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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The rear hatch lock stopped to work on my 08. I can manually lock and unlock it (from the inside of the vehicle) but I can't do it via the key fob or the armrest. I've searched this forum and tried the solutions I've seen. This is what I have done so far:

- I've changed the actuator to a new one but it still doesn't work.

- I've checked the right rubber boot and found two wires (the green/yellow and the black one) repaired from before. A mechanic close to the family fixed this a few years back, which I had forgot until I checked inside the boot. The repairs looks fine though.

I used a voltmeter. I don't really know how to operate it so please let me know if I'm doing something wrong:
- When I check the black attachment clip thing that connects to the actuator it constantly reads 12.65. Doesn't change when I hit the lock/unlock buttons.
- When I check the white attachment clip thing that connects to the actuator the voltage change when I hit the key fob button, but I can't get a good reading on it.

Does above makes sense? Any thoughts? Appreciate any ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
One more thing. I just tested the actuator directly with a 9v battery and the actuator itself works.
 

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When I check the white attachment clip thing that connects to the actuator the voltage change when I hit the key fob button, but I can't get a good reading on it.
When you measured at the white connector, did you measure from one wire to the other? Or, from one wire to ground?

I've attached the wiring diagram that applies. The rear gate actuator connection is shown on the 3rd page, at the bottom. D47 is the two wire connector for the actuator. One wire would likely be white with a black stripe (WB), the other is probably a light green with a yellow stripe (LgY). To check if power is getting to the actuator, measure between the two wires when pressing the remote lock and then unlock button. The voltage that is sent to the actuator is on for only about 2 seconds. So the meter will show something, but might not be fast enough to show fully. But when locking the voltage will be in one polarity, and reversed for unlocking.

What brand and model meter are you using? Might help knowing if any instruction on use is to be provided.

I just tested the actuator directly with a 9v battery and the actuator itself works.
Good test. Did you try reversing the battery connections to the two contacts on the actuator to see if the actuator works to both lock, and unlock, the latch? (Just good to be sure it works both ways.)
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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Both leads come out of the body integrated unit, and I'm not sure if it's ground to actuate or +12V to actuate. But your test with a 9V battery is pretty indicative of a good actuator in the hatch and bad wiring somewhere else, so you might not really need the voltmeter test.

You're correct to suspect the wiring again - and you know where to look this time. Start at the flex boot.
 

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2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
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I guarantee that most, if not all of the rest of the wires in the boot are bad, whether or not they all look bad. Repairing the wires right at the boot without pulling new wires all the way through will just make the stress on the others worse.

The ground wire is most likely what is broken.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When you measured at the white connector, did you measure from one wire to the other? Or, from one wire to ground?
I put one probe in one of the holes in the white connector thing and the other probe in the other hole of the white connector thing.


What brand and model meter are you using? Might help knowing if any instruction on use is to be provided.
INNOVA 3320. I just bought it. For this purpose.


Good test. Did you try reversing the battery connections to the two contacts on the actuator to see if the actuator works to both lock, and unlock, the latch? (Just good to be sure it works both ways.)
I just tried it. It works to both lock/unlock when reversing the battery.

I guarantee that most, if not all of the rest of the wires in the boot are bad, whether or not they all look bad. Repairing the wires right at the boot without pulling new wires all the way through will just make the stress on the others worse.
Ugh. I watched a youtube video yesterday about replacing the harness. Doesn't look fun at all.


I've attached a few photos of the wires in the boot. I removed the tape around the repair of one of the wires. As you can see, some of the wire before the repair is exposed. To evaluate the repair, could I connect a wire directly, either from the car battery or a 9v battery, to the exposed area (before the repair) and a wire from the white connector thing to the actuator. And then a ground cable (from what ever battery I'm using) directly to the actuator? Or would I blow up my car by doing it....?

Thanks again for the inputs! Any more thoughts?
 

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I put one probe in one of the holes in the white connector thing and the other probe in the other hole of the white connector thing.
If with that connection, there was a pulse of voltage each time the lock or unlock button on the remote control was pressed, the wiring to the actuator connector is physically intact. However, it could still have a poor connection.

INNOVA 3320. I just bought it. For this purpose.
Okay, good. It's auto-ranging (handy) and covers all the voltage and resistance ranges you might need.

I just tried it. It works to both lock/unlock when reversing the battery.
As was noted, that confirms the actuator motor works. Good.

. . . To evaluate the repair, could I connect a wire directly, either from the car battery or a 9v battery, to the exposed area (before the repair) and a wire from the white connector thing to the actuator. And then a ground cable (from what ever battery I'm using) directly to the actuator? Or would I blow up my car by doing it....?
I would not apply any voltage to the wires; as was noted in another post, they go back to the body integrated unit (BIU), which normally sends power out to the actuator. Applying power to the BIU through the wires could damage it.

But there might be another way to check the connections through the rear hatch wiring harness to the actuator. This is one approach:

In the cargo area, on the right rear side, there's a removable cover (behind where the right side tail light assembly is mounted on the outside). Under that access cover, there a number of connector pairs. Two are 8-wire connectors (one pair black, the other another color, a 2-wire pair, and a 4-wire pair. Disconnect the two 8-wire connections and the 2 wire connections. That disconnects the wiring to the hatch.

Of the 6 connectors, three have wires that go up from the access area into the area behind the rear side window in the cargo area (the "D" pillar). This is the harness going to the hatch.

Of these three connectors with wires going to the hatch, one of the two 8-wire connector is black, the other is another color. On the "other color" connector there should be the wires going to the actuator -- the white with a black stripe (WB), and the light green with a yellow stripe (LgY) shown in the wiring diagram attached earlier.

If you can identify those wires at the connector, then you can do two things to isolate the problem:

With the white connector at the latch assembly attached to the actuator, measure the resistance between the two wires at the 8-wire connector. It should be in the 5 -20 Ohm range. If it's a lot higher, or open circuit, that would confirm a wire problem. Next, connect one of the meter test lead probes to the white with black stripe wire at the 8-pin connector, and the other meter test probe into the hole in the (removed) 2-wire white connector at the actuator. Measure the resistance -- it should be very low, near zero Ohms. If it's high, then that wire is bad, and probably broken in the flexible boot area. (It looks as if the white/black wire is the one that was repaired.) Do the same with the other wire, measuring from the 8-wire connector to the same wire at the actuator connector. Again, it should be near zero resistance. It's possible that it too is broken, perhaps inside the bundle of wires in the area of the flexible boot.
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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Stepping back a bit and looking over what we now know:
(1) The hatch lock actuator motor is good.
(2) The wire harness at the flex boot is at best compromised from a previous repair that didn't replace the wires, and it now has exposed conductor on at least one wire.
(3) The wire harness is going to require some new wires patched in, and as long as it's all opened up to do that, there's no point in just going after specific wires - it's obviously best to replace all of them, and really just a little more effort.
(4) You'll be able to test it all once this wire patch is in, and before all the panels are put back. And you won't be putting it all back together until you're satisfied it all works OK.

Therefore, I really have to ask here: What's the reason for all of these complex diagnostic steps? Fer cryin' out load, just get in there and fix it! And then, if there's still issues once that's done, you can put your energy into diagnosing what exactly is going on, and we can lend assistance as best as we can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Therefore, I really have to ask here: What's the reason for all of these complex diagnostic steps?
Well, for starters, I hate poping the plastic trims off. It scares the crap out of me every time i do it. I've been lucky so far though and nothing has broken. I bought one of those plastic clip removers which I guess helps a lot too. Plus I don't want to replace something before identifying the problem and waste money on something I don't need.

However, I think you might be right. I already have a lot of the trims off, some wires have been damaged before, plus it sounds like the wiring through the boot is somehow the problem since the actuator is working.

I found this one which seems like a great walkthrough: legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php/walkthrough-replace-wagon-wire-harness-238160.html
I assume it should be generally similar on a 2008 Outback. Let me know if anyone thinks otherwise please, and if anyone knows of any additional great resources.

Also, my understanding is that the correct item for a 2008 Outback is: 81812AG03C. Is this correct?

Thanks again guys!
 

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2008 OB Limited 2.5i, Portland OR USA
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I found this one which seems like a great walkthrough: legacygt.com/forums/showthread.php/walkthrough-replace-wagon-wire-harness-238160.html
I assume it should be generally similar on a 2008 Outback.
Yes.

Also, my understanding is that the correct item for a 2008 Outback is: 81812AG03C. Is this correct?
Not sure, but note that the original wires used in these harnesses was not the correct type to take flexing, subjecting them to chronic failure. I may be wrong but I think there is a debate here about whether or not the replacements are any better than these originals. But another option is to repair the harness using proper high-flex 18 gauge wire and butt splices, such as this guy did here:

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums.../12794-05-hatch-lock-problem.html#post1265465

Note you have to keep the splices out of the flex area, and also take care to stagger the splices so as not to cause a lump by doing all of the splices at one location on each side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I did it!!! I fixed it!

I ordered the part (81812AG03C Cord-back door) and replaced the entire harness. The feeling when I tried the lock after plugging back the battery and hearing it turning was amazing. No more crawling through the backseat to lock the car!

It wasn't as painful as I thought. I had removed a lot of the trim from accessing the actuator so the last pieces weren't too bad. Biggest issue was having large hands and getting them between the headliner and roof, and the side trim.

I checked the other cables inside the boot. It's bad. At least one was fully cut and four more were completely exposed. Incredible.

plain OM, johnre, and Logie_OBXT: you guys rock! Thanks for all the help and recommendations!
 
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