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2.5i Subaru Outback 2009
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32 Posts
So I have the same problem on my 09 OB with the light on the instrument cluster coming on but haven't thought to look up at the passenger airbag light. But I did run computer and no codes even with the warning lights on... so I'm going to do some investigating and probably do this fix.
 

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2003 LL-Bean 82k, 2002 OBW 188k
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125 Posts
I have a passenger side airbag code on my 2005, but it has the light on the dash above the radio. The light showing it OFF, is working properly. I'm going to remove the seat so I can check the wiring underneath.
 

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I completed this soldiering fix on my 05 Legacy XT. The passenger seat light is working again. When I start the car, the airbag light turns on for 6 seconds as it should, then turns off for a moment, then comes back on and stays on. Not able to pass inspection because of this. The dealership is telling me the whole console needs to be replaced, something about the way its all wired together with the airbag system, seems like they don't really know. Is there a simple fix for this? Has anyone else run into this issue?
 

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2008 Subaru Outback XT (MT) & 2016 Subaru Outback Ltd
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286 Posts
Not sure if it will help. But my connections looked perfectly fine and even tested fine. Yet the light was always there on the dash. Despite them looking fine I re-touched every single one of them and it fixed the issue for me. So if you only tried ones that looked suspicious I would recommend to re-touch all of them. Sorry I can’t be more helpful. Good luck.
 

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2.5i Subaru Outback 2009
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32 Posts
Re-soldered my overhead console today. Went ahead and threw solder on each of the connections. Each one had a crack in the soldering...wish I got a before picture. Here is the after. Definitely works before the lights wouldn't even show up and sometimes just the off.
482380
482381
 

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2006 Subaru Outback Wagon 2.5L XT Limited
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330 Posts
Thanks for the tip, I knew about that light needing to be connected otherwise the red would turn on. I just changed the sunroof in my car, and the red light came on, while I was testing the new sunroof. Once I connected that back on, the red light went out after startup. As for mine. I just modified my maps lights, so if it fails on my car, I will just re-solider the surface-mount resistors. I decided to add two more wires to the Map lights so when I the dome light turns on, the map lights also turn on.
 

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I have a 2006 Outback 2.5i Ltd, and the airbag light has come on since it has been cold out. On warmer days, the light will randomly display. So, I had the dealer run a diag on it, since my car was in there for a transmission issue. When I picked up my car, the dealer told me the light wasn't throwing any type of code, and they found the issue to be a burned out LED bulb, located in the map light overhead console. This is the passenger ON/OFF light, and sure enough, if I tapped on it, the light would flicker. I asked how much it would cost to fix, he said it would be around $340 (- the $65 i paid for the diag), and the whole overhead console would need to be replaced. SO for a burned out bulb, it would cost me $270...are you kidding me??!! I now understand why so many refer to the dealer as the STEALER. Unbelievable. I was told that since the airbag light was on, the airbags would not deploy.

So, I jumped online, and found the overhead console (OEM) sold for around $115. I looked at mine, and figured out how to remove it .... remove the lens, and 2 screws secure it. So, now I am looking at the cost of the part, installing myself, and saving the ridiculous $160 installation fee (I guess it is $80/screw).

I figured since I had mine out, I might as well look at it. I removed the PCB that contained the 4 LEDs. With closer inspection, I could see one of the components on the board was loose...as in there wasn't enough solder to secure it. So, I whipped out the old soldering iron, and bolstered it a little. I may have added a little too much, but it was the best I could do w/ the tools I have @ home (better lab tools @ work). Anyway, tested it....works perfectly. In the pic below, I have called out the component that was loose.



I'd like to know what you all think about it. If it's a legit fix, hopefully I help someone else.
I soldered the same chip on the same side and now all the LEDs are working and the airbag light is off. Many thanks!
 

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wow, this thread saved me a lot of confusion. 08' outback wagon bought in May, was getting intermittent Airbag light with passengers.
Re-soldered the connections and good to go :)
 

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2009 Outback 2.5i EJ253 4EAT
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79 Posts
Well,

2009 Outback, 12 years old - I have the same problem with intermittent Airbag light in cold and rainy days, and (only few times) the passenger belt chime. Found the tread, took out the board and inspected it under 10x magnifier ... and everything seems all but perfect (quite different from the pics here), multimeter measurements across all resistors are also spot on. I tried to find a bad joint - and I found none. I put it back in, no problem for a week now, will keep looking.

If it comes back I will resolder everything: I have the right setup and the skill but I don't want to mess up with it for no reason. I suspect that when one disconnects the board it helps to discharge some residual charge and this will mitigate the problem for some time ... just a speculation. Let's see ... the success rate here is so high that I'll be surprised to have a different root cause.
 

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2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I Limited w/VDC, HomeLink, remote start
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11 Posts
Xakepa, I'd take a look at those resistors once more, perhaps under higher magnification and at the point of solder interface to the board. The solder disconnection or cracks may be very hard to visually detect, even under 10x magnification. Measuring across the resistors might not be useful, as the solder disconnection may be closer to where the solder meets the board. Further, temperature variation will dictate whether the connection is good or is temporarily broken. This is due to the different temperature coefficients between the resistors and PCB. In fact, the root cause of the issue is likely due to repetitive temperature cycling fatiguing the solder connections.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5
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29 Posts
I just replaced the driver's seat on my 05 Outback due to a big rip. After disconnecting/reconnecting all the wiring connecters, my airbag light came on. The replacement seat came from an 05 Outback that had been in a head-on accident. Any ideas on how to turn the light off?
 

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2016 3.6R with all options, 2014 Crosstrek
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835 Posts
I just replaced the driver's seat on my 05 Outback due to a big rip. After disconnecting/reconnecting all the wiring connecters, my airbag light came on. The replacement seat came from an 05 Outback that had been in a head-on accident. Any ideas on how to turn the light off?
Did a seat or side air bag go off? Perhaps a sensor tripped. Either way, id you try reading any available codes?
 

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2009 Outback 2.5i EJ253 4EAT
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79 Posts
Xakepa, I'd take a look at those resistors once more, perhaps under higher magnification and at the point of solder interface to the board. The solder disconnection or cracks may be very hard to visually detect, even under 10x magnification. Measuring across the resistors might not be useful, as the solder disconnection may be closer to where the solder meets the board. Further, temperature variation will dictate whether the connection is good or is temporarily broken. This is due to the different temperature coefficients between the resistors and PCB. In fact, the root cause of the issue is likely due to repetitive temperature cycling fatiguing the solder connections.
Yep, the light came back today. I know you have a point: I'll re-solder all the joints over the weekend and see what comes out of that - my HiFi soldering setup keeps collecting dust nowadays. The intermittent nature and the well-established temperature dependence of the Airbag light points to a soldering joint indeed ... but who know where. That PCB is probably the easiest place to start.
 

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2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I Limited w/VDC, HomeLink, remote start
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11 Posts
Please let us know how it goes, Xakepa. The alternative is to order a new board. I don't think Subaru solved the root cause via a PCB change for these model years, so both solutions are only temporary, albeit potentially over a number of years time frame.

Yep, the light came back today. I know you have a point: I'll re-solder all the joints over the weekend and see what comes out of that - my HiFi soldering setup keeps collecting dust nowadays. The intermittent nature and the well-established temperature dependence of the Airbag light points to a soldering joint indeed ... but who know where. That PCB is probably the easiest place to start.
 

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2009 Outback 2.5i EJ253 4EAT
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79 Posts
Well, I re-soldered everything (Sn/Pb solder), all picture perfect. I still found no cracks but the amount of solder on the SMP I agree is adequate for stationary electronics and not for a car ... anyway, let' see. I'll report here if the problem comes back - so far so good
 

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2008 Subaru Outback 2.5I Limited w/VDC, HomeLink, remote start
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11 Posts
Good stuff. Hope that did the trick!
I think the issue is not just the amount of solder but the fact you have very large SMT components with different temperature coefficients than the PCB board itself. Over many temperature variation cycles (perhaps 500 to many thousand), solder fatigue sets in and micro cracks and separations occur.There are solders that can do a better job with this, but they won't fully rectify the problem where the coefficient differences are too large over the given component sizes.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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8,259 Posts
I think the issue is not just the amount of solder but the fact you have very large SMT components with different temperature coefficients than the PCB board itself.
That, plus the fact that Pb-free solders had some initial issues in the beginning when automotive electronics changed over from Pb-Sn solders. Since @Xakepa used Pb-Sn solder for the repair, that ought to resolve it.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5
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29 Posts
Did a seat or side air bag go off? Perhaps a sensor tripped. Either way, id you try reading any available codes?
I checked-no codes. Also, on starting the car, the starter runs almost 5 seconds before starting; usually takes 1 second. Rlated?
 
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