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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

Ok, so I have a 97 Legacy OBW with an EJ22 (M/T) thats got some interesting electrical issues, and I would like to see if any of you guys have a suggestion, as I just want my wonderful subaru back on the road.
On a fairly cold morning I started up my Outback and went to throw on the heat, but the fan didn't turn on. Also, hitting the brakes I didn't see any red light behind me, so I check that and, wouldn't you know it, no brake lights either. So i had to drive across an entire state throwing on the Parking lights every time I braked, but I got home. So, here are a list of the issues:
No horn
No brake lights
No heater fan (but A/C switch does actuate the compressor)
ABS light on dash now illuminated (Which i believe is only distantly related)

So, from searching these forums intensely, this is what I have already done:
1. Using a VOM I've concluded that the wires to brake pedal switch have no power.
2. Also jumping the brake pedal connector did not turn on the brake lights.
3. Then tested the brake pedal switch just to be sure and it's ok.
4. Tested, swaped and re-swapped the Stop/Horn Fuse under the dash.
5. Unplugged, replugged and ensured good grounding of the BCM (or ECM/ECU).
6. Disconnected and Reconnected battery and ensured good connection.
7. Completely disassembled and rebuilt the Main Fuse Box under the hood. All connections are clean and good.
8. Tested Tail Illumi relay, its good.
9. When I turn on the Fan, I CAN hear the Relay snap into position that should then provide power to it.

Now, about the ABS light. I believe a main 12v (or a couple) connection(s) on a wiring harness (or maybe distributor box?) has come loose, or broken, or whatever. This is why I am not getting voltage to the Brakes, Horn, Fan, or ABS. In all honesty, now the ABS can be put on the back-burner (since it is on a different circuit, anyways). I would just love for the brake lights, horn and fan to work again. Does anyone know where the wire that provides the constant power to this circuit is?

Last thing I would like to add. A while ago my radio and dome lights stopped working and after just hours and HOURS of trying to track it down, I jumped the circuit in the main fuse box by jumping a wire from the hot side on the "Lighting SW" circuit fuse to the hot side of the "Clock-Room" circuit fuse. So the problem was upstream of the actual fuse. I believe this, as well as the ABS, may be related to the issue. This is why I almost suspect that there is another distro box that I dont know about, since I rebuilt the Main Fuse Box and there was absolutely no change.

I would be extremely appreciative to whoever can help me out with this. I would buy you your favorite 6 pack even. I just want my Subaru back on the road.

Thanks,
Paul
 

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I think you are looking off on a tangent, I believe you should be verifying that there is continuity at all grounding points.

I had a very similar problem with another make vehicle, all kinds of different codes coming up, things not working or half-working, etc. My mechanic gave up on it and for three months I was checking the wiring harness, fuse boxes, etc. Suddenly, quite by accident, I found that the main frame of the vehicle and everything attached to the main frame was not properly bonded to battery ground. The brine-bath winters we have had severely corroded a number of grounding straps, some to the point of disconnection.

To solve the entire problem, it took me a set of battery jumping cables (to test and verify which areas needed bonding), six battery cables of varying length (with an eye molded at each end), some bolts, star lock washers, can of Rustoleum and can of Lithium grease.

What was not bonded to ground, I ground off the rust to bare metal, drilled proper-size holes for bolts and bolted the new cables so they would be effectively bonding and grounding all the locations that had lost ground. Once I started, it was fairly easy to figure out what needed to be bonded, just about everything. Make sure any cables to any drivetrain components have ample cable (slack) to allow for vibration and engine/trans movement. A lot of tie-wraps helps as well to secure these new cables into place.

Once done, I sprayed each new grounding point with Rustoleum, then when that dried, I sprayed each location with white Lithium Grease.

End of problems.
 

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brake and ABS lights can be an indicator of a bad alt. so i would have that checked for output.

but it does sound like you have bigger problems.

how long have you had the problem?

when did it start?

what work did you do at the time it started?

did this start when you swapped the engine?

a ground wire could be the issue.

check all the fuses. (edit , you did that) just because they look good does not mean they are good. start with the brake light fuse.
check the slow blow fuses in the main box under the hood that feed the other circuits? do you have power at the ''brake / stop fuse'' inside the car? it sounds like you have a harness problem. duh!!

does your cruise control work?

horn, ABS and cruise, if it is not working, could be, probably are, the clock spring in the steering wheel. the other stuff could be something different.
 

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is there a common place that rodents like to nest or chew in these cars? maybe critter damage.

working one system may get others working. Have you tried jumping 12v to the fan motor? If the motor works, start from the switch or relay and look for 12v along the entire path?

sounds frustrating, good luck!
 

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I also had the Brake and ABS lights on and was told it was a diode or more in my alternator.

However, after I bonded everything to ground, no more issues, no more lights.

I was ready to take out the alternator and take it to town to the alternator-starter repair guy. Then, I found the faulty grounds. It wasn't fuse boxes, fuses, different switches and components, all it was was poor grounding, both constant and intermittent.

That is NOT TO SAY you do not have any of the aforementioned problems, you may. All I am saying is, looking at the big picture, to have so many different things not working properly would most likely mean something that is common with ALL the items and that one thing would be GROUNDING and BONDING.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey Guys,

Thanks so much for your replys! I work 10:00PM to 8:00AM so please excuse my late replys lol. I'm going to go out in a bit an look at grounding and ensure connection on alternator. I'll let you guys know how it turns out. Thank you so much for the suggestions.

@canubaru:
how long have you had the problem?
This started about 2 weeks ago, and does NOT intermittently go away. It was working perfectly then 100% stopped.


when did it start?
On a cold morning, however I hadn't been doing any work or anything to mention on the car when it started. I drove up to Michigan, went to bed, woke up and started my car and boom. BUT, recalling it a little better now... I do remember the ABS light came on WHILE driving up to michigan. At that point the horn, brake lights, fan still worked, but the ABS did not. All the rest of the symptoms started the following morning.

what work did you do at the time it started?
Literally nothing. The last thing that had been done, however, would be the circuit jump i mentioned from the Lighting SW circuit to the Clock-Room circuit. This was roughly 2 weeks before.

did this start when you swapped the engine?
Nope, the engine was swapped months ago. However, that's not to say a harness wasn't accidentally pulled. However, I was not involved with the engine swap until it was almost complete. That is when I bought the car. The old engine was already out and the new one had been bought, but not installed. So I can verify that the new one was installed correctly, but they could have knocked the old on out with a hammer for all I know (but they didn't haha. I know the guys, they do solid work).

About the clock spring. It actually went out around 3 months ago and was replaced. The cruise works flawlessly at this point, but I'll keep my eye on it!

Thanks,
Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey Guys,

Alright, just got back in from getting all the grounds done. i cleaned and reseated the ones located at:
Two by the left strut mount
Two by the right strut mount
Main ground on engine
Main ground next to battery
One right next the the ABS motor

Unfortunately, Looks like the problem hasn't changed. I read the output of the Alternator and is is throwing 13.83V measured from Fusable Link in Main Fuse Box to the Neg post on the battery. This measures 12.33V when the car is off. I think i now should jump under the car and look for more random grounding points, to see if the salt and crap did tear through them like Saint J VT said. Uhg. Well at least it beats the X thousand dollar diagnosis and repair bill from the dealership! I'll update you guys as soon as I can.

Thanks guys,
Paul
 

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I was just wondering, have you been checking, with your voltmeter, to see if there are any differences in various metal points/panels, etc. between the battery ground and those panels & points?

When I had the problems with my other vehicle, I used a jumper cable on the negative battery and would test various metal places on the vehicle with the key on and with things running to see if places that should have been neutral along with the battery negative have, instead, a voltage difference (the panels/points being energized).
 

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The heater fan, stop lights, and the horn all are powered through SBF-3 (45 Amps) in the engine compartment fuse box. And so is the interior (dome) light, the radio, and the ABS.

No mention of SBF-3 being checked/changed. If SBF-3 is blown, check for shorts -- a 45 Amp fuse doesn't blow for no reason.

Completely disassembled and rebuilt the Main Fuse Box under the hood.
Before, or after, the problem appeared?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hey Guys, I'll answer questions first, update after.

plain OM, I actually looked at and swapped all 3 45AMP fuses around, as I saw that while searching around, however no change.

I rebuilt the main fuse box in an attempt to correct the problem, so it was about 2 days after the problems arose.

Update time.

I took a VOM and measured continuity between the back of a brake bulb directly to the Neg post on the battery. 0.00 Flat. Then, to confirm my suspicion, I wired a temp wire directly from the Pos post on the battery to a fuse, then from the fuse to the black/white wire on my brake pedal switch harness. The brake lights immediately came on. So the problem is definitely on the hot side. So at this point, I think I'm just going to rip off the dash and rewire the car. It has to be a harness that somebody mucked with while doing something stupid. But not being the original owner, I'm not sure what idiotic projects the last guy tried. I will try a couple more things, and let you know, but I think it's just time to throw money at this problem. :(

That being said, does anyone know how to remove the dashboard on the Legacys? I can't find any info on it. Every person who wants to remove the dash is just somebody who wants to replace the radio, and finds out you don't have to remove the dash.

Thanks,
Paul
 

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www.alldatadiy.com

ALLDATAdiy.com Leading Source of Factory Automotive Repair Information

I opened an account with this company to have access to a dedicated Shop Manual for both of my vehicles (a separate, total manual for both of my vehicles). I bought the car manual first, then, instead of switching to another vehicle (something you are only permitted to perform one time in the one-year subscription), I decided to buy a second subscription for my other vehicle.

I have a Haynes Manual for my other vehicle and, when I see the stuff that is available in the online manual, I think the online manual at the above site is more exhaustive.

I went through the entire sign-up procedure, then, at the very end, I decided to hold off on the $29.95 yearly subscription. I felt like maybe for the yearly subscription at that price, maybe I should see if I can get one less expensive.

I have to literally watch every dime these days and save money wherever I can, as I am out of work now for several years. Instead of having a "job" I just repair things around my house that I would normally pay a mechanic, a carpenter, a painter, etc., I think you get the picture.

God has gifted me with MANY, MANY talents, so I can help others in need! Anymore, I don't charge for my small jobs I do for others, instead, I just tell them "pay me what you think the job was worth." The Lord PROVIDES for my wife and I! My wife works part time. So, between the two of us, I can say the Lord does provide. We are not to be anxious for tomorrow, each day has enough trouble of its own!

Anyway, since the site had my email address, name and all that, the next day I received an email from them, telling me they (the site) were sorry I did not complete my transaction (going the last step and paying for the subscription).

They said, in the email, that, for a limited time, they dropped the price by $10. - so the $29.95 price for a yearly subscription was now $19.95! They gave me some discount code to add to the shopping cart which gave me a $10 credit on the new subscription! I immediately went online and completed the order with the sale code they gave me in the apology-email!

I feel I have really gotten my money's worth on this and am glad I waited that extra day to order the one year subscription! At $19.95, it was and is, DEFINITELY WORTH EVERY DIME! A second vehicle to add is about $18.95 per year.
 

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ALLDATAdiy.com Leading Source of Factory Automotive Repair Information

I opened an account with this company to have access to a dedicated Shop Manual for both of my vehicles (a separate, total manual for both of my vehicles). I bought the car manual first, then, instead of switching to another vehicle (something you are only permitted to perform one time in the one-year subscription), I decided to buy a second subscription for my other vehicle.

I have a Haynes Manual for my other vehicle and, when I see the stuff that is available in the online manual, I think the online manual at the above site is more exhaustive.

I went through the entire sign-up procedure, then, at the very end, I decided to hold off on the $29.95 yearly subscription. I felt like maybe for the yearly subscription at that price, maybe I should see if I can get one less expensive.

I have to literally watch every dime these days and save money wherever I can, as I am out of work now for several years. Instead of having a "job" I just repair things around my house that I would normally pay a mechanic, a carpenter, a painter, etc., I think you get the picture.

God has gifted me with MANY, MANY talents, so I can help others in need! Anymore, I don't charge for my small jobs I do for others, instead, I just tell them "pay me what you think the job was worth." The Lord PROVIDES for my wife and I! My wife works part time. So, between the two of us, I can say the Lord does provide. We are not to be anxious for tomorrow, each day has enough trouble of its own!

Anyway, since the site had my email address, name and all that, the next day I received an email from them, telling me they (the site) were sorry I did not complete my transaction (going the last step and paying for the subscription).

They said, in the email, that, for a limited time, they dropped the price by $10. - so the $29.95 price for a yearly subscription was now $19.95! They gave me some discount code to add to the shopping cart which gave me a $10 credit on the new subscription! I immediately went online and completed the order with the sale code they gave me in the apology-email!

I feel I have really gotten my money's worth on this and am glad I waited that extra day to order the one year subscription! At $19.95, it was and is, DEFINITELY WORTH EVERY DIME! A second vehicle to add is about $18.95 per year.

off topic quick comment;

I had almost a duplicate experience with Angie's list. I bailed at the very end, then received a special offer by email.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey guys,

Update.
Saint J VT:
Thank you so much for referring me to that site. After a couple days of thinking it over I went ahead and committed to it and got a year subscription. I already have the dash completely off and I'm now inspecting the wiring harnesses. That site is insanely detailed. I will update you (potentially with pics) if (but more hopefully when) i fix the issue! God bless.

Thanks!
Paul
 

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Amen

Hey, I'm glad you found it!
When I saw how many Grounding Points there are on my '05 OB, there are like 50 or more!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hey guys, update time:

Alright, the problem is fixed! Btw Saint J VT I can't PM you but you've won a 6 pack (or equivalent in $$) so if you wanna claim you can PM me if you'd like!

Anyways, here's what was wrong, so I can document the issue for the forum:
I ripped off the Fuse Box (on the inside of the car) and took a VOM and tried to track down exactly what wiring harness fed the Brakes and other circuits I was having issues with. Basically I made a couple assumptions:
-I had an ABS issue, but not a Cruise Control issue, so it couldn't be the Fuse that controlled ABS and Cruise. However, there was an ABS Solenoid fuse, therefore I assumed that would be circuit that lost power.
-Both Heater fuses would also be dead
-The Stop/Horn fuse would also be blown

Therefore, I took my VOM and started checking. I found on connector that controlled these circuits:
-ABS Solenoid fuse
-Stop/Horn fuse
-Both Heater fuses

BINGO! Thats what i was looking for. I took a picture of me tracking down the Harness. It was the one on the bottom right of the Fuse Box.

See IMG_0380 (First Pic)

Now, I knew what harness was the issue, but 3 of the 4 connectors read 0.00 Ohms when I measured, and I assumed 3 wires wouldn't have broke, so I had to narrow it down to one wire. First off, the full red wire is actually the ground (lol) and since I had already ruled out a ground issue, that clearly wasn't the issue. So there were 4 other wires. Two of which looked to be about 14 Gauge, and one 10 Gauge wire. So assuming the 10 Gauge wire was the feed from the battery, and the two smaller ones were downstream to the components. So i measured the resistance of the 10 Gauge wire (which is solid black with a red stripe) from inside the car to the Main Fuse Box under the hood. I got 12 thousand ohms. Well that isn't quite the right resistance for a wire. :p So I wiggled different parts of the wire, but the resistance didn't really change much. So, I grabbed a test wire and wired it up through the drivers side fender (where the current main wiring harness is).

See pics IMG_0382 and IMG_0383. (Second and Third Pic)

Since I have been working on this issue for quite some time, I couldn't wait to try it out. I had my friend step on the brakes and i looked at the brake lights. Finally, they were on. SUCCESS! :29:

See pic IMG_0381. (Fourth Pic)

One last thing to add. I took off the dash to work on this issue, and I would really recommend doing the same. It gives you a ton more room. All you have to do is rip the steering wheel off (TAKE PRECAUTIONS WHILE REMOVING AIRBAG) and disconnect a couple harnesses. Subaru really did a top notch job on making the tear-down of this car easy.

See pic IMG_0378 (Fifth Pic)

If you guys have any questions, feel free to PM me.

Thanks again everyone and especially Saint J VT for referring me to that site, please remember to PM me! It really got me to the issue.

Thanks,
Paul
 

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Wow, I am glad you found the problems!
That is certainly an impressive picture of the dash removed! It appears they really do a great job engineering this car, as you stated.

It feels good when you can manage to fix something yourself as opposed to paying someone else to do it all!

GREAT JOB!:29:
 
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