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Discussion Starter #1
I own 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5 L engine 6 speed manual. Last week i noticed that the dashboard light and radio does not come off after i remove the ignition key. It discharges completely my battery over the weekend. Any ideas?.
Thanks
 

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Which dashboard light?

DOes this have a parking light switch on top of the steering column?
 

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All the dashboard lighting is controlled (on, off, and brightness) by the Body Integrated Unit. Power for the dashboard lights is through the tail and illumination relay, which is also controlled by the BIU. Lighting brightness is controlled by the Illumination Control (See attached). The Parking Light switch on top of the steering column has been discontinued.

When the key is out of the ignition switch, are the external clearance and tail lights on? If not, can they be turned on with the headlight switch (1st position)?

It sounds as if there might be a failure in the BIU and/or the tail & illumination relay, but more observation of the symptoms (better definition of which lights, as nipper suggested), and related troubleshooting measurements would be needed to narrow it down. If the car is still under warranty, this should be covered, and it's probably best to bring the car to the dealer as soon as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
the car does not have parking light switch on top of the steering wheel.
All exterior lights are off when i turn them off and pull the key out of the ignition. The only thing that is on is the instrument panel lights and radio light. Illumintation brightness controll does not have any effect on the dashboard light after i pull out ignition key. Everything else appears to work properly. Car is out of waranty because i did put 50000 miles on it already.
 

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nipper, what do you think?

From here, this is pointing to the BIU. The BIU not only controls the lights, but also the tail & illumination relay that provides 12 V to the lighting circuit. Other than a short somewhere in the wiring, which I tend to doubt (although it is a possibility, albeit slight), it sounds as if the BIU isn't switching off the relay, thereby maintaining 12 power to the lighting circuit. But if it was just the relay, the lights should still be off because the BIU controls them on the ground side. So the BIU would also have to be maintaining that continuity to ground which would seem unusual (although this might not necessarily be needed to turn the lights off if the relay is open).

The BIU is the central "router" for the LAN and sensors. Almost all communications between the ECM, TCM, ABS, VDC, security etc systems goes through, and is processed by, the BIU. I never checked on this, but I wonder if it would be covered by the extended 5/60,000 power train warranty.

However, there's something I'm not clear about, and it's back to nipper's first question: which lights?

Miroslav: What exactly do you mean by "dashboard" and "instrument panel"? Is that what Subaru describes as the "combination meter", which is the part where the speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, and warning lights, are found, or do you mean the rest of the front area where the controls for the radio and heater are located? (Or is it both?) Also, what part of the radio is lit -- the knobs, or the display? I ask because the radio and heater knob lighting are the same circuit, so if one is lit I would expect the other to be as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OM, it is the whole instrument panel that stays illuminated (tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge, average milage gauge) same things as if the car engine is on. The radio can be operated with the key out of the ignition. I turn the radio off that i dont discharge the battery, but the radio knobs stay illuminated. The clock, temperature gauge, and fuel economy indicators in the middle of the dashboard go off and al
so the cigarette lighter power goes off when i pull out the key.
I will try to disconnect the battery tomorrow after i get to work, maybe that will reset the computer
 

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If the radio can be turned on with the key out, then that moves the problem/fault away from the BIU.

I presume you mean that with the key out, the radio operates normally; the display turns on, the sound comes out, and the stations can be tuned etc.

The radio power that enables or disables the radio is through the ACC position of the ignition switch. According to the wiring diagram, the power to the radio goes from the ACC terminal of the ignition switch, through a fuse (#24, 15 Amps) in the in-cabin fuse panel) to the radio. There's no relays or other controls. If the radio can be turned on with the key out, then the ACC terminal of the switch still has power on it, when it shouldn't.

Similarly the combination meter (instrument panel) lighting is powered from the ON terminal of the ignition switch, without any apparent relays or other controls in between (other than a fuse). Consequently, if the lighting remains on with the ignition switch at OFF, it appears that there's power at the ON terminal as well.

But what is puzzling is that the same circuit that powers the combination meter lighting also powers the clock display. So I would have thought the clock would remain on, but it doesn't.

This might require some step-by-step troubleshooting, including Voltage measurements at various fuses, to see which have power and which don't with the ignition switch OFF (key out). The first place to look would be at fuse #24. I would pull that fuse and then see if the radio will still work with the ignition switch OFF. It shouldn't. If that's correct, but with the fuse re-installed, the radio works, then there's power on the ignition switch ACC terminal. This could be due to a faulty switch, but confirming that would require getting into the wiring harness for the switch and checking for continuity across the switch when there shouldn't be.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
i will try to do that over the weekend. I did actually suspect the ignition switch. Last night when i was playing with it, and turning the switch to OF position slowly, the instrument pannel light went off for a very brief moment. But it got back on before i pulled the key out. It happened only one time and i could not reproduce it anymore. Maybe it is a mechanical problem in the switch.
I made a mistake with the year of the car, it is 2010 Subaru Outback, not 2011, but i dont think they made any substantial changes between those years.
 

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Perhaps it's a long shot, but check with your dealer, or Subaru of America (I presume you're in the U.S.) to see if the ignition switch comes under the longer 5 year/60,000 mile warranty.

If it is, you would still have to let the dealer "find" the problem and replace whatever is faulty. But if the radio works and instrument panel lights are on when you shut the car off at the service center, there's no question of a problem and it shouldn't take much time for a technician to track it down.

If it is the ignition switch, would you try to replace it yourself, or take it to the dealer? If the latter, then perhaps it's time to take it there and let them figure it out. Perhaps the dealer will be able to get SOA to cover the costs even if it isn't still under warranty.
 
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