfield have everything" or if there are other places that might have other options.

In the worst of the worst I stick with my FM modulator for the phone as an audio source and use a phone mount on the dash. I was just hoping there was some cleaner option for this side of $500 without being fully custom.
 
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Old 10-02-2018, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by fixinmyself View Post
I have the EX - it had a 6 disc changer but no nav. However the changer is broken - disc 3 is stuck and wont come out, and trying to put other discs in no longer plays. This is why i'm not too interested in keeping the original head unit.

I dont need a perfect look just not a horrible look. The double DIN ones stuffed in there look pretty bad - but some of the integrated head units with replacement dash plastic don't seem too wonky. I just dont know if they are any good either - they might look okay, but are they crap? Etc. Perhaps nobody is making anything since then since it's an older car by now by model. I was also wondering whether "amazon and crutchfield have everything" or if there are other places that might have other options.

In the worst of the worst I stick with my FM modulator for the phone as an audio source and use a phone mount on the dash. I was just hoping there was some cleaner option for this side of $500 without being fully custom.
There weren't many options when the car was new. Most people just added a single din radio in the place of the lower pocket (those are the cheap kits you can find). A single din can give you plenty of modern features and sound great.
 
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Old 10-04-2018, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by keep_hope_alive View Post
There weren't many options when the car was new. Most people just added a single din radio in the place of the lower pocket (those are the cheap kits you can find). A single din can give you plenty of modern features and sound great.
Oh I get that... features and sound great, but look a little wonky. :) So it's either single DIN replacing the lower pocket, or double DIN in place of the screen put pushing out a bit (does that mean technically triple DIN room for something custom-custom??) as the only real options.. aka it's all already available from crutchfield and amazon, mostly chinese, take it or leave it. :-P Which is mostly what I was trying to verify...

I might just take a risk on something chinese for the upper display in the end, I was just hoping maybe there was something off the beaten popular track was all, since sometimes for some cars i've seen things NOT on amazon and only from specialty retailers that wont sell there.


So on that topic does there happen to be a good phone holder that mounts right in front of the normal display basically for use as nav display by chance? Even something using the now unusable CD tray or something. In the meanwhile it's just going to be phone with FM modulator, stock amp I guess - which buys me alot of features too probably for even less. I dont really care about the FM radio display at all, tune to the modulator frequency is all i'll need for normal use.
 

Last edited by fixinmyself; 10-04-2018 at 04:34 AM.
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Old 10-11-2018, 06:49 PM
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I've seen some phone holders that also support wireless charging (for newer models) that clip into the HVAC vent - those tend to provide good options for mounting. I haven't seen anything that uses the CD slot.

Wireless FM modulators are usually awful. Hard-wired (i.e. they are in-line with the antenna wire) tend to do the best.
 
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