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2003 Forester Automatic
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52 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just started intermittently getting the Battery and Brake lights coming on at the same time.

The weird thing is, my battery was at 12.5v after sitting overnight, and with the car running it was a little about 14v.

Does this mean it might be a dash wiring issue? Because it seems like the battery is fine and the alternator obviously must be charging it.

I will also add that the battery is probably 7 years old as well as the alternator is around 6-7 years old with 50k miles on it.

Thanks!

Edit: I should also add that by intermittently I mean that the lights come on randomly. Sometimes they stay on, then turn off part way through the drive home. Some times they are on the whole drive home, then in the morning they aren't there when it starts up. I will go days at a time without seeing them.
 

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1998 forester
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111 Posts
That happened to me on my bugeye, and it turned out to be the alternator. I had an upgraded maniacelectricmotors one for about a decade before it failed last year.

What kind of alternator do you have? I'd have your car checked out before something fully fails.
 

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2003 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter #3
@subaru3169 it’s a Napa Alternator. The lights came back on after writing this post. They had been off for a day.
I have the day off and I think I’m just going to replace it. Only about $120 for an alternator, and it might save me from getting towed on the highway.
I hope it is the alternator, and I’m not just replacing a good alternator with another.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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The weird thing is, my battery was at 12.5v after sitting overnight, and with the car running it was a little about 14v.
@norcal_not_nevada this says the battery is nearly fully charged, fully charged is 12.6V & the alternator is outputting enough to keep the battery changed.

Before you spend money on a new alternator, if it was me, I'd check all the connections. Take a look at this thread: 2003 Forester Electrical issues - voltage loss? - SOLVED!

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 

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2003 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter #5
@2.5x_sleeper I checked all the connections. Couldn’t find anything amiss. The lights were on when I took the old one out. So far no lights with the new one!
Maybe i haven’t noticed it before, but I’ve never had an alternator show signs of dying before. Every time it has just failed outright one day.
I’ll update in a few days on how it’s looking, but here’s hoping it’s fixed.
 

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2003 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter #8
Alright it’s been a couple of weeks now, and here’s the long update.

After the alternator replacement, all warning lights and such went away. Shorty after though, the car started cranking longer than usual before starting. The cranking time has only increased. Started just a couple of seconds, and I’m now up to about 6 seconds before start.

Battery voltage seemed fine, but the battery was old so I just replaced it. Figured it might seem fine but be failing under load of starting. No dice.

Tried the “leave the car in the ON position for 5-10 seconds before cranking” in case it was a fuel issue(?) but no dice there either.

Next stop replacement starter?
 

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2003 Forester Automatic
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Discussion Starter #10
@subaru3169 Yeah long cranking before starting. I didn’t have this issue until i replaced the alternator though.
It’s slowly gaining in seconds of cranking though, which is concerning.

Did you go with remanufactured or new starter?
 

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1998 forester
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@norcal_not_nevada Remanned, something from Rockauto should suffice or anything local to you like a NAPA if you need the car now.

I wouldn't be surprised if those electrical components you had issues with are original like I'm sure mine were.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
@2.5x_sleeper Yes I replaced it with a group 35 battery. “Broke it in” as well, aka drove around for a while to make sure it was fully charged. Went to work, and afterwards long cranking again.

@subaru3169 It’s working for now, so I guess I’ll pop a Rock Auto order in tonight. Hopefully it lasts until it arrives. How was your install? And tough spots during the install I should be aware of?
 

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1998 forester
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@2.5x_sleeper Yes I replaced it with a group 35 battery. “Broke it in” as well, aka drove around for a while to make sure it was fully charged. Went to work, and afterwards long cranking again.

@subaru3169 It’s working for now, so I guess I’ll pop a Rock Auto order in tonight. Hopefully it lasts until it arrives. How was your install? And tough spots during the install I should be aware of?
It wasn't too bad of an install, just the hunching over while removing and reinstalling can make you feel it when you're done.

If you know how to change a swaybar, this will be a simple install.

Btw, disconnect the battery before you start.
 

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2007 Forester Sports XT 4EAT
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Final Update:

Replaced the starter, everything is running fine again!
Thank you for updating your thread with the final solution! I changed the "Updated!" to "SOLVED!". :wink:

Looking back on your thread, it's possible you had several issues, as a failing starter should not cause a "Battery and Brake light", which indicates a failing alternator or failing battery. :confused:

Bobby...

['07 FSXT MODding Journal] ['03 X MODding Journal]
 
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