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Old 03-08-2011, 05:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Post Reverse lights don't work

I own a 2008 Outback and have noticed that my reverse lights (on the tail gate) don't work. I replaced the bulbs a few days ago but unfortunately that didn't fix the problem. Also checked the fuses but that wasn't the problem either. I briefly researched information on an "inhibitor switch" but not sure what to look for and/or how I would know if the switch is damaged and/or needs replacement.

Any help or suggestions for this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Mahalo.
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Old 03-08-2011, 06:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It could be the inhibitor switch if the transmission is an automatic, or the back-up light switch if the transmission is manual. I don't think these are likely, but if you let us know which transmission you have, there might be some ideas about what can be looked at.

Also, although I think it might be early to see on an 08, there have been reports of the wires breaking in the flexible boot between the car and the rear gate. The back-up light wire is one of the wires in the flexible boot. (More info here: 05 Rear Hatch wire problems ). In this regard, also check to see if all the other electrical functions in the rear gate are working properly -- rear defogger, wiper (runs and parks), license plate lights, high-mount brake light.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you for your response and suggestions. Unfortunately, my warranty expired on the 2nd of this month so I'm trying to avoid unnecessary labor/repair costs if I can.

It is an automatic transmission and all of the other rear gate functions (rear wiper, defogger, and rear license plate lights) work properly. . . How would I know if it is the inhibitor switch and if it is would it be something that a complete car repair novice (myself) can repair?
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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To know if it is the inhibitor switch you would have to make a series of continuity and voltage measurements using the related wiring diagrams as a guide. The idea would be to find where there is a discontinuity that is cutting the power to the light bulbs.

It could be the inhibitor switch, a broken wire, or a loose connector. It could also be a fuse (a likely cause), which leads me to ask how you checked the fuses -- visually, or with a meter, or by replacing each with a new one of the same size and seeing if that corrects the problem?
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have an 04 outback also experience the same problem. Everything work at the tailgate except the reverse lights.
If I put into reverse gear. The dashboard is displaying I am in reverse gear. (LED light up at the "R") does it mean the inhibitor is good?
Also I checked the fusebox inside the cabin and can't find a specific fuse for reverse light only. Does it share with other electric?

I tried open up the gear shifter cover and not sure which is the inhibitor switch
I can see a little switch (like a size of a finger nail with a metal tongue that moves)sits upright, it touches the metal shifter stick, as the shifter move, it will trigger the switch but somehow seems to me that it is not making difference when I put in R and D position.

Please advice
Thanks
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Broken wire in the bundle that runs into the hatch would be my first guess. The switches rarely fail. Though a broken wire where the hatch opens and closes would cause your issue.
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks

is the wire bundle runs along the roof?

what usually cause the wire to broken? do you mean the 2 rubble hose thing that on the near the hinge of the tailgate and the rear boot?
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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thanks
it is fixed now

there are 4 broken wires inside the rubber case near the tailgate hinge
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Old 08-13-2012, 05:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corner_king View Post
thanks
it is fixed now

there are 4 broken wires inside the rubber case near the tailgate hinge
2005 Outback back up lights. Found the brown w/white, and red w/blue wire broken. A couple of other wires had the insulation cracked. I used a couple of small butt spices to fix the two broken wires and taped up the other wires with damaged insulation.

How are folks fixing these wires. There is not a lot of room to get crimpers and strippers near the breaks. I had to pull the boot back up towards the lift gate end and put a small vice grip on the bundle to hold the boot back so I could work. Real pain.

Any word on a service bulletin on this problem?

Thanks

Doug
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Old 08-13-2012, 06:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
How are folks fixing these wires. There is not a lot of room to get crimpers and strippers near the breaks. I had to pull the boot back up towards the lift gate end and put a small vice grip on the bundle to hold the boot back so I could work. Real pain.

Any word on a service bulletin on this problem?
Other than replacing the complete harness (which has been done), most here have either crimped or soldered the broken ends together, or added another length of wire in between to provide more slack.

I've been monitoring the TSBs (Technical Service Bulletin) and other technical information sources but haven't seen anything on this. Many of the cars in the affected 3rd generation (2005-9) are now beyond the 3 year warranty. Unless the problem is related to a safety or emissions issue, at this stage I doubt there will be anything. But, even if a TSB were to be issued, it probably would only advise service departments of what to look for, but not cover repairs for cars out of warranty. (But I guess we can always hope it would be otherwise.)

There's a number of issues that seem to be somewhat frequent (based on posts here) that have not been the subject of a TSB, including problems with the Passenger Airbag warning light soldering that causes the Airbag warning light in the instrument panel to come on, and failing solder joints in the 6 CD changer/stereo/climate control, that can lead to non-functioning climate, as well as radio. The climate control failure could be a safety issue if the defrost is needed, but there probably hasn't been enough of these reported, in part, because the problem seems to come up after the warranty has expired. Some have reported registering this problem with the NTSA.
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