Electrical Problems - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Question Electrical Problems

My 2003 Subaru has been acting up. It started off with random dash lights coming on, check engine, ABS, etc. After taking it to my mechaninc he says my engine was fine and fixed the lighting issue. Soon after, I turned on my headlights and would hear a buzzing noise. My trip meter and gas gauge would reset whenever I tried to turn the lights on. Then I couldnt lock my doors with my remote nor can I lock them all at once from the driver's side. Most recently I was not able to move the gear from park if I had the headlights on and today when I took it to my dealer I was not able to get the key out of the ignition unless I pushed the gear further into park. Someone said it may have been an issue with the control module but a diagnostic check ruled that out. This poor mechanic at the dealer is still trying to figure out what is wrong...5 hours later! Anyone have any ideas so I can get my baby back??
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 10:37 AM
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Hmmm... my guess is a failing battery or alternator.

BTW, welcome to the forum!

Bobby...

'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Alternator? Hmmm...is that something the mechanic would have readily picked up on? Thanks for welcoming me :)
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 11:37 AM
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Bad grounds?

...AKA: "Captain Standish"
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 02:32 PM
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I am having VERY similar problems with my 2003 and it is in the shop for the 3rd time this month. Subaru still can't pinpoint the issue and it is about to drive me crazy. I love my car and it has never given me problems... until now. It has to be electrical. But is it a short? Wiring gone bad? Computer issue?

It all started with a random check engine light. Then two weeks later it popped back up. Then it was check engine and ABS. They never stayed on long. One day I started my car and my whole dash lit up (check engine, ABS, turn signals, seatbelt light, etc.), some sort of "growling/buzzing" coming from the glove compartment area and I couldn't get the car out of gear. Turned off the car, started it again and all was fine. Then a few weeks later it happened while driving. All the lights, plus my trip meter going to zero and the car saying I had a full tank of gas. The spedometer and RPM needles didn't work. After a minute of driving or so, everything seemed to reset itself. Spedometer going "0" to "40" in an instant. This happened twice before getting it to Subaru and then two more times (with about half the lights lighting up) after I got the car back and they said the battery cable was loose. Computer said the car was fine. No major codes. (tail light doesn't count )

Subaru hooked it up to a monitor and drive it over 100 miles the second time they had it. The car didn't act up with them so they couldn't find what was wrong. (Like a kid knowing they are going to the doctor, I swear...)

I get the car back and it happens again.

Now, it is in the shop and I'm worried about how extensive (and expensive!) this could possibly be.

So, if your mechanic figures it out, will you let me know? Thanks!
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellcapitan View Post
Bad grounds?
Possible, but IIRC, the grounding issues were pretty much factory fixed by the '03 model year. Still, I did do the grounding MOD in my '03. Not that it needed it, but it was cheap (had all the parts) & it was easy to do.

Bobby...

'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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KBELLE....

YES YES YES!!! This is the EXACT same thing that is happening to me!! My trip meter goes to zero, my gas gauge resets itself if I turn on the lights, I can't lock my doors with my auto-lock. I am so glad to hear that someone is having the same problem but I am bummed to hear you haven't had it fixed...ugggh. My car went into the shop today and is still there of course. I will definitely let them know this is not an isolated issue. if you hear of anything that works please let me know and I will do the same :)
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-24-2009, 07:41 AM Thread Starter
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My mechanic found the problem. It was a connector under the left kick panel that was burned out.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-24-2009, 07:51 AM
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Do you have any detail on what circuits ran through that connector?

2003 XS Premium MT >200k miles! ● 2005 Impreza 2.5 RS MT ● Robin-Subaru Powered Generator
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-24-2009, 09:12 AM
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As another '03 owner, I'd also like to know the location of this connector! Pictures would be nice.

Bobby...

'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 10:37 AM
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Thanks to mamawoxland for posting this! I was able to share this information with my Subaru dealer and they confirmed today that the "access port" was melted. They even talked to people higher up the Subaru food chain.

I was told that this port doesn't do anything, and is there for "other markets". However, when it burns out/melts, it cuts voltage to things like the computer system. Since this port doesn't "do" anything, I am going to guess that's the reason it didn't come to mind for them to check it the first two times I brought the car in.

Subaru is making a repair kit for my car. I'll have more details when I get the car back.

I will be so happy to get my car back! :)
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 10:41 AM
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^^ I'm assuming it's not the OBDII port, so where is this "accss port" located? I do recall another port that attaches to the back of the lower dash panel, is that the one you're referring to?

Bobby...

'07 FSXT - COBB Surgeline dyno Protune - Stage 1+
'03 X +AVO turbo kit = XT (son's)
'95 Neon Sport
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-28-2009, 10:47 AM
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It isn't the OBD port. They've hooked up my car to the OBD port just fine from what I understand.

I'm not sure what this other port really is, other than what they called it ("access port") and what they said (that it doesn't "do" anything). It was a very short phone call because they didn't even have price info for me.

I will make sure to ask questions when I go to Subaru to pick up the car.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-30-2009, 05:23 AM
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What was the final verdict?

Hi all,
My 2003 Forester is doing the exact same thing. My mechanic tried to tell me I must have hit my parking light switch, so I will be finding someone else to aid in my repair! What did your dealers tell you about the issue? How much did it cost to get it fixed? Is this something the company has acknowledged as a safety issue? I ask because I was driving at night when this happened and my headlights became inoperable, as well as my hazard lights! Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you fellow Subaru drivers!
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-30-2009, 08:45 AM
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Anyone had this fixed yet with a bill amount?
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