I pulled my stereo and speakers out of my old car. It’s a few years old, but there is nothing wrong with it. Both the stereo and the speakers are Pioneer, and I paid good money for them. This stereo is a replacement of a stereo that was stolen out of my car. After getting a stereo stolen, I bought a nicer one that has the removable faceplate. Now the magic bus is moving in stereo.
The very first person who bought this van, back in 1977, didn’t splurge for the radio package. There was never an eight track tape player installed. The spot that would have a radio was the original blank panel. I am the first person to install a stereo in this van. Pretty crazy to think about it. A stereo finally gets installed in this thing only after thirty eight years.
I pulled the panel off. I marked off the dimensions of the stereo. I then took my rotary tool and rough cut it out. To smooth it and get it to the final dimension, I just used a razor knife. A perfect fit. I slid the stereo into the slot and folded down some flaps that are on the stereo. It’s now secure. The plastic on the panel was still in good shape. There shouldn’t be a problem.
As I pulled the panel off the front dashboard, I am treated by the old electrical work inside. There are actually sockets in there that you can put light bulbs in to light up random items. There is actually a light for the old cigarette lighter. It shines through a small hole. The ignition key has a hole that a light can shine through as well. All of these bulbs were out and were probably the original bulbs. By George, the glove box light bulb still works though. I may put bulbs back in them. It would be interesting to see what 1977 high tech looks like again.
Inside I found a dash light socket that was just floating around in there. I couldn’t see where it went and there was no bulb. I decided to use this line as the power to the stereo. There was also a hot wire going to the glove box light that wasn’t connected to the ignition. I spliced into that line for the memory line on the stereo. Then I just grounded it to the body. That took care of the wiring. Now just to run the wires to the speakers.
Finding a spot for the speakers wasn’t easy. I could easily put them on the wooden wall behind the cab. I could do it on either side. If I did it on the driving side, that would mean I have the speakers blaring in my ear while I drive. I would also be subjected to more of one speaker than the other too. It would also not be good while listening to music while in the living quarters. So that was a no go. If I put them on the other side, it works for one, but the other is where the couch is and where I lean up against. So it couldn’t go there either.
The speakers also had to go in a space that wouldn’t be used for anything else. I decided to go on the back of one of the wooden walls, but I put it down low. I decided to put the other on the wall right above the workspace counter top. Nothing will be mounted in these spots. They are separated for stereo effect. It fills the magic bus with sound and can be enjoyed while driving in the cab as well. They are also in good spots to open the doors up and be able to hear it outside as well.
The speakers had to be protected, so it was back to work. I took some white pine, ripped it down, and cut a rabbet in them. Then I cut angles and made a square shape. I wanted to use this wire mesh I had, but it was a little too narrow. So I put a center beam down the covers. I painted the covers with some orange spray paint I had. I like color, but it was still too bright for me, so I added some light brown spray on top of it. It muted the color a little and makes it look used, and used in a cartoonish type of way. Which is what I like. I painted the mesh pieces yellow, and I glued them on the rabbet lip, and then glued some black felt on top. Then I just screwed them over the speakers.