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Glen54 05-26-2019 02:52 PM

Stock radio, volume issue
The stock radio in my 90 190e is producing low volume output. I know they are only 4inch speakers, but with the volume turned up full and all four speakers working I can still carry on a conversation in the car without any problem. That doesn't seem right to me. It's the same with either the radio or the cassette player. Any suggestions on what may be the problem?

Josh 05-27-2019 02:20 PM


Have you tried cleaning the fader switch that's located in the shifter console?

Glen54 05-28-2019 08:22 AM

I haven't tried cleaning it, but I will. And I'll let you know if there is any improvement.

Josh 05-28-2019 09:12 AM

Good luck! If that doesn't do it, you'll need to start examining the wiring. If wiring looks okay, it's quite possible that the headunit itself is having issues. Do you happen to have a spare available to test?

Glen54 05-28-2019 01:23 PM

So I cleaned the contacts on the fader switch in centre console as best I could and it didn't improve the volume from the speakers. I can confirm that the fader does control the sound front to back in the car. The cassette player still works but has the same volume issue as the radio. Sorry I don't have another radio to try with the speakers.

Josh 05-28-2019 03:41 PM

Okay, but at least we can rule out the fader switch. Often times the gunk they accumulate will cause loss of sound as the contacts get dirty as the switch is actuated.

You might want to look at the speakers themselves if you haven't already. If the cones have come apart (highly likely if they are the original speakers), that will play a role in sound quality as well, ranging from quiet, to excessively trebly, to no sound at all.

Glen54 05-28-2019 03:58 PM

Actually I had to replace two of the speakers as they weren't working at all. So both the speakers on the passenger side are new. I did buy 'Walmart' replacement speakers as I didn't see a lot of choices for 4 inch speakers. The new speakers are rated for 180 watts which I think is sufficient. So if the two driver's side speakers are 'working' but not working properly would that also affect the volume on the two new speakers?

Josh 05-28-2019 04:14 PM

No, if a speaker isn't working, it shouldn't affect any others.

I replaced my front 4" dash speakers with Helix Blue B4X speakers. Had to trim the tabs, but they fit well. They're 5-25 watts and 75 watts for peak power, and they sound great and are plenty loud.

I don't have door speakers, yet, but those will come eventually. I don't suspect there is a wiring issue and that fault is on the headunit itself being unable to drive the speakers.

355190E26 05-28-2019 07:27 PM

So the stock head unit doesn't have much power at all It has a 2 channel output that goes to the fader and splits 4 ways. It's roughly 50 watts of total power, so about 12.5 watts per speaker.
Your low volume issues might have something to do w/ the speaker ohm rating. If I recall, the stock 4" speakers are rated at 6 ohms and most aftermarket speakers are 4 ohms. The lower the ohms, the higher the power draw, which the stock head unit can't keep up with, hence your low volume.
If originality isn't important to you, then I'd recommend swapping for an aftermarket radio. Most new radios put out 17-20 watts per channel which is plenty of power for the average listener.

Glen54 05-30-2019 02:53 PM

355190e26 you are correct about the ohm ratings. I just checked the two stock speakers that I replaced and they are rated for 6 ohms. The new Walmart speakers are rated at 4 ohms.

I'm not that concerned about originality so an after market radio would be fine. (though I had just dug out some of my old cassettes lol)

I'm not interested in spending a lot of money and I don't need bluetooth etc. AM/FM cd would be just fine.

Any suggestions on what I should look for? Will I need to replace the cassette holder with something? Or does it stay in place? Or are there alternatives to the cassette holder?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

PS if I had only two stock speakers connected would that improve the volume?

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