Author Topic: 76 Eldorado radio advice  (Read 499 times)

Offline 7gen

  • Posts: 175
  • Name: K. Reynolds
76 Eldorado radio advice
« on: September 28, 2017, 05:49:29 AM »
I am trying to get music back into my car and the radio (original AM/FM/8track) will not cooperate. I've had it evaluated by United Radio in Syracuse, NY and was told that without a complete rebuild (new capacitors, etc), it just won't be very good. Drifting off station, only having a tiny spot on the dial for each station where you get any type of reception are my two issues. Speakers were changed out and are now good.

So I'm considering doing a refurbish (having someone put new guts in that are the same as the original) and a rebuild (new modern guts that also will do Bluetooth and Ipod). The faceplate will remain the same with this second option so it will look original.

If I do a rebuild with modern functionality, is that going to cause problems down the line if someone wants to show the car? I'm not interested in showing but the car could easily be brought up to show condition if someone wanted to do that. Right now, the car is completely stock. For judging, is the issue that the radio works (the tape system is in unknown condition - I got rid of my 8 tracks long ago) or do judges look to see if the internals are still original? And if I were to do a rebuild and someone does want to show the car later, how hard is it to find an original radio system to plug back into the car?

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 6823
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2017, 08:26:50 AM »
I can't answer the judging questions but if you are thinking about the gutting it route I would think it would not be that difficult to find another OE radio to send in to get gutted and you then keep the actual original for the car in case anyone ever wanted it to be original.   Finding a used one you would not care about operating condition since you will be gutting it anyway.   It would not even have to be the exact model. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
75 Eldo rusty but trusty
80 Eldo Diesel
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline "Cadillac Kid" Greg Surfas 15364

  • Posts: 2814
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #15364
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2017, 10:44:22 AM »
I am not a radio expert, but today's digital signals and yesterday's analog receivers can result in just what you are finding.  What I have done (or really had done) is my 75 and 76 radios rebuilt locally and the tech installed a shunt into the amplifier circuit so I can plug in my MP-3 (remember them) and/or other device to provide a good signal to the Cadillac amplifier.  In their day these radios were the top of the line for automotive use.
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Online Dan LeBlanc

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 3569
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #27657
  • Name: Dan LeBlanc
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2017, 11:47:06 AM »
At a CLC meet, they do check the radio.  If it's an 8-track, you will likely have to demonstrate that it plays a tape.
Dan LeBlanc - CLC # 27657
1970 DeVille Convertible
1977 Continental Town Car

Offline 7gen

  • Posts: 175
  • Name: K. Reynolds
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2017, 12:31:10 PM »
When they check the audio, are they checking for functionality only (turns on, plays a station, plays a tape, etc.) or functionality and original parts? The reason I ask is that I've read posts that say if the battery in the car is not an AC/Delco original but instead is a modern replacement, that is a points decrement.

Offline Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

  • Posts: 3937
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #8621
  • Name: Eric DeVirgilis
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2017, 12:39:15 PM »
How much does UR want?
A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for Which There is no Acceptable Substitute

Offline 76eldo

  • Posts: 4970
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #22443
  • Name: Brian Rachlin
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2017, 05:58:10 PM »
If you convert the radio make sure that the company is using a tried and true tuner board.  I had a 1960 radio done and had a lot of trouble with it.

At a CLC meet, you turn on the radio and the judges can hear that it's working.  They do not sit in your car and scrutinize the radio.  And, if you do not have any 8 tracks you will not be asked to play one.

If you get the stock radio converted it will look right.  If you get the stock radio overhauled it will work well and sound like the radio did in 1976.  If you go for a conversion, you will probably have to change to 4 ohm speakers.

Brian
Brian Rachlin
Huntingdon Valley, Pa
CLC # 22443

I prefer email's not PM's   rachlin@comcast.net

1960 62 Series Convertible with factory Tri Power
1960 Eldorado Seville
1970 DeVille Convertible
1970 Eldorado
1976 Eldorado Convertible
1980 Eldorado Hess & Eisenhardt Convertible
1981 Eldorado Hess & Eisenhardt Convertible
1985 Eldorado ASC Biarritz Convertible
2007 DTS
2012 CTS Coupe
2017 CT5

Online Dan LeBlanc

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 3569
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #27657
  • Name: Dan LeBlanc
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2017, 07:02:48 PM »
When they check the audio, are they checking for functionality only (turns on, plays a station, plays a tape, etc.) or functionality and original parts? The reason I ask is that I've read posts that say if the battery in the car is not an AC/Delco original but instead is a modern replacement, that is a points decrement.

Yes. A modern replacement battery is a points deduction also
Dan LeBlanc - CLC # 27657
1970 DeVille Convertible
1977 Continental Town Car

Offline bcroe

  • Posts: 2057
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #14630
76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2017, 09:23:19 PM »
Quote from: 7gen
I am trying to get music back into my car and the radio (original AM/FM/8track) will not cooperate. I've had it evaluated by United Radio in Syracuse, NY and was told that without a complete rebuild (new capacitors, etc), it just won't be very good. Drifting off station, only having a tiny spot on the dial for each station where you get any type of reception are my two issues. Speakers were changed out and are now good.     

Up through this time and later, restoring old electronics requires replacing
all the short lived capacitors.  This is not a very big deal, mostly the labor
to do the job.  New caps are generally better and smaller.  Not doing this
means writing off the equipment.  I have replaced A LOT of capacitors. 

With luck, not much beyond caps and speakers are needed to put
equipment in near new shape.    Bruce Roe

Offline Eric DeVirgilis CLC# 8621

  • Posts: 3937
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #8621
  • Name: Eric DeVirgilis
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2017, 09:44:06 AM »
Agreed with Bruce's comments. Additionally I will add my 2 cents that the few converted radios I've encountered were miserable, thin and tinny sounding while barely able to pull in a radio station with the transmitter next door.

If the price is reasonable, I'd just have UR restore the original radio to factory spec. These radios sounded good for what they were and very well made.
A Cadillac Motorcar is a Possession for Which There is no Acceptable Substitute

Offline 7gen

  • Posts: 175
  • Name: K. Reynolds
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2017, 07:39:25 PM »
The problem with just restoring the original radio to spec is that there isn't anything even on FM worth listening to anymore. FM used to be a place with minimal commercials. No more.

I decided to do what Greg suggested - restore the radio back to spec but add a line in jack to be able to play an ipod or other device that takes a mini headphone. UR can do that and I've found another place - JV Restorations. In answer to your previous question, Eric, UR didn't actually give me a price. They did a quick once-over on the radio and sort of guided me away from a restoration. I don't know why, exactly, but I assumed that the price they have to charge turns off people just looking for a cheap way of getting sound. JV Restoration wants $160 for the refurbish and $25 for the added jack, which is much cheaper than a conversion and suits my needs.

I appreciate the advice. I think I've got a good plan that allows me to play my own music but keeps things pretty much stock. I have replaced the speakers with 8-10 ohm units from turnswitch.com so I think I'll be in good shape for music when the radio is addressed. Thanks!!

Offline netman

  • Posts: 8
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #30824
  • Name: Ron Murphy
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2017, 04:57:59 PM »
I sent my radio to  Greg at www.turnswitch.com.  It now sounds great, plays FM, AM, and the 8 track works. 
Ron Murphy
CLC Member

Offline 7gen

  • Posts: 175
  • Name: K. Reynolds
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2017, 05:42:00 PM »
I checked his site and the only service they advertise is radio conversion. Did you send your radio in recently?

Online Dan LeBlanc

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 3569
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #27657
  • Name: Dan LeBlanc
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2017, 07:04:45 AM »
I had a good long chat with Greg last fall when I ordered 2 speakers for my 70.  Yes, he does more than conversions.

We even talked about the radio in my 53 and how he could repair the tube radio and add a small internal FM tuner to the original radio inside the case and still get the original radio sound.

Greg seems to be awesome to deal with and knows his stuff.
Dan LeBlanc - CLC # 27657
1970 DeVille Convertible
1977 Continental Town Car

Offline bcroe

  • Posts: 2057
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #14630
76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2017, 07:54:10 AM »
Quote from: Dan LeBlanc
We even talked about the radio in my 53 and how he could repair the tube radio and add a small internal FM tuner to the original radio inside the case and still get the original radio sound.

Greg seems to be awesome to deal with and knows his stuff. 

I wonder how a tube radio with an added FM section would be tuned, or how
it could output stereo?  My inclination would be a stock 53 radio with a
separate FM elsewhere.  Bruce Roe

Online Dan LeBlanc

  • Administrator
  • Posts: 3569
    • CLC Member
      CLC Member #27657
  • Name: Dan LeBlanc
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2017, 09:02:20 AM »
He explained it to me but he may as well have been speaking Greek. 

PS:  I don't speak Greek!
Dan LeBlanc - CLC # 27657
1970 DeVille Convertible
1977 Continental Town Car

Offline 7gen

  • Posts: 175
  • Name: K. Reynolds
Re: 76 Eldorado radio advice
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2017, 08:00:21 AM »
I talked with Greg yesterday and confirmed what you said, Dan. He gave me some pros and cons of going each way (conversion or refurbish). One minor point but something to keep in mind is that the converted radio uses two hot wires to the speakers while the original design for the back speakers used only one with a chassis ground. The front speakers used two. Just means an extra wire needs to be run to the back speakers and the instructions cover this.

I was concerned about LEDs. The YouTube videos show that an LED can be added for status/diagnostic purposes and I was concerned about keeping things looking original. He said that on my 76, the integrated 8 track with the fold down door means that there is no place to mount an LED on the faceplate door. In fact, the "pointer" is not really on the door at all on the radio. It is an image being mirrored up from inside the unit. Makes sense - if the door folds down, how would you mount a pointer? Anyway, he said that because of this, the LED can be mounted in the antenna trim hole behind the adjuster knob, so everything looks completely stock when a judge looks at it. You'd have to take the knobs off to see anything nonstandard. He also said that the 8 track can usually be brought back to life when they do the conversion if that is desired.

He was very knowledgeable and I had a good long chat with him. Thanks for the recommendation!!

 

Get the CLCMRC 2018 Calendar - AVAILABLE NOW!