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Old 01-09-2012, 03:19 PM   #1
tricktraxxas3
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Default 2008 WRX High Beam Problems

Hi guys, i have an odd problem with my 08 WRX. It seems that the high beams are not very bright. So, I replaced the Bulbs and they are still not bright. At this point i decides to clean up all the grounds and try again... still to no prevail. So i busted out the voltmeter to see whats going on. The battery says 13v yet at the high beam socket there is only 9v. What could be causing the voltage drop?? (supposed to be 12.8v right??) Could this possibly be the result of a bad high beam relay?
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:17 PM   #2
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There should be close to full battery voltage getting to the low or high beams except in the DRL mode but that resistor is in the return side of the circuit I believe. So if you are using chassis ground as your reference you should still see 12 volts at the connector even in the DRL mode.

The most common trouble is a bad connection at the plug for the bulb so make sure you have a good connection there. If that is ok I would then check voltage at the fuses for the lights and make it is good there. If that is ok then check the relays but since there should be two of them I doubt both would be bad at once.

Last edited by Cougar4; 01-09-2012 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:24 PM   #3
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So do the drl's use the same power / voltage as the high beams?
Also... There is 12.3v at the fuse

Last edited by tricktraxxas3; 01-09-2012 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:36 PM   #4
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They do use the same power circuit. I think the DRL lights use the low beam lamps. In the DRL mode a resistor is added on the return side of the circuit in series with the lamps to lower the brightness. I assume you measured the voltage at the fuses with the lights on and if not you need to check that again. Since you have 12 volts at the fuses (there should be one for each side)the next best check is at the relays, in my opinion. There are relays for each side also.

Last edited by Cougar4; 01-09-2012 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:40 PM   #5
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Ok...so relays are next....but it does use the high beam bulbs for drl.
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cougar4 View Post
They do use the same power circuit. I think the DRL lights use the low beam lamps.
Not in the 08's, those use the high beam bulb for the DRL.

If all else fails (or if you just give up troubleshooting) relay harness.
Then you could also upgrade the bulbs themselves (I believe there is an HIR option for high beam)
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:28 PM   #7
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It's not the bulbs that I believe are causing the problem( just replaced). I am trying to figure out why there is only 9v at the lights instead of 12 something. Wouldn't that cause the dimness I'm experiencing?

By the way, are the relays suppose to be super hard to pull out? I see the little clips on the side, but even when I opened it up, I was unable to remove the drl one.

Last edited by tricktraxxas3; 01-09-2012 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:28 PM   #8
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Now that we know the DRLs use the high beams lets assume the trouble is due to the DRL circuit. If that is correct then the low beams should have 12 volts getting to them. Have you checked that out?
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:33 PM   #9
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Ya...they are only getting 9v in both drl mode and high beam with lights on.
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:44 PM   #10
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If the low beams are getting the same low voltage as the high beams and the DRL mode then it seems that the trouble may be with the DRL circuit. If you could find the resistor and bypass it and if the lights go brighter then we have proved the DRL circuit isn't switching out like it should when the head lights are in the other modes.
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:52 PM   #11
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Just to make sure we don't have some sort of grounding problem please check the voltage using the negative battery post as your meter reference point. If you still have the same low voltage then the chassis grounding is ok.
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:55 PM   #12
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Ok...I'll have to try that. I did go though and clean up every ground I could find though.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:24 AM   #13
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What voltages do you get with your car running? It's going to be more indicative of the drops across your electrical system. At idlle, you should be have 14-14.5V at the battery.

As for brightnes... get HIRs. They're fabulous.
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:01 PM   #14
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It was 13v with it running.
I understand hir bulbs are bright... there is just not the right amount of voltage there. Also if it matters... I disconnected the Drl 's and it didn't change anything.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:10 PM   #15
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If you have verified that the voltage is still low using the negative battery post as your reference point then I suggest you check the voltage at the headlight relays next. If that is ok then there is a connection problem somewhere between the relays and the lights. It would be wise to purchase some factory wiring info to help you locate the connections. It will show where they are. Ebay is a good source for manuals.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:55 PM   #16
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There is 12v at all the headlight relays
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:48 AM   #17
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Ok. Then there is either a bad connector somewhere after the relays or the DRL circuit is causing the problem somehow. All the DRL circuits I have seen so far use the resistor in the return side of the lights so this kind of trouble shouldn't be happening in the power side if your design is the same. It also seems strange that both sides are low. To have two independent circuits be low by the same amount dosen't seem right. I assume the circuits haven't been modified at some point in time. A factory service manual is really needed at this point to see where to look for the connections to the lights after the relays.

Last edited by Cougar4; 01-11-2012 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:50 PM   #18
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Now that the drl's are disconnected, when I click on the highbeams there is no light at all. I guess the 9v I was reading was possibly just the drl's coming back on?
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:56 PM   #19
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The DRL lights and the highbeam lights are one and the same lights, correct? I guess I don't understand what you mean you disconnected the DRL lights. Are you saying you defeated the DRL circuit somehow? If that is the case then the trouble may be with the relay circuit that is used to turn on the highbeams and also bypasses the DRL resistor. That allows full power to the highbeams.

Last edited by Cougar4; 01-11-2012 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:07 PM   #20
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Yes...I disconnected the drl circut
Also checked all the plugs going into the main fuse box, all clean and none broken.
Is it possible for it to be a bad switch where the light controls enter the steering column despite the dash light working?
If it means anything, I can hear the relays clicking when I turn on the lights while the car is off.

Last edited by tricktraxxas3; 01-11-2012 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 01-11-2012, 08:46 PM   #21
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It is possible that the light switch is not making connection to the highbeam relay so the trouble could be with the switch itself. I think the switch makes a ground connection to the relay coil to activate the bypass of the DRL resistor.

It seems that there is a different design for your model. The other designs I am familiar with have the resistor in the return side of the circuit.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:37 PM   #22
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if you disabled the DRL's and now the high beams don't work at all, would that point to a failure in the high beam circuit/relay system (is the DRL system totally seperate?)

or did you disable the drl and the high beams at the same time?

you hear the relay clicking when you hit the highbeams or just the low beams?
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:22 PM   #23
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Hear the relay clicking with high and low beams. Think I have found the problem. Under the main fuse box tray, there are 2 jumper connectors in one connector and 2 jumper connectors in another. It was very corroded and I am surprised that anything else even worked. I took them apart and cleaned them but one of the wires was broken and so was one of the prongs in a connector. I am going to go to the local dealer and see if I can get a new connector. Hopefully they have one/can get one or I'll have to try and solder the one that broke.
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:07 AM   #24
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I'm sure you have located the trouble. If you can't fix up the original fuse connections you could just install some new fuse holders and splice them into the original wiring.
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Old 01-13-2012, 03:03 PM   #25
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It in fact was the problem. Subaru said that the connector that was messed up is a non replaceable part so I had my dad (great at soldering) solder the broken pin back in and now it works 100%!!! I wish I had thought to take a picture when I discovered the connector because it was so corroded... it amazes me that anything was working before.
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