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SXM Radio constantly cuts out

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Old 09-13-2017, 08:34 PM   #1
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SXM Radio constantly cuts out

I did a search but it didn't turn up anything. If this is already being discussed, please direct me there.

I have a 2017 Ram 3500 Laramie with the big screen radio that controls everything.

Since day 1, I can't hardly get through a single song on the radio without several seconds of the radio cutting out. It only happens on SXM, not FM or AM.

I brought the truck to the dealer last week for the first oil change, and told them about it to get the process started. As I expected, they were "unable to duplicate the problem." I doubt they tried very hard, but it gave me the opportunity to immediately set another appointment for nothing but looking at the radio issue. They had my truck all day today.

They not only acknowledged that they witnessed the issue, but have confirmed that they've heard about it from others. They said they put a "test antenna" on the system and the problem still exists. They then said that they have an email from Chrysler specifically saying they can't replace the radio, and that this is considered "normal" behavior for a paid service on an $80k truck. Bullcrap.

I've had a satellite radio since they came out. The XM service worked great. My two current radios are the SXM in the new pickup and another portable unit (Sirius?) that goes everywhere. Why they don't have the same channel numbers for half the stuff this long after their merger boggles my mind, but that's another story. Suffice it to say, I know this is NOT normal. I can't get through a single song without several moments of silence from 1 to 2 seconds. Sometimes, it will last several seconds and even flash the window: 'Aquiring SXM Signal.' Imagine what's it's like when this silence occurs right after hearing the crack of a bat while listening to your Orioles game.

So the dealer gave me a phone number for Chrysler to "start a case."

Any insights? Anyone else experiencing this? Anyone else have the SXM on this new system and is NOT experiencing this? I need to collate as much data as possible. I'm not going gently into that good night.

Last edited by MAC702; 09-13-2017 at 08:38 PM. Reason: wording
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Old 09-14-2017, 12:42 AM   #2
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Anyone else have the SXM on this new system and is NOT experiencing this?
Although mine is a '15, I've only found that being an issue when I go out of range of the satelite up in BC, then dead through YT, and AK. There is a dead spot here in town, though, where I absolutely cannot get reception. No visible obstructions. The same area also affected my little Sirius. The 'dead' zone is less than 100 yards square.

But then again, it may be the 'intermodulation' issue with T-Mobile towers. Here is an article from a couple years ago. Here is a 2017 article. Good Luck.
Too late for morning brew . . .
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:45 AM   #3
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I have had this problem since I got my 2014 Ram that has XM radio. I had a 2010 Ram that had the Sirius radio and this had very little problems. I am in western Canada and driving through the Rockies is really a pain but not so much in my 2010 truck. I can be in parts of Calgary where I live in an open area where no cell towers are evident and it will cut out. No idea what the problem is but my bet is that it is the radio.
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Old 09-14-2017, 08:52 AM   #4
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Thanks for your experiences, guys. It's all helpful.

I'm in southern NV. I've never had problems with satellite coverage in any radio I've ever had.

I can't say for a certainty if it is related to vibration or bumps, but it seems sometimes that it might be. I've never caught it happening when the truck it just sitting somewhere. It has happened once at a traffic light as I was just coming to a stop, and I had no signal for the entire time I was stopped. Pretty much as soon as the truck started moving, I was back in business. There were no buildings around me. Like I've said, I'm used to satellite radio. This is not normal.
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:22 AM   #5
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Mine cuts out easily. Doesn't sound anywhere near as bad as yours though. I drive the same routes as I did previously in my commuter car that had sirius as well. My car would cut out in a tunnel, or if I was stopped in traffic under certain underpasses and that was about it. The truck will cut out in the clear wide open sometimes. It cuts out in places that the car definitely did not. It seems to be consistent (on my normal routes) as to where it is going to cutout but my car did not do it in those same locations. It has been somewhat of a let down based on my previous car and even without that previous experience you would think they could have done a better job. I have no idea if it is truly sat reception (though based on past experience I wouldn't think so) just a poor antennae system or a crappy sat receiver setup. FCA not wanting to change radio units must have found that the radio unit wasn't the issue (well it could be the issue it just didn't fix the problem ie poor design).
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Old 09-14-2017, 10:02 AM   #6
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When people ride in my truck, they comment about it. It's embarrassing: "How much did you pay for this truck?"
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:07 AM   #7
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This is not normal.
I agree. Have you tried resetting your Siriusxm radio yourself? If not, go to Siriusxm and hover your mouse over the "Help and Support" at the very top. After doing so, click on the large button "Refresh my Radio" on the left. Or, you can just click here for the page describing how to refresh. Good luck.
Back to morning brew . . .
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:34 AM   #8
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I have had the same problem with my 16' will randomly go quiet. My wife says her Chevy Tahoe does the same thing though not as frequently as mine.
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Old 09-14-2017, 02:00 PM   #9
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My 16' has specific spots where I lose service.
Just east of Chicago by Gary Indiana it quits for a f ew seconds, same spot every time.
At the border of MN and ND on I-94 at Moorhead and Fargo same thing.
several quick blips but they are always in the same places.
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:25 AM   #10
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I agree. Have you tried resetting your Siriusxm radio yourself? If not, go to Siriusxm and hover your mouse over the "Help and Support" at the very top. After doing so, click on the large button "Refresh my Radio" on the left. Or, you can just click here for the page describing how to refresh. Good luck.
Back to morning brew . . .
I've done that numerous times but nothing works.
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Old 09-15-2017, 03:14 PM   #11
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I have SXM in three different vehicles, and the reception is the same in all of them - very spotty. It was much better before the merger - Sirius would come in almost anywhere, while my friend's XM would not. Now it seems like they sank to the lowest common denominator. I did complain to them, but they say in their disclaimer that a clear view of the sky is required - and they mean it.
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Old 09-16-2017, 10:27 AM   #12
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... they say in their disclaimer that a clear view of the sky is required - and they mean it.
In southern NV, we don't even have clouds in the way most of the time.
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Old 09-16-2017, 08:37 PM   #13
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They said they put a "test antenna" on the system and the problem still exists.
Did they tie the test antenna directly into the back of the radio---or did they tie it in at the secondary connector at the R/F A-pillar?
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Old 09-18-2017, 11:06 AM   #14
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Did they tie the test antenna directly into the back of the radio---or did they tie it in at the secondary connector at the R/F A-pillar?
Good question. This is what it says on the report:
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Verified SXM cuts off at some spots. Took front bezel off to access back of the radio to attach test antenna 997-6-SAT. Test drove vehicle and SXM radio cut off at some spots during the test drive. Normal for SXM radio to cut off due to dead spots.
But this is NOT normal. There are no "dead spots" to speak of in the friggin desert. I've had satellite radio for a decade around here. If this was normal, I'd have never paid for it.

Naturally, I'm required to leave them the vehicle and just assume they do what they say and that it's failing the same way for them that it's failing for me.

I find it very interesting that they claimed a 10-mile test drive the week before when I was there for an oil change, and got this: "Could not duplicate concern, ... SXM radio working as designed," and then a week later, with only FOUR miles of driving, they duplicated it enough to tell me it was normal.

I need to figure out how to set up a video camera while I'm driving. I need it to record the audio well enough to hear the frequent cutouts, and have the radio face and windshield in view to show the open skies, direction of vehicle travel, and the occasional 'Acquiring Signal' notice on the screen.

I also have my stand-alone Sirius radio that can attach to its independent power source/speaker box. But it uses different channel numbers for some things, which is VERY annoying when looking for a baseball game. Does that mean it gets its signals from different satellites, leftover from however their merger worked? It, too, was bought only a few months ago, and their merger was a long time ago. It never cuts out unless I go into a steel tunnel.

To be clear, the cutouts are so frequent and seemingly random that I haven't tried to see if its possible to verify that they happen at the same places. Indeed, if it only happens for a second or two, and frequently, while driving around under clear skies, I just don't see it being interference with the signal from the sky. Bird shadows? I will pay special attention today and note exactly where I am for several of them. And I'll do that for a few days in a row to verify there is no pattern. I expect none, but should verify.
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Old 09-18-2017, 11:18 AM   #15
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But this is NOT normal. There are no "dead spots" to speak of in the friggin desert. I've had satellite radio for a decade around here. If this was normal, I'd have never paid for it.
Have you contacted Siriusxm directly?
Back to morning brew . . .
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