|Call 928-533-9666 (Paying Repair Jobs ONLY)
|DO NOT CALL FOR BELTS, PARTS OR FREE REPAIR ADVICE!
|Questions Asked By Most New Customers
When Shopping Around
"Can You Repair My Radio and Keep it All Original ?"
Each shop has its own unique policies and capabilities. I chose to become the "missing master" of the 8 track format which
represents more than 50% of my workload (both car and home units), then the relatively recent addition of FM conversion
and power upgrade options pretty much rounds out a decent livelihood and gives me as much as a one-man shop can handle.
The path I've taken from start to present has involved only a minimum of actual radio troubleshooting - and despite my obvious
background, credentials, experience and equipment, my go-go-go Type A personality prefers to stick with the more direct and
breezy mechanical challenges of the 8 track format, combined with the relatively routine nature of FM conversions and upgrades.
Being one of the younger classic car radio guys on the scene, my supply of junk parts units tends to be newer (and much smaller)
than that of our respected old timers who have been wheeling and dealing in radios for 40+ years. These are the guys to go to for
the expert circuit analysis skills and a large enough supply of rare old radios and parts to make stock repair more of a sure thing.
For customers insisting on straight repairs, here are two shops I highly recommend:
Bob's Radio (Owner Dan Steele) 805-489-8200
Dan specializes in the repair of older tube radios, as well as both tube and solid state signal-seeking radios
Ward's Classic Car Radio Repair 256-852-0955
Gordon Ward was a production line radio technician for Chrysler when all the classics were being manufactured
Note that both the above shops (and most other shops) will refer anything containing an
8 track player to MY shop - so you're already at the right place for "all things 8 track"
- - - - - - - - - -
"What About Cosmetic Restoration - Do You Rechrome ?"
The only shops who are outfitted to rechrome metal and/or plastic items are those who also perform restorations on
cars and thus rechrome bumpers, etc. It's not some magical 5 gallon bucket that you just dip parts into and pull them
out with new, shiny chrome. Rechroming is only possible through ELECTROPLATING, and this is a highly expensive
and messy process requiring very expensive equipment, hazardous chemicals and strict compliance with the EPA.
Thus, I refer any rechroming work to www.instrument-specialties.com
I prefer that the customer contact this company directly for any rechroming work. To prevent any possibility of
my scratching a newly chromed piece, I choose not to be involved with this process in any way. Most front panels
are easy to remove and install, and I'm happy to provide instructions to do this if needed. I request that all customers
seeking a rechrome job take care of this process without my involvement. Customer should be prepared to pay up
to around $300 just to rechrome and repaint the front panel. Knobs are generally about $50 each. The current
announced lead time for rechrome work is 6 months
On a Chrysler thumbwheel unit, the knobs cannot be removed by the customer. In this case I'm willing to handle
the rechroming since I have to remove and reinstall the knobs, but it is under the VERY strict condition that I am
not responsible or liable for any defects in the rechrome job, EVEN THOSE CAUSED BY ME. In other words -
if I'm handling the rechroming, it is strictly as a free courtesy and I don't even want to know about any defects.
For basic and minor cleaning, I do what is possible using ordinary household chemicals and fine steel wool. This
will usually restore a shiny service and remove the brown rust spots from pitting to make it less noticeable.
"What Do You Do On a Straight Repair Job ?"
It varies somewhat from model to model, and two identical units will not receive the exact same treatment. In a
few words, I return a unit that will be reliable for many years as is evidenced by my outstandingly low warranty
return rate. Here is a very general list of what is normally done in my shop.
1. Minor tuner service and preventive maintenance - making sure the dial and station presets work properly
2. Replacement of electrolytic capacitors (expected lifespan 20 years, long overdue for replacement)
3. Touchup alignment of AM and FM sections using all laboratory grade equipment
4. Repairs to existing circuitry to restore proper operation
5. Replacement of 8 track motor if needed (included in the price on all Ford, Chrysler and AMC units only. For other
models, there is an additional charge of 49.00 and customer should be prepared for this possibility.
6. Replacement of tape head if needed (this is NEVER included, and will also be an additional charge of 49.00).
NOTE: The need for a new motor or tape head won't become evident until I'm pretty far along on the job - that is, I need
to get the rest of the machine working before I can diagnose a bad motor or head. Note that any extra charges for a new
motor or head will be added (with your approval) after you've already paid for the basic restoration.
NOTE: Mine is the WORLD'S ONLY SHOP who stocks motors for 8 track machines IN QUANTITY, and is also the
WORLD'S ONLY SHOP who routinely installs a NEW motor in all Ford, Chrysler and AMC machines. Other shops
must either salvage a used motor from another machine, or hope to find one on eBay (extremely unlikely). As I
specialize in the 8 track format, of course my inventory of parts reflects this specialty and I have already purchased
every 8 track motor that was still available (in quantity). I don't sell them; they are strictly for repair customers.
7. Servicing and preventive maintenance of track change mechanism and track indicator lights (if so equipped)
8. Cleaning and lubrication of all moving parts
9. Resurfacing of 8 track capstan (using a sandblaster) to restore the rough surface for proper grip on tape roller
NOTE: Mine is the WORLD'S ONLY SHOP who has a sandblaster for PROPER capstan resurfacing. Other shops
use sandpaper or wire wheels which CLEAN the capstan, but do not restore a proper surface. For one thing, it
is impossible to "hit" the active area without also grinding down the bearing surfaces. With my sandblaster, I can
mask off the bearing surfaces while still applying full velocity to the gripping surface.
10. Routine and minor straightening of bent internal metal supports from physical impact that is NOT caused
by careless packing.
11. Since the customer frequently installs his own equipment and is not expected to be an expert in Electronics, I
record a demonstration DVD which I include with the customer's paperwork when returning a repaired unit. This
DVD provides indisputable PROOF that your unit was properly repaired in case of a wiring error upon installation.
NOTE: Mine is the WORLD'S ONLY SHOP who offers this level of assurance to the customer
"What About Cost ?"
For the most part, I go by a flat rate system so that the customer knows upfront how much the job will cost. This
flat rate covers about 80% of all jobs, with the remaining 20% needing more parts and/or labor than that depicted
in my flat rates. Major items NOT included in my flat rates include:
1. Repair or replacement of any controls: This is handled on a per-case basis and adds a substantial extra fee. The issue of
broken controls from improper packing is the single biggest headache I experience, and it doesn't make the customer happy
either when the price jumps another $200. I have VERY specific packing instructions to protect the delicate control shafts.
2. Replacement of 8 track motor on any brand except Ford, Chrysler and AMC
3. Replacement of tape head
4. Units that are especially rusty, worn or water-damaged
5. ANY work needed in the output section
6. Replacement of broken dial cord. Thankfully, not many radios have them.
To get an idea of our flat rates on different models and types of units, click on "OUR RATES" from the top-of-page tabs
"What is Your Turnaround Time ?"
This is a question I cannot give a direct answer to, as it is largely dependent on wide fluctuations in the already-seasonal
nature of the classic car industry as a whole. What I will say is that every single job receives my full attention and the top
notch quality workmanship that fueled my performance as a top level Avionics Technician for 5 years at a licensed FAA repair
station (Cobham Aerospace Communications Prescott, AZ). As my performance records (available on this website) clearly
indicate, my level of productivity was literally impossible according to their rating system - that is, my "Profitable Hours"
far exceeded my "Attendance Hours" - and ALL within their standard of "Excellent" warranty return rates.
At nearly every performance review for 5 years, I scored in the highest possible of all 5 categories of their rating system -
again in some cases, scoring more than 150% - out of a possible 100% . Wayyyyy beyond expectations. Check out my
documentation and you'll see how I shot straight to the top, earning the highest possible promotion and pay increase at
every performance review during my first two years - and achieved Tech Level 3 ahead of a 6 year veteran in the department.
This isn't some obscure company, long-disappeared decades ago so they can't be traced. Cobham Aerospace is
still right here, a very pleasant 15 minute drive away and neatly interlaced with the many buildings and campuses of
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The benches I worked overlook the landing strips of Earnest J. Love airport, and I
never could get the guy in the far-distant control tower to wave back. But I sure saw some cool planes take off and land, mostly
smaller training craft but an occasional military jet - and once, a space shuttle fly-by. At the time NASA was using a control head
made by Cobham, and the big joke was that the guys could see through the shuttle window that I had misadjusted the CRT
display and it was tilted. Incidentally, every astronaut who ever walked on the moon was breathing through a Cobham filter.
But, I digress. To view my outstanding performance records as a technician and sample a bit of my history, click HERE
|PLEASE NOTE - this page deals with "stock" repairs. For info on conversions, click HERE
|The point I'm hoping to make is that my sole emphasis is on only one thing: LONG TERM RELIABILITY.
This applies not only to your job, but also all others that arrived before yours. To minimize interruptions,
I cannot - shall not - WILL not offer any estimated time frames OR respond to requests for job status. In
place of this, customers can check their unit's place in line any time by clicking on the "Job Status" tab.
Once again - customers are ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN from contacting me directly for job status.
|Okay, I Can Agree to That - So How Do I Get Started ?
If you're ready to send your unit, now you can click on the green light to go straight to my Work Order, to be printed and filled out.
The Work Order asks many questions to ascertain your preferences on some features, and also gives me the information I need to
call for payment when the unit arrives, and to ensure its shipment to the proper destination when it's ready to send back. Your
work order travels with the unit from unpacking to return shipment, ensuring that it's not confused with another customer's unit.
To go straight through the green light and fill out a Work Order, please click HERE