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1997 Impreza OBS, 2.2 L SOHC, Blue and Silver
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Discussion Starter #1
I have a Gen 1 Impreza OBS and the door open light always stays on as well as the dome light. I believe that I have narrowed the problem to the rear hatch, but I'm not 100% sure about that. I have checked all the dome light switches that I can access, and they all work perfectly as far as I can tell. What is the probability of the problem being the dome light switch for the rear hatch, and if so, how easy is it to replace on my own?
 

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Not familiar with early Imprezas, but normally the dome light switch does not affect the door open warning light in the instrument panel. Depending on the position of the dome light switch, the dome light will stay off all the time, or stay on all the time, or turn on when a door is opened and turn off when all doors are closed.

So while dome light can be set to come on when a door is open, it can also be always off. This would not affect the instrument panel door open warning light, which should work regardless of the setting of the dome light switch.

Generally speaking, the warning light comes on when a door is opened and the related door switch "closes" the light circuit. So if the light remains on, the circuit is permanently "closed". (Closed usually means a connection from the light is being grounded, which enables the light to come on.)

Most side doors use a switch mounted in the adjacent pillar. When the door is closed, it pushes a plunger on the switch inward, opening the connection. When the door is opened, the plunger moves out, closing the internal connection.

The rear hatch might use a similar switch, or as on the Outback, a switch that is integrated inside the rear hatch latch mechanism.

How did you narrow the problem to the rear hatch?

Does the Impreza have only one door open warning light (works for any door) or separate lights for each door?
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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7,529 Posts
I had a faulty dome light switch (on the dome light itself) on my 2010 Forester - the light would not dim to turn off. If that is the culprit, it's easy to replace. I had to buy the whole dome light assembly (including the bulb) as they do not sell just the switch (even so it would be doable, if they would just sell the switch).
 

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1997 Impreza OBS, 2.2 L SOHC, Blue and Silver
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58 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
The light on the dash is lit up constantly, and I norrowed it down by lifting the hatch and manually closing the latch on with a screwdriver, the light turned off and the dome light turned off as well, and when I opened and closed all the other doors the dome light turned on and off accordingly. And as for the warning light, the '97 Impreza OBS has only one door open light in the cluster, and it works for the main doors on the cabin and the rear hatch.
 

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I norrowed it down by lifting the hatch and manually closing the latch on with a screwdriver, the light turned off and the dome light turned off as well,
That's great. It shows that the switch is integrated into the latch mechanism as in the Outback, and, that the switch (and wiring) is working properly.

Your test suggests that when the hatch is pushed down, the latch mechanism (the part that you turned with the screwdriver) isn't moving as far as it should when it contacts the "striker" (the part on car itself). Does the hatch close easily, or do you have to "slam" it to get it to fully latch? It could be that the striker is set too far in, or that something is blocking the hatch from closing fully. Had any body damage/repair at the back?
 

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1997 Impreza OBS, 2.2 L SOHC, Blue and Silver
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58 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
The hatch closes easily, but I think there is something wrong with the latch, can I replace it on my own?
 

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Probably, if it's like the Outback. The interior trim has to come off, and that should provide access to the handle linkages (might be several, e.g. for the handle and key lock), and the wiring connectors. There's probably some large screws in the bottom of the hatch that hold the mechanism in place in the door. These come out, and the latch can be removed.

Probably have to get a new one at the dealer, or perhaps a used one at a wrecking yard might work if you can find one.

Seems strange, however, that the door closes easily but the latch doesn't seem to be rotating all the way to open the switch. Could be just some wear, or something is binding. You could try spraying the inside of the latch with something like WD-40 to make sure everything inside the mechanism is free. (Spray in where the rotating part is.) There's certainly no harm in trying if you're prepared to replace the mechanism.

You could also try moving the striker back one mm (1/16 inch) and see what happens. (The idea here is to make sure the rotating part moves around fully to the same position that it was when you turned it with the screwdriver.)

Interesting situation . . . keep us informed.
 
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