Daily Archives: August 15, 2006

What a Disaster

Maybe it’s my youthful ignorance, but anymore it seems like nothing is as it seems. The radio in my Toronado was in far from mint condition when I got the car. The display didn’t work, and none of the tone controls worked. It pretty much just turned on, and turned up. I could listen to the radio and that was about it. But it was a Bose system. It sounded decent, but never really got loud. I wanted to upgrade the stereo and hopefully get a little more out of the Bose speakers that I was sure still had some life left in them.

And then.

I pick up a nice Pioneer stereo and a kit to mount it into the dash. First I have to get the old stereo out though. Little did I know what lied ahead of me. I knew I was going to have to take off the drivers side dash trim. I was prepared for that. Or so I though. I got all the screws out and the panel loose, but the darn thing was wedged between the upper edge of the dash and the steering column. After about 45 minutes I started thinking the only way for me to get it off was to remove the whole feakin’ steering column. (I deeply despise the people who design cars.) For some strange reason I got the idea to put the gear level and reverse. Wouldn’t you know that did the trick.

So now I can clearly see the bracket and the screws that hold the radio in. There they are just smiling at me, an all too easy reward after all the hastle I went through to get the trim off. I remove the screws and tug to pull the radio out…and it doesn’t budge. Ugh! So I start feeling around what I can, and for the life of me I can’t feel anything.

So now I have to remove the ashtry and ashtry bracket that is below the stereo to see if there’s anything underneath. Upon doing that, I get a little bit of a chuckle. This truly is a luxury car. Inside the ashtray there are two little vacuum lines to pull cigarette smoke out of the car. Sheesh.

After I get the ashtray out I am able to feel a bit more around the radio and finally find what’s keeping it in. There’s one last bolt left on the passenger side of the radio, right by the air vent. And the only way to get to it is…to remove the glove box. UGH! Luckily I’m a pro at this part since I’d taken it out and put it back in several times when I was fixing the heater door. Andrea gives me a hand getting that out, and I can FINALLY reach the last bolt holding the old radio in, take it loose and pull the unit out. Praise the Lord! Nevermind I’ve all but completely disassembled the dashboard now.

Here’s a shot of how it looks now:
Delicate destruction.

One would think that this is the last of my headaches. Oh what else could go wrong? Just wire the new stereo to the old speaker leads and mount that bad boy in there! Well that’s just what I did. And lo and behold, the unit powers on, but it’s eerily quiet for a stereo that’s supposedly on. Nay, it’s silent! What have I done!

Well I start reading around on the net to try to figure out what the heck I did wrong. Come to find out, this Bose sound system that is in my car doesn’t rely on the stereo to power the speakers. OH NO! Each speaker has to have it’s own built in amplifier. And the outputs of my shiny new Pioneer stereo just aren’t compatable with ANY OF THE SPEAKERS IN MY CAR! Well isn’t that plesant.

So I picked up two Pioneer speakers and got them mounted in the front today. And I ordered two more Pioneer speakers off eBay for the rear, because of course they have to be an odd size. 4″x10″. So what started out as a $150 head unit swap is pretty much turning into a $300 complete redo of my car stereo. But damn it when I’m done it’s going to sound goood!