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2004 Forester XS
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14 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I recently bought a 2004 XS Forester. Within weeks, the check engine light came on for Coolant issues. The dealer fixed the head gaskets, but offered to fix a few other things while he had the car.

The light around my ignition wasn't working. I got it back, and it works perfectly... only thing is, they took out my alarm to make it happen. Apparently, the 'aftermarket' (the manual addresses using the alarm, so I'm believing it was installed at a dealer) alarm was using the wiring for the light around the ignition. So the next item was "Wiring removed". When I complained, I was told to bring the car back, and they could re-wire the security system, but the light would not work.

A few questions; Is this true that both could not work? I do have fog lights, windshield wiper defrosters, sun roof and cruise control. Is the security/key light just too much for an 04 xs to handle at the same time? Is a mechanic completely insane for pulling out a security system just to fix a light without consulting the owner?
 

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2014 CVT
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826 Posts
the only thing that i can think is that who ever installed it just took the power from the ring light, instead of say running a new wire, i would ask why they cant run a new line
 

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Super Moderator
2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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17,894 Posts
That light is powered from an "integrated module," which is Subaru's name for a sealed piece of circuitry designed to do one or more very specific things, often quite cleverly. But the downside of these is that their specifications aren't published, so you have no way of knowing how much power you can actually get out of any of them. The safe rule of thumb if you are trying to do a mod that would take power out of one of these is to take no more power than was consumed by the original load. This means that you shouldn't add anything without first taking something of equal or greater load away.

An example is the mod that many of us have done which turns the map lights on when the dome light is on. Simply wiring all of these lights together will triple the load on the module that was originally designed to power only the dome light. We've already seen a couple of reports here which seem to say that people fried the module by doing something like this. And these things aren't cheap! So the successful versions of this particular mod have either replaced all 3 bulbs with LEDs that each draw under 10% of the current of the original bulbs, or have used transistors to actually switch the original bulbs while presenting only the load of the transistors to the module.

So, long story short: it's not wise to power anything else from the ring light around the keyhole.
 

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2004 Forester XS
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14 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
So, long story short: it's not wise to power anything else from the ring light around the keyhole.
Well its a good thing its still under the lemon law. Hopefully they'll give me more specifics on what they're doing and why.
The alarm, as it was set up when I bought it, worked fine. I even set it off without any issue.
But, would a dealer install a light in this manner? Has anyone heard of the ring light being turned off to wire an alarm by a professional or subaru dealer?
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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It puzzles me too. I would expect that it's being used as a signal and not for actual power, but it's kind of a strange signal. With the right understanding of how much current it actually draws (perhaps very, very little) it could be a benign situation to have both wired to the same place, but it's not something I'd do without a lot of analysis and investigation of alternate approaches.
 
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