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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
If your like me, you’re enjoying the H/K sound system and have come to accept some of its deficiencies.. after all its not a SQ or DBL competition vehicle.

With the EQ set to Bass -7, Mid -5, and Trebal -3, Surround disabled and the balance 3 clicks rear of center this system handles most music fairly clean upto volume 31.. but Minimal Electronic music or Minimal Techno beats set up a buzz at around 20 volume.

I enjoy all forms of music, however being rooted in the underground rave scene of the 90’s; i have a special place in my heart for EDM and Techno.

After 1.5yrs of ownership and running the H/K system hard, it has been very consistent in this nature. Recently I decided to isolate the rattles and clean this up.

Setting the audio balance to each door position one at a time, I found some music that is especially difficult for the H/K system: causing Buzzing/rattling noises. With the audio tuned this way it is easy to hear the actual quality without the loudness.

Removing the door panels and repeating the track it was easy to find that both body and the panel have adjustments that are needed. Finding the noises is as easy as touching spots around the panel with slight pressure or pulling motions.
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The clips in the door panels are very difficult to split and re-clip or replace. They however where reusable for repeated re&re’s and I didnt need to replace more than 1 clip. I found an inflatable wedge was the tool for the job. It not only slips in under the panel and lifts it off firmly but gently, it also was critical to re-clip the rear door panels due to the force needed to snap them together in the tight space available.

In my van, in both front doors, they have done a good job with foam tape and clips to hold the cables and harnesses. But there are spots that the cables and harness rattle on the plastic vapor barrier (that doubles as the window regulator.) The Vapour barrier has a lot of movement occuring and the power window motor is mounted in the center where the movement is most. Wedging my finger between the motor and panel eliminates a large amount of the rattle as it appears the panel under the motor has enough movement to resonate here.

Using 3/8” thick dense foam tape on the inner side of the motor supported the panel much like my finger was and corrected the worst of it. Felt/foam tape under the remaining harnesses fixed the body side. The volume now had no limit on the current settings on the body side.

Reinstalling the door panel And repeating the process at my starting volume levels it was found that the panel was also adding lots to the problem. With slight pressure on the panels I located the areas causing most of the noise.

Removed the door panel and found the leather armrest assembly is mounted with screws to the panel and where a little loose. But the majority of the noise is because of how the panel Is designed. The trim panel has no support with large surface areas that are free to vibrate.

Moving on to the rear doors using the same technique. The rears happen to be especially noisy even at lower volumes of around 18. Removing the panels and once again pressing/pilling on parts of the panel it wad found that similar spots are contributing.
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There was one particularly bad rattle that was trouble to solve that was caused by the plastic panel touching the metal behind it around the mounting bolts.

A bit of caution is required here: The doors have pressure sensors mounted to the panel used for Crash Detection and airbag deployment. These sensors detect rapid air pressure build up caused when the door is being collapsed from a collision and before the impact G sensors peak from the collision progressing into more supported structures. The air tightness of the system must remain as designed for the safety system to work as designed.

I applied felt tape under the panel but did not touch or change the seal surfaces or body plugs in the panels and managed to fix the noises.

With the foam tape under the window motor supporting the panel and the felt/foam tape around the harnesses and cables the rear doors now had no limit to the volume with the defined settings on the body side any longer.

Installing the rear door trim panel was difficult and disappointing. The rattling/buzzing was only marginally improved.

Time for Dynamat to dampen the panels.

Once again all 4 door panels came off and it was time to install sound deadening in the panels.

The fronts panels turned out good - I was unable to solve a buzz/rattle that manifests in the very back of the armrest.
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The rear doors needed to be done twice as a second layer of 80mil mat proved to be needed due to the large surface area of these panels.
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The end result? Not bad.. but not perfect.

I have retuned. The surround “on” brings a lot more detail to the instrumental in the mid range. With the effect of softening the low end noticeably but upping the bass and rebalancing the midrange brings the overall experience to a nicer place.

I can now run most the difficult music for the H/K cleanly up to around volume 28 and other music upto max, i’m happy i can now listen to the music I enjoy most without it sounding muddy and being annoyed by noises at normal levels.

The door panels could use more work to get this perfect, however I’m afraid short of mono-foam filling the panels it will fall short.
 

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Thanks for the detailed write-up, Moebius. Though my main takeaway is "don't try this at home".

Huge ups on your music taste. I studied and dabbled in minimalism during my music degree and love me some Steve Reich and John Cage. Adding electricity "maximizes" the potential of minimalism! Though these days I just bounce back and forth between Steely Dan and Erlend Oye...
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for the detailed write-up, Moebius. Though my main takeaway is "don't try this at home".

Huge ups on your music taste. I studied and dabbled in minimalism during my music degree and love me some Steve Reich and John Cage. Adding electricity "maximizes" the potential of minimalism! Though these days I just bounce back and forth between Steely Dan and Erlend Oye...
Right on.

Yeah, this post is more of a FYI a guess. Maybe someone else has had success where I failed?

I’m happy it sounds cleaner.

I’m unhappy that it isn’t perfect.. and will probably continue until it is.

Your takeaway is pretty accurate: Its not worth the money to bother unless “better” is your goal at this point.

The potential is there! Without the panels its mint. But I still like my panels on :)
 

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Awesome write up . I’ll just take the HK system as what came from the factory originally . That way I keep my 7 yr 160000 mileage extended warranty intact .
 

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If your like me, you’re enjoying the H/K sound system and have come to accept some of its deficiencies.. after all its not a SQ or DBL competition vehicle.

With the EQ set to Bass -7, Mid -5, and Trebal -3, Surround disabled and the balance 3 clicks rear of center this system handles most music fairly clean upto volume 31.. but Minimal Electronic music or Minimal Techno beats set up a buzz at around 20 volume.
Nice work. I have found that the optimal EQ settings vary based upon the source. For some reason the bass setting for XM radio has to be different than for mp3s on the USB.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Nice work. I have found that the optimal EQ settings vary based upon the source. For some reason the bass setting for XM radio has to be different than for mp3s on the USB.
This is very true!

One of my gripes is the 3 channel EQ that isn't stored by source.

How the tracks are mastered makes a massive difference also.

I prefer to stream now from Google Play Music or Amazon Music these days.

I’ve set it to the highest bit rates and is loads better than radio, and much easier than the mp3 collection of the 2000’s.
 

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This is very true!

One of my gripes is the 3 channel EQ that isn't stored by source.

How the tracks are mastered makes a massive difference also.

I prefer to stream now from Google Play Music or Amazon Music these days.

I’ve set it to the highest bit rates and is loads better than radio, and much easier than the mp3 collection of the 2000’s.
Yeah, with such a ‘hi-end’ sound system you would think they’d give you at least 5 bands in the equalizer and a saved setting for each of the sources. I’m not complaining too much though. It’s a pretty decent sound system for the 70s music I like to listen to and the only time I really get to turn it up much is when I’m alone in the car. (Wife has sensitive hearing)
 
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