Guest Post: Consumerism Gone Cold

This Christmas, my sister sent my kids $25 Amazon gift cards.  Given the absolute bounty my children received, I promptly set these cards aside and, I am ashamed to admit, forgot about them until late last week when I finally thought to mention them.  The results were entirely predictable.  My son, who has a surprising amount of money in his piggy bank, calculated the amount as a part of his overall tally and, after considering his options, decided that the satisfaction of having so much cash outweighed the pleasure of anything that he might actually purchase.  My middle child, meanwhile, demanded that I immediately log into Amazon so that she could spend every last cent as quickly as possible while my youngest, still unclear on the concept of money, was just happy to sit beside her sister and examine the various toys that popped up.  In the end, however, no money was spent as I decided to use the opportunity for what I like to call, “a teachable moment.”

It’s a lesson that I am more than prepared to teach as, not that long ago, I too was a voracious consumer.  Virtually every cent I earned slipped through my fingers without a second thought and, looking back on it, the amount of money I wasted is simply staggering.  Just how much I must have spent over the years was hammered home during a recent visit to my neighborhood “recycle shop” where I found, piled unceremoniously upon the row after row of steel warehouse-style shelving, decades’ worth of cast-off electronics now on sale for a mere fraction of the prices they once commanded.  Looking them over, I recognized specific models and thought about the people who, just like me, had so proudly owned them.  I knew the research that had gone into each of those purchases, the smells that had wafted from the newly opened boxes and the excitement that these people had felt as they positioned their new purchases in places of honor inside their homes.  I thought, too, about how lightly the decision to replace these items had likely been undertaken and about how little consideration had been given to the still perfectly serviceable old as the new was lusted after, pursued and then finally brought home.

I have been there so many times.  My first computer was a used 8 bit Atari that I bought about the time Ronald Reagan was running for reelection.  It was followed by, in order of their purchase, a Commodore 64, a Commodore Amiga 500, a 386-33DX2 for which I paid entirely too much money, and then over the years by a series of different Pentium desk and now laptops.  My foray into home video began with a basic VHS player and then expanded to include a Betamax, a Laser Disc player, a DVD player, a TV with a built in DVD/DVR and DivX player, a region-free HDD/DVD player and finally, just in the past few months, a Blue Ray Disc player that also serves as an access point for several different streaming video services.  My first portable audio device was an AM radio, then an AM/FM radio, then an off-brand “Walkman” that was followed by a couple of different dual tape deck boomboxes – because you have to have that sort of technology to make mix tapes.  Next came an actual Sony Discman, and finally a generic MP3 Player so small that it tends to get lost for months at a time.  I still have it around here somewhere…

To my shame, my car audio experience is even uglier.  My first car had an 8 track. When I was about 18 years old, I upgraded to a second-hand cassette deck and then, later, I burned through an entire series of different Kraco cassette players that I purchased with my employee discount while working at Schuck’s Auto Supply.  In February 1988, when I traded my Nova for my Dodge Shadow, I opted for the top-end double din unit and kept that in the car the entire time I owned it.  Still, in 1990, I supplemented that stereo with a Kenwood CD shuttle that put a 10 disc CD player in my trunk, an amplifier under my seat and a remote control head unit in my car’s unused ash tray.  It was a royal pain in the ass to install – yes, I did all my own work – but when I was done  I was able to switch between the two units without a hitch and the results were wonderful.  I later transferred the CD player to my GMC Jimmy but ended up junking it several months later after a power surge or something shorted it out.

After I moved to Japan in 1999, I dumped the cassette deck in my 86 Supra in favor of a CD player and then, after returning to the States in 2001, did the same with the cassette deck in the beat down 200SX I bought.  In 2004, after taking my VW Golf to Japan, I decided it would be a good idea to swap out the stock US stereo for a Japanese aftermarket unit I found at Autobacs and, while the installation turned out fine, the CD player itself started having tracking issues less than a year later.  I ended up tossing it in the trash and going back to the stock radio.  Ultimately, that’s where I drew the line and I have not messed with a stock radio since.

But now I have the Nissan Hardbody, and the photos show that it still mounts its original cassette player.  Of course, wouldn’t you know it, I seem to have lost all my Judas Priest tapes which means that, if I want more than AM/FM, I’m going to need another solution.  That solution, I have determined, is not an expensive new head unit.  It is, instead, a wireless MP3 player that plays via a signal to the truck’s FM radio.  The one I’ve found is powered through the truck’s cigarette lighter, can hold more than 1500 songs on a 32GB Micro SD Card, and also serves as a Bluetooth connection that enables a hands free connection for my cellular telephone.  Total cost to me, with the SD card, was less than $35!

I’ve already had it delivered and, after loading it with songs from my I-tunes account, have tested it in my wife’s car with reasonable success.  I simply plugged it in, tuned the radio to the frequency indicated on the unit’s LCD screen and, just like that, The Talking Heads magically came out through the speakers.  And there, as they say, is the rub.  The device itself seems to work entirely as designed but the quality of the speakers in my wife’s little Honda are somewhat lacking.  The result was static free but quite tinny.  Hopefully, the speakers in my Nissan are better because, now that I have disavowed my once rampant consumerism, I’m going to have to live with the solution for a good, long time.  Wild, Wild, Life, indeed.

32 Replies to “Guest Post: Consumerism Gone Cold”

  1. Mental

    Ah, courting young ladies via the mixtape. It is the thing of RomCom fodder these days, but a real skill back in the day.

    My Ford Econoline Club Wagon van I bought with almost 180,000 miles in Colorado had the original high-end Ford stereo, the exact name escapes me. But intending to replace the stereo I bought a cassette adapter to hold me over. The factory system was excellent, durable and in the XLT model very well integrated into the van. I ended up selling it with the same system. But I kept that cassette adapter, even though now my iPhone had outgrown the capability to use it (no headphone jack).

    I have mentioned before that dad was a Nissan sales manager my whole youth and always had the newest truck he swapped out every few months. I recall the SE versions of the hardbody having excellent factory stereos. This was something I tested often as a youth in his trucks and momma’s Maxima SE. Not as much Judas Priest, but a lot more New Order.

    But if it doesn’t, a surprising result of the decline of “stereo shops” is the quality of the ones left is pretty good. My older brother had the system upgraded in his Yukon. While he went overboard, speakers are actually really good these days and upgradable without altering the car, breaking the bank and allow keep your factory system.

    Despite that, like you, my stereo solution is a $35 Bluetooth to FM modulator adapter for both vehicles (well it was the solution for mine and the missus liked it so much she snagged it and I had to get another) so I can listen to podcasts and use WAZE (essential in Atlanta). It plugs into my cigarette lighter (these days known as an auxiliary power plug) and works great.

    • Thomas Kreutzer Post author

      That cassette tape thing you are talking about, the one with the wire that hangs out of the front of the tape deck, is the first thing I thought about getting. Back when I had my Nova with the 8 track, my mom bought me an 8 track to cassette adapter – basically a big 8 track shaped machine that stuck out of the front of the stereo that you loaded a cassette into. It was big and ugly and, because it was 8 track based, it only had play and fast forward. It was a huge pain in the ass to use and I hated it. Since then, I have been entirely opposed to any sort of adapter that leaves hanging wires or anything slots into a tape deck. They might work well but they just strike me as being totally rinky-dink.

      To be honest, I’d never even heard about these MP3/Bluetooth player things and was sitting here thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” when I decided to look and see. Imagine my surprise when I found out they actually made this sort of thing! I’m excited to really try it. I hope the stereo in my little truck matches up with the ones in your memory.

    • Derek Kreindler

      I did a little experiment back in college, when I was “DJing” a party (aka picking songs on YouTube and using one knob of a mixer to fade the songs in an out). Someone wanted to hear some crappy EDM track (what dance/techno is called now). When it was over, I put on “Substance”, and not a single person knew a) who made the album b) that it was 20+ years old at the time. New Order was truly ahead of their time.

    • Scout_Number_4

      “…a surprising result of the decline of “stereo shops” is the quality of the ones left is pretty good.”

      This guy..

      …has managed to stay in business for about 30 years in Portland by getting out in front of thundering bass movement. The late night TV commercials are bonus.

  2. Robert

    Ahhh yes, coming of age when technological progress made your music collection obsolete every few years. I made speaker boxes (Pioneer 6x9s of course) for my single cab 1990 Hardbody that went between the seat and the pedals. Terrible idea but they sounded great. Also had the obligatory equalizer from Radio Shack mounted under the stock tape deck. And a red case that held about 100 cassettes that served double duty as an arm rest. If I still had my autographed copy of Painkiller I’d send it to you. Eventually scaled back to a decent replacement set for the in-door speakers. The stock speakers in a 1990 anything are going to be very tired by now, I wouldn’t judge you if you replaced them 😉

  3. stingray65

    Ah, the good old days before smart phones and phone plans, when money was available to blow on expensive stereo equipment that needed to overcome the sound limitations of tape, and the wind noise, engine noise (and static), and tire noise of old cars. Now cars are mostly whisper quiet, but young people can’t afford/have no interest in cars, and listen to everything via earplugs connected to their fancy iPhone or Galaxy.

  4. hank chinaski

    /memory of rear seat passengers rolling ‘cigarettes’ on the largish Rat Shack cassette suitcase that graced my Japanese 2+2, and of the aftermarket 8 track player bolted to the center tunnel of Dad’s Impala.

    Having done many of those things, the silver lining is that the knowledge and skills stick with you til death.
    Taking apart a car and wiring a sound system (or a PC or the dirty bits of one’s vehicle) forces one to learn at least cursory knowledge of the subject at hand and more importantly, losing the fear of taking something apart to fix it.

    Take it to the ‘geek squad’ ? Guffaw!

  5. JustPassinThru

    It seems many readers are missing part of the point here – Thomas is trying to teach thrift to his kids, in this era of credit-prosperity and immediate gratification.

    That is noble; but our current whack-a-doodle economy is so skewed by the mad, wholesale printing of fiat-currency…that saving, is actually PUNISHED with the deliberate eroding of the value of the dollar.

    Have a look. Even using government statistics, which are deliberately understated…the dollar has lost about forty percent of its purchasing power since 2000. No bank interest can even match that; and today, in this demented atmosphere of Federal-Reserve Zero-Interest…there is no POINT. You LOSE.

    That, FWIW, is part of the mad rush to Bitcoin. I don’t think Bitcoin is the answer – it’s fiat, just as the dollar is fiat currency. But people are frantic to find a way to preserve their wealth in this age of deliberately-debased currency.

  6. Kvndoom

    Double DIN is still an almost mandatory requirement on any car I buy. My thought process is “if the factory radio is garbage it had damn well better be replaceable.” The 2007 TSX did it for me. HVAC controller integrated into the radio? WTF?? I bought an iPod interface but it was a laggy buggy mess. It’s the only car I ever sold explicitly because of the radio.

    I’ve gotten good mileage out of my car gear. My Alpine PDX amps I bought 6 or 7 years ago, and my JL 12w6v2 is even older than that (only service it has ever needed was a new surround). Kenwood deck I bought 4 or so years ago now has a home in my daughter’s Soul, and the new Kenwood in my car is about 2 years old now. I usually don’t take the door speakers out when I sell a car though. Thats one of the few things I like to try different variations of. I think I’m going with some Image Dynamics for the Elantra once I get the time to upgrade.

  7. -Nate

    Good idea Thom .

    I tried to teach this to my Son too and it seemed to take hold until he got married, now it’s endless crap instead of retirement planning and he’s close to 1/2 way through his career .

    In vehicles the speakers used to be the serious pinch point, a stock Japanese radio was fine once you replaced the crap speakers and added an amp, no need for a big flashy one either .

    I always laugh when I see the 4 gauge speaker cables used that serve zero purpose except to look cool and empty your wallet .

    Just being consistent in your teachings will help your kids greatly .


    • Thomas Kreutzer Post author

      The problem isn’t that they don’t listen, the problem is that they might see me doing the opposite. It’s tough to talk about frugality if one is buying new crap all the time – and the truth is, I loves me some new crap!

      I remember being a kid and my mother and father talking for weeks about buying a “plant cart.” The way they hashed the whole thing out over multiple days made me thing they were bringing home some sort of John Deere. Imagine my surprise when they showed up with a little tiny cart made out of steel tubing a fiberboard that could be moved from one side of the room to the other so my mom’s little houseplants could get maximum sun. I probably blow through more money than that thing costs eating out every week…

      • -Nate

        Trust me, even though I live close to the bone, you’re speaking to the choir here .

        Figure out of your Children’s life happiness is more important than your instant gratification .

        When you grow up with less than nothing it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of consumerism .


  8. Tom Klockau

    I’ve never messed around with aftermarket stereos in my cars, although my brother used to back in the late ’90s. The factory Alpine stereo in my 2000 Town Car is very nice. CD changer and even a cassette player for my handful of surviving tapes. 🙂

  9. E. Bryant

    I find it useful to bin things into different categories. I don’t necessarily avoid things in the lower tiers, but I’m happiest when I’m not spending too much of my discretionary income in those categories.

    Tier 0: Stuff my family needs (food, shelter, clothes, education, transportation, health care). This isn’t discretionary, but I include it here for sake of completion.
    Tier 1: Things that can make me money. Spending $10k on a laptop + Solidworks would seem silly to some, but that investment earned back the original purchase price within 8 months. For contractors, things like power tools will fall into this category.
    Tier 2: Things with intrinsic value that would be useful 50 years ago and will still be useful 50 years from now. Good hand tools and firearms belong in this category. Very little stuff in this category tends to involve electricity, although perhaps some home audio equipment will eventually qualify, some HP laboratory equipment likely already qualifies, and I wouldn’t doubt if Fluke DMMs keep going strong for a half-century. For kids (and many adults), Lego qualifies. A really good, no-frills bicycle might also fit here as long as it’s not excessively narrow in scope.
    Tier 3: Things that have a useful lifespan of <5 years. For most people, this is going to be things like power tools, "ordinary" bicycles, decent computers, etc. TVs used to land here. A car audio head
    Tier 4: Anything that requires an app. Also, anything that requires a proprietary battery (with the exception of the aforementioned power tools).

    This isn't perfect and likely doesn't fit everyone's own perceptions, but thinking about my money in this fashion minimizes the amount of it that gets treated as disposable.

    • Thomas Kreutzer Post author

      I think you have a good system and, if I think about it, I probably prioritize things in a similar fashion. I will say that there has to be a lot of self control built in – for example, it’s easy to decide you need too much house, too much car, too much college and or fancier clothes than you need.

      Tier one is pretty much a no go for me, I don’t work with my hands and have never thought about using any of the money I’ve managed to make through my writing to offset the cost of the computers I’ve purchased. Tier two is hard because we move all the time – the firearms are in storage and the hundreds of pounds of tools I carry are seldom used because I don’t have a place to work. (Although I am looking forward to that changing!) Since I don’t use any of that stuff, why buy more?

      It’s that tier three stuff that I really lament. That stuff is pricey enough that I dread buying it. The funny thing is, much of what I have listed above I still own – the first DVD player I ever bought is still under my TV as is the HDD player. The thing is, even though I still own much of it, I don’t use any of it as much as I thought I might. For example, I have a high power Harmon Kardon receiver/amp that powers the surround sound system/stereo that hasn’t been turned on for a couple of years as my wife hates it when the TV is too loud. I’m really hoping that some of that stuff is going to form the center of a garage stereo once we get where we are going…

      The end point is that I am just shocked at how much “stuff” we have. Boxes and boxes of wires, card readers, cameras, computer peripherals, etc just fill the closet. I wonder how much of my crap is going to end up beside all that other stuff at the recycle shop…

      • -Nate

        ” I wonder how much of my crap is going to end up beside all that other stuff at the recycle shop…”

        Quite likely all of it, how do you think folks like us afford decent tools and so on ? . by endlessly beating the bushes……

        I told my Son to just burn the house and everything in it, scrape the dirt lot clean and begin anew .


        • Thomas Kreutzer Post author

          You mentioned above how easy it is to get wrapped up in consumerism when you grow up with nothing and, even though I can’t claim my parents were poor, they spent very little. For years and years after I got my first job, I bought all kinds of stuff that I thought I “needed” because I had never had anything like it before.

          I also have the bad habit of beating the bushes for deals – which is how I ended up in the recycle shop – and ended up getting depressed by what was on the shelves. So much of it was high quality – real aspirational stuff that was just dumped. My God, there were tubs – actual big plastic tubs – filled with 35MM SLR Nikon, Pentax and Canon camera bodies and another tub with lenses. I remember when those things were SO expensive – like thousands of dollars – and now they were in the $5 (or I should say 500 Yen) bin…

          Of course, before we moved out here, knowing that our space was going to be limited, I donated thousands of dollars worth of stuff to the local Goodwill myself. The disgusting part is, when I go through the closet here and look at the things I “couldn’t” give away. Well, that’s going to change when we get home. So much of it is going to go right from the packing box to the Goodwill that it isn’t funny. My life is going to get way simpler…

          • -Nate

            RE: Goodwill stuff ;

            I managed to find a sweet deal on a 1967 Nikon F with some lenses just before my Son began High School, as I’d feared, I cannot take decent photographs even with good equipments except by accident .

            Then he said he was chatting up a girl who worked at the School Newsletter / Yearbook so I loaned this valuable camera to him and Lo ! it turns out he’s a gifted Photographer and was their primary Photographer for all four years, then he graduated and gave the camera back to me, I have it sitting God knows where unused since then .

            Point being : maybe let your Children try to expand their horizons with your cast offs ? .

            I have faith in you and several other Parents here because YOU CARE .


  10. Michael Craven

    Thomas: in advance of retirement just under a year ago I undertook analysis of how to best adapt to a quite different lifestyle, not just financially but in other areas as well. This touched on all the usual suspects: health, physical and mental fitness, hobbies, community involvement, so on and so forth. On the financial side — and after a lifetime of pretty much spending money on whatever junk I wanted whenever I wanted it (which, incidentally and on reflection, wasn’t nearly as satisfying as I thought), I finally distilled the plan to just three words: “SPEND MONEY SLOWLY”. In the 11 months this mantra has been in effect it has worked wonderfully; I am astounded how waiting even a few days or a week curbs the the temptation to buy the ‘latest and greatest’. I have also, to the extent it is possible with the under-7 brain, introduced this concept to my grandchildren. To my surprise, they seem to have embraced it (and not just in my company but when with their parents too). Best of luck with your teachable moment effort.

    • Thomas Kreutzer Post author

      That’s a great system, Michael. I started doing something like it a few years ago when I realized that my financial position allowed me to act on my impulse to purchase a little too efficiently. It’s amazing how a person can obsess over something for days and then, one day, wake up and find that the obsession is gone. Nowadays, I only act after something has stewed for a good, long time.

      I tell my kids, and I really believe now, that often the idea of buying something – the hunt, imagining the purchase and how great it is going to be – is better than the actual purchase. In my mind, I can always get a great deal and can always fix every problem. In reality, once you buy something, you are wedded to it for the duration – warts and all.

      • Mark D. Stroyer

        I have always been deeply disappointed in aux-FM transmitters. In my experiences they have been dreadfully unreliable and poor quality when they were working. That ~could~ just be other people’s budget bins talking.

        The majority of my music is twice as old as I am and I own it on CDs. And I think CDs are just great, which I suppose makes me a true hipster. And for the times a CD player is absent or nonfunctional, or where taking a Rubbermaid of discs is out of the question, I find a tape deck aux is bad quality, but in a useable and charming way. Plus for something like, say Moving Pictures, the different bass and treble levels it forces gives it a period feeling.

        I’m at a point where I am furious about cheap crap. I don’t ask for much in life – just a few basic things – I just want those things to actually last a decent length of time instead of disintegrating on a whim. And that’s frustratingly hard to find.

  11. Widgetsltd

    Just yesterday, my son and I installed a Sony double-DIN radio into his car. The prior owner had installed – and subsequently removed – a boomin’ system, so when we got the car it was without the factory-installed radio that I usually prefer. Due to the hacked-up wiring, I had the opportunity to teach my son how to solder wires. I was surprised by the features included in the new, $100 radio: Bluetooth streaming, hands-free calling, text message read-back, USB port, 1/8″ aux input, etc. Yes, it still has a CD player too.
    BTW: Your FM adapter may sound tinny because of the limitations of the analog FM signal. The usable bandwidth on the FM band is only 10 kHz, so you are losing the lowest lows and the highest highs.

  12. sabotenfighter

    Buddy of mine who I worked with down here in Nagoya (who relocated to Texas… something something new Toyota HQ), used to mod stock head units in classic Japanese cars to include an AUX input. Very subtle work that, unless you were to pull the unit apart, one would not be able to tell anything was up. He might have done some other mods as well (USB/Bluetooth), but I don’t really remember.
    Might be something to look into, if the audio quality stinks on that player.

  13. WheeTwelve

    My situation is somewhat mixed here. I completely agree with you on buying a lot of crap after college, just because I had so little growing up. On the other hand, growing up in The Old Country, there was a lot of “if it works, why replace it” philosophy. This has now become quite a point of consternation for me, especially when it comes to cars. Back across the pond, people would buy two, *maybe* three cars in their lifetime, and then only if they had to (communism may have had a part in that as well). But nowadays, cars seem to be manufactured to last the term of a three year lease, plus the CPO warranty. After that, God help you.
    My TV is now ten years old, and I have no reason to replace it for another ten. Had to take it apart last year due to my own stupidity. Cost me $80 in parts to repair it. How is that not a better deal than buying something new?
    My smartphone is over four years old now, and I don’t plan to replace it until it becomes so slow it’s unusable. Replaced the battery in it last year, and all is well again.
    The ideas of tier-based spending, and spending money SLOWLY both sound like things I will try to adopt, not so much because I overspend (I do, we all probably do to some extent), but because it helps explain the process of spending, which brings it more under rational control, and makes it less of an emotional impulse.
    As for car stereos, I replaced it only once, under duress. As in, 1974 Buick Regal with AM-only radio, and a single in-dash speaker.
    In my experience, wireless streaming always sounds worse than wired-in. I have played identical content via Bluetooth, and via USB, and the USB always sounded A LOT better. So the tinny sound you heard may be due to the FM transmission squeezing the bandwidth, and perhaps doing some filtering in order to do so. Why not find a good, cheap cassette recorder in that recycle shop, and just put some of your favorites back on tape? You get to mix again, and it may sound better than the FM transmitter.

    • Thomas Kreutzer Post author

      I guess I’ll have to plug the transmitter into the van. Since I drive the van every day I know how it sounds. Come to think of it, I probably should have just done that in the beginning but figured I would just test it in the wife’s car as the van already has a digital drive with a bunch of music loaded onto it. I’ll try it tonight and report back on the results.

    • Thomas Kreutzer Post author

      OK just back inside after trying the MP3 player in the van. The same song – Fabulous Thunderbirds’ “Wrap it up” – did sound different, but to my ears the quality was only slightly better when the song loaded on the car’s HDD played vs the one in the MP3 player.

      As several people above mentioned might happen, the highs and lows seemed slightly different, with the mid range coming out more in the MP3. A simple adjustment of the equalizer was able to get the sound more or less balanced and, overall, I’m satisfied with the result. It may not be as perfect as a CD, but it is at least as good as a tape deck was back in the day. As I am not a huge audiophile – my ears are pretty shot and I have constant tinnitus – I’ll call it good enough.

  14. Shortest Circuit

    We all paid too much for our first 386. Especially as I was replacing my trusty C=64. It lasted maybe 1/3rd the time the Commodore did. Now I have a quad-core-goes-obsolete-next-year powerhouse, and 3 C64s sitting in the shelves, sometimes I pull one of the old guys out, and fire it up on my 4k TV 🙂

    I think the concept of upgrading a head unit went out the window with all the integrated solutions, but if yours is not integrated into the on board electronics, I would strongly consider replacing it with something from Alpine or Pioneer that support linking your phone, or at least have an AUX-in.

    I bought a nice used BMW Z4, fully loaded, that means satnav with maps on a DVD, but at least it has an AUX jack, and the factory subwoofers aren’t half bad. I don’t know who said it, but it is perfect: nothing dates a car more, than the entertainment system.

    • Compaq Deskpro

      I would be interested to know how many of custom goofy shaped infotainment systems can be removed for replacement with something normal. I know most of the Ford ones can, albeit with an expensive and probably clumsy looking plastic adapter fascia.

  15. Shocktastic

    My 2 cents for Mr. K: as someone who sold a bunch of sound systems for Nissan trucks like yours at 30% margin for Magnolia HiFi, just take a chill pill & wait until you get behind the wheel of your magnificent & small steed. Japanese compact trucks of that era have a ton of NVH. The persistent problem with FM modulator devices like yours is that they operate on a limited number of FM frequencies such that if you drive past another motorist using the same technology (very rare these days since BlueTooth) you may experience crosstalk from the competing FM broadcasting device. That was a common complaint in 1992 when I was selling FM modulator CD changers and Bazooka tubes to traveling sales reps in 1992 who wanted to power up their leased salesman machines. If I was in your shoes, I would do a cheap head unit swap with a Pioneer/Alpine/Kenwood CD player with BlueTooth and/or an accessory capable input, inexpensive aftermarket door speakers, and a powered subwoofer. Unless you are trying to create a teachable moment for your kids, CarToys could drop such a system into your truck including (slave) labor for $600. Your Hardbody has the car salesman’s upsell: a double lined bed. Toyota trucks of that era had a a single-layer stamped metal bed. If your cargo shifted in a ‘yota then your rear fenders showed a bulge. PS- loved your Schucks/Kraco comments.


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