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2004 Forester XT
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I was trying to perform a wiring upgrade to use relays and power from the battery for the low and high beams. I wired the low and hi beam wiring harness the same way. After installing it, I tested the low beam with the car in the acc. position and it worked fine. Then when I went to test the high beam the high beam came on but the radio muted(?) and the ABS light came on.

I took the key out and checked all the fuses visually and with a multimeter. I also disconnected the ground for 5 minutes just to see if anything would change. After finding nothing I reverted my wiring harness completely. Now when I put the key to the Acc. positition the abs light is faintly on in the background and the radio is off. If I try to turn it over, I hear a bunch of clicking sounds and all the lights in the car(dash/Radio/switches,etc) all flick off and on qucikly.

So basically I can't drive my car now. :icon_frown:

If anyone could try pointing me in the right direction it would be much appreciated. Ia m willing to test out whatever I can since I really need to be able to drive my car.
 

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2004 Forester XT
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
It seems pretty good, I could put it on a charger it if needed, although it isn't acting the same way it would when it just doesn't have enough power. It is acting quite weird. I noticed the Hvac system is not getting any power either.

My best guess is that I have fried a relay or something worse.
 

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2014 CVT
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824 Posts
whats the batt voltage? as you said check your relays, and check for any melted wires that are shorting out, or anything like that
 

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2004 Forester XT
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Voltage is currently readin 12.2v across the battery terminals.

I had left the ground off the battery when I came to write this, so when I went back out I connected it back up and tried starting it again here is exactly what happens.

With key in the ignition, door chime(door is open) and radio turns on

When I turn the key to the acc. position(but don't try starting it) all the lights come on, on the dash and they all start going away except for the ABS.

When I try cranking it, it now makes one click under the dash and that is it.

I also tried hooking it up to a battery charger just in case. I set it on start mode( kinda like a boost) the only thing different when I tried to start it is all the light where a bit brighter, but still nothing happened.

So no mre clicking just the one clcik which I am guessing is an ignition relay or something.


How can I go about testing out relays and which relays should I be testing. None of the relays in the engine bay seem to be related to this issue. But the ones under the dash aren't labelled. Anyway to figure out which one is which.
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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Horrible symptoms!

Can you tell us exactly how you wired things? This would help in trying to trace out what happened. Without that we're just groping.

Meanwhile I've e-mailed you (at the address registered with us here) the power supply routing diagram for the 2003. It should be very close if not the same as on your 2004.

Did you ever resolve the setup on that 5-pronged relay you bought?
 

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2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,138 Posts
Sounds like a short going reverse feed somewhere. Pull the fuse to the headlights and then if no problem replace and go to others.. I am strictly swinging in the dark.
 

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2004 Forester XT
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the help everyone. I found a breakdown of what the 6 relays that are beside the fuse box and pulled the foglight one, since I wasn't using it and tried placing it in the ignition relay spot but had no luck. So I tried it in the m/t starter interlock and eureka, it all works.

So nw I at least have a car that can drive. Now I don't have to worry about how I am getting to work tomorrow.

bbbottomely, I figured out the 5 prong relays and they are as I thought. The two prong 87 and 87a are both on at the same time when the relays switches.

Now I just need to figure out where I went wrong with the hi beams wiring harness. Could the fact that the fogs are somewhat intergrated have anything to do with it?


Thanks again everyone for the quick replys.
 

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Good news. Tell us more about how you wired it.

Thanks for the info about the relay. I'll add that factoid to my relay tutorial so that other folks won't get the same surprise. It sure looks like they mislabeled that 87a terminal, since both of those NO ones should be called 87 as in the catalog picture you sent.
 

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2001 Forester
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1,140 Posts
You folks are geniuses. Electricity scares me. And this entire thread sounds like gibberish lol. I'm going to go to somewhere where I'm helpful now.:discomonkey:
 

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2004 Forester XT
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Sorry for the delay in replying.

I have done a rough sketch(my drawing skills are very poor) to help explain how I wired the lights.

The reason I was planning on doing a heavy duty wiring harness is because I have already had to modify the factory wiring. I am in the process of finishing up my 04 to 08 sport front end conversion. I am pretty much finished up but just want to get thru a few finishing touches before I create a post on the whole process.

So first I had to convert from the 04 single bulb setup to the 08 dual bulb setup. I basically cut the factory wiring with approx 6" to spare on the headlight side of things. I then used a 4 prong trailer connection to make the connection from the new bulb configuration to the old configuration. This was not too difficult to do since the headlights already had there own wiring harness with it and I could not use that wiring harness to plug into my 04 setup.

With the 4 prong wiring connections already in place it made it very easy to place an upgraded wiring harness in between . So basically I used more 4 prong trailer connection and made the harness as shown below to connect into the factory wiring. I only did this for the driver side, since I don't need a signal from both lights. On the passenger side light I capped the unused portion(factory wiring) with a 4 prong connection w/ snipped wires and coated the cut wire end of it with brush on electrical tape.

So once I had the warnesses made and installed I went to test them out. They worked fine on the low beam. But when I turned on the hi beam, the problems started. The rest of the story is in the posts previous to this.

I no longer have the HD wiring harness in place and I am just using the factory wires as descibed before making the heavy duty wiring harness.



So now I am scared to try fiddling with it any further because I don't want to fry anymore relays or something even more importnant ( and expensive).

Any suggestions on why the hi beam might be frying the relay?
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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It's great that you were able to return to stock and make the Forester work!

Are you absolutely super duper sure that you were connected to the proper terminals on the high beam relay? Circuitry could sure get fried if the wires intended for the coil went in stead to that 87/87a pair.

Did you do anything to the DRL circuitry?

Confirm the way you connected to the 3 wires that fed the stock H4 socket.
 

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Sorry for the delay in replying.

I have done a rough sketch(my drawing skills are very poor) to help explain how I wired the lights.

The reason I was planning on doing a heavy duty wiring harness is because I have already had to modify the factory wiring. I am in the process of finishing up my 04 to 08 sport front end conversion. I am pretty much finished up but just want to get thru a few finishing touches before I create a post on the whole process.

So first I had to convert from the 04 single bulb setup to the 08 dual bulb setup. I basically cut the factory wiring with approx 6" to spare on the headlight side of things. I then used a 4 prong trailer connection to make the connection from the new bulb configuration to the old configuration. This was not too difficult to do since the headlights already had there own wiring harness with it and I could not use that wiring harness to plug into my 04 setup.

With the 4 prong wiring connections already in place it made it very easy to place an upgraded wiring harness in between . So basically I used more 4 prong trailer connection and made the harness as shown below to connect into the factory wiring. I only did this for the driver side, since I don't need a signal from both lights. On the passenger side light I capped the unused portion(factory wiring) with a 4 prong connection w/ snipped wires and coated the cut wire end of it with brush on electrical tape.

So once I had the warnesses made and installed I went to test them out. They worked fine on the low beam. But when I turned on the hi beam, the problems started. The rest of the story is in the posts previous to this.

I no longer have the HD wiring harness in place and I am just using the factory wires as descibed before making the heavy duty wiring harness.

So now I am scared to try fiddling with it any further because I don't want to fry anymore relays or something even more importnant ( and expensive).

Any suggestions on why the hi beam might be frying the relay?
I'm looking at this diagram, and I think you might have to add a resistor to one wire for each of the "Subaru Low Beam Wiring" and "Subaru High Beam Wiring" pairs. I'm not too adept on different relays (although I have used them before), but they may require you to limit the current yourself. Without that, there's probably a ridiculous amount of current running through the relays, and also the wiring in the car (very bad!). The headlights have a natural resistance which limits current, so you should try to match that.

If you use an ohmmeter (i.e. multimeter set on ohms), you can find the resistance of the headlights by just contacting the terminals (Make sure the headlights are disconnected from the car's wiring or your reading may be invalid). Note that the resistance may be different between the low and high beams. Then find a couple of resistors that match the resistance and put one in the line for each the high beams and low beams (read: solder in place). Look for an electronics store near you, i.e. a Fry's or Radio Shack (You won't find resistors at Best Buy!).
Also, make sure that both the resistors and the relay can handle the power/current going through them. (For the resistor, it's probably rated for power: P = V^2/R, i.e. power = 144/resistance. For the relay, it'll probably have a current rating: I = V/R, i.e. current = 12/resistance.)
One more note: Feel free to use electrical tape or shrink tubes to insulate the wire, but don't cover the resistor portion itself. It needs to be able to shed heat, and at these current levels it might be a lot.

Hope this all helps!
 

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2004 Forester XT
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Discussion Starter #14
bbottomley - I haven't had much of a chance to go check the wiring. I am fairly certain I wired it properly but I will have to double check. I made the low beam wiring and the high beam harness identical. I will double check I didn't cross a wire somewhere though. I am glad I used different color wires now though since, I have heat shrinked all the wires in the harness. I didn't change anything about the DRLs but one thing I can say is that I always have my headlights switched to the on position. I will have to confirm the colors I used coming from the H4 socket. I know that I intented to split the positive signal to each and use the seperate switched ground wires to go to low and hi. I will have to double check that I did it right.

I do know that at least the low beams were working great the problem only occured when using high beams.

themathguy - I was wondering something similar myself. If the relay is less resistance than the bulb(which I guess it is), would that not mean that the M/T starter interlock relay may end up seeing more power and possibly fry it. Especially during that split second when the low beam is turning off and the high beam is turning on.

I will try this out and see what I come up with. I have already used heat shrink tubes on the harness, and also protected them with split wire loom.Is there someway I should be protecting the resistor or should I just level it exposed? Would it be okay to leave the resistor in the split loom or should it be out of the loom as well?

Thanks for the comments everyone, I appreciate the help in trying to figure this out.
 

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A 12 volt relay will do fine on 12 volts. There's nothing there that could push excessive current through it. Adding a resistor in series would simply eat up voltage to the point that there might not be enough left over to power the relay.

The relay has more resistance than the headlight. Its current is measured in tenths of an amp vs many amps for the lights.
 

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There is a situation that could occur involving the high beams, but it shouldn't cause the problems you've been seeing. Our guy Ferret is the expert on it, and it's been discussed in other threads here. Apparently there is a current path through the high beam filament that is associated with a relay that controls the fog lights. It depends on the low-resistance path afforded by the high beam filament to get enough current to activate itself. If you don't have that path there any more and just have your new high beam relay, the fog light relay won't work. Ferret recommends putting a resistor in parallel with the high beam relay, not to limit current but to increase it to the point that the fog light relay works.

But that problem is down the street from where you are now.

When I finally do the job on my Forester I'm bypassing all the stock wiring, high beam, low beam, and fog, keeping only DRL (which I like). I have not yet done the analysis and experimentatin to decide exactly how I'll wire it all.
 

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2004 Forester XT
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96 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
bbottomley - I just confirmed what you said about the light vs the relay. Maybe I did it wrong , like I said I am not electrical expert. I measured the resistance of the bulb with no wires connected and it was 2 ohms ?? Then I measured the resistance of the relay and is was 78ohms. Not sure if the bulb should be 2 ohms but either way I had them both set on the same mode when testing.

Since the inital problem I have used the foglight relay in place of the m/t starter interlock relay and also removed the factory foglight fuse(no factory fogs anymore). Maybe this will help, I am almost tempted to test it out again without those two items in place.

I have another relay on order for my local subaru dealer but they go for $20 a piece here. It sounds like you guys might get them for cheaper in the US, since I read somewhere that someone said it as $8 for the relay. I don't feel like blowing $20 every time I test out the high beams.

I guess it is time to confirm all my wiring.
 

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2004 Forester XT
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Discussion Starter #18
When I finally do the job on my Forester I'm bypassing all the stock wiring, high beam, low beam, and fog, keeping only DRL (which I like). I have not yet done the analysis and experimentatin to decide exactly how I'll wire it all.

So is your intent to run your upgrade relays in place of the factory relays and then redo the wiring?

Should I consider removing the factory relays and wiring my relay to where the factory relay was?

In my scenario it was much easier to use the factory wiring to turn on my relay since I had to use custom connections to convert from single bulb to dual bulb anyway.
 

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I'm not deep enough into the planning to take a chance on describing things here yet. Too high a possibility of foot in mouth! I'll wait till I get the job done!

I expect that it will end up pretty much like what you have, plus bypassing the factory wiring for the fog lights as well. All the stock wiring is extremely flimsy, and there's a lot of power being turned into heat there. We lose over 2 volts in the high beam circuitry.
 

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2004 Forester XT
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Discussion Starter #20
Well I will keep plugging away with it and hopefully be able to pick your brain if i have any questions. I will update this thread with any progress or lack there of.

All I know for certain is that the low beam worked, but tht high beam may be more complex or I have my wiring wrong.

Once I get this issue solved I plan on running wiring for driving lights as well as fog lights. I think this shall be less complex since I will not be tying into any factory wires, Althoug I am planning on using factory switches for the switches. Likely the factory fog switch for the fogs and a fog light switch painted black for the driving lights. I don't plan on having any limitation for when my fogs or driving lights can come on, other than the ignition being on.
 
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