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Subaru Outback/Legacy Electronic & Lighting Problems



  • I've had my 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback wagon for 4 years and the automatic shift panel has never been illuminated at night except for once a few nights ago. I looked down and it was lit up. Hasn't lit up since. It was nice to see the D, R, N and would like to see them again at night.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    If there was one complaint I had about my '96 Outback, which seems to hold true for that generation (through 99), is that electrical gremlins are quite prevalent in them, from intermittently working door locks to quick-to-burn-out bulbs to more serious issues. You can tear your hair out trying to fix it or just live with it, but if you try to fix it, I recommend a good, short hair cut before you start. ;)
  • Purchased the car a year ago and have replaced the alt. and 3 batteries. Took it to the Subaru dealership and they can't find what's wrong. The car will run for up to 3 months after the last battery was replaced. The car sat for 3 days, went out to leave for work and it's dead. The gauges won't even show on the console. It's been to 3 different mechanics, they suggested to not jump start the car but have it towed to the dealership so they can see what's wrong. Did that...twice and still can't find it. Anyone else have any problems like this?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hmm, how about a battery tender? May be worth the investment.

    Something is draining it dangerously low and affecting battery life.
  • lcoombs738lcoombs738 Posts: 1
    My 2006 Outback has something draining the battery when it sits. About 4 months ago I was having weird electrical issues with the speedometer and the odometer was flashing an SP ER message and the time/temp display would flash "ACC" then change to Err. The dealer replaced the battery. The ACC flashing was still there but the car seemed to function fine. Now the battery is draining when it sits and the car needs to be jumped after sitting a while or if driven for only a short trip. The dealer now says they don't know what the problem is. I do have an after market remote start but that has been in the car for more than 2 years.

    Does anyone know what the "ACC, Err" flashing display means. The dealer says they don't which I find disconcerting.
  • lkelly4lkelly4 Posts: 3
    I would love to know if you have any replies to this question. I have a 2004 Outback with similiar problems when it sits for more than a day, the battery is drained. It's been to 2 dealerships and 3 other mechanic, one who specializes in electrical problems and no one can find the problem. I've researched tech docs from Subaru and can't find anything either.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    It sounds to me like you have a short somewhere. SP ER means the speed sensor is either not working or is providing bogus input. I suspect that the display is probably having trouble as well due to the MPG readout, etc., that is tied in to the speed sensor circuit.

    It might be useful to check the wiring on the aftermarket remote start to ensure that there are no loose/corroded connections. Just because it worked properly to start, does not mean something has not come loose since then.
  • Did you every get an answer to your problem, as I just bought a 2007 wagon, it passed the safety inspection, then in the rain the front left headlight stopped working.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 679
    Low beam , high beam or both?

    Low beam out may be just a bulb problem..daylight running lights use up filaments fairly fast. I just had to replace one on my 2005 3.0R. Replacing both left and right at the same time (if the bulb is the problem) is a good idea.
  • Yesterday when I was driving in the rain, I noticed my wipers were going slower than normal. Thoughout the drive, my radio would turn off, the speedometer and tachometer stopped working, the abs light came on and the wipers slowed down even more; but the car never lost power. After about 1-3 minutes, the car would go back to normal and about 5 minutes later would start the cycle again. This went on for the entire drive (30 miles).

    Any suggestions?
  • I'd check your battery/alternator charging system for openers. Get that out of the way before you plunge into electrical diagnosis.
  • in my case a brake light had shorted and melted the light bulb itself, somehow. maybe check the bulb and socket for damage? short may be due to water splashing up.
  • I'm thinking about installing an after-market HID kit in my 2005 Legacy.

    The question I have is regarding the Daytime Running Lights... Since the DRL's and low-beam bulbs seem to be the same, does anyone know if issues arise when replacing the stock halogen bulbs with an HID kit?

    This is the link to the site with the kit I'm thinking of purchasingHID Kit

    The kit is the Apexcone 55W with H7 6000K bulbs

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    Not sure if they changed it at some point, but I think all the newer Subaru vehicles I've owned ('07, '08, '10) use the high-beams as the DRLs, with a reduced current so they are very dim. Are you sure that the low beam is being used as the DRL on your '05?
  • I'm not 100% sure the DRL's are the same bulb as the lows, however my lows have a projector lens and that's what's lit when the DRL's are on...Highs are the standard mirror config. (for lack of a better term)
  • jmac20jmac20 Posts: 1
    I have just spent $1100 to repair my security system after my 2005 Subaru Legacy GT, for no apparent reason, failed to start. According to Centaur Subaru, the battery was fine, but security system decided to immobilize the engine. (I live in the country, and absolutely no one attempted to steal the car). This appears to be a design/electrical fault -- not a general wear issue. I would like to know how common this is. I find it rather ironic that the security feature intended to protect the owner, actually prevented the owner from driving their car.
    This car was just in for its 96,000km servicing and the engine light/cruise control was repaired – apparently this was a common issue. Any links?
  • Do you know if this a common issue for all 05 legacy's, or just the GT models?
  • immobilizer issues plague owners of many different types of cars. It's not an uncommon grievance. I think I see 1 or 2 complaints like this every day in our Answers Department.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,267
    Okay, then yes, it does use the low beam and I am not sure of the answer to your question. If I were in your situation, I would likely look to disable the DRL feature as, perhaps, the easiest solution.

    They must have changed the configuration to the high beam at some point.
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