Reconditioning Ford AM/FM

Discussion in 'Audio' started by rotorr22, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. rotorr22

    rotorr22 Member Supporting Member

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    Are there any people on the forum who have reconditioned a Ford AM/FM radio? I bought one off of Ebay and would like to have someone check it out for function and output. I know there are several websites that do it professionally, but I would rather use someone on the forum.
     
  2. Jefflee347

    Jefflee347 Member

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    I wish! I just pulled mine out. I'm debating whether or not to keep it or put it on Craigslist
     
  3. rotorr22

    rotorr22 Member Supporting Member

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    OK, its been over a year since I first posted this and I am getting real close to installing my Philco Ford AM/FM. Wish there was someone on the board who reconditions these or can test and do limited repairs.

    Anyone?
     
  4. mav man

    mav man Member

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    Hook it up to a speaker and power and see if it works!
     
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  5. rotorr22

    rotorr22 Member Supporting Member

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    I'm sure it does. The output of many old Ford radio's I've tested seems to diminish over the years. I have read on the web that there are shops that can boost the output well over stock. Unfortunately, it is expensive to do so.
     
  6. mav man

    mav man Member

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    Then you're better off with a new radio with Bluetooth and all the bells and whistles.
     
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  7. Krazy Comet

    Krazy Comet Tom

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    The output of most radios of the '60s/'70s was diminished from new... In other words, compared with today's stuff, output wattage(usually 2 or less) is a fraction of the newer stuff... Of course 40 years after the fact, the units often have issues from either failed audio transistors or coupling capacitors that seem to have approx 30 year lifespan... Also the tuned transformers that process the signal from one stage to next are often intermittent... Other than common components, generally parts for these radios are mostly unobtainium... The, ahem "restorers" that pep them up mostly gut the original electronics and install new universal circuit boards...

    Would be nice if you could find someone from back in the day that used to service these radios and has a "stash" of parts...
     
  8. rotorr22

    rotorr22 Member Supporting Member

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    When I bought the car, it had an expensive JVC stereo with a trunk mounted Amplifier and a bluetooth. I'm pretty savvy with intuitive electronics, yet I could not intuitively tune this radio on the 440 mile trip home from the seller's house. I was stuck with a few channels. The speakers did not look nice or fit the car properly either. I really wanted a period appropriate Ford AM/FM with the slide bar.

    When I stated the output of the Ford radio's deteriorated from new, I was not comparing them to today's stuff. I used to pull a lot of Ford AM/FM's at my buddy's bone yard and no two seemed to sound alike when connected to their test stand. I went through 5 of them to find a good one for my 73 Mach 1 (my 4V Cleveland still sounded better:love:). The main symptom was low volume, a tinny sounding tone (like you were listening to a cheap transistor radio) or the loss of one of the speaker channels. I don't know if it was exposure to the elements in the yard (dampness, cold, dust etc) or lack of routine use, but they didn't seem to stand the test of time very well. You may very well have identified some of the failure modes in your post.

    I really would like to find someone who could at least bring the radio back to its original sound, which my fading memory recalls as being pretty good for a car radio. If they use modern circuit boards or an intermediate amp to do it, that is also OK as long as I can hide it behind the dash. Most shops want $250-$300 to "rework" an old Ford Philco radio and I may have to end up paying the $$$ if I want to use it.
     
  9. Krazy Comet

    Krazy Comet Tom

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    Back when factory AM/FM were still in the junk yards(I'm talking '75-ish) I scrounged up a couple and found another at yard sale... That was luck as I'm speaking of the '68-'71 Fairlane/Torino radios mfgr'd by Bendix that weren't all that common to begin with... Anyway I've serviced one or another probably 6-8 times, seemed lucky to keep one working for more than two or three years... I thought I had one ready to install in my Comet(same face as '70 Mav dealer AM/FM), FM pooped out after approx hour running on bench... Soooo I put it back in box and set it on shelf, haven't touched it since... That was two years ago... I'm going to have to cannibalize another radio to fix it...

    From what I've seen the mid/late '70s Philco radios were somewhat better than these Bendix units I have, but nothing else fits the '68-'71 Torino dash...
     
  10. rotorr22

    rotorr22 Member Supporting Member

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    Not looking good. Here is a response I got from one prominent shop:

    "The 70's Ford AM/FM radios are load ic circuits and mosfet chips and other parts that are no longer available. For that reason I only convert the radios to a new board that has higher wattage and more features. The cost is $399 plus shipping"
     
  11. Craig Selvey

    Craig Selvey Indiana State Rep - MCCI

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    I know I have seen booths at Carlisle of places that restore (not modernize) old radios. It is not cheap either.
     
  12. Krazy Comet

    Krazy Comet Tom

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    Well that answers that, only good thing I see is at least my Bendix radios have no chips, all discrete analog circuitry... Which brings me to, I've hooked that radio up again and yes it still cuts out, sigh... :( No I didn't expect anything different, but does sound good while it's working... Time to drag out the knives and meat cleaver and butcher one of the others for parts...
     
  13. rotorr22

    rotorr22 Member Supporting Member

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    The sad reality is that even an NOS radio could suffer from the same age related issues.
     
  14. Krazy Comet

    Krazy Comet Tom

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    Yep, the capacitors I mentioned mostly fail from age(repl those two years ago), the transistors and other power handling devices from useage...

    I may have mine fixed, found a loose solder connection on a aux board that has the R&L channel preamps... So far it's playing... If it doesn't poop out on the bench I'll pull the one from Cobra and explore the intermittent R channel... On these radios it's a classic sign of failing output transistor...
     

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