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Old 05-01-2016, 08:10 PM   #1
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Buzz / Noise Coming Through Speakers

The car is a 2002 GT convertible. It has the factory Mach 460 system with a Kenwood head. Everything in the car with the exception of the head unit is stock.

The problem is not constant. In fact, today is the first occurrence of the noise. I am getting a buzzing noise while the engine is running. The noise is not affected by the volume of the stereo when the engine is running. The noise itself has a consistent tone despite engine speed. If I turn the stereo off, or to standby, the noise quits.

If the stereo is on while the car is not running (with the volume all the way down) I get a very faint noise that can only be heard if I put my ear to the lower speaker on the front door.

When the noise happened this morning I had no idea what it was. I couldn't tell if it was stereo related or something in the engine or drive train. I put the stereo on standby to listen and it was instantly gone. On my drive home there were no abnormal stereo noises.

The noise showed itself again this evening. That is when I was able to find the little information I have now.

I have only experienced this type of problem one other time in my life. I owned a 71 Chevelle that had cheap spark plug wires. Of course that noise increased with engine RPM. The Mustang's noise is not affected by RPM.

What should I look for, and how can I investigate my problem?

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Old 05-02-2016, 08:38 AM   #2
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Do you still have the factory stereo? I'd try swapping em out if so to eliminate the aftermarket head unit. I'd move on to any amplifiers to eliminate them. Then I'd go to the fun part of checking wiring...

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Old 05-02-2016, 09:27 AM   #3
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Do you still have the factory stereo? I'd try swapping em out if so to eliminate the aftermarket head unit. I'd move on to any amplifiers to eliminate them. Then I'd go to the fun part of checking wiring...

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No, I don't have the the original head. Unlike most, I would like to find an original head unit.

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Old 05-02-2016, 10:05 AM   #4
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if only one spkr swap it with other side, that will tell you if it's the spkr, next I would swap at the head unit the wires to that spkr with it's mate, that will tell you if it's the wire...after that it's prob the head unit.

w/o insulting use your same ear to test each side most folks hear better with one ear also is your balance/fader adjusted way off.
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Old 05-02-2016, 12:35 PM   #5
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I have a 2015 GT Premium w/PP and I can also hear a faint beeping sound in the background. I haven't paid close attention as to when and the circumstances in which I hear it except to say that when I turn the radio off I can't hear it. I once had a '77 Buick LeSabre that had a similar problem and I believe the problem was in the wiring. Guess I'd better start paying closer attention as to whether it is all stations or just one.
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Old 05-02-2016, 12:47 PM   #6
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if only one spkr swap it with other side, that will tell you if it's the spkr, next I would swap at the head unit the wires to that spkr with it's mate, that will tell you if it's the wire...after that it's prob the head unit.

w/o insulting use your same ear to test each side most folks hear better with one ear also is your balance/fader adjusted way off.
You're not insulting me. I work in the music industry as a producer, engineer, and session artist. I built and wired my studio. That said; I understand sound and sound equipment, but automotive, 12v systems are different in some respect. There is a lot I do not know. There are ideas I have not considered. I have a lot to learn in everything I do.

The day I think I know it all is the day I need to quit. At that point I will be useless as technology and knowledge increases.

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Old 05-02-2016, 12:49 PM   #7
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I have been driving the car for most of the day. I have not had the sound reoccur.

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Old 05-02-2016, 01:14 PM   #8
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don't ya love intermittent problems?
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Old 05-02-2016, 02:19 PM   #9
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don't ya love intermittent problems?
They always happen when you can't do anything about it.

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Old 05-05-2016, 02:37 PM   #10
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The noise came back with a vengeance. I had time to investigate the noise, but I have no idea what the cause could be.

The noise DOES change in pitch with the RPM of the engine. The noise is coming through both speakers in the front. I did not think to fade the stereo to the rear, so I cannot be positive that I have the noise in every speaker, but I think it is safe to assume I do.

The noise almost sounds like it is imitating the bad bearing I have in the clutch or transmission. It sounds like an obnoxiously loud supercharger. Even more strange is that it pushes the music into the background.

This happens with every selection; tuner, Bluetooth, CD, auxiliary, etc. If there is a setting that broadcasts music the noise comes through.

The noise quits in standby mode, and if course when the head unit is off.

What can I look for now? I'm not even sure where to try and begin.

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Old 05-05-2016, 02:52 PM   #11
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You mentioned this only happens when the engine is running... So the sound does not occur when you are running on battery? If so, is your alternator healthy? Sounds like it might be sending too much current to its peripheral connections, causing your buzzing noise.
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Old 05-05-2016, 02:57 PM   #12
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You mentioned this only happens when the engine is running... So the sound does not occur when you are running on battery? If so, is your alternator healthy? Sounds like it might be sending too much current to its peripheral connections, causing your buzzing noise.
The noise does persist if the engine is not running, but it is barely audible.

With this being an intermittent problem, testing the alternator should be a challenge in itself. I did look at the guage cluster to see whether or not there was a voltage drop. The needle was reading normal. I know the cluster guage is not the best way to determine a voltage issue, but it is a start.

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Old 05-05-2016, 03:06 PM   #13
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I'm just trying to break down the stereo / speaker connection path down to the source of power...

You mentioned when you turn the stereo off, the noise subsides. So cutting power to your stereo solves the problem... Your engine is obviously not the problem, nor your battery or alternator since the issue persists when connected to either... I'm definitely leaning towards a wiring issue somewhere in the chain of connectivity.
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Old 05-05-2016, 05:01 PM   #14
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I'm just trying to break down the stereo / speaker connection path down to the source of power...

You mentioned when you turn the stereo off, the noise subsides. So cutting power to your stereo solves the problem... Your engine is obviously not the problem, nor your battery or alternator since the issue persists when connected to either... I'm definitely leaning towards a wiring issue somewhere in the chain of connectivity.
There has to be a wiring issue. It looks like I will be pulling the head out of the dash again to investigate. I know it isn't an RF signal (I could be wrong because that's what it sounds like). If it's an RF signal then I have a problem with the actual head unit.

I want to locate a factory antenna. The car came with a shorty, and I am not a fan.

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Old 05-05-2016, 06:10 PM   #15
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I have no idea about stereos themselves... I'm just an engineer by trade. Can't be much help from here forward. Best of luck brother.
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Old 05-05-2016, 07:44 PM   #16
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I have no idea about stereos themselves... I'm just an engineer by trade. Can't be much help from here forward. Best of luck brother.
Everyone needs an engineer around. A good engineer is priceless.

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Old 05-06-2016, 05:36 AM   #17
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does the noise change with radio volume? another simple learning is to unscrew the antenna or unplug antenna from back of radio to see what happens.

have you replaced plugs/wires recently check those.
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Old 05-06-2016, 10:38 AM   #18
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does the noise change with radio volume? another simple learning is to unscrew the antenna or unplug antenna from back of radio to see what happens.

have you replaced plugs/wires recently check those.
The car does not have plug wires. I have not changed the plugs (I'm not looking forward to it). The noise does change with volume.

I am going to pull the radio and check the wiring sometime today.

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Old 05-06-2016, 03:51 PM   #19
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Does this occur with all radio stations? The background beep (hardly audible) I am experiencing seems to occur on just one AM station. Not sure how this helps you though.
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Old 05-06-2016, 04:09 PM   #20
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Does this occur with all radio stations? The background beep (hardly audible) I am experiencing seems to occur on just one AM station. Not sure how this helps you though.
The noise occurs throughout every band, and through every setting including CD. This makes me believe I have an amp or a head unit dying. If it was an RF noise it should stop, according to my knowledge, once I move to bluetooth, CD, aux, or other setting. I am not 100% sure yet though.

It's hard to find a problem that only lasts for a few minutes. I basically have to listen when it happens, take notes, then look for another symptom when it happens again. I'm sure there is an easier way, but I am not a car stereo expert by any means.

However, I can run home entertainment systems. I can set up and tear down my studio equipment without a problem. I have no problems working with my PA system, or my music equipment. I understand acoustics, room reflections, and treatment.

None of that applies at the moment with a 12v stereo that can be affected by alternators, coils, plugs, a bad ground, etc. I basically have a puzzle.

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Old 05-07-2016, 06:23 PM   #21
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I'm getting closer to locating the problem. I either have a bad connection in the wiring harness, or a bad head unit. The noise came back today and I decided to remove the face. I blew a bit of air into the connectors and snapped the face back on.

I wish I could say that took care of the problem. The noise was back as soon as power hit the unit. I had nothing to lose by tapping on the face of the stereo. After a couple taps the noise quit. I considered it to be a coincidence and moved on. After about 10 minutes the noise appeared again. I tapped on the head unit, and again the noise quit.

So I know there is a bad connection somewhere. Naow I have to find it. I hope it's not the head unit. If it is I will be riding without a stereo for a while.

Being broke sucks. Having vehicle problems while being broke sucks even more. I can't stand to have a problem that I am helpless with.

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Old 05-07-2016, 06:46 PM   #22
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One would assume that I have electrical contact cleaner. I remember buying a can to clean the MAF. I did not pull the MAF therefore I did not side the cleaner.

Just as my luck would have it, the cleaner has vanished. It is nowhere to be found. Spraying the removable face connectors is not going to happen today. Oh well, at least I have an idea of where to begin with my mystery noise.

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Old 05-08-2016, 11:52 AM   #23
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if you have alcohol that will also work
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Old 05-08-2016, 12:20 PM   #24
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if you have alcohol that will also work
I used some electronic cleaning wipes. So far today the noise has been non-existent. I also pulled everything and reconnected it.

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Old 05-08-2016, 12:23 PM   #25
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if you have alcohol that will also work
GravyDog has Woodford Reserve, but she's in Canada.

I'm not sure that alcohol would really help much though.

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Old 07-03-2016, 12:15 AM   #26
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Update!!!

I thought the noise was the head unit. I was wrong. This evening when I placed my foot on the dead pedal the noise came back. I could tap the kick panel with my foot and the noise would stop.

Once I got home I pulled the kick panel, dead, pedal, and sill trim. I found a bare wire grounding itself.

I am out of electrical tape, but I had some Gorilla Tape laying around. Problem solved. To my surprise the speakers sound better.

I still want a powered sub though.

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Old 07-03-2016, 08:38 AM   #27
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Nice, glad it was an easy fix. I hate electrical gremlins.

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