Speculation on fixing the audio on the Jaaaag

Illustration for article titled Speculation on fixing the audio on the Jaaaag

With the Jag’s first round of maintenance nearing its conclusion, my thoughts go to the next biggest issue: the audio.

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The Jag’s audio has never been quite right. When I got the car the CD changer was jammed. I disassembled it, lubed everything, and got it all working... for a time.

Then the changer audio started cutting out.

Then the in-dash CD and FM started cutting out too (or maybe they had been the whole time?) This pointed to an issue with the system as a whole so...

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So I bought a junk yard amplifier.

Same problem.

I cracked open the amp, cleaned up all the connections, reflowed some cold jointer, re-applied thermal paste, and put it back in.

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It worked great!

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For a time...

Then the audio started cutting out again.

Then the CD changer jammed.

Then the radio pretty much stopped working completely.

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I replaced the optical harness, thinking that might solve the problem.

It didn’t.

I took the changer back apart, found some damaged wires, put it back together and declared victory (again).

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After a long drive it was back to its old antics PLUS the nav display was starting to get fuzzy.

Static was hard to photograph
Static was hard to photograph
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Then I took the car down for extended maintenance.

So... here is my current thinkings on what could be the problem:

  1. CD Changer repair failed and the CD changer is to blame again. Solution: make a optical harness bypass out of the old, spare harness and see if that solves the problem.
  2. The battery might be weak. Or, rather, the Jag 100% has the wrong battery in it and there exists a possibility that after the battery drains past the relative overcharge from the battery tender the voltage drop or... whatever... is too much for the audio. UNLIKELY, though there is clearly a temporal component to the problem and... well no it doesn’t really make a ton of sense but most voltage related issues don’t. Either way the Jag should have the correct battery, so... Solution: Put the Jag’s battery in the Saab, trade in the Saab’s battery as a core for a new Jag, correctly sized, Jag battery.
  3. The head unit is overheating. I’ve heard this is possible, but I’m not eager to tear apart the car to remove the head unit unless I am absolutely sure I don’t have another option. Solution: Once I do 1 and 2 I don’t have any other options. Pull out the head unit, blow it out with compressed air, and hope that solves it.
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EDIT FOR CLARITY:

There are aftermarket options for this car but they’re... complicated. The audio system is run via an optical network including the link to the amp which then feeds the speakers directly. Additionally most of the climate functions are run through the head unit. Some people have grafted Android single board computers onto the existing electronics, but I haven’t seen a lot of talk about total system replacements. So... possible but not where I’d be looking at this point in time.

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Best photo I have of the whole thing...
Best photo I have of the whole thing...

ADDITIONAL EDIT FOR CLARITY

I value the opinions about swapping out or bypassing the head unit, however part of this for me, an electrical engineer, is the fun of figuring out what is wrong and getting the stock system to work right. I learn nothing if I just throw everything away, but if I can sort out the problem (without toooooo much cost...) then I’ll maybe have learned something and that makes me a happy boy.

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