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the Bose Towering Inferno--still simmering?
Things seem (to me) to have quieted down with respect to exerting pressure
on Audi about the Bose amplified speaker hazard. So, time to stir things
up a bit??? Here's my contribution:
Recently I sent Brett Dikeman (for his Bose database) the VIN of a '91 200q
that I saw some time ago-- one which had been auctioned as an Audi
"buy-back" because of it's rear speaker fire damage. I also recently
learned that my local Audi wrench (independent shop) had been in contact
with Bose about the rear-speaker "issue". This dealer/mechanic has sold and
serviced at least a dozen (probably many more) of the '91 200q, and he had
finally gotten fed up with seeing the burned (or just defective) rear
speaker amps. He decided the statistics were not "normal" so he contacted
Bose about it, and they sent one of their engineers (Boston to Salisbury
NY, about 300 miles) to discuss it (this was early last month).
What he learned was that Bose (if not Audi also) is well aware of "the
problem". The Bose rep stated that for their 1990 production they received
a batch of defective capacitors from a supplier. These were used for Audi
Bose rear amps and _also_ in similar Bose systems installed in certain 1990
and '91 Japanese luxo cars (I don't recall if it was Lexus, Acura, or...?).
The Bose guy reportedly said that in the case of the Jap. cars, the
amplifier boards were mounted horizontally, while in the Audis, the boards
are vertical. The latter (Audi) orientation was judged to have a low(er)
probability of fire hazard when a capacitor failed-- so they decided to
institute a recall _only_ on the Japanese (horizontal amp) cars, which they
thought would have the higher fire-risk. I don't know _when_ the Japanese
car recall was issued. That's something that should be easy to discover,
unless it was a "silent" recall.
Obviously, the Bose/Audi estimate of lower fire-hazard probability for the
Audi amplifiers didn't translate into "zero" probability. In fact the
subsequent incidence seems to be what I would consider a pretty alarming
percentage (as safety hazards go), considering the low number of _total_
cars in the '91 200 population. I don't know of anything that might have
been said by the Bose rep concerning Audi's role in the recall decision or
in subsequent incidents of fire/smoke damage. All that Bose would offer my
mechanic was to send him a free replacement speaker for one of his
customers who currently was having a problem.
Bose evidently seems to take this situation more seriously than does Audi.
Or at least they're willing to acknowledge some concern. Hence, although
Audi needs to be prodded (to put it mildly), it could be that exerting
pressure on Bose could be more productive--in the short term--for those
presently with malfunctioning rear speakers or with concerns about driving
around with an incipient incendiary device in their trunk.
Phil Rose Rochester, NY
'91 200q mailto:email@example.com