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Discussion Starter #1
First time post here, I'm starting a new thread because I can't seem to find really anyone with this specific problem. I have a 2008 Subaru Outback 3.0 and my cruise control has been a nuisance for as long as I've owned this car (3-4 years now). The light will just start flashing and disable all use of it. This is NOT accompanied by a CEL like most other cases I have seen. I bought it used and it actually started flashing on the drive home from the dealership. Since then it has worked on and off, mostly with long stretches of working but always the possibility it will stop. For a long time it could be fixed simply by stopping and turning the car off and back on once or twice. Then after a while it would just stop working while driving normally on the highway and I'd have to repeat. An annoyance but one with a pretty easy workaround. Now however it has stopped working pretty much full time. Maybe once in a blue moon I will turn the car on and it won't be flashing, but if I try to use it it will quickly stop working again.

Has anyone had or heard of this issue where it's just the cruise control light flashing and the problem has been this consistent, but also has shown to be pretty random in its occurrence? We bought an EV so we mostly use the Subaru for long distance driving, which makes the lack of cruise control a major PITA. I'm hesitant to take it to a dealership or mechanic who will just start throwing my money at the problem. Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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who has tried to retrieve codes? what devices have been used?

any other odd electrical/electronic issues? and aftermarket electronics? (LED or other lighting mods, remote start, breathalyzer, etc.)

was this car a former rental?
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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Has anyone actually checked for DTC codes?

There are three types of codes, pending, active and historic and not all code types set the CEL (check engine light).

The other possibility is that the CEL is actually set BUT the bulb in the CEL has failed (or been removed). Does the CEL illuminate with all the other dash lights when you turn the key on (Without cranking or starting the engine)?

Seagrass
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have used the dash method to find codes when I had a CEL not too long ago. But this has historically been very separate for that. I am guessing this would not show all of the codes you guys are talking about? My mechanic has also checked for codes when inspecting, diagnosing the above problem, etc.

The car was owned by an old couple before I bought it (according to the dealer) and only had 55k miles on it when I bought it. It is equipped with remote start.

How would I check for the other kinds of codes? Can a parts store do that? Do I need to take it to a dealer?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok so when I first figured out I could read the codes through the dash I was so focused on the CEL I didn't even think or know to click through for other codes.

Just went down to check codes again and got the following ABS codes: C0026, C0042, and C0071
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Any ideas if these would be causing the cruise control issue or if they are unrelated?
 

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Any DTC that is active set will disable cruise control.

Seagrass
 

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2006 Subaru Outback Wagon LLBean 3.0R Automatic
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got the following ABS codes: C0026, C0042, and C0071
good job retrieving the codes

I think the car is asking for some new wheel and steering sensors

maybe watch some youtube videos :)
for example C0071:
beware, working with airbags can be hazardous
and breaking plastic clips when your car is disassembled
means you cant drive to buy parts

if you dont know what youre doing, dont screw around
take the car to a real mechanic... not some guy on the internet, like me... LOL

the cruise will probably work once the wheel and steering sensors are working again.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
For now I have replaced the right rear ABS sensor. Anyone have a reliable way to clear the current ABS codes for this generation so I can see if this worked? I've tried disconnecting the battery for an hour or so and pushing the brake pedal that hasn't seemed to work.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Bought a scanner, cleared the codes...none came back. Looking at the live data, all speed sensors match and the steering sensor seems fine.

Cruise control still flashing immediately upon start up.

Brake switch goes on and off as it should. One thing I did notice is that "reverse signal" is always ON. Doesn't matter if I'm parked, brakes on, neutral, driving, etc. Is this what I think it is (telling the car it's in reverse) and could it be causing an issue with cruise?
 

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What scanner did you buy? (To know what it can do in this situation.)

What "reverse signal" is that? Is it in the instrument panel where there's lights for P, R, N and D that should follow changes in the position of the gear select lever? Or is it on the scanner and coming from the TCM via the OBD connector? If it's on the scanner, then there should be On/Off signals for P, R, N and D, so what do they show as the gear select lever is moved between the positions?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The scanner is a Foxwell NT630 Plus. The "reverse signal" data is from the scanner. I did not see anything for P/R/N/D on the scanner itself. This was in the "Live Data" mode under the ABS section. Since it was right next to the brake switch reading, I assumed that it was a similar thing telling the car if it's in reverse. I figure a lot of newer cars probably use this function to know when to turn on the back up camera.
 

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I checked the 2008 FSM table of ABS live data ("Read Current Data") but "reverse signal", or anything like that, doesn't appear there. I also did a full search of the complete pdf FSM and "reverse signal" wasn't found.

Here's the ABS data table in the FSM:

508230


Compare the parameters in this table for the ABS with what the scanner is showing. Perhaps the scanner is assigning the "reverse signal" description for one of the On/Off items in the table.

The "P/R/N/D range signals I mentioned would/should appear on the scanner when it's looking at the live data from the TCM. Perhaps also check there to see if the P, R, N, and D On/Off parameters are there and if the R one is stuck at On.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
True story:

I went out to check what you said in the TCM live data. It was not there. All of a sudden I look over and my dash and cruise is not flashing. I take it out for a drive - cruise sets and my car goes at the desired speed.

I'm cruising down the road and all of a sudden my car just stops working. Check engine light comes on first, then my dash lights up like a Christmas tree. Car cranks fine but seems the car is almost not allowing itself to start. At first all lights were super bright battery seemed perfectly fine, then it almost seemed to be slowly dying and cranking less as I tried more times. Tried to jump it but same thing as the first time - like it wouldn't allow itself to start.

Scanner at first gave a blue screen error and said system failure/need to update. Then it worked the second or third try and I got an error that said AT Can communication failure.

A quick google search said this can be like a computer freezing up. I'm going back to the side of the road to see if disconnecting the battery and trying to reset the system does the trick. Otherwise looks like I'm going to have to get it towed.
 

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any other odd electrical/electronic issues? and aftermarket electronics? (LED or other lighting mods, remote start, breathalyzer, etc.)

was this car a former rental?

also, how old is the battery? has it been tested? What State do you reside? how's the corrosion on the car? maybe some ground conections need to be refreshed.
 

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Sounds like you have an electrical “gremlin”.

Start with checking the battery and that the battery terminals are corrosion free and tight (try to turn the battery terminals by hand to see if they move).

Any corrosion on wiring connections could cause these problems so be diligent and check whatever connections you can see

Seagrass
 
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Discussion Starter #17
Car has remote start (came with the car) and and aftermarket stereo system (I had installed). Not a former rental. Battery is pretty new, but I have had an issue with a parasitic drain I cannot locate and it has died on more than one occasion. I keep it hooked up to a battery tender. I had 5 gallons of beer spill when a carboy broke in the trunk of my car during a move and believe the drain happened sometime after that. When this happened the 4 ways starting randomly flashing and would not stop. Have not had any issues like this in the year and a half since that happened though. I'm in Vermont and the car is from New York - a good amount of rust build up/corrosion. Yes, this car is a mess.

However I'm thinking this had something to do with something I did recently:

-Got new scanner to read codes and hooked up to OBD (new scanner caused a freeze up in the CANBUS system?)
-Pulled fuses to see if I could reset cruise system. All fuses pulled found to be OK and put back.
-Replaced right rear sensor - this was very straightforward but in my quick research since this happened someone mentioned a rear speed sensor causing a CANBUS issue...however when I looked at the "live data" all sensors were working in sync
-Trans filter appeared to be leaking. Removed battery and tightened filter. Checked fluid today and appeared to be well within range.
-Cruise control magically came back for the first time in months and then my car takes a **** on the test drive???
 

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Clean the grounds to bare metal inside where the computers supply's are since it started after spilling 5 gal of liquid. If damp connectors are found at electrical connections the car might act up. Pure alcohol displaces water for electronics. (NOT WD40)
Your battery is likely done-for after so many deep cycles. It's designed as a cranking battery only. It will not tolerate multiple full discharges. Testing is pointless with a bad battery.
The ground path for the transmission bellhousing goes to the drivers strut tower-to BATT-
The firewall ground goes to bellhousing. (lots of interior electronics)
The braided ground straps going to each head are likely gone due to age. (ignition coils)
These grounds from nearly all manufacturers are adequate when new only. After resistance due to corrosion they choke the current. It's a pain but it's nearly free to update them.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Appreciate all the help. For now it looks like I'm going to have to have it towed to a shop just to get it to run. Would you guys recommend the dealership or an independent Subaru shop (also potentially shady)? I don't like my options.
 

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There is no way I would be taking a 13 year old vehicle to a dealership for repair or diagnosis. If you did this you should expect a bill for at least $1,000 or maybe closer to $1,500 along with a long list of supposed problems and no guarantees that the vehicle would be fixed. Dealerships typically do not have technicians trained for diagnostics of 13 year old vehicles.

You need to find an honest and highly recommended workshop that is experienced with Subaru’s. Any other workshop will likely be “learning on the job” and charging you for that process.

Seagrass
 
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