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Discussion Starter #1
My 2008 Subaru outback has an intermittent problem. Lock/unlock function on BOTH key FOBs only works if the car is hot eg. after a long drive or sitting in the hot sun!! Both keys have new batteries & the car battery is new. I suspect the car receiver module. I know others have had this same problem with earlier Outbacks: does anyone know how to fix it?
 

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Twilight Blue 2015 3.6R with Eyesight
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Have you checked the car battery itself? Could make a difference because the system turns unessential things, like central locking off when it thinks the battery is having problems.
 

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Car battery & key batts. all new. I have now ruled out the ( ridiculously expensive) receiver module (Subaru call it the " keyless control unit") which is hidden behind & above the glovebox compartment. Using a heat gun, I've isolated the problem to the steering console. When heat is applied around the ignition key area, central locking works fine! Could the transponder be heat-sensitive ??
 

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'14 3.6R Outback
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Interesting diagnosis...

A far more likely scenario is that you got some corrosion in there or a bad/loose connection.

Heat causes things to dry and/or expand.

There are a few components in there it could possibly be but it sounds like you are getting in to more of a one off electrical gremlin than a common 1 in 10 problem. I don't think the transponder in the ignition has anything to do with the radio transmissions required for lock/unlock.

It may require "no key is present" but heat should not effect the 'receiver,' just the connection between it and the bdu. This might even be a bdu issue.
 

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woah dude - way to track that down, that's amazing detective work!

I have no idea what would cause that. I'd see what components are close to the ignition, having taken apart steering wheels/columns I recall seeing a box underneath the covers before on some models - like the audible door ajar mechanism, etc - maybe there's something remote FOB related?
 

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I tend to agree it is most likely a "dry-joint" or connector problem within the steering console, although as a n electronics tech. I have often see heat sensitive electronics ( IC's, diodes etc.). I also don't see how the transponder could affect door locking. Excuse my ignorance, but what is "bdu" ? What would be of help is an electrical block diagram with explanation of the central locking process! Perhaps I should invest in the Subaru workshop manual?

Alan
 

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07 OBW 2.5i 4EAT; Eastern Ontario, Canada
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Key-in warning switch?

. . .Perhaps I should invest in the Subaru workshop manual? . . .
If you're in Australia or New Zealand (that's this sub-forum), then you'd probably want the RHD version from Subaru (Australia), rather than the manuals that many have for North American-built and marketed Outbacks.

(The following is applicable to NA models; I'm not certain it applies elsewhere, but would imagine so.)

The keyless entry control module you referred to is just the radio receiver. The actual keyless entry controller is the body integrated unit (BIU), which is located under the instrument panel adjacent to the steering column.

The BIU will preclude electrical locking of the doors if the key is in the ignition switch. The ignition switch has a "key warning switch" inside that's connected to the BIU.

If the key warning switch is sticking in the closed position (akin to when the key is actually in), that could lead to the fobs appearing to not work.

On my 07, when the key is in the ignition, and the driver door is opened, a warning "chime" sounds. In addition, if the key is in the ignition, the door is opened, and the lock/unlock switch is flipped to lock, the door locks will actuate, but then reverse almost immediately. Both of these are due to the key warning switch being closed (key in). These might be some ways to verify if the BIU is preventing the fobs from working because of the "key-in" signal it's getting from the warning switch.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Your info. is most useful--many thanks. I am in Aussie. so OB is RH drive. After sighting the "keyless control unit" internals I realized, by the absence of relays or power switching, that it was incapable of powering the door lock motors directly. As you have stated, the BIU does this job & the KCU merely outputs an enable signal in response to a valid rf signal from the key-fob.

My vehicle has never given out warning chimes like yours; Probably a Nth. America feature?

The Key Warning Switch info. is interesting- I will look closely at this!

My next step is to try & locate the BIU so as to hit it with the hair dryer: hope Subaru have not fitted this first then built the rest of the car around it !! Will also check around the ignition switch.

I am reluctant to take the car to a Subaru dealer for cost reasons, & my trusted service shop don't want to tackle the problem ! They are good at the mechanics but not electricals. When my wifes car developed turn indicator problems, they said it required a new "stalk" at enormous cost. I had a look & replacement of a $10 relay under the bonnet (hood to you) fixed it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
`I think I have narrowed down this problem to the steering wheel area. When the problem of "no central locking from key fobs" manifests itself, application of heat, aimed only at the steering-wheel nacelle (upper & lower covers removed), remedied the fault. This temporary cure was repeatable. I then replaced the Key Warning Switch & checked it's operation, but the intermittent re-appeared the next day !

When hot air was directed to the Keyless Control Unit or the Body Integrated Unit. the fault remained. I also cleaned & tightened the car battery posts, to no avail.

Today, I discovered that I can temporarily fix the problem by jiggling ,by hand, the taped-up mass of wiring looms around the lower part of the steering nacelle, near the ignition switch. This is NOT looking good!

I phoned Subaru spares, Sydney, only to be told that they do not supply workshop manuals, bulletins etc. to the public.What I need is a good & detailed explanation of the complex central-locking process, with wiring diagrams, etc. Can any good samaritan help me here, or direct me to a suitable site where I can purchase this info. ? Some DIY manual sites I've visited are for Nth. American versions of the Outback, which may not be suitable for the Australian model 3.0R premium OB.
 

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07 OBW 2.5i 4EAT; Eastern Ontario, Canada
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. . . Can any good samaritan help me here, or direct me to a suitable site where I can purchase this info. ? Some DIY manual sites I've visited are for Nth. American versions of the Outback, which may not be suitable for the Australian model 3.0R premium OB.
Agreed. However, the NA version might be close enough to use as a guide, and verify against the actual car as you go along. (Obviously, there will be the LHD/RHD reversal to take into account.)

The Subaru of America STIS site ( http://techinfo.subaru.com/index.html ) does require a subscription to download the many pdf files that make up the service manuals, and limits the rate to 50 files/hour, but it's doable in the minimum 72 hour window.

The application for a subscription requires entering an address, including State/Province (two characters). However, there's no indication that it would not work for an address outside the US or Canada, so it might be worth a try.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Many thanks for this info. I will take it on-board. Yesterday, a cool cloudy day, the keyless entry (as usual) was dead. Went for a 30 min. drive with cabin heater on 22deg.C. Parked car- still no KE. One hour later when I returned, the KE worked normally. On arrival back home it was dead again, but after half an hour it worked, but was dead again later!!

Convinced fault is temperature related, somewhere behind the steering wheel. A mystery, but will keep sleuthing & post any findings.
 

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Many thanks for this info. I will take it on-board. Yesterday, a cool cloudy day, the keyless entry (as usual) was dead. Went for a 30 min. drive with cabin heater on 22deg.C. Parked car- still no KE. One hour later when I returned, the KE worked normally. On arrival back home it was dead again, but after half an hour it worked, but was dead again later!!

Convinced fault is temperature related, somewhere behind the steering wheel. A mystery, but will keep sleuthing & post any findings.
Been another year since last post but I'm having exactly the same issues and wondering if Alansville ever came up with a solution?

Mine works sometimes but not others and seems related to something or somewhere near the steering column and generally has a better chance of working after being operated for a while or at least moving the key to the "on" position.
 

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Hey mate, how do you know that the problem is not in the actuators themselves. These are a known problem with 3gen outbacks and liberties due to overuse of grease that gets into the motors which matches up with only working when it is hot. I recently fixed the ones on my friends outback, it cost me $7 for motors and they worked like new. Its not really difficult to get into them either, heaps of tutorials around. Maybe the fact that turning the key to on for a bit boosts power from the battery or something. If you have a multimeter you could test the wires that go to the actuators to see if it is the actuators are getting the right amount of voltage for the right time. The locking system is pretty simple and just sends power to the actuator for about 1 second and reverses polarity for locking/unlocking

Thanks. Darcey
 

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Hey mate, how do you know that the problem is not in the actuators themselves. These are a known problem with 3gen outbacks and liberties due to overuse of grease that gets into the motors which matches up with only working when it is hot. I recently fixed the ones on my friends outback, it cost me $7 for motors and they worked like new. Its not really difficult to get into them either, heaps of tutorials around. Maybe the fact that turning the key to on for a bit boosts power from the battery or something. If you have a multimeter you could test the wires that go to the actuators to see if it is the actuators are getting the right amount of voltage for the right time. The locking system is pretty simple and just sends power to the actuator for about 1 second and reverses polarity for locking/unlocking

Thanks. Darcey
Hey thanks for the reply.

Reason i dont believe it to be actuator related is that when i use the lock/unlock switch within the car are four doors and rear all work perfectly and promptly.

So it just feels like something is loose between the keyless sensor and the door locking system.

Where that's located, how to confirm, how to fix, et are all beyond me.

I know nothing about cars.

Funnily left car fpr 10 days over easter in long term parking at Melb Airport... worked first click when saw car... from a good distance.

This morning heading to work... nothing. Get to work. Nothing.

Go for lunch... working.

It has no consistency at all... very annoying
 

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Having the same issues as Canterbury mentioned, also located in Melbourne. My ‘08 Outback seems to intermittently not want to unlock with remote maybe 1/10 times. Usually have issues after a cold start and fine once the car’s been used once during the day, happening with both keys as well. Locking is always okay funilly enough.
 

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I took delivery of a new 2017 Outback 3 weeks ago and have had 2 occasions already where the keyless entry failed to lock or unlock the car. I’ll be taking the vehicle in for its free first month mini service soon so wish me luck with that.​
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Had issue on my 2010 Subaru Outback where remote central locking was not working at all on one key and very intermittent on the other. Went to Mister Minit in local shopping centre and they advised that a battery clip on both of the keys had come away from the circuitboard resulting in no power to one of the keys and intermittent power to the other. Mister Minit resoldered the battery connectors on both keys, tested they were now functional on their machine and gave me instructions to reprogram the keys so they would talk to the car. (This cost a total of $50 including two new batteries which I was very happy about). When I got back to my car, one key already worked remotely without programming, the other didn't which meant I had to reprogram BOTH keys. Instructions for this are given below as I found a lot of information on the net which did not work for my car.

1) Unclip Driver's side kick panel
2) Do NOT put any key in the ignition at any time during this process or it won't work and you have to do it again.
3) Look for two white plastic electrical connectors, one male and one female. On my car, one connector had a large black wire and a smaller black wire with yellow stripe. The other connector had a single wire which is brown with a white stripe. Push these connectors together and you will notice the interior light starts flashing.
4) All keys have to be programmed, including existing keys that may already be working, otherwise they won't work when you try to use them after this process.
5) Press and KEEP HOLDING the unlock button on the Driver's Door console. You should hear a tone come from the dash that tells you it is ready to program a key. While still holding the unlock button on the Driver's Door, press the lock button on a KEY twice. You will hear the doors lock and unlock if this was successful.
6) Release the unlock button on the Driver's Door. Key should now be done.
7) Repeat steps 5) and 6) for any other keys (including existing keys even if they were working before)
8) Disconnect the white plastic electrical connectors and reattach the Driver's side kick panel.

Hope this saves someone time and aggravation.
 

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Hi Guys Interesting string of information that helped point me in the right area. Been going thru this problem with my son's 2006 Outback. After rewiring/replacing the electrical harness to the rear door we thought the problem was fixed. Today we found left rear passenger door would not lock and fixed this by replacing the actuator. Problem continued and is intermittent. After reading info about key we finally found the key could be removed before turning to the full off position. Like this the central locking would not work. Put key back in and rotated to full key off position. Removed the key and the central locking worked ok. We simulated this a few times and pending key lock position when removing key caused malfunction of the central lock system to be "intermittent". So the intermittent problem is related to pulling the key out before turning to full off position. At least this is what our problem was anyway. Be interested to hear back if anyone else finds this fixes their problem too. I would suggest changing key and key assembly in the steering column if required .
 
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