2003 S-10 Radio Changeout

Forget this...show me the pictures!

Before you get too deeply involved in reading this page, there are a few things to know. First of all, your dealer may tell you all kinds of scary sounding things about changing your radio. Secondly, dealerships usually won't touch the installed radio. Third, you CAN install your own radio, it will look good and will perform even better than the factory unit.

You CAN keep your factory speakers and you don't have to hack up your factory radio wiring to install a new radio. Adapter kits are available.

Doing the actual swap is easy, but it is beyond the scope of this page. I'd highly recommend buying the installation kit from Crutchfield, even if you buy your radio elsewhere. They will provide you everything you need, and you can pick it up from a spot on the web after you've spoken to their people. Cost isn't too much different for the adapter hardware than what you'd pay at another store (like Best Buy or Circuit City) and they provide excellent instructions free of charge. You will also get free help installing the stuff if you need it. I say this not because I am in any way affiliated with Crutchfield (I'm not, by the way...) but just because I am a very happy customer and would buy from them again!

On to the show...

Way back in November of 2002 I got to looking for a newer vehicle. I loved my 1984 GMC Sierra, but it was getting to be seriously rusted out and a lot of its equipment no longer functions. That truck has been set aside for an eventual complete restoration, as it is just too good to throw away. My first thought was to buy used, save myself something in depreciation. In any case, new or used, I would have had to borrow money to buy a vehicle. About that time GM started offering 0% for 60 months and no payments until January. That was a tempting offer and I considered taking them up on it.

I had to find a vehicle I liked, and that was done in short order. In the end, I found and purchased a truck from Baum Chevrolet Buick Company. The truck was absolutely perfect except for the fact that it only had the standard (for LS trucks like mine) CD player and AM/FM radio installed. This simply would not do for me...I don't like the idea of having my pricey CDs in a vehicle and I already have a pile of tapes. I also didn't care for the tonal balance of the radio--it screamed "BASS!". To Baum's credit, and due to their good service, they tried hard to install a new radio. It didn't work, ordering a stock unit with tape player as an upgrade was prohibitively expensive and in the end I was left to my own devices to get what I wanted. So, I did exactly that. This page has photos and some explanation.

OEM CD Player Installed


Here's the much disliked OEM radio--CD only, and way too much emphasis on bass. It was also hot-running. Not to mention that my CD collection is much less durable and far more expensive than my tape collection! Then there's that dopey Theftlock LED, just inviting someone to see what I've got in the truck that's worth stealing... ;-)

The above picture was taken around November 20th, 2002.

Vastly improved radio!

...and here's my new Pioneer radio installed and ready to play. Much better sound and tuner, and it has a cassette player, just like I wanted!

Aplogies for the overall blurriness of the picture, but my macro lens wasn't being agreeable at the time...

You will notice that I had to trim the radio surround down to fit within the dash. When in the truck, you probably won't notice this little manuever. It doesn't matter to me and most people have to be told about it before they ever notice. As an added bonus, I can now play ANY source that will plug into my cassette shell adapter.

The original radio is sitting in my closet as a means of punishment. I only ever used it once or twice before pulling it out. It will probably stay there until I clean things out and throw it away...which, knowing how I prioritize cleaning anything up, is probably never going to happen.

Much better.

Other pictures:

Looking at the radio from afar...

Radio far view from passenger side -- Gotta love those rubber bands!

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