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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:27 am 
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I figured I should post this in case anyone else wants to know if they can interchange period stereos in their Olds,

Several years ago the original cassette deck in my Cutlass Ciera died so I replaced it with a similar unti (UM6) from ebay. Over the last few years this unit began to fail. The digital display would go out for a few minutes and the cassette deck was slowing down...making everything sound like it was underwater.

I decided that I wanted to keep the interior period correct, so I started searching for a better 1980's Delco cassette deck and found this:

This upgraded model (UX1) includes a search feature for the cassette and a graphic equalizer.
I installed this head unit into the car and the sound quality is far better than the old head unit ever was.

******When purchasing a period radio, make sure the connections in the back are the same as your current radio. Over the years GM would update the head units, often adding features/etc which cause them to look the same but the plugs in the back are different. One of these changes occurred during the late 80's (either 1987 or 88 depending on model) so a radio from a 1988 car will not "plug and play" with your 1986 car.

How to removed/install a period radio into your Cutlass Ciera/Cutlass Cruiser: (1985-86)
*****For safety reasons, you should disconnect the battery as you are dealing with electrical wires.
*****Directions for later cars include dealing with Delco Loc, which I don't know how to do. Don't attempt to remove a radio with Delco Loc unless you know what to do as you could cause harm to your car. This write up only includes the early model 1982-86 Cieras that have interchanging electronics. Your best bet for cars built after the period which this write up covers is to call your local GM dealership or to speak to a professional mechanic.

1. Remove the collar that wraps around the steering column where it meets the dash. This piece simply pops off with a flat head screwdriver. Remove the screw hidden behind the collar (located to the left of the column).

2. Remove the two air vents at the extreme ends of the dash by carefully prying them out with a thin flat head screwdriver. Behind each of these is one 7mm screw. You will need to use a ratchet with an extension to reach them.

3. Pull out the ashtray and remove the two 7mm screws which hold the center dash trim panel (the long plastic piece that has the airvents in it) to the dash. They are located between the dash and the climate control)

4. Carefully remove the center dash trim panel. At this point it is only held on by a few metal clips. Carefully pry it off.

5. Remove the dark gray dash bezel which surrounds the speedometer and radio. Use a philips head screwdriver to remove the screws in that hold the top of the bezel to the dash (4 screws) and a 7mm ratchet to remove the two screws which hold the bottom of the bezel to the dash. (One screw is located to the right of the climate controls, the other near the headlamp controls). With the screws removed, pop the gray bezel off.

6. The radio is held in with 4 7mm screws (two on the top, two on the bottom). Remove these screws and carefully slide the radio out. Carefully un-clip the wires in the back of the radio.

7. Remove the metal brackets from the old radio as you will need these to install your new radio. The bolts on top are held on with 2 10mm nuts, the bottom with 2 8mm nuts. Also save the threaded metal clip the brackets were bolted to as you will need to reinstall them in the same spots they were on your told radio. They pop off with a flat head screwdriver. Be careful as these metal clips have sharp little edges!

Reinstall is the reverse of the above directions.

When working on your car, remember:
1. Your car is old, be careful as you want to reuse as much as possible since you will not be able to easily find replacements.

2. The wires and plastic are brittle from age. Handle them with care. A little patients can go a long way and save a headache down the road.

3. This install does not require you to cut any wires. There is one plug on the top of the head unit that your A-body Olds will not need. Other models use this plug, but our cars don't. Make sure the three plugs in the back (blue, white, and black) as well as the antenna plug (black) are all plugged in securely.

4. If you aren't comfortable in your own skills to do this, get help!


1985 Olds Cutlass Ciera Brougham Holiday Coupe

1988 Olds Cutlass Ciera International Series Sedan

OCA #037778
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