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Discussion Starter #1
Any luck fixing poor radio reception with the stock radio?

I'm interested to see if anyone has had any luck resolving issues with poor radio reception with the stock radio on their 3rd gen Outback. So far I've been to the dealer once only to be told that the reception was "normal". Whether it's normal for an Outback or not, it is certainly bad and I'm interesting in ways to resolve it.

I've seen a few posts where people mentioned replacing the antenna and/or the stereo itself, but I wanted to see if anyone here has had direct experience solving this problem. Any feedback/comments welcome.
 

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I have an 09 Impreza that I put a new Alpine in and had the same complaint. I attached the blue with white "power antenna" wire with the blue and white in the factory harness and it is much more what I expected. If you are on the stock radio, I have never been impressed with the stock components, but I will say they look very nice in the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have an 09 Impreza that I put a new Alpine in and had the same complaint. I attached the blue with white "power antenna" wire with the blue and white in the factory harness and it is much more what I expected. If you are on the stock radio, I have never been impressed with the stock components, but I will say they look very nice in the car.
Thanks for the response. Is your reception with the new Alpine deck better than it was with the stock radio?
 

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I had a similar issue with a 2001 when I replaced the radio. The "power antenna" wire on some models is the power supply for the antenna amplifier. If the antenna amplifier is not getting power your reception will be crap.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I had a similar issue with a 2001 when I replaced the radio. The "power antenna" wire on some models is the power supply for the antenna amplifier. If the antenna amplifier is not getting power your reception will be crap.
Just to clarify, I meant to ask about fixing poor reception with the stock radio :)
 

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Nice! I replaced my factory head unit with a Pioneer and the radio reception is horrible. I'll connect up the power antenna wire now and see if that changes things up.
 

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Just to clarify, I meant to ask about fixing poor reception with the stock radio :)
From another forum.......
I have had radio issues for ten months. I have an 06 Outback XT. Very poor AM and FM. It happened suddenly. I did research on this forum. I cleaned up the grounds on the lift gate. I replaced the antenna amp. No better. I played the CD a lot.

Recently, I got a repair kit for glass antennas. I did a continuity check and could find no breaks. I checked for voltage to the amplifier. Was none. I read here and there was discussion about a board issue in the radio. However, I came across this post about a broken wire. I pulled off all the trim and the boot, and there it was, not one but two broken wires. One was a ground (I wonder whar wasn't working...) and the other was... the ANTENNA BOOSTER power lead. I used a straight pin to probe the power lead and found there was power up to the boot but not on the other side. Duh. Anyhow, thanks to you guys, my wife and I have radio reception again. And, I didn't have the dealer cost me $1K in trouble shooting! I am a happy dude.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
From another forum.......
I have had radio issues for ten months. I have an 06 Outback XT. Very poor AM and FM. It happened suddenly. I did research on this forum. I cleaned up the grounds on the lift gate. I replaced the antenna amp. No better. I played the CD a lot.

Recently, I got a repair kit for glass antennas. I did a continuity check and could find no breaks. I checked for voltage to the amplifier. Was none. I read here and there was discussion about a board issue in the radio. However, I came across this post about a broken wire. I pulled off all the trim and the boot, and there it was, not one but two broken wires. One was a ground (I wonder whar wasn't working...) and the other was... the ANTENNA BOOSTER power lead. I used a straight pin to probe the power lead and found there was power up to the boot but not on the other side. Duh. Anyhow, thanks to you guys, my wife and I have radio reception again. And, I didn't have the dealer cost me $1K in trouble shooting! I am a happy dude.
My car is still under warranty so in theory the dealer could (and should) perform these checks for me, but on my first visit they claimed that there was nothing along these lines that they could do. I plan to try again with them, but from other stories I've read I am thinking that the radio reception just sucks, even when it's working as intended.
 

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from another forum.......
I have had radio issues for ten months. I have an 06 outback xt. Very poor am and fm. It happened suddenly. I did research on this forum. I cleaned up the grounds on the lift gate. I replaced the antenna amp. No better. I played the cd a lot.

Recently, i got a repair kit for glass antennas. I did a continuity check and could find no breaks. i checked for voltage to the amplifier. Was none. i read here and there was discussion about a board issue in the radio. However, i came across this post about a broken wire. I pulled off all the trim and the boot, and there it was, not one but two broken wires. One was a ground (i wonder whar wasn't working...) and the other was... The antenna booster power lead. I used a straight pin to probe the power lead and found there was power up to the boot but not on the other side. Duh. Anyhow, thanks to you guys, my wife and i have radio reception again. And, i didn't have the dealer cost me $1k in trouble shooting! I am a happy dude.
sorry, what do you mean by the boot? The trunk? Where the antenna is in the back window?
 

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I plan to try again with them, but from other stories I've read I am thinking that the radio reception just sucks, even when it's working as intended.
this is what the dealer wants you to think.
or maybe the dealer is so un-informed they don't know any better.

if you do some research on your car,
you may be able to take it in and say,
"there is no power to the antenna amp in the rear of the car"!!!!
then they will have to fix it under warranty, assuming it is.
 

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We have the same problem with our 2015 Outback. Neither the dealer, or Subaru would help, claiming that the FM reception was normal. Our SXM contract is about to expire (which we don't want anyway), and so we need the antenna situation resolved. If I knew how to access the terminal for the antenna wires, I would see if I could hook the power antenna wire to the FM antenna in the rear glass, and hopefully, that would route the signal through the power antenna amplifier. I need instructions.
 

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Poor radio Reception

Awesome post! Thank you! I have a 2009 Outback and I opened the back door, left driver side flex boot, cut open the boot and there was the broken wire. The wire is pretty short, so I grabbed some speaker wire, and reattached, electrical taped it up and wrapped the boot. All good and I am getting reception again.
 

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I realize that this is an ancient thread, but I was hoping that one of the previous posters might have an update on this problem. I've got a 2015 Outback Limited with the factory HK stereo, and the radio reception is terrible. I'd swear it was fine when I first got the car in late 2016, and when I first noticed it I chalked it up to atmospheric conditions, but it's never gotten better. I know it's not just a fact of life with the glass embedded antenna, because I had a 2010 Outback with the same antenna, and the reception was better than my Prius with an external antenna. Since I was driving them both I had a direct comparison, such as driving to Scranton PA, and how far I could go before I lost an Allentown station.

I'm going to start digging around in the back looking for possible bad connections, though if anyone can give specifics on where to look, or what to take apart, it would be most appreciated!
 

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I discovered my issue was the actual wires to the antenna...or booster...I don't recall exactly.

What I found was the wire in the rubber boot upper left of the rear hatch was broken (prob due to the open/close)...once reattached it worked fine.
 

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I got to the amplifier and wiring, but couldn't find the problem. :(

There are 3 wires (not counting a ground) for the amplifier and antenna, two thick ones and a thin wire. I don't get a voltage reading between any of them and ground. Not knowing what voltages there should be makes that tough to troubleshoot. I've tried to find a wiring diagram online to find out what's what, but no luck. Are the two thick wires to a dipole antenna, and the thin the 12V, or is the thin wire the antenna and the two thick ones the +/- power supply? The amplifier itself is a Fujitsu, though most of what I've found shows a Clarion amp. There are no obvious breaks in the wires going through the boot, and moving them around, in case there was an internal break, didn't help, though of course that doesn't mean that isn't the problem.

I found this thread that has some more details, but I haven't yet found the problem

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/69-audio-video-security-navigation/27359-2005-outback-suddenly-no-radio-reception.html

Since I normally listen to music from Iheartradio and other sources, it's not that I don't have entertainment, but it would be good to be able to get a traffic report, or have the radio on a long drive. I may take another run at this in the future, but I think I've given-up for now.
 

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I recently got my tailgate dismantled, I personally probed it myself, I think when we first started the operations, the amplifier was actually disconnected because of a broken wire, since this is a second hand car, the wire already had 2 patches on it

But in the end, even though I verified the amplifier, the signal is still slightly noisy

When I first bought the car 3 weeks ago, the radio quality outside my city was beyond awesome, after arriving at city, I got the tailgate fixed, it was a major operation, they flexed, hammered the tailgate repeatedly and corrected it, after that, the radio was never the same

Sadly, this is was not a controlled experiment, so I can't verify whether the flexing and hammering of the tailgate somehow made things worse.

I went to a Clarion service, they told me that the radio reception in the city is bad itself and everyone is complaining, so this might indeed be the stock performance of the radio

I think I'm going to settle with sub-par radio, the quality is at 90%, when I first experienced it, it was an awing 99%+ in my opinion

Let me also leave this here: http://opposedforces.com/parts/legacy/en_b13/type_100/electronic/audio_parts_antenna/ - The "Noise suppressor assembly" in my car is a simple plastic box with an exposed/simple electronic device, maybe the amplifier is working, yet this noise suppressor is somehow not functioning as it should, all the connections are there, but I guess I'm going to give up, and let it be for a while
 

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Bad Radio? Yes, wires were severed!

Thanks to everyone who posted in this thread!
I just came in from pulling BOTH boots off the hinge side of the lift gate.. 2 severed ground wires on the left, 3 severed wires on the right, and almost all the other wires with broken insulation.
A bit of solder, shrink tube, sections of wire, and lots of electrical tape.. and I not only have good FM reception, but I also have AM again (I haven't had that in 3 years), AND, my rear window wiper "intermittent" function works correctly; it was stopping at random somewhere on the window, except back at "zero".

If you pull the rubber boots up, you WILL see the problem quickly, if it is wires getting severed.

-Andrew in Newfoundland - 2005 Subaru Outback Legacy, 95,000mi
 
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