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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. Headlights only work when I pull the MFS back to brights. Low beams not working and high beams not working when pushed forward. Relays and fusetested good. I took the switch apart and cleaned it. Still the same. Is there something else I should check?

It's in beautiful shape with 160k and lots of life left. We bought it 10 years ago with 80k. I hope this isn't the end. We can't use it if we won't be able to drive it at night and I'm trying to avoid $450 from the dealership, as they 'suspect' it to be the switch assembly. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. David.
 

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$450????

there is zero reason to take a good old 1995 subaru to a dealer, ...unless you work there and are using it as basic transportation.

plenty of help on here with diagnosing such a problem. (and has been worked out in the past)
 
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Hi everyone. Headlights only work when I pull the MFS back to brights. Low beams not working and high beams not working when pushed forward. Relays and fusetested good. I took the switch apart and cleaned it. Still the same. Is there something else I should check?

It's in beautiful shape with 160k and lots of life left. We bought it 10 years ago with 80k. I hope this isn't the end. We can't use it if we won't be able to drive it at night and I'm trying to avoid $450 from the dealership, as they 'suspect' it to be the switch assembly. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. David.
As the low beams aren't working, I think that should the focus, with the high beams dealt with after the lows are working (which could be as soon as the lows are fixed!).

Some preliminary questions:

Does the car have daylight running lights? (Asking because there are differences in the circuit and that affects analysis of your symptoms.)

Is there just one, dual filament, headlight bulb on each side, or does it have separate low and high beam bulbs on each side? (I think the 95 has just one dual-filament bulb on each side but want to be sure.)

Are you sure that the filaments for the low beams are good? (Not uncommon to believe the filaments are good, but unless the bulbs are tested for continuity with a meter, one cannot be certain.) Are any of the wires at the bulb connectors showing signs of overheating?
 

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Does the car have daylight running lights? (Asking because there are differences in the circuit and that affects analysis of your symptoms.)
I was just looking at cars101, and no mention of DRL on US spec legacy or legacy outback until year 2000 cars,
... when subaru USA and the US govt started to smarten up...alittle....just a little.

(this one appears to be US Pacific Northwest by IP....so no DRL unless it is a canada car brought south.).
 

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I was just looking at cars101, and no mention of DRL on US spec legacy or legacy outback until year 2000 cars,
... when subaru USA and the US govt started to smarten up...alittle....just a little.

(this one appears to be US Pacific Northwest by IP....so no DRL unless it is a canada car brought south.).
Thanks. If that's the case it simplifies the circuitry and the analysis. I have some ideas, but will wait for the OPs response on the other questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks eagleeye and plain om! No running lights. Lamps are good and no sign of heating. 1st the high beams stopped working when MFS was pressed forward. The high beams would only work when MFS was pulled back. Then a week later low beams quit. So I switched it on-off a couple times and they'd work. That only worked twice then they just quit responding.

After getting a quote, I decided to pop the cap at the end of the switch to have a look. It looked surprisingly clean. Wiped it off anyways with q-tip&simple green. Thanks
 

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I've attached a wiring diagrams that should apply to your 1995, if not exactly, then at least the way the switching etc., works will be the same. As noted earlier, the low beams are the focus. One is the headlight circuit, the other part of the power routing circuit that includes the headlight relays and fuses.

First a quick "how it works".

In the headlight diagram, there's two parts to how the headlights work; one is the supply of power to the bulbs, the other is switching the bulbs on, or off, on the ground side. When the headlight switch (lower right in the diagram) is turned to the headlight position (II), it connects the ground, at "EL" to "HC" (these are connection identifiers at the switch). HC goes to MB-7 at the top, which is one side of the two headlight relay energizing coils in the power diagram. The other side of the relay coils goes to the ON terminal of the ignition switch. Consequently, when the ignition switch is at On and the headlight switch is at the headlight position, there should be current through the relay coils and the relays should be switched on.

When the headlight relays are on, their internal switch contacts connect battery voltage to MB-6 and MB-8 through the two 15 Amp headlight fuses, #24 and 26. With power at MB-6 and MB-8 there should be power to each bulb at terminal #3 of the three wire bulb connectors. In this way, each dual filament bulb is powered from its own relay and fuse, but both the high and low beam filaments in each bulbs are powered together.

With the ignition at On, the headlight switch at the headlight position, and the dimmer & passing switch in the middle position (for low beams), the ground at "E" is connected through the dimmer switch to "HL". HL goes to terminal 1 of the headlight bulb connectors, and from there to one side of the bulb filaments. This is the low beam filament. Consequently, with power coming into the bulbs from the relays, there's now a circuit through the low beam filaments, through the dimmer switch, to E, ground.

So, for the low beams to work, we have to have power at terminal 3 of both headlight connectors, and continuity from the low beam filament side of the bulb to ground.

Earlier it was mentioned that the relays and fuses tested good. I should have asked at that time how you checked them. Let us know. Also, do you have a multimeter to measure resistance and voltage?

In the meantime, here's some ideas on what to check.

Disconnect the 3-wire connectors (F7 and F23) going to the headlight bulbs. With the ignition switch at OFF (important), the headlight switch at the second, full headlight position, and the dimmer switch in the mid/low beam position, measure the resistance from the battery negative post, or a known good ground, to each of the three terminals in the headlight harness connectors. With both bulbs not connected, one of the three terminals in each harness headlight connector should have good continuity (very low resistance) to ground (This is through the dimmer switch). According to the wiring diagram, this would be the YL (yellow with blue stripe) wire. Switch the dimmer to the high beam (forward) position. Make the same measurements. There should again be continuity to ground, but this time it would be at R (red) wire.

IF the ground side switching doesn't check out, then the problem is in the dimmer switch, the wiring to it, or, possibly, the connection to ground "E". If the ground side switching checks good, then the focus turns to the power side.

With the bulbs still disconnected, turn the ignition to ON, and measure the Voltage from the battery negative post, or a known good ground, to the terminals in the headlight bulb connectors. As two of the terminals have already been verified as being grounded with the headlight switch turned on, the third, the BL wire (black with blue stripe) should have battery voltage.

If it doesn't, then measure the voltage at the two headlight 15 Amp fuses (#24 and 26). If there is no voltage at the fuses, the relays might not be switching on.

Remove the two headlight relays from their sockets in the engine compartment fuse box. With the ignition OFF, measure the Voltage between the battery negative post, or a good known ground, and the relay socket terminals (of each relay). Only one of the terminals for each relay should have battery voltage (~12.6 V). Note which socket terminals have power.

Next, with the relays out, ignition switch OFF, but the headlight switch at the full headlight position and the dimmer at the low beam position, measure the resistance between the battery negative post, or a known good ground, and the other relay socket terminals (excluding the two that had power). One of the other terminals should be grounded. (This is the low side of the energizing coil that is connected through the headlight switch to ground.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you, plain OM!! That will keep me busy this morning. I'll come back tonight to tell you what I found.
To check the relay, I took them out and powered it up with the battery. After it clicked on, It test good continuity. Thanks again for the restored hope!!
 

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Thank you, plain OM!! That will keep me busy this morning. I'll come back tonight to tell you what I found.
To check the relay, I took them out and powered it up with the battery. After it clicked on, It test good continuity. Thanks again for the restored hope!!
also,

while you are diagnosing, put the light switch into the middle position and make sure all those lights are working as they should,
and maybe a brick / rock / stick on the brake pedal to check the brake lights

signal lights too. (might be nice to catch something a little wrong in a 22 year old, in the same housing you are working in before it goes bad next month).

____

and as you look at the diagrams, you may think subarus can be wired unique to other cars. and little problems in wire grounds / single bulbs / single sockets can cause greater things to go awry.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
also,



while you are diagnosing, put the light switch into the middle position and make sure all those lights are working as they should,

and maybe a brick on the brake pedal to check the brake lights the brake lights,



signal lights too. (might be nice to catch something a little wrong in a 22 year old, in the same housing you are working in before it goes bad next month).



____



and as you look at the diagrams, you may think subarus can be wired unique to other cars. and little problems in wire grounds / single bulbs / single sockets can cause greater things to go awry.


Thanks, bud! Sounds like a great suggestion that I will definitely follow. I'll be here today to reread these two replies a few times and an update when I'm done. Good day to you two gentleman!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well...no continuity thru the ground at the socket. I'm going to proceed with taking the steering wheel off to check the dimmer switch.
I was mistaken about the headlight sockets not showing sighs of heat damage. After further inspection, the wires are discolored from heat. Sockets are slightly deformed.
 

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Well...no continuity thru the ground at the socket. I'm going to proceed with taking the steering wheel off to check the dimmer switch.
I was mistaken about the headlight sockets not showing sighs of heat damage. After further inspection, the wires are discolored from heat. Sockets are slightly deformed.
Before removing the steering wheel etc., see if you can find connector B71. This is the 8-terminal connector for the dimmer switch. If you find it, the switch function can be checked to verify that the problem is indeed the switch before taking things apart. Disconnect the connector. The wiring diagram shows which of the terminals would have continuity when the dimmer is in Low, High, and Pass. (The diagram of B71 at the bottom of the page is the harness side. The numbering for the switch side would be reversed (mirror image) when identifying pins on the switch to check for continuity.

Good so far . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
No continuity between 3 & 1 up position
No continuity between 3 & 2 low position
Continuity between 3 -1 & 4 pass position.

I've disconnected the battery and have the airbag off. I understand the price of the quote, now.

It's getting brighter up here
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Great news!! It's fixed, thanks to your excellent trouble shooting advice, plain OM.

This is where the problem was:

The contacts on the dimmer were corroded. I cut a small strip of fine sandpaper and Lighty went back/forth.
I wish I could shake your hand, but for now I will just have to tell you how grateful I am. You are a scholar and gentleman, sir!!!!! Thank you very much, David.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
also,

while you are diagnosing, put the light switch into the middle position and make sure all those lights are working as they should,
and maybe a brick / rock / stick on the brake pedal to check the brake lights

signal lights too. (might be nice to catch something a little wrong in a 22 year old, in the same housing you are working in before it goes bad next month).

____

and as you look at the diagrams, you may think subarus can be wired unique to other cars. and little problems in wire grounds / single bulbs / single sockets can cause greater things to go awry.


eagleeye, my friend! Thank you for your tip. I really appreciate it. All the running and brake lights work. Take care, David.
 

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eagleeye, my friend! Thank you for your tip. I really appreciate it. All the running and brake lights work. Take care, David.
what trim level is that legacy?

is that legacy there you got one with the outback pack in it? (the half baked outback, before all the stuff was added to the 1996)

as described here:

Subaru Legacy archives 1995, 1996, 1997 specifications/options, legacy/outback

and here:

Subaru Outback Archives 1995-1997: options, prices, history. Outback
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·

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Legacy L. with 14" wheels. Not an outback.
well, others say the smaller tire diameter makes the most of the plain jane 1995 EJ22, the "great little engine that does".

non- interference and ready for 1,000,000 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
well, others say the smaller tire diameter makes the most of the plain jane 1995 EJ22, the "great little engine that does".

none interference and ready for 1,000,000 miles.

Really!!?? That's good to hear. It starts/runs/drives the same way it did 10years ago. I keep waiting for my wife to say 'I'd like a newer one' but she is in love with this car.
Plain Jane is the name I gave my pickup-haha
 

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Great news!! It's fixed, thanks to your excellent trouble shooting advice, plain OM.

This is where the problem was:

The contacts on the dimmer were corroded. I cut a small strip of fine sandpaper and Lighty went back/forth.
I wish I could shake your hand, but for now I will just have to tell you how grateful I am. You are a scholar and gentleman, sir!!!!! Thank you very much, David.
Well done!

Were you able to access the contacts without removing the combination switch from the steering column?
 
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