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Old 05-19-2005, 02:51 PM   #1
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8-Track or Hack?

O.K...The "vintageness" (I just made that word up) of the working 8-track player in my '72 Ambassador is starting to wear off. Even though I've managed to scrounge up some pretty good tapes to go with it...(Seals & Crofts, Elton John, The Police, The Doobs, etc) it still sounds awful. I bought a little MP3 CD playing boombox thinking I could pacify myself without altering the trailer, but I really see big sound in my future. I'll probably end up installing an automotive head unit with DVD and MP3 capability, a conservative amplifier, some new speakers throughout, and possibly Sirius satellite radio.

My question is this. If I perform these modifications, will I be eternally scorned by the Airstream community that I have grown to know and love? It will be extremely easy (two screws) to remove the 8-track set-up and install what I want to without doing any irreversable harm at all. But, how many of you will look at my unit at various rallys and events and mutter to your spouses as you walk away "$#&% kid ruined that thing...shoulda left the 8-track in there"...or might you say "these kids these days got no respect for history".

Can I install my high tech system without looking like a trendy schmooze (made that one up too)? Do I have the blessing of ye olde fartes to modernize my equipment in the name of crisp clear rock and roll music? CAN I GET A WITNESS?!?!?!?!?

Ben
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Old 05-19-2005, 03:12 PM   #2
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Old 05-19-2005, 03:18 PM   #3
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Yes.
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Old 05-19-2005, 03:21 PM   #4
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BTW, My '67 has a subwoofer & satellite speakers.
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Old 05-19-2005, 03:38 PM   #5
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I have a problem with the term "a conservative amplifier" - go big or go home.

So I guess this is a vote for ROCK & ROLL !

Besides that 8-tracks only sound good when you're really drunk ! P.
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Old 05-19-2005, 03:44 PM   #6
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If your into keeping it totally authentic, then modify it carefully so that you can put it back to orig later. If you bought this to use it, then I'd say just do it. My unit is nowhere near vintage, but some day it will be. I've added a few small things to it because I want to use it and am not concerned with it being 100% as the factory specs on paper for that model year called for...heck, if it were on specs alone, the unit would not be at the specs my model year had as I had them install a a few off the menu items that were not on the formal options list for 2004. Some at the time of construction and one post construction.

If I thought for a second (which I didn't) that it was going to lower my overall value of the coach in say 10 years from now, I'd have done it anyway because I bought it to use, not to treat like a museum piece and frankly I wanted the creature comforts. Don't get me wrong though, it's all been done tastefully, nothing that screams "Disco" or anthing like that, but heck, if you wanted to hang a disco ball from the ceiling, go for it man, doesn't mean you aren't taking care of the unit, you're just making it your home away from home the way you like it....everyone else's opinion is secondary (except mine ).

My vote...damn the torpedos...full speed ahead!
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Old 05-19-2005, 03:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter&Denise
I have a problem with the term "a conservative amplifier"
I want to use the Airstream's original wiring so I don't have to tear anything up. If I go with too high of a wattage, the wires could heat up. Prolly just a 4-channel 50 watts RMS/channel and some direct replacement sized speakers so I don't have to cut the holes bigger. I may hide a sub somewhere where I don't have to do any cutting or drilling. That'll rock m'trailer pretty good without doing any Van Damage. I'll be able to hide my new system behind my tambour doors where the 8-track is now. See Illustration.
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Old 05-19-2005, 03:49 PM   #8
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Is the radio integrated into a panel or is it really that wide? I can't tell from the photo....not that it makes a difference since folks make face panels all the time.
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Old 05-19-2005, 04:24 PM   #9
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Exclamation My two cents

Ironheadude,



This seems to be an opinion based poll, so I will post mine. Though I have not found my Airstream project yet, yes I am looking . I have played a lot with cars. One project is a 1978 Monte Carlo and the modifications are extensive, but tasteful. I do occasionally meet folks that brag – my car is ALL stock, however most folks respect well thought out upgrades. You see carburetors are ok, but fuel injection rocks . 8 tracks and 4 stock speakers are alright, but Alpine, 4 JBL’s and a 15” CV sub rocks . A 305 is cool, but 454 cubic inches is the bomb . The relation to your trailer is this – I drive my car a lot, it is not a show car. Most folks respect the fact that I can drive it to the drag strip, rip off a 12 second pass (Corvette speeds) and then drive it home. I think if you are customizing your trailer for your application the overwhelming majority of folks will respect you for logging some serious miles and using it a lot, this will out way the few that resent the modernizations that you have employed.



This is just my opinion – no flames please!



Respectfully,

Henry
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Old 05-19-2005, 04:30 PM   #10
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I had no Idea... I'm a dead man!

If you are worried about getting scorned for changing out the 8-track
We're going to get jumped for updating our 63' flying cloud! Actually it was gutted when we got it, so have mercy when you see us out there...we brought her back from the dead.

If you are curious check out our blog we are having the cloud rebuilt from the ground up by the Iowa Boys in Los Angeles. They have been working on it for about six weeks and I think we are about 2 weeks from completion! -B&L
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Old 05-19-2005, 04:37 PM   #11
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All kidding aside, my '67 had no 8-track player, or anything else audio related from the factory or dealer.

Does anyone know when Airstream started incorporating 8-track players?

Tom
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Old 05-19-2005, 05:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
Is the radio integrated into a panel or is it really that wide? I can't tell from the photo....not that it makes a difference since folks make face panels all the time.
It's integrated into a panel. There's an old two-knob AM/FM stereo on the right and the 8-Track on the left. There's also a knob right in the middle to switch between the two. They've even got seperate volume controls. The 2-Knob has a knob for volume, and the 8-track has 2 slider bars to individually control the left and right. There's another slider beside the volumes for the 8-track that has no apparent function. It might be a tone control, but I can't really tell by listening to it because it sounds fuzzy either way. I also noticed that the 8-track only functions through the front two speakers, whereas the stereo uses all four.

Like I say, it'll be easy to simply remove that existing panel, build a new panel the same size with all my new upgrades, put them in the same place, then switch them back if I decide to sell it for some reason.

Oh yeah...I plan to use the heck out of this thing. I'm not trying to turn a proffit on it, but I do have respect for it's vintage appearance and I don't want to make any changes unless they are VERY subtle.

Ben
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Old 05-19-2005, 06:02 PM   #13
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Talking

Hey Ironheadude,

Not that it really matters , but, I'm in agreement with Axleman. It's your rig , make it yours.

I can remember alot of street rods that changed owners and untill the new guy put his stamp on it [ changed something], it was allways refered to as the previous owners car.

I say GO FOR IT!

Loren
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