Rear speakers silent, front left works, front right speaker crackly, tweeters crackly

Tiny
SNADHORSE
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 DODGE RAM
  • 5.9L
  • V8
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 96,000 MILES
2001 Dodge Ram 1500 quad is equipped with the infinity 6 radio. Recently, both of the rear speakers have gone silent, the tweeters on the front upper supports are crackly and very quiet and the right front door speaker is also quiet and crackly. The only speaker working is left front door speaker. I have located the filter choke relay. So far have only opened up rear drivers door panel and checked fuses. This speaker works well with a remote stereo system.
I do not know if there is a separate amp for this system or if it is built into the radio or the speakers. The speakers began failing over a period of a few weeks. Any suggestions would be helpful.
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Thursday, February 25th, 2016 AT 7:42 PM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
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Please elaborate on "This speaker works well with a remote stereo system."

Have you looked at any of the speakers already, as in removed one? If so, did it have two or four wires in the plug?

This is definitely not a fuse issue. A blown fuse stops something completely from working. The circuit will not be intermittent and it will not cause static in the speakers. This is not a remote amp problem either. I do not think they use one in the large trucks, but when Chrysler does, failures are extremely rare. It would be very unusual for one channel to have a problem, let alone all channels develop a problem at different times.

It is much more likely you have speakers with remote-mounted amps built in and they are causing the problem. To verify this, switch the good, working speaker with its mate on the other side. If you find that same speaker still works okay in its new location, that proves the radio and wiring for that corner are okay. Also, if you remove a door speaker while it is playing, you are likely to find it will suddenly pop, scratch, or start working when you simply hold it with a different side up. If that happens, there are intermittent connections on the output IC in the amplifier. I have repaired a number of Infinity speakers for that.

Those Infinity radios were built mostly by Mitsubishi and are real high-quality. There are some common problems that once fixed are fixed for life, but I have never had one with audio problems.
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Friday, February 26th, 2016 AT 7:14 AM
Tiny
SNADHORSE
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You said, Please elaborate on " This speaker works well with a remote stereo system." Have you looked at any of the speakers already, as in removed one? If so, did it have two or four wires in the plug?

Yes my husband removed a back door speaker, drivers side and connected it to a home stereo unit music played from it, whereas in the truck, nothing. It had two wires on it. Not four. So I removed the passenger front door panel and yes, as you said, it has an amp attached to it. (Also, this speaker has four wires. Two red on the positive connection and two black on the negative). Looks like a very large black hearing aid wrapped around one end of the speaker. I can see inside it only slightly and the circuitry is covered with a coating making it inaccessible. You mentioned you repaired speakers due to amp problems. Did you have to replace the amp or is there a way to get at the IC connections? Is there another way to test this amp without taking off the drivers door and switching them?
Also, I read in a service manual that infinity speakers are driven by dual amps that are with the front door speakers. One drives the front door speaker and the tweeter for that side of the vehicle while the other amp drives the rear speaker for that side of the vehicle. So does this mean that the amp that I removed with the speaker is a dual amp and it drives both the tweeter and the rear door speaker? Or does "dual amp" mean I have only found one of them for the passenger side?
Either way, how can I test this amp?
I understand the system will not work without the amps? Or can one aftermarket amp be installed under dash and wired to individual speakers through the existing harness?
I plan to use a wiring diagram today to check for continuity from speaker feeds to speaker connections, both negative and positive.
I am confused as to why the drivers door speaker works well and is loud as it should be, but the same amp that is providing that sound is not driving the tweeter or rear door speaker on that side and the same story on the passenger side although the passenger door speaker has significantly less volume/quality.
Thank you for your first answer!
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Saturday, February 27th, 2016 AT 8:14 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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First of all, I have to clarify something I did not consider I could make confusing. It occurred to me when you said there's two red wires. By two or four wires, I mean how many terminals there are in the connector. It sounds like there are two wires attached to one terminal. That is simply because it is a dual speaker. It has a woofer with a tweeter mounted in the middle, or over it and each speaker needs two wires. In that case the black plastic box bolted on has only three or four parts inside to form a crossover network. That is not an amplifier. The secret to knowing there is a bad connection inside that block is only one of the speakers will cut out. I just repaired three of the six speakers in my 1994 Grand Voyager last fall for that. On one of them, the woofer cut out most of the time and left it with just the barely-audible tweeter.

How you get that circuit board out depends on how rough you are willing to be. I broke part of the box away until I could loosen the board and pry it out, then the protective jell can be chipped away.

If you have four wires in the connector, one outer wire is the 12 volt feed, one is the ground, and the two in the middle are the speaker wires. If these are in a door, the first place to look for a problem is between the door hinges. Look for broken or frayed wires. The clue is missing any one of those four wires will result in the entire speaker being totally dead, however, broken wires can be hanging on by the insulation and the ends can make intermittent contact and result in scratching or static in that speaker. The clue is you will never hear just the woofer or just the tweeter. Switching speakers side-to-side will leave you with the same door still having the problem and the speaker will work on the other side.

It is important to note too, that when Ford or GM use a remote amplifier, their radios must be used with an amp, otherwise there will not be enough volume to hear it, and when they do not use an amp, you cannot use an amp or the sound will be way too loud and badly distorted. You must match the amps to the radios that need them.

Chrysler has never done that. ALL Chrysler radios will run speakers directly, and all Chrysler radios can be used with their remote amplifiers, whether mounted on the speakers or when an amp is mounted in the vehicle. Chrysler amplifiers never increase volume or power. They only modify tone conditioning for the shape of the vehicle. That is not true of aftermarket amplifiers, so those can not be used here.

An Infinity radio puts out much less bass, then it is made up in the amplifiers. If you install regular speakers, regardless of quality, they will sound tinny unless you turn the bass all the way up. If you replace the radio with a non-Infinity model, which looks and works exactly the same, you will have too much bass unless you turn it all the way down.

When intermittent connections occur in the speaker-mounted amps, some people cut them off and wire the woofer and tweeter directly to the connector. The radio will run the speaker that way just fine, but the tone response will change. Many people do not notice that or they do not care. That turns a $135.00 Infinity speaker into a ten-dollar regular speaker.

Besides the four wires in the connector, the second clue that you have a speaker-mounted amplifier is the black plastic housing, which is about five inches long, is sitting on top of a black aluminum bracket with cooling fins cut into it. Remove two tiny hex-head screws to remove the amp, then I use a hack saw blade to cut part of the plastic housing away around the silver metal clip that holds the output IC to the heat sink. That will get you access to a place under the IC where you can start to pry the board up to free it. Do that carefully because one end of the board can easily be broken, then there will be six copper traces that will need jumper wires.

Scrape the protective jelly from the bottom side of the board to expose the pins for the IC. You will find one on the end of the row with the bad connection. I had to do this on my Grand Voyager too. I found the bad connection, soldered it three times, and still had intermittent operation. Finally I figured out I had not peeled off enough protective jelly, so I was only seeing eleven of the twelve pins. It was that last one that had the really bad connection.

The pins should be resealed to keep moisture out. I do that by placing a strip of paper over them, then using silicone gasket sealer to close everything up. If it ever has to come apart again, the paper keeps the sealer from sticking to the pins where it would be almost impossible to clean away. The goal is to simply make a weatherproof cover, not to totally encase the pins. I used to work for a very nice family-owned Chrysler dealership so I am very familiar with their two sealers. The more rubbery black stuff works well for this.
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Saturday, February 27th, 2016 AT 12:14 PM

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