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Discussion Starter #1
I am stumped...I have a 2010 Outback 2.5I and the other day my son was playing around with the wiper control, lights, etc. The next day went I went to get in the vehicle I noticed that none of the interior lights, puddle lights, clock and trip display, key fob, and the auto on/off headlight sensor on the top of the dash in the passenger side are not working.

Everything else on the vehicle functions properly. Is this a fuse or sensor issue? Did my son mess with the controls and when the vehicle was started there was an electrical overload that burned out a fuse.

I did check a couple of fuses and they were not burnt out. That is the illumination and rear combination light. Need some help before I resort to the dealership.

Thanks,

Noah
 

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After further work and checking fuses here is what I discovered. I found that the Backup control body unit fuse was burnt out. I replaced it, checked the lights and everything worked, within a few seconds the lights went off. I checked the fuse and it was burnt out again. Is this an electrical problem?
 

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2011 Subaru Outback Premium 2.5i w/CVT
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You definitely have an electrical problem where something in that particular circuit is drawing more than the circuit's design (hence the blown fuse) or there is a short-circuit in the system causing the fuse failure.
 

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Backup control body unit fuse was burnt out.
i'm trying to see if I can figure this out from the wiring diagrams I have, but I can't properly identify the "Backup control body" fuse.

According to the 2011 Owners Manual I have, that description is on page 12-13 for fuse #34, 10 Amps.

When I look at the wiring diagram (which does not have fuse descriptions, only numbers) fuse #34 is in the tail and illumination relay circuit -- in other words, it's in a circuit that is deactivated when the ignition key is Off. The interior lights (e.g. ceiling) and puddle lights are in an "always on" circuit so that they can work without the key, i.e. when a door is opened, which doesn't conform to where fuse #34 seems to be in the circuitry.

Perhaps double-check the identity of the fuse that seems to be blowing? Not sure this will lead to a solution, but it would at least clarify the general circuit that is problematic.

(There appears to be a difference between the Owners Manual and the wiring diagram I have as to where each fuse is located. In the attached diagrams, fuse #34 is in the lower right in the Owners Manual diagram, but middle left in the wiring diagram layout. Interestingly, fuse #10 in the wiring diagram layout (lower right), if blown, could affect the interior lights, puddle lights, clock etc.)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Took it to the dealer on Monday. They had it all week checked the interior lights, body control unit. Picked it up today everything works. Got home, put it in the garage. Went back to the garage an hour later and the puddle lights were still on. Why? The dealer found a short in the rear body harness. Traced to PIN # 7 back to connector R50 which is OK R51 is not OK terminal 1 was shorting loose in the connector. They made the wiring repair and replaced the fuse, tested everything. Will the puddle lights drain the battery by morning?
 

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Terminal 1 of connector R51 is the always-on 12 V going to the passenger side vanity mirror light. If the loose pin was touching a ground point, that would blow a fuse. (Wiring diagram suggests it would be fuse #10 in the engine compartment fuse box.)

So now, after the wiring repair, the puddle lights seem to be staying on, is that correct? Is it only the puddle lights (in the front doors)? What about the room (ceiling) light and the map lights above the windshield?

Are all the doors properly closed? Is there any indication of an open door in the warning diagram in the combination meter (instrument panel)?

Open the driver door -- the puddle lights, map lights and ceiling light should come on full. Press the door switch -- it's under the small rubber accordion-like cover on the doorpost -- thereby simulating the door being closed. That should cause all three light sources to drop down in intensity. Hold the switch in -- after 10 or 15 seconds, all the lights should fade out. (Let us know what you find.)

Yes, it is possible for the puddle lights (on both doors) to drain the battery, especially if it isn't at full charge to begin with when the car is stopped.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes the puddle lights will not go off. Checked all doors...they are all closed securely...no door warning lights on. I opened drivers door held in door switch, interior dome lights go off after 10-15 seconds...puddle lights still on. To me it is as though the puddle lights are drawing current 100 percent of the time. What is the cause? Did the dealer miss something?
 

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Something was missed.

The are connected to the same always on 12 V source (via fuse #10) along with the map lights and the vanity mirror lights. The on/off switching for the dome (ceiling) light, puddle lights and map lights is on the ground side, through the BIU (body integrated unit). The door switches are connected to the BIU, and the BIU then switches the ground side of the lights. According to the wiring diagram, the ground side of the dome light and the ground side of the puddle lamps are controlled through the same circuit of the BIU. So they should react identically.

If the puddle lamps stay on but the dome light goes off when the door is closed, then the puddle lamp ground side wiring appears to be wrong. The puddle lamp ground wiring goes through the area it appears the service department was working on (e.g. connector R50). Perhaps during the troubleshooting wires were moved around but not returned properly.

If this wasn't a problem before, I guess it will have to go back to the shop.

I've attached a portion of the relevant wiring diagram page where the puddle and room (dome) lights, BIU and #10 fuse source are shown.

Question -- if anyone knows -- does the 4th generation have a switch to turn the puddle lights on continuously? I wouldn't think it's likely, but do want to eliminate the possibility here that this could be the issue.

Keep us informed. . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No it wasn't a problem before. The only issue with the puddle lights before, was one of the bulbs was burnt out on the rear passenger side. It will be going back to the dealer on Monday. Thanks for the help everyone.
 

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. . . one of the bulbs was burnt out on the rear passenger side.
Are there lights at the rear passenger doors?

The interior lighting wiring diagram shows two "puddle lights", LH and RH (attached, page 2). It also shows Left and Right side "door step lights" (page 3). (Now I'm not sure what the distinction is . . .) The latter are controlled solely by the left and right front door switches (page 4), not the BIU, and can therefore stay on indefinitely if a door isn't properly closed (Owners Manual, page 2-6).

This is puzzling . . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Doors are all closed tightly and yes their are lights below each passenger door just like the front door and are working. Remember in the earlier post the puddle lights worked just fine before all of this happened. My guess is that the dealer may have hooked up the wiring wrong during service thus keeping the puddle lights on continuously. Any other thoughts?
 

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My guess is that the dealer may have hooked up the wiring wrong during service thus keeping the puddle lights on continuously.
I'd go with that too.

I'd also say that it's not obvious your son's playing caused the fuse to blow and the puddle light problem. (That's not to say that it might not have exacerbated something that was incorrect to begin with, which in turn blew the fuse etc.)

In any event it's not right and needs to be fixed. I presume the car is still under the full warranty.

Let us know what they find . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yes, it is still under warranty and is going back in on Thursday. Thanks everyone for the information and assistance in this matter. I will keep you posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Took it back to the dealer. They figured this would happen...they went ahead and replaced the Body Integrated Unit. With that, they also had to replace all of the key fobs. Everything works...thank god it was under warranty, otherwise it would have cost a pretty penny. Thanks again all of you for your insights and help.
 

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Interesting. I wonder if the wiring diagram isn't correct, as otherwise I can't see how the puddle lights would stay on when the dome light goes out. In any event, glad to hear the dealer took on the challenge (but rather suspicious that "They figured this would happen. . .") and it now seems to be fixed.
 

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I wanted to reply to this thread to let OP know that fuse #34 just went out on my 2010 outback (53k miles). The same electrical system was affected (puddle lights, dome lights, clock, key remote all not working). I plan to take it into the dealer this week to see what can be done.

I wonder, since it involves the puddle lights, if this will be covered with the coming recall.
 

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27Jan13 - My 2010 Outback just had the exact same issue today, 59,600 miles. No dome lights, no key fob control, no alarm, no temp display, no milage display, no clock, no puddle lights. Everything else works. No time to trouble shoot tonight. Battery disconnect was of no help. No kids playing with mine so I figure yours are in the clear. This issue is to exact to yours to be anything else but a common problem
 

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A short in a harness which connects to the BIU is able to cause another short on the board prior to blowing the fuse. They figured it would happen because it was a gamble they took that the BIU was unaffected. They apparently didn't notice the lights staying on in a lit service bay. They've run into it prior and maybe didn't have an issue with BIU in a couple cases.

I could see a run on this.

Did the dealer say what caused the short in the harness? The tech would know. Anyone who works on electrical systems daily can see what caused the problem where others would be blinded.
 
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