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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Electrical Problem or Ignition problem or Starting problem or alarm system problem?

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5 replies to this topic

#1 AdamLee


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Posted 07 February 2011 - 03:38 PM

Here is what happened, I just had a friend replaced the drive shaft in my Subaru, while it was sitting in his drive way, he got annoyed with the alarm system going off every time someone hit the unlock on there other model car clickers, so he disabled the horn part... this may or may not be part of the problem, just wanted to add that in. Got it back and it ran well for a few times, one day while at work in cold Minnesota I started the car and walked away to let it warm up... when I came back the car was still running, but the interior smelled of burnt electronics, concerned I got out of the car and looked around, opened the hood, I almost with certainty can say the smell was not emanating the exterior or from under the hood. Got back into the vehicle the only thing that was not working was the car stereo... the back light was on, but there was no volume or anything coming from it and the display was empty.. proceeded to drive home... got home parked and checked one more time around the outside of the vehicle, still no smell out side of vehicle. Went to bed, a few days later went to start the car all the electronics including the stereo turned on, with music and could read the back light, but the car will not turn over, I don't even hear the starter trying to start the car. I have a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback, 2.5 L 4 cyl. My friend and I are going to probably going to tear into the dash, just wondering if anyone knows where I should start, or maybe had a similar experience...thanks Adam

#2 naru


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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:09 PM

I`m guessing a bad ignition switch or connectors.

Make sure the battery is charged.
Watch the battery voltage as you try to start.
If good,look for 12V at the starter solenoid w/key in start position.

#3 phxmotorelectri


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Posted 11 July 2011 - 02:46 PM

Arftermarket stereo?

I dont buy used subis or any used cars w/
aftermarket radios for this reason. The morons that install them rarely wire them right. Really bad things start happening. Unexpected things, seeminly unrelated things.

Stock wiring is pretty complicated. Tapping into it is asking for trouble.

This is proof positive.

I used to install stereos in college. Then i did work in Detroit (Dearborn)
for Ford and Motorola. Some of the work involved wiring harness design. This is why I always leave the wiring harness stock.

If you knew how wiring harnesses are designed you would too.

Themost injnocent tap into a ground or power supply and this starts to happen. It's because what looks like a ground one second is shared by another component the next. It may seem like a ground while testing it but later it is sharing other duties when other components are activated. it may still be a ground but the ground gets routed through an unrelated component.

When you know how harnesses are built you become convinced very quickly to leave them stock.

In this case: I would begin by disconnecting the stereo and alarm components until you get it to run w/o electrical smells.
Then i would tap into a fused power supply at or near the main fuse panel or the battery itself. I would then ground to the body itself.

If you avoid tapping into the harness itself you can indeed stay away from trouble.

Good luck... have fun...

#4 GeneralDisorder


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Posted 11 July 2011 - 03:20 PM

Arftermarket stereo?

I dont buy used subis or any used cars w/
aftermarket radios for this reason. The morons that install them rarely wire them right. Really bad things start happening. Unexpected things, seeminly unrelated things.

Stock wiring is pretty complicated. Tapping into it is asking for trouble.

This is proof positive.

A proper installation uses a harness adaptor that allows you to leave the stock harness alone - every Subaru since 1990 uses the same harness plug for the stereo and the adaptor is sold almost everywhere for about $10. This takes the guesswork and stupidity out of the equation - you use the adaptor harness, the supplied harness from the stereo manufacturer and you solder/heat-shrink the like-colored wires together. That's all there is to it.

As far as tapping into wireing harnesses - well there's certainly things you need to know and knowledge that is important to have.... but there's nothing really unusual about how they use electricity. I've done a LOT of automotive electrical work including entire fuel injected engine transplants, etc. Before that I wired control panels, motors, and VFD's, etc for industrial machinery. Electicity is goverened by rules and if you follow them properly there's nothing to fear about an automotive wireing harness.


Edited by GeneralDisorder, 11 July 2011 - 03:24 PM.

#5 phxmotorelectri


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Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:48 AM

You are right.
The way you describe installing an aftermarket stereo or ? is absolutely correct.
I'm just so bummed when I open up an otherwise good car and find the factory plug behind the radio cut upwind of the connector.
Invariably the installer got at least one wire wrong and strange things begin to occur.
Bad things.
If everyone did mods they way you describe this would not happen.

On the other hand:

I've picked up many cars since I was 16 years old veryvery cheap because of electrical troubles dealers and accomplished DIYers could not figure out. All, and I mean All were the result of aftermarket "upgrades" being installed incorrectly.
If people did as you describe a lot of time and money would not be wasted fixing problems that didn't have to happen.

On the other hand if everyone did it right I wouldn't have owned alot of very nice cars that I got for a fraction of their real worth.

You mentioned that electricity is just electricity... but in modern automotive wiring harnesses the schematics are not simple. A ground is often grounded through another apperatus for resons that can't be explaind through logic. Using what appears to be a simple ground often has side effects that cause unexplainable results.
Hence: only use the kind of plugs which you describe. Never cut into or tap into the harness... or better yet avoid aftermarket electrical devices unless they are installed as you describe.
Hillbilly installations cause trouble. Big trouble.

#6 Cougar


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Posted 12 July 2011 - 05:48 AM

THe best place to start is with having a good wiring manual and a test light in hand to help you with this issue.

Like Naru stated, the trouble may be due to a problem with the ignition switch. If the warning lights turn on when the key is turned to ON then that may be ok and the trouble is after the ignition switch. Use your test light probe to see is power is getting to the dash fuses after the ignition switch. Most of them are powered after the switch. The burning smell could be due to a loose connection in a connector to the ignition switch also. Other possibilities are the blower motor resistors which ar mounted in the air duct or bad connection to a relay socket.

The radio issue is most likely due to a faulty power connection to it. If the radio worked and you could crank the engine then it is a seperate issue. The light of the radio display is a seperate power connection to the dash lights so that is why it worked ok and you had no display.

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