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Hidden Tunes Part Deux or Hillbilly Hidden Radio

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by n847, May 8, 2013.

  1. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    n847
    Member

    My humble submission for tech week pales in comparison to some of the great stuff I see on here every year, but I thought it was pretty damn slick myself and you all say nothing is too small to submit so hopefully it helps someone!
    As you all know there is more than one way to skin a cat, and I tend to choose the most difficult! This is a subject that has been covered in the past and this is just my take on it! Please forgive my terrible grammar in advance.
    For the last year I have been running an Alpine amp hastily self-tapped into my trunk floor with RCA out puts adapted to a 3.5mm headphone jack run up to my front bench seat where the cord comes out and I can hook up my phone or MP3 player. This actually works pretty well but I would like to do away with the amp in the trunk and the pre-amp output from the phone is pretty weak so it’s difficult to hear the 2 6x9’s over the echoing in my unfinished tin box of an interior. My solution is to modify my factory radio head unit to control an aftermarket dinosaur knob to knob (tape deck w/an MP3 input) radio hidden under the dash.
    <O:p[​IMG]</O:p>
    I can&#8217;t take full credit for this idea as it something I discussed with Joel Torres here on the HAMB a couple years ago when he GAVE me a factory replacement radio...he&#8217;s good people! The reason this has waited till now is I&#8217;m in the process of a rattle can resto on the dash and a general re-wire of all the under dash components. I did a quickie resto of the factory radio and added a small 12v light bulb socket to the back of it that will be run off the dash and gauge lights so it will light up at night.
    The general idea here is that when you turn the volume knob on the radio it will spin the flexible shaft driven gear...for lack of a better term. This gear will be connected via an aluminum bushing with set screws to the volume knob under the dash. The volume knob also turns the radio on and off, and the tuner knob will dial the tuner on the under dash unit as well. At this point I don&#8217;t have an antenna hooked up but my phone has and AM FM tuner built in plus, Pandora, I heart radio, and 4 gigs of MP3 music (all downloaded perfectly legally I assure you).
    <O:p</O:p
    What you need...<O:p</O:p
    A Factory head unit with gear driven flexible shaft...Free from a kick ass HAMB&#8217;er<O:p</O:p

    A working knob to knob radio to mount under the dash which could be harder to find in 10 years than the stocker!...free from my old OT Jeep Comanche

    Some type of round stock. I used a brass hose barb for making the bushings...$1.99 at NAPA<O:p</O:p

    Some other type of stock. I used aluminum for making the bushings again after you waste a perfectly good set of hose barbs and realize how stupid of an idea that was in the first place...Free from the scrap/broken gage pile at work

    Set screws or some other types of fastening hardware or JB weld if you&#8217;re even more ghetto than me...$3 from Fastenal

    A drill press and clamp or a good vise and a steady hand with your cordless drill...Free at a good buddies house

    A set of calipers can really help but isn&#8217;t necessary...$5 from an auction years ago<O:p</O:p

    A drill and tap set in the size of the set screws you need...Found in a $3 box from an auction years ago<O:p</O:p

    An old busted ass computer...Free and did I mention yet that I&#8217;m a tight wad&#8230;we&#8217;ll get to that later OPTIONAL<O:p</O:p

    A method of mounting or affixing the radio under the dash or in your chosen location...Free&#8230;this is where the &#8220;old busted ass computer comes in&#8221;

    Some music to keep you motivated&#8230; for this project I opted for bluegrass free&#8230;err .99 cents a download
    [​IMG]
    </O:p>
    I started by measuring the shaft size on the flexible shaft from the factory head unit, and the aftermarket knob to knob. I then found a piece of material that was slightly larger than the smaller shaft and drilled and tapped it out to accommodate a set screw. Then I filed down the shaft end on the stocker to fit in the bushing. After that I test fit the two pieces together and found that the weak ass brass hose barb I tried to tap was far too thin walled and flimsy to hold up to the twisting force and the set screws just stripped out! [​IMG]</O:p>
    So I started from scratch and found some thicker material in the form of an old feeler gage handle in the broken and scrap gage pile at work. This set had a thicker wall and worked much better for tapping purposes. Again there are several ways of doing this. I wanted mine attached with set screws so I could remove one radio without pulling the other. If you had access to mills and lathe&#8217;s you could make them much fancier than I did![​IMG]</O:p>
    I then made a mounting plate for under the dash to replace the license plate (again tight wad) I had been using as a coil mount for the last couple years. This is where the old busted ass computer comes into play! I have about 2 4'x8&#8217; sheets of steel laying around for future use on floor pans and what not. But for some reason the tight wad in me surfaces every time I do a project and I begin scrounging around the garage for materials that can be used for this plate. Then it dawns on me that I&#8217;ve had two old computers (that I need to trash) sliding around the trunk of my car for over a year now and they have nice flat thin panels on the sides! So I says to myself&#8230;Self let&#8217;s put some of that to good use! It worked out perfectly! It even had a couple extra plates spot welded to the edges that worked out perfectly as stand offs to keep room behind the plate for routing wires and to keep self-tapping screws from trashing my firewall and if I add other components later. I cut the plate into the correct shape, drilled the mounting holes and attached the radio brackets. I also added a few extra holes on the edges for some rubber padded wire looms to keep everything neat and tidy. [​IMG]</O:p>
    <O:p[​IMG]</O:p>
    <O:p[​IMG]</O:p>
    Once the plate was mounted on the dash with all the components attached I re-installed the radio and everything is working out nicely. I will be running a 3&#8217; male to male 3.5mm headphone jack from the radio up to the ash tray where you will be able to open the tray and I will have my small MP3 player sitting, or you can un plug it and hook up your desired Phone, I-pod, etc. and leave it lay in the ash tray. I also added a 12v accessory outlet last year under the dash for GPS, phone, and MP3 purposes so I will be running a micro USB cord into the ash tray as well.
    [​IMG]
    <O:p[​IMG]</O:p>
    I&#8217;ll continue to run the 6x9&#8217;s mounted under the deck lid out of sight and I&#8217;m going to add a 6&#8221; speaker in the center of the dash where the grill opening is for now, but eventually I&#8217;m going to hide a set in the kick panels and the rear door panels where they can&#8217;t be seen through the trunk. <O:p></O:p>
    I will be putting this whole set up on a kill switch and since the radio is analog there is no need for anything but switched power so I don&#8217;t have to worry about any extra power draw. [​IMG]</O:p>
    So for all anyone knows when they hop in my car and I turn on the radio I&#8217;m only using the factory piece. I know some of you will say all I need is the sound of the open road and then hum of the exhaust&#8230;and for the most part you are correct. However my wife on the other hand feels a little differently. For this same reason next year&#8217;s tech submission might just be about things like sound deadening, insulation, cup holders, vanity mirrors and other things to make your special lady friend comfortable in your hot rod! Or maybe not!
     
    scramble96 likes this.
  2. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,217

    F&J
    Member

    I really needed this tech thread.

    ...and


    You sure do get the whole point of Tech Week :cool:


    I have been wanting to find one of those very early 30's aftermarket "radio head" things that is just a tiny faceplate with 2 knobs and a small dial. They come with flex cables like yours, and I wanted to hook it to a modern radio.

    Maybe this thread will get me going on it..

    and yea, I hear you on "trial and error" "stripping things" when designing.


    This sure beats sending an old radio out for modern guts too.

    My vote will go here, unless you got something else:eek:
     
  3. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    n847
    Member

    Thanks I'm glad it can help...I can't tell you how many old knob to knobs I saw at garage sales last year. But keep in mind it will work better if the power is turned on and off from the knob. Im sure even radios that aren't shaft driven can be gutted and a shaft could be added. I've got 2 of the old flexible drill attachments hanging in my garage right now that could work!

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
     
  4. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,217

    F&J
    Member

    I will start looking for one of those old radio heads online. I found one in the woods next to a rotted out 32? chevy cowl. The radio head was junk, but it looked like there was a rotating switch on the left knob that must turn on the power to the big radio under the dash.

    The heads I have seen on the web, already have the cables attached permanantly, so I should be good to go. Thanks
     
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  5. csimonds
    Joined: Jul 24, 2009
    Posts: 546

    csimonds
    Member

    Great Tech! F&J I have the original Buick box radio that I will never use if you want it.
    Chuck
     
  6. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,217

    F&J
    Member

    Hi Chuck, The one I was needing is a very tiny unit that hangs off the lower dash lip, or I have seen some that clamp to the column. Maybe 3" wide or so. Needs to look like the same age as my 32 Nash. Thanks anyways.
     
  7. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    n847
    Member

    Those ones that clamp on the steering coulmn are awesome...its one of those parts that if and when I find one at a swap meet I'll have to buy it even if I don't have the car for it!
     
  8. GeezersP15
    Joined: Dec 4, 2011
    Posts: 537

    GeezersP15
    Member
    from N.E. PA

    How about a few more pics of that P15?
     
  9. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    n847
    Member

    Geezer
    check out my signature line below...click below where it says My Build at the bottom of this post. I don't have a lot of recent pictures as its been up on jack stands since December.
     
  10. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    n847
    Member

    For those interested here's the finished wired product. Came out pretty nicely in my opinion!
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,458

    Gearhead Graphics
    Member
    from Denver Co

  12. Question, what is the coil for? I re-read the article twice thinking I missed something but can't for kicks and grins figure out what you would use the coil for by the radio?
     
  13. Awesome! I had thought about trying something like this in my old Plymouth coupe that still had the original in-dash radio controls. Wasn't sure it would work, but I see otherwise now.
     
  14. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    n847
    Member

    Oh yeah...sorry the coil is just mounted to the same plate as the radio under the dash. I used the same plate for the din rail mounted fuse box and switched power terminal strip for the whole car. Its behind the glovebox where it can be accessed easily without the pedals and steering column in the way. The coil was mounted on an old liscense plate in that same location for the last 2 years. I'm running a small cap HEI and I hate the looks of the coil so I put it out of sight! I did however just get a lead on an old Mallory unilite so I'm either gonna switch to that or put a pertronix points eliminator in my old distributor soon!

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
     
  15. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    n847
    Member

    Thanks to everyone who voted for my submission....Again its a far cry from what some other HAMB'ers have posted and I'm glad it was found to be usefull!
     
  16. I had no interest in this. ...... until I saw the picture of the dash. I have a 47' P15. And it has no radio! Gonna take a close look at this. Thanks!
     
  17. Ya got my vote!
     
  18. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    n847
    Member

    chopped51 I don't blame you it's pretty basic stuff! I'll attach a pic of my dash as it sits now, mine is using aftermarket gauges that were in it when I got it. I just made all new panels for the gauge mounting, painted the dash and cleaned up my old chrome. I love the P-15 dash! Infact I dig all the Plymouths dashes from the late 30's on!

    55dude...thanks

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
     

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  19. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    n847
    Member

    I know tech week is long gone but I finally got a new phone and I've been experimenting with youtube so here's a quickie video that shows the system in action...please ignore the 6x9 stuck under the dash thats just hanging there from the mock up/testing phase!

     
  20. hotrod54chevy
    Joined: Nov 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,589

    hotrod54chevy
    Member
    from Ohio

    Sorry, I've been re-reading this tech and plan on doing something similar. What are your flexible shaft driven gears from? They look like spreedo cables to me! :p Thanks!


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  21. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    n847
    Member

    Those cables were part of my factory Motorola radio. I think most all of the early radios worked like that. With a head unit consisting of a backlight dial, knobs, and a few selector buttons. Then the shafts actually controll a box mounted on the firewall with all the electronics.

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  22. hotrod54chevy
    Joined: Nov 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,589

    hotrod54chevy
    Member
    from Ohio

    I don't have a stock radio, just the bezel and an AM glass lens with the numbers on it. I was going to stick the movement from a radio behind it and maybe make something like this. Think a flex shaft tool would work? ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1378088273.180741.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1378088282.881054.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1378088290.814230.jpg


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  23. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    n847
    Member

    Yeah I'm sure you could make that work, I like the idea of having the collet on the end because you could used it to hold the knobs in place. I've also got a few old after market flexible drill shafts that I pickedup at garage sales, that would probably work if its not too heavy. I would think you might be able to use a spedometer cable too?
     
  24. hotrod54chevy
    Joined: Nov 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,589

    hotrod54chevy
    Member
    from Ohio

    Probably could use a speedo cable, but I only have one old car and I imagine these are more readily available to try to keep cost down. How do you like that cassette unit? I've heard good and bad things about it, but I do like the price!


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  25. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    n847
    Member

    Honestly its not so great! But I just use the headphone/mp3 input so its better than what I had! Its also only got 2 speaker inputs. Im in the market for another knob to knob. They just dont make a ton of them any more!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  26. hotrod54chevy
    Joined: Nov 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,589

    hotrod54chevy
    Member
    from Ohio

    Yeah, I'd actually heard that the cassette deck with an adapter was better! Thanks for the honest answers! I'd get one of the Pyle ones, but all the reviews say that's what it is. A pile!


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  27. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,217

    F&J
    Member


    Finally I found a tiny art deco radio head for my 32 Nash. The knobs are painted by a former owner, so I will change that color. It's a Motorola.

    the way it is made, it can be mounted to a flat surface, or hang below the dash lip.

    I got it at an old antique auto parts store; it was the only one he found that looked to be early 30s.
     

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  28. n847
    Joined: Apr 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,703

    n847
    Member

    Woah...that things bitchin!

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