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Old 08-13-2019, 10:36 PM   #1
Luke_of_Mass
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Question 2009 Impreza radio/stereo system randomly cuts out

Greetings,

I have a 2009 Subaru Impreza Sports Edition with a stereo that randomly cuts out when I'm driving - Basically it goes something like this;

It started last summer, driving around the stereo would totally stop working, no static, no sound, no anything. And there would be no way to restore functionality unless I pulled over and totally restarted my car - simply restarting the stereo itself is entirely fruitless.

Basically it's pretty random and this has happened to me in all possible modes of operation - playing the radio, using a CD, or playing audio through the AUX 3.5mm jack.

While it is pretty random it appears that there is some kind of pattern to it, namely that it will happen a couple times a day for maybe a week, then I've got a working radio for a month before it begins happening again. It doesn't happen in any particular driving conditions or anything either, it's happened on the highway, in city traffic, hell it even happened while my car was warming up in the driveway. Again the only way to get it to work again is to totally turn my car off, and turn it back on. Super annoying! There's sometimes a little audible 'pop' when the sound goes, but this isn't every time and I only mention it because I noticed it a couple times this past week.

I even brought it to the dealership I bought it at to see what they thought. They checked all the connections not just with the stereo unit itself, but even all the speakers in all the doors, ect. They found no issues with the connections and couldn't get it to cut out while the car was there (aint that always the way, eh?) but they were cool enough to not charge me anything since they couldn't find the problem and it sounds like a fairly tedious job.

Anyways, one of the techs who worked on the car told me he's got an '08 outback that does almost the same thing and he said he thinks the radio itself is "going".

I wanted to hear what people on a forum like this would think about it, or what they'd do in my situation. Has anyone else dealt with this type of problem before? Whats a reasonable amount can I expect to pay if I asked a subaru dealership to replace the stereo unit? Should I consider aftermarket stereos? Does it even need to be replaced?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

Best,

Luke
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:59 AM   #2
LouCioccio
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I hated to work on intermittent problems when I was employed. If we go on the “assumption” that they did check the wiring and found nothing. I would go for aftermarket but I am wondering did they “really” check it. Continuity wire checking that going from the radio removal to speakers that are in the doors and not charge? Although that’s good policy. If you could swap out a similar radio to prove that it’s the radio. I did upgrade the 7” Infotainment to a Kenwood 9904s it was not that difficult (YouTube and info here) really helped.
If you could bench test the radio with a couple speakers but again I don’t know your experience. Others here may give other suggestions. Good Luck
Lou Cioccio
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:02 PM   #3
jesseisbeast
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So just the sound cuts out? Or does the stereo itself turn off too?
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:05 PM   #4
Cougar4
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From what you describe about the problem it sounds like there is a problem with the power to the radio itself. I don't have the exact diagram for your vehicle but it should be similar to what info I have for an earlier model. Power for the radio passes through the ACC contacts of the ignition switch. I suspect the contacts are intermittent. You might be able to turn the key slightly and see if that helps restore power and also prove the contacts are the culprit. The switch is separate from the locking mechanism. My info shows that the washer pumps are tied to that same main connection, so if the washer pumps don't function while the radio problem is happening that would prove the switch contacts are the cause of the trouble. The trouble could also be beyond the contacts in the power supply line to the radio.
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Old 08-15-2019, 02:56 AM   #5
Luke_of_Mass
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesseisbeast View Post
So just the sound cuts out? Or does the stereo itself turn off too?
Good question; radio stays on. I can even switch modes - Aux, FM, CD changer, ect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougar4 View Post
From what you describe about the problem it sounds like there is a problem with the power to the radio itself. I don't have the exact diagram for your vehicle but it should be similar to what info I have for an earlier model. Power for the radio passes through the ACC contacts of the ignition switch. I suspect the contacts are intermittent. You might be able to turn the key slightly and see if that helps restore power and also prove the contacts are the culprit. The switch is separate from the locking mechanism. My info shows that the washer pumps are tied to that same main connection, so if the washer pumps don't function while the radio problem is happening that would prove the switch contacts are the cause of the trouble. The trouble could also be beyond the contacts in the power supply line to the radio.
Thanks for the advice, I never considered turning the key in the ignition direction, but I'll test it next time. If this is the case, then the contacts to main connection should be replaced?

This car has had a history of electrical problems too so perhaps you're indeed onto something
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:35 AM   #6
Cougar4
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Now you are stating that the radio stays turned on and can change functions. That is a different story and it means that power to the radio is okay. I assume you may have an upgraded audio system installed which uses a separate amplifier from the radio. If that is true then the power connection to the amplifier needs to be checked out. If you don't have a separate amplifier installed then the radio itself has an internal problem in the audio section.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:14 PM   #7
Luke_of_Mass
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Yes, sorry - but it is a stock system that came in the car when it was new.
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Old 08-15-2019, 02:21 PM   #8
Cougar4
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A stock system still could have an external amp. The older info I have does not show one.
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Old 08-17-2019, 08:37 AM   #9
Luke_of_Mass
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How much older is your info?
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Old 08-18-2019, 12:02 PM   #10
corlon
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sounds like a bad speaker or intermittently grounded speaker wire. the audio chip in the headunit is shutting down to save itself when it sees this intermittent issue. you power cycle the unit and in comes back on. you could disconnect the speakers one by one and drive around hoping to find the bad one. i'd replace all the speakers with inexpensive ones and hope that solves the issue. in my opinion it would be the quickest / least expensive best 1st place to start. paying someone to troubleshoot an intermittent issue can suck you dry.
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:19 AM   #11
Cougar4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke_of_Mass View Post
How much older is your info?
The info I have is for a 2006 model.
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Old 08-21-2019, 11:26 AM   #12
jesseisbeast
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Yeah it's probably going to be an issue with your speaker wiring. Get a multimeter, and test the continuity from the wire harness and each individual speaker (+ and -)
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