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All the bulbs behind the temp control section of my dash have gone out. Can anyone please tell me the process for accessing that area to replace the bulbs? I have a 98 Outback wagon. Thanks!
 

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Been there very recently with my 98. Give me a little time and I should be able to point you to a step-by-step description on scoobymods - although that one describes a 99 (I think) so the cup holder is not quite the same.

I did this job about two weeks ago, but made one mistake - the procedure cites a certain Radio Shack bulb. I went to a store near me, and the closest thing they had was a 2.5V mini flashlight bulb. They fit, but burned out instantly. Apparently those lights get 9V.

Basically, it's like this: Pull out the cup holder and remove the two screws that hold it in. Pull out the ashtray and remove the two small screws, which face down. You might have trouble getting a tool on those; I used a small right-angle screwdriver.

Now you can pull off the bezel that goes around the radio and vent controls. You need to pull off the wires to the lighter. You can also pull out the bezel with the central vents, this is held in with clips and you can carefully pop it out. Pull the plug to the emergency flasher switch.

(I took the opportunity to take all these parts inside and wash them; mine were filthy with my other half's spilled Diet Pepsi. In fact, I was able to restore the cup holder to its original condition once I washed the gunk out of it.)

Now, the vent control panel is held in with four screws. Don't let them drop! Then you have to disconnect three plugs, each has a top center tab you have to press in to release. Finally, there's the heater control cable - it's held on with two C-clips. I could not get them to open, even with the special tool. So I popped the pivot point instead, and pulled the vent controls with the lever still in the dash. You'll have to take the plastic end knob off the lever, no big deal. The clip that holds the cable sheath popped off easily.

On the back bottom of the control set, there's a piece you can almost remove ... but a plug won't let you. You need to lift off a clip that holds the plug in place.

Finally, you're looking at the printed circuit board on the back of the controls. The three bulbs are in small brown sockets that twist out easily. The bulbs themselves are the size and shape of a grain of rice.

If you get the new Subaru bulbs, they come with these sockets. The Radio Shack bulbs I got just had bare wires, but I could thread them in like mini Christmas light bulbs - except for the one behind the fan control, which has a socket too long for the bulb wires.

BTW there is another socket and bulb in the back of the emergency flasher switch.

(I am waiting for my local Auto Zone store to re-stock their bulbs; I don't know what their closest match is. The ones they showed me were sealed glass bulbs like smaller versions of driving light bulbs, without the wires.)

"Installation is the reverse order of removal."
 

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sweet!
i've been trying to figure this out for years!

does anyone know if the radioshack bulbs come with the little color sleeve on them?

or do i need to rip it off the old bulbs and slide it onto the radioshack ones before i replace them?

this thread has made my year so far...driving around at night without those lights is so freaking annoying.

ill probably wait till spring to fix this though...working out in the car when its only 10 degrees is a little difficult on the fingers!
 

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I just couldn't wait any longer, so I performed this repair tonight.

It was simple, took just about an hour.

Wiring the radio shack bulbs in place of the OEM bulbs was the most tricky part, but it wasn't difficult by any means.

The circlips that hold the heater control cable to the unit weren't nearly as difficult to deal with as I was expecting.

I think I spent more time cleaning dust out of the vents and gunk out of the cup-holder than I did on the actual fixing of the bulbs!

Now, for the first time since I bought this beauty used last year, all the lights on the entire car are functional. Fantastic!
 

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FWIW, i used the OEM bulbs. Wasn't hard, just tedious.

Take out the unit & disassemble it at your workbench. You don't want to drop little parts in the interior....
 

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The_Lizard said:
If you get the new Subaru bulbs, they come with these sockets. The Radio Shack bulbs I got just had bare wires, but I could thread them in like mini Christmas light bulbs - except for the one behind the fan control, which has a socket too long for the bulb wires.
I just completed mine with Radio Shack part# 272-1092, the package contains 2 bulbs with long wire leads (the bulbs are a little smaller than EOM but they work) and I paid just $1.79/pk. The dealer (Loman Subaru) quoted $4.29/bulb.

The entire job took less than 1 hour including threading the bulbs into the old sockets. It's not as difficult as I first thought and I saved on about an hour of shop labor.

Tip: I magnetized the phillips-head of the screwdriver - no lost screws.
 

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this is great info. to those of you that used the Radio Shack bulbs, would you mind explaining exactly what the process was for attaching them? any special tools needed?
 

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mq23 said:
this is great info. to those of you that used the Radio Shack bulbs, would you mind explaining exactly what the process was for attaching them? any special tools needed?
Tweezers.

If you have ever replaced a mini christmas light, you can do this. Just follow the directions and when you see the first one it makes sense.


nipper
 

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Geez driveby, now I have two more switches I have to fix!!!

think maybe I'll buy a box of 10 of those light bulbs!

Thanks for the info. How do you get the heated seat switch out?
 

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miker104 said:
How do you get the heated seat switch out?
On my 2001, the center cover with the cupholder/switches/etc was attached with 2 screws in front and 2 in back.

1) open the center console armrest/lid
2) remove 2 screws near the lid latch
3) remove the shifter bezel (lift up from front and pull out of dash, no screws)
4) remove 2 screws that hold the coin tray (fairly sure that was it, but ~maybe~ there were 2 more screws after removing the tray)
5) carefully lift the center cover, and unplug the switch connectors
6) take the cover to your workbench and unhook the switch assembly/bezel

If you have strong lockpick foo, you can probably find the hooks and remove the switch assembly from the top. I bet it would take longer though. Plus it's nice to pull the center cover and wash it off in a sink. Makes the car feel a bit closer to new. :4:

:7:
-Jeff
 

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I'm confused..
Looks like a bulb (or 2) went out on my temp. Contol unit. Not sure how that's changed on an 01 obw. Any ideas? And one thing that has been racking my brain lately, is the emergency light switch backlit? I've never noticed it was.
Thanks
 

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Enzo,

Think the 2001 is similar, in that you would need to remove the Control unit to get to the bulbs like shown in the thread links above. There may be some differences. Perhaps driveby can comment as he has a 2001.

For the Hazard light backlighting, you have to take that panel out to get to the A/C panel. Have a few of the radio shack bulbs on hand.

"BTW there is another socket and bulb in the back of the emergency flasher switch."
From FM Green's post above.

Here is a working link to the ScoobyMods page from Peaty that gives a very good writeup with pictures:

http://www.scoobymods.com/legacy_hvac_bulb_replacement-t91.html?t=91

Let us know what you find. I'm waiting for warmer weather, say spring or summer to tackle mine.

:5:
 

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Did all '98 Outback's have illumination behind the temperature controls? We recently picked one up and there is no light at all in the entire center console and the buttons don't really look like they have translucent symbols for the color to shine through.


I know I'm bumping an old thread, but it's on topic to my question.
 

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I saw in Page-1 ... How do you magnetized the regular screwdriver? It is very useful as drop a screw is easy during installations.
 

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Did all '98 Outback's have illumination behind the temperature controls? We recently picked one up and there is no light at all in the entire center console and the buttons don't really look like they have translucent symbols for the color to shine through.


I know I'm bumping an old thread, but it's on topic to my question.
Yes there is. Search here or on USMB and there are extensive instructions how to replace them.
 

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Not sure if this is the right spot or not but on my 98s HVAC controls, I had the whole lighting go out except for the A/C button and the control for the vent. Stayed that way for months and then worked again :confused:. Now I've moved them and the same thing has happened. Would it be the lights behind or .... Any help would be appreciated.
 

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I found the instructions. I'll have to try and make it to a Subaru dealer to pick up the bulbs, I couldn't find a list with part numbers, so I'll have to trust the dealer to get it right. Unfortunately the nearest dealer is a but over an hour away.
 
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