Electrical nightmare - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Electrical nightmare

So I've lost taillights on my 2002 Subaru Outback wagon..I've unplugged every bulb I know of that connects to the clearance lights but it still blows the fuse..I've replaced park light switch on column and replaced headlight switch at the same time..Have my car tore apart and needing help..Anybody got an idea as to where to look next?

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 04:16 PM
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https://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...diagnosis.html


Here is a thread with a similar problem on a 2002. On the second page of the thread someone posted a link to a PDF of the wiring schematic.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 04:48 PM
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Check the bulb sockets. Very common for them to rust out, and short

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B Riggs View Post
So I've lost taillights on my 2002 Subaru Outback wagon..I've unplugged every bulb I know of that connects to the clearance lights but it still blows the fuse..I've replaced park light switch on column and replaced headlight switch at the same time..Have my car tore apart and needing help..Anybody got an idea as to where to look next?
Is it only the rear tail lights?

What about the licence plate lights? And the front clearance/marker lights? They're all on the same circuit/fuse.

Which fuse is blowing? (Owners Manual identifies the fuses in Section 12. Also, the fuse sockets in the cabin fuse panel are each marked with a number next to them.)

The wiring diagram that was linked above can be helpful if you don't already have it, and can follow it.

Do you have a multimeter to make voltage and resistance measurements?

Most often the problem is the bulbs, or sockets (as in the above linked thread). Rarely, a fault in the wiring harnesses, but it has happened.

I came across a rather unusual fault in 2017: https://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...ket-fault.html

Is the car new to you or have you had it from new? Any electrical modifications?

Look at the two linked threads, and then get back to us. We'll see if we can suggest what tests etc., to try next.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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So I've owned my suby for about a year. I had a keyless remote added about 6 months ago..It keeps blowing fuse #5. I have a test light is about it for electrical work.I have taken all the bulbs out and even pulled the pigtails to the tail lights..Plus it's all the clearance light..
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 07:16 PM
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Are there any wires between body and rear-hatch? (I am not sure about 2002)


I seem to recall someone in the past saying that the area where the wires 'flex' were chafing and shorting out.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B Riggs View Post
So I've owned my suby for about a year. I had a keyless remote added about 6 months ago..It keeps blowing fuse #5. I have a test light is about it for electrical work.I have taken all the bulbs out and even pulled the pigtails to the tail lights..Plus it's all the clearance light..
In regard to the bulbs that were removed, did that include the tail/brake light dual-filament bulbs in the outer tail light housings, the tail/brake dual-filament bulbs in the hatch (below the rear window), the licence plate bulbs in the hatch, and the clearance light bulbs in the front corners?

Did you also inspect each of the sockets inside for signs of heating, or melting?

Which tail light "pigtails" were "pulled"? Describe where these pigtail are/go.

There's three connectors on the harness that goes to the rear hatch. They are located behind the cover in the right rear corner of the cargo area where there's also access to the right rear tail light housing bulbs. If you haven't already, you could disconnect all the connectors in that space and then see if the fuse blows. That might better localize the problem area.

The fuse is blowing because of a short. A test light won't help find a short, and won't work if the fuse is blown. You've already replaced switches that were probably good. The best way to deal with this is by using a multimeter, and measuring for shorts, while isolating different parts of the circuits. Multimeters for this type of work need not be expensive and are essential tools for dealing with automotive electrical problems.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by brucep View Post
Are there any wires between body and rear-hatch? (I am not sure about 2002)


I seem to recall someone in the past saying that the area where the wires 'flex' were chafing and shorting out.
It's a possibility, but troubleshooting would benefit by first isolating the area of the short by e.g., disconnecting the hatch harness.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2019, 11:30 PM
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aux lighting harness fitted for a trailer? could be strife there if something has shorted out...
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B Riggs View Post
So I've owned my suby for about a year. I had a keyless remote added about 6 months ago..It keeps blowing fuse #5. I have a test light is about it for electrical work.I have taken all the bulbs out and even pulled the pigtails to the tail lights..Plus it's all the clearance light..

Was it a shop that installed the keyless entry/start/whatever it is? Could always see if they'd be willing to double check their work if you're concerned the timing coincides.


Re: another reply about wire bundles heading into the hatch - there are. The high stop brake light, marker lights above the license plate on that red plastic bit, and the license plate lights themselves all run through one or both of the rubber tubes that are right next to the hinges up top. Used to install my rear dash cam cable through there but got sick of replacing it every six months cuz it would come apart on the inside.


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