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Subaru Outback/Legacy Electronic & Lighting Problems



  • jd_24jd_24 Posts: 92
    Check the alternator. My 2001 OB once had the brake light come on during a drive home. Then once the battery was about shot, just about every light came on at once. 30 seconds latter... no more and I coasted to a stop. Interesting thing was that the battery light wasn't the light to come on first, and didn't come on until the battery was basically dead.
  • pella2pella2 Posts: 5
    Thanks for the quick replies. I will check those things and let you know how things work out. I appreciate the input.
  • Thanks a lot for the tip. I did check the alternator and that was the problem. Replaced it and all is OK now. Just seems a little weird that erroneous trouble lights appear when the alternator is bad. I would expect just an "ALT" light instead of all the other stuff that showed up.

    Thanks again.
  • On modern cars, when voltage drops or is erratic, the computers go nuts. Steady voltages are a must.
  • Hi I just got a 1998 Subaru Legacy wagon. As I would be driving everything is ok until I slow down and stop the lights (all of them) go dim and there is a lot of noise in the radio. When the car is sitting running you can see and hear the car and light revving up and down. The car starts and drives fine. :surprise:
  • Sounds like a failing alternator or a dead or soon to die battery OR very corroded or loose connections OR a bad engine-to-frame ground cable. You should do some exploring on loose wires and corroded cables, then make sure your battery is fully charged and then test the alternator output with a volt meter across the battery cables.

    If the battery in the car is over 5 years old, it's tired.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I also wonder if the previous owner installed an under-drive pulley?

    It was a common mod that let the engine rev a little more freely, but it turns the alternator more slowly and one side effect was dimming lights at idle.
  • really? Seems like a useless modification unless the car were supercharged.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A lot of people did it, at least the NASIOC Mid-Atlantic folks.

    I thought they were a bit crazy.
  • Really. All that work for maybe...MAYBE 5 HP.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think it was more like 3, dyno tested. :D
  • azloisazlois Posts: 2
    edited October 2012
    My car hit hard lost power thought transmission then hit hard again died would not start took battery cable off put back on started ran some then again same thing this continues can you help?
    Willl do this till battery completely grained. Dash lights abs battery and brake had all been coming on prior to this
  • azloisazlois Posts: 2
    edited October 2012
    2002 subaru outback abs brake battery light started coming on and off alltogether the lights till while driving car hit hard lost power thought was transmission hit hard again slowly got off hwy car died man took cable off battery replaced and car started ran fine short distance. Then did same again. Put gound wire on battery and frame seemed to work but battery had been drained any suggestions alternator ok battery brand new ok
  • Hello. Thanks for the reply. It was the alternator, it was less then 6 months old. and it didn't cost me anything to get it fixed.
    Thanks :)
  • Great! Yep, never presume that just because something was repaired recently, that you can eliminate that part from your diagnosis.
  • jd_24jd_24 Posts: 92
    Wow, tough read on that post.
    Even though you say the alternator is fine, I'll bet its the alternator. If its putting out less than around 13??? volts, its not enough. If its putting out too many volts it can fry the batery as well.

    I had the samething happen with My 2001 outback. Break light came on first. Then after many miles of driving the other lights appeared, then finally the car quit running. New alternator and battery and life was good again.
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