Subaru Forester Owners Forum

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-   -   Headlight not working on low beam (http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f85/headlight-not-working-low-beam-41079/)

ccrew 09-27-2008 12:21 PM

Headlight not working on low beam
 
Hello
The drivers side headlight won't work on low beam but will work on High beam. There is a hole in the outer casing and my husband thought moisture could make it not work, but if this was the case then why would the high beam work. (Both work on the passenger side).
Any ideas? I dread driving at night , as other drivers don't seen to appreciate the High Beams being on. :(
Also having trouble getting sensors in Canada, (even through Subaru)
Thanks, ccrew

bbottomley 09-27-2008 12:33 PM

Headlights have changed a bit over the years, so we do need to know your model year. Offhand the most likely reason sounds like a burned out filament in the common dual filament H4 bulbs. It could also be a break in the low beam wiring on that side, possibly due to a melted socket. This situation is also not that unusual.

H4s can be identified by three terminals coming out the back. If that's what you have, then start by disconnecting the socket. If it looks good (not melted), then remove the bulb by manipulating the clip that holds it in place. Look for filament damage. If none is apparent, then try a swap with the bulb on the other side.

You will probably have to remove the air box to get at the passenger side bulb. The one on the driver side should be accessible without removing the battery unless you've got really fat hands!

Don't touch the glass part of the bulb as you can leave skin oil which might ultimately cause the bulb to break when hot. If you do accidentally touch it, then clean it with alcohol.

ccrew 09-28-2008 07:21 AM

Model and make
 
bbottomly
Thanks for your reply, I will relay the info to my husband. The make and model is a 1998 Forrester "S" does this change the info. that you gave?
So you don't think that the hole in the outer fixture has any baring on the light not working?
Thanks again I really appreciate your knowledge and assistance
ccrew

bbottomley 09-28-2008 07:42 AM

The Sylvania Lamp Replacement Guide says that your year Forester does indeed use the three-terminal H4 bulb. I've never worked with the pre-2003 ("SF" model) Foresters, so I'm not sure of the exact mechanical configuration of things. But I think my advice regarding where to look and what to do would still be pretty accurate.

A hole in the outer fixture is not a good thing, but I wouldn't suspect it as the primary cause of your problem. It could be, however, that it allowed moisture to enter which worked its way around to the back and corroded one of the terminals. It ought to be fixed regardless (after making sure that everything is dry inside), but I'd suspect the bulb itself as the most likely cause of your problem.

El Sid 09-28-2008 07:59 AM

I don't have the same model as you so I referenced three sources that verified that you are using a dual filament bulb. This means that there are two separate light 'sources' inside the same bulb - and it is possible for one to burn out and the other to stay intact.
Also, the bulb is separate from the lamp and will burn with a hole in the lens or reflector of the lamp. While I can't say for certain that the bulb is your problem, it is the likely culprit and common for it to need replacement after 10 years.
Your car takes a very common bulb that now has three names - but they will all fit. H-4/HB2/9003 are the ones that fit your car. Here's a link to learn more - http://candlepowerinc.com/pdfs/H4_9003.pdf

I also recommend staying away from 'blue' bulbs or overwattage bulbs. Replace both sides if they really are 10 years old. Just saving you trouble there and older bulbs lose light output anyway.

Cheers!
El Sid

ccrew 09-28-2008 11:25 AM

bbottomly El sid
 
Thanks guys but I have replaced the bulb, still not working sorry forgot to mention that.
The old one that was in it was blue.
I will pass on all info that you provide, and Thanks again for taking the time
ccrew

El Sid 09-28-2008 02:35 PM

Well, if you've got low beam power to one side, then at least the switches and relay are working. You could get out the multi-meter and find the bad connection and/or ground out. It may be easier to just rewire them after the relay with a new relay and dedicated power supply. Check the headlamp socket terminals first as they may be corroded, broken or melted.

El Sid

ferret 09-28-2008 02:44 PM

Does it really work on High beam, or is it 'dim' on High?

If it's off on Low, and dim on High, check the left headlight fuse in the fuse box under the hood.

If it is out on low, and bright on high, then you have an open between the Dim switch on the stalk and the bulb. Either a broken wire, or defective connector. I would just run a wire from the passenger side to the driver side in that case.

bbottomley 09-28-2008 03:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El Sid (Post 464536)
Well, if you've got low beam power to one side, then at least the switches and relay are working. You could get out the multi-meter and find the bad connection and/or ground out. It may be easier to just rewire them after the relay with a new relay and dedicated power supply. Check the headlamp socket terminals first as they may be corroded, broken or melted.

El Sid

Yes! The way the headlights work is that each side gets its power through a separate fuse that feeds the common terminal on its bulb. Then high or low are selected by grounding the bulb's high or low terminal. Highs of both sides are connected together before the switch or relay that controls them, as are lows.

There's a diagram of this here. Some of the detail might be different on your model, but the principle is the same.

Bottom line of all of this is that if the low is working on the driver side, then all the control circuitry is OK. Something must be bad in the connection between the passenger side low terminal and its mate on the other side. It could be a bad connector at the back of the light, a bad connection somewhere in between, or a bad wire. Easiest fix, assuming a good connector, would be to run your own wire (14 gauge or larger, larger = smaller number) over to the corresponding wire on the other side.

I see that my friend Ferret jumped in while I was composing this, and said about the same thing in lots fewer words!

Yes, "Is it dim, not out?" is an important question. That's the subject of the link I included above.

If the connector is melted, see here.

It's also just possible that your replacement bulb was bad in the same way. Murphy's Law prevails!

ccrew 09-29-2008 12:42 PM

bbottomly, ferret
 
Hi Guys and Thanks again

OK this isn't correct.....
Bottom line of all of this is that if the low is working on the driver side, then all the control circuitry is OK.

The drivers side is not working on low just on hi beam
Still trying to sort all this out
ccrew

bbottomley 09-29-2008 06:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ccrew (Post 464976)
Hi Guys and Thanks again

OK this isn't correct.....
Bottom line of all of this is that if the low is working on the driver side, then all the control circuitry is OK.

The drivers side is not working on low just on hi beam
Still trying to sort all this out
ccrew

"All the control circuitry" means the switches, relays, etc. They must be working because they make the passenger side work correctly. It's the exact same stuff that controls both sides. The only thing left beyond that point is one wire that connects both highs in parallel and another one that connects both lows. Everything else is common to both sides, and it works.

Rob 09-30-2008 05:32 AM

WHat do the headlight connectors look like? I just had to change them on my 2002 because the drivers side was melted and the light would only work on hi beam. Pull it off the bulb and look the the top, horizontal terminal, it is probably burnt or corroded.

mtremain 10-01-2008 03:59 PM

Both low beams out suddenly
 
I have a 2000 Subaru Forester. Both of my low beams went out abruptly night before last. I think they went out at the same time. High beams, fog lights, running lights, turn signals all work. I checked the fuses and they look OK. Seems odd that both bulbs would go out at same time.

Any suggestions?

I had to have my battery jumped the day before if that might be related. Since it was daylight I don't know whether the lights worked after, however, I didn't notice the lights were out until I was nearly home of the following evening. I noticed they were out very suddenly and dramatically so I believe they had been working up until that time.

INSubbie 10-02-2008 12:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mtremain (Post 466176)
I have a 2000 Subaru Forester. Both of my low beams went out abruptly night before last. I think they went out at the same time. High beams, fog lights, running lights, turn signals all work. I checked the fuses and they look OK. Seems odd that both bulbs would go out at same time.

Any suggestions?

I had to have my battery jumped the day before if that might be related. Since it was daylight I don't know whether the lights worked after, however, I didn't notice the lights were out until I was nearly home of the following evening. I noticed they were out very suddenly and dramatically so I believe they had been working up until that time.

Check the head lamp relay?

ccrew 10-03-2008 09:02 AM

Thanks Rob and bbottomly, we are taking to the mechanic that sold it to us today, I will bring your insight. He isn't experienced in Subaru's but this should be rather relative to other head lights I would think....
ccrew


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