View Full Version : Radio choice and speaker placement

01-20-2015, 09:29 PM
Hello all! Want to see if anyone has replaced their bulletbird radio with one of the electronic models that are sold on ebay. They are chrome and fit the spot really well. you can hook and ipod up etc... A previous owner already did a nice job upgrading the original radio with an AM/FM cassette, but I did get the original AM radio with the car. There are a pair of box speakers that lie next to the sill on the rear floorboards. Works ok but the sound is rather poor quality.

My question is- has anyone upgraded their radio to one of the digital models I described? Also in a bulletbird, where is a better place to mount the speakers without cutting? I don't get to many auto shows and I have the only bulletbird at the ones I have attended. Any experiences and suggestions would be much appreciated!:confused:

01-20-2015, 11:02 PM
Why replace your original radio? Gary Tayman, one of our members in Florida, retrofits our original radio to look exactly the same as stock but it produces stereo AM/FM/MP3, etc.

He did a 'Town & Country' ('Wonder bar') original Ford Motorola radio for our '59 and another original Ford Motorola for our '55.

Garu eliminates all the tubes and turns the whole thing to solid state, so the warmup time is gone. - Dave

01-20-2015, 11:03 PM
Hermann, I just covered this subject in the Squarebirds Forum. Check out the Technical Resource Library and the section on radios. Gary Tayman, for one, can convert that old radio into a brand new, modern, AM/FM Stereo, with USB, Bluetooth, Ipod, etc.. As for better speaker locations perhaps someone can answer that question for you.

01-21-2015, 12:14 AM
Thanks for the direction. I had no idea that there was a company available to convert the original AM radio chasis. ALso good ideas on speaker placement. Watched the video and was very impressed. I'll have to look over the squarebird section more often, always just visit the bulletbirds! ;)


01-21-2015, 12:23 AM
Hi Dale! It is always a good thing for EVERYONE to check ALL the Sub-Forums on this Forum! You can check what has been posted new by clicking on Quick Links and it will list what is new that you have not seen yet. Because I administer this Forum, myself, simplyconnected, jopizz, Dan Leavens, and other Administrators, look at everything posted. Speaking personally, because I do, I have gained a WEALTH of information about these old Tbirds of ours, and cars in general that I would have never had. So when you log on, check ALL the Sub-Forums, from the top all the way to the bottom! Sure, it might take a bit of time to read each new post, but the information you gain from other Sub-Forums often applies to the Bulletbirds too. The Anything Goes Forum also has some great stuff in it, that might not be about any particular year of Tbird, but has good stuff in it.

The same thing applies to the Technical Resource Library. Although originally built for Squarebirds stuff, over the years, I have tried to add things that also apply to Little Birds, Bulletbirds, Flairbirds and other Tbirds.. Check out the other companies listed in Radio section of the TRL regarding updating your radio. I just know, from what has been posted in the past, that Gary Tayman has an excellent reputation updating these old AM radios of ours.

01-21-2015, 06:24 AM
..I had no idea that there was a company available to convert the original AM radio chasis...That's exactly why we have Squarebirds.org, Dale.

Our founder, Dr. Alexander Sosiak, started this friendly, international site so we could share our love for Thunderbirds. Many friendships and useful information has started out right here, helping our members enjoy their camaraderie through the years. As Ray says, we have many vendors who perform specialty services and offer good restoration parts for Thunderbirds.

Gary Tayman's is a fourth generation Electrician, with his own shop in Sarasota, Florida and he also owns a Thunderbird:
I encourage everyone to go to his site, (www.taymanelectrical.com), look through and read about his services then call him. Gary is easy to speak with and he knows Ford and many other cars and trucks. He did two radios for me and I could not be happier. By looking at either of my radios you would never know they are stereo, have L->R and F->B fade, tone control, AM/FM, USB, and they are 100% solid state. This is fantastic, to have a quality radio that actually sounds crisp and clear; nothing like when it was stock. All of these features, using the stock knobs and controls. If you listen to the radio and then plug in an MP3 player the radio automatically cuts out and the MP3 takes over. The pushbuttons still function properly and so does the dash light. - Dave

01-21-2015, 10:56 AM
Thanks to you both for your help and pointing out the "Quick Links" feature. Never had explored. Also thanks for the strong recommendations! Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks! If anyone else wants to chime in on what they have done or have seen done, feel free.

09-14-2015, 10:15 AM
Yes, I know folks will refer me to Gary Tayman's site, but the cost of conversion is a bit prohibitive at the moment...SO...

I got a Ken Harris 100-watt AM/FM receiver and new dash speaker to plug in. It should be a pretty straightforward install, but here's the rub, since it is digital in nature, the unit requires a two power inputs: one tied to the ignition/acc and the other to a constant power source so the radio can retain its clock and pre-sets!

Obvious the former is available, but finding a constant 12v power source behind the dash is a challenge. So I finally zero'd in on the clock power being a possibility. The quandary is that clock uses a 1Amp fuse. If I splice the radio power in, I suspect it will draw just enough to blow that fuse. (using the constant power to the map light blew that 20A fuse, and then I discovered in the shop manual that that's supposed to be 15A anyway!)

Has anyone done this?

http://s18.postimg.org/vymerkmid/Finding_Radio_Power_off.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/vymerkmid/)

http://s1.postimg.org/rw4wyyl57/finding_Radio_Power_on.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/rw4wyyl57/)

09-15-2015, 12:25 AM
Mine's a '64, so yours might be different, but on the main fuse panel behind the passenger kick panel, one side is constant 12v and the other is on with the accessory switch. So there are several fuses that can handle the load of your radio.

I used a Custom Autosound #630 head unit in place of my factory am radio. Instead of a CD it runs off a thumb drive. I have the USB socket mounted on the passenger side of the dash.

I replaced the 4x10 oval speaker in the dash with two 4" coaxials, front R + L channels. I hid two slim line 5x8 speakers in the rear B pillar behind the head liner.

I had a subwoofer amp from another project that I mounted in the trunk, powered by a 40 amp fuse in a special panel, and that powers a Bazooka subwoofer. The amp is controlled on-off by the power antenna wire on the radio.

The whole thing is about 600 watts. I don't turn it way up but it sounds as good or better than the factory set-up in my '12 Jeep.

09-15-2015, 06:15 PM
I did a bench test, and lo-and-behold, it worked just fine. So here's what I ended up doing. :eek:

I soldered a 16 gauge wire to the hot-yellow terminal of the map light. I attached an in-line MINI Blade Fuse with a 5A fuse and I am using that as my constant voltage. I am using the OEM black and spliced on the original bullet connector to the RED-Hot wire of the wiring harness. It works just fine now. The real test will be in the morning if my battery is still alive! I suspect it will be since the radio should be drawing 1A. Next time I am at O'Reilly, I'll get some 1A Mini blades and put that in just in case. But it should be fine at this point.

Thanks for all the advice gents. Each of you made a contribution to this rookie's project. :D

http://s8.postimg.org/9t4ouv1e9/Radio_Hot_Wire.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/9t4ouv1e9/)

http://s8.postimg.org/yawsir3yp/Radio_Testing_Connections.jpg (http://postimg.org/image/yawsir3yp/)

09-19-2015, 12:54 AM
Ok, so I turned my key the next day and she started right up! So, I think I got that problem solved; It's a 100-watt (25w/channel) with a new 6x9 chassis carrying two smaller speakers. Sounds downright tinny! Just as it should; but now we get a little music!

Good enough for now!

09-19-2015, 01:00 AM
Ok, so I turned my key the next day and she started right up! So, I think I got that problem solved; It's a 100-watt (25w/channel) with a new 6x9 chassis carrying two smaller speakers. Sounds downright tinny! Just as it should; but now we get a little music!

Good enough for now!