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1989 Chevy S10 - Sound System Install - Sound Foundation

Installing An Expandable, Low-Buck Audio System

Calin Head
May 1, 2008
Photographers: Calin Head
Photo 2/29   |   audio System Install audio System
Have you noticed how strong a connection trucks and music have? They go together much like rims and tires-you can drive on a rim, but it's much better if it has a tire. You can have slick paint and shiny wheels, but adding an audio system to your truck takes it to another level. Whether that level is just covering up road noise or shaking the pavement, you need a solid foundation. This story covers just that: building a nice solid system that can play just about anything and also expand when money permits.
Over the past few months, I have been building an '89 S-10 with one overriding theme: low budget. In keeping with the "spend-my-moneywisely" theme, I picked up Pioneer's DEH-2900MP head unit. This unit not only plays normal CDs, it will also play discs with MP3 and WMV files. If that isn't enough, it also features an auxiliary input on the face allowing me to hook up an external music player like an iPod. The last little selling point for me was pre-outs, i.e. RCA jacks. This unit has two: one for normal speakers and one specifically tuned for subwoofers. These outs will make hooking up an amp easier. Not bad for a $120 product.
For the speakers, I stayed with Pioneer and got a set of 100W 4x6s (TS-G4641R) to fit in the dash and a set of 120W 4x10s (TSA-4103) for the rear pillars. Both of these speakers are made to fit in the oddly sized factory mounting locations with no modifications, so the install will be a snap. The head unit has a power rating of 50Wx4 max, so the speakers will sound great but not be overpowered. Thanks to the pre-outs, I can add an amp and really drive them, but again that will come later when I have more money.
There are a few other things I picked up to either aid in the installation, rebuild my busted dash, or quiet down the truck. I got an installation kit from Scosche to hang the single-DIN head unit, along with some speaker harnesses to convert the factory speaker plugs to aftermarket-style connections. I also got some Accumat to disperse around the cab to cut down road noise and make my new sound system that much better. From years of use and abuse, a few components that make up the dash had broken. I picked up a radio bezel, glovebox surround, and an ashtray assembly from LMC Truck. Like everything else I've ordered from LMC, the parts fit perfectly.
All installation of the aforementioned equipment can be installed in an afternoon with normal tools, and to me it was worth the $508.75 I spent.
Here are all the components I picked up to improve the sounds in my S-10. All of this set me back $311.95 and is just what I need and nothing more. The Pioneer head unit will play burned CDs and has an input for an external device like an iPod. The dash kit and harnesses from Scosche will make the install much easier. If you are on a tighter budget, you can just cut off the factory plug and install the proper terminals instead of buying the speaker harnesses.
Photo 22/29   |   audio System Install removing Piece
Here are the parts I ordered from LMC to refurbish my dash. I really needed the bezel and the glovebox frame. The face of my ashtray was missing a corner-it still worked, but it looked like ass-so I got one of those as well. All of these cost me $116.85 and came painted with the right gray color.

The radio bezel was pretty busted up, but the biggest problem was that one of the mounting points was completely snapped and stayed on the dash when I removed the piece. The glovebox hinge broke at some point and was MacGyver'd back together with a small piece of aluminum.
Photo 26/29   |   audio System Install roof
To make all of my new audio components work that much better, I decided to drop $79.95 for a box of Scosche's Accumat. This 0.060-inch-thick, foil-backed, sound-deadening material damps vibrations and absorbs noises. This is one of those products that I have found instrumental in building a nice truck. Even a few pieces dispersed around the cab will quiet road noise and get rid of that tinniness in the sheetmetal.

Quickie Install
The Final Word
With all of the electronics in place, I can now listen to CDs chockfull of MP3s, or I can just plug in the iPod for another 200-plus songs. The Pioneer factory-size replacement speakers sound much, much better than the stock units. They produce plenty of high and midrange frequencies, but they are a little light when it comes to the bass notes. That's why I picked a head unit with pre-outs that will make expanding the system to include some subwoofers a heck of a lot easier.


LMC Truck
Lenexa, KS 66219
Pioneer Electronics
Long Beach, CA 90810
Scosche Industries
Oxnard, CA 93033


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