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Just bought my 08 3 days ago from Cochran Subaru in Monroeville Pa. The day after it started flickering.. I recorded it and uploaded it to YouTube.

Feel free to share this with your service advisor on your smart phone. Or else they call you and say they can't duplicate the problem and that it's fine..



P.s. please excuse the misspelled YouTube title of my video as I uploaded it via my phone while driving....

I will report back with my results..
 

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'07 Outback 3.0R LL Bean, '74 BMW 2002, '65 Datsun L320, '99 Land Cruiser
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Thanks for all the help unit5alive. Our '07 LL Bean's display had been flashing off and on quite a bit when we first got it (77K miles). Pushing near #3 did help, but I did not want to trust it for our upcoming trip to Maine, and did not want to spend $550 for a new unit from Subaru, nor did I want to trust a radio from ebay wouldn't have the same problem.

Knowing that I'm real shitty at precision soldering, I had a better idea. I just took out the radio, printed off all of your posts, and took the radio and printout to our local TV repairman (Athens TV Supply Co). He said that he found the same thing Chuck did, and tightened up those connections and a few extras. I dropped it off this morning, and he was done by lunchtime, for a grand total of $26. :29:
 

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'07 Outback 3.0R LL Bean, '74 BMW 2002, '65 Datsun L320, '99 Land Cruiser
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OK, update on my problem (it appears that it was NOT fixed by strengthening solder connections).
It worked fine for a week or so, but then one day going to the airport (on a very humid morning after sitting for 3 or so days), it went all goofy and went out. Pressing near the #3 did bring it back, which still suggests a problem with the front panel.
So, perhaps I wasn't clear enough to the TV repairman that he should check the front panel. In this thread, fod1 suggests a different solution:
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...blinking-going-off-randomly-2008-outback.html

So, I pulled stereo back out, and unclipped the front panel. Sure enough, there were 4 fairly weak prongs that must make the ground connection between front panel and case. I couldn't tell how weak the connection was, since in order to see them the panel has to come off. I bent them out, and put some dielectric grease on them. I also wonder about the multi-pin connectors in the center, near the CD tray. It would make sense that pushing on the #3 would strengthen that connection. I didn't know an easy of making that connection really strong.
I tried tightening the screws that hold that circuit board in place, in hopes that it could pull the board forward and tighten connection. Also, there are 6 screws that hold the front panel to the radio, and it seemed like there could be some slop in those screw holes that I could use to my advantage. So when putting the front panel back on, I pushed on the front cover kinda hard (especially near the #3), while tightening down all the screws. Hopefully that pushes the cover back.
I then took the car to some rough washboard/gravelly backroads and pushed it a little hard for a while, and no blinks or hiccups from the stereo/hvac.

In any case, I'm still not sure if I fully trust the stereo for our week and a half trip to Maine next week. My wife decided that we should buy a second stereo/hvac unit off ebay and keep it with us as backup. If we don't need it after a month or two, then I'll sell that one on ebay or to a forum member (perhaps after strenghtening all connections like I did with the other one, just so its better than factory). That stereo should arrive today.
 

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2008 Subaru Outback 2.5XT
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I guess I'll check in:

2008 OB 2.5XT with 45k miles - I bought it 2 months ago. 2 weeks after I bought it, the exact same problem everyone is describing started. The flickering has gotten more frequent over the last few weeks.

I am installing the STI gauge cluster this week so will try the re-soldering and tightening suggestions offered so far and report back.

Oh well, my last car was a BMW E65 so I am no stranger to electrical gremlins. ;)
 

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2008 Subaru Outback 2.5XT
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I guess I'll check in:

2008 OB 2.5XT with 45k miles - I bought it 2 months ago. 2 weeks after I bought it, the exact same problem everyone is describing started. The flickering has gotten more frequent over the last few weeks.

I am installing the STI gauge cluster this week so will try the re-soldering and tightening suggestions offered so far and report back.

Oh well, my last car was a BMW E65 so I am no stranger to electrical gremlins. ;)
Okay, I took the whole thing apart. Not a big deal getting the whole unit out. But, taking the stereo/disc changer apart (particularly the metal chassis) is not for the mechanically challenged. I carefully examined the main board in the stereo and didn't see any issues (although I did not have any means of magnification) so I decided to forgo desoldering/resoldering random stuff on it and just put it all back together.

I also removed the board from the back of the dash display panel. I didn't see any obvious issues the solder on it either so I reassembled it. I did however bend up the little shiny metal ground tabs that come off the circuit board so there was more spring tension to them (as mentioned in a previous post).

I then reassembled my dash.

I've driven the car several times since and the flickering has gone away completely.

I am sure it will return - but the fact it went away with just dis-assembly and re-assembly leads me to believe that solder may not be the culprit.
 

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2017 Outback 3.6 Touring, which replaced '05 Outback XT
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The cause of the problem is invisible oxidation on the contacts. Don't bend them and do not use dielectric grease. That grease is an insulator, which is the exact opposite property from what you want. Dielectric grease is very often misused!

Clean the contacts with an aerosol product called Caig DeoxIT D5, and then spray a contact preservative on them, DeoxIT Gold G5. The G5 will slow the problem from returning, sometimes forever. Most Radio Shack stores carry them, at highly inflated prices, or you can buy them on the web.

I use these products all of the time in repair of industrial electronic equipment. They work better than anything else, and worth every penny.
 

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2008 Subaru Outback 2.5XT
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The cause of the problem is invisible oxidation on the contacts. Don't bend them and do not use dielectric grease. That grease is an insulator, which is the exact opposite property from what you want. Dielectric grease is very often misused!

Clean the contacts with an aerosol product called Caig DeoxIT D5, and then spray a contact preservative on them, DeoxIT Gold G5. The G5 will slow the problem from returning, sometimes forever. Most Radio Shack stores carry them, at highly inflated prices, or you can buy them on the web.

I use these products all of the time in repair of industrial electronic equipment. They work better than anything else, and worth every penny.
I am familiar with DeoxIT products from working on my bass rig. Are you saying you have fixed the flickering problem doing this? Or are you just guessing based on what has been described?

Because the way you are posting, you are stating you absolutely know this is the cause of the problem. And if so, that seems strange since it'd be a lot cheaper for Subaru to do a TSB with a similar procedure rather than replacing entire radio/CD changer/climate control assemblies.
 

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2017 Outback 3.6 Touring, which replaced '05 Outback XT
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No, I haven't solved this exact problem. I am making a diagnosis based on 30 years of electronic repair experience, plus reading a number of threads about this problem. Some posters repaired theirs just by cleaning contacts, without any soldering. That's a pretty strong clue.

Manufacturers seldom recommend component level repair, which is what this would be considered. Mechanics don't have the time or the training to do, plus the manufacturer sells more parts.

Electronic modules in cars, appliances, machinery, etc., often get replaced due to oxidized connectors. Usually, the act of dis-assembly and re-assembly during component replacement cleans the connections enough that it works again. That leads to the conclusion that the component was defective when it was something that a shot of cleaner could have fixed for much less cost. This mistake is made by all kinds of technicians, because it isn't taught in trade schools.
 

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Can this resoldering be done a my local TV repair shop? My factory radio on my 2008 Outback XT limited went bad, I replaced it with a junkyard radio which is going bad. I have the old radio, just need to find someone who can repair it for me. Can you recommend any radio repair shops? I can ship the radio to them.
Thanks, Eddie
 

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2007 Outback, LTD Wagon
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Same intermittant issue with the display

I have a 07 OB. I bought it in August 2013, with 105,000 miles. Fast forward January 2014, and the radio/climate control starts having intermittent display issues. IT would go off for a spell, then come back on. I tried the side panel tap. It'll sometimes work, and sometimes it won't. It'll continue it's intermittent display. I am not sure I lose control of the functions when it goes off completely. It hasn't gotten that bad yet, but I am concerned that it will, considering the posts I've read.
 

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'08 Legacy: same problem (6CD changer + automatic climate control)

Hello all,

I had the same problem as everyone else (intermittent buttons not functioning properly, then intermittent flashing of the stereo & climate control displays, eventually turning into constant flashing of displays + steering wheel controls always functioning properly).

I completely disassembled the unit & visually inspected the solder joints that were suggested by other posters. I am an electrical engineer & regularly inspect soldering work. The solder joint were acceptable, but there are certainly aspects of the work that are not ideal: Flux not cleaned off of board, lack of sheen on solder joints (could indicate cold solder joint), & excess solder.

However, none of joints I saw would be considered unacceptable... just not ideal.

I don't believe the solder joints were causing my problems.


I found another issue. I removed the front face of the unit (4 or 6 screws around the edge of the front panel & then working off the clips around the edges). After removing the front panel/circuit board, there appeared to be oxidation on the metal housing at the two points where the circuit board's metal-springs contact the housing. You can see the oxidation in the following 2 images. They are the little black dots:
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet

I tried cleaning off the oxidation with alcohol, but it did not remove it. Eventually I just used the corner of a screw driver to scrape away the black oxidation & expose clean metal. I wiped off the scratch residue & re-assembled the unit. I've re-installed & haven't experienced the problem since.

I will update this post or post again if my problems return.

In general... this seems to likely be the source of most people's problems. However, given the non-ideal solder work on the main boards, some people may have broken-cold solder joints. If I could get on my soap box for a second (steps onto soap box): This is an absurdly stupid design. I don't understand why you would rely on a spring contact for a critical electrical connection (ground). Especially, when you are already utilizing 2 connectors on the interface... just dedicate a pin on the connector for ground! (steps off soap box)

The fix is relatively easy. Anyone should be able to do this. Look online & find your favorite youtube "guide to removing the stereo" for this type of car. Once you get it out of your car; bring the unit inside, get a philips & a flat head screw driver. Take off only the front panel face/board. Scrape off the oxidation if you see it. Re-assemble & re-install.


Hope this helps.

Thanks.
 

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Good report. Spring-type contacts were also mentioned in post #43 above and the thread that is linked there. But it's always good to have it confirmed.
 

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'07 Outback 3.0R LL Bean, '74 BMW 2002, '65 Datsun L320, '99 Land Cruiser
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OK, update on my problem (it appears that it was NOT fixed by strengthening solder connections).
It worked fine for a week or so, but then one day going to the airport (on a very humid morning after sitting for 3 or so days), it went all goofy and went out. Pressing near the #3 did bring it back, which still suggests a problem with the front panel.
So, perhaps I wasn't clear enough to the TV repairman that he should check the front panel. In this thread, fod1 suggests a different solution:
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...blinking-going-off-randomly-2008-outback.html

So, I pulled stereo back out, and unclipped the front panel. Sure enough, there were 4 fairly weak prongs that must make the ground connection between front panel and case. I couldn't tell how weak the connection was, since in order to see them the panel has to come off. I bent them out, and put some dielectric grease on them. I also wonder about the multi-pin connectors in the center, near the CD tray. It would make sense that pushing on the #3 would strengthen that connection. I didn't know an easy of making that connection really strong.
I tried tightening the screws that hold that circuit board in place, in hopes that it could pull the board forward and tighten connection. Also, there are 6 screws that hold the front panel to the radio, and it seemed like there could be some slop in those screw holes that I could use to my advantage. So when putting the front panel back on, I pushed on the front cover kinda hard (especially near the #3), while tightening down all the screws. Hopefully that pushes the cover back.
I then took the car to some rough washboard/gravelly backroads and pushed it a little hard for a while, and no blinks or hiccups from the stereo/hvac.

In any case, I'm still not sure if I fully trust the stereo for our week and a half trip to Maine next week. My wife decided that we should buy a second stereo/hvac unit off ebay and keep it with us as backup. If we don't need it after a month or two, then I'll sell that one on ebay or to a forum member (perhaps after strenghtening all connections like I did with the other one, just so its better than factory). That stereo should arrive today.
While I see this, an update:
A year and 4 months later, stereo/HVAC still works perfectly. No problems with daily use.
The extra one I bought I ended up pre-emptively fixing in a similar manner (TV repairman said he found bad cold solder connections and strengthened them for $25), and I bent the prongs and coated with dielectric grease, and squeezed front panel on tight. I tested it thoroughly, then I sold it on ebay as an improved unit. I was hoping for a profit, but no dice. I think I just broke even.
 

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KFunk740

Thanks for the update.

The weak front panel spring contacts is clearly something that is now high on the probability list for the intermittent control problem in these head units. It's great that this finding, as well as the main board solder joint possibility is in this one thread.
 

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More than five years of living with this problem! Over the weekend, I filed my complaint about Subaru's denials with NTSB--as suggested in this thread, removed the head unit, found the offending schmutz under the front panel where the front panel circuit board contacts touch the metal case. (See photo.) Cleaned the case contact points with deoxit and deoxit gold and reassembled it. The project took two hours.

 

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Outback 2009 2.5i Ltd 4EAT NAV
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... found the offending schmutz under the front panel where the front panel circuit board contacts touch the metal case.
Is the dirt the areas within the red circles in the photo? Is the stereo working properly now?
 

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'09 Outback SE AT, '15 Forester Prem CVT
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Thanks for the post. It looks like the right contact point is where the CD/AUX/SAT button is? If so, I'm going to give your method a try to fix my non-operational CD/AUX/SAT button. Any tips on removing the front panel of the HU?
 

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2006 Outback
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First of all excellent information and thanks for sharing, and to those who post updates.

I am experiencing a similar issue however there is a bit of a twist here, that I haven't seen from anyone else.

Beyond the obvious of no illumination on the Radio or Hvac controls, I also lost my remote keyless entry and the security system at the same time, the light on the dash doesn't even flash anymore.

I used to fix the issue by smacking the defrost switch on occasion however, that "fix" doesn't work anymore.

The car is a 2006 Outback Limited with the 6 disk changer and dual climate control zone.

Trouble shooting as to date:
Pulled negative for 10 min
Checked fuses
Leaned on Google - found this thread.
Pressing near the magic 3 button
Pull the radio from the car, cleaned the 3 spring contact points
Checked for any soldering issues, nothing I can see and those that were in question I verified with a multi-meter as working.

Of course all of this came 3 days after I fixed the silly overhead panel soldering issue that so many people have. Fix one issue, get another......

What in the world and I missing, what did I leave out?
 

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The loss of the keyless entry and radio suggests a fuse, possibly one of the fuses in the engine compartment fuse box. There's one, a 20 Amp, that also powers the radio, as well as the step lights in the two front doors and the clock. There's other fuses that are also related to the keyless entry, and the security, systems.

How did you check the fuses?
 

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2006 Outback
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The loss of the keyless entry and radio suggests a fuse, possibly one of the fuses in the engine compartment fuse box. There's one, a 20 Amp, that also powers the radio, as well as the step lights in the two front doors and the clock. There's other fuses that are also related to the keyless entry, and the security, systems.

How did you check the fuses?
Flipped them with other fuses of like ratings.

Just went out to double check, now that its dark out, I noticed that when I turn the lights to the on position, the controls all light up red but the digital displays still don't work.
Also noticed that my overhead lights don't turn on or the doors now that you mention it.

This has got to be something dumb and I am making it too hard :gasp:
 
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