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Saturn VUE- Audio hum in right rear speaker

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  • Saturn VUE- Audio hum in right rear speaker

    I have a 2005 VUE, 3.5 fwd. It has the 6-speaker audio, factory sub and amp under the rear seat. I've had an aftermarket stereo in it for years without any problems. Recently, though, I've noticed a persistent electrical hum in the speakers, and from time to time, the radio will just glitch, sort of shut itself off for a split second, then come back on a if nothing happened. Presets are good, etc. I believe there is a "click" from under the steering wheel when this happens, but it's so sudden and short that I can't pinpoint it for sure.

    The electrical hum is in the right rear speaker only. It happens with the engine on or when I turn the key to run without starting the car. It does NOT happen if the key is in ACC and does not change when accelerating.

    My troubleshooting searches led me to believe that means it's a grounding issue, so I looked at the two grounding points I could find under the front- one near the washer fluid tank and one under the front wheel, more or less. I also cleaned my battery terminals off- there was minimal gunk on the red. I also have aftermarket trailer wiring, so I found the ground for that and made sure the metal was bare and the ground wire was firmly attached. I also removed the aftermarket stereo and replaced my original factory stereo, to eliminate the wiring harness as a culprit. No difference- same hum/buzz whether the factory stereo or aftermarket. While I was switching stereos in and out, I also fiddled with the right rear (purple) speaker wires, and when disconnected the noise goes away- because the speaker is disconnected!! I re-connected the speaker wires, noise returns.

    Thinking that it might just be a speaker going bad, I replaced all 4 speakers with proper parts and instructions from Crutchfield. No change. Now I am thinking about the amp under my rear seat.

    Do all the speakers get powered from that, so, out of the head unit, into the amp, from the amp to subwoofer and speakers? If so, theoretically, there could be a problem at the amp, not the head unit.
    I don't know how to access that amp without taking the whole seat out, and though the noise drives me crazy, so far I haven't wanted to trouble with that.

    Seeing all the steps I've looked into, is there anything else I should be looking at, like some electrical noisemaker away from the radio? Anyone else have something similar happen? Thanks for any insight.

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