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The phasing question can be answered instantly. Just try it and see.
You could be overdriving it or simply getting resonances from the room. Try lowering the volume and/or moving the sub around.
The crossover should be set at the highest frequency where you want the subwoofer to START handling the lower frequencies. Theoretically it should be somewhere above the point at which your other speakers roll off the bass or you'd be left with a sonic hole in bass.
Your unspecified receiver probably has individual level adjustments for each speaker channel. An honest (not over-exhuberant) subwoofer setting that matches the rest of the speakers may help.
all you need is an 8 ohm subwoofer or a Dual Voice Coil (DVC) 4 ohm subwoofer wired in series that can handle 120 Watts rms. I Went with a Rockford Fosgate Punch P1 P1S812 12-Inch 150-Watt Subwoofer - 8 Ohm it was only $35 from amazon and is probably nicer quality than the original driver. Good Luck
The STK404-050 is hard to find but I have sub'd a 13 pin STK404-130 several times. All the pins are shifted over to the right to add another pin for the thermal sensor that is added to the STK404-130. By clipping pin 1, all the remaining pins, 2-13 are in the correct position to insert into 1-12 on the pc board. The only problem is the mounting screws are spaced wider so new holes in the heat sink will need to be drilled. Be sure to de-bur the new holes so the module mates flush with the heat sink. I have used this method to replace STK404-50's and STK404-100's with good success.
Are you sure it is receiving an audio signal to make it wake up? You don't mention what's upstream in the audio chain.
To eliminate mis-settings or lack of sub-related signal upstream, plug an RCA cable from a CD player directly into it and start a CD that fades in slowly because you won't have any way to lower the volume except to pause the CD. If the sub works you'll hear a muffled version of the program.
I have the same problem with mine and since Acoustic Research went out of business, I too have been looking for a solution. I may have found an alternative to throwing away this really nice speaker. I found a company on the web that appears to sell an amp that may fit nicely into this speaker enclosure for $99.00. Check it out...http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?DID=7&PartNumber=300-805
UPDATE Feb-16-2016: This Amp is still going strong since 2012 when I replaced it. The price has gone up to 139.00, but may still be worth it to replace a bad one given the cost of Sub's today.