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'88 Stereo/Audio Troubleshooting


dcpppf

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So I've got a 1988 ranger (2.9L XLT) that has had an audio issue ever since I inherited it from my grandpa 5 or so years ago (he was the original owner). I've been slowly repairing old worn pieces and am finally to the point where the truck is solid enough I want to spend some effort on the creature comforts; aka the stereo.

The front left speaker works about 5-10% of the time. Some times it just randomly screams static; others it'll pop on and sound great for about 10 seconds then drop back out. The front right speaker comes and goes as well but is about the opposite... works more like 95% of the time.

Anyone have any troubleshooting tips/advice? The truck hasn't had any electrical issues that I'm aware of... So not real sure if the stereo itself is just crapping out or if it is a speaker/wiring concern. I'm contemplating buying one new front speaker that I can use for testing to ensure it is/is not a speaker issue before looking in to a radio replacement.

FWIW, if anyone knows a place that refurbishes these old original radios I'd be interested... I hate the idea of throwing in a more "modern" aftermarket radio since it would ruin the aesthetic of the original old truck, but maybe its time to get over it I suppose.
 


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fastpakr

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I'd be inclined to blame the radio itself, but for testing purposes you could simply move speakers around to see if the problem moves. Assuming it fails frequently enough to be a problem just sitting in the driveway, grab a rear speaker and swap it with the front left. You won't be able to mount it in place (assuming I'm remember speaker sizes correctly), but that's not relevant for a quick test.
 

dcpppf

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Touche, didn't think about pulling a rear lol... I'm leaning towards the radio itself too personally but really hoping that it isn't!
 

dcpppf

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Just swapped the front speakers (left to right/right to left) and the speakers are fine. Front left just gets a trash signal. If you put the speaker up to your ear you can hear a faint audio sound from the radio (about 10% of other speakers) and a lot of static.

I think I can get my hands on one of these for $20 so I'm thinking about just swapping it in to see if that fixes the issues. And it'll keep the aesthetic at least close lol

 

85_Ranger4x4

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IF you bide your time the factory radios are not super hard to turn up.

I have passed on many in JY's.

My Alpine has a similar aesthetic that many aftermarket radios did in the early 90's so I call it period correct enough for me. Plus it has USB, CD and Sat.
 

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Being the collector of old junk that I am... I found that probably 80% of factory Ford radios I find in junk vehicles prior to 1994 or so just straight up don't work right. Late 80's/early 90's is especially bad and they often do things similar to what yours does... quiet volume, FM doesn't work at all, crackly/static noise etc. I would almost bet money that it's an issue with the capacitors leaking and that it could be fixed fairly easily, but a new head unit is so easy and inexpensive that I just have never gotten around to digging into them. I have a pile of duds in a box in my attic for when that time comes though!
 

RonD

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+1 ^^^ on all the above

It IS a radio issue, an intermittent issue is not a speaker failure mode, it is an amplifier failure mode
 

dcpppf

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Appreciate the "encouragement" to keep digging haha. This one went fast... I found a head unit very similar to the one linked above locally for $30. So I grabbed it and hooked it up last night and sounds 1,000x better. All speakers working and aesthetic isn't totally ruined.

I ordered a dash fit kit for the ranger that'll hopefully work for it. If anyone has any links to mounting brackets/fit kits that they think may work i'm all ears cause right now i'm just shooting in the dark!

Thanks again!

Here is the fit kit i ordered.

 

wildbill23c

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Welcome to Ford's 80's radios...they suck. Every 80's Ford I've had the stereo is just garbage, after a while they just quit working the one in my 87 Ranger doesn't have sound at all, if you bang on it just right it'll work for a second then quits again. The one in my 88 Bronco 2 only works on 2 speaker I think and that's very infrequently. I did buy a replacement receiver for my Ranger, but never bothered installing it as there just isn't anything worth listening to on the radio anymore, and I don't drive far enough to bother with blue-tooth, mp3, usb, etc. auxiliary functions so the receiver unit is still sitting in the box from Crutchfield.

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_003CFK510/American-International-CFK510-Dash-Kit.html. Is the kit from Crutchfield that fits the 80's Rangers, but the Amazon link that you gave is the same part number so either one works.

I ordered the Dual XDM270 Receiver unit https://www.crutchfield.com/p_070XDM270/Dual-XDM270.html. Have no clue about them, it was cheap, figured if it fixed the issues fine if not I wasn't out too much money. Haven't even bothered trying to install it, taking the whole dash apart to install a radio isn't exactly something I am thrilled about doing LOL. I hate working on vehicles to begin with, and wiring and tearing apart dashes to install a radio isn't something I find fun.
 


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