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OK so i drove my outback up here to school 550 miles without a problem, has ran great up here for 6 weeks new battery 3 weeks ago as well (needed as preventive maintenance) today i drove my car to Walmart about 2 miles down the road it started and ran fine, started fine when i came out, got gas was a little slow to start (starter low on batter) drove to another store when i was pulling in i noticed my electronics were dying and coming back, the tach was dropping to 0 and would jump back and radio was sputtering on and off. came out of that store battery was totally dead, got a jump (another Subaru), car started right up, and everything was fine at higher rpms (anything above about 1500) when the car dropped to idle the headlights dimmed and the dash was dying along with other electronics (had radio and all lights off), OBDII port would turn on and off with dash (got no error codes when scanned), so i tried to drive my car out of the parking lot, the power steering was loud and weakened, then the car stalled again and battery was dead again before i made it out of the parking lot. Also this MIGHT be related IDK but i noticed that when i bought the car about a month and a half ago (ran great whole time) the passenger side headlight was out then came back on a few days later, then as of a few days ago now the drivers side is out. I have a replacement in my glove box. Now in my mind it sounds like a bad alternator, WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK??? I am in a small northern Michigan town and don't have the luxury of lots of auto parts sources back in Detroit. there is a NAPA a few doors down from where i broke down so they can order what i need. HELP
 

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OBDII is just for emissions and fuel mgmt, nothing more.

Headlights gong out - this is a subaru weak point, it is the connectors. Sometimes cleaning them and tightening the connections solves the problem, other times you have to replace the pigtail (junk yard part).

First try cleaning the battery terminals and make sure they are tight.

Buy a cheap multimeter (analog 9 bucks) or borrow one. Start the car and with everything on 1t 1800 RMP you should have 13.5 Volts. Anything lower is a bad Alt. It sounds like yours is weak.
 

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Just had my mechanic look at my alternator today and he said it was going. Sounds like your alternator is burning out/burnt out. Just my shade tree mechanic opinion...
 

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Thank you guys for your input, will try that stuff tomorrow when i can get a ride to where it was left. My guess is alt. at least its an easy fix. if anyone else has any input whatsoever please chime in. weather agree or disagree, THANKS!
 

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. . . if anyone else has any input whatsoever please chime in. weather agree or disagree,. . .
agree.

When you get back to the car, turn the key to ON but don't start the car, and see if all the instrument panel warning lights come on, especially the one for the Battery. (Might need to connect a booster if the car's battery is really dead.)

If the BATT light does work, yet was never on when you were driving the car earlier, check the ground connections between the battery, car body, and the engine block. A bad ground can prevent the alternator (despite it being good) from charging the battery without the warning light coming on. (See http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/27707-97-legacy-outback-fried-2-new-alternators-so-far.html#post268413;; post #22 has the outcome.)

If the warning light does not come on with the key at ON, then the bulb could be burned out and you would not have had any indication if the alternator itself had failed (which, as others have mentioned, could be the problem).

Also, check that the alternator drive belt, which also drives the power steering pump ("the power steering was loud and weakened,") is in place, tight, and in good condition (not frayed, cracked).
 

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Thank you for your input. Would it be wise to replace the belt while im at in with the car apart anyways? I hope to be doing about 1100 miles in two weekends from now and don't want any problems!
 

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Do you know if the belts have been change lately?

If not look at them and if they look worn/old replace them all!
 

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If the belt has a lot of cracks or appears glazed, it is time to replace it. It sounds like the alt or a bad ground to me as well. I've had both experiences.
 
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DavidPeab
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