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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! So, I purchased a used 2002 Subaru Outback from a private seller this past November (2020). Everything has been pretty good except the battery and brake light would come on together randomly (sitting, driving whatever). Sometimes they stay on, sometimes they flicker and go off. No real pattern I can see. So, I took it in to be checked out and got the oil changed. The mechanic checked the alternator and said it was ok, and cleaned the battery up and changed the connections to the battery. This was a little over a week ago.

Two nights ago it died on my way home. I had been driving all day, but not a lot of stops. My destination was an hours drive with highway and back roads. So, another hour-ish home and the ABS light came on (never has before) then the oil light, and then all my lights start dimming and the car starts chugging like it's gonna die, so I pulled us over. My dad was able to meet us with a new battery (it's night time and I've got an 18 mo in the car with me). Car starts up great and we go home.

Next day, same thing. Drive the same distance with the same stops and on the way home in almost the same place it dies on us again. Any thoughts??
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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yeah, I think you may need a different mechanic to check the charging system. Your first symptoms do point to a battery or alternator issue. But, your second symptom does as well. many Subarus of that vintage will light the ABS light when system voltage is low. If the alternator was not originale, but a typical parts-store rebuilt unit, it would not be surprising for it to be bad in some way. They are notoriously poor risks.

Those cars are capable of being good, safe, reliable transportation. But, it is 19 years old and may have been abused by one or more previous owners.

In a new post, request a suggestion for a subaru-knowledgable mechanic near your city. Someone may be able to suggest a shop.
 

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2004 Outback 2.5 4 cylinder 4EAT125
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I had that happen with my 04. Got to the point where the whole electric system would shut off for a second or two. Kind of unnerving, got a new alternator and all has been good since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all! We're going to do some at home testing with the alternator, etc before we go to a new mechanic since my dad has a lot of that equipment available.

@plain OM thank you for the link. That thread is at least a good starting point if not in fact the same issue. I'll report back!
 

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Hi! So, I purchased a used 2002 Subaru Outback from a private seller this past November (2020). Everything has been pretty good except the battery and brake light would come on together randomly (sitting, driving whatever). Sometimes they stay on, sometimes they flicker and go off. No real pattern I can see. So, I took it in to be checked out and got the oil changed. The mechanic checked the alternator and said it was ok, and cleaned the battery up and changed the connections to the battery. This was a little over a week ago.

Two nights ago it died on my way home. I had been driving all day, but not a lot of stops. My destination was an hours drive with highway and back roads. So, another hour-ish home and the ABS light came on (never has before) then the oil light, and then all my lights start dimming and the car starts chugging like it's gonna die, so I pulled us over. My dad was able to meet us with a new battery (it's night time and I've got an 18 mo in the car with me). Car starts up great and we go home.

Next day, same thing. Drive the same distance with the same stops and on the way home in almost the same place it dies on us again. Any thoughts??
Hi! So, I purchased a used 2002 Subaru Outback from a private seller this past November (2020). Everything has been pretty good except the battery and brake light would come on together randomly (sitting, driving whatever). Sometimes they stay on, sometimes they flicker and go off. No real pattern I can see. So, I took it in to be checked out and got the oil changed. The mechanic checked the alternator and said it was ok, and cleaned the battery up and changed the connections to the battery. This was a little over a week ago.

Two nights ago it died on my way home. I had been driving all day, but not a lot of stops. My destination was an hours drive with highway and back roads. So, another hour-ish home and the ABS light came on (never has before) then the oil light, and then all my lights start dimming and the car starts chugging like it's gonna die, so I pulled us over. My dad was able to meet us with a new battery (it's night time and I've got an 18 mo in the car with me). Car starts up great and we go home.

Next day, same thing. Drive the same distance with the same stops and on the way home in almost the same place it dies on us again. Any thoughts??
Sounds like the combination of a slow battery draw at the same time as the alternator not charging the battery either due to a bad battery, poor connections, or defective alternator.
 

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4, Gen 2 H6's: 2002 LLBean, 2002 VDC, 2003 Plain H6, and 2004 LLBean...I love the H6's!
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I vote defective alternator!
 

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2002 OBW H6 Auto
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had the same problem recently with an alternator that was less than a year old and the battery fried the alternator so i ended up having to replace both.
 
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