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Howto: Changing Seat Warmer Rocker Bulbs

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Hey everyone,

I was going though and replacing dash bulbs and noticed that my heater switches had no illumination. Checking with Subaru, they wanted something like $50+/ea, which was out of the question, and going used would probably exhibit the same issue of burnt out bulbs. I got to thinking, there has to be SOME kind of bulb in there, so I got a bit adventurous, and decided to bust open my switches. In doing so, I took pictures and noted the steps for anyone else who wanted to tackle this change, which isn't as difficult as you may think -- see below.

I'll describe my steps and attach images in order to this thread.

1. Remove the housing in which your two switches are located. It will come out as a unit with both switches. Unplug the harnesses.
2. Squeeze the release tabs, which will release the switch assembly from the housing. I found it easiest to work at a single side first, and the other will follow.
3. When you have the physical switch removed, now we have to remove its outer shell. This can be done by using a small flat head screw driver and releasing the locking tabs on one side. While ensuring it doesn't snap back on you, work the other side tab free as well.
4. Once both sides are free, the black shell housing can be lifted up from the harness connector part of the switch. Set this aside, as we'll be working with the connector portion.
5. With the shell housing set aside, we see that there's two little glass bulbs -- once in a blue rubber retainer (This is for your headlight illumination) and a narrow white rubber retainer (This is for your amber ACTIVE light).
6. Note the location of where these rubber retainers are in your particular switch, and pull up on the entire retainer to pull it and the bulb off of its posts.
7. This is where patience comes into play -- using a small flat head or tweezer, unwind the two wire leads that go to the bulb.

I'll go into reassembly of the bulbs in the next post.


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2003 Outback H6 w/o VDC Wagon
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·

There are obviously two different bulbs that are used, but I ended up using the same 7219 bulb for both replacements.

1. Thread each of the wires though the two holes in the bottom of the rubber holder. Loop it back though the opening.
2. Do this for both wires and pull the slack tight. Ensure the bulb is resting snug at the bottom of the rubber holder.
3. Loop the wire back again and thread it though the other small opening. This is only the diameter of the wire, so you may need to work the rubber back and forth slightly to find it again.
4. Repeat this for the other side, and pull the slack tight, and bend the wires straight out.
5. Cut the excess wire as close to the rubber holder as possible.
6. Repeat steps 1-5 for the remaining bulb.
7. Push the rubber holder back onto the posts in the switch connector body.
8. With your switch in the OFF position, ensure that your white slider tab under the rubber holder posts is centered. Looking into the black switch housing, find the orientation in which way it needs to go. There will only be one way it can snap back together, as there's a channel where the post of the white slider will run in.
9. Snap the black housing back together onto the switch connector.
10. Reinsert switch module into switch housing.
11. Plug back in your harness wiring going to the seat heaters. Reinstall switch housing into center middle console.
12. Success!


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