Author Topic: New radio, speakers, and their wiring  (Read 16386 times)

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Offline Schroeder

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New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« on: November 29, 2012, 04:26:55 PM »
Well guys I am going to be purchasing an aftermarket CD player  for my 77 TA very soon along with some speakers.  Since my car was missing all but the front in dash speaker I am unsure what I need, where things plug in, and what dimensions I should go with.  Here are a list of questions:

1. What CD players are options for me?  Do any modifications to the dash besides cutting a wider hole for the player in the dash face need to be made?

2. what harness adapters will I need for this and where can I get them? 

3. What speakers work for the front in dash speaker?  Do I need adapters to go from the wiring harness to the new speaker I may buy?

4. Was there only one speaker in the center of the dash of these cars from the factory or were there more?  If so, where because there are no other speakers in my car.  I have seen guys have them sticking out of their package trays, but these always look like custom jobs to me.  I want aftermarket speakers with a factory look.

5. Was there an antenna on these cars?  Mine doesn't have one!!  I have seen these TA's with antennas but they may have been 78s and it seems there are so many variations that I don't know what I have and don't have.

I have done some digging.  The manual provided by 78ta.com does not show me what I want, so I thought i'd ask you knowledgeable folks.  Thanks for the help guys.


Offline Angelo

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2012, 11:00:19 AM »
If your dash is uncut where the stereo mounts, what ever you do, DO NOT CUT IT!!!! If you have an uncut dash, contact Randy and get one of his center console map pocket adapters, here's a link to the thread: http://www.78ta.com/HTAF/index.php?topic=37692.0 If your dash radio area is already cut up, you can pickup a generic plate for 1 DIN that has a 3/4" border around it, then cut the shape of your dash opening around the plate, that's what I did for my dash since it was already cut up.

Wiring concerned, you have speaker wiring, power wires, power antenna wire and the antenna. You shouldn't have to worry about the antenna it should plug right in. You may need an extension for it though.

Speaker wiring concerned, if you had a 78' or newer, you could use the existing wiring if it's already wired for rear stereo speakers. 77 and older though, you need to run new speaker wire. The older cars were designed with the speakers grounded to the chassis, and I think the gauge wire was designed for 10 ohm speakers, either is reason enough not to use the wiring. What ever you do, keep the old wiring in tact, just don't use it. The gauge of the wire will be determined by your receiver/speaker combination. Who ever you buy your speakers/receiver from should tell you what gauge wire is recommended. If you're staying under 50 watts per speaker though, most likely 16 gauge speaker wire will do the job.

The factory ran the rear speaker wire down the passenger side under the sill plate (plate under door), then up and around under the 1/4 side panel to the trunk. I would use the same route. One tip, make sure your left and right speaker wires are the same length. Don't be tempted to make the right speaker wire shorter since it doesn't have to run as far.

Someone else can chime in, but someone sells a center speaker adapter that lets you mount two 3.5" speakers in the center speaker location. That's ideal since it prevents you from hacking up door/kick panels and the center console. I think I've seen the adapter in the popular catalogs, Fbodywarehouse may sell them too.

As for the power and antenna wiring, you need to find a "wire harness adapter", that uses the existing radio harness that plugs into your stock radio to splice into an aftermarket receiver's harness. You will want to do this to prevent cutting up wires under your dash. If you can't find a harness adapter for your year, then I would recommend running new wiring from your fuse box to your new CD player to avoid cutting up wires. The speaker wires from the stock harness will not be used since you'll be running your own speaker wires.

If you tap into existing wires under the dash, red wire with black stripe will have power when car is in "run" mode, and orange is what you want for the radio's "clock". Again, I would run a separate wire from the fuse box to the radio for the main receiver power, and maybe even add a fuse inline too.

Some finishing touches would be to add baffles behind your rear 6 x 9 speakers, both to protect your speakers in the trunk and to add a little more base to them. Here's a link to the baffles I used: http://www.amazon.com/DEI-050380-Boom-Speaker-Baffle/dp/B0039Z3T4C/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1354290289&sr=8-2&keywords=6+x+9+baffle+speaker

Oh and www.crutchfield.com is your friend. Even if you don't buy the speaker/receiver from them, there's no other better source for car audio in my opinion.
81' ex-Turbo Trans Am - Resto-mod

Offline Angelo

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2012, 12:17:38 PM »
I just replied with general info, didn't quite answer your questions.

1. Single DIN receiver
2. Pre-78 hopefully someone can chime in where to buy one if they exist
3. There's a center speaker adapter to use 3.5" speakers in the front in place of the mono speaker. Someone else can chime in where to get one.
4. Pre-78 I believe there was either a mono speaker or 2 rear speakers. Someone else can chime in. 78/79 had rear speakers and 80/81 had 2 front and 2 rear speakers.
5. Most have an antenna built into the front windshield. If your car has a working radio, it definite has an antenna somewhere.
81' ex-Turbo Trans Am - Resto-mod

Offline CRF8

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2012, 08:00:12 PM »
My 74 has the front windshield built-in antenna, you can see the line in the glass. Behind the radio will be the connector plug, when you see it you'll know, its bigger guage than power or speaker wires. I ran my speaker wires down the hump as I had the carpet and insulation removed to replace. Factory run is like the other guy said. I also ran wires for a subwoofer  (if I ever get one).
1974 Firebird Formula 400, rebuilt 400 engine, heads from a 1971, block from a 1977; Comp cam, Edelbrock intake & carb; forged SRP pistons, Summit HEI distributor, TH400 w/shift kit

Offline Grand73Am

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2012, 12:14:37 AM »
Some of this might repeat what's been said, but might be something new too.

1. What CD players are options for me?  Do any modifications to the dash besides cutting a wider hole for the player in the dash face need to be made?
Any modern radio with CD will do. As Angelo said, they are single DIN. DIN is a standard size for the hole it fits in to. The radio will often come with a paper template to help in cutting the size hole you need. They come with a metal cage that fits in the dash first, and that's what will hold and secure the radio. So, you can just make the hole the size of the forward edge of the cage. I prefer doing that rather than using the template, since the cage has to fit the hole...might as well use it as a guide to cut the hole.
I suggest getting a radio that also has a USB port on it. That way you can copy your music from your computer to a flash drive and plug it in and play. One little thumbsize flashdrive can hold hundreds of songs and more, depending on how many gigs the flash drive is. It should also have an auxillary port that you can plug an Ipod or other MP3 music player into, if you have one of those.
There are many good brands with those features. Pioneer, Alpine, Kenwood, etc. A good website to see many brands of radios in one place is Crutchfield.com . You can see pictures of them and the list of features. You don't have to buy there. Just a good place to see what you like and buy it anywhere you wish. Here's a link to their car radios page: http://www.crutchfield.com/g_300/Car-Receivers.html?tp=5684

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2. what harness adapters will I need for this and where can I get them?
You don't really need harness adapters. It's easy to wire up what you need to in order to make everything work. Just follow the wiring diagrams they provide.

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3. What speakers work for the front in dash speaker?  Do I need adapters to go from the wiring harness to the new speaker I may buy?
No, you don't need wiring adapters. The speakers come with wires, the radio comes with wires. Just connect them together following the diagrams they provide.

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4. Was there only one speaker in the center of the dash of these cars from the factory or were there more?  If so, where because there are no other speakers in my car.  I have seen guys have them sticking out of their package trays, but these always look like custom jobs to me.  I want aftermarket speakers with a factory look.
Yes, one speaker in the center of the dash in your 77. There are places that have replacement speakers. Here's a good suggestion for the front one: http://transamcountry.com/community/index.php?topic=48771.0 . For the rears, you could find a pair of original factory metal rear speaker grilles on eBay, and hang 2 6X9's under the rear package tray and it will look oriignal. Just have to be careful to buy speakers that don't have the center tweeters sticking up so high so they would hit the speaker grilles.

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5. Was there an antenna on these cars?  Mine doesn't have one!!  I have seen these TA's with antennas but they may have been 78s and it seems there are so many variations that I don't know what I have and don't have.
Most TA's have the antenna in the windshield. It is the wires that are embedded in the center of the windshield. There would be an antenna cable already under the dash to plug into the back of your radio. Most of the TA's I've seen with fender mounted antennas were the Tenth Anniversary TA's. The TATA's seems to always have them. Frankly, I don't like the fender antennas. Rather have the windshield one.   




Steve F.

Offline Angelo

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2012, 08:21:47 AM »
The harness adapter I was referring to is used to plug into the existing harness so you don't cut up factory wiring. They are less than $10 for 1978+ years, they are for a GM standardized harness. I am not sure if they even exist for the older cars. Just don't cut factory wiring if at all possible.
81' ex-Turbo Trans Am - Resto-mod

Offline Grand73Am

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2012, 09:05:33 AM »
That would be fine. But you wouldn't have to buy an adapter, so could save a little money. The wiring is so simple that factory wiring doesn't have to be cut to connect up the couple of wires it takes to power the radio. Just connect a wire to a keyed source and one to a constant source. It's easy to put a couple of wire terminals on the wires so they can plug onto the power sources, like the fuse panel, or the original radio connector plug.
Steve F.

Offline Angelo

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2012, 11:18:46 AM »
I see, in my 81 the wires are already there including speakers so the harness let's you use the existing wires without cutting them, didn't know if something like that even exists pre 1978.
81' ex-Turbo Trans Am - Resto-mod

Offline Schroeder

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2012, 01:58:04 PM »
WOW!  Thanks guys!  That's a lot of help and information to digest!  I appreciate it all.

Could anyone show me their rear speaker setups?  Angelo, it sounds like yours are concealed and mounted well.  Do you have any pictures?

Also, I have done numerous searches on here, other TA sites, and on google.  I can NOT seem to find any pictures of these in-windshield antennas.  Can anyone show me a picture of theirs and maybe where it snakes down into the car at?  I have never noticed any windshield antenna on my car.  It's hard for me to be able to figure stuff out when it comes to these topics because this is my first 2nd gen and it is highly mutilated.  There is a lot of stuff missing and a lot of stuff done incorrectly.  I have no "correct" baseline to compare stuff to. 

Offline CRF8

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2012, 02:34:34 PM »
my cars at the other house, but it should be a thin vertical line in the center of the windshield running from dash to mirror area
1974 Firebird Formula 400, rebuilt 400 engine, heads from a 1971, block from a 1977; Comp cam, Edelbrock intake & carb; forged SRP pistons, Summit HEI distributor, TH400 w/shift kit

Offline Schroeder

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2012, 02:52:11 PM »
my cars at the other house, but it should be a thin vertical line in the center of the windshield running from dash to mirror area

embedded in the glass??  Anyone got pics they could post?  I'm guessing this means I do not have an antenna and will need a new windshield now too -_-

Offline Angelo

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2012, 02:59:25 PM »
My car is apart at the moment, so I don't have pictures if it together.

The windshield antenna is hard to see, unless someone told you where to look you would never notice it. From the inside of your car, look at the very center of your windshield up close, then look up/down from the center, you should see two brown or gold parallel wires running vertically. When it reaches the top of the windshield, each wire turns toward the outside of the car and runs most of the length of the upper windshield.

If your dash is apart, somewhere in between your defrost duct you should see a black thick wire with a chrome tip, that's your antenna plug.

Check your front fenders, if you have a hole just behind the front wheel-well on one side, then you most likely had a power antenna at one time.

You can just see the wires in this ebay listing: http://www.ebay.com/itm/70-81-CAMARO-FIREBIRD-FRONT-WINDSHIELD-ANTENNA-NO-CRACKS-/251176771980?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&vxp=mtr&hash=item3a7b4d618c
81' ex-Turbo Trans Am - Resto-mod

Offline Grand73Am

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2012, 06:55:36 PM »
Yes, that eBay listing shows them pretty good, especially if you enlarge the pics. It's those 2 thin vertical lines in the middle of the windshield.
Steve F.

Offline Schroeder

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2012, 07:16:03 PM »
definitely see the antenna in the pics.  I can't believe I've never noticed that.  I can't wait to get back home on Friday and see if my car has it.  I pray it does!  Thanks for the help thus far guys.

Angelo, are your speakers in the car?  So, your rear speakers face up through your package tray correct?  Can you see them or are they under the tray?

Offline Angelo

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Re: New radio, speakers, and their wiring
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2012, 07:49:06 PM »
I haven't installed them yet but I did a test fit. Plan is to mount them from underneath with the grills they came with on top. So thinking of layers, top to bottom first is the speaker grill, then the package tray, then the actual car steel, followed by the speaker then the speaker baffle. I hangs figured out how to attach the baffles yet.
81' ex-Turbo Trans Am - Resto-mod