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Old 11-10-2010, 02:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Dim headlights, but not a blown fuse?

Hi, I've got a 2003 Subaru Forester. Right now, my left headlights are fine,
but my right ones are dim.

I found:

What happens when a headlight fuse blows - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
<removed actual link because forum wouldn't let me post it>

And so tried checking the fuses (and if anyone finds this post while desperately trying to find the fuses in question - in the plastic fuse box under the hood on
the driver's side of the car). They all looked fine to me, so I tried swapping the
right headlight fuse and the left ones. No change. Tried removing fuses.
If the right headlight fuse is removed, no change. If the left headlight fuse is removed, no headlights at all.

So it doesn't seem to be a fuse, since I've got the same issue whether there's the existing fuse, no fuse, or a known good fuse for the right headlights.

The link mentions a few other things it could be, and I was thinking of taking it to a mechanic to look into them; I've just got no idea how much this might cost me. To complicate things further, my car needs to be inspected this month, and it will fail if this isn't fixed. Also, it looks like I need a new catalytic converter and/or 02 sensors (check engine light on, is what dealership and independent mechanic said).

All things considered, I'm wondering if I should be looking for another vehicle instead of investing the money in a 2003 Forester with 130,000 miles on it.

Any advice welcome.
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Old 11-10-2010, 05:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That's my thread, What happens when a headlight fuse blows. All your symptoms point to something interrupting the flow of +12 volts to the common terminal on the right side headlight. Melted or otherwise damaged connectors are a not uncommon culprit, second the fuse itself.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bbottomley View Post
That's my thread, []. All your symptoms point to something interrupting the flow of +12 volts to the common terminal on the right side headlight. Melted or otherwise damaged connectors are a not uncommon culprit, second the fuse itself.
OK, I tried to look into this more, but it seems like I need to remove part
of my AC housing to get to the back of the light, and of course the bolt is
rusted solid; is this really the best way to access the things I need to see?
Am I just missing some clever way to do this?

On that note, will I be able to tell if it's damaged via visual inspection? As in,
if it looks OK, does that mean the problem is elsewhere in the electrical system?

I'm a little concerned with how much this might costs if it's some non-obvious part of the electrical system; it looks like I need a new cat and new 02 sensors to pass inspection this month too, and I'm starting to wonder if I should be looking into putting my money into a newer vehicle...

Thanks for your help!
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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AC housing? Gosh, that's never gotten in the way on my 2003. Right is even easier to get to than left on mine. It's thje battery that gets in the way on the left, and even that is normally manageable. I'll have to take a look at mine when it gets light tomorrow to even understand what you're describing.

Where do you live? Tell us and we just might find that one of our experienced members lives just down the street from you. Now follows a public service announcement: We do recommend that you help us help you by putting your full location in your profile and by filling out the vital details of your Forester in your signature. Year, model, transmission type ought to do it just fine. That way this will automatically show up whenever you post, and we can fine tune any advice on questions you might have in the future. And a complete location will help us recommend local sources of parts and service, and perhaps even offer to lend a hand with the big jobs. You can get to both profile and signature by pulling down Quick Links from the tan bar at the top of every page.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbottomley View Post
AC housing? Gosh, that's never gotten in the way on my 2003. Right is even easier to get to than left on mine. It's thje battery that gets in the way on the left, and even that is normally manageable. I'll have to take a look at mine when it gets light tomorrow to even understand what you're describing.
Honestly, it might not be the AC, I was just guessing based off what it
looked like; is black plastic housing, attaches via one bolt I can see,
right at the front of the car, and surely more I can't see. Very much
not a mechanic, but I'd like to do more of this sort of thing myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbottomley View Post
Where do you live? Tell us and we just might find that one of our experienced members lives just down the street from you. Now follows a public service announcement: We do recommend that you help us help you by putting your full location in your profile and by filling out the vital details of your Forester in your signature. Year, model, transmission type ought to do it just fine. That way this will automatically show up whenever you post, and we can fine tune any advice on questions you might have in the future. And a complete location will help us recommend local sources of parts and service, and perhaps even offer to lend a hand with the big jobs. You can get to both profile and signature by pulling down Quick Links from the tan bar at the top of every page.
I think I should be all set now, please let me know if I missed anything.

Thanks again!
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Old 11-11-2010, 02:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That's the air intake, AKA the snorkus. Remove one plastic clip and yank it out. Even the clip isn't necessary to get it back in place securely.

The thing to look for is ugly deformation of the 3-pin connector that plugs into the back of the H4 bulb. It's not at all uncommon. Here's a link to a picture and related discussion. I replaced mine before it got so bad as to interfere wioth current flow, but it was getting close.

Boston and Easthampton? Heck, I'd meet you half way, Subaru, the official car of New England!
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