1991 Acura NSX: Fixing the Stereo
July 18, 2012
"The NSX stereo couldn't be worse if we just tore it out and replaced it with a flatulent man blowing on a jug."
I wrote this in a text message to Magrath back on March 15 and documented it in a blog a day later. The stereo only got worse and sadly, we did nothing about it. Not coincidentally, the NSX was being driven less and less by people not named Kurt Niebuhr. "But James, you loser, the NSX should be more than enough entertainment by itself thanks to its sweet engine and general awesomeness and blah blah blah." Except that's a load of crap. I could drive a Bugatti Veyron in LA traffic and be bored to death, and the reality is we drive the NSX in traffic and on weekend road trips more than canyon bombs. I mean, that IS the point of buying this everyday supercar, right? Wait, why am I justifying fixing something that is broken?
Despite talk of a DIY job, that talk never turned to action. So after driving the NSX home last night, I decided enough was enough.
I Googled "car stereo repair Santa Monica," and looked at Yelp reviews for several places. Santa Monica Car Sound had strong reviews, both in terms of star ratings and favorable comments about Freddie and his employees. I brought the NSX in yesterday morning at 9, said our diagnosis was that the amp had gone, and had him listen to the faint wisps of music that farted out the speakers. Freddie said he'd take a look at it and give me a call with a diagnosis. He was also respectful of the delicate nature of "my" 20-year-old baby.
Freddie called around 11 saying it wasn't the amp and that he'd have to take a look at the head unit itself. I appreciated this mid-stream check in. Around 12:30 he called again saying the problem lay with the head unit's output. There were two options. He could install a new head unit entirely, which isn't an option since we want to keep the car as-close-to-original as possible. The second was to pull the head unit out of the car, ship it off to be repaired and reinstall it a week later. We would take the NSX back and be able to drive it in the meantime. Parts and labor would be about $300. Option B it is then, plus a request from Takahashi "to check the tape deck because it ruined my Phil Collins mix tape." I'd say it was working perfectly.
So we indeed tore the NSX stereo out, but the flatulent man is on hold. We'll see how it goes, stay tuned.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor