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1984 Chrysler AM Radio Repair

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by William R. Walsh, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. Hello all...

    Okay, I've got this 1984 Plymouth Reliant in fair shape on the exterior and
    reasonably good on the interior. It has an AM radio that generally works,
    but there are some problems. I already asked on the
    rec.autos.makers.chrysler group and didn't get much help there.

    First, the speaker was eaten by mice and no longer plays. I tried some
    junkyards and struck out. Might anyone here have such a speaker? The radio
    itself plays fine through another speaker. I just can't find one that fits.

    Secondly, the radio does function. However, it's very difficult to make the
    push buttons on the front do anything. If I do manage to succeed, they get
    "carried away" and may perform the same functions multiple times. I have had
    the set apart and found no obvious dirt problems with the buttons. They just
    don't seem to work well any longer. I'd like to "renew" them if I could.

    Finally, the display on the radio has gone whacko. It tries to work but
    often ends up doing impossible things like displaying the time and station
    being received all at once. When turned off, it works fine as a clock, but
    the manual won't tell me how I should set it. I haven't been able to figure
    it out short of connecting the battery at either midnight or noon.

    This isn't high on my list of priorities. I'd just like to know if anyone
    has fixed these problems with this type of radio, and if so, what I might
    need to look at. I've got enough wire and equipment sitting around to
    install a replacement stereo and speakers at very little cost. That's
    probably what I'll end up doing.

    William
     
  2. Gary Tait

    Gary Tait Guest

    Yes, replace that radio with an aftermarket radio and speakers.
     
  3. Of course not. Only on sci.electronics.repair do they even bother with
    AM radio.
    They were only good for mice food even when they were brand new. Just
    Google for a replacement speaker.
    That's probably what anybody with half a brain would end up doing.

    Just put in an aftermarket unit and an Ipod with new speakers.
     
  4. JR North

    JR North Guest

  5. Guest

    A speaker that fits perfectly shouldn't be a priority. Just use
    anything that you can adapt with, say, a piece of Masonite. Car
    speakers tended to be weird sizes, but you can easily compensate for
    that; they're electrically about the same.

    The buttons and the display are suffering from bad contacts, and these
    are either easy or not. See if you can find some contact cleaner
    solution--Radio Shack used to sell theirs in a spray can, and it's not
    bad, or at least it was fine when I last fixed one of these twenty or
    so years ago. Carefully remove the cover of the radio and spray the
    hell out of everything. You may be able to access the other side of
    the push buttons, and just spray the stuff inside. It won't hurt
    anything. The display may use some sort of flat connector--not unlike
    that in a computer--but be careful when unplugging these to clean
    them.

    Someone, somewhere, has an owner's manual for that year's Chrysler
    cars, but under the worst circumstances you can usually sort of guess
    your way through the clock-setting procedure. Usually it's done with
    the radio off, and then you press two buttons simultaneously. On my
    GM, you push a sort of universal 'display' button, and then use the up/
    down tuning controls to set the minute and the hour.

    It's worth trying to fix the thing, mainly because it's fun if it
    works. Good luck. If you don't wish to invest in contact cleaner,
    try any sort of WD-40 clone. I once used bug spray in an emergency.

    M Kinsler
     
  6. Hi!

    Well, *finally*. Thank you for your post, I'm glad to hear from someone who
    has something to suggest for an actual repair. I do plan to keep this set
    and put it back in the car should I sell it at some point (which is a
    possibility). If it could be in passable working order, I'd like to have it
    that way.

    I've got the Radio Shack cleaner, so I'll try your suggestion.
    I do. :) It's a little worn from use and eaten around the corners. However,
    it is still quite readable and no pages are missing. Chrysler simply doesn't
    talk about how to set the clock. I guess they think it would be obvious, but
    so far it has not been.
    Precisely, and that's why I am willing to invest the time and effort. And it
    just might keep yet another something out of the landfill.

    William
     
  7. Who are you going to sell the car to? Somebody on
    sci.electronics.repair as they are the only ones on this planet that
    gives a **** about AM radio.

    On the other hand if you sold it to a normal person he would probably
    discard it in favor for something with a cd player, or something a
    little more 2000's.
     
  8. m kinsler

    m kinsler Guest

    Well, our local NPR station is an AM station, and an AM car radio is
    great fun at night because you can get stations from all over the
    country. AM stations are specializing in interesting stuff. We have
    one in Nelsonville, OH that plays splendid antique country music, and
    in many cities there are old-time radio shows, e.g., The Shadow and
    them. Digital tuners make AM radio quite nice in a car, and an AM car
    radio is generally far more sensitive than an AM household radio.

    M Kinsler

    The AM in my car's AM-FM radio works much better now that I've gotten
    new tires. I'll leave it to my readers here to figure out why.
     
  9. Hi!
    Precisely! And in the case of this radio, it would pick up WWV at the bottom
    of the (digital) dial. For a factory set, it wasn't bad at all...

    I have done as you suggested and cleaned the hell out of the buttons with
    contact cleaner. And it did bring some improvement in operation. I think
    that what I'm going to do is use it as a workbench radio in the garage and
    install a stereo in the car. I am using an old plastic enclosed boom box
    speaker with the radio now. I haven't made any headway on setting the clock.
    Perhaps the functionality that once allowed it has failed. In any event,
    turning on the power to the radio at noon solved the problem. (Never before
    have I been so soundly defeated by any electronic device.)

    I realize that AM programming is terrible in many places, but there are some
    decent stations broadcasting here as well. One of them does indeed play
    country music (old stuff--a market that was completely unserved after a low
    power FM station in the area changed its format to rap, which you could then
    and can now find at several points on the dial) and I'm glad they do. I'm
    also hoping they can make it work, as I like to listen to it on my antique
    radios as well.
    I'm going to guess--based on things I've heard discussed on the 'net
    before--that this might have something to do with grounding or the steel
    belts in the tire. Am I close?

    William
     
  10. m kinsler

    m kinsler Guest

    The AM in my car's AM-FM radio works much better now that I've
    It was indeed static from the tires. I don't think it has anything to
    do with the steel belts, for both original and replacement tires have
    those, and they're not grounded. But the conductivity of rubber
    varies quite widely, even among similar products. I believe my old
    tires had low conductivity. Therefore, when I'd be on asphalt
    pavement for a long period, static charge would build up on the car
    body and discharge to wherever it discharged to, presumably the road,
    and make lots of electronic noise doing so. On concrete, the static
    sound would disappear.

    I found that on asphalt (British use is 'macadam,' I think) roads
    whose cracks had been sealed with whatever black compound Ohio uses
    for the purpose, I found that the signal improved when the car rolled
    over one of these networks of sealed cracks; presumably the sealer is
    conductive. On rainy days, the signal was fine except for
    interference from lightning.

    I got so used to compensating for the various signal levels in my
    daily drives that I couldn't quite figure out what had happened when I
    replaced the faithful old wheelskins at Wal-mart one day and never got
    a whisper of road static thereafter.

    M Kinsler
     
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