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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I bought a 2001 Outback and it's been a great car. I raised the hatch an found water pouring out of the taillight bulb sockets. I found several threads on this but no one has mentioned a fuse popping. No taillights, marker lights and no plate lights. I found the tail/clearence 10amp fuse blown. Replaced the fuse and turned on the lights, fuse popped again. I disconnected all the rear lights, slid another 10amp fuse in the fuse block, turned on the lights and popped again. I have a chiltons book for this car and the schematics show an "Illumination Relay" no location for it. I'm hoping someone can thump me in the right direction.

Vr,
NewtQ2
 

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2003 OBW 2.5L 4EAT
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The lower brake light sockets in the facia panel on the tailgate are being shorted out by corrosion caused from the water build up. The proper fix would be to remove that facia panel and run a seam of silicone along the top edge of the assembly where the 2 halves of the assembly are joined, as that is where the water is entering.

You will have to very likely replace both of the tailight/reverse light harnesses for the rear facia panel, best bet is to buy 2 of the used clean harnesses as below:

Subaru 00 01 02 03 04 Brake Light Socket Wire Harness Kit Outback Legacy Wagon

Additionally you may have an issue with broken wires in the rubber boot between the body & the tailgate, shorting on each other.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I know I need one socket. However, I had the entire tail light harness removed from the vehicle tailgate and still pops the fuse as soon as the headlight switch is turned on. I have no running lights and zero power to the license plate bulbs. All interior lights work. I have brake lights, turn signals and bake up lights, NO taillights and parking/marker lights. The running light switch doesn't turn the lights on ether and all interior lights work. I haven't checked the harness for broken wires. I'm using a Chiltons wiring diagram not a true Subaru schematic.

I really appriciate all the help
 

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I had the entire tail light harness removed from the vehicle tailgate and still pops the fuse as soon as the headlight switch is turned on.
There's two tail lights in the rear hatch, but also one in each of the outer light assemblies in the rear corner fenders. In the third link I provided in post #2 above, a socket in the right side corner light assembly was shorting.

(Please don't double post. (You have another identical post in a 2003 thread. Similar subject, but you already started this new thread.)
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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I had a leaky taillight.
The water was coming in at the top, against the body. Sealed it with silicone.

Only found the ingress point by pulling it and filling with water.

The water had migrated through the wires (between the strands of copper) and corroded the first plug the wires go into, inside the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
CNY_Dave, thanks. I found a black/red and a white/red wire with the insulation cracked in the pass through boot. Repaired , through a fuse in, turned on the lights and pop goes the fuse. Going to start tracing wires to see if I can find the culprit. I didn't think of the migration, will check it out. Thanks again.
 

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I had the entire tail light harness removed from the vehicle tailgate and still pops the fuse as soon as the headlight switch is turned on.
From this I thought the tailgate lighting circuit had been eliminated but perhaps I misunderstood.

There's access covers in the back corners of the cargo area behind where the outer corner light assemblies (combination lights) are mounted. Under the cover on the right side, there's three pairs of connectors, two of 8-wire, and one 2-wire. These are for the rear gate (hatch) harness.

Disconnecting all three eliminates the wiring to and in the hatch. Also, there's flat 4-wire connectors behind the access covers on the left and right side. These are for the short harnesses going to the combination lights -- the 4 wires are for the three light functions (stop, tail, and turn) and ground in each assembly.

By disconnecting the 4-wire connectors, in addition to the three tail gate harness connectors, all the rear lighting wiring and sockets are eliminated. Now check for the short (use meter at the fuse socket or try another fuse). If the fuse does not blow, reconnect one of the 4-wire connections, and try again. Keep reconnecting connectors one-by-one until, presumably, one results in the short re-appearing. At that point, the last connector can be identified and the where it leads. It might be the hatch, but if the hatch wiring was isolated earlier, then it more likley will be in one (or both) of the combination light assemblies.

If with all connectors removed the fuse still blows, then the problem is not in the hatch or rear lights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks plain OM. I found the 4 connectors disconnected all. Using my power probe i can apply power to terminal #20 (black w/ red tracer) on the tailgate harness and the tail lights and license plate lights work well. I will start checking the wire from the fuse block to the connection at the right brake light. Is it possible the multifunction switch could be popping the #5 fuse?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks plain OM.
I found the 4 connectors and completely isolated the tailgate harness. Using my power probe I can make the taillight circuit work. I will start checking the black wire w/red tracer (terminal 20) back to the fusebox. Is it possable for the multifunction switch to trip the #5 fuse? Looking at the schematic fuse#5 runs through the park light switch.
 

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2001 VDC Wagon - White pearl - 302,000 km
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Are you certain the correct bulbs are in place? If it were me, I would replace all 4 tail light bulbs to be certain. I believe they are 1157's. Bulbs have been known to loose a filament, which can short to an adjacent filament post. It's very possible in dual filament bulbs.
Have you tried to run the parking lights with the rear harnesses mentioned earlier unplugged? Does it still blow the fuse?
Just because there is water in the light bezel, you might be chasing a problem at the back of the car, when the problem could be a front parking light bulb. Might just be a coincidence?
 

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. . . I found the 4 connectors and completely isolated the tailgate harness. Using my power probe I can make the taillight circuit work.
What is the "power probe" and can you describe how it's used to make the tail light circuit work?

Did it make all the tail lights work, including the ones in the left and right rear fenders? Or are you referring only to the tail lights and license plate lights in the tail gate (hatch)?

I will start checking the black wire w/red tracer (terminal 20) back to the fusebox.
Not sure what "terminal 20" refers to.

Is it possable for the multifunction switch to trip the #5 fuse? Looking at the schematic fuse#5 runs through the park light switch.
Neither the combination (aka headlight) switch nor the Parking Light switch (on top of the steering column) can cause fuse #5 to blow. Only something after the fuse can cause it to blow. Other than the wires in the harnesses themselves, which are rarely a problem, only the rear tail and license plate lights and the front clearance lights are after the fuse.


Are you certain the correct bulbs are in place? If it were me, I would replace all 4 tail light bulbs to be certain. I believe they are 1157's. Bulbs have been known to loose a filament, which can short to an adjacent filament post. It's very possible in dual filament bulbs.
Have you tried to run the parking lights with the rear harnesses mentioned earlier unplugged? Does it still blow the fuse?
Just because there is water in the light bezel, you might be chasing a problem at the back of the car, when the problem could be a front parking light bulb. Might just be a coincidence?
Good points. Yes, the rear tail/stop lights are dual filament 1157 bulbs. There's also one 1157 at each front corner for the clearance and turn signal. In the test I suggested, with all the rear harnesses disconnected, if the fuse still blows, the fronts would be the first "go to", but I don't recall those bulbs/sockets ever being reported here as faulty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
plain OM,
The power probe is a circuit tester that can supply voltage or ground through a rocker switch and has a resettable 10Amp fuse to protect the circuit you are working with. ( https://www.powerprobe.com/). According to the schematics I have Terminal 20 is where the black wire w/ red tracer is positioned. I can operate the entire tailgate harness from the white connector by applying 12v to the tailgate side of the harness with the connector disconnected from the chassis side of the harness. When I connect the connector and apply 12v through the chassis side of the terminal connection the lights will dimly illuminate and then trips the probes fuse.


I haven't measured resistance on the chassis side of the harness, the tailgate side 0.6 - 2.5 ohms. I should get my new taillight sockets in this afternoon and I will see if they will change anything.




Thanks again for the assistance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks to all that assisted. I installed the new taillight harnesses still popped the fuse. Went and ohmed the front marker lights found the left front bulb socket shorted. Replaced it and ALL LIGHTS WORK! Thanks again for the guidence.
 
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