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voodoo4 01-21-2011 10:03 PM

Radio with a mind of its own.
Help a NOOB with his radio! I have a very vexing radio in my Jeep. Itís a 2003 TJ Sport (my very first!) On the forums, I have found similar questions, but nothing that matches my problem.

My radio/cd player shuts off while I am driving. When I start up, and take off, the radio and cd player function flawlessly (and good quality sound comes out of all the speakers (front and back.) However, after a few minutes the radio goes dead and will not come back to life. Sometimes the radio lasts only a few moments and other times it lasts several minutes (but it always goes out.) If I park my Jeep, turn off the engine then restart the ignition the stereo comes back to life (although not for long.)

This doesnít appear to be related to jolts from potholes, or anything mechanical. It seems very random. I checked all of my fuses and they are all fine. Everything else, instrument panel, A/C, etc all retain power and funtion. The buttons on the radio are backlit, but the unit is dead. Any hints, any suggestions?

JDsDream 01-21-2011 10:10 PM

Welcome to the Forum

Does the length of time that it remains on have any correlation to the engine heat? In other words, does it stay on longer when you cold start it as compared to when you have just shut it down for a short period of time and the engine does not completely cool before restarting?

voodoo4 01-21-2011 10:40 PM

Thanks for the welcome! There isn't any discernable difference between a cold start and stopping and starting after I've been driving. At first I thought it was related somehow to power and acceleration, but it has also cut off sitting idle at red lights.

Jma20a 01-22-2011 03:31 PM

only thing i can think of is a faulty ground, possibly a loose ground cable.

Jma20a 01-22-2011 04:45 PM

if you read the sticky about replacing the factory unit you can use it to get the factory unit out and check to see if the ground cable is secure to the back of the unit and secure to the firewall. the ground cable doubles as a tether to make it harder to steal.

voodoo4 01-22-2011 08:14 PM

I think I figured it out. Oddly enough, it seems to be the ignition. When I first turn the ignition, everything is fine. Then, after a period of time, the key backs itself out of the ignition. Not all the way, but it backs out about 1/8th inch. The engine doesn't die, and nothing else is changed. When it snaps out, the radio cuts out. You push the key back in, the radio comes back. You pull the key (not out, just pull) and the radio dies. The apparent randomness of it all may be the key moving when I am shifting, or braking, or the normal vibrations of driving.

I also discovered that the radio isn't going totally dead. The CD continues to play, it is only the display and the sound being delivered to the speakers that goes away (almost like it is muted or something.)

So, it seems that the answer to the problem likely rests in getting the tumblers in the ignition looked at, rekeyed, or the lock replaced. Electrically the radio seems fine (before the key slips in the ignition anyway.) Itís all very strange.

Thank you everyone for reading and the suggestions. Any further suggestions are welcome and greatly appreciated!

Coasttrash 01-26-2011 03:53 PM

My 03 TJ does the exact same thing. It can really tick me off. I mean the radio will come on I hit a bump or look at it funny it shuts off. It is for sure something in the ignition that is lose. Like yours the radio shut simply turns off. All the presets are the same the time doesn't default, just turns off. I haven't been able to take a real good luck into because of recent surgery but will be eyeing this thread to find a solution.

voodoo4 01-26-2011 04:17 PM

I took my key off the key ring and with no weight on it; the key tends to stay where it should be (except driving to work where I go down a two mile nasty and torn up dirt road.) It is more an irritation than a major problem. I am still going to have it investigated, so, Coasttrash, if I get it sorted out I will post here. Please think of posting your solution if you get to it before I do!

Coasttrash 01-26-2011 04:42 PM

I will brother it's very annoying when your jamming out then the radio cuts off.

Fishtaker 01-26-2011 08:44 PM

I fixed mine with a bungie connected to the drivers side of the plastic around the steering column. It goes across the top of the column and attach the other end to the key ring after starting and pushing the key back in. It keeps tension on the key so it won't back out. When I shut down just slip the key ring out of the bungie clip and you are done

voodoo4 01-26-2011 11:38 PM

I love your solution Fishtaker! I donít even have the key on a key ring right now, as it only seems to want to jolt out when I put the key on a key ring. Aside from the annoyance of having a random key floating around in my pocket - Iím dealing with it. The naked key jolts out when Iím off-road and, Iíll certainly try the bungee idea when Iím off-road (at least until the end of the semester when I can devote some serious study to the problem.)

Has anyone had a permanent fix to this problem? I mean, what in the world is going on in that ignition switch?

Coasttrash 01-31-2011 10:46 PM

Hey bro I fixed mine. Friday before I left for a tournament I was locking my jeep and looked at the key thinking about this post. I inspected the key and thought about the miles on the jeep 115k. The key looked pretty wore most of the chrome or whatever the shiney stuff is and exposed that goldish looking color. I grabbed my spare that is new and the radio works great now just have to fix my speakers since only one works ha.

voodoo4 02-05-2011 10:09 PM

It has a date with the electrician next week. Then, definitive answers.

voodoo4 02-15-2011 08:15 PM

New lock cylinder and all is well...!

Fishtaker 02-16-2011 07:47 PM

2 questions. How much was the new cylinder and did they rekey to the existing key?

voodoo4 02-17-2011 12:14 AM

New lock cylinder was 98.00 (straight from Chrysler.) Everything was rekeyed to my original keys. I could have had all new keys too, but figured the 98 bucks was more than enough for one day. Truth be known, I’m not too terribly worried about new keys anyway. I have two Jeep key blanks and am planning on having those cut to my current pattern now that the lock is all happy and new (but I can have that done any old time.) The whole job (once Chrysler delivered the parts to my guys) took them about an hour and a half (for which the electrician charged me 82.00 labor.) So, except for my nose bleed from the bill, everything is well. I now have one happy Jeep, and no more electrical/radio issues. Actually, I complain about the bill, but, I'm very excited that little irritation is gone (and no more bungie having over the steering column!)

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