2012 Navigator Radio Popping

Chackett

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Hey All-

It seems like there are some known issues with the radio, or maybe specifically the THX amp. Mine started to fail about a year ago. It would click and hiss and pop (video below). Eventually it got so terrible I had to disconnect everything. During the course of my trying to diagnose the problem, I ordered a second head unit and now a second amp.

Here is the video of the original amplifier failing:


You can hear the static and all .. unfortunately I didn't turn on the radio, but it would either sound relatively normal under the static and popping, or all channels would be out except the front center.

I think you can hear the original amp fail in that way here:


I ordered a new (new to me) amp from 1factoryradio.com (bought on ebay). It failed also, but in a slightly different way. Here is a video of that:


The 1FactoryRadio people were very polite and agreeable with their willingness to take their amp back and offer a refund. Someone there suggested they had seen something like this before and suggested it was potentially a short in a speaker wire. Searching for a wiring diagram is what led me here.

Seems like there are at least a couple people here who are very knowledgable about the radio systems in this vehicle. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions? I'd sure love to just go back to stock / OE on this .. it all worked and sounded so great with navigation, hands free, bluetooth, etc. But I'm getting a little frustrated with not being able to get to the bottom of this. I've been without a radio in my car for over a year now. Starting to get a little old!

Thanks!
Chris
 

AmsterDutch

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Hey All-

It seems like there are some known issues with the radio, or maybe specifically the THX amp. Mine started to fail about a year ago. It would click and hiss and pop (video below). Eventually it got so terrible I had to disconnect everything. During the course of my trying to diagnose the problem, I ordered a second head unit and now a second amp.

Here is the video of the original amplifier failing:


You can hear the static and all .. unfortunately I didn't turn on the radio, but it would either sound relatively normal under the static and popping, or all channels would be out except the front center.

I think you can hear the original amp fail in that way here:


I ordered a new (new to me) amp from 1factoryradio.com (bought on ebay). It failed also, but in a slightly different way. Here is a video of that:


The 1FactoryRadio people were very polite and agreeable with their willingness to take their amp back and offer a refund. Someone there suggested they had seen something like this before and suggested it was potentially a short in a speaker wire. Searching for a wiring diagram is what led me here.

Seems like there are at least a couple people here who are very knowledgable about the radio systems in this vehicle. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions? I'd sure love to just go back to stock / OE on this .. it all worked and sounded so great with navigation, hands free, bluetooth, etc. But I'm getting a little frustrated with not being able to get to the bottom of this. I've been without a radio in my car for over a year now. Starting to get a little old!

Thanks!
Chris
If I remember right the amp has a layer of foam inside that is supposed to keep firm pressure between the back of the circuit board, however if it gets all worn away you need to replaced the foam and clean everything up in there....also this is typically the DSP (digital signal processor) or the ACM (audio control module.....Amplifier)
Use of Dealer Scan Tool or equal is needed to Test, Program and Update
apprx 1 hour labor to try and pinpoint
Lincoln had some old Tech Bulletins about this issue, but it seems they have been taken down
 
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AmsterDutch

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FWIW ....the new amp might have to be programed to work...you might not want to know the price
 

Chackett

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If I remember right the amp has a layer of foam inside that is supposed to keep firm pressure between the back of the circuit board, however if it gets all worn away you need to replaced the foam and clean everything up in there....also this is typically the DSP (digital signal processor) or the ACM (audio control module.....Amplifier)
Use of Dealer Scan Tool or equal is needed to Test, Program and Update
apprx 1 hour labor to try and pinpoint
Lincoln had some old Tech Bulletins about this issue, but it seems they have been taken down
Awesome .. thanks for the information. I did open it up once to take a look. I was quickly overwhelmed just looking at it, so I put it back together and just started my quest for a new one.

I'll go take another look now .. thanks!

Just saw your other message about the programming. I have forscan and the OBDlinxEX .. do you have any idea if the programming is available there? I'll poke around.
 

DaleGrib

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FWIW ....the new amp might have to be programed to work...you might not want to know the price

I just replaced one in my wife's car and I used ford IDS and never could see a place to program it so I am pretty sure the amp just ends up being plug and play. Also did a deep scan! It should let you know quickly if it was not programmed.
 
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Chackett

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Alright. Here is an update. Again, I'll try to be brief.

I removed the original amp and returned the one I bought from 1FactoryRadio.com They were very easy to work with on the return.

I decided to open the thing up and at least take a second look around. Here are some photos:

IMG_20210109_152624642.jpg
Forgive me for not knowing the names of all these components. But in the above photo, you can see a row of capacitors, then a row of something brown and rectangular, and above that is a row of the ic amplifiers (I looked up the part number). There are 8 of them and the one on the far right looks a little discolored.
IMG_20210109_152632950.jpg
This photo is the underside of the circuit board pictured above. You can see 8 rectangular gold spaces on the underside of the circuit board, that correspond to 8 raised dimples in the metal housing for the amp. I am guessing this is the point of contact that AmsterDutch was referring to. You can see there is a worn place in the gold rectangle where it makes contact with the metal housing. I can only assume this is some sort of grounding mechanism. Either way, again, you can see the one on the far right is the most worn / obvious. Really not sure what to make of that, if anything.
IMG_20210109_152724217.jpg
THis is another view of the top of the circuit board as well as the underside of the top of the case / housing of the amp. I believe the top is the primary heatsink and this pinkish foam is some sort of thermal foam or something. You may have to expand the photo, but hopefully you can see that this foam matches up with 4 of the components toward the top of the board and then also with all 8 of the amplifier chips. Once again, the one on the far right looks a little wonky.
IMG_20210109_152731562.jpg

Finally just another view of the top of the circuit board along with the underside of the top of the amplifier.

Anyhoo .. I guess there's really nothing new to report other than the amp from 1FactoryRadio.com didn't work, and this is what the inside of my amp looks like. I didn't open the one from 1FactoryRadio as there was a warranty tape on the housing, and since they were so agreeable and easy to work with, I really didn't want to push my luck by opening their unit up to look at it before I returned it.

I guess I'll either continue to keep an eye out for a new one or send this off to United Radio for repair. They do free diagnostics and if there's nothing wrong there's no charge, but if they find something wrong they'll repair it and warranty it for 1 year for $300.

I wish I had desoldering tools / equipment since the IC Amplifier that is discolored / different above can be purhcased on eBay or Amazon.com for about $4.00 But I tried to desolder something once and it was a total disaster. haha

Thanks all!
Chris
 

DaleGrib

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I do wonder if a bad speaker does mess the amp up. My wife's MKZ has a few speakers that seem to be busted after replacing the amp. Or maybe the other way around the amp messes up the speakers. I can't say though as we are not the original owner of the car. But so far even with the few messed up speakers the current amp seems to be working as it should. I was planning to order the wire harness adaptor that goes from OEM speaker to aftermarket so it's nice and clean and then was gonna replace all the door speakers for her. But if this amp goes bad in the meantime I will let you all know on this thread.
 

Chackett

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I do wonder if a bad speaker does mess the amp up. My wife's MKZ has a few speakers that seem to be busted after replacing the amp. Or maybe the other way around the amp messes up the speakers. I can't say though as we are not the original owner of the car. But so far even with the few messed up speakers the current amp seems to be working as it should. I was planning to order the wire harness adaptor that goes from OEM speaker to aftermarket so it's nice and clean and then was gonna replace all the door speakers for her. But if this amp goes bad in the meantime I will let you all know on this thread.

Thanks .. I can definitely appreciate that it could still be something related to a short in a speaker somewhere. Since I really don't KNOW what is wrong, I can't really say for sure what the problem ISN'T. That said, there are a few things that would make me question that the problem is with a speaker. Mostly that the problem is not isolated to a speaker (or even set of speakers), but throughout the whole system. Second, the 'source' of the static seems to originate from somewhere other than the speakers, since they misbehave even when the radio is off. Only criteria for the problem to occur seems to be power to the amplifier.

I don't know .. like I said .. at this point, I'm inclined to send the unit along with $300 to United Radio and then I can either have it fixed once and for all (and hopefully get an actual legiti answer as to what failed) .. or forget it and just resign myself to no radio :) haha
 

DaleGrib

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Thanks .. I can definitely appreciate that it could still be something related to a short in a speaker somewhere. Since I really don't KNOW what is wrong, I can't really say for sure what the problem ISN'T. That said, there are a few things that would make me question that the problem is with a speaker. Mostly that the problem is not isolated to a speaker (or even set of speakers), but throughout the whole system. Second, the 'source' of the static seems to originate from somewhere other than the speakers, since they misbehave even when the radio is off. Only criteria for the problem to occur seems to be power to the amplifier.

I don't know .. like I said .. at this point, I'm inclined to send the unit along with $300 to United Radio and then I can either have it fixed once and for all (and hopefully get an actual legiti answer as to what failed) .. or forget it and just resign myself to no radio :) haha

Yeah because even if you turn the dang radio off with a bad amp you will get that static all over the place still. It does make you think it is something else! I know it about drove my wife crazy driving around that way for about a month. It literally started the night she got the car.
 

AmsterDutch

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Alright. Here is an update. Again, I'll try to be brief.

I removed the original amp and returned the one I bought from 1FactoryRadio.com They were very easy to work with on the return.

I decided to open the thing up and at least take a second look around. Here are some photos:

View attachment 828575148 Forgive me for not knowing the names of all these components. But in the above photo, you can see a row of capacitors, then a row of something brown and rectangular, and above that is a row of the ic amplifiers (I looked up the part number). There are 8 of them and the one on the far right looks a little discolored. View attachment 828575149 This photo is the underside of the circuit board pictured above. You can see 8 rectangular gold spaces on the underside of the circuit board, that correspond to 8 raised dimples in the metal housing for the amp. I am guessing this is the point of contact that AmsterDutch was referring to. You can see there is a worn place in the gold rectangle where it makes contact with the metal housing. I can only assume this is some sort of grounding mechanism. Either way, again, you can see the one on the far right is the most worn / obvious. Really not sure what to make of that, if anything. View attachment 828575150 THis is another view of the top of the circuit board as well as the underside of the top of the case / housing of the amp. I believe the top is the primary heatsink and this pinkish foam is some sort of thermal foam or something. You may have to expand the photo, but hopefully you can see that this foam matches up with 4 of the components toward the top of the board and then also with all 8 of the amplifier chips. Once again, the one on the far right looks a little wonky. View attachment 828575151
Finally just another view of the top of the circuit board along with the underside of the top of the amplifier.

Anyhoo .. I guess there's really nothing new to report other than the amp from 1FactoryRadio.com didn't work, and this is what the inside of my amp looks like. I didn't open the one from 1FactoryRadio as there was a warranty tape on the housing, and since they were so agreeable and easy to work with, I really didn't want to push my luck by opening their unit up to look at it before I returned it.

I guess I'll either continue to keep an eye out for a new one or send this off to United Radio for repair. They do free diagnostics and if there's nothing wrong there's no charge, but if they find something wrong they'll repair it and warranty it for 1 year for $300.

I wish I had desoldering tools / equipment since the IC Amplifier that is discolored / different above can be purhcased on eBay or Amazon.com for about $4.00 But I tried to desolder something once and it was a total disaster. haha

Thanks all!
Chris
Unless you buy the right products and know what to buy as far as quality brands you're best off just sending it to a professional...Note even professionals who solder for a living can struggle desoldering components on a PCB
 

joegr

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.... I can only assume this is some sort of grounding mechanism. ...

Nope. That's for heat transfer to keep the chips cool. That "rubber" stuff is a heat transfer pad. It needs to make good clean contact and be under slight compression.
 

UncleBuck64

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Yeah because even if you turn the dang radio off with a bad amp you will get that static all over the place still. It does make you think it is something else! I know it about drove my wife crazy driving around that way for about a month. It literally started the night she got the car.
Hey Dale = I'm in the same boat with 2012 Navigator - driving my wife crazy - had to pull it / unplug it / and put it back in unplugged for now -- thinking maybe pull amp and send it to United Radio for repair as well - free diagnostic sounds good and $300 to repair if it is a problem is cheaper than head end unit and I don't think a new head end unit is the issue -- I'm convinced it's the amplifier??

David
 

DaleGrib

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Hey Dale = I'm in the same boat with 2012 Navigator - driving my wife crazy - had to pull it / unplug it / and put it back in unplugged for now -- thinking maybe pull amp and send it to United Radio for repair as well - free diagnostic sounds good and $300 to repair if it is a problem is cheaper than head end unit and I don't think a new head end unit is the issue -- I'm convinced it's the amplifier??

David
There is a good chance it's the amp yeah. But I have seen some say around the web sometimes it's another issue that causes the amp to fail in the first place. We have not had any more issues with it since we replaced it so time will tell I guess.
 
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