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2000 OB
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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2000 outback-lately the driver window switch is failing--window goes down, but switch needs lots of wiggling and pressure to get it to go up. It looks to me like the switch is one of a bunch in one component costing around $150, but I'm worried that even if I buy the part, I can't figure out how to access the switch, which is embedded in the door handle on the driver's door. Is it time to get a mechanic, or does someone have advice on what to do? I'd like to fix the faulty contact if that's possible, though a picture of the switch cluster I found makes it look like a sealed unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks. I checked out the other posts and removed the cluster switch, but I don't know about repairing it. the circuit board and contacts appear fine and seem clean. I suspect something inside the driver's window switch itself is the problem, but I don't see any way to open it up or remove it from the others. The other posts are vague on that point. Does anyone know if the individual switch can be disassembled, or replaced?
 

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I don't think the individual switch can be replaced -- it's likely that the contacts of the switch are actually on the printed circuit board.

However, looking at the photos in the linked thread, I believe the switch can be disassembled further -- and at this point, there's not much to lose by trying. (I'm basing this on what I can see, but that's certainly not the same as having it in hand. Nevertheless, I've done repairs on similar car switches (the latest a center, multi-window and mirror control for M-Benz sedan) and I do think it is doable here as well. Key is patience, skill with small parts, and especially, soldering.

As a first step, I would check the continuity, or lack thereof, through the switch, by measuring resistance between the six pins of the switch on the back of the printed circuit board. There should be continuity between the center pin and either of the other two in line with it, depending on which way the switch is activated. (There's two sides to switch, comprised of two sets of three pins.)

As noted in the fourth photo, each switch is connected to the printed circuit board by six pins. The joints should be checked very carefully, preferably with a strong magnifier. The solder between the board and the pin should be shiny and without any appearance of cracks, typically circling around the pins. (This applies to all the solder connections, not only the ones at the six pins of the questionable switch -- often other points are part of the circuit and can result in the same symptoms.)

Looking at the first photo, the driver's "AUTO" switch is the one in question. Looking at the side of the "rocker" (where the AUTO is printed), there's three holes, one of which is probably on a short, and possibly sloped, plastic pin on which the rocker pivots. When it does, it moves a slider up (forward) or down (backward) connecting different surface contacts on the upper side of the printed circuit board.

If my view of the switch is correct, the switch rocker can be pried off the pivots. (Carefully, so as not to break the rocker.) It will lift off vertically, revealing the slider underneath and beneath that, the board. There is at least one spring, if not more, which is used to return the rocker to the neutral position. This, and other linkages that might be inside, are easily lost when the rocker is lifted off. (I keep in mind that the switch was assembled by installing the spring, slider etc, and then snapping the rocker down onto the switch housing, so it should be equally possible to remove it.)

With the rocker and slider removed, the contacts will be visible. I suspect that the grease, which is commonly used on the contacts to prevent oxidation, has become contaminated, and is preventing a good contact when the slider is moved. They can be cleaned with switch cleaner or sometimes pure alcohol, and if not worn out, should be good to go after reassembly. (Even if worn out, the printed circuit switch contact "pads" can be restored, but that's something else.)

As noted, it's might be worth trying if the only alternative is to buy a replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
plain OM--thanks for the detailed post above--you gave me the courage to pry the lid off that sucker and see what was inside. I figured nothing to lose, it's broken now anyway. So, it turns out, I got down to two little metal rocking parts, and I cleaned them well with alchohol. Tried the switch with the cover off so that I could see how it worked, and even with the metal contacts exposed, it is very tricky to get the window back up. I fiddled and cleaned some more, reassebled, and of course no improvement. But all was not lost, I know how the thing works now, and I've pried off the cover again, so with a pencil I can poke around and get the window up or down, which os better than before, and will keep me smiling until the new switch I'm about to order arrives.
 

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Join the club on this one, I had the same driver switch fail ... tried to take it apart and fix it but ... no luck.

Great of Subaru to make the most used switch in the cluster, which is bound to fail first ... not replaceable separately. I think that **** thing cost me $125 at the dealer ... for a normally $5 switch
 

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2001 OBW H6 VDC
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fwiw, I bought a complete switch cluster with trim on ebay for $20 shipped.

A quick ebay search for "subaru master window switch" shows at least two of these clusters at auction closing today, current bids $0.99 and $6.50. The switches are used so they probably won't last as long as new switches, but if it only costs you $20...

:7:
-Jeff
 

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My front passenger window is not responsive from either switch (all others are both from driver's side and each one). I tested the switch and seems to be getting some power. Any possibility that there is just too much dirt in the window regular and it just needs to be greased up? I am a bit hesitant to take the window apart because I am not totally sure how the regulator operates (it seems simple enough, I just can't see what I'm working with).
 

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glacierwolf

While it's not impossible, I doubt dirt in the regulator would be the cause. If it were, you would probably hear the motor trying to move the window, at least initially when the switch is pressed.

(How did you test the passenger switch to ensure there is power?)

If neither the driver's nor the passenger door switch causes the window to move, and assuming that power is getting to the switches, the problem could be either the wiring to the motor, or the motor itself. To avoid unnecessary work and better isolate the fault, the best approach might be see if power is getting to the motor. This would require removing the passenger door trim panel, remove the switch assembly from the panel and reconnect it to the door wiring, find the connector at the motor itself and connect a voltmeter to its two pins, and then operate the switch. (The voltage to the motor reverses depending on whether the switch is in the "up" or "down" position). If there is 12 V there when the switch is activated, then the motor, or it's gear mechanism, is probably the fault.
 

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I've had the same thing happen to the driver side switch and have kept it working until yesterday when a saw a bit of smoke roll out from it. I've found the replacement part online but am wondering if there are any gotcha's to watch for when removing the door panel? thanks for any tips in advance.
 

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I followed plain OM's link and the fix worked for me. I never took the small metal contacts out of the assembly but pressed down on both sides simultaneously with small screwdrivers which had the same net effect. happy to be back in business! thanks!
 

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I had the same exact problem as the original post. Driver window went down, but not up. I took out the cluster, and then took the driver's window switch apart. (I did this by carefully prying the two sides of the switch housing outward, and over the two little tabs that hold it place and act as the hinge.) I then cleaned the contact points inside the switch with alcohol and snapped the switch housing back on. The switch is now working perfectly again. Worth a try before you buy a used switch cluster that may have the same problem.
 

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Cool, thanks. That's cheaper than I was able to find. The switch has gotten a bit touchy since my last post, but is still working. Who knows for how long though.
 

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Repaired driver window switch - same problem as all above. Removed switch assembly, then very carefully spread the inner part of driver window switch to get it over the rocker peg, use finger between two front window switches to keep driver switch above rocker peg, then gently pry the other side of driver switch off its rocker peg. Work the rocker up and off the housing. I found it is not an "electrical" problem at all - it is mechanical. That is, the spring inside the rocker compressed and was too short after 11 yrs. use. Remove the spring. With a pocket knife, spread the coils of the spring on each end to lengthen the spring. When every coil is equal, put the spring and the white plastic contact part together, gently replace the rocker switch in the housing, and it works perfectly.
 

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Another culprit for window switch failure

Hi All,
Thanks for all the great info here, it enabled me to fix my driver side window switch this afternoon. I have a 2000 Outback wagon. I had to remove the switch cover, remove the internal clear plastic mechanism which houses the spring and nylon dual-post rocker. One side of the rocker was worn away, and this was the circuit that made the window go back up.

I decided to pull the window switch from a rear door panel, and swap out the clear plastic / spring / nylon post assembly, putting the good one from the rear into the driver switch. I imagine the rear switches are much less at the dealer or junkyard.

Much patience and care was required not to break anything in the process, the switch cover pulls off as you spread the sides away from the posts.

The inner clear piece has a pin on each side. A twist with needle nose pliers will free them up. Here is a photo of the old worn part alongside the rear window switch internals. I wasn't able to get to the metal rocker contacts under the plastic, and could not remove the PC board. I did flatten the metal contacts, both sides simultaneously, as mentioned in an earlier post. This helps too.
 

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seriously????

Someone needs to talk to engineers at Subaru, why are you making all of these components so complicated??? IE: the rear hatch mechanism, how many cheap plastic parts do you need? The straw that broke the camel's back is that the drivers side window control quit working yesterday. Plus I have been dealing with numerous other items: the gas cap door release doesn't work, I have to use a screwdriver to open the door. The widow washer sprayers don't work, I have to pull over and throw snow on my windshield or hope it rains. The rear hatch handle works when it wants to, which is a huge pain in the ass when you are trying to get your golf clubs out of the back. Both of the remotes I have, for locking and unlocking the doors don't work. I am sure that is well over $500 to get everything fixed. The icing on the cake, the passenger side airbag recall that I received yesterday. Oh, the parts are out-of-stock, quick fix: don't allow a passenger to ride with you.
This thing is nickel and diming me to death! I'll never buy a Subaru again.
 

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2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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Someone needs to talk to engineers at Subaru, why are you making all of these components so complicated??? IE: the rear hatch mechanism, how many cheap plastic parts do you need? The straw that broke the camel's back is that the drivers side window control quit working yesterday. Plus I have been dealing with numerous other items: the gas cap door release doesn't work, I have to use a screwdriver to open the door. The widow washer sprayers don't work, I have to pull over and throw snow on my windshield or hope it rains. The rear hatch handle works when it wants to, which is a huge pain in the ass when you are trying to get your golf clubs out of the back. Both of the remotes I have, for locking and unlocking the doors don't work. I am sure that is well over $500 to get everything fixed. The icing on the cake, the passenger side airbag recall that I received yesterday. Oh, the parts are out-of-stock, quick fix: don't allow a passenger to ride with you.
This thing is nickel and diming me to death! I'll never buy a Subaru again.
I guess you may have a 2003-2009,

I wonder what screen name you are going to pick when you join a Jeep Grand Cherokee Forum.
 
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