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My latest modification to my HCHII is a device that I have found very useful on all of my other cars. Rear Collision Avoidance Devices (RCAD) or more commonly known as Backup Sensors have been very useful on more than one occasion in preventing me from backing into things. I was really disappointed that the HCHII did not offer this device as an option here in the US, despite the fact that it is offered in just about every other market worldwide. From the time I bought the car over a year ago, finding a backup sensor solution has been something that has been on the HCHIIs mod list. This last week, I finally had some time to check this one off the list.

There are various retrofit solutions out there with prices ranging from $25 to $300 or more. There are even OEM parts that can be had from CRV, Pilot, and Odyssey parts bins. All of the systems consist of an acoustic sensor array, a control unit, and a display and/or audible alarm head unit. The unit turns on when the car is placed in reverse, and will start to beep with increasing frequency as the cars gets closer to an obstacle, finally turning into a solid alarm when the car is about to hit something. The sensors are usually arrayed in a way that the rear coverage extends out from the rear edges of the car as well as straight behind.

There are many affordable retrofit units available on eBay (keyword: backup sensor), and are all less than $100.

After some research as to what was out there, I settled on a unit from a Chinese manufacturer called the P-Star Car Safety Device. The kit ended up being about $42.00 delivered.



The kit included 4 sensors, a control unit, a head unit that has both an audible alarm as well as a LCD display. In addition the head unit communicates with the control unit wirelessly. The kit even comes with a drill bit the correct size for the sensor holes.



For my installation I had some other costs including $20 for some body paint, and a few other connectors, conduit, etc. So all and all this mod cost me about $65 and a few hours of my time.

In looking at where to install the unit, one has to decide where to put the sensors, the control unit and the head unit. Here is what I ended up doing.

I first wanted to concentrate on installing the head unit in the cabin. It is about 3”w x 2”h and needs a switched power source. I did not want to stick it in the center bin or above it, or on the dashboard, so my options were limited.

On the US HCHII there is an area to the left of the steering wheel that has a small bin that is about the same size as the head unit. On coupes and other 4Dr Civics that bin is replaced with a switch bezel for the side mirrors or stability control and fog light switches. It is also right above the fuse panel. This seemed like a good place, so guess where I chose to install my head unit?

I removed the left dash panels to get at the bin from behind. I have to compliment Honda on the easy way that the dashboard is pretty much clipped together. I only had to remove one screw to get all the covers off.



After I removed the bin from the dash, I cut a slot in it to position the head unit in it. I cut a slot rather than just cutting off the back of the bin, because the alarm speaker is in the back of the head unit, and by leaving the rear of the bin intact, it reflects the sound out the front of the unit better. Plus the bin gives the head unit a nice bezel surround to integrate it into the dashboard.



The head unit was originally painted silver, but I repainted it to a semi-gloss black that is close to the color of the bin. After I slid the head unit into the bin, I fastened it in place with black silicone sealant.



The net step was to install the head unit back into the dash panel. Notice that I put a connector on the head unit so that if the dash panel needs to be removed in the future, it is easy to unplug the head unit’s power cable.



Providing power to the head unit is easy, there are 3 unused fuse positions on the lower row of the HCHII. 2 are unswitched, and one is switched. The head units needs switched power, because when it is on it is constantly listening for the control unit to send data to it. This could cause an unnecessary battery drain on the car when it is not being used. It is very slight, but still unnecessary. A fuse tap is perfect for getting power easily.



In the picture above, the grey tap is for the electro-luminescence doorsills, and the red tap is for the backup sensor head unit.

With switched power attached, then putting everything back together is a ‘Snap”.

Now it’s onto the rear for the installation of the sensor array and control box.

I have to say that the most difficult part of this installation for me was the installation of the Sensor array. And the thing that was difficult for me was getting a straight line across the back bumper cover to cut the sensor holes. Our driveway and garage floor is not level in relation to each other, so measuring off the floor was as difficult as was getting a reference point on the car to measure off of. I’m sure that others will have no problem with this step, but for me it was tough. What I ended up doing is to take my laser level, mounting it on a tripod, and connecting the laser line with the body accent lines on the sides of the bumper covers.



After that it was easy to establish the spacing. Or so I thought……



After cutting the holes, I found out that I had about 1/3” of interference from the rear aluminum bumper ram under the cover. Oh well, I was going to take the bumper cover off anyway to run the wiring.

Removing the rear bumper cover is as easy as removing the front. It is held in with 8 screws and 2 clips, and pops right off. The bumper ram inside is a dual square tube made of a relatively soft aluminum that is designed to deform in a collision.

Cutting 4 notches in the top outboard corner of the ram solved the interference problem, and did not affect the structural integrity of the bumper ram. But there is a simple solution that could have prevented this whole issue. Just make the cut line for the sensors on the bumper cover about 1/3” to ½” higher than the bumper accent lines. This is my learned wisdom to you!

The sensors are black plastic, but are easily painted. I bought a pint of body paint from a local auto repair supplies and paint store, and applied the paint with a refillable spray paint can. This is just like a spray paint can, but with a glass supply jar, and a replaceable propellant can. They are $5-$6 at home depot. The paint went on fine after a light coat of primer, and then was covered with a clearcoat.

Each sensor simply press fits into the bumper hole and has a signal line that must be connected to the control unit. Here is a view of the rear of the bumper cover, with the wiring. I also used more silicone sealant to hold the sensors in place.



On the rear end of the car there are plastic plugs on each side of the trunk that can be cut in an “X” pattern to run the sensor wires into the trunk where the Control Unit will be mounted.



On the inside of the trunk, the Control unit needs to be activated whenever the car is put in reverse. The easy way to do that is to tap power from one of the reverse lamps. After the trunk garnish is removed it is easy to get the reverse lamp with an inline tap, and a central grounding point is also handily available as well.



The interior hole for the sensor cable routing is right under the grounding lug.

I mounted the control unit as close as I could to the front of the car, so that the wireless signal would be as strong as possible. The left rear shock tower has excellent signal strenth for the control unit.



So after I put the dash back together and the bumper cover and trunk panels back on, it was time to test the backup sensors out.

The rear sensors on the bumper blend right in and have a very OEM look.



The dashboard head unit also looks very “factory”



How does it perform?

When you turn on the car, the head unit makes a quick beep, and the display lights up as it goes through its self-test. It then goes dark until the car is placed in reverse, then it makes another beep and starts monitoring the rear of the car. The unit usually starts beeping when the sensors are about 2 meters from an obstacle. The display shows the distance, and where the obstacle is (left, right or center).

As the car gets closer to the obstacle, the distance counts down, the beeps get faster, and an LED meter goes from green to yellow to red. When you are within .3 meters of whatever you are about to hit, the tone goes solid, and a big “STOP” lights up. Take the car out of reverse and everything goes on standby until your next close encounter.

All in all I am very pleased with this kit. While I probably went a little overboard in getting the OEM look, the kit is essentially very easy to install and use. I recommend it!

Now, those that might say that Backup sensors are too wussy, are just those people that have not backed into something yet, and have not experienced the "Aw Sh*t" that comes with the crunch of plastic and scraping of paint as your bumper hits whatever you didn't see. It is not whether you will back into something or not, it is just when. Backup sensors can delay that event for quite a while!
 

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that is so awesome! i have a coupe so its too little for the need for all this imo. but you did an A+ job. looks very stock and everything looks flawless! repped!
 

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+1 that would help. I know there are times where I'm just "out of it" after a hard day or whatever and I look behind me and realize that something is much closer than I thought.
 

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Tuna Fiddle
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This is one of the best DIY write up I think I have ever seen on this site. +1 to you for taking the time to do it right and make it look OEM. Honestly if I saw your car on the street I would wonder how someone got a Civic with OEM back up sensors. I don't think I would ever do this, but I completely understand the reasoning for it. Again very nice work :thumb:
 

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HOLY CRAP!

Honestly, man, that is THE best install/mod I've seen here and there's not much I think will top it.

Excellent work. Wish I had the $ to do that.


One thing I noticed though...is there any bare space on the pocket you have the monitor in? Do you plan to bondo it up, or just leave it as is for resale purposes?
 

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Crazy Yellow Puppet
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Excellent write up. :thumb: What a great (and cheap) mod. Like all others have said, one of the best DIYs on the site.

The monitor goes very well with your Navi. I also dig the EX wheels on the Hybrid.

After that it was easy to establish the spacing. Or so I thought……
Care to explain this step? How'd you decide on where to put them? Would you suggest placing them elsewhere instead? Etc.
 

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Purpul Plane 4ever!
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very nice writeup!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
A question was asked on how I established the horizontal spacing of the sensors after I had set the vertical line.

I used the edges of the backup lights to establish the drill points for the 2 outside sensors then measured the distance between them and divided by 3 to establish the drill points for the middle 2 sensors.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
One thing I noticed though...is there any bare space on the pocket you have the monitor in? Do you plan to bondo it up, or just leave it as is for resale purposes?
If I ever remove the backup sensor, a replacement bin is only $3 at the Honda parts counter. It is easy to replace it the modified bin with a fresh one. But chances are that I will leave it in the car. New kits are only $44.
 
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