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outdooricon 06-01-2012 02:18 PM

Factory Radio Doesn't Turn On
Hi Guys,
I just bought my first TJ and the factory radio doesn't turn on. When I drive at night, there are lights on, illuminating parts of the radio, but no matter how hard or soft I press and despress that on/off button, I get zero sound and the face doesn't turn on to show any radio stations or anything. Also, I don't know if it's supposed to, but the face doesn't ever show what time it is either. It stays black. I checked the radio fuse and it looks fine. Does anyone have any ideas? I'd appreciate any help I can get.. I need my music! :)

Mr Mac 06-01-2012 02:35 PM

Welcome aboard!

There are three different fuses to look at for the TJ and you may also want to verify the connector on the back is fully seated.

Hums99 06-01-2012 02:39 PM

I'd say pull radio out and verify the wires aren't cut off from PO . Next I would check voltage in the wiring harness refer to a wiring diagram for which colors have voltage. If wires all check out but a new radio.

outdooricon 06-01-2012 03:11 PM

Thank you for the responses! I've only minutely dealt with wiring diagrams, but from what I can gather there are two fuses in the fuse block under the hood, #32 & #23, that I should check. Then it says there's a fuse I need to check in the "Power Distribution Center". Where is that?

SinfulDragon 06-01-2012 03:13 PM

behind the glove box

outdooricon 06-01-2012 03:15 PM

One thing I should mention, The dealer said the previous owner had a subwoofer in the back, that he took out before he sold it to them. I wouldn't think it could affect this, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.

outdooricon 06-01-2012 03:16 PM


Originally Posted by SinfulDragon (Post 2426745)
behind the glove box

Thank you, I will check there.

RUBI 4 MY MRS 06-01-2012 03:23 PM

Fuse block is behind the glove box. The PDC is the covered box in front of the battery.

commodore_dude 06-02-2012 08:58 AM


Originally Posted by outdooricon (Post 2426755)
One thing I should mention, The dealer said the previous owner had a subwoofer in the back, that he took out before he sold it to them. I wouldn't think it could affect this, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.

Sounds like the PO did a rough job of removing the sub... bet you'll find some wires cut that shouldn't be behind the dash.

Wattapunk 06-02-2012 09:27 AM

There was a good chance the PO hastily removed his aftermarket stereo system/speakers and threw the stock radio in to cover the hole without hooking it up properly. Check to see if you even have speakers.

outdooricon 06-03-2012 08:45 AM

Guys, you aren't going to believe this one. Checked all three fuses, they are still good. So I pulled the radio this morning and looked at the wiring harness.. it's still very stock and un-cut. I tried using my multimeter to test out the wires on the harness, but I really suck at using that thing so I couldn't get any values to show up (probably had it on the wrong setting... don't really know what I'm doing with it). And then, on a whim, I decided to try out the radio with my key turned all the way back (opposite of turning on the car)... lo and behold, it works! The clock shows up, radio starts up, sounds are coming out of the speakers. Also, I've discovered that I can hit the time button while the car is off and it shows up. Move the key one click forward, time still works. Move to the next click (where the instrument lights up and the fuel pump runs) and then nothing, including the time button, works.

RUBI 4 MY MRS 06-03-2012 12:56 PM

What yr TJ do you have? Do your wipers & turn signals work?

outdooricon 06-03-2012 07:28 PM

'03. Yes, both the wipers and the turn signals work.

RUBI 4 MY MRS 06-03-2012 08:40 PM

That’s odd. There are a few things that work in both the acc. (back) position & the key on position. The radio, wipers & turn signals being some of them. Usually if those things work in acc. but not key on then the ignition switch would be bad. Since the other things work in both key positions the ignition switch must be OK. Then since the radio works in the acc. position that eliminates the fuse (#14).

It does look like there are 2 power feeds into the switch which work the acc. & key on items so there may be 2 sets of contacts. One could be bad being the one for the radio but it appears that that also works the turn signals. If the flashers work with the key off & the signals work in both acc & key on positions I don’t know what to think. Any chance the dealer you bought it from will help?

outdooricon 06-03-2012 09:16 PM

Well, I bought it from a vw dealer that it was traded in to, so I'm guessing they wouldn't be much help :) But I have news! I went out to verify my flashers work in acc, and readhed in through window to turn the ignition, which was a different angle then usual, and my radio turned on while in acc. After some experimentation, I have discovered that if I push the key deep into the chamber, the radio turns on. If i let go of the key, it backs out a little and the radio turns back off. It seems that the mechanism doesn't by default want to let the key just stay all the way deep into the chamber. What would be doing this?

Hums99 06-03-2012 10:40 PM

I would say you need a new ignition or a new key.

RUBI 4 MY MRS 06-04-2012 12:09 AM

Yes the switch is bad. If you get it to just the right position it makes contact. That is a sure sign it is going out. The ignition switch is not part of the key cylinder its separate & there is something called an actuator pin that connects them. Do some searching here or Google for replacement info. I would get the switch & actuator pin from a local parts store or one of several online places & replace both. The actuator pin is famous for breaking & preventing jeeps from starting.

Here is a video showing replacing the pin. The switch gets removed in the process. Hope this helps.

Ignition Switch Actuator Pin Repair Installation Video - YouTube

outdooricon 06-08-2012 06:39 PM

Woohoo!!! That was it. Thank You! I've got my tunes back :)

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