Subaru B9 Electrical/Lighting Problems

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,372
Work out any B9 electrical gremlins here.


  • aka1aka1 Member Posts: 110
    Hello All,

    Anyone have experience with or more information about the 3M Protective film to apply to the front bumper, leading edge of hood, and headlights? My right front fog light has a hairline crack on it- doesn't allow moisture through- but would like to prevent further damage to other parts of my B9... I've always thought that it fades at a different rate, and with my white paint, I wouldn't want the clear film to get "yellowish" over time.

    I do believe the plastic used for the lens of the fog light is very succeptable to crack- I am amazed that it did crack- never in any of my previous cars has this happened, and I do understand that things like this do happen; with less than 2K miles, unlikely, but still possible.
  • cluelesspacluelesspa Member Posts: 648
    Hey cross post this to the B9 Problems forum as well. I think you are now #3 in the cracked fog light club :sick:

    I do think they make a goof on the design there. the material they used for the lens is way too thin. :surprise:
  • c_hunterc_hunter Member Posts: 4,487
    The new name brand films (3M) don't yellow from what I've been told. I put 3M film (from on my OB XT hood, and have been happy with it.

    The film used to protect lights is thicker than the paint protection film, and usually a lot easier to install just because of the smaller sizes and simpler shapes.

    I only did the hood because painted metal parts chip most easily. I rarely get chip damage in the painted plastic parts like the bumper, so I left that alone.

    I did get a crack in the fog light of my previous Outback, but it never let water in so I left it alone. Anything that low is prone to damage.

  • aka1aka1 Member Posts: 110
    Brian- Craig,

    Thanks for the response, I just need to find a local professional who can give me an estimate and do the work- I am going on a road trip for Thanksgiving hence the interest in the 3M film. My Acura seemed to very easily get chips and dings, while the Audi and once owned Volvo 850 seemed to resist everything thrown at it. Thanks again,

  • c_hunterc_hunter Member Posts: 4,487
    Almost any newer car will have chipping problems because of the environmentally friendly way they apply paint now. Older cars of any make were much more chip-resistant.

  • aka1aka1 Member Posts: 110
    Generally speaking, yes- old paint was more durable- but the multi layer painting and baking process should protect cars just as well- my main problem lies in the fact the lens for the fog light has a crack in it- without any damage to the surrounding area. Typically plastic used for headlights and turn signals have high impact resistance- apparently not so for the fog light.

    Something I thought last night as I was driving: the Subaru emblem on the steering wheel- given how nicely the cabin is lit with lighting, why not put a small back light for that? Second, the power ON button for the stereo- the button is lit by a surrounding ring of red light, why not light the button as well? The RX330 has back lights for the scuff plate on the door sill when you open the door- that would also be a nice additional touch, to have the Subaru name lit up.

    Thanks for all the responses.

  • robr2robr2 BostonMember Posts: 8,805
    old paint was more durable- but the multi layer painting and baking process should protect cars just as well

    Paint today is about as thick as 3 sheets of newsprint - it doesn't take rocks very well.

    Typically plastic used for headlights and turn signals have high impact resistance- apparently not so for the fog light.

    Fog and driving lights seem to be glass - perhaps due to heat issues?

    the Subaru emblem on the steering wheel- given how nicely the cabin is lit with lighting, why not put a small back light for that?

    I think an airbag having to rip through a lighting circuit in order to deploy might preclude that.
  • cluelesspacluelesspa Member Posts: 648
    "Typically plastic used for headlights and turn signals have high impact resistance- apparently not so for the fog light.

    Fog and driving lights seem to be glass - perhaps due to heat issues? "

    Yeah but Subaru used a cheap thin plastic for the fog light lens :surprise:
  • vger105vger105 Member Posts: 57
    Regarding the Subaru emblem; the emblem depicts the constellation Pleaides, also known as The Seven Sisters, yet there are only six stars in the emblem.

    I believe Subaru means "Pleaides" in Japanese.

    Please excuse me if this has been discussed before.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    I believe Subaru means "Pleaides" in Japanese.

    That is correct! It's also the name of their humongous astronomical telescope which is powerful enough to spot a B9 all the way across the Pacific.

    tidester, host
  • aka1aka1 Member Posts: 110
    Different cars different paint- Lexus and Volvo that I know use an 8 layer paint process, a Dodge Neon may have paint that is 3 sheets of newspaper thick.

    Almost every car from the Chevy Aveo to the Maybach(sp) use plastic/ composite headlight lenses- they are lighter than glass, and are cheaper to produce. Intake manifolds and plenums for some GM engines are made from plastic/ composite material- heat shouldn't be an issue. The fog light on my B9 is plastic and it has a hairline crack in it.

    When an airbag "rips" through the steering wheel, the cover rips at prescored areas in the plastic and stay attached to the top and bottom half of the steering wheel- having a low voltage wire supplying light to an emblem shouldn't be hard- if anything this was a cost issue, or something designers didn't think was appealing enough to warrant the cost.
  • jeffmcjeffmc Member Posts: 1,742
    vger105 - There's a multi-layered meaning behind the name "Subaru".
    I believe the history goes something like this: After WWII, Nakajima Aircraft company is divided into 11 or 12 smaller bits. Six of them combine in the early fifties to form Fuji Heavy Industries, matching the six visible stars of the Pleiades. (Perhaps 7 stars were visible from Greece when the Greeks named it Pleiades?) FHI's first passenger car is the "P-1", but the president of FHI insists on giving it a Japanese name - "Subaru". Along with being the name for that constellation, Subaru also happens to mean "unite" in Japanese.
    The traditional Japanese name for the constellation is Mutsuraboshi, which means "six stars", and was romanticized in ancient texts.
    So Subaru is the name of the constellation, and means "unite" and "six stars".

    You had ordered a Seacrest Green B9 Tribeca, right? Has it arrived? If so, how are you liking it so far?
  • subienewbie2subienewbie2 Member Posts: 458
    Lighting the steering wheel logo would be an annoyance and just add more glare for the drive. In very dark situations it could be a dangerous distraction. Cars should be fun to drive and aesthetics are important, but if SOA was to add features and cost I would be much happier if it were the suspension or better power and not creating a an AWD Christmas tree. Nothing should be illuminated in a car unless it helps add to the safe operation the vehicle.
  • vger105vger105 Member Posts: 57
    Thanks very much for the enlightment; I never knew the complete origin of the name of the constellation.
    My perspective is that of an amateur astronomer, and the number of stars visible in the Pleiades varies from person to person, and from observing site to observing site. My wife can see nine stars while I generally see six.
    For those who are interested: The Pleiades is visible now, high in the sky, near Mars (a bright, yellowish "star" that doesn't twinkle). Face south, look up, and you can't miss either one.

    Tonight we picked up our Seacrest Green five passenger Limited, and we are just wild over it! It is so well made, comfortable, quiet, loaded with thoughtful touches, and confidence inspiring. It makes me smile everytime those puddle lights come on and the speedo and tach needles swing over upon start-up.
  • raybearraybear Member Posts: 1,795
    "SUBARU" is a Japanese word meaning "unite", as well as a term identifying a cluster of six stars, which the Greeks called the Pleiades - part of the Taurus constellation.
  • jeffmcjeffmc Member Posts: 1,742
    vger105 - I'm near Seattle, so stargazing's pretty much out of the question for the next, oh, six months or so. :)

    If you're new to Subaru, welcome to the club! As you drive it over time, you may feel the vehicle develops a personality. Hope it becomes a trusted companion for you and yours through the years. I've been itching to test drive a B9 Tribeca - gotta do it soon. It'll be at the top of my short list for purchase in a couple years.
  • harvptharvpt Member Posts: 40
    I also heard that the emblem depicts the configeration of the bolts on the transmission.
  • aka1aka1 Member Posts: 110
    I was reading up on the Olds Rainier board- a friend has one- and it was kind of sad to hear some of the things these owners go through to have a decent car that can be relied on. One owner was talking about a problem with his headlights, how they flicker constantly from dark to bright (not high beams) just weak lights- and has problems with interior lights doing the same for the radio display. After getting the run around from the dealer: there are so many components requiring electricity on this vehicle more than other cars, so its operating normally. Numerous owners that have problems with their AWD in the snow, vehicle still fishtails at turns bc the torque split is biased toward the rear (is is just me or has the whole purpose of AWD just been flushed down the toilet?)

    It just struck me as odd, somehow, I feel bad for that person. Myself, I quietly thank God every time I look at other vehicle owners complaining...

    By the way, called the 800 number provided by ateixeria (thanks!) to list the cracked fog light lens. They suggest at least contacting the service dept. they may just replace it for free (considering there is no "chip" on the lens, just a slight crack running through).
  • subienewbie2subienewbie2 Member Posts: 458
    I called also & was told the same thing.

    My cracked lense has no dimple. It is just a crack radiating out from the center with a shorter crack just below the longer one. There is no chipping of any kind on the front bumper at all. It seems to be a very long shot that only one stone struck the lens - cracked it & left no dimple.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Good, if anyone else complains let's keep reminding them, and eventually SoA will issue a TSB for this type of thing if a they detect a pattern, so future ones are fixed "no questions asked".

    Rainier is a fancy TrailBlazer. I recall a CR Auto Issue where the black line for below average reliability for that model went off the page. Too bad he didn't see that.

  • subienewbie2subienewbie2 Member Posts: 458
    Thanks aka1

    My dealer (Mid-City Subaru in Chicago) 2 weeks ago refused to replace my cracked fog lights under warranty even though there was no stone damage any where on the front end.

    I just came back from meeting with the SOA regional rep and he agreed that it appears there may be an issue with the cracked lens since there was no other stone damage.

    He authorized the dealer to replace both assembles at no charge.

    To the rest of you with the similar problem, don't give up the fight. If there is no other chipping around the fog lights demand to see the regional guy and you will probably succeed.
  • x5killerx5killer Member Posts: 368
    not sure if this the exact right thread for this but since they closed the main b9x thread and made it read only it sucks.

    I used to just search in there for what I was looking for like recently fog light bulb size which brings up the point that the sylvania silver star bulbs even in the fog lights didn't last two years and those aren't on all the time like the headlights being daytime runners.

    so overall it sucks that the tribeca doesnt come with a xenon headlight option and when you put better brighter whiter bulbs in like the sss they don't last. then the dealer service shop will put in an oem bulb for free and no charge for bulb (though I guess not supposed to if you have a non oem bulb in there but they don't care if you dont say) but who wants to go back to oem? so you have to buy the bulbs in the first place pay to have them put in then buy new ones again in a year or less (for headlights because of daytime running) and 1.5 years or so for the fog lights and pay to have them put in because its quite difficult to do and requires some disassembly and is generally a pain in the [non-permissible content removed] to try yourself.

    this alone is reason for me not to want to keep this car.

    now granted it could have been worsened by the crack in the foglight lense which caused air and water to get in there and cause the bulb to go quicker but I'm sure the other will go soon after the first foglight just as the headlights did one at a time and the other fog has a slight crack in it too.

    this was something discussed in the main b9x forum but who knows where it got moved to if it did already. ppl were getting 3m film for the fog lights and even headlights and clear bra for the hood etc. but the fog lights basically have to have some protective covering because its only a matter of time before they will get cracked by stones or whatever.

    I asked my dealership about this early on and they just acted like they hadn't heard of it and didn't do the 3m film and I would have to go somewhere else or do myself. as much as the foglights are nice looking and clear glass/plastic (which I guess is why many cars have a non clear thicker glass/plastic over the fogs)

    this really should be a warranty thing but the guys at other dealer were just oh yeah replacement fog light casing is expensive not mentioning anything about being under warranty. I felt like writing subaru about this and telling original dealer that I bought it from and mentioned to early on before it happened. I stopped going to them because they had attitude and weren't so good and overcharged me on the sale of vehicle which I told them I knew and that they could make it up with discounted service which they never did. other place won me over by changing a bulb for free once but now they have an old grumpy guy who didn't even know my tires were different and acted like I over inflated them in regard to the pressure when in fact they were clearly larger tires and wheels and later he realized and didnt apologize and when I told him the tire pressure monitor light was on so could they please adjust the air in the tires as I didn't get to do the back two and which was why the light was on, he acted like it wouldn't work even after I told him it hs for over a year fine, and that they just needed the proper air. he was wrong again and grumpy about it and never apologized even though sure enough once enough air/pressure was in the light went away. what an idiot service manager grumpy with bad attitude too. the other service manager guy is nice but the old guy seems to have seniority.

    makes me not want to go there anymore unless maybe I can say I don't want that guy but sometimes its only him. those are my two closest subaru dealers so this also makes me want to give up on subaru and I bet acura which I'm favoring will have better service.

    anyway the nicer guy told me it wasn't too late to put something like 3m film on the foglights to keep them from getting worse or water getting in so I will have to do that but kind of want to replace the one that is worse. but want to take this up with dealer and subaru as dealer said it wouldn't be a problem when I enquired early on before it happened and I knew I wasn't going on rock roads but I'm sure subaru knows about this by now. still should have ignored dealer and done it from the start at my own expense.

    will see how this might be handled by orig dealer (who I have no faith in) and/or subaru but I think I'm kind of done with them too(subaru & my too closest dealers)
  • tls8thtls8th Member Posts: 27
    Can someone try their Wiper de-icer switch and let me know is there an indicator light to let you know it's on.
  • morey000morey000 Member Posts: 384
    Yes. There is a little orange dot that lights up on the button. It automatically shuts off after 15 minutes- so, if you need it on longer, you can push the button again. Or, the dealer can reprogram it for continuous operation.
  • mhsb9tmhsb9t Member Posts: 4
    We recently purchased a 2007 Tribeca for my wife. I understood that only the headlights would illuminate when the light switch was in the off position and DRL is showing on the dash. All of our lights are on all the time; headlights, front marker, rear tail and license plate. Is this normal?
  • megreyhairmegreyhair Member Posts: 154
    There is a rocker switch on top of the steering column. It turns on all the lights you mention. It will stay on even after eng off and key removed. Try flipping that switch :)
    I think Europe has a law that mandate a way to enable sidelights with eng off...
  • mhsb9tmhsb9t Member Posts: 4
    Thanks, I appreciate your reply. I should have made my statement more clear defining "all the time" as "all the time when the engine is on" I found in the manual that it is normal for all the lights to be on when the car is running. I find this to be odd but that appears to be the way it is.
  • megreyhairmegreyhair Member Posts: 154
    Mine doesn't come on when the engine is on unless I left the light switch on before shutting down the car...
  • x5killerx5killer Member Posts: 368
    this might not be the exact thread for this but there is so many now instead of one main B9 thread that its hard to tell

    anyway since its regarding the fog lights i figured it was a good thread to post this in.

    i have good news on my cracked fog light lenses, seems that dealer is going to replace them at possibly little to no charger and whether they are getting them through SOA i dont know.

    this time i will def put the 3m film on them. either way it was crappy of subaru to make them so low and such thin plastic.

    also i am still looking to disable the drls permanent as pressing the parking brake one click to disable them is annoying and i forget to do it and my sylvania silver star bulbs burn out in less then a year because of the drls.
  • kmartinkmartin Member Posts: 427
    I have now had both front door lock actuators go out, about 3 months apart. My dealer says they have seen several of these go bad in both Tribecas and Outbacks. They also told me that they are Nissan parts, and that they don't have much faith in them. Anyone else experienced this?

    -Karen in AZ-
  • tupintupin Member Posts: 71
    so what happens with this? The doors won't work with the power locks/keyless entry? I'm assuming you can still use the key to unlock them? How old/mileage on your tribeca?
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Are the actuators Nissan or just the switch panel? I know the switch panels are as we currently update these units to prevent the door lock switches from being used when the car is off. This helps prevent unlocking via sticking a rod into the car and hitting the unlock button, which is common on the subies.

  • kmartinkmartin Member Posts: 427
    The other doors continue to work OK with the remote...just the affected actuator fails. The first one happened at around 20k, and I now have about 24k miles. Dealer says it's become pretty common on OB's and Tribecas.

  • kmartinkmartin Member Posts: 427
    I think they meant the actuators are Nissan, as that's all they replaced. They seen several of these fail in both OB's and 'Becas.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    Nissan and Subaru share a lot of hidden parts.

    One of my conspiracy theories is that they both use the same supplier for AWD, notice they even use the name VDC.

  • nspringernspringer Member Posts: 12
    my left rear door did this twice and had to be fixed. The 2nd time they replaced the part.
  • kmartinkmartin Member Posts: 427
    my left rear door did this twice and had to be fixed. The 2nd time they replaced the part.

    My service rep told me they have seen this in front doors only so far...that's not very encouraging :-(

  • kmartinkmartin Member Posts: 427
    My seat belt chime has been resetting itself after a few days to a week of being off. Something electrical must be triggering it, but I have no clue as to what. I thought perhaps the door lock problem (see previous posts in this forum) had something to do with it, but after having that fixed, the chime problem persists.

    Also, I noticed that the chime will also activate when no one is in the car, but the car is running (in park, of course). Is this normal with anyone else's Tribeca?

    -Karen in AZ-
  • kmartinkmartin Member Posts: 427
    Just an update...the radio station presets, bass and treble, and some other MFD settings also have reset themselves. I obviously have a short somewhere. Anyone got any ideas?

    Thx in advance. -Karen-
  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    Loose ground on the battery.

  • kmartinkmartin Member Posts: 427
    I checked that the last tie this happened, and it was OK, but I forgot to check it again this time. I'll do that first thing in the morning...thanks for the (seemingly obvious) reminder!!!

  • paisanpaisan Member Posts: 21,181
    By a bad ground though, it could be not only on the battery side but on the other end of the ground cable where it attaches to the body of the vehicle.

  • kmartinkmartin Member Posts: 427
    Well, it wasn't the ground. However, after having a local service station check my battery/alternator, they think the battery is on its last leg (or volt, or amp :-). My 'Beca is 1.5 yrs old with 25k miles. I know the desert summers are hard on batteries, and they tend to die after a couple years, but this seems kind of premature. Anyone else had to replace a battery yet?

    -Karen in AZ-
  • rshollandrsholland Member Posts: 19,788
    Craig just went through a battery on his Outback XT, and he too thought this to be premature.

    c_hunter, "Subaru Legacy/Outback 2005+" #9681, 29 Dec 2006 2:11 pm

  • bgadlagebgadlage Member Posts: 15
    The light for a tire pressure problem continues to come on.
    When the tire pressure is checked they are fine.
    Does anyone have this problem?
    IF so what is the deal and can it be corected?

    I am also interested in disconnecting the seat belt indicator noise.
    It is too aggresive for me.

    Any help will be appreciated.
    I have an 07 and love it.

  • jpgolf55jpgolf55 Member Posts: 34
    Do a search back in the main forum for seat belt or chimes. Look for Karen's site. She has detailed instructions for disconnecting the chimes. I did it without any problem. As for the tire pressure, do a search there too. I seem to recall other guys having the same problem with the tire pressure light too.
  • kmartinkmartin Member Posts: 427
    It's on my web site, but I'll post it here, with the usual cautionary statement...hopefully the powers-that-be won't delete the post????

    Cutoff Function for Seat Belt warning chime
    (Works for the 2005-06-07 Outbacks and Legacys, too)

    Warning: I am in no way responsible for anyone’s safety...just posting this as a convenience.

    1. Turn the key to “ON” (not running).

    2. Fasten and unfasten the driver’s seat belt 20 times in 30 seconds, starting from when you actually turn on the key. (This will set the passenger seat as well).

    3. Turn the ignition on, and you should be set. It may chime 6 times at first, but then it should quit.

    4. Setting lasts until the battery is disconnected or the system is otherwise reset.

    5. If you want to do this as a temporary thing (just for one driving period), fasten/unfasten the belt 3 times in 6 seconds. The chime will reset the next time the car is started.

  • kmartinkmartin Member Posts: 427
    It wasn't the battery, either...they checked out everything they could think of. All they did in the end was to pull the appropriate fuse and reseat it. Things are working as they should for now (radio presets, MFD display, seat belt chime settings stick, etc.). To be continued...


    PS: I checked the ground on the Fm modulator I installed as well, but it was OK. I hadn't turned it on for a few weeks just to see if that was the culprit.
  • zhangbozhangbo Member Posts: 3
    I have a 07 Tribie 5-p Ltd with Nav sys. I noticed the GPS is an older version (04-05), anyone know how I can get an update? My dealer told me to call Subaru, but I am just wondering if anyone else here has the same wonder.
    Thanks. Paul
  • kmartinkmartin Member Posts: 427
    Hi, Paul. Subaru replied to my email this week that they are now saying "early 2007"...see my post in the Tribeca Nav forum.

    -Karen in AZ-
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