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Aloha!

I currently live on the Big Island in Hawaii. I'm so far away from my mechanics and my car is in some serious need of help.

When I'm driving (day or night) my car's electrical will completely cut out when I press on the brakes. The ABS light will come on, only sometimes, when this happens.

There's no consistency either. Sometimes the car will be sitting all day in the lot at work. I start it up, step on the brakes and everything cuts out.

I took it to one mechanic and one of the error codes was 42: low voltage to ABS. He cleared the codes and he couldn't replicate the problem. I get it out of the shop and it's all whacked out again.

How the heck do I find a decent mechanic that won't rip me off or know what to look for?

Some background: the car has been shipped twice (once from California to Maui and then from Maui to Hawaii). I have a feeling when it was transported something got loose in the wiring as it NEVER had this problem before.

If anyone can direct me to either a mechanic or provide some questions that I should ask to a potential mechanic, please let me know. I would love to be able to keep my car!!

Mahalo for your help!
Monica
 

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01 Outback LL Bean
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2,429 Posts
I think this thread should be in in a different forum.

That being said. I suspect you have some sort of short with the brake lights. When you hit the brake and the brake lights go on the short triggers your electrical failure. I would disconnect the ABS module to rule that out of the equation, but I doubt its the ABS module.
 

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2011,premium,2.5
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648 Posts
I think this is in the right place lol, but seems like there is a loose wire grounding it self out what year is this car... this is something tied in to ur brake lights,has the code come back? If its an older model get a Haynes book and look in the back at the wire diograms and see how the harness is connected...this is best I can do for you
 

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2017 Outback 3.6 Touring, which replaced '05 Outback XT
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783 Posts
It isn't likely to be a short in the brake lights as that would blow a fuse. The electronics in modern cars react in odd ways when the supply voltage drops too much. You could throw money at having a mechanic troubleshoot an intermittent problem, but I would start with the simple, cheap (relatively) and easy stuff first.

1. Make sure the alternator is charging the battery well.
2. Replace the battery. It is rare, but they can have intermittent failures.
3. Make sure battery connections are clean and tight.
4. Make sure any ground connections to the engine block are intact, clean and tight.

Good luck!
 

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01 Outback H6 VDC, 97 GT wgn w/ ej22, 98 OBW w/ej22
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1,401 Posts
really weird things can happen when tail / brake light bulbs go bad. as a first step, i would remove the brake light bulbs one at a time and then test it by stepping on the brakes. this may identify a bulb as the problem. or eliminate them as the problem.

the ABS and BRAKE lights together usually is a bad alternator indicator.

i drove 3 hours one night and when i got home i turned the car off. five minutes later i went out to buy dinner and everything came on with the key in ACC and RUN, but when i turned it to START, everything went dark. it was my battery.

good luck.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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14,464 Posts
Battery and alternator need to be checked/replaced. The low voltage code was a giveaway. The mechanic is ignorant of electrical flow and theory apparently.

When you hit the brake, it adds just enough load to reduce the amount available to everything else. Its not a bulb. Its not a short. There isn't enough electricity available for everything to run at the same time. Like your laptop running slow on a low battery.

If you don't want to tackle it yourself, find an old school shop on the island or ask around the locals for a good electrical shop.
 
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