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I know on the 2nd-gen Outback (00-04) there is an orange area on the windshield that heats up (like the defroster on the rear window). My 98 OB limited has the switch for the wiper defrost, but the OEM windshield has been replaced, so I don't know if there used to be an orange defrost area there too. Or does it work some other way? Curious cause it's time to replace the windshield again and I don't know if I should try to find one with the defrost area. I've never seen one on a first-gen Outback, so ... :confused:
 

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It was an option on 1st gen outbacks as well. The window appearance may not be the same, but the feature was available. I used to have a '98 as well, and the window heater worked fine.
 

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I don't know if there used to be an orange defrost area there too.
Many aftermarket replacement windshields are available with the heater built-in, but it's not visible from the outside (e.g. the orange lines); rather, the area is all "blacked over". So not seeing the lines doesn't mean the windshield doesn't have the heater.
 

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i thiught the 98 windshield wiper defrost was a heating element in the ''vent grille'' mount in the top of the dash next to the glass, not actually in the glass it self.

am i wrong?
 

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It's in the glass. It's not the bright orange visible grid like the rear defrost grid, but rather a series of fine wires in the glass itself, a la Mercedes heated glass. It's difficult to see, you wouldn't notice it if you weren't looking for it.

My guess is it was cheaper to make the laminated "orange" type than the embedded wires.

If the car is wired for it but the windshield has been replaced, yes, you can have a new windshield installed with the heater and just plug it in.

First gen heated windshields plug in under the cowl. 2nd gen plug in inside the cabin, connector is under the driver's side A pillar.
 
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