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Discussion Starter #1
2004 LJ

I switched to a Sony head unit recently. At the same time, I added a Clarion XC2510 amp, hanging in the space between the gauge cluster and the head unit. I also replaced the entire FM antenna and the antenna cables to the radio. My amp is grounded (12 ga) to a bolt on top of the dash, I believe where the factory grounding bracket was for the factory radio.

Since then, FM reception has been awful on almost every station. I'm in the L.A. area, and nearly all FM stations are strong signal-wise and I've never seen this issue before. Tried the old antenna and cables, no difference, although I can influence the signal a bit when I move the antenna cable up and down behind the glove box - not sure why that is.

Since I changed so much at once, I'm not sure if it's a problem with the head unit or amp placement (too close?) or grounding or what. Anything jump out as obviously the issue?
 

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Yeah, when you change everything at once it makes it hard to pinpoint the issue.



My first guess would be that its antenna related. I was going to suggest that you reinstall the original antenna but you already did that so it's probably 1 of 3 things or a combo of all:
1. Antenna cable routing. You didn't mention anything being noisy so I think your amplifier proximity to the cabling is likely not an issue, but I would still try to reroute the antenna cable so its not bunched up near other wires. Although if its a shielded cable it shouldn't be overly sensitive to that.


2. The new antenna - some of the upgrade antennas are still not as good as the original. But there could also be a grounding issue somewhere. I'm gonna invoke the name of @Jerry Bransford to see if he'll chime in. He's pretty much the resident expert of all things antenna related and might have some ideas.


3. Sony tuners aren't fantastic. Even a mediocre tuner should work well enough in LA, but maybe yours is either defective or just really bad quality. A lot of companies don't spend much effort on producing a good tuner any more.


I hope this helps some.
 

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Your new radio likely has a setting to make the radio less sensitive to FM radio stations in strong signal areas that may be set and causing your issue. It's usually in the setup menu and will have two selections, possibly called Local-DX, or just Local, Lcl-DX, etc. Local decreases the radio's sensitivity to weak FM stations, DX makes it as sensitive to weak signals as possible. DX is radio-speak for distance. So get your book out/check your new radio out to see if it has that option, likely it has, and make sure it's not set to the Local option.

I'm basing the above on the assumption your replacement antenna has a full-size whip antenna, the same height as the OE antenna. If you made the mistake of installing a short stubby antenna, that's your problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Your new radio likely has a setting to make the radio less sensitive to FM radio stations in strong signal areas that may be set and causing your issue. It's usually in the setup menu and will have two selections, possibly called Local-DX, or just Local, Lcl-DX, etc. Local decreases the radio's sensitivity to weak FM stations, DX makes it as sensitive to weak signals as possible. DX is radio-speak for distance. So get your book out/check your new radio out to see if it has that option, likely it has, and make sure it's not set to the Local option.

I'm basing the above on the assumption your replacement antenna has a full-size whip antenna, the same height as the OE antenna. If you made the mistake of installing a short stubby antenna, that's your problem.
Thanks Jerry. Unfortunately the Sony deck has no DX/LX setting to try (Sony MEX-GS810BH). The antenna I have is full-sized like the OEM.

I'll go over it double check my grounds and antenna setup again. I did do some continuity tests on the antenna and cable and everything seemed fine, making contacts to the ends of the cable (but not shorted). Maybe I just got a faulty tuner.
 

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Why, I don't know, but some models have a connector in the middle of the antenna cable in passenger side of the dash. Hand run your antenna cable as much as you can.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just in case someone has a similar issue. I temporarily replaced my Sony deck with a Kenwood unit, and results were about the same. Then I tried the Pioneer DEH-X8800BHS, which has what Pioneer calls the "Supertuner IIID". Most or all of their head units have this tuner. The difference was night and day. It pulls in and locks onto every station, even in digital HD (which I don't care so much about in a Jeep). Even if I turn off HD, the analog signal has no static/fade whatsoever as I drive. I am happy.
 

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You can give the awards for best CD, Amplifier, speakers, etc to other companies, but Pioneer has consistently made the best car stereo tuners since the introduction of the Supertuner back in the 70s.


I'm not a huge radio guy but I want the darn thing to work adequately. Over the past 20-30 years, car stereo companies have increasingly cut corners on tuners to where they barely work. Pioneer is the exception and has been my go-to brand for head units since the mid 90's, after owning decks from Sony, Nakamichi, Alpine, Eclipse, Kenwood and Clarion. Sony and Alpine were the worst tuner quality, and Kenwood would occasionally be passable quality.
 
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