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How To: Install 1981-87 Chevy/GMC RetroSound Radio

Project Overview

In this video Kevin Tetz will show you how to install a RetroSound Model 2 system in a 1981-87 Chevy/GMC truck.

Video Transcript »

Project Difficulty

(1 star being easiest)

Estimated Parts Cost


* pricing subject to change

Estimated Project Time

1-2 Hours (Radio Only)

Weekend (Complete System)

Required Tools:

  • Basic Hand Tools
  • Soldering Equipment

LMC Truck: Chevy/GMC RetroSound Radio Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Kevin Tetz working with LMC Truck to bring you technical information and some how-to videos designed to help you with your truck restoration project. In this video we're going to address the shady audio system in any vintage vehicle particularly in this model pickup truck and show you how to upgrade to a much more modern system. This is the system that our truck came with and it was fully loaded a long time ago with 8 track, AM/FM, separate bass and treble controls and even speakers in the cab corners.

The problem is nobody's got eight tracks anymore and AM/FM well, it's just a limited selection especially compared to modern vehicles, so we're going to walk you through a system that upgrades any classic truck particularly '73 to '87 cabs like we've got, to a system that is absolutely comparable to every late model vehicle out on the road today.

The system we decided to go with is the RetroSound Model Two. Now RetroSound has other systems available but the Model Two had the features that we wanted including Bluetooth connectivity a four channel 25 watt amp and two USB inputs for alternate music sources. Now this thing will fit just about any vehicle or any unit that you wanted to put it in. The reason being is because of its modular capabilities. These 90 degree brackets get attached to the side and your controls get plugged into the unit itself and you can literally fit it to any radio opening without cutting your dash up. It comes with retro style knobs and even screen protectors, the bow tie protectors shown here are sold separately in the catalog. We also reach for the Quadraphonic 4power amp which feeds 45 watts continuous power for each of the four channels, features a built in crossover and its plug and play compatible with the other RetroSound systems.

Another cool option we are going to use is this USB extension cable which gives different mounting options and accessibility to a USB port for a couple of different accessories including using a USB stick for an MP3 player. Now we really wanted this thing to thump so we opted for the 8" powered subwoofer which has 200 Watts max power. It's got tons of connectivity options its own crossover and it's made out of cast aluminum for great heat dissipation and it's low profile enough to fit under the seat of almost every truck. Our main speakers are these full-range speaker boxes with an 8" woofer, a ported box and a soft dome tweeter. It will handle a 175 watts of power continuously. These fit behind the seat of almost any truck and fit perfectly behind the seat of ours. Now as far as a difficulty scale goes I’m going to give this a solid 3 1/2 because it's busy work.

You're going to be standing on your head unhooking stuff, you got to disassemble a lot of the inside of the truck to really truly mount things in a professional manner and you may or may not have to solder wires depending on your configuration. Tools, basic hand tools will get you there and a little bit of soldering equipment if you decide to go that route. Speaking of tools we got a little bit of tear down to do before we can put any of this stuff in.

Now step 1 with any project that involves electronics or electrical work is disconnecting the negative battery terminal. I’m going to be gentle with this because it's kind of under a bit of pressure. I don't want to break it. There we go. This HVAC duct is going to come out of the way, so we can get access to the radio & the wiring. Now the seat, not that complicated, it's only 4 bolts to take it out. Probably best to have a buddy with you but it's going to come out and get completely out of the way. These two big full range speakers go behind the seat, and since this truck was wired for speakers behind the seat from the factory we can utilize our existing wiring.

LMC Truck does offer cab corner speakers as well, but we wanted to use the full range speakers instead. The spot right here with the floor pan gets lower is the perfect place for the subwoofer nice and tucked in under the seat. This is the ground to our power amp, here's the amp itself and this can be mounted anywhere you want as long as it's out of the way of moving things like your right foot on the gas pedal and as long as it has some room for heat to dissipate so it doesn't get too hot. Ours is going right there, nice and out of sight. Lots of room around it. This is the adapter that goes to the vehicle chassis harness. They just get plugged in and it connects us to the truck. These are the feeds to the sub from the back of the head unit. We've got these routed behind the kick panel and down under the carpet and coming up right at the sub. Now here's the multi pin connectors for the power amp. This is the plug for the external Bluetooth mic. There are two USB inputs in the Model Two. We're going to use this extension cable here and put it in an easy-to-reach spot on the lower dash. Now safely under the carpet is our power supply wire to the subwoofer. It just plugs in here at the sub and is routed under the carpet and through the firewall right to the battery direct to the hot terminal since it needs constant power even when the key is off. It's real simple to hook this stuff up, it’s all multi-pin plugs. This is for a high level input connection that we're not using. This here's for power antenna which we don't have, and we use the RCA cable from the radio head unit. Our subs hooked up.

Now one of the cool things about this system is that it's Bluetooth compatible so the microphone for hands-free phone is going to go right up here on the Sun Visor we're just going to tuck the wire behind the a-pillar. Now speaking of the a-pillar these are from LMC Truck and they have a speaker built in right at the top, it's got a capacitor that filters out all the low frequency so it gives a nice crisp sound and really completes the sound picture. Put a USB port right here where it's out of the way of the pedals. We can reach it. Perfect that's found it's a happy home, there. There it is.

Here are your two constant hot wires one from the power amp and one from the head unit. We've got them taped together, and make your connections to the hot side of the battery with the ground disconnected. This way you don't run the risk of a power spike to your components or a short circuit. It's just safer. We don't want the radio we want to listen to our own music off of the USB stick. It’s real simple, there we go.

Well we hope this video shows you that even with a classic truck you've got great options for an incredible sounding audio system and you don't have to look any further than RetroSound at LMC Truck. Make sure you check out the catalogs at for other options that are going to make your truck restoration project even better. For now I'm Kevin Tetz and thanks for watching.