2006 Chrysler Pacifica built-in amplifier

Tiny
MCSPADM
  • MEMBER
  • 2006 CHRYSLER PACIFICA
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
How do I test the built-in amplifier to know if it's operating properly?
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Saturday, March 28th, 2015 AT 9:38 AM

4 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
What is the symptom or problem you're trying to solve? Are you referring to the radio or a separate remote-mounted amplifier?
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Saturday, March 28th, 2015 AT 12:57 PM
Tiny
MCSPADM
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We have an '06 Chrysler Pacifica that also has working DVD player, CD player and radio but no sound. (The sound just cut out one day in the middle of a DVD.) You suggested to another owner that they check the amplifier and I'm wondering what you do once you find the amplifier to check it.
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Saturday, March 28th, 2015 AT 6:29 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Sorry for the delay. There will be at least one fuse for the amplifier, but thanks to the insane engineers, there are a number of computers involved now. There used to be a simple single wire going from the radio to turn on the power antenna and / or remote amplifier through relays. Now, the amplifier will still have a constant 12 volt feed, but the turn-on function is done through internal circuitry that gets a digital signal from the radio over the "data buss". The data buss is a pair of wires that all the dozens of computer modules talk back and forth on to each other.

The only things you can do yourself are first, check for a blown fuse, both inside and under the hood, and substitute a good amplifier. Beyond that you need a scanner to view live data to see if the radio is sending out the turn-on signal and if the amplifier is receiving it. If the amplifier tells the scanner it is turned on but there's no sound, the most likely suspect is the amp itself.

There is another issue that I am less familiar with. That is something tricking the amplifier into thinking it isn't programmed to the car. GM started this nonsense with computers that won't work unless you buy a new one from the dealer and have them program it to your specific vehicle ID number. That is one of many "customer-unfriendly" business practices that GM is famous for. Since the 1950s, Chrysler has been one of the world's leaders at developing innovations that truly benefit car owners, and other manufacturers are forced to follow suit a few years later. GM has a history of figuring out ways to separate owners from their money after the sale, and sadly, other manufacturers tend to follow suit too because they see how those business practices keeps GM profitable. For that reason, I DO know that some of Chrysler's computers also have to be programmed, but unlike with GM products, you can do that with used computers from a salvage yard, and independent shops with standard equipment can do that too. I don't know if that applies to your amplifier. My best recommendation is to get an amp from a salvage yard to plug in and try. If you have sound, you should be done. If you don't have sound, if I understand correctly, any mechanic with a scanner can do a "module scan" on your car to see a list of computer modules it came with. If the amplifier doesn't show up on that list, there is either a blown fuse and it isn't getting power to communicate with the other computers, or it does indeed have to be programmed before the other computers will recognize it.

Be aware too that in the past not every vehicle had a remote amplifier. All of Chrysler's radios will run speakers directly. When an amplifier is used, it doesn't increase power or volume. It simply conditions the tone response for the unique shape of the body. If you can't find a remote amp in your vehicle, you likely have a radio problem, but again, that can be due to a blown fuse.

There always used to be two fused power circuits, one from the ignition switch to turn the radio on, and one from another circuit that was always live, for the station presets and clock memory. That memory circuit was never labeled as being for the radio. Most commonly that was tied to the "interior lights" circuit, but the horn and cigarette lighter were used too.

To add to the confusion, different radio models in any car brand act differently when the memory circuit fuse is blown. Some will work perfectly fine until you turn the ignition switch off, then the next time the clock will have reset to 12:00 and the station would be reset to one of the factory defaults. Some radios appear to function and all the controls work, but there is no sound. Some radios will be completely dead all the time when the memory fuse is blown.
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Saturday, March 28th, 2015 AT 8:22 PM
Tiny
MCSPADM
  • MEMBER
Oh, boy. Ok. We've not found any blown fuses, and the clock on the radio does not reset. But. We bought a new DVD player and radio (Chrysler brand from online dealers) and installed them ourselves about two weeks before the sound cut out. And since the sound went out we also had an issue with the power b/c a battery connection was loose. So it could be one or a combo of the reasons you suggest. Maybe installing new devices messed something up, maybe we blew the memory fuse when the power disconnected and messed up the new radio, maybe the amp just coincidentally went out or needs to be programmed. We're calling the dealer and taking it to a car audio place this week to look into it further.

Thanks so much for the insight and information. It's nice to go into the audio shop with some knowledge under our belts!
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Sunday, March 29th, 2015 AT 11:41 AM

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