Old 3rd September 2009, 08:03   #1
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80'-89 GMC suburban radio

I'm trying to find out if the GMC suburban radios are the like the radios in the 1984 Ford pickups with knobs? Does anyone know? To be precise with the year its 1985.

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Old 3rd September 2009, 22:52   #2
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1985 is a third-generation suburban. According to Crutchfield, the stereo for those models came in two sizes. So if you are trying to install an aftermarket stereo you'd need one of those kits.

As for your question, here are the best interior shots I could find in 5 minutes:

'84 Ford F-Series:


'85 Suburban:


So even though there's no stereo in that pic, it's obvious that when there was one there, it had knobs.

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Last edited by Psythik; 3rd September 2009 at 23:56.
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Old 4th September 2009, 00:21   #3
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Delco and Ford radios are gonna be a different animal. Neither is worth a crap. Buy a kit and install something aftermarket. You can even get a harness that will plug a normal stereo into either. The Chev might have an odd ball antenna plug. You'll need an adapter for that too if it's not just a regular Motorola. Some Chevs have a smaller antenna plug. It looks like a motorola, but won't fit.
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Old 4th September 2009, 02:14   #4
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I'll take that statement and extend it to apply to all car stereos. Never have I seen a car with a stock head unit that was better than an aftermarket one.

Stock stereos suck.

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Old 4th September 2009, 04:57   #5
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Old 4th September 2009, 06:51   #6
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I liked the stock stereo in the Malibu I drove. It was a no extra bells and whistles kind of stereo. Was great for what I wanted it to do.

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Old 4th September 2009, 06:57   #7
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I love the knobs too much so if I can find something that is aftermarket but has a old school style to it with the knobs I'm in business. For instance:



Click click


This one is for 1943-53 GMC trucks. So that does not help that much I don't think.

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Old 4th September 2009, 08:32   #8
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You should be able to find something... Google... I know Kenwood makes HQ replacement radios for various vintage cars.

You can probably make anything you want fit if you don't mind grinding a bit with a dremel. On knob type radios mostly the only dimension that matters is the distance between the knobs. On a lot of aftermarket stereos that's adjustable.

On an old Chev pickup I had, I made a faceplate. Cut some aluminum stock to fit. Sand it out with some superfine wet sandpaper and then stick it in hot water and a good slug of Drano for a few hours. When it turns black and the bubbling slows rinse it off real well and wipe the black off with a shop towel. Coat with clear enamel. The caustic soda will melt the metal and take out any sanding marks. If you did it right, you'll get a beauty piece of brushed aluminum.
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Old 5th September 2009, 07:46   #9
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Better than aftermarket or not, I've been very happy with the JBL gear that came stock with my Toyotas. They include mp3/wma playback, line-input for portables, satellite capability (XM and Sirius), strong, clean full range amplifiers, 3-way 6x9's and a separate subwoofer in the rear, midranges in the roof, doors, & center dashboard, and tweeters in the A-pillars and center dashboard. It turns out to be quite nice for not having to make any mods.

Also, I hate the reliability of the rest of the vehicle, but, in higher-end Chrysler corporation vehicles (Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge, Jeep Eagle), you'll find Infinity components that are far superior to most aftermarket stuff.

In Volvos, you'll find Dynaudio stuff that is some of the finest vehicle audio reproduction hardware ever made.

As for Delco, they did get a little respect from me (not much, but a little). They were the first stock systems in everyday cars to be strong/loud enough to be heard with all windows down at highway speeds. Sound quality wasn't very good, but with their strong amps and 6x9 speakers, at least you could hear your song when going 65 mph with the windows down.

To answer the original question though, basically any teenage audiophile nutcase with some time on his hands can make a decent setup in the vehicles you list. In most cases, people choose to lose the side knob, center tuner setup and go with the basic rectangle CD/input console, but that takes very minimal and rather easy modification. As RoH mentioned, there will likely need to be an adapter for the antenna wire, but that's not hard - a quick call to Crutchfield, or trip to Best Buy will solve that without losing any significant amount of money.

It's hard for me to say stuff with credibility though - last time I worked for myself with car audio (quite a long-ass time ago), I did a great job of wiring and choosing good stuff, but threw in an old Pioneer cassette console into a car with a black-marker-colored CARDBOARD template (if this isn't a fire hazard I don't know what is):



For what it's worth, it kept the tunes sounding good and never slowed me down on keeping things good with whoever was in the passenger seat (or back seat)...

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Old 5th September 2009, 09:42   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by swingdjted
basically any teenage audiophile nutcase
My experience with teenage audiophile nutcases is the cardboard cutout, scramble wired fire hazard you detailed

I wasn't immune. Really, if you don't want to screw with it, just go to your car audio place and get something nice installed. Last time I had one done, it was only $35 above what the cost of parts to do a proper install would have cost. I did just use the stock speakers.

Bottom line. You can get a nice MP3/CD/AM/FM stereo installed that doesn't look like it was installed by a monkey for <$200 with a warranty. If you need speakers, add some, but they will have ones that are designed to actually fit the car.

Really, I've done some pro-looking DYI installs, but you will just save yourself a big headache if you just buy the kit. Forget amps. I've never had one last more than a year without getting stolen. You want it to look as stock as possible. The busted windows and chiseled door locks you save will be your own.

One more hint from an old fart. Don't use those regular butt crimp connectors. They suck and always pull loose. You can sort of get away with them if you have a $40 crimping tool but your $6.99 Walmart one isn't gonna ever give you a good crimp.

[img]http://retrovision*****wp-content/uploads/pRS1C-2266844w345.jpg[/img]

Use these telephone style ones because you can twist the wires together and they hold a lot better. Mash em' with vice grips or a channel lock plier.

Last edited by rockouthippie; 5th September 2009 at 10:16.
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Old 5th September 2009, 14:06   #11
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personally, I'd say don't use those either -- stop being lazy and twist, solder and heatshrink your connections. Oh, and solder and heatshrink any ring terminals, too (double-wall heatshrink works great as a strain relief).

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Old 5th September 2009, 16:37   #12
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Ahh, I remember talking about vehicle audio before, but on the topic of installing an amp for a subwoofer box.

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Old 5th September 2009, 21:24   #13
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Quote:
stop being lazy and twist, solder and heatshrink your connections.
If you are just hooking a stereo to the factory harness I don't think you need to. For any DYI wiring, I'd do it your way. Or you could buy a *real* crimp tool which would be as good.
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