Headlights not working - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums

SubaruOutback.org is the premier Subaru Outback Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old 04-25-2011, 06:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: White Mountains, NH
Car: 08 OB
Posts: 6
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default Headlights not working

Greetings from new user.

I've been searching my headlight problem with an 08 outback, but have found no threads about this issue. We bought the car used from a dealer, but not a Subaru dealer. Several weeks ago the headlights stopped working. Not being under warranty, we took it to a local service station. He checked the fuses and the bulbs and found no problems. Not specializing in Subaru's, he suggested that we take it to the dealer who would have wiring diagrams, etc.

So I scheduled an appointment... waited in the waiting room for 4 hours ($343 worth of time) for the news that the fuse block was bad. Had to wait a week for the new block... another 3.5 hours in the waiting room for the news that the new fuse block didn't fix the problem. Now they say that it is the DRL module. Of course, I'll have to wait another week for this part, and who knows how long to install and test it.

Can this really be the problem or are they just guessing? I've read in these forums that the DRL's can be disabled. If you can disable them and the headlights can still work, how can this be the problem?

Respectfully,
kmasters
kmasters is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 04-25-2011, 07:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: SEPA, Glen Mills
Car: Carmel Bronze Outback Premium 2.5 CVT
Posts: 46
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default We have to start somewhere

Let me state I don't know anything about 08 OB's but some things should be givens. The lights did work when you bought the car, now a dealer says the fuse block is bad. You have not done any under-hood or under-dash wiring for any purpose. If those are not issues, then DRL's in the 08 (here I need help) use the high beam (ala 2011OB) or use the lo beam. In any case they did work? So no lights, no parking, no lo beam, no hi beam and no fogs? Or do any of them work? The Forester (from their forum) the DRL's ran through a relay that selected the DRL resitor or full voltage for lights. There have been discussions about disabling the DRL in various Subaru's. But if the fuses, lights and voltage are measuring OK, and no modding of steering columns has been done. Just remember the Japanese car switches ground. So battery runs through the circuits and a ground turns the circuit on. A "quick and dirty" check would be to (here I state try at your own risk, or get competent help, I will not be responsible for any damages or injuries) using a jumper wire of suitable gauge; one end tied to ground and the other a probe. Carefully trace back from the light bucket towards the firewall. The lights should come on at the bucket with a ground. Not having a schematic or shop manual complicates the troubleshooting. Like I said we have to start somewhere.
Others with more information or to shoot me down are always welcome, the point is to share information and correct misinformation. How about it?
__________________
Carmel Bronze 2011 Outback Premium 2.5i CVT, 19mm RSB, OEM tweeters, BSM by SportWing, Llumar Air80 tint, OSRAM H7 65W.
notwen is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-25-2011, 08:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: White Mountains, NH
Car: 08 OB
Posts: 6
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

No DRL's or high or low headlights only. Parking and break lights work fine. We have not done anything to the wiring. I did replace a headlight bulb shortly after we bought it, but was a simple fix. It started first with no high beam and the next day, no headlights at all. I beleive the DRL's are separate smaller lights, not the Headlights.
Thank you for your input. Not sure I want to start probing without knowageable help. I will know for sure after the new part is installed ... next week... or whenever they get to it. It just dosen't make sense to me in this day and age, that it would take weeks to solve a headlight issue on an 08.
Thanks again.
kmasters is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-25-2011, 09:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Eastern ON Canada
Car: 07 OBW 2.5i D-4AT
Posts: 9,130
Feedback Score: 5 reviews
Default

On your 08, the DRLs use the high beam headlight bulbs at reduced intensity.

When the headlight switch is turned to the second position (headlights), the DRL control module turns off the high beams.

The control of the low, or regular driving, headlights, is through a relay and the headlight switch. The relay is activated by the headlight switch. This is a pretty straightforward approach.

As has been noted, it's the ground side that is being switched in both cases.

Both the high and low beam bulbs are powered (i.e. provided 12 V) through headlight relays. The relays are activated by the DRL module when the ignition is turned to ON. So if the module fails to activate the relays, the headlights, both low and high beams, would not work. (But this would not explain why the high beams first failed, and then the main headlights. The same relays power both the high and low beams.)

Once basic things are checked (in this case bulbs and fuses), problems in electrical circuits can be challenging. It can take a lot of time, and in some cases, a lot of disassembly work to access connectors and modules. When faced with these difficulties, one objective might be to try to isolate a most probable cause rather than spend the additional time to finally isolate the actual problem. While this helps keep costs down, and often works, it can be frustrating not only for the owner but also the mechanic if it doesn't.

I can understand your disappointment but because I don't know what testing and measurements were done the first time, and then the second, I can't comment further on the time taken (not counting the time to have the parts delivered -- this would depend in part on where you are).
plain OM is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-15-2011, 12:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Bragg Creek, AB, Canada
Car: '05 Outback 2.5i
Posts: 4
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default Having the same issue ... did you get it fixed?

Hi from another new member ...

Did you ever get your problem fixed ... was it the DRL module?

We just encountered the same symptoms on our 2005 Outback. No DRLs, low beams, high beams or fog lamps. Tail lights are working in all cases, and the dash illumination changes and the headlight 'on' indicator illuminates when we move the highlight switch to the second position. Just no bright, white lights pointing forward ...

P.S. checked the fuses in the engine compartment and under the dashboard ... all looked good!
rusticanna is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-15-2011, 12:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: White Mountains, NH
Car: 08 OB
Posts: 6
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

Yes, that did the trick. The dealer stated that this problem has never happened before. When we finally got the lights back working, it had cost close to $600, including the fuse block. We have no way of knowing if the block was really part of the problem.

Good Luck.
kmasters
kmasters is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-15-2011, 01:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 16,529
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

my 2010 ob did this exact thing. Turned out to be a faulty relay. Took the dealer about 30 minutes to sort it out and fix it. No cost to me due to warranty but I got the impression that it was a cheap simple fix.
subiesailor is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-21-2011, 02:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Bragg Creek, AB, Canada
Car: '05 Outback 2.5i
Posts: 4
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default

Thanks all will book it in and let you know how it turns out.

BTW . strangely, I noticed that the headlights come on when I put the car into reverse, so it appears the relays are working.
rusticanna is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-07-2012, 08:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Bragg Creek, AB, Canada
Car: '05 Outback 2.5i
Posts: 4
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Default FIXED! Rear tailgate cable harness causing short circuit ...

The problem with the headlights not working was caused by a short due to cracked/broken wires in the right-rear tailgate cable harness.

Dealer suggested replacement of harness (part # 81812AG03A; $350) plus 3.5 hours labour ($109/hr).

Went to local mechanic who repaired harness and broken wires for $100.
rusticanna is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-08-2012, 08:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Eastern ON Canada
Car: 07 OBW 2.5i D-4AT
Posts: 9,130
Feedback Score: 5 reviews
Default

Quote:
The problem with the headlights not working was caused by a short due to cracked/broken wires in the right-rear tailgate cable harness.
That's a strange one. I checked the wiring diagrams and don't see how a break or short in the wiring to the rear gate electrical functions would prevent the headlights and fog lights from working while, at the same time, not affecting the clearance/tail lights, back-up lights or stop lights -- there's no apparent connection between the functions in the rear gate and the headlights and foglights. Nevertheless, it's something to add to the possibilities as more of those rear gate wire failures come to light.

Last edited by plain OM; 01-08-2012 at 05:04 PM. Reason: add detail
plain OM is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:12 AM.



Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2
Copyright 2009-2010 SubaruOutback.org. All Rights Reserved.