Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Volume, '07 Ford Ranger


I have a 2007 Ford Ranger - yesterday the volume stopped, but only while it is in gear - volume is fine while in park or neutral – what’s going on here?

You mean the radio?

Ford radios have an automatic volume adjustment that turns up the volume the faster you drive, to automatically compensate for road noise. You can turn this on or off, and set the maximum amount of volume increase, using the setup menu on the radio. Check your owner’s manual for precise instructions for your radio. It sounds like your automatic adjustment is not working right.

My guess is you have a glitch in the radio. It could be broken, or, like any computer, it just got temporarily confused and needs to be rebooted. I would start by turning the automatic adjustment off if it is on, or on if it is off. Try changing the level of adjustment. If that doesn’t help, try pulling out the fuse to the radio for 5 minutes to kill the power. (The radio still gets power when the key is off.) This will wipe out your radio presets but might fix the problem.

If none of that works, then the radio might be broken or the wire that connects the radio to the engine computer that it uses to sense your speed might be cut or shorted.

By any chance is your check engine light on?

Checked the owner’s manual - there are no instructions re: auto volume adjustment for road noise. Check engine light is not on. It’s very odd that the stereo volume works while it is in park and neutral - but not drive or reverse. I will try your suggestions. Thanks.

I’ve had auto volume adjustment in every Ford with a factory radio since 1988. (Contour, Focus, 2 Fusions.) There might be a separate manual for the radio. Look at your radio set up controls, I think that the auto volume level was set in the same way as setting the bass, treble, fade and balance.

If it’s related to being in or out of gear, and not the truck’s speed, then it’s not the speed-compensated-volume. (Not all Ford radios have the feature anyway.) It’s more likely to be a problem with the start mute circuit. That could be an internal issue with the radio, or a problem with the neutral safety switch on the transmission, or a wiring issue. It may be cheaper to replace the radio with aftermarket than to trace the problem down.

I’ve driven Rangers as company vehicles since Ford started making them. 4-cylinders, 6-cylinders, even the turbo-diesel. None of them ever had this automatic volume feature.

I once had a problem with the volume going to zero every time I stepped on the brake pedal. Never determined what was causing it. Did it for about two weeks and then cured itself.

I’d try pulling the radio fuse and see if it resets itself. You’ll have to program your presets again, but that doesn’t take too long.

Likely two possibilities…

  1. There is water intrusion into the Central Junction Box/GEM (Fuse Panel) located in the passenger side kick panel area. Possibly caused by a water leak at windshield or bulkhead panel.

  2. Water intrusion into the harness feeding or into the transmission range switch itself.

Radio is designed to mute during startup… There are three circuits going to the radio with power on them, one is hot at all times, the other is hot with ignition in run or accessory, the other is only hot in start. If the hot in start only remains powered, it will mute the radio.

In some cases a soft short can develope allowing power to back feed from the trans range switch or junction box back up into radio. If you have patience, some hand tools, access to a volt meter and willing to get a little dirty, you can remove the radio and check for voltage on the green orange wire. If voltage is present in run, shift the transmission and see if voltage changes. If so unplug the transmission range switch. (On side of transmission) If voltage disappears, It is recommended to replace the transmission range switch. You can also check to see if the concern is eliminated by removing fuse 22 located in fuse panel (Kick panel, no the fuse panel under the hood). The fuse panel should be checked for water before trans range switch replacement.


 Thanks for the info outlined above.  I drove through high water and experienced the same problem as SassyBlonde123123 (radio muted when in drive or reverse, but worked in park and neutral). I pulled fuse 22 (which was not blown) and the problem went away while the fuse was out.  My questions: (1) is it safe to drive around with this fuse out? And (2) what do I need to do for a complete fix (i.e. radio works with fuse 22 in)? Thanks in advance for any help!

Fuse 22 is only for the startup mute function. Basically to mute the audio so the operator does not hear popping/static as a result of the starter. Technically you could leave the fuse out and have to deal with audio pops everytime you startup. Keep in mind a soft short has already started… It will usually worsen as the corrosion progresses. If the issue is at the trans range switch/harness, eventually you could experience transmission shift issues. (Improper range input to PCM) If GEM is contaminated, major electrical gremlins can results (Gem controls Horn, RKE/locks, interior/exterior illumination.

I would assume high water exposure was only to exterior of vehicle, and that no water had entered pass compartment? If so just the Range switch and or its related wiring is at fault. There are a few tests that can be done to pinpoint soft short to a specific location. Tests will require removing a couple of electrical terminals from 2-4 electrical connectors. Easy to do when you have experience with them (and have a good pick tool set and a volt meter) a potential pain in the rear if your new to working on cars.

Do you feel like getting a little involved? You will need to take your time (DO NOT RUSH… Connector retainers can be easily broken) If so drop a post, and I’ll tell you what pins to pull from where.

Another side item, you may what to check the oil condition in the diffs, trans and T Case if depending on water level. Water can sometimes enter driveline component vents and contaminate oil. Just a couple of quick checkes could save you lots of irritation and money.

I have seen transmission range sensors on Fords through the years cause radio malfunctions. Not sure about the specs since I’m at home instead of work, but a good mechanic will be able to find the voltage specs and watch them on a scanner to see if trans range sensor is the problem.