Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Car: 2001 Outback Limited
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Brake Light and License Plate Light Problem
I have a 2001 Outback Limited Wagon 2.5l (I've had it since it was new, it's still going strong at 200,000+miles).
There is no history of any electrical problems, until now.
My license plate lights and the tail lights in the liftgate have stopped working.
I've studied the wiring diagrams for this car and here's what I've determined:
Fuse No. 5 feeds the circuit that sends power to (1) the tail lights/parking lights in the rear quarterpanels of the body (I will call these the "Outside Taillights"), (2) the taillight wire on the trailer connector, (3) the tail lights on the liftgate (I will call these the "Inside Taillights") and (4) the license plate lights. When the lights are turned on, there is power at the Outside Taillights and the trailer connection, but none at the Inside Taillights or the license plate lights. All other electrical items in the liftgate (brakelights, backup lights, windshield wiper) work properly.
I've identified the wire that brings the taillight power to the liftgate--it is the red-black wire in the group of wires that comes into the liftgate at the upper right (when looking at the car from the back). This wire (and the group of wires it's in) goes down the right side of the liftgate and then goes across the middle of the liftgate towards the left, and the red-black taillight wire goes along this route in the bunch of wires and about 2/3 of the way across to the left side it splits into 4 (one wire going to each of the left and right Inside Taillights and one to each of the license plate lights). This junction is not broken, i.e. the incoming taillight wire and the outgoing wires are all properly connected. There is no power at this point when the lights are on.
Obviously, somewhere between Fuse No. 5 and all of the taillights there is a split in the wire where power is split between the wire(s) that go to the Outside Taillights and the trailer connector (which are on the body of the car) and the wire that goes to the Inside Taillights and the license plate lights (which are on the liftgate), and I need to find where that is.
My Haynes manual shows a "generic" wiring diagram of the "typical" 2000-2004 Subaru and it shows that there is a 20-pin connector between Fuse No. 5 and the taillights, and that may be the source of the problem (or it may be where the split occurs).
Does anyone know where the split in the taillight wire is and/or where the 20-pin connector on the taillight circuit is located, and does anyone have any other thoughts regarding the problem I'm having?