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Subaru Forester Electrical/Lighting Issues



  • It is not confined to the 2004 Forester. It is a general situation when jumping cars with an ECU. The manual may call for a very specific sequence for connecting the cables to specific locations. People tend to just clamp the cables around here and there. If the manual is not followed exactly, fuses can be blown or the ECU messed up . More likely that is what happened, rather than actual damage to the instrument panel.
  • We were told we need to replace the instrument panel. I can only assume that the fuses were checked. We know that the computer is okay. Thanks for the information.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Even if the fuse was checked, go ahead and have it replaced.

    I ran across a situation where the fuse looked fine but wasn't, it had still burned out. I swear I could see no flaws in it, but a new one still fixed it.

    Worth the few pennies to try that.
  • How do you know the computer is OK? It is possible for a surge from a poorly executed jump to hurt an ECU and mess up the ECU's status and warning lights in the instrument panel.
    On the other hand, I don't see how a jump can pass the fuses and cause damage to the instrument panel itself.
  • The mechanic checked the ECU and said it was fine. Supposedly, he checked the fuses as well. From my discussion with him, they actually pulled out the instrument panel and checked the wiring as well. There were no warning lights on the instrument panel. The thing was absolutely dead with the exception of the mileage reading before the car was jumped. I will call first thing in the morning to discuss the fuses again. I just wasn't thinking about the logic in that. I did contact Subaru customer service, and a case file has been opened. Unfortunately my schedule is such that I cannot drive over until the afternoon to discuss the issue face to face.
  • Replacing fuse is really easy. Can't you buy fuses (get the list from owner's manual) from local auto store or wal-mart, replace it and see if it works. It will only cost you around $15 even you replace all the fuses in the fuse box.
  • I want to thank everyone for the advice. I am continuing to persue the fuse issue. When I questioned the technician who diagnosed the problem, he was emphatic that he tested the fuses. He felt that because the odometer always receives a charge, that the short ran through the odometer which caused the whole panel to short. He did not have a solid response for when the panel shorted (before or after jumping). At this point, I have referred the situation to Subaru for inquiry and will talk to the service manager in detail. I have reliable pricing information on the instrument cluster so that we can discuss an appropriate fee. I am not an electrical engineer, so I rely on the advice of others in this department. The car is at the dealership and the old panel has already been removed in preparation for the new panel. The dealership would not release the car back to us due to safety concerns. I wish I could say that I am being dealt with honestly, but my gut instinct is screaming otherwise. I will let you know about the outcome tomorrow.
  • My 2001 Forester would not start. The keyless entry also does not work. When I manually opened the door, I heard a slight whirring sound from the CD/Radio on the dash (factory installed). The light inside was extremely dim. I tried jumping the car, but absolutely nothing happened when using the key in the ignition. I bought a new battery to install myself and was told that I may need to reset the "override button". Any hint as to where to find this switch and/or tips on putting in the new battery other than the obvious of hooking up the terminals?
  • I just purchased a 2002 Subaru Forester that has a couple symptoms I am worried about. It appears as though my interior lights have a slight flicker to them. This is most noticeable when I am idoling. Similarly, when driving and I release the gas peddle and press the brakes (so the rpm's drop), it appears as though my headlights dim or flutter for a brief second. Any thoughts on what this might be or steps to correct would be greatly appreciated.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I wonder if the previous owner installed an underdrive pulley? That spins the alternator at a slower-than-normal rate.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Probably needs an alternator in it.

  • Thanks! I'll look into the alternator.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    mike - it could also be a slipping belt, no?

    Check the belt tension first. Also inspect the belt for aging.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    It could be a slipping belt, however you would hear a high-pitch screeching in general if it were a belt.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    good point...
  • I have a 99 Subaru Forester. A couple weeks my blinkers started acting up. Sometimes they would work, and sometimes they wouldn't. I figure I would check the fuse, but there's no fuse that says 'blinkers', so I couldn't tell which one to check. They were working fine until today they just stopped working; didn't work at all during the day. As I was driving home and had to make a right turn, out of courtesy, I figure I should at least do my Hazzard lights. Well, they didn't work either! I thought great! There's a fuse labelled 'Hazzards', so I'll find it. The fuse was fine, not burnt, but I replaced it anyway. I also check all the ones that had a light connected to them, and all were OK. Now, all of the sudden, my hazzards work again, but my blinkers still don't. It seems to me more than just a fuse problem; should I take it in to a shop? :confuse:


  • vtdogvtdog Posts: 163
    My son has an '02 Forester. The clock works, but the light is goes on and off. I figure its a loose bulb and/or bad ground. Does anyone have experience with this problem or opening up the clock housing to get to the wiring?
  • Not sure about the '02, but I have a '99, and the USERS MANUAL has instructions on how to take the light housing apart. Have you checked there?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I had a 98 and the clock went out a couple of times. I used my soltering iron to patch a cracked connection.

    Check on Scooby Mods and you will find the full procedure on there.
  • vtdogvtdog Posts: 163
    Thanks, when my son comes in we will pry off the cover and see whats up
  • I have a 1999 Forester which I had detailed and now the parking lights stay on even if the engine is off and key is removed. The engine was pressure washed but car ran well for about 80 miles afterward but lights stayed on. I left hood up overnight but battery was dead and lights still on. Any ideas about how to dry out and what to keep dry in future?
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    They hit the parking-light switch which is on top of the steering column. Due to the Subarus having lights that turn off when the car is turned off you need a way to keep them on so there is a switch there.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That trick gets a lot of us the first time! Happened to me, too, way back when!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    They got rid of it in the 08 STi, now you need to leave the parking lights "on" on the stalk for them to stay on.

  • kane1kane1 Posts: 1
    That had me for a while too!!! The parking lights are a seperate swithch than the headlights. In my 98 its a small toggle switch on the top of the steering column behind the steering wheel. let me know.
  • Hi, I purchase my 2008 Subaru Forrester Brand new, in Florida.
    Due to my job; I was forced to move to Massachusetts.
    The problem is that the cold winter air is getting through from all the doors.
    Note: THe car has no heated seats and the heater doesn't cover low enough the lower part of the car. Am I the only one with this problem? I took my car to two local dealers but, I know that they are jerking my around. They denied they probleme, even when, I see their faces turning blue. I did contact Subaru but, they are also jerking me around. Telling my that this is the first time they heared about it. What should I do? Am I the only one with this problem?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Are you putting it on the foot vent setting? My '98 would bake my feet on high heat.
  • Well, yes and sure. When in foot vent setting; It does burn up my feet up but, it doesn't heat up my torso. Air is coming from the bottom of all four doors. Since being in MA, my left side torso does freeze everytime I am using my Forrester and I am afraid that this issue maybe a future cause of an accident, that is waiting to happen. Is there someone out there with the same problem? How was the problem solved? What good suggestions are there to help me solve this problem
    I am having?
    Thank you.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, heat rises, so I think that's OK. It takes a while, but it's better to blow the heat there.

    My van has vents in the ceiling and I noticed they're not used when I have the heat on. I guess they think it would never reach the passengers.

    Any how, back to your case, I would consider a remote starter.

    Even better, get an engine block heater. That way you have heat immediately, as soon as you get in.

    Another thing is next time consider a Forester with heated seats. I know I will! For sure on our next one.

    I remember pricing aftermarket leather for $900, and heated seats brought the total to $1200. Perhaps they could install just the seat heaters for $400 or so? It may be worth it to ask.
  • jhnsn4jhnsn4 Posts: 5
    2004 Forester 2.5x, auto tran - My daughter brought this car home from college, and I heard this noise from under the hood. The noise is there all the time, regardless if the car is running or not, and regardless if the key is installed or not. I pulled the clock/radio/interior lites fuse (from under the hood), and the noise slowly bleeds off, which tells me that there is some type of charging circuit (capacitor, etc) that is involved. The noise appears to emanate from behind the engine, near the firewall. I have not unplugged the radio to see if this is the culprit. The radio, clock & interior lites all work fine. There are no lites on in the instrument cluster.
    This is a steady noise - not achime or beep like an alert. Dealership had no idea.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you!!
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