Get this Mother^$(*ing Thump out of my Mother$*(#ing car!
August 29, 2006 8:49 PM   Subscribe

Very strange electrical noise getting into radio on newly imported 1997 JDM Toyota Tercel hatchback. Radio replacement is imminent, but there's

So I bought this car, without checking to see if the radio worked, because I'd planned to replace the radio anyway (Japan's FM spectrum is 70-90 MHz, New Zealand's is the more normal 88-108, so even if it were working, the original Japanese radio would only get 2-3 stations).

A couple of days after I bought the car, I turned on the radio for the first time, and was greeted by very strange noises.

The noise is a repeating "Thump Thump Thump", that comes out of both speakers when the stereo is turned on. It doesn't matter what the volume knob is set to, it doesn't matter where the fader/balance knobs are set, it comes out of both speakers at the same volume (fairly loud, but not eardrum-shattering)

I'm hoping that this is just a bad amplifier in the stock unit, and that the replacement radio that I've got ordered will take care of this, but I'm concerned that it may be indicative of some other kind of electrical problem in the car.

I'm wondering if anyone else has heard similar noises from their Toyota, or has any further insight on this. Anyone?
posted by toxic to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
Do you have a cell phone with you when this happens? I've noticed that speakers in the car, home and office make strange sounds when brought in close proximity to a cell phone. It sounds like a distorted telegraph signal. This sound seems to happen at random times.

(I know that it's not a cell phone, it is a quad-band GSM phone. I've been saying "cell phone" since 1980-something and I'm sticking with it.)
posted by SteveTheRed at 11:14 PM on August 29, 2006

Nope, this is not cell/GSM phone interference.
posted by toxic at 4:33 AM on August 30, 2006

Does it make this noise when you move the car? When the engine's off? Are you parked near, or inside, an MRI machine?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:18 AM on August 30, 2006

I have a had a very similar problem in my 99 Miata; it has only happened a few times, though, and is always fixed by turning the radio off and on. Does it happen to you every time you turn on the radio? In my case it appears to be a strictly radiocentric problem.
posted by TedW at 6:29 AM on August 30, 2006

The problem was indeed radio-centric, and my have had something to do with some of the uninsulated wiring behind the dash. There were remanants of wiring for an external amplifier which probably existed before I purchased the car.

Replacing the head-unit and actually doing a decent job connecting everything made the problem go away.
posted by toxic at 10:19 PM on September 5, 2006

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