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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently was messing around and pulled the factory Mcintosh radio from my Outback, then reinstalled it. I didn't cut any wires or change anything. After putting the radio back in I have almost zero volume with the knob turned all the way up. I have checked all the fuses under the drivers side and in the engine compartment and they all tested ok. I've also checked over my connections coming from the radio. The radio does have power. I had no problems with the radio or speakers before I pulled the radio out. Is there a fuse I could have missed somewhere or is there some kind of programming I have to do to get the radio to work again? Will greatly appreciate if anybody with some radio tech experience could slap me straight.
 

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The McIntosh has a separate amplifier located under the front passenger seat. The audio from the radio goes to the amplifier through a separate cable (DIN cord). Are you sure it's connected?

Also, the amplifier is powered through separate fuses: SBF-8 in the SBF holder in the engine compartment, and a 20 Amp fuse in the relay holder (next to the fuse panel in the dashboard).
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I didn't know about SBF-8 in the engine compartment, so I'm going to check that next. I'm assuming the DIN cord is the black rubber cord sticking out of the back of my Mcintosh radio. I did check the 20amp fuse under the dash next to the relays, had to take off the plastic to get at em, but they were fine. I hope it's just that relay that's bad. I will be going back and checking on my connections again eventually, but I'm pretty sure I was thorough about that part. Thanks for the reply, not only does this sound knowledgeable, but it's greatly appreciated.
 

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1. one of the connectors isn't seated
2. one of the pins in a connector is bent/damaged

I didn't watch you obviously but I pull Subaru stereos all the time and fuses don't pop when doing it with the car on. I'm sure it can, but it's rare for stock systems.

I recently was messing around and pulled the factory Mcintosh radio
why?

After putting the radio back in I have almost zero volume with the knob turned all the way up.
out of all 4 speakers or only some of them?
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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1,235 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The main power harness that got plugged into the back of the radio slid in and out just fine like it should. I didn't need to force anything either way. I had a pioneer unit installed but I couldn't get the volume to work, so I just returned it to Best Buy and put the factory radio back in the way it was, and couldn't get the volume to work for that either. Checked the basic stuff like the fade and balance, but all I get is a tiny little bit of volume from each one of the speakers. It is barely enough to hear with my ear down close to it, and the volume knob turned all the way up. Nothing was altered in any way. Maybe it's that DIN cable not connected right or the SBF eight relay in the engine compartment.
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Is the fuse box in the engine compartment the same as the 2001 H4 Outbacks? I have N H6 and the last I checked I am unsure if SBF-8 has anything to do with the audio? Just wanted to make sure you are referring to the H6.
 

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2010 Legacy 3.6R Limited
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Sorry I'm late to the party, Tam's in the hospital again.

Hooking up an aftermarket radio to the McIntosh system WITHOUT removing the factory amplifier could cause power from the aftermarket unit to try to feed INTO the Mc amplifier. You may have to pull that out and test it, or check the fuse that's soldered onto the board, assuming all the other fuses are good. The VDC/McIntosh cars are difficult at best, but tons of fun.

Also, because of the way the McIntosh system is wired, only front left and front right can be powered from the harness inside the dash. They really should go under the passenger seat, where the amplifier is at. I've got some shots elsewhere on this forum and on my website of the amplifier and it's wiring.
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So if I just disconnect the amp I'll have sound coming from the front speakers? And what about it being a bad relay ?
 

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I haven't confirmed this in my car since I replaced the McIntosh amplifier, but yes, I do believe that if that amplifier came out, and you had a different radio in it, then there would be sound coming from the front. The thing about the McIntosh radio by itself is it CANNOT power speakers from the unit. There is no amplifier of any sort inside the McIntosh radio unit. It sends low voltage signals to the amplifier, and the amplifier drives the speakers, hence why the wires are all down there in the VDC models. If you're in/around Madison/southern Wisconsin, I'd come take a look at it.

The McIntosh amplifiers have an internal fuse built into the board.

I have a serious dislike for the person I'm linking you to, hence why I started my own site on the VDC/McIntosh models, I just haven't taken the time to do as much in-depth research, mainly since I lost my job, got really broke, and had to sell my McIntosh equipment a while ago. However, this guy does have a few good descriptions and diagrams of the system and the amplifier.

McIntosh EF-1080I Information | My Blog
 

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Can you tell if the audio is distorted as well as the low volume? On that blog post under the repair section there was a similar problem with his amp that required replacing a transistor. I mention it because my amp also had the same problem when I bought my outback; very low volume, no change with the volume knob and a little bit of distortion too. Following his repair guide and replacing the transistor fixed mine.
 

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This will be interesting though, since he said he tried hooking in an aftermarket radio. I'd almost bet on the amplifier being smoked in some sense of the word.
 

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2004 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean H6. 2003 Subaru OBW L.L. Bean Former 2001 Subaru OBW VDC owner.
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes it is staticky, where is the transistor? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes it is staticky, where is the transistor? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Transistor

Yes it is staticky too, where is the transistor ? Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Nah, I'll get that amp from the junk yard when it turns up. Til then I'll just sing
 

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Sounds like a fair thing. Finding one of those amplifiers might be tricky, bet you a lot of salvage yards aren't going to notice the thing. One around here didn't even know the McIntosh was a thing or that there were amplifiers underneath seats. If/when you do get another one, I'd love to work out a deal to acquire your malfunctioning one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Will this solution work?
What if I just get an aftermarket unit, like an Alpine, then get the direct fit harness that plugs into the car's factory harness, connect all the wires from the aftermarket unit's harness to the direct fit harness, and then just run the wires for the speakers directly from the aftermarket head harness straight to the speakers..,,
 

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Easier solution, two harnesses, then run speaker wires from the back of the aftermarket unit to the second harness which is underneath the passenger seat. Avoids having to run wires through the doors and such, but still requires removal of the amplifier (a box end 10mm I think it is can do this quickly). Personally I'd recommend a Kenwood eXcelon series unit. I've got a KDC-X998 and it is phenomenal.
 

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. . . which is exactly the advice I gave in the other thread on this subject. .

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/1954769-post8.html

I sold a complete McIntosh system I salvaged from an 01 VDC to another forum member here a couple of years ago who had plans to install it in his first gen. Last I heard he had dropped that plan and was trying to resell it. . . so if you need an amp, that's an option:

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...d-unit-amp-wiring-sub-subaru-275-shipped.html

Will it be better than a modern aftermarket HU? Probably not. . . but if you want to retain all the McStereo stuff, there you go.

The way the McIntosh system was wired leads me to believe those folks at Clarion must have drank too much sake during the cherry blossom festival that year as it's pretty silly. The entire rear body harness and dash harness is different, as are both front door cords. Would have been much easier to just use a T-harness to reroute the speaker outputs under the seat, and also a crapton easier to hook up a standard deck after doing that. Why they went the way they did I have no idea.
 
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