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Outback VDC McIntosh Radio

hall3466hall3466 Posts: 4
edited August 2014 in Subaru
I have the 2003 Outback VDC with McIntosh Radio and just recently the radio became stuck on the weatherband channel and one that doesn't even come in locally. Is anyone having a similar experience with the McIntosh radio? Dealer advises out of warranty period and new one must be purchased. Very expensive replacement is the only option per dealer. Just curious if anyone else has had a similar experience and what you did to solve.


  • My "McIntosh" Clarion stereo problems started the same way. None of the buttons work. I got the stereo on the CD player and it will play CD's some of the time. The problem escalated and if I try to adjust the volume the volume goes to full, the volume also increases on it's own. I can load and unload cds and they play some of the time, but that's it. McIntosh will not help, Subaru says replace it, too expensive. I have not taken the time to find a repair shop to find out what's wrong. I think it must be a control board or chip that is bad.
  • ghmrghmr Posts: 1
    I went from a great stereo to exactly what you describe. It started after my battery died and the car was jump started. Originally, I just got a "system" message, but after stopping at a dealer's, one woman magically started the CD load and eject. Well, it worked twice and the radio now showed 107.9 but would not put out anything but static. I killed the battery that night as I tried in vain to get more response. Jumped again and now the sound no longer changes on its own. It is at max volume and the radio is stuck on the wether station that only gives static. Too many people with exactly the same complaint. What is the problem? Or better... is there a reasonable solution? Interestingly, I actually thought I heard the radio playing softly just before the battery died the second time.
  • hall3466hall3466 Posts: 4
    Your problem sounds very similar to what I experienced. Ultimately, I got the Subaru dealer to replace the radio and install with the same factory model at no charge. I had to push the issue to get them to do it and eventually they relented. In my mind it was a manufacturer's defect that transcended the warranty. The dealer was telling me the radio was out of warranty and I would have to pay the cost. You have to replace the radio with the factory model (McIntosh) otherwise you are just setting yourself up to have the car broken into because you went with a lower priced aftermarket radio. Since the radio has been replaced I have not had a problem (knocking on wood). And I am grateful Subaru stepped up and took responsibility for it.
  • joefledjoefled Posts: 3
    I need the same help from Subaru. I bought my wife a used '04 Legacy Outback VDC Sedan from an individual. These people were very honest and I have no other problems with the car. It has all been great up to this point. The radio just got stuck (today) on the weather band and only puts out static. We can turn it on and off and the CDs will eject.

    Did you go to your local dealer first or did you deal with Subaru for a while? I would like to by-pass as much of the hassle as possible. We live in the southern US and Subarus are not all that common here.

    Any advice would be great.
  • hall3466hall3466 Posts: 4
    I went to the dealer first to have the problem accessed. The dealer wanted to replace the radio with the same McIntosh model, but charge me the full price for a new one. That was not acceptable to me and I pushed back that it was a manufacturer's defect and should be covered regardless of the fact that the warranty had expired. The dealer then pushed me to Subaru and they agreed to cover it. I went back to the dealer and it was no charge to replace with same model. My advice to you is try and get the dealer to cover it because it truly is a manufacturer's defect. When that fails call Subaru direct and ask for their help. They clearly know the McIntosh radio is failing so it shouldn't be a surprise. I am located in Northern California and their are a lot of Subs around. Good luck and push the manufacturer's defect issue.
  • Do you have a contact at Subaru? What dealership helped you?
  • I don't have a specific contact at the dealership. I went through Ron Price Subaru in S.F. Unless your car is under warranty they are going to deny the claim. You need to push it. Go to Subaru USA for help as well. Look up there 800 #. In my situation I made the argument that even though it was out of warranty it was still a manufacturer's defect.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,162
    That phone number is 1-800-SUBARU3
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • We got this repaired at a place we found on the web--Factory Car Stereo in Florida. They were great! Very reasonable and very fast.
  • P.S. Replacement is EXPENSIVE! Somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500 through the dealer.
This discussion has been closed.