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Proud Owner Of A 1994 Es 300....

Nick - D

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Well not quite, I'll be getting the car in about 3 weeks. It's a beautiful car, and I know the owner of the car very well, and I've noticed one major problem with it. The volume on the speaker system of the car does not go past a whisper quiet sound, something which really annoys me, whether I play something on off the radio or CD. Mind you the sound being output by the speakers is audible, but just barely. This volume problem happened randomly to the owner of the car a few months ago. I can't figure out the problem and I don't know if its something I could fix with the push of a few buttons or if its something like a loose wire. I hear bringing the ES 300 in to rip out the radio could cost a few hundred dollars, something I'm not ready to spend obviously. Has anyone else encountered this problem and is there a cost effective way to fix it? Any help would be much appreciated.


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Welcome to the club. I used to have a '95 ES.

How much of a DIY person are you? It could be a loose wire in the head unit or bad rheostat on the volume control, but more likely, the amp or head unit is shot. Could be tough to diagnose - especially if you don't have test equipment or electrical system knowledge. You could probably get both parts on eBay for not too much. If all controls on the head unit seem to work and you can hear a faint sound, I'd probably look to replace the amp first. (For the life of me - I can't remember where the amp is located)

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It's hard to say what's broken from your description. If you can hear faint music, my first thought is that the head unit is still sending out a pre-amplified signal and the amplifier is broken and not boosting it. This would necessitate the amp being replaced. You could test with an aftermarket amp if you have access to one before buying another amp, but chances are it isn't going to be plug and play with the existing wiring harness. If you intend to keep everything stock, I would just replace it. Yes, you'll need to remove the passenger seat to check/replace the amp.

An alternate guess is that the vol control knob is broken (bad rheostat) and that it can't be turned up which means that you need a new head unit.

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