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Old 10-31-2008, 10:18 AM   #1
whtlegacy
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Default Flickering Headlights/"Clicking" Noise from Dash

I have some sort of an electrical problem. My headlights/interior night lights will flicker on and off rapidly and sometimes very briefly. This will happen when turning the lights on, switching from high beams/low beams, and sometimes using turn signals. Sometimes just touching the stalk will cause this. They rarely stay out for more than a second or so before popping back on.

Whenever the lights flicker on and off I hear a clicking from the dash. Is there some relay in there I should check? It seems to be inside the dash closer towards the passenger seat.
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Old 10-31-2008, 12:31 PM   #2
Aaron'z 2.5RS
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It's possible that the stalk on the colum has dirty contacts.. The bigger problem is I don't know how to tell you to clean them...

The clicking you hear is most likely a relay... again, i'm not 100% on what direction to take, so wait for some of our other wonderful peeps to chime in... I'm sure we can figure something out...

I would guess you put this in "electrical and lighting" as well
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:07 PM   #3
whtlegacy
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Thanks for the ideas - the clicking definitely seems like a relay. Why would it make this noise only when the lights flicker improperly and not when normally switching high/low/turn signals?

Also, interested in hearing what can be done about this...

MODS - PLEASE MOVE TO ELECTRICAL/LIGHTING
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:18 PM   #4
Aaron'z 2.5RS
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Well, a relay is signal activated, so you have the bulk of the current it's feeding on 2 terminals, then 2 more of the terminals are simply fed a low current 12v signal from say... the turn signal stalk contacts... So you have a low current switch activating a high current switch...

Well, if the stalk contacts are dirty, the signal to the relay is randomly interrupted.... when that happnes the relays switched in and out randomly both in timing and duration..

All of what you described is pointing toward the harness or contacts of the stalk.. As far as getting in and cleaning it... hard to say... I've done it on other cars with a spritz of contact cleaner at he base of the stalk, but I was also able to see the "guts" of the pivot thinggee there and was able to easily get it where needed.... Here it a little different and you might have to partly take the column apart to get there...

If you DO, do this, please, pull a battery terminal first... Contact cleaner isn't conductive, but it's CRAZY flammable so, well, you know....

Last edited by Aaron'z 2.5RS; 10-31-2008 at 08:22 PM. Reason: my speeling sukks
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:11 PM   #5
punk
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I don't know about your car, but my current STI and my '02 RS made a clicking noise as well when I turned things on/off and (in my RS) engaged certain gears. I think the clicking is normal for our cars; the flickering lights though is not so good, and I can't be of any help there
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:39 PM   #6
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You need a new combination switch. This is a commonly reported problem.
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Old 11-07-2008, 07:34 PM   #7
whtlegacy
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I was about to purchase a new combination switch but funds are pretty tight at the moment so I tried working on my original switch.

I cleaned some of the lubricant off the contacts and still had the same problems. I then did as one poster suggested and bent the 3 individual contacts for the 3 headlight positions (flash high beams - low beams - high beams). I pulled them up so they would touch the selector more positively. I now have about 100 miles of night driving on the car and NO problems with the combination switch.
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:25 PM   #8
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I have this same problem. Thanks for the tips. I have a 04 PSM WRX Wagon though. Also my foglight switch lights up but the fogs are out. I'll check the bulbs first though. I did notice my combo switch is a little touchy . I have 165k miles on my wagon :P
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Old 07-10-2009, 03:48 PM   #9
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Just a bump to this, can anyone tell me the part number for the turnsignal/headlight stalk in an 04 WRX? Or what years are compatible with it? I'm looking at them on eBay, and they're all relatively inexpensive. This problem has been plaguing me for awhile, but it's recently gotten pretty terrible. Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 07-10-2009, 06:09 PM   #10
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Update: Had time to take it apart after work. Didn't realize it was so easy. The connector was a tad greasey. I cleaned both, and now it appears to be ok. However, if anyone can answer my question on cross year compatibility, or direct me to a good reference, I would appreciate it. Thanks!
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:52 PM   #11
whtlegacy
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Hey Dresden sorry I can't help you on cross-year applications but the part number for my 04 wagon was the "light sw module" 83118FC030.

When I cleaned mine I think it worked better but I ultimately found that replacing it solved the problem more completely. I believe the part was under $50 shipped.
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:12 PM   #12
Honest Bob
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I ran into a similar issue. I have a write up on my site that will tell you how to get the switch out. Open it up and clean out the grey crap.

http://www.honest-bob.com/combo-switch-fix
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:36 PM   #13
Captain Art
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Default Same Issue

I have the same issue on my 02 WRX but it only happens when it rains outside and when I have the turn signal on. When you come out of the turn and the turn signal lever goes to the neutral position the headlights flicker between hi & low beam. I hope that cleaning out the switch will fix it. Otherwise I have not been able to find any shorts or freyed wires that would cause this issue.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:05 AM   #14
Evan_Ng
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I'm having the same problem, where did you find this item for $50?

thanks

Last edited by Evan_Ng; 08-24-2009 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:40 PM   #15
CirrusWRX
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Thanks very much to all in this thread. Our wagon started to do this about 2 weeks ago. Comes and goes, but I'm sure it's just worn out contacts as you all have described. Hoping to go the poor man's "clean em up" route using Honest Bob's writeup, but at least I know what I'll need to order if a full replacement is in order!
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Old 11-07-2010, 07:12 AM   #16
chrisjsledge
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I've had this problem since i bought the car 5 years ago. at first it worried me. but i got used to it. still does it today 50k miles later. Evertytime i switch on my headlights. (and fogs)
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Old 11-08-2010, 04:43 AM   #17
Honest Bob
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I've had a fuse under the hood (makes the cruise control not work and the four ways not to blink when setting the alarm) pop on me three times now from my bad stalk.
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Old 11-08-2010, 01:13 PM   #18
CRAZYHAWK
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On previous cars, I've sprayed RadioShack Contact Cleaner on the switch. Then, turning the switch on and off rapidly cleaned the contacts.
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Old 11-21-2010, 05:40 PM   #19
totang
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Does anyone know if a bad combination switch cause the engine to die. Just the past few weeks, whenever I use the turn signals, the engine dies on me. It starts right up after though. Now the car even dies when I put it into reverse (manual trans) Could a bad switch do this?

Thanks
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