91 Burban Radio Restoration - Static Gone!

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creich68

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Clay
Truck Year
1991
Truck Model
V1500 Burban
Engine Size
5.7
Hello all!

Awhile back I had posted about speaker ohm, thinking the static/crackling I was getting on the right channels was a speaker issue. See thread here: https://www.gmsquarebody.com/threads/91-suburban-rear-speaker-which-ohm.40512/#post-856426

Well....I was doing a little more research and ran across a post from a few years back on a Fiero forum where someone else was having the same issue with their GM radio. They sent it out to a gentleman in NY (Joe Sciarrino) that repairs/restores 73-90's GM radios. I reached out Joe with some questions about what I was experiencing and if it was worth sending to him. Joe had a good idea what the culprit was and I sent it off the following week. First off, Joe was outstanding and extremely detailed in every email and phone call, describing what work he performs and the "what if's" for repairs. I sent the radio on a Monday and received it back the following week. Wow is how I describe the difference and restoration. It sounds fantastic. For a small additional charge, Joe also added an auxiliary port/cable on the back where I can plug in devices with a headphone jack. I routed the cable behind the radio and storing it in the ash tray cubby when not in use so it's completely hidden. I bought a bluetooth dongle on Amazon and now I can connect my phone via bluetooth for streaming music...and hands free calling - never thought I'd say that lol. I called the family and they could hear me just fine and their voice played over the burban speakers.

To give you an idea of how thorough Joe is on his explanations, below is the email he sent me describing the work he performed on my radio and some before/after pictures:

As far as the restoration went, below are some of the issues that I found wrong with the radio, along with what was done to correct each issue:

  • The main issue with your radio of course was that both the front right and rear right speaker outputs were producing a loud static-like sound with no sound output from the radio or cassette player. This is a very common issue with this model radio which is due to the original leaky defective capacitors on the audio amplifier circuit board. I installed all brand new high quality Nichicon capacitors onto this circuit board, and while this restored the sound output for the front right speaker output, unfortunately it didn't resolve the rear right speaker output. Also the far left 60 equalizer slider function which is responsible for the deep base sound output for all four speaker outputs never worked, even after the new capacitor installation. In this situation, the old defective capacitors actually destroyed the audio amplifier IC chip on this circuit board (there are two chips, one for the left side speakers, and one for the right side speakers). I removed the defective IC from the circuit board, and installed a replacement IC from a donor radio, and the radio now has very clear and strong sound output from all four speaker outputs, and no longer produces any unwanted static sound output. The 60 equalizer function is also now working perfectly as the radio now produces plenty of bass and sounds fantastic.
  • Many of the other original capacitors inside the radio were showing their age by either showing a lower or higher uf value, or having a slight leakage. I have also installed brand new high quality Nichicon capacitors onto the tuner and logic control circuit boards inside the radio as well for the radio to perform as well as possible for many years to come.
  • The SEEK/SCAN controls were not working as good as it should have. I carefully performed a quick alignment on the tuner circuit board by making various adjustments, and the SEEK/SCAN is now working much more accurately on both the AM & FM bands by stopping on only the stronger stations as originally designed. Also after doing the alignment, the radio now is able to receive many stations on the AM & FM bands as well.
  • One of the original faceplate nighttime illumination light bulbs were burnt out, and it appeared that the three remaining original bulbs didn't have much time left. I have installed four brand new light bulbs, and the faceplate now illuminates brightly and evenly in a light greenish color.
  • For good measure I also decided to reflow all of the solder joints with new solder that had a plug connection on the opposite side of the circuit board to prevent intermittent operation.
  • The cassette player actually was still working to some degree, but for good measure I retreated the two original rubber belts, cleaned the two rubber pinch rollers and metal capstans, cleaned and polished the playing head, and lightly lubricated the cassette mechanism. I also installed new Nichicon capacitors onto the logic circuit board on the cassette player itself, and the small capacitors inside the belt driving motor as well. After doing all of this, the cassette player now works perfectly and has a great sound output, as well as the search function also working perfectly.
  • Also as you had requested, the external auxiliary jack was installed into your radio, which will allow you to play from any outside source, directly through the radio and straight to the truck's speaker system. The jack exits the back of the radio and is mounted on a 5' long cable and can be mounted virtually anywhere along the dash, or kept coiled up inside the glove box as well. All of the various sound adjustments on the front of the radio can also be made with the connected device as well.
  • Finally I completely cleaned and detailed the radio inside and out to make it look as good as possible, and this particular example cleaned up to be in near perfect cosmetic condition. The black buttons, knobs, and faceplate were all deep cleaned, and look brand new with hardly any wear marks, and has an excellent dark black color. The digital display lens was also polished to remove any scratches and is very clear.



If your interested in reaching out to Joe Sciarrino for radio repairs/restoration his email is [email protected]. As far as pricing for the work, I would reach out to him via email directly as I'm not sure if the cost varies by extent of work. I feel what he charged me was very reasonable to return the original radio to fully functional and looking great. Also, the price he quoted me upfront was what he stuck to, no matter what needed to be repaired. If you don't have a factory original radio or need a factory analog clock repaired, he can also help source those for you too.

Before picture with a light out:

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After picture with all lights now working - picture is a little fuzzy:

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Ashtray cubby with auxiliary cable stored:

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bucket

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Very cool! The original Delco radios sound really good when they are in nice condition. It's good to know a source for repairs! There used to be a couple Delco radio repair shops in my area, but they have been gone for decades.
 

Craig Nedrow

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Contacted Joe, going to send him my radio 85 C20 and put Bluetooth in it
 

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