PDA

View Full Version : I'm getting "engine" noise on AM stations in my car...


Coogs
04-28-2005, 01:21 PM
and it drives me nuts!!! It is worse at the lower end of the dial than it is at the high end. Can anyone here tell me what I need to do to fix this problem? Do I need a new antenna? Is it a ground wire problem? My antenna is mounted on ther rear of the car. Is it a problem in the cable between the antenna and the radio?

Thanks in advance.

Donger
04-28-2005, 01:24 PM
and it drives me nuts!!! It is worse at the lower end of the dial than it is at the high end. Can anyone here tell me what I need to do to fix this problem? Do I need a new antenna? Is it a ground wire problem? My antenna is mounted on ther rear of the car. Is it a problem in the cable between the antenna and the radio?

Thanks in advance.

Check the ignition system with a close look at the distributor cap and rotor. If plug wires are old, replace them. If spark plugs are not the resistor type, try replacing them.

Rain Man
04-28-2005, 01:25 PM
It could be worse. I get religious stations in that bandwidth.

Donger
04-28-2005, 01:28 PM
It could be worse. I get religious stations in that bandwidth.

"If ya wanna get in touch with God, turn your radio on!"

If anyone guesses which movie this quote is from, they'll win a prize.

Coogs
04-28-2005, 01:32 PM
Check the ignition system with a close look at the distributor cap and rotor. If plug wires are old, replace them. If spark plugs are not the resistor type, try replacing them.

I'm not real mechanically inclined. I'm guessing all three things could be getting older. My car is 5 years old, and I doubt anything has been replaced. Is this a 3 step process, where I try one thing, and that cures the problem stop? If so, how would I know which one to try first?

Donger
04-28-2005, 01:36 PM
I'm not real mechanically inclined. I'm guessing all three things could be getting older. My car is 5 years old, and I doubt anything has been replaced. Is this a 3 step process, where I try one thing, and that cures the problem stop? If so, how would I know which one to try first?

I have no idea. Google supplied my answer.

Coogs
04-28-2005, 01:36 PM
It could be worse. I get religious stations in that bandwidth.

I can't get 610 and 810 at all. But maybe that is a good thing... :)

Bwana
04-28-2005, 01:43 PM
I'm not real mechanically inclined. I'm guessing all three things could be getting older. My car is 5 years old, and I doubt anything has been replaced. Is this a 3 step process, where I try one thing, and that cures the problem stop? If so, how would I know which one to try first?

How many miles and what kind of car? Is the stereo system factory or aftermarket?

C-Mac
04-28-2005, 01:49 PM
and it drives me nuts!!! It is worse at the lower end of the dial than it is at the high end. Can anyone here tell me what I need to do to fix this problem? Do I need a new antenna? Is it a ground wire problem? My antenna is mounted on ther rear of the car. Is it a problem in the cable between the antenna and the radio?

Thanks in advance.

The doctor is in:D
Coogs, do you have the same problem with the car off?

Coogs
04-28-2005, 01:51 PM
How many miles and what kind of car? Is the stereo system factory or aftermarket?

80,000 miles. I guess if your are going to make me tell... it's a Ford Escort.




Waiting...




for...



the...



laughter...



to...



subside...




OK. It a factory job.

Coogs
04-28-2005, 01:51 PM
The doctor is in:D
Coogs, do you have the same problem with the car off?

No.

philfree
04-28-2005, 01:54 PM
Prolly just a loose ground wire.

PhilFree:arrow:

wutamess
04-28-2005, 01:55 PM
I don't know what's funnier, the question or the honest reply.

C-Mac
04-28-2005, 01:58 PM
No.

OK. Your radio and antenna are obviously fine.
Donger was on the right track because you most likely have a plug wire or wires failing and jumping enough to create a spark. An easy way to pin point it is to find a portable radio, put it on AM, turn it on to anything
if it has an antenna even better and use it like a finding rod. Then just like a Geiger counter, with the engine on, move it about the engine compartment and the portable will get louder the closer you get to the noise source.
:thumb:

CosmicPal
04-28-2005, 01:58 PM
Outer space is trying to contact us through your Ford Escort.

I'd call up a reputable news source like the National Enquirer and let them handle it.

Radar Chief
04-28-2005, 01:58 PM
Itís not your antenna, itís more than likely noise getting on the power line from either the alternator or ignition.

Check the ignition system with a close look at the distributor cap and rotor. If plug wires are old, replace them. If spark plugs are not the resistor type, try replacing them.

These are good steps to follow, although if youíve got a newer vehicle and your not running resister plugs thatís a huge mistake since it can cause damage to the injection/ignition computer.
If these steps donít work, try running a ground from a good clean portion of the vehicleís body to the radioís body, the closer you can get to the battery with this ground the better.
If nothing else works, you can get a noise filter from Radio Shack and put it in series in the power line as close as you can place it to your radio.
Hope this helps.

Coogs
04-28-2005, 02:03 PM
OK. Your radio and antenna are obviously fine.
Donger was on the right track because you most likely have a plug wire or wires failing and jumping enough to create a spark. An easy way to pin point it is to find a portable radio, put it on AM, turn it on to anything
if it has an antenna even better and use it like a finding rod. Then just like a Geiger counter, with the engine on, move it about the engine compartment and the portable will get louder the closer you get to the noise source.
:thumb:

Cool! I think I can do that! :thumb:

Bwana
04-28-2005, 02:08 PM
Itís not your antenna, itís more than likely noise getting on the power line from either the alternator or ignition.



These are good steps to follow, although if youíve got a newer vehicle and your not running resister plugs thatís a huge mistake since it can cause damage to the injection/ignition computer.
If these steps donít work, try running a ground from a good clean portion of the vehicleís body to the radioís body, the closer you can get to the battery with this ground the better.
If nothing else works, you can get a noise filter from Radio Shack and put it in series in the power line as close as you can place it to your radio.
Hope this helps.
Indeed, If it wasn't doing it before resister plugs are not the answer. Hey coogs, you are due for new wires and plugs and the cap and rotor anyway. Do that and see if it heals itself.

Coogs
04-28-2005, 02:14 PM
Indeed, If it wasn't doing it before resister plugs are not the answer. Hey coogs, you are due for new wires and plugs adn the cap and rotor anyway. Do that and see if it heals itself.

All right. I'll give it a try!

Simplex3
04-28-2005, 02:18 PM
Could just be in the radio. I used to do consumer electronics repair and the mid 90's Ford factory radios were s**t. They would constantly blow out the faceplates, but they also had a nasty tendency to blow grounds internally. If the receiver in the radio blew a ground that could make it more succeptible to interference. Try the portable radio deal, the s**ttier the better. A $15 walkman would be perfect. If that performs Ok then what you need is this:

http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Phase-Linear-In-Dash-CD-Player-PCD120U-/sem/rpsm/oid/120001/rpem/ccd/productDetail.do

...or some other POS. You are in luck that most Fraud's through that period used a standard DIN mount for the radio so a standard one will likely fit right in the hole. Buy yourself a wiring harness and any monkey can intall it and you'll be able to pull it with ease and swap back in the stock unit if you sell the car.

http://www.circuitcity.com/rpsm/catOid/-13118/N/20013088+20013100+20013105+20013118/link/ref/rpem/ccd/categorylist.do

C-Mac
04-28-2005, 02:21 PM
Hey coogs, you are due for new wires and plugs and the cap and rotor anyway. Do that and see if it heals itself.

Yes, that would fix it, but for the poor man, his problem could be as simple as a lose plug wire. Most likely ones loose or one's laying on the ole manifold.
Another way to check is open the hood in total darkness and look for lightning bugs.

C-Mac
04-28-2005, 02:22 PM
Could just be in the radio. I used to do consumer electronics repair and the mid 90's Ford factory radios were s**t. They would constantly blow out the faceplates, but they also had a nasty tendency to blow grounds internally. If the receiver in the radio blew a ground that could make it more succeptible to interference. Try the portable radio deal, the s**ttier the better. A $15 walkman would be perfect. If that performs Ok then what you need is this:

http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Phase-Linear-In-Dash-CD-Player-PCD120U-/sem/rpsm/oid/120001/rpem/ccd/productDetail.do

...or some other POS. You are in luck that most Fraud's through that period used a standard DIN mount for the radio so a standard one will likely fit right in the hole. Buy yourself a wiring harness and any monkey can intall it and you'll be able to pull it with ease and swap back in the stock unit if you sell the car.

http://www.circuitcity.com/rpsm/catOid/-13118/N/20013088+20013100+20013105+20013118/link/ref/rpem/ccd/categorylist.do

Works fine with the car off, so its definitely an ignition issue.
I hear on the old Ford faceplates, especially the ones with the toggle volume. Use to replace them for $150 a pop.

Coogs
04-28-2005, 02:28 PM
Yes, that would fix it, but for the poor man, his problem could be as simple as a lose plug wire. Most likely ones loose or one's laying on the ole manifold.
Another way to check is open the hood in total darkness and look for lightning bugs.

I don't know if this means anything, but the noise gets a little worse when I push down on the accelerator, and eases off a little when I let off. :shrug:

Simplex3
04-28-2005, 02:28 PM
Works fine with the car off, definetly an ignition issue.
Not necissarily. Just because a radio works Ok with no source of interference doesn't mean it doesn't have issues, especially a car radio.

Think about unshielded speakers (your engine) and a TV. If you move the speakers near the TV the picture gets all screwed up. Does that mean you have a speaker problem? No, the speakers are working as advertised and so is the TV.

In the case of a car radio they need better shielding precisely because they're going to be in the dash 3ft from that massive interference generator known as your engine.

Simplex3
04-28-2005, 02:30 PM
I don't know if this means anything, but the noise gets a little worse when I push down on the accelerator, and eases off a little when I let off. :shrug:
When the engine revs the amount of interference generated increases. That really doesn't tell you anything other than it is the engine that's the source. Still doesn't tell you WHY the interference that the engine puts out is suddenly a problem.

Has this issue been building over time or did it just show up one day when you climbed in the car?

Saulbadguy
04-28-2005, 02:31 PM
I have the same problem. It started when I got a new fancy-schmancy stereo, an amp, and new speakers. I just never bothered to fix it, because I don't listen to AM radio very much.

However...if replacing the spark plug wires would fix it, that would be nice.

C-Mac
04-28-2005, 02:31 PM
I don't know if this means anything, but the noise gets a little worse when I push down on the accelerator, and eases off a little when I let off. :shrug:

Yes, you are increasing the amount of the ignition spark as the engine rev's.
Im telling you, just grab your portable or wait till night and you will find the culprit.

Frosty
04-28-2005, 02:33 PM
I have the same problem. It started when I got a new fancy-schmancy stereo, an amp, and new speakers. I just never bothered to fix it, because I don't listen to AM radio very much.

However...if replacing the spark plug wires would fix it, that would be nice.

Aftermarket system is probably a ground loop, especially if you get a whine.

Coogs
04-28-2005, 02:35 PM
When the engine revs the amount of interference generated increases. That really doesn't tell you anything other than it is the engine that's the source. Still doesn't tell you WHY the interference that the engine puts out is suddenly a problem.

Has this issue been building over time or did it just show up one day when you climbed in the car?

It was this way when I bought it. Had it about 8 months. It's my "second" vehicle. Getting ready to make a few solo 3 to 4 hour drives, and like to listen to ESPN radio.

Otherwise, I usually have my 15 year old daughter with me. Usually have to listen to her music selections... :)

Simplex3
04-28-2005, 02:36 PM
I have the same problem. It started when I got a new fancy-schmancy stereo, an amp, and new speakers. I just never bothered to fix it, because I don't listen to AM radio very much.

However...if replacing the spark plug wires would fix it, that would be nice.

You probably have a bigger issue. Where is the amp in the car? A lot of time they put the amp in the trunk but the monkeys operating at Worst Buy, etc. don't bother to run the low-voltage cables away from the car's electrical wiring. If your RCA cables are running down the same side of the car with the amp's power wiring (they could very well be taped together) you're just begging for issues.

We used to have to go to great lengths making sure to keep signal wires (typically RCA cables) away from power.

Another rookie mistake is the guy that runs the ground wire from the trunk back to the battery. You should ground it to the chasis, the closer to the amp the better. Also make sure you grind the paint off and use a ring connector so you get plenty of surface contact.

C-Mac
04-28-2005, 02:36 PM
Not necissarily. Just because a radio works Ok with no source of interference doesn't mean it doesn't have issues, especially a car radio.

Think about unshielded speakers (your engine) and a TV. If you move the speakers near the TV the picture gets all screwed up. Does that mean you have a speaker problem? No, the speakers are working as advertised and so is the TV.

In the case of a car radio they need better shielding precisely because they're going to be in the dash 3ft from that massive interference generator known as your engine.

Yes, but understand that the radio was fine then the issue came all of a sudden.
Any jumping ignition spark will effect any AM radio reception...... new or old. It can even effect the cars next to you using AM.

Saulbadguy
04-28-2005, 02:38 PM
You probably have a bigger issue. Where is the amp in the car? A lot of time they put the amp in the trunk but the monkeys operating at Worst Buy, etc. don't bother to run the low-voltage cables away from the car's electrical wiring. If your RCA cables are running down the same side of the car with the amp's power wiring (they could very well be taped together) you're just begging for issues.

We used to have to go to great lengths making sure to keep signal wires (typically RCA cables) away from power.

Another rookie mistake is the guy that runs the ground wire from the trunk back to the battery. You should ground it to the chasis, the closer to the amp the better. Also make sure you grind the paint off and use a ring connector so you get plenty of surface contact.
Amp is in the trunk. I'm not sure how its ran, to be honest. I'll check it out some day...

C-Mac
04-28-2005, 02:41 PM
I have the same problem. It started when I got a new fancy-schmancy stereo, an amp, and new speakers. I just never bothered to fix it, because I don't listen to AM radio very much.

However...if replacing the spark plug wires would fix it, that would be nice.

Is it a whine or a ticking noise that your dealing with?

Saulbadguy
04-28-2005, 02:42 PM
Is it a whine or a ticking noise that your dealing with?
Engine noise. When I turn on the AM, it sounds like I have a crotch rocket in my car. The engine revving noise eminates throughout my speakers. Its actually kinda funny.

Bwana
04-28-2005, 02:42 PM
If you want to try to get off at a reasonable price, go to Fast Eddies auto parts, and get a set of wires to start with. That would be my first choice and best guess with my Miss Cleo like internet Mr. Goodwrench skills. As Cmac said, also make sure the wires are all on tight. Also, if you do the night time garage technique, if the door is closed, make sure not to hang around to long or it will be lights out dirt nap time.

HemiEd
04-28-2005, 02:43 PM
Here is a real easy way to check the spark jumping from old tired ignition wires. Get in a real dark environment, not even the moon light, watch with the engine running. You will probably see all kinds of stray sparks flying around. High tension wires break down after a while, that is why they need to be changed. This is the same thing that C-Mac was describing with the transistor radio.

Saulbadguy
04-28-2005, 02:45 PM
I just hit the 77k Mile mark on my Nissan. I don't think the spark plug wires have ever been changed.

C-Mac
04-28-2005, 02:47 PM
Here is a real easy way to check the spark jumping from old tired ignition wires. Get in a real dark environment, not even the moon light, watch with the engine running. You will probably see all kinds of stray sparks flying around. High tension wires break down after a while, that is why they need to be changed. This is the same thing that C-Mac was describing with the transistor radio.

Yes like was mentioned in post #21
:p

Simplex3
04-28-2005, 02:47 PM
Yes, but understand that the radio was fine then the issue came all of a sudden.
Any jumping ignition spark will effect any AM radio reception...... new or old. It can even effect the cars next to you using AM.
He said it was like this when he got the car. Also, ground wires in radios don't blow over time, it is sudden.

All I'm saying is to try another cheap radio, like a walkman, in the car before he replaces the engine.

C-Mac
04-28-2005, 02:49 PM
Engine noise. When I turn on the AM, it sounds like I have a crotch rocket in my car. The engine revving noise eminates throughout my speakers. Its actually kinda funny.

So your only noise is when its on AM correct?

Bwana
04-28-2005, 02:49 PM
Yeah, and if all this free Mr. Goodwrench advise doesn't work, TRADE IT IN! :)

Saulbadguy
04-28-2005, 02:50 PM
So your only noise is when its on AM correct?
Correct. No noise at all when on FM, XM :p , or CD.

C-Mac
04-28-2005, 02:53 PM
He said it was like this when he got the car. Also, ground wires in radios don't blow over time, it is sudden.

All I'm saying is to try another cheap radio, like a walkman, in the car before he replaces the engine.

Yes, your right, I read a response and got the wrong information about the timing.
All I'm saying is just the same, before he spends any money, he should use a portable radio for locating or wait till night and look under the hood. 99 times out of 100, its just a spark plug wire issue.

HemiEd
04-28-2005, 02:55 PM
Yes like was mentioned in post #21
:p

OOOPs, sorry, I missed it. :banghead:

C-Mac
04-28-2005, 02:59 PM
Correct. No noise at all when on FM, XM :p , or CD.
Then again its most likely just an ignition issue, guessing a bad or loose plug wire.

Radar Chief
04-28-2005, 03:02 PM
Then again its most likely just an ignition issue, guessing a bad or loose plug wire.

Heís probably just low on Frequency Grease.
Bad thing is heís gonna have to remove the Header Bearing to get at the Carburetor Dip Stick and refill it. ;)

C-Mac
04-28-2005, 03:14 PM
Heís probably just low on Frequency Grease.
Bad thing is heís gonna have to remove the Header Bearing to get at the Carburetor Dip Stick and refill it. ;)

He wouldnt actually have to remove the Header Bearing, he could just losen it enough to slide it over. You risk breaking the bearing isosilator each time its removed.

Saulbadguy
04-28-2005, 03:17 PM
Heís probably just low on Frequency Grease.
Bad thing is heís gonna have to remove the Header Bearing to get at the Carburetor Dip Stick and refill it. ;)
You sonovabitch... :p

Bwana
04-28-2005, 03:18 PM
He wouldnt actually have to remove the Header Bearing, he could just losen it enough to slide it over. You risk breaking the bearing isosilator each time its removed.

True, but you risk breaking the blinker fluid container if you don't watch what you're doing. And we just can't have that. :hmmm:

tomahawk kid
04-28-2005, 03:18 PM
Could be 810's fault.

I can't say anything for sure since I can't hear the noise, but I would stop off at their station and kick the living sh!t out of Kietzman just to be sure its not the problem.

HemiEd
04-28-2005, 03:39 PM
True, but you risk breaking the blinker fluid container if you don't watch what you're doing. And we just can't have that. :hmmm:


I seem to remember something about those Escorts having a recall on the Muffler injectors.

Rain Man
04-28-2005, 03:42 PM
Man, I wish I knew half as much about cars as you guys.

Bwana
04-28-2005, 03:43 PM
I seem to remember something about those Escorts having a recall on the Muffler injectors.

It was either that or the muffler bearings, I can't remember which. :shrug:

C-Mac
04-28-2005, 04:23 PM
True, but you risk breaking the blinker fluid container if you don't watch what you're doing. And we just can't have that. :hmmm:

Good point except I thought they had a recall on blinker fluid reservoir's of that year of Escort too. The replacements are made of high titanoriliam metal so there basically unbreakable...I think its the same stuff they make "black boxes" out of.
One does need to be careful not to disturb the fuel resistor valves, they are a bear to re-adjust.

StcChief
04-28-2005, 05:26 PM
resistor plugs or bad/loose plug wires

Skip Towne
04-28-2005, 05:44 PM
20,000 comedians out of work and these clowns are trying to be funny. A Ford Escort with 80,000 miles on it is nearly done anyway. Do yourself a huge favor and trade it while it is still running. I guarantee it will dollar you to death shortly.

dtebbe
04-28-2005, 06:40 PM
resistor plugs or bad/loose plug wires

This is it 99% of the time, especially if the noise goes up/down with rpm and sounds a little "raspy". If you car has it, also check the distributor cap/rotor, sometimes arcing in there can cause it too. I have also seen a bad antenna ground or broken antenna cable shield cause the problem.

DT

KC Jones
04-28-2005, 08:04 PM
I have no idea. Google supplied my answer.

All hail google - font of all knowledge, index of the universe :wayne:

mounged
04-29-2005, 05:30 AM
I have an 1987 Beretta with over 250,000 miles and all I can get is 810 during the day and nothing at night when I wait for my daughter to get off work.

C-Mac
04-29-2005, 06:40 AM
I have an 1987 Beretta with over 250,000 miles and all I can get is 810 during the day and nothing at night when I wait for my daughter to get off work.

Many AM stations power down after their "prime time" thus causing the loss at nite.
Antenna reception issue most likely, it can be caused by several things causing a weakness between the radio and the antenna.