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02' Outback 2.5L 230xxx
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tldr

messed up and hooked up the + illumination wires from aftermarket stereo to the cars illumination + wire and just taped off the grounds. I did not know that you should not hook up the dimmer/illumination wires!!! heres the bad stuff


hazard light button light is completely out, but hazard lights still work
right side of climate control panel has become very dim (blown bulb?)
bulb that illuminated the clock and outside temp has gone out
"auto" backlight in the power window button has gone out
all the bulbs that still work are very dim


so thats whats wrong. here is what works still

literally every other part of the car works entirely normally, specifically everything that is a part of the circuit I unknowingly blasted 12v through on and off throughout the day without a ground.
This includes the dimmer switch/dial, every other bulb, the power window button, hazard button etc.


Ive replaced the 10a fuse #12 and that didnt do anything, the old one wasnt blown but very very burnt.
when i wake up im going to test the issue by replacing the bulbs in the climate control panel to see if that fixes it and it should be pretty easy. I have a BRAND new battery and alternator, so I'm kind of hoping that all the bulbs were already on their last leg and the introduction of all the energy pull of my new stereo ++ potentially shorting the illumination circuit just blew a bunch of bulbs and nothing crazy.


thoughts? input?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
UPDATE

replaced fuse #12 for "illumination brightness control. no change.

495256



then i took a closer look at the wiring diagram and noticed there were 2 other fuses nearby on the same circuit that i might benefit from changing
495257


fuse #2 is for heater fan, fuse #9 is for the radio/clock.

neither were blown but both were very very very oxidized.

three bulbs came back on! the right bulb in the climate control panel, the cruise control bulb, and the a/c bulb on the climate control panel. the hazard light button, power window button light, and instrument cluster bulb are still out however.


So i dug more into this and started to research the sbf #8 30a fuse and the 20a fuse on the top right of the diagram. what i found was that there is a relay block to the side of the fuse box to the left of the steering wheel, and there is a 20a fuse to be changed. this sbf #8 is a complete mystery and i cant find it anywhere in any paperwork or schematics. I am starting to suspect i may have a dying relay somewhere along the line that has resulted in many repeated issues we have had like poor/failed starts, failing lights, very dim headlights and interior lights, seemingly not enough power to share along the car, intermittent abs light, random emissions codes etc etc etc. has anyone had any experience with working with with multiple circuits in their subaru or a situation similar to mine?
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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It seems like you have have lost a ground/earth connection and the voltage for the lights is travelling back through some of the other bulbs making them dim.

@plain OM may be able to help you diagnose the problem correctly.

Seagrass
 

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the hazard light button, power window button light, and instrument cluster bulb are still out however.
Attached is the FSM wiring diagram that relates to the lighting.

On page 1 and 3, the various controls and switches that have lighting are shown, along with their connections/wiring. Pretty well all are powered from fuse #12 in the cabin fuse panel. If any of those bulbs work, that confirms the fuse is good, and if the brightness can be varied using the illumination control, then that control is good as well.

If only the hazard button, power window button and cluster bulbs are not working, and all others are working, it could be the bulbs, or a problem in the wiring to them.
 

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this sbf #8 is a complete mystery
Does/did your Outback have the MacIntosh stereo system? This system has a separate power amplifier located under the passenger seat. SBF-8 is the power source for it. If the car did not have that system, it might be that there isn't a SBF-8.

The attached page is from the 2003 Factory Service Manual and shows the location of SBF-8. But I cannot confirm that it's the same for 2002.
 

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02' Outback 2.5L 230xxx
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Discussion Starter #6
It seems like you have have lost a ground/earth connection and the voltage for the lights is travelling back through some of the other bulbs making them dim.
I have heard similar input and thought this myself. at this time i have the illumination ground wire isolated and taped off; someone suggested that I wire the illumination ground to the main black ground wire, but I do not know what this would result in.
 

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Does/did your Outback have the MacIntosh stereo system? This system has a separate power amplifier located under the passenger seat. SBF-8 is the power source for it. If the car did not have that system, it might be that there isn't a SBF-8.

The attached page is from the 2003 Factory Service Manual and shows the location of SBF-8. But I cannot confirm that it's the same for 2002.
Nope I did not have the mcintosh stereo, just this one
495267


The car in question is the base model 2.5 with some extra features that I believe were ll bean or limited specific I.E. the power window light. My point being, maybe it DOES have this sbf #8. I am going to go out and start checking it out shortly.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Attached is the FSM wiring diagram that relates to the lighting.

On page 1 and 3, the various controls and switches that have lighting are shown, along with their connections/wiring. Pretty well all are powered from fuse #12 in the cabin fuse panel. If any of those bulbs work, that confirms the fuse is good, and if the brightness can be varied using the illumination control, then that control is good as well.

If only the hazard button, power window button and cluster bulbs are not working, and all others are working, it could be the bulbs, or a problem in the wiring to them.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

This is exactly what I needed.

The thing about the circuit is that although fuse 12 is the primary fuse for all the illumination system, changing mine did not fix any problems; it was changing two unrelated fuses in the same circuit that brought 3 seperate bulbs in 3 different places back which leads me to believe my initial poor wiring has blown something in the circuit that is cutting off power to other bulbs some things done make sense to me in this however, the primary thing being that its only the bulbs that have lose functionality this whole time, not the switches.

Im going to take this diagram youve provided me and do a little bit of reverse engineering to see if i can find a pattern between the bulbs that have not come back (hazard button backlght, power window backlight, instrument cluster bulb) and see if i can identify a trend. worst case ill swap out more fuses or pop new bulbs in. I'm just glad i didnt blow the dimmer switch.


At the end of the day its a 20 year old car with 20 year old electronics, its all bound to fail sooner or later by now.

will report back later when after i investigate further
 

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Discussion Starter #9
UPDATE


sbf #8 is on the fuse panel box, but there is no sbf #8, not sure what that means but its a part of the puzzle. I went out to oreillys today and bought like every fuse and today im going to swap out all the 10a, 15,a 20a, and 30a mini fuses and see what happens. my intuition tells me that

A) a few bulbs have blown from my wiring
B) there is a short in the circuit or neighboring circuit
C)
one of the relays or fuses is screwed
 

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alright well i just changed out EVERY fuse, except the sbf's. really cursing myself now because i didnt look at any of the fuses as i pulled them i just swapped them all out and now that im done i see that a 15a fuse was blown. looking at the chart that plain provided me, i see that fuse 7 and fuse 5 are a part of the illumination circuit and both are 15a fuses. cant do much until its dark out so i guess i wont have an update until then. be back in 6 or 7 hours
 

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going back on to the topic of grounding, i am still very perplexed by this one thing.

so when I did the stereo installation i followed this chart. the initial cause of all these problems was that I had hooked up the violet #1 illumination + wire to the illumination + wire from the stereo and the #7 dimmer - taped off.

Should I tape the #7 dimmer - wire to the #11 ground wire?
495276
 

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The chart shows the wiring to the 14-pin harness connector, i26, under the dash that attaches to the back of the stock radio. The first thing to determine is whether or not the replacement radio has a mating connector with the same functions at each pin. Sometimes the replacement might not be the same. In these cases, an adapter cable is used so that no new wiring is necessary; one end of the adapter connects to i26, and the other connects to the radio. That way all the wiring for the radio is matched to the car wiring.

In the chart, the violet wire for radio illumination is connected to all the other switch/control lights (see page 3 of the wiring diagram), and together they go to fuse #12, the + supply. Fuse #12 is powered only when the headlight switch is turned on.

Also, in the chart, the black-white "dimmer" wire is for the "low" side of all the switch/control lights, and goes to the dimmer control on page 1. It's not a ground, and definitely should not be grounded.

What we don't know at this point is what radio is there, what connectors it has, and is the radio connector the same as (i.e., matched to) the original Subaru radio. (I presume if you had to cut wires to connect it, it's not the same.) For the radio lighting, the question is which pin on the radio is the low side (not ground) of the radio's illumination bulbs. That said, if the radio's lights' low side wire is identified, it can be connected to the black-white wire of the original i26, which will connect it to the dimmer along with all the other bulbs.

The new stereo's ground would be connected to the black wire of i26. That ground is for the radio and should have no effect on the illumination bulbs for the radio controls; it's the ground for the rest of the radio's functions.
 

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What we don't know at this point is what radio is there, what connectors it has, and is the radio connector the same as (i.e., matched to) the original Subaru radio. (I presume if you had to cut wires to connect it, it's not the same.) For the radio lighting, the question is which pin on the radio is the low side (not ground) of the radio's illumination bulbs. That said, if the radio's lights' low side wire is identified, it can be connected to the black-white wire of the original i26, which will connect it to the dimmer along with all the other bulbs.

The new stereo's ground would be connected to the black wire of i26. That ground is for the radio and should have no effect on the illumination bulbs for the radio controls; it's the ground for the rest of the radio's functions.

so the stereo I bought is the sony wx-920bt, heres the the manual and other documentation I have for it. If youd like i can go out there and rip off the trim and snap a picture of the all the wires and whats going on
495302

495301
 

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Looking at the user manual, it's not clear what the "Illumination" of the Orange/white wire is referring to, i.e., is it a positive, perhaps variable, supply for the radio lighting, or is the similar to the Subaru, where it's the low/ground side that is controlled. On page 35, the explanation is:

 To a car’s illumination signal
Be sure to first connect the black ground (earth)
lead to a common ground (earth) point.

and on page 21

DIMMER (dimmer)
Change the display brightness: [OFF], [ON],
[AUTO], [CLK] (clock).
([AUTO] is available only when the illumination
control lead is connected, and the head lights
are turned on.)
To set this function to be active only during a
fixed period, select [CLK], then set the start and
end times.
 To set the brightness when the dimmer
function is activated:
Set [DIMMER] to [ON], then adjust
[BRIGHTNESS].
 To set the brightness when the dimmer
function is deactivated:
Set [DIMMER] to [OFF], then adjust
[BRIGHTNESS].
The brightness setting is stored and applied
when the dimmer function is activated or
deactivated.

which say 1) the brightness of the radio display can be controlled by using radio controls, independent of the lights in the instrument panel and switches, or 2) if the Illumination connection is used, that will use the car's dimmer control to control the radio display. However, again, it's not clear if this is supposed to be a variable power supply to the radio lighting, with the radio's ground providing the return, or a "low" side control of the radio lighting. I suspect it's the former, which would not be compatible with the Subaru illumination control.

Perhaps get back to the supplier to verify how this radio is installed in your 2002 Subaru. It might be that the Illumination wire is not used, and brightness control is using the radio settings only.
 

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2003 Subaru Outback 2.5
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Did you cut the factory radio connector? Didn't purchase radio harness?
 

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02' Outback 2.5L 230xxx
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Discussion Starter #17
cut off the factory harness and wired it directly to the wires coming from the stereo harness
 

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Some aftermarket stereos have an orange(maybe orange/white... Going from memory) that controls whether its dim or bright when the headlights are on. The factory stereo has an extra illumination wire that works with the dimmer switch on the dash. When going aftermarket that dimmer switch wire doesn't work. It'll just go unused. Probably should just tape that one off and don't use it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Some aftermarket stereos have an orange(maybe orange/white... Going from memory) that controls whether its dim or bright when the headlights are on. The factory stereo has an extra illumination wire that works with the dimmer switch on the dash. When going aftermarket that dimmer switch wire doesn't work. It'll just go unused. Probably should just tape that one off and don't use it.

the stereo does have that wire, it is that orange/white color. the stereo's illumination + wire purple. and the illumination/dimmer - wire is black and white. what do i do here :(
 

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Discussion Starter #20
what do i do with the stereo's illumination wire...
 
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