Vehicle radio

bus_driverJuly 18, 2012

My 1998 Chevrolet C1500 Work Truck has an original equipment AM/FM radio, no tape or CD player. The FM does not work, was intermittent for a while and now no FM at all, on any FM station. The AM is fine, so the power supply and audio circuits are OK. My knowledge of electronics is from the vacuum tube days.

No suitable used or repaired units listed on eBay, no repair shops in my area.

One of my choices is to just buy a new unit with conversion kit from Crutchfield.

Suggestions for other choices?

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Around here, you can pick up one that old at
the junk yard for $5.00.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 2:30PM
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Before sending the radio out to pasture, you may wish to check the antenna, lead-in cable, and plug first. While antenna issues usually mainly affect AM reception first, there are instances that can affect FM and not AM.

Three areas that the antennas fail at are the ground clamp at the base of the antenna that grounds the shield of the antenna lead-in cable to the body of the vehicle and acts as the ground-plane of the antenna.

Another area is oxidation on the antenna plugin connector.

Last is a break or short in the coax lead-in.

You can unplug the antenna from the radio and use an ohm meter to measure from the center pin of the plug to the antenna mast itself - should be close to 0 Ohms.

Then measure from the outer conductor of the plug to any chassis point inside the vehicle - should also be about 0 Ohms.

Then measure form the center pin of the plug to the outer conductor - should be infinite resistance.

However if there is any corrosion at either the antenna connection or plug end, it can create added capacitance that will attenuate the high frequency FM stations and not affect the low frequency AM stations.

If all that checks out, then try removing the radio from the dash and, while still electrically connected and turned on, tapping on the radio with the handle of a screwdriver to check for intermittent connections or cold solder joints. From there, if is does intermittently work, you'd need to take the covers off and continue tapping around with an insulated tool to locate the area and repair it.

Then of course if none of this works and as pointed out above, junk yards for $5 or as they like to be called now, Automotive Recycling Centers, for $20!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 10:15PM
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The kid who bought my 1988 Chevrolet truck found one at a local junk yard.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 1:48PM
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