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Hello,

This is my first post in this forum and I have spent a couple hours searching for an answer to my wiper problem with no luck.

I have a 2002 Outback wagon and I've owned it since new. A couple months back the stereo would sometimes not work when I started the car. Recently with the rain it has become obvious that the problem is also affecting the wipers on the front window. Here's the problem, when I start the car the stereo and wipers will not work. After a minute or so both the stereo and wipers start working at the same time.

Does anyone have an idea on what may be causing this failure? I did install an aftermarket stereo when I bought the car new back in 2002. It has worked fine up until a couple months back. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Firstly, welcome to the forum!
Secondly, I'll start out making the obvious recommendation - check fuses for each of those. I don't know if they run through the same channel or are separate, but i could picture a bad fuse that was just barely blown, just a small gap. Once the engine warmed it up a bit the contacts would expand enough to bridge and function normally again. I had an on-again, off-again headlight filament doing something like this a few months ago.
Basically, test the fuses anyway? (good for you if you've already done that!)
Awaiting more input from those with more experience than I . . .
 

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The front wipers (and washer) and the radio have separate fuses, but the fuses are supplied by the same power source, which also supplies a range of other electrical functions including: front accessory power outlet, remote control mirrors, rear accessory power outlet, vanity mirror lights.

When the radio and front wipers don't work, check these others to see if they are also not working. Also check if the rear wiper works when the front doesn't.

When the aftermarket stereo was installed, was it just plugged into the existing wiring, or did you have to rewire anything to get it connected?

Let us know what you find . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #4
airlia101
thank you for the welcome. I thought about checking the fuses but didn't due to the intermittent nature. I will check them to make sure tomorrow since it's cold (brrr) and dark out now.

plain OM
I did just go out and did the following: key in the ignition and turned to acc. The stereo lit up. Then started the car and the stereo was did not come back on, the wipers didn't work and the power mirrors didn't work. After about 15 seconds everything came on. I also, forgot to check the rear wiper. After going back out to check I can't get it to fail. I will check the wiper tomorrow.

Now that the power mirrors are included does this suggest something with the power source?
 

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I've attached a diagram of section of the 2002 power supply wiring, which I annotated as to which fuse supplies which function.

The original problem is related to FB-30 and FB-31, which as I noted each have separate fuses.

If you follow the lines up from FB-30 and FB-31 it eventually gets to the ACC position of the ignition switch.

As the problem is not likely a (single) fuse, it has to be somewhere between the switch and the point where the power is split among the different "FB" lines.

The first thing is to put the switch at ACC and check as many of the other accessories (indicated in the yellow boxes) to see if they work or not.

Then, start the car, and again see which accessories work, or not. The yellow list might include some functions you don't have on your car; try to check for one at least one at each of the five "FB's". If none work then it could be a problem in the ignition switch ACC contacts, or the wiring to the first junction.

If there's no power to FB-30 and 31, but there is to the others, then we know the problem is isolated to the FB-30 and 31 branch. There could be a problem in the connectors at the fuse/relay box (inside the cabin to the left of the steering column).

This is a process of elimination to better isolate where the problem might be.

If there's power to all the accessories when the switch is turned to ACC, also try the same with the switch turned to ON (but engine not started).

If there's power to the accessories in both ACC and ON, but not after starting the car, then it's possible the contacts in the switch aren't returning back properly from the Start position; it's not something I can be sure of -- I haven't seen the inside of the ignition switch to know exactly how it works. But let's see where the first set of observations takes it . . .
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow.. great info. Today I tried multiple times to get it to fail but all systems were functional each time I tried. I have a list of items to check during the next fail and the isolation to identify the branch seems straight forward. Last night the rear view mirror switch was non functional so FB-29 is included in the open. I let you know if the rear wiper FB-38 does not work during the next fail. Thanks for the info.
 
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I'm having identical problem with subaru 2002 outback. Appreciate the info re identifying problem. However, do you have any info regarding how to rectify this problem and possible costs involved?
 

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We are having the same problem, no aftermarket stereo involves though. No wipers, radio or charging port when the engine is on. When in accessory position everything works. I messaged the person who added the attachment, I can't open it. OP did you find a solution?
 

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Here's what the above attachment shows:

 

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so I'm having this same issue with my 2004 Forester. All power to all these accessories will go out. Restarting will generally kick things into gear. However, sometimes they'll come back on by themselves while I'm underway. When they do, there's an audible click from somewhere near my left knee.

Anyway, while I could definitely see this as an ignition switch issue, I wonder if the front accessory power relay controls all these accessories, is having an intermittent fail and is the source of the clicking. Does that relay impact items other than just the front accessory power socket?
 

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. . . .I wonder if the front accessory power relay controls all these accessories, is having an intermittent fail and is the source of the clicking. Does that relay impact items other than just the front accessory power socket?
Is there a "front accessory power relay"? The Outback doesn't use a relay for the radio/front wiper/front accessory power outlet, and my information for the Forester is the same.
 

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Has anyone ever resolved this issue so many seem to have?!?

I'm experiencing the same wiper/radio issue in my 02 Forest and I'm hearing the same click near my left knee when both spontaneously come on while driving.

I searched for a wiper relay on ebay and found this...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Windshield-Wiper-Motor-Relay-Standard-RY-1657/252837195303?fits=Year%3A2002%7CModel%3AForester&epid=1394590146&hash=item3ade456e27:g:OhkAAOSwLJ9Z-Lu9&vxp=mtr

So that tells me a relay does in fact exist. However, I always thought the relay box was in the engine bay near the wiper reservoir/fuel filter area...no?

Again, I'd love to know what solutions fixed this for the rest experiencing the problem.

Thanks!
 

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Has anyone ever resolved this issue so many seem to have?!?

I'm experiencing the same wiper/radio issue in my 02 Forest and I'm hearing the same click near my left knee when both spontaneously come on while driving.

I searched for a wiper relay on ebay and found this...

http://https://www.ebay.com/itm/Windshield-Wiper-Motor-Relay-Standard-RY-1657/252837195303?fits=Year%3A2002%7CModel%3AForester&epid=1394590146&hash=item3ade456e27:g:OhkAAOSwLJ9Z-Lu9&vxp=mtr

So that tells me a relay does in fact exist. However, I always thought the relay box was in the engine bay near the wiper reservoir/fuel filter area...no?

Again, I'd love to know what solutions fixed this for the rest experiencing the problem.

Thanks!
That link doesn't seem to work.

Is that wiper relay in eBay specified for your 2002 Forester? Other car makers might use a relay to power the wiper motor, but as far as I know that's not the case with Subaru, at least for the past two decades. However, the intermittent wiper function might use a relay in conjunction with a timer circuit, but it's not shown on any wiring diagram. Will have to look at this more . . .
 

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That link doesn't seem to work.

Is that wiper relay in eBay specified for your 2002 Forester? Other car makers might use a relay to power the wiper motor, but as far as I know that's not the case with Subaru, at least for the past two decades.

I'll try to fix the link. But what I did was search for "2002 Forester wiper relay"...there was a bunch of the same part in the results.
 

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I think what is referred to as a "relay" is actually the intermittent timer module. The service manual has a page for the rear "wiper control relay". The part itself has an 8-pin connector. This module is in the right rear corner of the cargo area, behind the side trim.

The intermittent control module for the front wiper is part of the switch assembly itself on the steering column. It too might include a relay.

It's not likely that both modules would fail, along with the radio and other functions. Certainly, the intermittent module (or "relay") for the wipers would not affect the radio.

However, if we look at the wiring diagram attached in an earlier post here, it's apparent that the power for the wipers and the power for the radio comes from the ACC connection on the ignition switch. This was discussed in the earlier posts in this thread. The problem seems to point to a defective ignition switch, especially if other functions that are powered from that same connection also don't work when the wipers and radio don't work.
 

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The problem seems to point to a defective ignition switch, especially if other functions that are powered from that same connection also don't work when the wipers and radio don't work.


EDIT: I see what you mean, the part that CONNECTS to the ignition key cylinder. Looks like it has a plug on it, thick wire/conduit and then something that the key cylinder activates. And while I haven't seen the install, maybe that plug connects somewhere on the left side of the steering column...near the left knee.

Thoughts?
 

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According to the earlier reports, the wipers, radio etc, would work when the ignition switch is turned from Off to Acc (in that direction), but when then turned to Start and released back to On, the accessories did not work. That suggests a problem in or near the switch, and less so in the wiring going under the dashboard, because those wires would not be subject to movement associated with the turning of the ignition switch.

lt could be something as simple as a bad contact (dirty, tarnished, corroded) or something is worn and not moving properly. In this regard, when the ignition switch is turned from On to Start, the power to the ACC terminal is cut and then restored when the switch moves back to ON (to reduce electrical load while starting). It's that return to ON when it appears there's no reconnection to the ACC terminal.

I haven't examined a Subaru switch assembly close up. especially the action of the internal contacts when the switch is rotated, so this is just speculation on my part, but it's the only explanation I can evisage at this point.
 

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I'm having the exact same problem with my 2002 Subaru Outback as Outdoor Dude and the rest of you are having. Have any of you been able to fix these problems? What did that entail? Thanks!
 

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I have a 2009 Forester 2.5X with same issues- wipers and radio intermittently non-functional. I saw on another forum that this may be an ignition switch issue. I saw a couple others mention that on this thread. Dealer won't replace ignition switch since they could not get it to repeat. Other forum indicated repair requires removing the steering wheel so probably pricey.
 

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The sticky ignition switch guts sounds plausible. To verify that go to one of the faulty circuits fuse and read the volts before and during the event. (if you can catch it) If you measure INSTANT 0-full when they come back on then that would mimic the IGN switch springing back,,, Or a weak relay.
If the voltage measured is low and increases to full I'd suspect dirty grounds under the hood.
-The systems in question have enough energy to turn on and work fine as long as you don't start the car.
-Then don't have enough energy after cranking to turn on, (electrical system is at it's weakest point after cranking)
-But will come on after a pause, (alternator got stuff happy)
Years of corrosion from being in the elements adds resistance which can contribute to electrical issues. I have experienced an issue with external grounds being contaminated/corroded. In particular 1 small ground, (which I made BIG), that went from top of transmission to firewall.
Lastly, Next time you hear a clicking or buzzing under the dash, Turn your headlights on and see if it goes away.
And that makes 500
 
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