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Old 02-17-2004, 08:42 PM   #1
Geoffman72
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Member#: 27891
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Rochester, NY
Vehicle:
2001 Impreza 2.5 RS
Blue Ridge Pearl

Default 96 Legacy Outback electrical gremlins

Hi all,
The car in question has the 2.5 auto drivetrain in case it matters.

My girlfriend and I went out to take it somewhere earlier, starts up just fine, and after about 2 miles she notices the brake light and battery lights were on. I told her to test the brakes to make sure they didnt feel any less responsive and they were fine.

After pulling over, we shut it off and try to restart it where it only turns over very slowly and doesnt start. I jump under the hood, notice the battery terminals are corroded to hell, jiggle them, and tell her to try starting it again. Its slow, but it fires so we take it back to her place.

On the way, the ABS light comes on and the speedo and tach are now very sporadic. The car revs up fine and drives fine though minus the starting and gauge cluster issues.

I've currently cleaned the terminals and the battery is still dead so, soon as I get a jump I'll see if it fixed it. If not, does anyone have any ideas?


I swear, the car is jealous that I'm buying an 01 2.5 RS on Saturday!
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Old 02-17-2004, 10:37 PM   #2
Mulder
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Chapter/Region: Tri-State
Location: NYC
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02 WRX
15 WRX/05 GTO

Default

It sounds like the battery is shot and the resulting low system voltage is causing your dash warning lights and gauges to be erratic. You can try charging the battery with an external charger to see if it comes back, also if it's the OEM type with removable cell caps check the water level in each cell. They should all be full and at equal levels, if any individual cells are much lower than the others it indicates a probable bad cell. You can get a cheap battery tester (hydrometer) at the parts store to check the actual state of charge in the battery cell-by-cell.
Or, you can just go buy a new battery.
Make sure the terminals are thoroughly cleaned and that the wire ends haven't corroded. Once the battery, old or new, is reinstalled the terminals can be coated with grease or petroleum jelly to prevent future corrosion.
With a known good battery in the car, check the voltage with the engine running to be sure the alternator is working properly. A bad alternator can also cause the problems you experienced with the lights and gauges, if one or more diodes are open and the output becomes electrically "dirty". If the voltage is in the normal range but you still have the same problems the alternator may need to be checked at a shop and replaced if necessary.
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Old 02-18-2004, 12:03 PM   #3
Geoffman72
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Rochester, NY
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2001 Impreza 2.5 RS
Blue Ridge Pearl

Default

Its definitely the alternator. We jumped it, gave it a good 10 min to charge with the other car still connected and the Outback running as well, and soon as we unhooked the other car the lights came back on and the car started running rougher.
I turned the headlights on to see how bright they were and that just flat out killed the engine.

So its being towed to Van Bortel Subaru to have the alt replaced to the tune of $160 including labor.

I just hope the gauges messing up isnt some other problem.
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Old 02-18-2004, 07:12 PM   #4
outback_97
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: salt lake city, ut
Vehicle:
0897 OUTBACKS
and 2003 TS wagon

OMGHi2U

Alternator should be covered by a recall, IIRC.

Mine was replaced free of charge ('97 OB) and when it went out, *exactly* the same lights (brake and battery) lit up.

Your local Subie dealer may have the info, but if they don't, try calling 1-800-SUBARU3 with your VIN handy, don't pay for it if you don't have to. I'm pretty sure the recall should apply to you.

Steve
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Old 02-19-2004, 07:03 PM   #5
outback_97
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0897 OUTBACKS
and 2003 TS wagon

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update?

Steve
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Old 02-19-2004, 09:47 PM   #6
Geoffman72
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2001 Impreza 2.5 RS
Blue Ridge Pearl

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Looks like only 97 and up are covered.

Still the thought counts.
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Old 02-20-2004, 12:04 PM   #7
outback_97
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: salt lake city, ut
Vehicle:
0897 OUTBACKS
and 2003 TS wagon

Default

FWIW, some '96's *were* included, but if they ran your VIN and yours is out of the range of included VIN's, then I guess it's not covered.

From www.nhtsa.gov:

Recall Date : May 12, 2000
TYPE : VEHICLE
BUILD DATES : March 1, 1996 - May 31, 1997
MAKE : SUBARU
MODEL : LEGACY


Make : SUBARU Model : LEGACY Year : 1996
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number : 00I002000 Recall Date : MAY 12, 2000
Component: ELECTRICAL SYSTEM:ALTERNATOR/GENERATOR/REGULATOR
Potential Number Of Units Affected : 223520
Summary:
THIS IS NOT A SAFETY RECALL...

(removed text to comply with <1500 character limit).

Consequence:
IF THE ALTERNATOR FAILS, THE ALTERNATOR WARNING TELLTALE WILL ALERT THE DRIVER TO THE PROBLEM, GIVING AMPLE OPPORTUNITY TO SEEK REPAIR BEFORE A LOSS OF BATTERY POWER, WHICH, IF THE WARNING WERE IGNORED, COULD ULTIMATELY RESULT IN A LOSS OF VEHICLE POWER (ENGINE STALL).
Remedy:
DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE ALTERNATOR WITH A MODIFIED ALTERNATOR. OWNERS WILL ALSO BE CAUTIONED THAT, SHOULD THE ALTERNATOR TELLTALE WARNING LAMP ILLUMINATE, THEY MUST SEEK IMMEDIATE REPAIR TO AVOID THE EVENTUAL LOSS OF ELECTRICAL POWER, WHICH COULD RESULT IN AN ENGINE STALL.
Notes:
SUBARU HAS DECIDED TO CONDUCT A SERVICE PROGRAM TO REPLACE THE ALTERNATOR. THIS REPLACEMENT CAMPAIGN WILL BE CONDUCTED IN PHASES. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN NOVEMBER 15, 2000. OWNERS CAN CONTACT SUBARU AT 1-800-782-2783, CONCERNING THIS PROGRAM.

Steve
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Old 02-23-2004, 08:57 PM   #8
Geoffman72
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Rochester, NY
Vehicle:
2001 Impreza 2.5 RS
Blue Ridge Pearl

Default

To give final word on this, the alternator has been replaced and all electrical systems are brighter than they have been in years!
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