North American Turbocoupe Organization



Equalizer Power Button
JohnOsborn Offline
Junior Member
#1
My 88TC has what appears to be the common problem that the equalizer power button doesn't latch on. In other words, the unit powers up and works fine if you hold the power button in but it powers off when you release the button. I've searched the forums here and the consensus appears to be there there is a plastic pieces inside the equalizer that wears out over time.

I've removed the equalizer from my car with the intent of repairing it but it's not obvious how to open it up. The device is bare metal on five sizes with the plastic face. Small screws hold the metal faces together but removing them just exposes the electronics boards. How do you get access to the button mechanism to make a repair? I know some people remove the button spring but I'm hoping to 3D print a replacement component for whatever is worn out.

Alternatively, if you have a functional equalizer you're not using I might be interested in buying it from you.

Thanks,
John
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Kuch Offline
Senior Member
#2
John,
I did the spring removal from mine about two years ago, and from what I remember about it, I just tore it down till I could get to the panel with the switch on it. As the power switch itself is small, it was a pain to take apart and remove the spring and get it back together. There is a small pawl in the switch which catches to hold the button, this is what was wore out on mine. The pawl was rounded and the spring pressure was too much for it to hold. Just start removing items one at a time as you get into it and remove as required. It took me maybe 2 hours of fiddling with it from start to back together.
1988 Turbo Coupe, Black/Black, 5 Speed, Moonroof,  T3/T4 50 trim, ported E6, 255LPH, Kirban, 3" DP dual 2.5" w Hooker Maxflows, MGW shifter, K&N, Gillis valve, RR cam, Koni's
1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL, 390 6V, 4 Speed, Vast and fast
1960 Ford Starliner, 292 Y Block, 3 Speed, slow and low
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#3
(03-27-2020, 09:36 PM)JohnOsborn Wrote: My 88TC has what appears to be the common problem that the equalizer power button doesn't latch on. In other words, the unit powers up and works fine if you hold the power button in but it powers off when you release the button. I've searched the forums here and the consensus appears to be there there is a plastic pieces inside the equalizer that wears out over time.

I've removed the equalizer from my car with the intent of repairing it but it's not obvious how to open it up. The device is bare metal on five sizes with the plastic face. Small screws hold the metal faces together but removing them just exposes the electronics boards. How do you get access to the button mechanism to make a repair? I know some people remove the button spring but I'm hoping to 3D print a replacement component for whatever is worn out.

Alternatively, if you have a functional equalizer you're not using I might be interested in buying it from you.

Thanks,
John

When I was still using my stock Premium Stereo setup (upgraded to a Boss Audio double DIN head unit 2 years ago) I also grew tired of this problem and no apparent easy solution. I had swapped several Graphic Equalizer modules in from salvage cars, but that too grew tiresome as each eventually broke.

I disassembled the switch, essentially removing the spring portion and hot wired it to be on all the time. I reasoned that there was never going to be a time when I would not want the GrEq powered up, so why not just fix it so it is on constantly? I covered the hole where the switch was with a small piece of black plastic tape.

I don’t think you’re going to be able to 3D print a replacement part that will work, simply because as Kuch points out, the design is flawed from the start.

Somewhere I have the notes from this project, drawings that show which contacts within the switch you’re going to be hot wiring, basically soldering small jumper wires onto the small circuit board. If you are at all proficient with a soldering iron it should be no trouble. Let me know if that will help.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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Rob H Offline
Member
#4
You know until I read this post, I didn't realize this was a common problem.
My problem has always been that I wondered what the point of the power button was, as mine has never budged, and I can't turn it off.
I still don't have my car out that I could check, but I'm wondering if maybe mine has been glued in place by a previous owner. I guess if you don't need to turn it off, maybe the cheapest easiest and quickest option.
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Jeff K Offline
Administrator
#5
The Premium Sound system was OK (but not great) back in the 80s, but by todays audio standards is sucks badly. Even a modern $80 head unit will seriously outperform the stock system, plus a modern head unit will likely have Bluetooth, USB input, etc, and at least triple+ the power of the premium sound system.

Dump the EQ and stock head unit and get a head unit from this century. You can now put 3 gauges where the POS EQ was located.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized
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JohnOsborn Offline
Junior Member
#6
(04-20-2020, 09:30 PM)Jeff K Wrote: The Premium Sound system was OK (but not great) back in the 80s, but by todays audio standards is sucks badly. Even a modern $80 head unit will seriously outperform the stock system, plus a modern head unit will likely have Bluetooth, USB input, etc, and at least triple+ the power of the premium sound system.

Dump the EQ and stock head unit and get a head unit from this century. You can now put 3 gauges where the POS EQ was located.

Some people want originality, others don't.
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Rob H Offline
Member
#7
I wish they made modern units that didn't look so flashy. Something that would match older styles or just cars in general. They just seem to have a style of their own.
With the problems I'm having with mine it sure would be nice to just upgrade to this millennium. I just like the styling of both the eq and head unit.
I am probably going to upgrade soon though. I'll miss all those little green sliders on the EQ most. But I won't miss only having one dash speaker and one door speaker. I need all new wiring. I'll do it all at once someday.
On that note, when you go to a modern unit do you still get to use all your speaker locations?
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anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
#8
(04-20-2020, 09:30 PM)Jeff K Wrote: The Premium Sound system was OK (but not great) back in the 80s, but by todays audio standards is sucks badly. Even a modern $80 head unit will seriously outperform the stock system, plus a modern head unit will likely have Bluetooth, USB input, etc, and at least triple+ the power of the premium sound system.

Dump the EQ and stock head unit and get a head unit from this century. You can now put 3 gauges where the POS EQ was located.

^^^^^Could not agree more.

I did—replaced it, I mean. Even though I am a huge fan of keeping things stock, as Popeye says, “I had all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” with the existing setup. Also replaced all but the Premium Sound speakers in the doors (I inspected them and they seem okay, but it’s only a matter of time). Hey, those old speakers still had paper cones. What kind of shape do you think that stuff is in after 30+ years in the moisture, cold and heat? There is a HUGE difference in the sound output I get now.

I went with a double DIN head unit from Boss Audio, with a backup camera and GPS mapping. It took some serious work behind the old unit—cutting, rearranging and strengthening the metal framework of the dashboard, but I have NEVER looked back.

There is an excellent write up on this site in the Tech articles on how to convert. To answer your question, briefly: there is an existing spare wiring harness tucked near or behind your glove compartment, for those who want to replace the stock stereo setup. You’ll order a Ford adapter from Scosche that you’ll use to connect to the wiring of the new head unit, then just plug it into the spare harness to use your existing speakers. You MUST disconnect the Premium Sound amplifier in the trunk or you’ll have a nice collection of burned wiring (I removed mine altogether).

I posted pictures and a short write up of the experience when I did it a couple of years ago. I did some custom work on the center console, as I had to make some changes to it to accommodate the new unit.

You can see that here. Scroll down a little bit.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 1 T5OD full rebuild, 5 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....
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