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1st install...the right way

ankgrays

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Joined
Mar 8, 2016
Messages
12
Location
Ankeny, Iowa
02 Chevy 2500 hd extended cab 4x4. Icom ID800. 55/50 watt dual band.

Ok. I have 25 ft. Of 8 ga. Stranded copper for the run. The good stuff. Now I’m thinking I might have gone too big with this. Radio has what seems to be 12 gauge wire. How do I splice the two together? Power pole use? Mount under back seat? Behind seat? Home brew a console? Where to come through fire wall? Connect both wires to battery? One to battery, one to body ground? I see amazon has 8 gauge inline fuses. How big should fuses be?

Ok that’s a start for questions. Already a hole in roof so that’s where antenna is going. Mainly concerned about radio installed correctly.

Ready....GO!!!
 

mmckenna

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You didn't go too big. You want a larger conductor for a longer run, it reduces voltage drop (less resistance). You'll also have capacity if you ever decide to add an additional radio (ham, CB, scanner, etc).

Fuse the 8 Gauge at the battery. I'd recommend something like a 30 or 40 amp fuse or circuit breaker. That'll give you capacity for more than one radio. If you are 110% sure you'll never add another radio or accessory to that circuit, then a 20 amp fuse or circuit breaker would be fine.

Run the #8 back to where your radio is going to be. Install one of these:
That'll give you 4 fuse positions for future radios/accessories.

Also, install one of these:
Use a short piece of #8 to attach that to the vehicle body ground. Use that for your negative leads and grounding radio chassis.

You'll need suitable crimp lug rings for the #8. You should be able to get those at any reputable hardware store or auto parts store. Or purchase some from Amazon. Make sure you have a good set of crimpers that will handle the #8 as well as the terminals for your radio (12 gauge).
 

mmckenna

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If it's a remote RF deck, then install this behind the rear seat. Be cautious about putting it on the floor since that is where a lot of crap/moisture ends up and won't be healthy for the radio.

Skip the power poles. Over priced and won't do anything for you.

Check around the fire wall. You should find some feed throughs where bundles of wires go through. Look for a nipple on those that can be cut off and will allow you to pass the larger wire through. If not, you need to get creative with a fish tape. There's lot of descriptions on this site on how to do it. Use split loom tubing over your wiring to protect it. Make sure it's something that is rated to be in the engine compartment. This not only protects the wiring, but makes it look a whole lot more professional.

Positive should be connected directly at the battery terminal with a fuse as close as you can get to that. You want to protect the entire cable run.

Negative, use the body as the return. Modern vehicles are set up this way and many will tell you specifically NOT to connect direct to the negative terminal. Not sure if you year truck has that, but it's the right way to do it no matter what.

Ground the radio chassis. Yes, I know the negative lead will ground it, but ground the radio chassis anyway. It can prevent RFI and other issues. Super easy to do while installing. A pain to do later if you don't and require it.

Fuse or circuit breaker will work. I use these, you can get lower ratings for you need:
Benefit to a breaker, is that it makes it really easy to disconnect the radio if you are not going to be using it for a while, letting someone else use the truck who shouldn't be monkeying with the radio, or taking it into the shop. Yes, you can pull the fuse, but the breaker is easier.

Most of your time should go into proper wire routing. You need to take your time and think about the path. You need to keep it away from anything hot and/or moving. You can follow existing wire routes. Use the split loom tubing to protect it and hide the cable. Looks way better in the long run. If you use ty-wraps, use the black ones, they'll do better in a hot engine compartment.

I really strongly recommend sealing all the connections/crimps with marine grade heat shrink tubing. It's standard heat shrink tubing with a hot melt adhesive on the inside. When heated, the tubing shrinks and the adhesive melts and flows over the connection. It'll seal out moisture. You can get trays of marine grade heat shrink at Harbor Freight pretty cheap, and it's good stuff.

No sheet metal screws for securing the radio. Through bolt everything with machine screw, nylock nuts and large fender washers to distribute the weight of the radio. Keeps it from bouncing around if off road, or on some of the finer interstate slow lanes.

Take a look at Magnetic Mics. Yeah, they are expensive, but really nice for mobile use. Much easier to hang up the mic without taking your eyes off the road:
We use these in all our police cars. I have them in my work truck and both personal vehicles.

Use an external speaker with the radio. The larger speaker really helps with audio intelligibility. I use the large Motorola speakers, you can get used ones really cheap. They are loud and clear enough that I can easily understand the radio traffic while running down the highway at 65mph in a Diesel pickup with all the windows down. The little speakers built into the radios kind of suck. You'll be impressed with the audio, makes listening so much easier.

And good on you for doing a proper NMO install. Too many people weenie out and go with some compromise mount. Do it right the first time, always pays off.
 

ankgrays

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Mar 8, 2016
Messages
12
Location
Ankeny, Iowa
Ok, so yes it is a remote head unit. If I mount it behind the rear seat, there is what I assume to be sound deadening felt like insulation. For heat purposes, I will probably want to remove this where the radio will be mounted? Then how is the radio mounted on the cab wall? Self tapping screws? Rivets? Not enough room to use bolt and nut as too close to truck bed.
 

ankgrays

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2016
Messages
12
Location
Ankeny, Iowa
Ok, so yes it is a remote head unit. If I mount it behind the rear seat, there is what I assume to be sound deadening felt like insulation. For heat purposes, I will probably want to remove this where the radio will be mounted? Then how is the radio mounted on the cab wall? Self tapping screws? Rivets? Not enough room to use bolt and nut as too close to truck bed... I think.

Oops..double tap.
 

mmckenna

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You'll have to get creative.
You don't want to penetrate the cab wall. That'll lead to rust/corrosion issues. If the rear seat backs fold down, do that and start looking at what you have to work with. On a couple of trucks, I've run 5/8" Unistrut across between two seat bolts. That gives a good starting place. Then fabricate a bracket to hold the radio upright.

If there just isn't enough room to do that, then on the floor under the rear seat may be your only option.

Here's a few install photos from a few trucks I've done. Maybe some of them will give you an idea:

This is from behind the rear seat of a crew cab F-350:


Motorola CDM-1550, Lind Timer and fused distribution block




This is from behind the seat of a regular cab F-350:





This is under the rear seat of a current model Chevy Colorado Crew Cab:
 

enine

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Joined
Jan 24, 2006
Messages
221
The gmt800's didn't have a nipple on the rubber boot, they started adding those in later years. There are two places in the firewall that have a nipple to line up a drill bit. The easiest one to find is just behind the drivers size valve cover. You should see a circle cut out of the insulation already. The rockers will rust out long before the firewall :)
 

mmckenna

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Good to know. Been a while since I touched one of those era trucks. Usually I only see them when they are new off the lot.

Following the path where the clutch linkage/cable would have gone is a good plan. Just be sure to use a grommet and seal it well.

I'm glad that the newer trucks include the pass through. Makes installs a lot easier. Much easier installing on these that the older ones. And -W-A-Y- easier than some of the sedans or foreign vehicles. Hard to beat a good American truck for a radio install.
 

ankgrays

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2016
Messages
12
Location
Ankeny, Iowa
Ok...sorry so long with replies.

What do I use for “fused at the battery” with my 8 gauge. If I used the circuit breaker, I would need 2 then, correct?

I like the way that 350 is set up.
 

mmckenna

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What do I use for “fused at the battery” with my 8 gauge. If I used the circuit breaker, I would need 2 then, correct?
You only need the fuse/breaker on the positive side. So, only one.
These are good ones, I've used many for mobile installs. Will do just fine mounted in the engine compartment:

The terminals on that circuit breaker will accept a 1/4" ring lug:
Put marine grade heat shrink over them after crimping:

If you want to use a fuse instead, these are really good, I've used these on mobile installs also:

Those use a Maxi-fuse, not the standard ATO fuses:
 

W5GX

Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
Messages
87
You'll have to get creative.
You don't want to penetrate the cab wall. That'll lead to rust/corrosion issues. If the rear seat backs fold down, do that and start looking at what you have to work with. On a couple of trucks, I've run 5/8" Unistrut across between two seat bolts. That gives a good starting place. Then fabricate a bracket to hold the radio upright.

If there just isn't enough room to do that, then on the floor under the rear seat may be your only option.

Here's a few install photos from a few trucks I've done. Maybe some of them will give you an idea:

This is from behind the rear seat of a crew cab F-350:


Motorola CDM-1550, Lind Timer and fused distribution block




This is from behind the seat of a regular cab F-350:





This is under the rear seat of a current model Chevy Colorado Crew Cab:
Unistrut...

That's genius!
 
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