Subaru Forester Owners Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
2004 Forester
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
2004 Forester ---

Hopefully, this is an easy one.

Last night someone noticed that even though I had my lights on, the rear lights were not on. I first checked to see if my lights had actually been turned on since the front lights are always on if I am in gear.. they were. I was told that my rear brake lights are working.

A fuse, I figured, was blown.

Today I opened the fuse boxes and took a look at the diagrams. Inside the car, I checked the "Tail Clearance", the "(Rear Fog)", and the "Back" fuses. All were good. Under the hood, I couldn't decide which to pull and check, but noticed that one of the 50 AMP SBF Fuses looked like it might be blown, but a 50 AMP fuse? It seems like a bit too much for rear tail lights, and besides, i wasn't really sure the fuse I was looking at was really blown!

Which fuse should I be looking at or could there be another problem?
 

·
Registered
2007 Outback 4AT
Joined
·
111 Posts
When the main switch is turned ON (to parking or full headlight positions) are the front clearance lights and rear license plate lights on? If so, then it might not be a fuse as most Subarus use one fuse for this circuit. (Others perhaps can confirm if there is only one fuse in the 2004 Forester.)

Are you sure the rear tail light bulbs are good?
 

·
Registered
2004 Forester
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I confirmed that the lights were actually turned on. And I cannot imagine that ALL the tail lights would burn out at the same time without the fuse actually burning out.

I guess my question is "Which fuse should I check?" I checked the ones I thought might be the rear tail lights, but none of them were blown. So, if there was a blown fuse that caused them to go out, which one would it be?
 

·
Super Moderator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
Joined
·
17,887 Posts
The rears do share a common ground and that area is subject to corrosion from the elements, which could break the circuit. Though when that common point gets disconnected from ground this usually creates a sneak path that lights up a lot of lights dimly. Ground wires are black. See what you can trace from the light assembly. Try jumpering a black wire there to ground and see what happens.
 

·
Registered
2007 Outback 4AT
Joined
·
111 Posts
Can all the bulbs go out at exactly the same time? Not likely, but this is the first time someone noticed that all the lights were out. Is it possible that one was out earlier and no one noticed, or if they did, didn't mention it?
 

·
Registered
2004 Forester
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Oh, I was really hoping this is a fuse!

Last evening was the first time anyone told me that any of the rear lights were out.

I just checked again (it is now dark outside) and, sure enough, all tail lights are out (when the lights are on and the light stalk has been turned to turn them on), but the brake lights do work when the brake pedal is depressed.
 

·
Registered
2007 Outback 4AT
Joined
·
111 Posts
Perhaps I'm not understanding what you mean by "tail light". When you say "all tail lights were out" are you referring to both the licence plate illumination lights (just over the licence plate) and the lights in the red housings on the rear fenders, or just the lights in the red housings on the rear fenders?
 

·
Registered
2009 Forester XT 4EAT
Joined
·
2,302 Posts
Just a stab in the dark here :N_poke: (couldn't resist) but why not go ahead and physically take the bulb out and look at it to see if it is blown? That would answer a lot of questions and should have been one of the first things to troubleshoot.
 

·
Registered
2004 Forester
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Solved by Repair Shop

A reputable repair shop has reported (after several hours of diagnosis) that the headlight switch is faulty and must be replaced .. however, the part is not available, even at the local Subaru dealer. Delivery to the dealer is not expected for 7 to 10 days. Luckily, they tried another dealer out of the area and expect delivery tomorrow. The switch ... about $125, labor ... about the same. Hopefully, we'll get the car back tomorrow evening.
 

·
Registered
2017 Limited
Joined
·
1,018 Posts
A reputable repair shop has reported (after several hours of diagnosis) that the headlight switch is faulty and must be replaced .. however, the part is not available, even at the local Subaru dealer. Delivery to the dealer is not expected for 7 to 10 days. Luckily, they tried another dealer out of the area and expect delivery tomorrow. The switch ... about $125, labor ... about the same. Hopefully, we'll get the car back tomorrow evening.
I believe this part is called a multi-function switch. The issue you describe is the first time I've heard that problem. Most multi-switch victims (on other brand cars) describe issues with the headlights flickering. Keep us posted as to whether the fix works, or not.
 

·
Registered
2007 Outback 4AT
Joined
·
111 Posts
It seems strange to me. As far as I can tell, the switch doesn't distinguish between the front and back clearance lights. It only activates the tail and clearance light relay, which in turn sends power to the front and rear lights. So if the clearance lights at the front work, but not at the back, I wouldn't have considered the switch. But then I'm basing this on the wiring diagrams, and it's possible (although slight) that the schematic is functionally correct but not exactly the way the switch is actually set up.
 

·
Registered
2001 Forester
Joined
·
5 Posts
Coover, are the front parking lights not working as well except when you flip the rocker switch on top of the steering column?
 

·
Registered
2003 XS
Joined
·
2 Posts
I just had my rear taillights go out on my 2003 xs.
I found the fuse #5 in my owner's manual ( 10A ) behind the coin box (left driver's side near hood release) was blown.
Replaced and lights work fine.

Are you sure it's NOT the fuse, did you try taking out/in or replacing.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forrester
Joined
·
3 Posts
forester tail lights go out. Blown Fuse

The tail lights on my 2003 forester go out after driving in the rain. When I replace the #5 fuse beneath the change compartment under the steering wheel, the problem is fixed. . .until the next time I drive through heavy rain. Any suggestions on where the short is happening?
 

·
Premium Member
2015 OutBack Ltd
Joined
·
3,123 Posts
Okay, I'll take a guess or two:

1) Are your tail lamp clusters leaking water when it rains, there by shorting out the fuse?

2) Is your windshield leaking rain water into the fuse box, thereby shorting the fuse out?

3) How about a leak in the underbody harness from the pass. area to the rear lamps, allowing rain water from the road to enter and short out the wiring???

Good luck!!

Steve
 

·
Registered
2001 Forester S 4EAT
Joined
·
161 Posts
It seems strange to me. As far as I can tell, the switch doesn't distinguish between the front and back clearance lights. It only activates the tail and clearance light relay, which in turn sends power to the front and rear lights. So if the clearance lights at the front work, but not at the back, I wouldn't have considered the switch. But then I'm basing this on the wiring diagrams, and it's possible (although slight) that the schematic is functionally correct but not exactly the way the switch is actually set up.
I agree, this doesn't make any sense. Combination switches usually just has one circuit for each position (so only two for lighting positions.) I agree the wiring diagrams only show as such.

I just had my rear taillights go out on my 2003 xs.
I found the fuse #5 in my owner's manual ( 10A ) behind the coin box (left driver's side near hood release) was blown.
Replaced and lights work fine.

Are you sure it's NOT the fuse, did you try taking out/in or replacing.
You mentioned you checked the "tail clearance" fuse but it still seems like that's the most likely thing. Again, wiring diagram shows "marker and clearance lights" going to fuse #5 in the interior fuse box.
 

·
Premium Member
2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
Joined
·
8,073 Posts
The tail lights on my 2003 forester go out after driving in the rain. When I replace the #5 fuse beneath the change compartment under the steering wheel, the problem is fixed. . .until the next time I drive through heavy rain. Any suggestions on where the short is happening?
If you have a trailer hitch, also check your trailer wiring from start to finish.
I agree with good dog, If you have a hitch or the vehicle has ever had a hitch/trailer wiring check it.

It is also easy to pull the tail lights out and the back trim panels in the cabin to look at the wiring condition.
 

·
Registered
2003 Forrester
Joined
·
3 Posts
Steve:
Thanks much for your prompt reply. I discovered a tiny abrasion with a pin hole in the hot (red) wire leading into the left rear tail lamp cluster. It had been jammed between two plastic braces and was rubbing. Hopefully this will fix the problem. If it's a problem in the wiring harness I fear I'll need someone with more expertise than me to trouble shoot. Thanks again for your suggestions. Maybe it's fixed.
Bob
 

·
Registered
2003 Forrester
Joined
·
3 Posts
Forester tail lights go out. Blown fuse.

Steve:
Thanks for you prompt response. I discovered that the hot (red) wire in the left rear tail light cluster had an abrasion with a pin hole in it caused by being squeezed between two parts of the housing. It would be easy for water to hit it when driving in the rain. I taped over it and hopefully that will solve my problem. Thanks again for your suggestions.
Bob
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top