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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All.

2006 OB, NA, 174K.

I've been getting water in my reverse light after it rains. When I open the gate, it drips out the access panel.

As someone on here indicated, it's probably the gasket. Easy fix, right?

I brought it to Subaru today. I like this particular dealership. They do good work, and I believe them to be fairly honest, if a bit overpriced.

However, they told me that the nuts and bolts inside the panel are all "corroded." When they take it apart, everything will break, so they'll need to replace everything: both reverse lights, all the guts, and the entire panel that holds them, of course. And it will have to be painted the color of the car. Of course.

$900 for parts, $200 for labor. And this includes a discount. Yeah, $1100 to fix my leaking reverse light.

When I asked for someone to show the corrosion to me ('so I can see what I'm paying for'), the mechanics were "too busy."

Interesting.

When I got home, I pried out both panels. I even used a flashlight. It's clean and pristine in there.

Well, what do ya know.

I went back to Subaru, and showed it to the manager. He's a very nice guy, and I think he knew he was in a tight spot. His explanation was basically this: 'Based on past experience, the parts we can't see (inside the panel) are probably corroded. This means that things will probably break as we take it apart. And the panel will probably break too. This should have been explained to you more clearly.'

"I understand," I said.

Reading between the lines, I think I have isolated their logic:

With this particular job, there is a likelihood of things breaking. Because there is a likelihood of things breaking - and because we don't want to pay for things that get broken during a job - we are charging you for broken things BEFORE we break them.

I immediately asked for a refund on the $900 worth of parts that I ordered.

The manager then told me 'We can try to do the job, and hope that we don't break anything. If nothing gets broken, it will probably cost around $300.'

Thoughts on this situation? I understand their thinking, but I'm not thrilled with the ethics on display here.

Also, how difficult is it to replace a gasket on a reverse light? Is this something that a generic garage can do? And what do you think it should cost? (I'm not a gear head.)

Many thanks.
 

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Are you talking about your upper brake light? Or the tail lights in either side of the rear?
 

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Master Caster
🖤💔💙 3 Beautiful OBXTs
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16,233 Posts
The cost you are being quoted is insane. I will sell you a whole rear shroud...lights included for $500.

You can part yours out back to the dealer and make money on your good light.

Sheesh.

Seriously...I will sell you a light for $200..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The cost you are being quoted is insane. I will sell you a whole rear shroud...lights included for $500.

You can part yours out back to the dealer and make money on your good light.

Sheesh.

Seriously...I will sell you a light for $200..
Thank you very much. I will definitely keep your offer in mind.

However, at the moment, I want to replace the gasket, if that's possible.

Do you know how to replace the gasket (and/or the reverse light)? To do this job, do I need to disassemble the interior of the rear gate? Or is it possible to do this from the access port?

Thanks again.
 

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1999 30th Anniversary Legacy Outback DOHC 2.5L 4EAT, 2008 Impreza WRX 2.5L 5MT, 2008 Impreza Wagon 2.5L 4EAT
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1,224 Posts
I've taken the similar panel off my '99 OBW and '03 Forester without breaking anything.
 

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1999 30th Anniversary Legacy Outback DOHC 2.5L 4EAT, 2008 Impreza WRX 2.5L 5MT, 2008 Impreza Wagon 2.5L 4EAT
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1,224 Posts
Not sure if it's the same but I had to take off the interior trim on the rear door and there were 10mm nuts holding the finisher to the door.

The trim was held in with push fasteners.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks to all for the fantastic information!

I have a simple question...

When you remove the reverse lights, how do they come out of the vehicle?

Is it towards the inside of the car? (ie. towards the steering wheel).

Or is it towards the outside of the car? (ie. if you were standing behind the car, they come towards you).

Thanks again.
 

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Master Caster
🖤💔💙 3 Beautiful OBXTs
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That whole rear garnish comes off and then they are removed from the front/inside.
Yes this is the easiest way.

BTW I was joking, @FinnMcCool. I got my whole complete garnish panel for less than $100 from a member here. I would never take advantage of a forum member just make myself $. But the dealers will.
 

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2005 OBXT Ltd Obsidian Black 5MT
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I was trying to find the photos from when I replaced the packing on mine, but can't seem to find what computer I saved them to.

Anyway, that price they quoted is so far out of the realm of reality, I don't know what they're smoking. Where are you located? I could see that yes, they could be prone to corrosion, but I'm sure that more of the problem is that they use air impact wrenches to take the bolts off and when they do, then of course they're going to break the plastic garnish. But I bet that they're contractually not allowed to use regular hand tools.

If I remember, the garnish around the lights comes off from inside the gate, then the lights themselves are bolted to the gate from the outside.
 

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2005 Outback Wagon 3.0 L.L. Bean
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Same issue here with water in reverse lights. I'll give this a try
 
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