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Old 11-11-2012, 06:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 2001 subaru outback - Stuck in park / fuse blowing. ALMOST have a solution.

Greetings,

My 2001 Subaru Outback was stuck in park the other day and I came here to try and figure out the problem. It seems like it could either be my Brake or Shift solenoid.

Anyway, I looked in my fuses to discover that the Brake Light/STOP fuse (ATM-#20) was blown. I changed it and all seem to be running good... until today.

Every time I start my car, I need a new fuse. But I don't think the fuse is blowing when I turn it on as I can shift out of park just fine (the solenoid makes the clicking noise when I press on the brake, and can continue to press on the brake repeatedly without it blowing). I can also shift out of park without it blowing... BUT when I go to turn my car off and shift from Drive into park, the fuse blows.

I can assume the fuse blows while going from Drive to Park as there is no solenoid noise when pressing on the brake while turning my car off.

Is it most obvious it is the shift solenoid then and I should change that first? Is this an easy DIY job?

Thanks all
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It may be the brake switch
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
I can assume the fuse blows while going from Drive to Park as there is no solenoid noise when pressing on the brake while turning my car off.
I tend to doubt it could be the shift lock solenoid itself. It's not connected directly to the fuse, and doesn't act like a switch, opening and closing a circuit that could short the fuse.

Are you sure that, when you stop and move the lever to P, the fuse isn't already blown?

The fuse also powers the stop lights, so when the fuse is blown, the lights won't work. If I understand the description correctly, you can bring the car to a full stop using the brake pedal, as is normal, but only when moving the lever from D through N, and R to Park, it appears that the fuse blows and you can't get the lever to P. If you park at night where you can watch the stop lights through the rear view meter, can you see the stop lights go on when the brake pedal is pressed, and then go out as the lever is moved, while not changing anything else (foot still on the brake pedal)?

The most common cause of the stop light fuse blowing is a short in the stop light circuit. Often there's a bad dual filament bulb (stop and tail), melted or flattened contacts on a dual filament bulb, or a fault in a socket (corrosion, conductive trace). It's possible that a new fuse will work initially so that the lever can be moved from P to D, but with repeated braking it fails, so when you go to move the lever to P and press on the brake pedal, you don't hear the solenoid click, and the lever can't be moved to P.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I tend to doubt it could be the shift lock solenoid itself. It's not connected directly to the fuse, and doesn't act like a switch, opening and closing a circuit that could short the fuse.

Are you sure that, when you stop and move the lever to P, the fuse isn't already blown?

The fuse also powers the stop lights, so when the fuse is blown, the lights won't work. If I understand the description correctly, you can bring the car to a full stop using the brake pedal, as is normal, but only when moving the lever from D through N, and R to Park, it appears that the fuse blows and you can't get the lever to P. If you park at night where you can watch the stop lights through the rear view meter, can you see the stop lights go on when the brake pedal is pressed, and then go out as the lever is moved, while not changing anything else (foot still on the brake pedal)?

I just went out to my car and pressed/depressed the brake pedal/move the leveler and had another fuse blow. When I put in yet another fuse, this one will not blow. I stepped on the brake and moved the level probably around 30 times and nothing



The most common cause of the stop light fuse blowing is a short in the stop light circuit. Often there's a bad dual filament bulb (stop and tail), melted or flattened contacts on a dual filament bulb, or a fault in a socket (corrosion, conductive trace). It's possible that a new fuse will work initially so that the lever can be moved from P to D, but with repeated braking it fails, so when you go to move the lever to P and press on the brake pedal, you don't hear the solenoid click, and the lever can't be moved to P.

Would it be worth it to try and change all of my lights then?
...I guess the next best thing I could do is take it for a little night drive and see if my brake lights go out whilst driving, eh?
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:36 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, just took a drive.

While breaking going down the street my brake lights were on. After driving for about 5 minutes and monitoring my lights, they went out while breaking and I heard the fuse pop.

So, change all of my brake lights then?
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It's either one of the bulbs, a bulb socket, a wire in the harness shorting to ground or the brake switch.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Start by just taking out each bulb and looking at it / the socket. In my case of weird brake-light electronics, I could see immediately that one contact on a cheap bulb had started to vaporize/melt and shorted to the other. See if anything like that's happening to you before you go buying bulbs for everything.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Start by just taking out each bulb and looking at it / the socket. In my case of weird brake-light electronics, I could see immediately that one contact on a cheap bulb had started to vaporize/melt and shorted to the other. See if anything like that's happening to you before you go buying bulbs for everything.
Good idea. I'm going to try and give her a good look tomorrow.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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In any event, it's only the stop (brake) light bulbs, not all the exterior lights. I think the 2001 wagon has five; two rear outer corners, two in the rear hatch, and the high-mounted light.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, I looked at the wiring harnesses and bulbs and it seems that one of the harnesses was fried. It had traces that look liked it had been burned, and the bulbs required a lot of force to pull out.

I removed that harness from the car, went for a ride, and no fuses blew. I'll be replacing this harness

(It was the harness on the top right that controls the brake and parking lights)

Any place where I can pickup this part online for cheap?

It's part number 84931AE170. And it's $50... bummer.
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