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2005 Outback 2.5 XT Limited
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The dealer told me today that my 2005 OBX 2.5 XT Limited (98k miles) that I need a new bulkhead harness and it would cost around $2,500. Does this sound right?
I took the car to the dealer's since my normal mechanic said he couldn't help with the P1844 code (CEL was blinking, cruise light on) and he thought it was a transmission problem.
The dealer said that they've rarely seen this problem and it took 2 days to run a diagnostic to tell me that I need a new harness. The car was running rough when I drove it to the dealers.

On top of all of this, the dealer said that my power steering pump is leaking, oil pan is leaking, need new valve cover gaskets, just to name a few items.
I've owned 3 Subaru's and this is probably my last one...
 

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2007 OBXT Limited, 5MT 148K
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420 Posts
Often an estimate for a new harness can be translated as: "we're pretty sure the problem is electrical but we can't find it". Find an independent shop that does Subarus or has a reputation for being electrical experts and get anther opinion.


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P1844: "Transmission Fluid Pressure Sensor/Switch E Circuit", H&LR/C oil pressure switch is open or shorted, or switch malfunction. (High & low reverse clutch oil pressure switch malfunction.)

There's a couple of threads here that relate to that code:

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums/66-problems-maintenance/26020-06-transmission-problems.html

and

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...heck-engine-traction-cruise-brake-lights.html (post #18)

The nature of the code fault can mean there's a bad connection between the transmission control module and the transmission where the E Solenoid and pressure switch are located (control valve body). Or there could be a problem in the Solenoid or switch.

As BlueCorn suggested, the diagnosis could be a "best guess". It all depends on what troubleshooting the technician actually did and what fault was found, and, of course, they rarely pass on this information. But for $2500, I think you deserve more details. Are they sure that there's a problem (open wire, shorted wire) in the bulkhead harness, and not in the related transmission harness (this one goes down to the transmission) or in the solenoid or pressure switch itself?

Also as related in the linked threads, this trouble code can be caused by a contaminant (e.g. dirt particle) in the ATF that is blocking the E solenoid or switch. Has the transmission fluid ever been replaced in the 98,000 miles, and if so, when? If it hasn't, it might be worth investing first in a transmission fluid change/flush. (But again, this is only if the dealer isn't sure --if they have clearly and conclusively found a problem with the wiring related to the pressure switch circuit, then replacing the ATF won't change the wiring defect.)

Others have reported the warning lights sometimes go out after a few drives. Has anything changed since the problem first appeared?
 

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2005 Outback 2.5 XT Limited
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the information.
BlueCorn had confirmed my suspicions, though, I didn't rec'd any information from the dealer as plain OM had suggested. The dealer service dept told me that the Team Leader of the Service dept took over the diagnostic procedure since the tech couldn't diagnose the problem. I can now go back to the dealer and inquire on what exactly they did to determine that the bulkhead harness needs to be replace. Is it just a guess since they couldn't determine anything wrong, or, did they actually determine that there's a short in the system.

Good point about the replacement of the transmission fluid. It has not been changed in the past few years and a containment might be a possibility. I did have a similar problem with the CEL blinking and cruise light about 6,000 miles ago, though, I was told it was because of a head gasket being blown and it was replaced but the others were not replaced.
 
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