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The power window control in my 2001 Outback (2.5) wagon is not working and my check engine light and ABS brake light came on at the same time. My mechanic tells me that there is a short in the wiring harness that controls those functions. He replaced the fuse, but the short keeps popping the fuse. Unfortunately, he is a couple of weeks out before he can go on a search and destroy mission to find the problem. I have some time on my hands. Any suggestions as to where I might start looking? Thanks.
 

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post your city in a new thread and ask for a shop recommendation. Someone may point you to a subaru-friendly mechanic.

the symptoms do not seem common to me and I read quite a bit so, this could be a tricky problem. ABS is sensitive to voltage so, I could see a short causing that I guess. I do wonder what code is setting the CEL - and if it the same each time.

The door panel may need to come of so the switches for the window can be examined - but I also wonder about a short maybe in the the 'gaiter'/wire-boot from body to door.......
 

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He replaced the fuse, but the short keeps popping the fuse.
Do you know which fuse that is? Also, does a new fuse blow as soon as it's installed, or does it blow only after something is turned on, e.g., only when ignition is at ON and the transmission is put into Reverse (even momentarily)?

There is one fuse that's involved with both the power windows and the ABS system. It's fuse #18, 15 Amps, in the cabin fuse panel. That fuse is also involved with a number of other circuits, adding to the process to locate the fault. However, it should be possible to isolate at least some of those and narrow down the possibilities.

Here's a list of the areas to which fuse #18 supplies power. With the fuse blown, perhaps check to see if others listed that are applicable to your car are also not working:

ABS control module
Main fan relay (4 cylinder engine model)
VDC control module
AT shift lock control module
Back-up light switch (MT)
Cruise control module
Inhibitor switch (AT) (back-up lights)
Power window relay
Wiper deicer relay
Wiper deicer timer
Cruise control main switch

Let us know . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Do you know which fuse that is?

There is one fuse that's involved with both the power windows and the ABS system. It's fuse #18, 15 Amps, in the cabin fuse panel. That fuse is also involved with a number of other circuits, adding to the process to locate the fault. However, it should be possible to isolate at least some of those and narrow down the possibilities.

Let us know . . .

I will have a chance to look at it on Friday and report in. Thanks.

Let us know . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Replaced #18 fuse and the ABS light went out and my power windows are working. The check engine light is still on, so obviously I have another problem. Need to get to get the code to know more. Thanks.
 

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Replaced #18 fuse and the ABS light went out and my power windows are working.
Keep in mind that fuses don't blow on their own, at least not normally and not repeatedly, as in "He replaced the fuse, but the short keeps popping the fuse." While it's always nice to hear that a problem is resolved, in this case I would not be surprised if it blows again. If it blows again, think of what was being done at that time or a short time before. That might provide a clue.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Very true. Fuses don't generally blow of their own accord. I recently had an Upstream O2 Sensor and Knock Sensor replaced. Also a rear CAT. The check engine light for the Knock Sensor came back on, and we replaced it since it was still under warranty. The most recent code I just learned today was a PO480 Fan 1 Control Circuit. The check engine light has subsequently gone off, and everything seems to be hunky-dory, though I don't think I am out of the woods yet. I have a sneaky feeling that I have a short somewhere that might be knocking out sensors. Can't get a new wiring harness for this car, I understand.
 

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Although it's not impossible, I guess, I tend to doubt a short somewhere would knock out sensors.

Do your backup lights work?
The 2000-4 generation have a problem with the light bulbs and sockets in the rear, especially in that trim piece under the rear window that has tail, stop, and licence plate lights as well as the backup lights. Contacts on the bulbs can flatten enough that they come in contact with the metal base of the bulb, which is grounded. That could blow the fuse. In some cases, the socket itself can develop shorts in the disc around the center contact or in the wires in behind. Any of these might only complete the short, i.e., they're intermittent. As fuse #18 supplies the backup lights, that's one area that could be looked at.

Also, if the transmission is manual, the wiring to the backup light switch on the side of the transmission could also be problematic.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hmmm... Come to think of it there is a light that is not working in the right rear section. I've been dealing with so many other problems, I haven't gotten around to that one. But I will have to look at it on Monday. In the meantime, I'm switching shops and have an appointment later in the month. Will bring that to their attention and have them look at the backup light switch on my tranny. Thanks so much for the advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Although it's not impossible, I guess, I tend to doubt a short somewhere would knock out sensors.

Do your backup lights work?
The 2000-4 generation have a problem with the light bulbs and sockets in the rear, especially in that trim piece under the rear window that has tail, stop, and licence plate lights as well as the backup lights. Contacts on the bulbs can flatten enough that they come in contact with the metal base of the bulb, which is grounded. That could blow the fuse. In some cases, the socket itself can develop shorts in the disc around the center contact or in the wires in behind. Any of these might only complete the short, i.e., they're intermittent. As fuse #18 supplies the backup lights, that's one area that could be looked at.

Also, if the transmission is manual, the wiring to the backup light switch on the side of the transmission could also be problematic.
The backup lights are not coming on and the bulbs are fine. I suspect that the problem is in the backup light switch on the manual transmission. Where would I find that on the Outback 2.5 trans. Thanks.
 

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The backup lights are not coming on and the bulbs are fine. I suspect that the problem is in the backup light switch on the manual transmission. Where would I find that on the Outback 2.5 trans. Thanks.
Is fuse #18 still good, or is it blown? The backup lights won't work when it's blown.

The backup switch is on the left (driver) side of the transmission. There's two switches in that area; one is the backup light switch; the other is the Neutral switch. The backup switch is the more forward one, and goes to connector T1.
493462

T1 to the switch has two wires. At its mating connector B24, one wire goes to fuse #18, the other goes to the backup lights at the rear. (See attached wiring diagram.)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I disconnected the backup light switch. I will drive the car for a couple of days, and if the fuse blows again, I may have to look at the ABS electrical. Thanks for the schematic and diagram.
 

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Thanks, plain OM for your help. As you can see in the attached photo, the problem was with the reverse backup light switch. The plastic nipple was jammed in the housing. I installed a new switch and everything is fine now.
Backup Switch.jpg
 

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The plastic nipple was jammed in the housing.
There's been cases of the hot wire breaking away from where it goes into the switch. The loose, unprotected end could then touch a grounded part, thus blowing the fuse. In your case they look attached. Are either of the two wires shorted to the metal housing of the switch? The jammed plunger could reflect damage that is shorting one of the contacts inside to the housing.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wires intact. Jammed plunger was causing the short. With the new switch installed my dashboard is clean, and I am not blowing #18 fuse. Problem solved as far as I can tell.
 
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