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2010 Forester 2.5X Premiu 4 speed automatic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The red dashboard backlights (radio controls, temperature, fan, vent controls, cabin dimmer controls, gear shift controls, and that little blue LED above the rear view mirror) do not come on when I turn the headlights on. The little green headlight indicator also does not come on. The blue high beam indicator does come on. However the headlights do come on, and all the indicators on the instrument panel (speedometer, tach, etc.) do come on.

The car is a 2010 Forester 2.5X Premium with the all weather package. It has just turned 1,900 miles. I plan on keeping this car for at least 10 years (my ’99 Forester lasted just over 11 years and 228,400 miles.) I told the dealer that surely over that time I will be driving at night and in the rain. I also told them that this situation is unacceptable in any car, let alone one with less than 2,000 miles.

I first noticed this the last two mornings when I turned on the headlights. The car had been sitting out in the rain during thunderstorms both nights. Yesterday after letting the car sit in the garage at work for two hours all the dashboard backlights and the green headlight indicator came on as they are supposed to. The rain had stopped that morning and throughout the day all the internal lights worked as they should.

This morning after another thunderstorm last night the same problem with the dashboard backlighting happened again. I took the car into the dealership with the backlights still not working. They said they had never seen nor heard of this problem and that they could find no tech bulletin on it. After about an hour and half the manager came out and said they tested the everything and found no problems. He also said that the backlights had just started to work again.

They said they called SOA for technical assistance and as of this evening we are waiting to hear back from SOA.

Has anyone experienced this problem? Does anyone have a suggested fix or diagnosis? I’ll even consider a WAG, as the dealership has no idea of what the problem or fix may be.
 

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Registered
2010 Forester 2.5X Premiu 4 speed automatic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Not just after rain

Well the problem does not seem to be related to rain.

Yesterday I started up and the red dashboard backlights and the green headlight indicator worked. There was no rain the night before, but there was condensation on the car from the high humidity we've been having. After driving for about 20 minutes I turned on the headlights to test the dashboard backlights. While the headlights came on, the red dashboard backlights and the headlights indicator light did not come on. I got to work and tested again and the backlights and headlight indicator lights still did not work.

When I went left work about six hours later the dashboard backlights and headlight indicator lights worked, and I turned them off. When I got home about 45 minutes later I turned on the headlights to check the dashboard lights and the headlight indicator light and they did not work.

I've thought of every variable I could remember related to the problem showing up (rain, car washes, dew, driving time, etc.) and nothing seems to present a cause and effect. It seems totally a random occurrence.

I am at a loss about what to do to diagnose the problem. Any other suggestions?
 

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Registered
2010 Forester 2.5X Premiu 4 speed automatic
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Problem appears to be solved

Third time at the dealer may have been the charm. I had been researching Iowa's Lemon Law, and asked the dealer for copies of all service records and diagnosis of the problems in order to start compiling my record.

They did a "wiggle" test of all the connections in the dimmer unit, tail/illumination relay, and integrated unit. They found that the inner blue connector of the integrated unit had not been locked into the unit and it was intermittently open resulting precisely in the problems I had described. They reattached the unit and it seems to have solved the problem.:woohoo:
 
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