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help! stereo works when wires are jiggled!

4808 Views 21 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  dutchfrompredator
this is war. had my amp cleaned and put it back in hoping for the best. i was able to get the system working numerous times by holding the wires that go into it at different angles and by jiggling said wires around. i gave up when i couldn't figure out where they needed to be angled. :(
is something loose and if so where? subwoofer and cd player were both working too...what are the usual weak spots in the rear left wiring scheme? any experience would be greatly appreciated. what could cause this? is there a bad connection to the amp? **** it!
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Well, on the bright side, at least you have narrowed down the problem now. Are the connections individual parts? Will you have to replace each wire?
i was lifting and moving the whole clumps of wires that each end in a plastic component connecter. all the connectors looked ok with clean holes. what could be wrong with the harnesses that they only operate when moved around? do they work off one another or could the angle they are routed actually be causing this? why would the cd player be getting sufficient power the whole time this is going on? does the amp receive a signal from somewhere? i'm referring to the wires that come from behind the rear driver side seat after removing the loadspace cover trim work through the body into the applicances. could they be getting pinched somewhere or corroded? where do these stereo wires originate?
Sounds like you need to either find all the LR documentation on this system, or bite the bullet and get an auto electrican on the case.
is this the sort of issue an expert or dealership can establish with testbook, autologic, obdII? will it show as a fault if there's a stereo/power to the devices issue? i'd rather go that route than dig any deeper if it could be revealed by a plug in. :think:
dutchfrompredator said:
is this the sort of issue an expert or dealership can establish with testbook, autologic, obdII? will it show as a fault if there's a stereo/power to the devices issue? i'd rather go that route than dig any deeper if it could be revealed by a plug in. :think:
No. You have a loose connection or wires that are loose in the connectors themselves. Instead of moving the entire harness around yo will need to trace each wire to find the loose end in the connector or find a short in the middle of the harness.
thanks for the reply. god that's going to suck.
Start with checking for sprung /loose connectors. Use a large safety pin to retension the loose connectors. Also look for chaffed, broken or exposed wires.
dutchfrompredator said:
thanks for the reply. god that's going to suck.
Welcome working on British cars. :mrgreen:
yeah, i knew i was due but would have preferred anything other than wiring. i love working on cars but electronics scare me.

It's amazing to find something to work by grabbing some wires. If you think that's good, see what will work after you've given the car a kick in.

The last guy who use to grab his wires blow his becm up. Take a look.


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whoa! thanks for the warning. you know when you're working on your car or anything else and you feel frustration mounting and you want to lash out at that tiny piece or place you can't quite fit your hand? i stopped just before i hit that point. it's gotta be one of the wires or the connectors because i literally got it to work at one point by turning the amp at different angles or holding it upside down. one of those rotten little wires in the bundle is barely making contact with something or is getting pinched or something else that's probably minute and hard to find superficially. i've got to find it though. considering the truck's over 7 years old the electronics are shining in every other regard. it's hard to imagine it being a ground because everything else in that area electrical works great, including the cd player that's been reduced to silence. :(
after looking at the harness routing in rave and having gotten a very close look at my own, i ask, is there a chance a passenger in the rear seat on that side could smoosh the wires over time?
I am pretty confident you still had a bad amp, the water residue proved that. Now you got this. Least you got the hard part out the way. Tracing a bad wire is easier than buying a new amp unit. I would grap a volt meter and see if the amp power wire is powering off. When you "jiggle" the wires are these the one in the back by the amp or in another location?
it's the wiring harness that goes directly into the amp (that plugs into it) in the loadspace behind the furry wall. the one that's bundled and taped together. by moving the whole clump it came on and off and on and off. same when i inverted and twisted it around. how do i know which of the agonizingly small multicolored wires is the actual power wire? i have a hunch one of said wires is the culprit here...
3 ways to find out that i do from best to worse

1. Volt Meter

2. Test light, possible to make your own with a 12v bulb and some electrical tape

3. Speaker popper, this only works if you have an extra speaker laying around you will never use. 12V of power wont hurt it as long as you dont hold it. Ground speaker and use the positive wire to "TAP" each wire, your looking for the pop noise to come out the speaker. Again, remember to tap the wire and not hold it if doing this method. You will be easily able to tell whats a power wire and whats a sound wire. I managed to hardwire and splice an entire stereo system in a BMW 850i by doing this method.
i have a snazzy voltmeter. would i be removing the connector that goes into the amp and individually testing all the wires that go into it? or can i just probe the connector holes to see if power is reaching the plug holes and go from there?
if your volt meter has a thin enough end I would just leave it plug in. then, as im testing each wire I would "jiggle the wires" to see which one is cutting on and off.
wilco. i hope it's something that simple. i spoke to the shop that cleaned the amp and let them know what was going on and they said if i can't find the short or damaged wire they were positive they could get to the bottom of it as they see that all the time. they were very encouraged it was working at different angles. they told me that the connector frequently gets ruined because water rides right down the harness to the connector plug (if there's water contamination) and can easily wreck the connector or destroy the wire. i'm trying the voltmeter first. thanks for the tips.
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