2003 Lincoln LS Stereo System Question


New LVC Member
Sep 25, 2020
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Daytona Beach, Florida
I am having a problem I am hoping you guys can help me with.
I have a 2003 Lincoln LS with 44,000 miles that I have paid a fortune through the years to keep showroom.

My question is regarding the audio system.
A few months ago while we were driving my wife noticed the stereo in the car wasn’t sounding right.
It had the system with the 6 CD changer from the factory.

We took it to a high end audio place in town and the subwoofers had literally disintegrated into powder.

We spent around $2500.00 dollars to have a Kenwood aftermarket head unit put in the car with high end speakers replacing all the ones from the factory.

Everything sounded great until today and we noticed the subs in the back would play for awhile and then cut out. Then later they would come back on.

It is subtle when something like that stops so you don’t really notice, but you really notice when they kick back in.

It seems like the amp runs awhile, overheats and shuts itself down, and after it cools off turns on again until it overheats and repeats the process.
That may not be what is happening but that is what it seems to be doing to me.

We went back to the stereo place we bought and who installed the system today. They believe the factory amp is going out and not the crossover in the new stereo itself and I think they might be right.

If the car sits the sub-woofers will play a few minutes and then stop and then later they will kick in and work awhile and stop again. Also, I no longer hear the thump coming from the sub-woofers when I turn the car on.

The Stereo place told us we needed a Sony Amp to replace the Factory amp at around $600.00 installed. They also told me the amp was in the dash somewhere.

Here is the question.

First, where is the stereo amp in the car and is there a separate amp for the sub-woofers?
The reason I am asking is I had the piece in the trunk that covers the subwoofers off a few weeks ago and I saw a box between the sub-woofers that looked very much like an audio amp. But I had no reason to crawl in the trunk to see what it really was so I forgot it.

Until now that is.
Now I need to know what it really was.
I just don’t want to tear the car apart when it is easier to ask you guys.

Second, the stereo place said there is only one amp that powers everything and it is in the dash.
Is that true?

If not and the factory system came with two amps, one for the sub-woofers and one for the other speakers where is the second amp and how hard is it to get to?

Finally, whether there are one or two amps how hard is it to figure out which aftermarket one would be appropriate and are there harness adapters to make the installation easier?

The point is I keep paying these people and then I have to put the car back together right after I get it back.
If it is a simple procedure to replace the amps ( or a single sub-woofer amp if that is the case ) I would rather do it myself and both save money and use the savings to buy a better amp.

I know they are marking up these amps up dramatically and then soaking me on the installation.
So if it is possible to do it myself I would rather.

I have hooked up plenty of car stereo systems in my life so I am not a novice but I will admit it was in the 70’s.

I just need to know how the factory amps are set up in the car, where they are, and if it would be practical for me to replace them considering we live in a high rise condo and I would have to do it in my Parking Garage.

In other words, I can’t tear the dash apart in our parking garage but I can do reasonable repairs on items relatively easy to get to.

But if that little box in the trunk is an amp for the subwoofers and they are the only things acting up it would be pretty easy to replace that one amp since it is so easy to get to.

If that little amp runs everything and there are harness adapters for an aftermarket amp I could do that as well since getting under the luggage shelf from the trunk is as simple as you could ask for.

I would really appreciate any help on this.
The truth is I just have no idea where the amps are in the car, how they are configured, if there is more than one of them, and how they power the different speakers in the car.

By the way, all the other speakers sound fine, the problem is only with the sub-woofers.

If knowing exactly what the replacement head unit is and the brand and type of speakers they put in would help I have that information.

Thanks again


Dedicated LVC Member
Dec 10, 2005
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On your factory system (since you didn't have THX nav), there was the four channel amp inside the radio/CD changer itself that powered the door speakers, a mono center channel amp for the console speakers (amp under the dash on driver's side) and the mono sub amp which is indeed the small box between the two factory subs under the rear package tray.

I'm sure that the subs that they put in are not 2 ohm subs like the factory ones were. This is why the amp is overheating. No, I'm sure there are no harness adapters for the rear sub amp. However, it's not too difficult to wire in aftermarket.

Yes, they are over charging you.


New LVC Member
Sep 25, 2020
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Daytona Beach, Florida
That makes perfect sense, and yes I knew they were overcharging me which is why I asked for help. What they put in were Kenwood Excelon KFC-X683C speakers which are listed at 3 ohms.
Think that would be enough or could it be the they are just too much speaker for the amp or simply the amp is almost 20 years old?
Doesn't matter, but I am curious.

I am also curious about something else.
What if I did pay someone who is more reasonable to put in a new high quality amp replacing everything original in the audio system, would it sound noticeably better?
In other words, replacing everything and having nothing left of the factory stereo system.
I love the car and am willing to spend the money if I get something worth what I am paying.
For the record, here is what they installed:
1) Kenwood KFC-683 speakers
2) Kenwood XR-100P 6.5 woofer and 1" tweeters.
3) Think they put about the same thing in the back doors
4) Kenwood DDX6906 Head Unit

Total was $1819.65

This included all installation, steering wheel controls working, and making the stereo keep playing when the car is turned off until it times out or the door is opened.

You can tell me I got taken.
I already think so.

But I am 62 with arthritis and there is no way I could have done this installation in a Parking Garage in a high rise condo. Plus, to be honest, I don't have the experience to wire it all up where it would have worked with the factory amp anyway.

But back to the original question.
Would putting a good aftermarket amp and eliminating the factory amps entirely make a noticeable difference in sound quality if I had it done at a reasonable price?

Or is the factory amp they put in it about as good as you can get anyway. I think it is an Alpine.

I can after all, pay Lincoln Mercury to wire an aftermarket sub amp in for me for a reasonable price. They don't like doing it but I have been driving Lincolns for 40 years and they are willing to do anything to keep me happy.
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Active LVC Member
Feb 2, 2020
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A small (300w) 2 ch sub amp for the rear 6x9 subs is more than enough, and as for the door speakers, running another 4 ch amp you won't see much improvement over your already high quality head unit. As for why it cuts out now the 3 ohm subs u used should actually reduce the strain on the amp..but with that head unit I am guessing that the RCA output voltage is much higher than the stock outputs so it may be overloading it from that side. But that's just my guess...the only factory audio gear in my ls is the front center speakers and front amp. I have aftermarket components and amps for everything else...and I still have issues from time to time.

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