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rear hatch wiring issue>97 impreza outback


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18 replies to this topic

#1 gratefuldude

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 04:47 PM

Ok, stats:
No rear defrost
No 3rd brake light
No rear wiper motor.

Those 3, all part of the hatch, do not work.
Everything up front checks good, fuses/relays/wiring
I trace it to a single blue 12v5b-1t 5 prong relay underneath the passenger side tail light(inside)
Turn the rear wiper on, single click, then nothing.

Pulled the relay, appears to be ok, dont have specific ratings to test this one out at, never seen one like it before.

So, I am curious,
Anyone have this thing happen before? If so, how did you solve it? Am I on the right track with this relay....?
From what I gather this is the rear wiper relay, however, would it also wipe out defrost and 3rd brake?
any info would be greatly appreciated!

#2 nipper

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 05:26 PM

Broken wire harness leading to the hatch.


nipper

#3 valvestem

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 05:41 PM

Yup, I'd look for a broken wire in the bundle going into the hatch from the car body where it flexes all the time. If there is one of those rubber accordians, it might be inside there.

#4 grossgary

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 06:02 PM

pop the hatch, you'll see on the passengers side upper corner a rubber hose connecting hatch to body. inside of there you'll find cut wires. they need repaired. not much room to work with and it's annoying how many wires there are, so if you don't feel comfortable doing it get someone to fix it for you. you'll likely have quite a few cut or with bare metal showing.

#5 gratefuldude

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 06:12 PM

pop the hatch, you'll see on the passengers side upper corner a rubber hose connecting hatch to body. inside of there you'll find cut wires. they need repaired. not much room to work with and it's annoying how many wires there are, so if you don't feel comfortable doing it get someone to fix it for you. you'll likely have quite a few cut or with bare metal showing.


that was one thing i was thinking.
there is a semi-pinch point right there, i just didnt get to look at it this afternoon.
i despise wires in small places too!
ill inform of the news tomorrow, when it is daylight again!
Thanks guys.

by the by,
Im steve, have a 98 legacy outback, and a 97 impreza outback.
Former Mk2/mk2 VW junkie/techie.
needed something with AWD, and with a "touch" more reliability...go through 17 VWs in 10 yrs.......

:banana:

#6 grossgary

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 09:21 PM

needed something with AWD, and with a "touch" more reliability...

the impreza engine and trans has the ability to outlast your willingness to keep doing this kind of maintenance on it. that EJ22 and trans can last a REALLY long time if you keep up with maintenance and minor glitches like this. It wasn't hard at all (I just did this over the summer to ours before we sold it to a friend), just took time and make sure none of your wires "fall" down to places you can't get. The body side doesn't have much room to play with...although if you were adventurous you might find an access point inside by removing some interior trim, don't know.

good luck.

#7 edrach

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 08:44 AM

I did this recently on my '97 Impreza when the rear lock no longer worked. Everyone who posted about looking under the rubber boot in the upper rear corner was right on the money. In addition to that I found a total of 7 wires already cut and a few more about to go.

A bad piece of design since I couldn't see any fix other than to splice and insulate. There should be the ability to replace the harness in its entirety, but I don't see that as a possibility.

#8 davebugs

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 08:49 AM

I did this recently on my '97 Impreza when the rear lock no longer worked. Everyone who posted about looking under the rubber boot in the upper rear corner was right on the money. In addition to that I found a total of 7 wires already cut and a few more about to go.

A bad piece of design since I couldn't see any fix other than to splice and insulate. There should be the ability to replace the harness in its entirety, but I don't see that as a possibility.



A poor design area for sure. Especially since you can't "pull" enough out of the interior compartment to make a good repair. I ended up splicing every wire twice in an attempt to "push" the first splice into the headliner so that it wasn't a flex worry, and have the second splice in the hatch for protection.

#9 valvestem

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 08:57 AM

I did this recently on my '97 Impreza when the rear lock no longer worked. Everyone who posted about looking under the rubber boot in the upper rear corner was right on the money. In addition to that I found a total of 7 wires already cut and a few more about to go.

A bad piece of design since I couldn't see any fix other than to splice and insulate. There should be the ability to replace the harness in its entirety, but I don't see that as a possibility.


Yes, it's a bad design, but the only one available I think. BTW, just the other day a Cadillac came into our shop with the driver door control pod switches not working for the window control, guess what, broken wire in the rubber accordian from the body to the door, fix time-10 minutes. Our mechanic knows where to look.

#10 johnceggleston

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 09:14 AM

it looks like the wiring in the hatch feeds into the roof and then goes down the passenger side corner post to a connector.

http://opposedforces...illustration_1/

#11 davebugs

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 09:46 AM

I believe the OP was for an Impreza and the wires come out at the top on the drivers side at the hatch.

I can't tell from the Legacy illustration for sure where they go on the Legacy - it looked more to me like they went down the drivers post. But I could easily be wrong.

But on the Legacy drawing it looks like the wires to the hatch come out the other side (Passenger side) and I believe they were on the Drivers on the one that I had to fix.

#12 edrach

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 01:00 PM

I believe the OP was for an Impreza and the wires come out at the top on the drivers side at the hatch.

I can't tell from the Legacy illustration for sure where they go on the Legacy - it looked more to me like they went down the drivers post. But I could easily be wrong.

But on the Legacy drawing it looks like the wires to the hatch come out the other side (Passenger side) and I believe they were on the Drivers on the one that I had to fix.

On my Impreza the rubber booty was on the right (passenger) side of the car. Worst problem is that unless you remove all the connectors at the end of the cable (near the tail-light assembly) you can't pull the cable back up the hatch pillar (or get it back in after you've made the repair). I dread having to go back in there again later the next time one or more wires break.

#13 gratefuldude

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 03:13 PM

JUST FIGURED IT OUT.

someone cut the string of wires going into the hatch, at the joint. nice, clean cut.

going to repair now.

#14 gratefuldude

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 04:09 PM

repaired!

#15 valvestem

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 04:43 PM

Great, glad you found the problem, and were able to care care of it.

#16 gratefuldude

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Posted 01 October 2009 - 05:58 PM

yeah, works great.

It really looked like someone got angry with the original owner, took some dykes to the wires, snip snip...no more rear power.

Had to remove all the inside plastic trim from center roof through passenger side wheel well.
pulled wires back through, snipped em, and put butt connectors on
ran em back up, crimped the wiring. slid boot back into place, and bingo.

#17 james_lindsley

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 08:07 AM

Hi im new to this site so dont really know my stuff yet but.... Ive got the exact same problem with my subaru but as far as i know its only the wipe motor that wont work, uncovered all the wiring at the hatch but no obvious breaks and has been fixed by a previous owner before judging by all the re-joins. water has been getting into the rear light assembly and covered most of the electronics. could this have broken the relay? and were would i get a new one from? 



#18 87blackimpreza

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 11:41 AM

Same issue with my new-to-me hatch, no wiper, no heater.

Everything else worked.

Bench tested everything, it all works, hmmm.

Pulled back the rubber flex from the hatch-body and found 9 wires, all but 2 are broken clean off.

 

I think things must be grounded to the body pretty well other than through the harness, because the brake light and rear lock still worked fine.

 

It's been covered before, but here's what I did ...

 

1. Ripped out ALL the carpet, trim, pillar covers, everything back there, all of it. Better access that way.;

2. Unplug the hatch wires at the connectors and wiper relay, they're all behind the taillight. Be amazed stuff hasn't shorted out and blown fuses.

3. Sliced the rubber boot lengthwise with a razor blade, pulled it out of the grommet holes. This exposes the broken wire bundle.

4. Finished cutting off the two wires that weren't broken.

5. Pulled the "body side" bundle (9 wires) back through the body, there's some electrical tape and a zip tie that need to be cut off.

6. This left the "hatch side" bundle sticking out, with about four inches of wire exposed. Just enough to work with.

7. Cut a half inch or so off the ends of each "hatch side" wire, they're brittle and work-hardened. Strip off a quarter inch or so of insulation.

8. Cut a half inch or so off the ends of each "body side" wire, they're brittle and work-hardened. Strip off a quarter inch or so of insulation.

9. Easier to work with the "body side" wires, in the hatch area, so started there.

10. Cut and strip the ends of 9 "extension" wires, maybe six or eight inches long minimum. Go long, you'll hide the extra in the pillar anyway.

11. One by one, solder and shrink-wrap the "extension" wires to the "body side" harness that you've got laying conveniently in the hatch area, then feed them back up through the holes and solder and shrink wrap to the corresponding "hatch side" wires. This will take a while, 18 connections.

12. I know, it's not easy to work in that little space up by the hatch, but that's what you've got to work with. I did two at a time, with a cookie break in between. It's a five cookie job.

13. There are two with the same wire code (blue/red stripe, I think). One is thicker than the other, look closely. Have a cookie.

- PLUG EVERYTHING BACK IN, TEST AND MAKE SURE EVERYTHING WORKS -

14. Use wire ties and/or tape and/or whatever to rebundle the wires.

15. Pull the broken/splice wires down into the hatch so the "fresh" wires are in the danger/flex zone. Push with one hand at the hole in the top of the hatch, and reach into the bottom of the hatch and gently pull the bundle. Don't pull on the blue defroster wire, pull the grey bundle. Ease it back a few inches.

16. Finagle the "body side" wires the same way, but don't tie anything down too tightly, you want it to be able to flex and move around a bit.

17. Get the cursed rubber bellows back in place, that's the most annoying part of the job. But the bellows acts as a grommet to keep the wires from chafing and eventually cutting at the sharp holes in the body and hatch.

18. Re-seal the rubber so it doesn't let water down into the hatch and headliner, etc. I used self-fusing rubber tape. YMMV.

19. Double check the "body side" wires to be sure the body holes they're routed through won't eventually cut the wires. Tape and protect as needed.

20. Button it all up and you're done for another few years until your repaired wires break again. But it'll be easier to reach next time for the next guy.

- WHILE YOU'RE AT IT -

21. Pull the rubber bellows off the other side, splice and repair the inevitably broken rear sprayer hose. That's why your hatch area gets wet when you try to spray the rear window. Don't try to mess with the funky connector near the wiper motor, it's old and brittle and you'll break it. Everybody does. Now that you've ignored me and broken that, and the little spring is on the ground, splice that, too. 


Edited by 87blackimpreza, 30 December 2014 - 11:46 AM.


#19 grossgary

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 12:07 PM

I pull them out and repair them right there at the black boot cover without removing anything - splice in enough wire to shove each spliced joint far into the body and hatch or away from the hinge in a sedan - so they're removed from the flexing area.






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