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Project "Grille Radio" - part #1
I had an idea the other day. I was in the garage and the reception from my 10+ year-old stereo was not working too well, so I started rummaging through my stuff and I found this old(new) stereo that I had bought but never installed in one of the old projects. I figured that a stereo for a car with a good antenna would get me the reception that I was looking for... or at least I hoped.

I had an old AC/DC converter, so I hooked up the stereo to see if it still worked, much to my delight, it did. The stereo/speakers were all wrapped up in a box, so I figured it would work, but you never know. With all the dirt, dust, and moving that I have done in the past few months, I didn't know what would work and what wouldn't.
Also, a while ago I bought a grille off eBay that "needed some work". Good thing I only spent 10 bucks for it as it was mangled. The pictures didn't really do it justice, but it looks like it was involved in a roll over. Not good enough for a Jeep project, but also I didn't want to junk it, I wondered if I could marry my need for tunes with a desire for wall art. What happened next was a nice marriage of the two.

I cut some cardboard templates into the headlight buckets, as this is where I planned on putting the 6.5" speakers that came with the Sony XPlode kit. I figured that I would cut a hole in the grille shell as well to mount the stereo. I will just tack this in with the welder.
After the stereo cutout was in the shell, I was able to slide the stereo on. It works well, but here is where I saw the first problem. It would have been good to cut and make a rectangular mount itself that would go into the grille shell, and then the sleeve for the stereo itself could slide into that. Also, it should be mounted about 1-2" out from the grill shell. What I found is that when I went to put it on the wall, the back of the stereo with the wiring harness was too far back, thus hitting the wall. This isn't a huge deal, but if I do more in the future, I will change where the stereo gets mounted.

Finally, I cut out some metal for the "eyeballs", mounted the speakers into the grille shell and then wired up the stereo to the AC/DC converter, hooked up the speakers and fired it up. I was very happy with the sound. It could use some speaker buckets behind the speakers to produce better lows, but all in all, the reception is good, I have the ability to put a CD in, I can hook up my iPod now and finally, it is on the wall and looks pretty good. I could use some paint and to a few other things, but what are you going to do, I figure that if there is enough interest, I will start building them for people... patent pending. LOL.
The total cost for this is hard to estimate, but I figure it was a $100 for the stereo stuff, $25 or so for the grille shell with shipping, the AC/DC converter I had, but they go for like $50 at radio shack. BTW, you need a good one here for as you turn up the juice on the stereo and add more load, it draws more voltage. I had another AC/DC converter and it wouldn't allow the CD player to be played at high volumes, the other AC/DC converter works much better. Just remember that when you are thinking about buying the $20 converter.

So, all in all, I figure it was about $200 for this. I bought an antenna and a switch that went in there. It isn't fully functional in terms of wiring yet as I need to do a bit more to clean it all up... and I want to add the marker lights or perhaps some 4" speakers, but you get the idea. Functionality and form... Jeep style.

cb (04/07/07)
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