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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi first of all- awesome forum. This is the first time I haven't been able to find a solution for what I had happening to my car in 220,000 miles here!

On to the problem I just can't get solved though!

The Problem:

My turn signals are not operating properly- especially while the headlights are on.

Symptons:

Headlights On: Right turn signal on constant front and rear (not flashing)
Headlights on Right Turn Signal Activated: Four way flashers go off faintly
Headlights on left Turn Signal Activated: Left Signal Functions, Right Signal on constant.

Solutions I've Tried so Far:
New Control Arm for headlights/turn signals
New Flasher Unit
Clean Connections with Electrical Cleaner
Clean Grounds under hood with electrical Cleaner


Anyone have this issue before? Not sure where to go from here- perhaps I've missed a ground somewhere or there is a relay to replace? I've looked everywhere I could. Checked fuses, looked for loose connections. Very confusing!

Can provide more info as needed just didn't want to inundate people with meaningless stuff.

Thank you for your help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update:

Tested a few more things.

No weird voltage drops with turning the headlights on.

Ground appears to be good:
To the Flasher Unit.
To the Turn Signal Control Arm.

Also found another kind of interesting thing. When the headlights are on and the windshield wipers are on intermitent- it cases the interior lights to blink at the end of the wiper stroke. ie. the backlight on the radio blinks every time the wipers go. Could this be some sort of short something? A positive lose on the frame?

Seems like the two intermingling could lead someone with a wiser brain than mine down the right road.

help! please!
 

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Premium Member
2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,073 Posts
cruise, horn work ok?

I had the thought of a bad clock spring, but now that I think about it I don't think any thing with the turn signals is run through it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yup horn, and cruise both work fine- fog lights are also unaffected. (the horn reminds me it works every time i try to un-wedge myself from under the dash and accidentally press on it)

Also just btw the issue does effect both the front and rear lights.

Another testing update:

Both right, left, wiper, and illumination relays tested out as ok.
Trailer connection tested ok.

I do have the wiring diagram for the whole circuit- really just can't figure this one out! All the harness connections look good- everything is freshly cleaned.
I'm thinking I have to be missing something on the flasher module... is there a seperate ground to the body for that? Seems to be the only ground all these things share in common...tested ok at the harness clip though. I'll have to check it again- like I said I'm no expert.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Additional Troubleshooting

spent some more time this morning screwing around with it...

Additional Troubleshooting:

Cleaned contacts on headlights bulbs, turn signals, and harness clips on both sides. No change.

Turned car off. Turned parking lights on.

Effect: Right singals on- left signals dim (no left light on dash either)

Disconnected clip leading to parking lights on the steering column.

Effect: Tail lights no longer work with headlights on. Left turn signal flashes dimly with Right turn signal flash.




Could this be a faulty harness coming down from the steering collumn to the main harness? Running out of options here- followed the troubleshooting in the manual to a T. Anyone experience something like this before in a subbie?
 

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2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
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3,319 Posts
There was a missing piece of information in all the previous posts until now.

UNPLUG the trailer adapter in the spare tire wheel well. See if your problem changes or goes away. I suspect the trailer adapter.


BTW ............... WELCOME to our little corner of the internet ....... First post and Thread started !!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If its an aftermarket (I bought the car with 20,000k on it) I believe the hitch anyway in branded uHaul... I know there is a box for it in the right tailight well (where the plastic piece pops off for access to replace bulbs and such).

Is that the "Plug" I should be looking for?...the only clip to unplug in the spare tire well had no effect when unplugged. I don't have the schematic for this section but it looks like it leads to the plate light area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Found the harness for the trailer- unplugged...no effect. Also checked ground and connections on it everything tested out ok.

I'm leaning towards something with the parking lights. When everything else is off- the parking lights will only light up the right side of the car. Left side is very dim. Usually that would mean bad ground correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Double checked all the fuses. Everything appears to be good.

The one commonality I'm seeing here is the Tail Lights/Parking Lights. They share the same fuse and I'm assuming the same ground. Perhaps this is the ground I'm missing in my checks? Is there a relay for these?
 

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2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
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What year? It's not in your Profile or Signature?

I also suspect a broken ground wire or poor/bad connection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
2000- Sorry new to the forum. I'lll fill out my signature In a bit because you guys are super helpful here- great atmosphere.

Actually just solved the problem!

The 5 wire to 4 wire box was shorting out on itself! Removed all clips from wiring and recliped and everything is good now. Great tip on the trailer wiring- should have unclipped everything from the start.

Also did some deeper digging in the forum and someone ages back had a similar issue- also ended up beng trailer wiring shorting out on itself. Seems to be the trend with stuck on turn signals while the headlights are on.


Thanks again everyone! I'm now far more familiar with the wiring in this car than I had ever planned on!
 

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2014 Impreza Ltd CVT
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Thanks for posting your Fix for future reference/searches.
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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Thanks for posting your Fix for future reference/searches.
+++ to this. All too often we offer advice here, sometimes knowing that it will solve the problem but frequently in hopes that it just might be a step in the right direction. It's always good to get closure.

As for the trailer connector, it has reared its ugly head here a few times. There's important circuitry in it, and it does get exposed to the elements.
 

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2003 subaru forester manual
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17 Posts
hi read this last nite as had same problem on my 03 fozz was sik but read this checked trailer socket to day al rusted put new 1 on hey presto thanks to all
 

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2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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^^^ That's how it's supposed to be here! Good job.
 

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2010 Forester XT Auto
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Wondering if my problem is the same.

Actually sitting writing this at the Subaru dealer wishing I had looked into the problem sooner. Couple of weeks ago my wife brought my '10 Forester XT home with both right side indicator lights on. They would blink when using the turn signal and/or hazards but remained on all the time. Pulled every fuse imaginable and could not get them to turn off. Only way was to disconnect the battery. Drove it a few hours later and it went off by itself. Fast forward a few weeks just driving along and both come on and stay on. Park and go inside a store to come out to the cabin filled with smoke!! Started tearing apart dash after disconnecting battery to try and find source. Nothing. Cautiously drove to Subie dealer that was luckily only 3 miles away, hoping not to catch fire. Now as I'm facing $102 an hour I'm wondering if I should have tried to check all the trailer and brake control wiring I had professionally installed. Of course it is 20 degrees, snowing and I'm 200 miles from my garage, so maybe that is why I chose not to crawl around the car. I will let you guys know what I find out.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5 XPremium 4EAT
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863 Posts
I had a problem with wiring to my brake lights shorting out (moisture was getting in somehow)

Did a lot of looking round and ended up coating all my wiring and connectors in the problem area with Permatex Dielectric Grease. Never had the issue again.

A 3oz tube will last years, order from Amazon.

Amazon.com: Permatex 22058 Dielectric Tune-Up Grease, 3 oz. Tube: Automotive


It's great stuff and basically permanently waterproofs electrical connections. Lots of boat owners use it on their vessels' wiring. Highly recommend it.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5 XPremium 4EAT
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863 Posts
Yw, it is used a lot for trailer hitches so hopefully it'll work for you!
 
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