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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do It Yourself (DIY) Honda Accord 7th Generation Lower Grill Protector Modification- save your Air Conditioner Condenser and "finish" the front end in 5 minutes for $7.

Adapted from member "glen e" and his write up for the 8th and 9th Gens (you have to remove the bumper to do those!) Thank you glen e....​



Hello DriveAccord:

Take a good look at the lower front grill opening of your car- that's right, get down on the ground and look in. Does you air conditioner condenser look like this?:



Here is a close up of mine:


Too many pebbles, large bugs, truck tire pieces, stones, and maybe a critter or two found their way into that opening over the years. They will bend and deform the cooling fins- reducing the effectiveness of your Accord's air conditioning. A large enough pebble will puncture the condenser and render your A/C inoperative. A lot of road debris gets kicked up when I am speeding down gravel roads outrunning Johnny Law while transporting moonshine.:(

Google "Honda Accord Air Conditioner Condenser Rock Damage" if you need inspiration. Replacing a condenser is NOT cheap. Honda owners are paying $800 - $1,100 for this service (parts, labor, clean and re-charge the A/C lines).

Get these items for $7:



You can buy the plastic mesh gutter guard for around $6 at any hardware store. All you need is 33 inches of the stuff, so share with 6 additional friends. You will also need 4 zip ties. EDIT: For an idea to do this mod with metal wire mesh, please see post #11 below from member "BLCKFLSH". You will have to remove the lower splash shield in order to insert the mesh.


Gently fold it to feed it through the center opening....






OK, so now it is "inside" your Accord's front end, but it is not supported.


Your Accord's lower front opening has one long horizontal brace, and 4 vertical braces. Get out 4 zip ties that are either black, or match the color of your car. The trick here is to start at one end and work your way down to the other end. You want to "center" the mesh guard, and you want to keep the zip ties level so don't go "up" or "down" while you "thread" the zip ties through. You may want to "dot" the middle of the width of the mesh every 6 inches or so with liquid paper or some contrasting color so that when you secure the mesh to the car, it is LEVEL and won't "bunch up".


For the two "outer" vertical braces, I chose to zip tie to the underside of the horizontal brace. For the two "inner" vertical braces (behind your license plate), I chose to wrap the zip ties above the horizontal brace. My thanks to member "bobbo" for the suggestion.


Cut the excess, knowing that cut zip ties are SHARP- so be careful next time you are washing your car.
EDIT: PLEASE SEE POST #12 BELOW FROM member "Phlip96" for a better, safer option than cutting the excess! ...and please post the results if you tried that method.


Looking good, Billy Ray...


Feeling good, Louis...


More pics:




Again, special thanks to members "glen e" and "bobbo" for the inspiration...
 

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2006 Accord EX-L i4 4D
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I can just imagine the plethora of bugs this would collect on my way up to see my sister in Syracuse . . . that said, protecting the A/C is smart. Mine had a run-in (or run-through, as the case may be) with a carriage bolt from a guard rail that another car hit on the highway. Expensive repair, glad I didn't have to pay it.:thumbsup:

I'll probably do this while I'm down there working on my fog lights this week.
 

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Ballin' on a budget
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The lower half of your radiator looks brand new compared to mine... I have the stuff for this, just haven't taken off my bumper lately, still waiting on the funds to buy a new one since the one I have now is cracked on the passenger side.
 

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Most of those dents are probably from small rocks. To fully protect it, you'd have to fully close off the front end but you wouldn't have air cooling against the condenser and radiator after that.
 

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2006 Accord EX-L i4 4D
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Most of those dents are probably from small rocks. To fully protect it, you'd have to fully close off the front end but you wouldn't have air cooling against the condenser and radiator after that.
Fair point - but large rocks will be the ones to actually crack the condenser, and this should stop those.

Even if it deflects/stops 50% of small rocks, and just reduces some of the damage as opposed to completely eliminating it, I think it's $7 and 20 minutes well spent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The goal is to dissipate (and perhaps deflect) the energy of a piece of truck tire or pebble that is kicked up into the opening (the truck kicks it towards you at 60mph, and you are travelling forward 60mph).

There was a long discussion on glen e's write up about this for the 8th and 9th Gens. "More" was at stake for them because they have to remove their bumpers to do this mod- we do not. All you need to see is a picture or two of a carriage bolt (Steely Joe's mentioned above) or a pebble LODGED IN AN EXISTING GRILL PROTECTOR to convince you.

COST: $0 as I had Gutter Guard and zip ties lying around, and 5 minutes.
BENEFIT: I have more protection than before, and it looks "finished" instead of "Hey, Honda forgot something".

Again, you are not stopping cannonballs here. But search Google and you will find plenty of stories and many photos of damaged A/C condensers, as well as MANY Honda Odyssey, 8th and 9th Gen Accord, Civics and CRV owners all doing this. Perhaps this is why Honda added a basic grill protector?
 

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What does HSR stand for jimjam?


I will definitely be doing this mod this week. Thanks rick!

To add to your comment:

Perhaps this is why Honda added a basic grill protector?
You would think they would just simply add a little bit more plastic to complete it. It looks really good too, imagine what they could do if it just "came" with the vehicle.
 

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BRWNFLSH now
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Don't know how strong that stuff is, but it seems to me if a rock was moving at a high rate of speed or big enough to damage the condenser, it would go through the gutter guard. Since I had the means, I opted for the real metal stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@BLCKFLSH:
Did you remove your bumper to install your metal guard?

I wanted material that would "give" and dissipate energy. Plastic mesh solves the problem. A soft metal wire mesh of a high gauge number (like yours) is an excellent choice for the DIY-er provided:

1) You can easily install it,
2) The metal edges of your guard are somehow prevented from rubbing the paint.
3) It won't rust.
4) It won't "capture" snow (I know you are not far from the Big Easy, so that's not a problem for you). A rigid grill may accumulate snow (a problem for me) and block air flow. I assume a plastic, more flexible grill would not act as an extension of the hood and accumulate snow and ice.

Again, glen e's thread had a lot of points for/against plastic/metal.

But if I had my bumper off, who knows....
 

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The expanded metal could be installed just through the top opening over the grill, but I did remove the lower splash shield to make zip-tieing easier. I put the large clamp part of the zip-tie behind the expanded metal, so all you can see from the front is the thin band part. It's probably time to repaint soon. I'm sure the gutter guard will help, it sure was cheaper than expanded metal, primer and paint. Plus you have to have something to cut the metal.
 

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Being that I work with tie wraps frequently in my trade, we have picked up a secret I'll share with you. At the expense of no longer being a secret, it may be worth it to save a few scratches and torn rags in the process.

As mentioned cutting the tie wrap ends leaves a sharp angle or edge, we do something to prevent this. Have a set of pliers grab onto the end of the remaining tie wrap close to the buckle and twist in one direction until it breaks off.

Viola!

No charge for this "secret" ;) my courtesy repayment of being a part of this Accord community :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
BLCKFLSH and Phlip96: I edited the post to incorporate your good ideas. Thank you.
 

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BRWNFLSH now
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That's a good trick to remember. I need to replace a couple ties on the lawn mower handle. The wife could have scratched her arm on one of those sharp edges while adding gas. I installed the zip-ties with the "buckle" on the back side of the expanded metal, so I doubt I'll be washing back there much.
 

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Thanks for the detailed write up. Fortunately I picked up some zip ties at the dollar tree thinking "I'll probably use these sooner or later." Sooner has arrived thanks to this thread. :D

I'll post my results as soon as I'm done, now back to my assignments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I checked your link, nice work, man! And the black sharpie marker to color the screws is a smart idea.
 

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Bob's your UNCLE ...
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In case anyone else with a sedan like mine (not sure how the coupe grills upper is attached), but here is a pic of how I fastened the HDR grill ;

Using the screws that hold both parts of that upper grill together to hold down the cut pieces of gutter guard;


finished look;
 
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The goal is to dissipate (and perhaps deflect) the energy of a piece of truck tire or pebble that is kicked up into the opening (the truck kicks it towards you at 60mph, and you are travelling forward 60mph).

There was a long discussion on glen e's write up about this for the 8th and 9th Gens. "More" was at stake for them because they have to remove their bumpers to do this mod- we do not. All you need to see is a picture or two of a carriage bolt (Steely Joe's mentioned above) or a pebble LODGED IN AN EXISTING GRILL PROTECTOR to convince you.

COST: $0 as I had Gutter Guard and zip ties lying around, and 5 minutes.
BENEFIT: I have more protection than before, and it looks "finished" instead of "Hey, Honda forgot something".

Again, you are not stopping cannonballs here. But search Google and you will find plenty of stories and many photos of damaged A/C condensers, as well as MANY Honda Odyssey, 8th and 9th Gen Accord, Civics and CRV owners all doing this. Perhaps this is why Honda added a basic grill protector?
This is a great idea. This lower guard for the lower air intake will certainly protect the AC condenser from getting a hole in it. The only suggestion I make is to turn the zip tie head to the inside so it looks better. The only issue is you have to drop the lower bumper cover to cut the excess. If someone worries that it is not strong enough, you just add another layer of protection for larger objects. My daily commute does not have highway so it is much less of a problem. However, one of my rear tires did take a carriage bolt thru the sidewall so I had to replace the tire. I was thinking about an aluminum grill for the air intake but this is lighter, less restrictive air flow and no rust. Honda should have the plastic grate for this model year all along. I think the designers are egg heads on this model bumper and headlight with questionable practical design. I think you have to remove the wheel well cover to replace the driver's side light bulb (what the hell?).
 

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Just did this same exact thing on a 2004 Acura RSX I bought for my son. Works like a champ and looks good.
 
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