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So can you run the output of the ipod into your HU without having it plugged into the charger? That might help you narrow it down a little.
 

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The power wire running through your car has nothing to do with the ground problem. You can forget about that as a source.

VP's suggestion of grounding the lighter's ground to the radio is a good one. There is potential, however, that the radio ground is not that great. Since you are going to have it apart, if you really want to make sure it is all good, ground both the radio and the lighter to metal that has had any paint or coating removed. make sure you get a good tight connection. This would eliminate if there is an issue with the factory radio ground, which could be a problem if you are seeing this on forums. As another poster suggested, you absolutely do NOT want to ground the power wire from the battery under any circumstance. It just creates the potential to short it later.
 
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