How To Remove the Stock Radio and Install New on 2002 Honda Civic EX

After getting tired of not having USB/audio input, I decided to replace the stock radio in my Honda Civic. I bought the Alpine CDE-121, and instead of replacing the entire console, I got the Metra 99-7897 which only replaces the the trim around the radio itself.

  1. Here’s the stock setup for my 2002 Honda Civic Ex:

  2. Last night, I took care of the wire harness while relaxing on the couch. It’s pretty easy if you know what you’re doing. Basically, you have two wire harnesses: one that connects to your car (a separate purchase) and the one that connects to the radio (comes with the radio). Apparently there’s a standard for color coding, but I checked both sets of diagrams anyway to make sure. Sure enough, all the colors matched. So it was a simple process of stripping the end of each wire, finding its match, stripping that wire, twisting them together, and then putting the crimp cap on and crimping it. There were a total of 14 connections that I did. Probably took me about an hour or so, but I think someone who’s more practiced doing that stuff could probably do it in about 15 minutes.

  3. First things first – I disconnected the negative terminal of the car’s battery to prevent any sort of electrical short. That done, I’m back in the car, and the point of entry to the dash is the panel below the radio/climate control panel. It has the cigarette lighter / 12V socket in there. I just used a trim tool to work around the edges, disengaging the clips until I got it opened.

  4. Here’s that panel opened up:

  5. Here’s what the inside of that panel looks like up close. If you’ll notice the ribbed wire tubing in the picture above connecting to the 12V jack – it’s the same one as in this picture, toward the bottom center. At the top, you’ll see the two bolts that hold the above assembly into place. They’re 8mm, and in fact, all the screws and bolts are 8mm during this process. Anyway, off they go.

  6. Once those two bolts are out, I start working the above panel with a trim tool. This panel has 9 separate clips holding it into place. Working around the edge a few laps finally gets the panel dislodged. From there, I disconnected all the wiring from the back (about 5 or so different wiring harnesses, all different shapes so you can’t put them back incorrectly).

  7. Here’s the radio / climate control assembly, removed from the car and ready to be worked on.

  8. First off, I’ll need to disconnect the climate control module. The knobs have been removed from the front, and then the back has 3 screws securing it (1 of which I’ve already removed):

  9. Once the climate control module is off, I can get the actual radio out of there. Each side of the radio has two 8mm bolts securing it to the assembly. All 4 should be removed.

  10. Here’s the stock radio, completely removed.

  11. Here’s the assembly, I already put the metal sleeve in and forgot to take a picture of it by itself. The sleeve came with the radio, and I just slid it in from the front until a gentle ‘click’

  12. After that, I slid the radio itself in. There are holes on the side of the radio, and also on the assembly, so you need to match those up so a bolt can go through both of them. The radio should come with its own bolts that should be used. In my case, I think the radio was set further back than I would have preferred, but it’s not too bad. I secured the radio in the assembly with the bolts

  13. Now I’ve brought the assembly back out to the car, and plugged all the wiring harnesses in. I re-connect the battery’s negative terminal, puts the keys in the ignition and hope everything works. It does! I do fade/balance tests, and all the speakers have good volume and quality. Radio works, iPod integration works, and it behaves how you’d expect. So now I just put everything back together, since I’m done connecting and testing.

  14. I clipped in the faceplate bracket I bought to allow me to keep the stock assembly (I like the little cubby with the door, rather than just an open slot). After some tricky situations of fitting everything back together, I got it.