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Registered
2001 Forester S 5 MT
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304 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I discovered yesterday that the dimmer for the dash lights doesn't work anymore. I took the stalk off and checked all connections. Does anyone know the pin outs so I can check the switch?

It looks like I might have a burnt bulb just to the right of the odometer. Could that be the cause of the problem?
 

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Premium Member
2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
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3,319 Posts
There is a rheostat or variable resistor on you headlight switch stalk. This controls the 'Illumination Module' which in turn varies the amount of ground applied to the interior illumination lights ( dash board, radio, transmission indicators). Sounds like you may have a shorted illumination module which is applying ground at all times. Or you could have a defective light stalk where that rheostat is not varying the resistance.

The Illumination module is under the dashboard to the right of the glove box. Small 6 wire plug attaches to it.

Sent you a PM
 

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Registered
2001 Forester S 5 MT
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304 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Well I went to the wrecker and replaced both the turn signal stock and illumination control box and same problem. Must be a problem with a wire somewhere.
 

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Registered
1999 Forester L
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16 Posts
I've got the same problem. Everything else work - except the aftermarket stereo that someone put in - they cut all the wires and didn't use a harness. The stereo has no power when the car shuts off and the memory erases everything. I think I'll fix that at some point but not really a priority.

More importantly, does anyone out there have some other solutions for the dashboard dimming?
Is there a way to troubleshoot the illumination control module?
 

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Registered
2001 Forester S 5 MT
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304 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I've had no luck finding the problem. I have traced the illunimation wire (orange or orange/black - can't remeber) from the module back to the firewall - no shorts I can see. So I've just learned to live with it.
 

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Premium Member
2007 Sport XT
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1,130 Posts
I've had no luck finding the problem. I have traced the illunimation wire (orange or orange/black - can't remeber) from the module back to the firewall - no shorts I can see. So I've just learned to live with it.
I doubt it's a short: shorts cause blown fuses (or fires). I assume by can't dim, you mean they are on full brightness? Do you have an after-market stereo in there? A burned out bulb may well cause the others, when dimmed, to run brighter than normal due to the reduced load. If you've got an after-market stereo which is also not drawing the factory one's illumination current, that would increases the effect.
 

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2001 Forester S 5 MT
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304 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I do have an aftermarket stereo. I tried unplugging the stereo (it uses LED lights) and the illumination module and I still can't dim the dash lights. From what I understand the dimming is done by controlling the ground. So if there is a "short" in the wire, the dash lights will receive full power.

Check the original thread: http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f77/light-dimmer-not-working-23258/

I thought maybe one of dash lights is burnt out but they all work (or seem to).
 

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Administrator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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18,954 Posts
Here are a few isolation things you could try.

Disconnect the plug to the rheostat. (I assume there is a plug there.) Put an ohmmeter across the disconnected rheostat and see if it actually works. No ohmmeter? Buy a digital multimeter at Harbor Freight for less than $5. Everybody ought to have one or more of these. I own many!

With the rheostat still disconnected, turn the lights on. Do they light? If so, then look for a short to ground on the light side of the rheostat. If not, look for a short to ground on the controller side (or worse, a bad controller). If you can get to the controller and disconnect the cable coming into it, you could further isolate the problem to the controller or the cable between there and the rheostat.​

The second suggestion assumes your statement that the controller is indeed on the low side of the circuit.
 

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2001 Forester S 5 MT
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304 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I did try a replacement rherostat from the wrecker with no success. As well I have tried 3 illumination modules from the wrecker with no luck. Soooooo I'm not sure what my next step will be.
 
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