CRUZ CLASSIC RADIO

Answers to frequently-asked questions:

Repair versus restoration:

There is no such thing as ‘repair’ on radios from the 1960’s and earlier. Those are antique radios and every one of those radios needs proper restoration work. It is not enough to just do a quick-fix on some small part of your ancient radio - other failures will soon occur. So we do not attempt to repair these radios. Instead the radio needs to be restored: dismantled and all the mechanical parts made to be reliable again. Rubber will have hardened or disappeared, some parts will be worn out or even missing or broken off, switches not making contact, volume and tone controls defective and so on.

Your radio is part of the car's interior - an important piece of the car's dashboard - and if the ORIGINAL radio is restored to full-function then you car's value is greatly inceased.

ADVANCED RESTORATION ITEMS: Restoring chrome on your radio: Yes, in some cases, we can restore some of the dilapidated chrome surfaces of your radio's metal dial and knobs. We use nickel-cobalt, which looks almost exactly like chrome and is hard-wearing too.

We can also restore the missing or damaged dial numbering on some radios. We make up a custom dial using graphic tools and then we can custom print new inked lettering, numbering.

Broken dial glass - we can sometimes cut and install a new piece of glass to replace your broken one.

These advanced restoration items cost more of course but we wanted to let you know that we can often provide them as options for your radio.

What if I want you to completely gut my radio and install the Aurora FMR radio inside it, but with the original controls working?
Wait - are you considering this because you want modern features like bluetooth? You can have those with your original radio without gutting it out. Keep reading further down this page.

However, even if you are intending to go the gutting and converting route then the front end of your old radio still needs a complete mechnical restoration in order to make it reliable again, so that now and for many more years it can operate the new, 21st century radio hidden inside the case. Also once gutted, the radio can never revert to being original. If you are going for a full conversion then please skip down to the Full Conversion section, just below the green horizontal bar.

Tube-type car radios:
There are only a handful of shops across the country that can properly restore tube radios. Most shops want to gut the radio and install a modern radio inside. My shop is one of the very few that actually specializes in complete restoration of tube car radios. Doing this will retain its and your car’s full antique value.

At my radio shop you can have your 1930’s to 1950’s  tube AM radio made fully-functioning , fully reliable and made to look and sound terrific again.  After dismantling and rebuilding the front end mechanicals, I always replace the old vibrator and rectifier with solid-state ones, hidden inside the old metal cans . Those two things alone will make the radio vastly more reliable than it was when it was new. I then go through the entire radio and replace all the old wax and paper capacitors, some of the resistors, the occasional vacuum tube. Then I perform a full re-alignment will make the original tube radio sound fabulous again. This takes a few days on the bench but the result is a wonderful tube radio, made much more reliable thsan it when it was new and tube radios sound terrific, which is why so many guitarists prefer them.

What if I also want  FM, auxiliary input, bluetooth?
-Can that be done with an ancient radio like mine without gutting and converting it?

No problem! Once the original radio is all working again I can then add in the tiny, postage-stamp-sized Aurora FMC board, which will add Digital mono FM and an Aux Input  jack, so now you can connect an MP3 player, cellphone, bluetooth adapter etc etc. to your existing tube radio, which means you can play anything you like on your radio, on demand. It also means you can drive your valuable car, while listening to the music and radio from that car’s era. AND…very importantly – the car is worth thousands more if its original radio is full working. Originality is what wins car shows.

AM radio is pretty  banal these days – mostly talk shows. FM is much higher resolution and thus there’s a lot more music and the content is of a higher quality from an audio-quality standpoint. Having a hidden Auxiliary audio input port adds enormously to your driving enjoyment and you get, on-demand, your choice of music, radio plays etc. - even the very ones from your car's era - and without the annoying and constant ads and DJs blabbing at you.

Transistor- type mono car radios:
Exactly the same as for tube radios above but usually a little less expensive to restore.
If it’s already an AM/FM mono radio it will still be able to have an Aux input jack added, for bluetooth adapters, MP3 players, phones etc.

How your restored mono AM or AMFM radio will work when you get it back:
You will have the original radio fully working in AM, then if you switch off and quickly back on it becomes  an FM radio, full of music and other stations. Cycle the power off and on again and your radio is back to AM.

Tune to the left or bottom end of the dial and it plays whatever you have connected to the Aux Input jack: bluetooth, phone etc.

FABULOUS NEW OPTIONAL FEATURE!: We can also add a tiny bluetooth audio player into the radio. Just search for BT Audio on your phone's bluetooth settings and you'll be connected to your all-original radio, tune to the left end of the dial, the radio will play your phone's audio.

Stereo car radios (only up to 1972):
More expensive to restore - about the same restoration cost as a tube radio.
However, it will still be able to have an Aux input jack added, for bluetooth adapters, MP3 players, phones etc. NOTE: not all stereo radios are worth restoring, some need to be fully converted instead.

FABULOUS NEW OPTIONAL FEATURE!: We can also add a tiny bluetooth audio player into the radio. Just search for BT Audio on your phone's bluetooth settings and you'll be connected to your all-original radio, tune to the left end of the dial, the radio will play your phone's audio.

Can we restore every transistor car radio?
No, because unfortunately some radios were deliberately manufactured with custom electronic parts to prevent them from being repaired. For example, Delco radios of the late 60's to 70's (some Fomoco radios too) are fully restorable and repairable unless one of their custom electronic modules has failed. Those modules have become very rare and hard to find in good condition.
If that is the problem then we have to change tactics and fully convert your radio to the Aurora FMR, operated using your existing radio's front panel controls.
It will look original but will be stereo.

What about 6 volt and positive ground or negative ground?
If yours is a tube radio, operating on 6 volts – no problem - we can convert it to run on negative ground and can also add a small solid-state voltage converter into the radio’s power wire, which allows your  6 volt radio to run perfectly on 12 volts. So just because you’ve switched your car to 12 volts doesn't mean you can’t have your original 6 volt radio working perfectly - and with FM, bluetooth etc too.
What is a ‘bluetooth adapter’ anyway?
A bluetooth adapter is a little device that you can buy on Amazon and elsewhere, that will connect to your radio’s new Aux Input jack and it lets you play music, youtube sound, MP3 etc through your restored car radio wirelessly. You can get a really good one of these for less than $30.
What about the cost to restore my radio?
The cost to restore your radio is as very variable because every radio requires a different amount of time and effort and parts to restore it, so the cost depends entirely on what needs to be done to restore your specific radio. So pricing is in a range. Just click here and look at Example 1.
How to I get my radio restoration job started?
Once you‘re ready to go ahead then just fill in the Workorder click here  
That form allows you to specify what options you want and gives you the shipping instructions too.
What about turn-around time?
Generally we try to get radios returned within 6-8 weeks but sometimes we will experience a back-log, which can add more time. We do have a couple of speed-up options for you, if your job needs to be expedited. You'll find those at the bottom of the Workorder form.
 

What about FULL CONVERSION to the Aurora FMR stereo radio?
This entails stripping-out the original electronics of your radio and restoration of the front-end (the tuner mechanism, presets etc) then installing the Aurora FMR stereo radio board.

First a couple of important notes:

Note 1: only 12 volt, negative ground cars can have a full conversion to the FMR radio.
( the full conversion means where your radio gets gutted and the internal electronics replaced with an Aurora FMR AM/FM stereo )
The FMR radio only works on 12 volts, negative ground, so if your car is staying 6 volt or positive ground then you cannot convert to the FMR radio, instead your radio can be restored, yet still have the modern features, like bluetooth. Please go back up to the top of this page for restoration options.

Note 2:  Most 1930’s and some early 1940’s tube radios have a front-end tuner that is incompatible with the FMR radio.
The really old tube-type radios used a different type of tuner  - a variable air capacitor and those cannot be made compatible with the FMR radio. No problem though – you go for a full restoration instead – and you can still have the all modern features, like FM, bluetooth etc. but your radio will remain all-original, mono, and needing no wiring changes to your car. Just go back  up to the top of this page and read the options.

What about the cost to fully convert my radio to the Aurora FMR?
It costs a variable amount to prep the radio for installation of the FMR. It typically costs $300 to get your radio ready so that the FMR can then be installed, but some radios - especially tube radios - require more repair and restoration to get them ready for the new electronics, which adds extra bench time and cost.
How to I get my radio conversion job started?
Once you‘re ready to go ahead then just fill in the Workorder click here  
That form allows you to specify what options you want and gives you the shipping instructions too.
 
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