From Mark: Finally a working stereo

posted in: About us | 2

So the new stereo we installed, which was the second of the trip for those keeping score, had been popping the speakers from the get go.  We even bought new speakers to replace the 20 year old Ford factory installs.  That didn’t work.  So after over 6000 miles of frustration, I finally asked for help.

Michelle and I went to a Best Buy in Austin to look at yet another set of speakers.  The Sony stereo we bought pushes up to 52 watts per channel and the new Pioneer speakers were rated at 250 watts max, 40 watts nominal.  So maybe we needed something with a higher nominal rating.  While we were looking at a set of 60 watts nominal Kenwood, a Best Buy employee, Leo, asked if we needed help.  So we told him what was going on.  It turned out that Leo was a stereo install guy for Best Buy and they had a few cancellations that day.  So Leo had me bring the Blue Van out back and we went to work.

To make a long story short, Leo recommended rewiring the speaker system.  The Blue Van was factory wired with a common ground to the speakers, not your usual left/right, positive/negative set up.  Everything we tried was failing, so installing new wiring would set it up plain, simple and straightforward.  Leo gave me a bunch of speaker wire he had laying around as well as some quality electrical crimp connectors.

Running the wiring was quite a chore.  All the speakers are in doors, so the wiring had to go into the flexible conduit that carries wiring from the body to the doors.  Accessing these holes was fairly difficult.  Many body panels came off, not an easy task when The Blue Van is full of seats, spare tires, parts, a generator and custom shelving. Max was a huge help with this job.  It’s always nice getting help from someone who is interested in what is going on.  Max is extremely interested in all aspects of working on the car or camper and that makes him a great asset to have.

When everything was wired up, the new stereo worked incredibly!  Sound quality improved tremendously and the volume can crank!  I could tell by the smiles of the kids walking the dogs outside in the Walmart parking lot that “Call Me, Maybe” could be heard loud and clear with all the doors and windows shut from easily 50 feet away.  I couldn’t turn the volume up all the way, it was so loud.  I got it to 44 out of 50.  What an improvement.  Before we could only get it to 30 or 32 before it started popping.

So, thanks to Max for all his help.  Most importantly, a giant thank you goes out to Leo at Best Buy.  I would have ended up spending more money for speakers we didn’t need and ended up even more frustrated without his help.  Leo turns 19 in a couple of days and he and his wife, who met in 8th grade, are happily raising their 3 year old son.  He was quite impressed with out epic adventure here and said he hoped to do something like this someday.  So if your read this, Leo, I hope you get the chance.  Just think big, plan and research.  Save money and make it happen.  And thank you very, very much.  You have know idea how much I appreciate it.  To his boss, this guy deserves a raise!!!!!!

Finally rockin down the highway, Mark (or “Don Marco”, as they are calling me in Central America)

2 Responses

  1. Kay DeCorso

    Wow Mark, Good thing Dad and I taught you everything about wiring, etc.
    You are amazing with all the talent you have and so happy Max is learning from you as well. Can;t imagine making a long trip like yours without hearing music, etc. along the way. Luv You. Mom

  2. Ted DeCorso

    Hey Mark, I don’t know how you manage all this. Way to go Max! Another terrific tale!

    Love you guys,


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