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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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Discussion Starter #1
So, leaving for Las Vegas tomorrow to give my daughter Onyx (2008 LL Bean 3.0R) and while locking up after packing noticed the right side rear light did not blink when I pushed the remote. Swapped out the bulb and it acted wonky. The old bulb worked fine in my Honda, so not the bulb.

Symptoms: Amber bulbs on passenger side come on intermittently when using turn signal and emergency flashers. No running lights on passenger side when headlights are. Eventually, they stopped coming on at all. Even the turn signal indicator on the dash stopped illuminating when the light was on.

I replaced the flasher relay with a flash to pass unit and can't find the old one to swap it out. I wonder if that is the problem. I will try a new front bulb tomorrow to see if that helps.

Any suggestions?
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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Discussion Starter #2
Update. When I started the car and turned the headlights on, the signals - front, mirror, and rear - all worked when I used the turn signal on the passenger side - as well as driver's because that was not a problem to begin with. But, the whole right side amber trio still does not illuminate with the emergency flashers on, or when I lock or unlock the car. Hopefully, they continue to work for the 2,500 mile trip and while my daughter has the car and she finds a nice boy who knows how to track down and fix electrical problems in Subarus.
 

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Update. When I started the car and turned the headlights on, the signals - front, mirror, and rear - all worked when I used the turn signal on the passenger side - as well as driver's because that was not a problem to begin with.
That confirms the wiring from the "Turn Signal & Hazard Module" (aka flasher relay) to all the turn signal bulbs and the bulbs themselves. (The same wiring and bulbs are used when the turn signal lever, the emergency flashers switch, or the keyless entry, are used.)

Note: it should not be necessary to start the engine and have the headlights on for the turn signals to work. The ignition switch need only be in the On position.

But, the whole right side amber trio still does not illuminate with the emergency flashers on, or when I lock or unlock the car. . .
When the turn signal lever is switched to left or right, it connects to different inputs at the flasher unit. From your description, using the turn signal lever works both left and right, so the switch and its wiring are good.

The emergency flasher switch, and the keyless entry lock/unlock function together share a single, separate, input to the flasher relay unit. If the hazard switch and the lock/unlock function work to flash the left side turn signal bulbs, that means the wiring from those switches to the flasher unit is good as well.

In my view, that leaves only the substitute "flash to pass unit".
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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Discussion Starter #4
I replaced the flasher relay and still have the same problem - intermittent right turn signal and intermittent marker light flash when locking or unlocking. No hazard light flash on right side either.

The turn signal problem gets worse and eventually the signal stops working all together when the car is warmed up. Maybe one blink and then another 5 seconds later.

In WV on our way to KY so no real tools or place to work.
 

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I had read your second post as an update/clarification of the first one. There was no mention of the turn signals being intermittent or slowing, and I took that to mean whether right or left, the turn signals worked normally whereas only the hazards and keyless entry signalling didn't work on the right side.

When you were checking the hazards, was the ignition On?

What happens when the ignition switch is Off (key out) and the hazard switch (the pushbutton with a red/orange triangle) is pushed to turn on the hazard lights? What instrument panel bulbs and what outside bulbs flash (or don't flash but should) and do they continue to flash at the same rate, or does the flashing change speed (slower or faster as happens with the right turn signals)?

The rear turn signal bulbs are single filament bulbs, but the front turn signal bulbs are dual filament. In the front dual filament bulbs, one filament is for the turn signals, the other for the parking and marker indicator ("clearance light"). These dual filament bulbs can be a problem if one of the filaments breaks and contacts the other inside the bulb. When that happens, the two circuits become connected and will affect each other. It was more common in the previous generation of Subarus that used the #1157 bulbs, and has been rare with your generation that uses the #3157A, but it could happen. In your second post it's mentioned that the headlights had been turned on and I had flagged that in my reply. The clearance lights are on when the headlights are turned on, and as the front clearance and turn signals share the same bulb, that reminded me of the broken dual filament possibility. (And one broken filament just touching the other could be intermittent.)

The 3157A front turn signal/clearance light bulbs are not easily reached. The FSM suggests getting to them from the front wheel wells after moving aside the black plastic liner. But it should also be possible to reach the sockets by removing the front air cleaner housing on the right/passenger side, and the battery on the left/driver side. I'd probably get a pair of new ones, remove the old, and whether or not I can see a fault inside, replace them.

What's the history on the car and did this lighting issue crop up after a long time without any problems? Was any work done on the car that might have involved, directly or indirectly, the lighting or wiring to it?

We can keep at this to the extent possible so that if not fixed on the way, at least some things might have been looked at and there will be ideas to consider at the other end. And as you go, we're wishing you a safe trip.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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Discussion Starter #6
We made it to Las Vegas with the obligatory stops at the Grand Canyon and such. The passenger side amber lights worked throughout the last 4 days of the 9 day trip, so I assumed the problem was solved. Unfortunately, my daughter told me it is creeping back intermittently. I am 2,400 miles away and she is not in a financial situation to pay someone to hunt it down. She is not a competent mechanic - she's a ballerina - and asked me when she should change the oil filter and seemed surprised that it corresponded with the oil change. I guess she will learn to live with it until she can find a competent friend who likes a challenge and is willing to trace the ground fault or whatever is causing the intermittent problem for free or a good meal.

In the meantime, I am without a Subaru. But, I am looking at the Onyx model and will give it a year for them to finish beta testing it on the public before I spring for one.
 

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I wonder if there could be some abraded wiring in the body to hatch boot causing this?
Anything is possible (I've been surprised before), but somewhat less likely in my view because the turn signal circuit itself doesn't go to the hatch.

The clearance, tail, and licence plate light circuit is connected through the boot to the hatch, and there's that dual filament front clearance/turn signal bulb that could be interconnecting the two circuits (see post #5 above).

Does anyone think it might be the stalk on the steering column?
Again, can't totally discount anything at this point.

The turn signal stalk switch, and the Hazard switch are separate, and go to different terminals at the Turn Signal & Hazard Module (aka flasher). As the problem seems to be the right side bulbs only, and the Hazard switch itself has no distinction between right and left, it doesn't seem to me to be a switch-related problem. However, this could be checked by disconnecting the wiring to the turn signal stalk switch, and with the ignition off (key out), turn on the Hazards and see if the right side amber turn signal bulbs flash along with the left side.

At this point I'm leaning more toward a bad connection in the wiring to right side turn signals. I've attached the complete wiring diagram below, and as we can see, there's two different circuits coming out of the Module (left side turn signals is terminal 3, right side is terminal 2).

When the Hazards are switched on (ignition Off), both turn warning lights in the instrument panel should flash along with the both outside mirrors and the front and rear "amber" turn signal bulbs at the four corners. Similarly, when the ignition is at On, and just the right side turn signal is selected. What actually happens in these situations could be a clue to the location of the problem.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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Discussion Starter #11
@plain OM I thought of that too this morning. I sent her a link to this thread and she might even try some of the suggestions here.

@cardoc It's good to know there are Subaru mechanics in the land of no snow. But, the real issue is the money. She is an apprentice and just makes ends meet. Daddy already gave her the car. The rest is up to her. Well, so far it is. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Had my daughter look under the hood for obvious mouse or squirrel damage and she couldn't find anything. Doesn't mean the rodents haven't been nibbling. Just means she didn't see any really obvious evidence.
 

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What happens when the ignition is Off and the Hazards are turned on? Do both the left and right turn signal arrows in the instrument panel flash together, or does only the left turn one work?

Looking at the wiring diagram attached in post #3 above, the two turn signal arrows are wired back to the Turn Signal & Hazard Module. If both instrument panel arrows flash (but not the right side lights outside the car), then the problem has to be in the wiring to the outside lights. But if the right turn arrow doesn't flash along with the left turn arrow, then the problem is either in the Module or in the wiring coming from it for the right side turn signal circuit. In regard to the latter, perhaps the contact for the right side circuit that the Module plugs into is dirty, oxidized, or burned, and there isn't a good connection between the Module right-side output and the right side circuitry. (Pin 2 of connector B32 in the wiring diagram.)

Do you still have the flash-to-pass module? Perhaps check the eight contacts on its connector for signs of deterioration.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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Discussion Starter #14
What happens when the ignition is Off and the Hazards are turned on? Do both the left and right turn signal arrows in the instrument panel flash together, or does only the left turn one work?

Looking at the wiring diagram attached in post #3 above, the two turn signal arrows are wired back to the Turn Signal & Hazard Module. If both instrument panel arrows flash (but not the right side lights outside the car), then the problem has to be in the wiring to the outside lights. But if the right turn arrow doesn't flash along with the left turn arrow, then the problem is either in the Module or in the wiring coming from it for the right side turn signal circuit. In regard to the latter, perhaps the contact for the right side circuit that the Module plugs into is dirty, oxidized, or burned, and there isn't a good connection between the Module right-side output and the right side circuitry. (Pin 2 of connector B32 in the wiring diagram.)

Do you still have the flash-to-pass module? Perhaps check the eight contacts on its connector for signs of deterioration.
Sending this on to Anna for the simple test in the first two lines. I swapped the pass to flash module with a new one and had the same intermittent light problem. It is even intermittent with the emergency flashers and when unlocking or locking the car.

I'll let you know what her results are.
 

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Had my daughter look under the hood for obvious mouse or squirrel damage and she couldn't find anything. Doesn't mean the rodents haven't been nibbling. Just means she didn't see any really obvious evidence.
Sending this on to Anna for the simple test in the first two lines. I swapped the pass to flash module with a new one and had the same intermittent light problem. It is even intermittent with the emergency flashers and when unlocking or locking the car.

I'll let you know what her results are.
Sending this on to Anna for the simple test in the first two lines. I swapped the pass to flash module with a new one and had the same intermittent light problem. It is even intermittent with the emergency flashers and when unlocking or locking the car.

I'll let you know what her results are.
I tested the hazards when the keys were out of the ignition and the right one still did not work on the dash or outside of the vehicle.

Within the past few days it’s gone from a steady pattern of blink, blink, no blink, blink to not lighting up at all. The turn signal noise is still there but no light. When it was intermittent the light would flash quickly in succession then either no light or a very faint light then a normal blink.
 

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Sending this on to Anna for the simple test in the first two lines. I swapped the pass to flash module with a new one and had the same intermittent light problem.
Just to refresh, were any of the right side turn signal bulbs replaced (and are still in the car) since this problem started? If so, which ones, and were they replaced with the same type of bulb as the original (same bulb model number)? [I believe the rear turn signal bulb = 7440A; and the front turn/clearance bulb = 3457A]

I tested the hazards when the keys were out of the ignition and the right one still did not work on the dash or outside of the vehicle.
Anna, welcome to the group and thanks for the update.

Given that it's a new flasher module, and that the problem is apparent both at the instrument panel right turn arrow and the outside lights, the cause is more likely somewhere in the connections/wiring between the module's right turn signal output and the bulbs. (For those wondering, terminal #2 of the module connector B32 in the attached turn signal problem diagram.)

Within the past few days it’s gone from a steady pattern of blink, blink, no blink, blink to not lighting up at all. .
When it was intermittent the light would flash quickly in succession then either no light or a very faint light then a normal blink.
Fast flashing of the turn signal (left or right) usually indicates a burned out bulb on that side. No flashing at all could happen when both front and rear turn signal bulbs on one side are burned out. If one bulb is totally burned out, and the filament in the other is broken but the ends can still touch each other, that one bulb might work intermittently, and work for a few flashes and then stop. The fast flashing to begin with could be that one bulb still working for a while.

The turn signal noise is still there but no light.
Are you referring to the clicking sound when the turn signal lights are switching on and off?

If so, this is somewhat puzzling. Usually, if none of the turn signal bulbs on one side are working (i.e., not lighting up) the flasher module doesn't "click". But I'm not sure if the flasher used by Subaru in these years perhaps could continue to click even though no lights are working. (That would seem strange because the fast clicking, or no clicking, is used to inform the driver there's a problem.)

When it is clicking but there's no turn signal lights going on and off, is the clicking sound at the normal rate (compare to when the left turn signals are working), or is it faster, or slower?

I'm still hoping we can narrow it down further, ideally to something simple, such as faulty or incorrect bulbs. But even then, replacing bad turn signal bulbs is somewhat complex so the car might still have to be looked at by a technician or someone familiar with changing the bulbs in the 2008 Outback.
 

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Fast flashing of the turn signal (left or right) usually indicates a burned out bulb on that side. No flashing at all could happen when both front and rear turn signal bulbs on one side are burned out. If one bulb is totally burned out, and the filament in the other is broken but the ends can still touch each other, that one bulb might work intermittently, and work for a few flashes and then stop. The fast flashing to begin with could be that one bulb still working for a while.



Are you referring to the clicking sound when the turn signal lights are switching on and off?

If so, this is somewhat puzzling. Usually, if none of the turn signal bulbs on one side are working (i.e., not lighting up) the flasher module doesn't "click". But I'm not sure if the flasher used by Subaru in these years perhaps could continue to click even though no lights are working. (That would seem strange because the fast clicking, or no clicking, is used to inform the driver there's a problem.)

When it is clicking but there's no turn signal lights going on and off, is the clicking sound at the normal rate (compare to when the left turn signals are working), or is it faster, or slower?
Im going to try and attach a video of what the lights and dash look like from the inside and front of the vehicle with the Hazards on , left and right turn signals (no key in the ignition); then hazards, left and right turn signals with keys in the ignition. I hope you can hear the clicking of the turn signal.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
She is going to post more descriptive videos later.

To review:
1. The right (passenger) side amber lights only work intermittently (NOT the rapid flash associated with a failing bulb) with no discernible pattern (the dash arrow indicator and the outside bulbs display or don't display in synchronization with each) when any of these actions are performed:
- The remote unlock is depressed
- The hazard lights are activated with the switch
- The right turn signal is activated

2. Fixes tried:
- Replaced rear bulb (swapped out with same type)
- Front and mirror bulbs are working correctly, but intermittently - only did rear because it was the first we noticed not working and just assumed it was burned out
- Swapped out aftermarket flasher unit under the dash
- Prayer :)

3. Every other bulb (brakes, headlights, etc., front and rear) are working perfectly

Onyx is not in my possession. She is a continent away and my daughter (Anna) has few tools (no multi-meter) and little to no mechanical experience. If you can recommend a trustworthy and affordable mechanic or good Samaritan near Las Vegas, it would be great.
 

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Been "studying" the videos, and getting a better idea of what's happening. If there's more descriptive videos later, all the better. In the meantime . . .

I hope you can hear the clicking of the turn signal.
Yes.

In the "Turn signals and hazards" video, the clicking is indeed at the same rate when the turn signal switch is set for the right turn, as when it's set for the left turn.

Also, when it's set for the right turn, at several points in that video we can see the right turn green arrow, sometime coming on full bright for a moment, and other times there just a weak/dim flicker, so I have an idea of the intermittent idea. And, in relation to this, in the "Outside of vehicle" video, at around 0:53 and 1:07, we can see the right side front turn signal flash on briefly as well.

Putting this together, when using the right turn signals, the flasher module appears to be working, but the lights (at least the green right arrow, and the right front) are only doing so intermittently.

That said, in the "Left and Right turn signal no key" video, around 0.06, there's a sound as if something is switched, and the left turn green arrow comes on, but it's not flashing on and off -- it stays on! That's odd. Do you recall what the turn signal switch and the hazard switch were set to then?

If you can recommend a trustworthy and affordable mechanic or good Samaritan near Las Vegas, it would be great.
I really wish I could! (And wish I had the car here to dig into!)

I remain puzzled as to whether the flasher module is supposed to click normally when one or more bulbs is burned out.
 
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