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2003 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean 3.0L
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I have a 2003 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean and I've been having issues with my driver side headlight. When the bulb went out I replaced it with a brand new bulb and it burnt out in maybe 2-3 days. I thought it might have been a faulty bulb so I tried another one and the same thing happened. The wiring harness has been replaced maybe two years ago and I'm not seeing any signs of corrosion. My mechanically inclined friend took his voltage meter and wasn't able to find the cause of the issue. He tried the socket, the wiring to the base of the socket, and some readings from other spots. However, he does think that it's an issue with grounding (I don't recall why he thinks this). I'm not sure where to go or try from here. I'm also curious if this could be caused by overriding the AC compressor (shot clutch and AC system in general) by using a different sized belt and looping it an abnormal way... I'm not sure if that would cause the alternator to cause the headlight issue.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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27,165 Posts
moved thread.

what bulb is failing? (low beam or high beam?)

did your friend look at the tail lights, to see if they work or if there is corrosion?

does the high beam indicator on the dash function as it should.? do the fog lights and the lighted switch inside function as it should?

do the DRL function as they should,...including going off when you pull the hand brake while in park?
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,763 Posts
are you touching the bulb's glass part with your fingers? They say even skin oils will kill those bulbs. If they are not kept pristinely clean, you must clean them with alcohol or something.
 

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2003 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean 3.0L
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The bulb that's failing is the low beam. Tail lights were checked and cleaned of corrosion when last replaced bulbs, no issues since. High beam indicator, fog lights, and lighted switch all work. There are some dash lights I need to replace (clock, left side of the speedometer, and I think the fuel if I remember correctly), I bought LED's to replace them all at once but have yet to do so. DRL function works until the bulb burns out. I'm not sure if they go off when the hand brake is pulled.

I installed the bulbs with the bulb grease and while wearing gloves and handling them with a tissue.
 

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2003 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean 3.0L
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh, also, after each time putting in a new bulb the bulb was dim compared to the passenger side. I think that's why my friend thought it's a grounding issue.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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27,165 Posts
The bulb that's failing is the low beam. Tail lights were checked and cleaned of corrosion when last replaced bulbs, no issues since. High beam indicator, fog lights, and lighted switch all work. There are some dash lights I need to replace (clock, left side of the speedometer, and I think the fuel if I remember correctly), I bought LED's to replace them all at once but have yet to do so. DRL function works until the bulb burns out. I'm not sure if they go off when the hand brake is pulled.

I installed the bulbs with the bulb grease and while wearing gloves and handling them with a tissue.
happy you were wearing gloves.
@plain OM ...opinion. .... (too much power in this circuit?)
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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Car has about 185k on it and I replaced the alternator around 172k I think.
with what?

subaru H6 cars are very particular about what alternators go into them.....and parts store remans are known not to work or match properly.


I have this brand in my H4 car, and would buy one for my H6 car if need be. good news: its new (not a reman),...and cheaper then dealer .

and they don't want the core back. (I got the name from another moderator that rebuilds mildly wrecked subarurs).

https://www.dbelectrical.com/products/subaru-outback-3-0l-alternator-01-02-03-04-05.html
 

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2003 Subaru Outback L.L. Bean 3.0L
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6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I believe it's a reman and I'd think that when I was looking to buy it that I looked specifically for one compatible with the H6 but we'll see when I take a look under the hood next.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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I believe it's a reman and I'd think that when I was looking to buy it that I looked specifically for one compatible with the H6 but we'll see when I take a look under the hood next.
the original should say "mitsubishi USA " on it visible from the top. ...reman shop may stick their brand name on it too.

however, whom is to say that when they rebuilt it on the bench they found "ALL" the bugs,.... or as sometimes happens they bench test it OK,...and then pass it along to the next victim with a happy warranty/ gaurantee on the box to make said victim all happy inside.



 

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The power for the headlights is common to all four bulbs. If there's an electrical system fault, such as spiking voltages, over time the effect would more likely impact all four bulbs, not just one. In other words, if one bulb burned out because of a fault in the power source, I would not expect the replacement, and the replacement for that replacement, to fail, yet see no problems with any other bulbs.

Were the two replacements the same, perhaps in a two-bulb package? Any chance both could have been faulty -- it's happened before -- or, as has been suggested, contamination?

Why the "bulb grease"?
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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just some theory but, the bulbs may not have long-life if run at very low power. Counter-intuitive I know but there is a halide 'cycle' that can only take place at higher temps. If they are dim, theymay not be getting hot enough to re-deposit metal to the filament,

from wiki;
Halogen cycle

In ordinary incandescent lamps, evaporated tungsten mostly deposits onto the inner surface of the bulb, causing the bulb to blacken and the filament to grow increasingly weak until it eventually breaks. The presence of the halogen, however, sets up a reversible chemical reaction cycle with this evaporated tungsten. The halogen cycle keeps the bulb clean and causes the light output to remain almost constant throughout the bulb's life. At moderate temperatures the halogen reacts with the evaporating tungsten, the halide formed being moved around in the inert gas filling. At some point, however, it will reach higher temperature regions within the bulb where it then dissociates, releasing tungsten back onto the filament and freeing the halogen to repeat the process. The overall bulb envelope temperature must be significantly higher than in conventional incandescent lamps for this reaction to succeed, however: it is only at temperatures of above 250 °C (482 °F) on the inside of the glass envelope that the halogen vapor can combine with the tungsten and return it to the filament rather than the tungsten becoming deposited on the glass.[6] A 300 watt tubular halogen bulb operated at full power quickly reaches a temperature of about 540 °C (1,004 °F), while a 500 watt regular incandescent bulb operates at only 180 °C (356 °F) and a 75 watt regular incandescent at only 130 °C (266 °F).[7]
maybe, just a throwing that out as a wag.
 

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2005 Outback LLBEAN H6
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This seems like a good place to post this question:

05 LLBEAN w/249K miles.

Recently the headlight low beams have started to burn out. Both were replaced at the same time a week ago and lasted about a week, when one blew and the other one with the next day.

Here is what i know:
Battery connections OK (recent new battery and post connections)
I can sometimes catch the headlights flare up in brightness and then back down again.
I also intermittently see the battery light in the dash light up very briefly <1 second and stay off for most of the time driving.
I took the car to local shop to have the alternator checked and it checked out OK.
NO check engine light on currently although there is a linger of a P420 unresolved and intermittent for years.
I placed a multimeter on the battery while engine running and read 14.3 volts for 5+ minutes, never a drop below 14v.
I've had the car since 86K and i have not replaced the alternator. I would assume the alternator was not replaced before I got the car and it does have mitzubishi stamp on it so that leads me to believe it is the original.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/lyCUJWJNDMCbpsAx2

Here is some data i collected from OBDwiz on a parameter " Input voltage read by the scan tool (V)"
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1k6RXVANKUTSC43RsivTprXAEHf2gebyq

About line 85 you can see it start to drop and bottom out ~12.9V.


Based on the data captured by the scan and the intermittent battery indicator on the dash would any sane man go ahead and order a new alternator or am i just over thinking this?
 
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