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But Mad North-Northwest
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Discussion Starter #1
My Milano has always had pretty poor FM reception, and I've been told this is a common problem with the car. Anyone ever found a fix or have any suggestions for troubleshooting this? I've tried two different receivers and antennas (including direct plug of the antenna into the radio) and haven't seen any real improvement.

I plan to do a bunch of electrical testing next weekend but if there's a known fix would prefer to save myself the time.
 

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use inox mx-3 on your connections helped my entire electrical out.
 

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running new, good quality antenna cable might help [i presume its still runs the stock 20+ year old stuff]. doesnt need to be top of the line stuff but a trustworthy brand should do it.
run it alone if you can [away from other wires], to prevent any elec noise getting in.

a high quality head unit did wonders for me [i paid over $1k though...]. you'll also notice upgrading the head unit will improve sound quality due to more power running the speakers easier at your selected volumes [compared to stock].

ill also take a guess that you'd like to keep a stock/era correct look?
search ebay for Nakamichi, or McIntosh head units. even some of todays models are era correct for the 75, and they are highly regarded for being some of the best sound quality head units around. you might have to pay a little for one, but you might stumble across one cheap. you just dont get the options of some other head units like time alignment, of full EQ control.
 

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the archaic ignition systems in these cars make a lot of EMF noise, which lowers the sensitivity and selectivity of a tuner. You will not hear the plugs firing (on FM anyways) but the interference makes the tuners effective s/n ratio lower.

try running a thicker antenna cable from the antenna to the head unit, and make sure all connections are sealed, as any place where the coax connection is 'broken' will introduce electrical noise. You can also buy either active or passive amplifiers which definitely work for this issue. these days you can also buy car antennas with high gain as well.
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. I went through and checked the wiring last weekend. Some of the grounds were a bit dodgy but unfortunately improving them did not help the reception.

I pretty much ruled out the antenna and wiring by direct-wiring an antenna to the radio, which didn't help. Reception isn't great even when the car isn't running so I don't think it's the ignition system.

What *did* help was a powered antenna amplifier. I got a Winegard BF-8809 and put it in the trunk (it's wired to the antenna switch wire so it turns on with the radio). Seems to be making a big difference so far, we'll try it this week on the road some more and see how it goes.

Winegard BF-8809 FM Car Radio Amplifier (BF-8809) - Winegard - BF-8809 -
 

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Rear defroster...

Does reception improve with your rear defroster off? Mine is terrible with it on.
 

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is every radio channel poor? im wondering if its your location in regards to a radio tower?
 

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But Mad North-Northwest
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Discussion Starter #8
I've got other cars and it's just the Milano that's bad, so it's not a distance issue. There's something funky about this specific car.

Anyway, tested the amplifier on the road today and it's working quite well, so problem appears to be fixed. It was simple to wire up and has greatly improved the signal. I'm happy.

I don't use the defroster much (California, woo!) but the problem I had was without the defroster on. If the defroster is causing problems I'd check the wiring. IIRC the high current wiring for the defroster is all in the rear: there's a relay under the rear seat that's triggered by the switch. So pull the rear seat, clean the grounds there and wherever the defroster grounds to, and maybe make sure the antenna wiring isn't running too close to the defroster +12 line from the relay.
 
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