Acura MDX Accessories and Modifications

sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
I want to add side steps or running boards. I did not want to pay the premium that the dealer was charging. How good are the factory or acura brand? Anyone have thoughts about which is more sturdy steps or boards? Would I be better off purchasing a 3rd party solution? My dealer wanted $750 to put them on, I am hoping to get them for around $300 and put them on myself.


  • wmquanwmquan Member Posts: 1,817
    The running boards look a little classier, the side steps look more sporty. You can buy them from and install them yourselves. You need a wrench (a power one, preferrably) for 72 (yes, 72) bolts.

    Some people have had the side steps powder-coated.

    $300? Ah, your best bet are the Manik side steps. Some think they look a bit sportier than the Acura side steps, and they're cheaper.
  • will4271will4271 Member Posts: 187

    Was that 72 bolts on each side step or on both.

    I'm thinking of installing it myself also.

    But I haven't heard from anyone that actually done that.

    Also the rear mud guards are not that hard to install is it?
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297 has pdf instructions. I think it is 72 bolts total for both side steps and boards. But it doeesn't look that hard. I drove by a dealer today and checked out both, I think I like the steps better.
  • wmquanwmquan Member Posts: 1,817
    I think I've seen at least two dozen posters on various systems who have put in the running boards or side steps by themselves, so it's definitely doable.

    It's 72 bolts total, 36 for each step. Some folks with the right tools have done it in under an hour.

    sbcooke, do look at the Manik side steps. Some people prefer them to the OEM ones. They're a bit cheaper, but some folks have had problems waiting for them to come in.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I looked at them on the web. I think I need to do some real world comparisons. Actually I need to take my wife around to look at steps or boards. She is the one who will be deciding. If we go with steps I will be looking at any and all options out there. I have complete power of attorney over the modifications to my Trooper!
  • wmquanwmquan Member Posts: 1,817
    The Manik side steps come in black or in stainless steel. The black is quite cheap, under $300, the stainless steel ones are under $400.

    I understand GoRhino side steps are now available for the MDX but I don't know how they look like on an MDX (too new).

    There are some good pictures of stainless steel Maniks in this thread. You can page forward to see more pictures as the owner experimented with different positioning.

  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I think I have decided on side steps. However, Honda Pilot accessories are already starting to be listed, and they are a little less expensive. So I will wait a couple of months to see if I can get honda add-ons that will fit cheaper.
  • slockoslocko Member Posts: 111
    i have navi so i don't want to replace the radio since i have read that you might lose steering wheel controls?

    can anyone recommend speakers or another site where there are discussion on this?

  • nm2nm2 Member Posts: 9
    my friend got the stereo brand "Infiniti" to replace the Bose. they go for ~$500-$1000. (it depends on your taste). he installed it himself and said it was very easy to do so.
  • stekatstekat Member Posts: 4
    For the most part, I like my new MDX. A few relatively simple things seem to be missing.

    - For safety, make the doors lock automatically when shifting to Drive or at 20 mph (like GM and Chrysler). Seems too easy for a carjacker to enter from the liftgate.
    - Click the remote only once to lock the MDX, not twice.
    - Make the front windows go down when holding the unlock button on the remote (like Nissan). Great feature on really hot days.
    - Come up with A/C controls that don't require an engineering degree to operate easily. A knob would be nice.
    - Make the 2nd row seats fold flat (not a new idea).
    - Simplify the wiper controls.

    What else would you recommend?
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    .CD changer that has random across all disks
    .More space for the driver's left foot
    .more comfortable front drivers seats
  • ellens2ellens2 Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone had their MDX retrofitted for a cellphone? Who did the work for you? What did it cost? Are you pleased with the results? Any complications?
  • ejd60ejd60 Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone purchased a full mask and what did you pay for it?
  • wmquanwmquan Member Posts: 1,817
    Don't have one myself. Problem with nose masks is that gunk can get caught in between it and the surface of the vehicle. That can result in scratches. A better solution are those Xpel-type products (e.g. clear bra).
  • wwoertewwoerte Member Posts: 4
    Just bought my mdx and want to carry two touring kayaks on the top. Has anybody outfitted their mdx to carry kayaks? What did you find? I've been shopping Thule & Yakima and haven't found much of anything that will go on the MDX unless I take off my factory roof rack and start from scratch with a Yakima or Thule. I'd be interested in what solutions you have come with to utilize the factory rack.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    You should be able to mount thule bars to the mdx rack. I have seen it done, and looked like all standard issue thule gear.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    Got mine yesterday from HondaAcuraWorld! $389.00 no shipping charge? I am not sure how that worked out, but there was zero charge on the invoice and they were delivered in about 4 days. I will update after I install them.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I put all the hardware that connects the board to the frame together last night. 48 bolts, but not to bad...sat down with a couple of porters in front of the tube and finger tightened everything. So if you figure that there is about $300 worth of labor involved in the dealer install price, I did about $100 of it last night! Saturday I am going to make a run at attaching everything up to the body. I have to go out and get a torque wrench first. Not bad, I saved over $300 on the dealer costs and I end up with a torque wrench at the end of all of it.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I installed the running boards today and finished about the exact time it started to rain...whew! It only took me about 3 hours. The first side took longer because I didn't follow the instrucions to the letter. It says to put the frame bolts on with only 3-4 threads before you put the board on. They need to be lower so the board will fit, I first tightedened them up 1/2 way all around, and then had to back them off to fit the board. This added a little time. The second side only took about an hour.

    I also got a good craftsman torque wrench out of the total cost was $389 + $75...not bad considering the dealer wanted $730 to put them on, and $450 to to sell them to me uninstalled.

    The instructions had one mistake...they said use a 10mm combo wrench, and you actually needed a 13mm wrench, the same size as the socket. I also found it easier to tighten everything up using a screwdriver type socket driver, and then just about 3/4 a turn with the torque wrench to set all the bolts.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I checked out the running boards on a pilot vs. my MDX's. The Pilot's are different, flatter without as much curve at each end. They also sit closer to the body. Initially I was looking at adding Pilot running boards because they were cheaper.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    Does anyone know if the Pilot camera and or sensor for the pilot will work with the MDX? Do you have to have the Navigation package in order to get the camera/viewscreen?
  • wmquanwmquan Member Posts: 1,817
    Currently no word on backward compatibility to the 2001/2002 Nav. However, the rearview camera does require the Navi system, since the non-Navi's screen is a simple etched, monochrome LCD. The Navi screen has what it takes to show images.

    For those with the non-Navi LCD screens, there are some aftermarket solutions, though they all come with their own screens. I've seen one that clips to the rear view mirror.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    Reading the instructions from hondaacuraworld, and seeing how much cheaper it is...when the time comes, I am going to do the transmission/power steering cooler add-ons myself. They seem pretty simple. The hardest part looks like removing the front bumper...this is also as reported by a Pilot owner who just did the add-on himself.

    I wonder if we can get the package without the trailer hitch? I definitely want to get a "hiddenhitch". At least there are some decent modifications available for DIY'ers.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    Has anyone installed an entertainment system in their 2001/2002 MDX? Either Honda or other after-market products? I am interested in a good system and considering either a portable unit I put on the center arm rest, or an integrated system.
    just ordered '03 MDX T. Very disappointed to see all the negative posts and difficulties people are having with getting their Thule bars on this vehicle without the door jam foot (which, IMHO, is a bad set-up). My question is.... it seems that some posters have indicated that they have laid down Yakima tracks.... does the MDX rack come off easily and is it fairly easy to lay down the Yakima track. Once the track is down, will the Thule Tracker kit (TK1 and and 430 Foot Pack) work in conjunction with the Yakima track? My ultimate objective is to do away with the factory rack, lay down the Yakima track and be able to use my Thule's without having to attach to the dor jam. Any success stories???
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    One problem I have found is that rain doesn't stay off the rear window while driving. Has anyone installed the rear spoiler and does it keep rain off the window while driving?
  • hopeitsfridayhopeitsfriday Member Posts: 396
    Has anyone intsall HID headlights on the mdx yet. How did it came out, is it a big improvment over the standard headlights. Where and how much was the HID lights and was it easy to install? Am i right in assuming that all HID has to have a ballest in order for it to work? Second question is: Has anyone found any real good internet site for Acura MDX assessory? Third question: Anyone out there own a 2003 MDX, if so, whats your opinion of the improvment over the 02?
  • will4271will4271 Member Posts: 187
    I got my MDX Touring yesterday night. The manager wanted to close the books so he threw in the wheel locks and cargo liner.

    The light seems okay and don't have a desire to upgrade to HID as of yet.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    2002? or 2003? Welcome to the owners club. If 2003, which it sounds like from your other posts, how long were you on the waiting list?
  • will4271will4271 Member Posts: 187
    It's a new 2003 MDX Touring. I was still on the waiting list with Hopkins and they said it maybe a while.

    We couldn't wait so we looked around. We had a bad experience at Niello Acura (they wanted to charge finance charges even before the car arrived at the dealer...defaulted first payment due in 45 days not 30 days .. TG that I didn't sign the original agreement to buy from them.. canceled all thoughts after finding a better deal with the next dealer).

    I called five other dealers that Sun and visited Acura of Serramonte and found there's a '03 Touring coming in the following week so we booked it.

    Got that SUV on Halloween. The big guy (boss) Mark threw in the wheels locks and cargo tray w/o added cost as a gift so we help him closeout the books for month end. (not sure if the charges other people for it but if you buy on the spot, he will ding it)

    I learned to always look for the big guy...we had visited the same dealer and talked to other manager and he insisted in Touch of Class on all SUV or no sale plus many DIO. Of course, pure bs.

    Btw, I ran into a hassle with, the dealer did not take it. Some dealers do take them. Check them out first before you buy, it will save lots of grief (found out at the last min... salesman is not always right).

    Still you can talk to the dealer and see if Peoplefirst will give you a certified Check. Most dealers would take that but you have send your orig. check back first. (2-3 day process + fees).

    I like the customer service and wanted badly that they take it. Besides the great rate, it was very easy to pay for the car.
    But some dealers do take them because they have bad experience with a few of them. Check with their Finance person first.

    Cancelled the Hopkins deal, the salesman was not happy and before I finished my two sentences he clunk down my phone. I'm still waiting for that $1000 refund (don't really like far out deposits).
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    I had the same issue with a loan from The dealer gave me a hard time. I told them to cash the check and I would be back in 3 days when it clears...they then offered me a lower rate to get the business. I don't think it is because of bad experience, but rather they make a decent amount of money doing the financing.
  • brwndoggybrwndoggy Member Posts: 41
    Just paid for my 2003 black mdx and almost bought the fender flare package for 770 but decided against it because it makes the car look like the new 4runner with the ugly plastic.

    Found the steel version at hondaacuraworld and wondered if anyone put them on.
    1. How does it look (solid or cheap)
    2. How easy/hard was it to put on?

    I would like something on the wheel area to avoid dings (black paint and all).

    I did get them to put on the side moldings to avoid nasty door dings. They also through in matts, pet divider and rear cargo mat.
  • will4271will4271 Member Posts: 187
    I have brought the Body Side Molding. In addition, I order the running boards but when it arrived it was the side steps. Initially, I was going to return it but after looking it over, I stayed with it. This is also from Hondaacuraworld.

    The side steps actually looked more "cool". It's quite easy to install if you have 2 hrs and a racket and wrench.
  • mauigrl721mauigrl721 Member Posts: 2
    There is a site called it is the BEST site in the world for accessories!! The guy who runs it, Tim, is pretty close to a God, honestly. His prices are amazing, and shipping is always free. You get your accessories very quickly, along with detailed instructions on how to install. I've heard from hundreds of people about how fast, easy, and just all-around GREAT Tim and this site are. For example, side steps are $626 MSRP, but he charges $430 or something for them. Everyone I know who has an X has bought their accessories from this website....don't buy anything from your dealer, just go straight to Tim :) I'm ordering a few for my '03 MDX this week.
  • mkligmklig Member Posts: 2
    I'm just on the verge of ordering an '03 MDX touring with nav (probably a lease). I'm an avid windsurfer and need to carry alot on top. I've always fitted out my previous vehicles (mostly Saabs and lastly an RX300) with the appropriate thule rack system. Even on the RX300 I was able to take off the factory rack and place the appropriate thule foot in the factory track. I was depressed to read SIDESHORE'S concerns re: the limited options with the thule system. I spoke to my dealer who said they cannot take the factory rack off. Is this true?? and if so does this mean I will have ugly door jam footers for the rack with thule crossbars and still have the factory rack?? Seems rediculous. Does anyone have a clean solution to the problem? I've never used Yakima but would be willing if there was some way to get a straight cross bar utilizing the existing track. Help !!! SIDESHORE - did you come up with anything yet???
  • hopeitsfridayhopeitsfriday Member Posts: 396
    Why don't you just get the base model MDX, it does not come with a roof rack so can install your own.
  • will4271will4271 Member Posts: 187
    I have ordered from them quite a few times also. But they do not have the secure order in place. I ask them to put that secure order (key lock indicates if your order is secure on your web browser). It safer to call then and to do the purchase transactions than on their website. Without the secure ordering, you credit card info can stolen when some stiffs out the packets.

    Also, look for Tim. I had ordered running boards and got side steps from another salesperson at the shop. But I am happy with the side steps too.

    They have lots of products for all Acura/Honda besides the MDX. Overall, I'm satisfied with their service and the condition where the products arrive.
  • hopeitsfridayhopeitsfriday Member Posts: 396
    Have anyone brought and install a MDX running board from Honda acura world? I am wondering how differcult the installation is? Did it involve any drilling or are the brackets bolted into exixting tapped holes? I read the instructions online, but didnt really say. Lastly, how much was shipping and handling?
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    The rack issue is tough. I think the best solution would be to find a way to mount the Thule Bars to Acura rack, but there doesn't seem to be many options. However you can use accessories specifically made for the Acura stock

    Running boards were very easy to install. Time consuming though about 3-4 hours total. I went out and bought a torque wrench for the project, which is now an added bonus any time I need one. The savings were so huge through Hondaacuraworld, it was awesome! No drilling, everything just bolted in. There was no shipping charge and they got to me in about 3 days.
  • will4271will4271 Member Posts: 187
    The running boards and side step have initially the same frame but different pieces on the top. There are many bolts. But the installing is very simple.

    Check out website on the instructions.

    Read the info very carefully, it should do it.

    I didn't install the rack but reading the instructions you have to be careful not to scrap the paint.
  • hopeitsfridayhopeitsfriday Member Posts: 396
    Thanks sbcooke, thats good info about the running board. So let me get this right. The holes that the brackets bolts onto are pre drill and tap by acura underneath the door. And I need a metric torque wrench right??
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    Check the instructions, they are very complete. All you need is 2 sockets (or a socket and a wrench). The instructions are wrong, I think it says an 11 MM and a 13 MM socket/wrench, you need 2 of the same, I believe 13, but I can't remember exactly. Other than that the instructions are right on the money. I believe 1/2 if not all of the holes on the underside have plastic plugs that are easy to remove by pushing the center in and then prying them out.

    When installing it says to only tighten the frame attachments 3 or 4 seems wrong and I turned them about 1/2 way in, only to have to go around and loosen them up...this allows the board to be installed, then you tighten them up. The instuctions are right for this, instinct is what screws you up.

    Definitely a great DIY project, all bolts and you will like the results. You need a torque socket wrench, if you want. 24 Nm is about 1/2 a turn past tight...I justified the cost (about $60 for a good craftsman) by how much I saved buying them online and doing them myself.
  • will4271will4271 Member Posts: 187's 13mm socket/wrench. You can get the instructions at, if you haven't yet?

    It's a pdf printable file.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    Has anyone put a rear tallgate reflector on themselves, or had one added to their MDX?

    I notice that even while driving the rear window gets rear window gets rain on it. I am hoping to add a deflector and keep the window clear while driving. Does the air deflector alleviate that? Does the change in air flow effect driving?

    I think the controls for the rear wiper could use improvement also. It is ok for one time use, but not many times in a row.
  • hopeitsfridayhopeitsfriday Member Posts: 396
    I own a MDX with the air deflector, or tailgate spoiler as Acura calls it. It was dealer installed. The tailgate spoiler does help a bit with visbility in back window, very little, but one would still need to use the rear wiper. The tailgate spoiler is mostly cosmetic and its other function is to keep dirt off the rear window, which doesn't work that well either. The 03 comes with intermittent rear wiper which comes in handy, not sure if the 02 has that.
  • sbcookesbcooke Member Posts: 2,297
    Thanks for the feedback. The '02 has an intermittent wiper, I just don't like leaving it on.

    I have also noticed that when you use the washer or clean the rear window at gas stations, muddy dirt gets on the rim below the glass and the tailgate.
  • hopeitsfridayhopeitsfriday Member Posts: 396
    Yea, I have that same problem with the muddy dirt on the rear window rim, even with the tailgate spoiler lol.
  • mhiggins2000mhiggins2000 Member Posts: 17
    How hard was it? Would you do it again or pay the dealer $850?
  • miksmiks Member Posts: 33
    Fender flares came in either 10 or 12 pieces(can't remember). Does the $850 include paint? My dealership was less but added money for paint. Still was less then your amount. The paint matched the vehicle and you couldn't tell it wasn't factory installed. With paint it looked as though that's how the vehicle comes.
  • will4271will4271 Member Posts: 187
    The fender flares looks good but looking at other website on the problems that people had ran into, I have decided to skip it.

    I heard that not all the pieces fit that well.
This discussion has been closed.