First, the background story as to what lead me from being a pickup truck driver to a driver of a sub-compact car...
I recently had a bad wreck in which my brakes failed me before I hit a hair pin curve and ended up flipping my 2006 Colorado pickup about 6 times. Thanks to God and my Seat Belt (please use a seat belt, I may not be alive today if I was not wearing mine!) I survived with only a couple of scratches, yet my truck was still resting upside down with almost every part of it smashed, even the passenger side was bashed in so bad that I don't know if a passenger would of survive, because no air-bags went off- The manual says this is to be expected because somehow a computer calculates exactly when an air bag is needed- maybe it sensed no weight in the passenger seat and never deployed the airbag.
I had a perfect driving record with no claims nor tickets and have kept insurance for years. I was very impressed with my insurance company because they paid the full amount of what I personally thought the truck was worth (but I likely could not of sold it for as much!). Thus I had some time to figure out what I would be driving next. After driving an 2WD 99 Chevy S-10, which was a great quality truck but was terrible at gripping the pavement! Next I bought what turned out to be a much poorer quality 2005 Chevy Colorado with a topper and bed-liner installed after market. This truck was on maybe it's 2nd generation and had plenty of bugs. I had a serious ABS brake issue that was intermittent off/on with a warning "ABS BRAKE FAULT" and problems stopping with sounds of metal on metal! The dealership mechanics were useless. I was advised they found nothing wrong and for me to bring it back whenever the alarm and brakes failed, yet every time it happen it would stop just before I made it to their shop. I almost got killed because of this. So moving on............
So I finally figured that as my desire for a 4x4 pickup was a little overkill to always be ready for rough weather, ice/snow etc.. While most the time I drove in 2wd on fair weather days... I decided I was converting to a sub-compact. I was tired of getting less than 18MPG in a mid size 4x4 pickup when I could get double that in a Chevy Cobalt LS Coupe XFE- and I believe there on at least the third generation of building this car, I'm hoping they got the bugs out.
But, how on earth and I am going to be able to install a full size CB system in this tiny car!!
About My CB and What I Did to Install It:
I saved my cb radio from the crash but the microphone and antenna did not fair as well. The front of my Uniden 78ltx was dirty and scratched from the wreck, but it still had a kick ass RF output of around 32 watt dead key, and that's not counting the swing. When Cobra got famous for their 29 Classics built in the 1970s it was UNIDEN that built their circuit boards and all electronics inside. My CB guy advised me long ago that the Uniden 78 series was more exactly like an ORIGINAL Cobra Classics 29 made in the 1970's than the new Cobra Classics are- He claimed the quality was not the same with newer models cobra 29s and the mods were not as easily done, not to mention smaller wattage resistors and other cheaper parts being used. I'm not knocking any owner of a new Cobra 29, all I'm saying is what my CB guy advised me, and he had a shop and knew what he was doing.
So despite the scratches I really wanted to find a way of saving this radio because I knew what it was capable of doing, but installing this full size CB into my sub-compact looked like a challenge. I thought about doing like I did in my S-10, and put the cb bracket on the bottom of the CB and have wood screws hold the bracket straight down on the dash board with a slight tilt to the driver- BUT this was not sturdy in my S-10, the radio would rock back and forth and if I had a wreck it likely would fly right off the dashboard and hurt somebody. And if I used longer screws there was no telling what I might hit underneath the top dashboard- it was too risky, and the front grill of my CB was not pretty to look at anyway....
So, I tried stuffing it between the seats.... well, that was very awkward to use and the speaker was often muffled depending on how one placed it. Finally it came to me tht I had learned all of the knobs and switches so well that I rarely needed to look at the fron of the CB, and it's faceplate was pretty crappy looking. This lead me to prefer an area just below the dash over where the legs hit the pedals, and I have a manual so it had to be clear of my legs. I found the most obvious spot was directly underneath the steering-wheel at the bottom of the dash- BUT I had a little problem. The spot was thin PLASTIC. No way would a couple of wood screws hold long there with that thin plastic, and even using machine screws and nuts, the weight of the cb radio alone could make the plastic brake if I hit a large pot hole. But wait, I had an Idear!!
I decided I would find the most perfect piece of wood and saw it to size so the would could be placed just behind the plastic and the metal bracket could be mounted by 3 inch screws that wear placed through drilled holes through both the plastic dash AND the perfect size piece of wood I used. I cant show you that piece I made, but I will describe it: It was simply a large thick Paint stirrer about the width of a ruler and 1/4" thick. I felt under the dash and discovered there were two pieces of sheet metal at the right side and the left side of the location I planed to mount the wood. I had just the right amount of free space to play with before the sheet metal would foul the install up. I had to use the INSIDE 2 holes of the cb bracket, and the wood was cut to size of the distance between the two inside holes on the chrome bracket. It was a tight fight underneath the dash, the wood was fitted by tightly "wedi-ging" it in between the metal on either side of it, thus it already had enough support to hold to the correct spot long enough to start some starter holes. Basically I was making a sandwich out of the plastic by putting a wood bracket on the inside and a chrome metal bracket on the outside. In the end the CB Bracket used 3" machine screws feed from the inside out, the screw side was resting on the wooden brace and the screws were feed on threw the plastic dash and on into the 2 inside bracket holes and were fitted with gripping washers and nuts. It is now very sturdy and is completely out of my way as I shift gears. I got some elastic jumpers with small hooks on them at a truck stop, I used these to make a place near my center rear view mirror to hang my custom built microphone (See my thread on how I made my best cb mic!) Next I feed the cb antenna coax that was tucked in between chair parts whenever I could and on to the bottom of the back of the driver's seat on to the CB . Latter the rubber mats in back and front completely concealed the coax wire. It's most obvious spot is where the cable is feed through the side of the door- the cox does get bent and it;s a good idea to add some wraps of black electrical tape here to reinforce the wire just a little bit- too much tape is very bad and will impact your rubber molding and how well your door closes, so just a few windings around the area where the door slams on the cable works best for me.
I hope these photos help illustrate what worked for me:
Below shows how out of control my wires are, but there mainnly just an eye sore. I wish this picture would of caught my new 2-speaker box that is mounted to the driver's side sun visor- it really sounds better than even more expensive speakers that I have bought in the past.
This is what a 7 foot high Wilson 5000 likes like on top of a subcompact!
I know this may seem just like logical stuff, and I wish I had taken pictures as I was doing the install and it would be a better post. In any case, I hope this proves that there is no reason one has to limit their cb hardware just because one drives a sub-compact!
Please see my thread about how I built (well, sorta built it) my best Microphone ever. Also, Because of the volume of my stereo, radar detector and my bluetooth cell combo, I decided to mount a set of two small good looking black speakers that work as an external CB speaker wich is mounted very close to my ears on the driver's SUN VISOR!! It cost $15,00 and I advise everyone check one out because they truly sound awesome, and by mounting the speakers near your head so close any important bear reports can be set up to ground everything else out in the car, but only for the driver and not for everyone in the car. It works great, and I hope to next find a way of making these two speakers work separately of each other by having one speaker play the Ext Spk output, and the other speaker be wired to the MIC output (red wire) from the back of the cb, I see no reason it wont work and it wold justify using stereo speakers for a mono audio feed too. -My only fear is bad feedback, so I may need to mount a pot on the talk back speaker and let the other speaker play the Ext output 24/7. -- This project may be another post on here, if it works.