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Changing 2011 Outback Headlight


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9 replies to this topic

#1 mccullough

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 02:17 PM

I blew out the low beam on the passenger side of my 2011 Outback. I figured I could just lift the hood and replace it like my 1994 Legacy or my 2000 Legacy...WRONG. Access to the light is buried under the frame and I'm sure there is a simple procedure for this fix. Someone please direct me to this post as I have looked and cannot find it. Thank you so much in advance. :-p

#2 brus brother

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:32 PM

If you are referring to the bulb, check the owners manual that hopefully came with the car. My 05 and 08 OBs have such descriptions.

#3 AWDFTW

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 08:32 AM

Changing the headlight bulbs on a 4th gen is a nightmare and not simple.

There are a few threads on subaruoutback.org about it, but it is nowhere near a 5 minute job.

#4 brus brother

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 09:03 AM

Changing the headlight bulbs on a 4th gen is a nightmare and not simple.

There are a few threads on subaruoutback.org about it, but it is nowhere near a 5 minute job.

http://www.subaruout...10-outback.html
The above link has a pdf showing the removal of the fender liner to change the low beam bulb!
Yikes! That's like your dentist working on your teeth through your ear!
One very good suggestion is to have the dealer do it if it is still under 36k mile/3 year warranty.

#5 michaelbteam

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 09:47 AM

I have replaced headlight bulbs on both sides now, on a 2010 Outback. The frame covers the cap over the bulb, and even with the fender liner removed it is a contortionist move with a skinny arm to remove the bulb, and you can't see what you're doing. Getting the new bulb positioned in the socket correctly, and securing the wire clip is another challenge. Getting the cap back in position is even more fun.

On the driver's side I removed the battery for just a little better access to the cap, and I cut a hole in the fender liner and installed a marine port with cover to avoid removing the liner in the future. 

On the passenger side I removed the air intake pieces and was able with advanced contortion to somehow complete the removal/replacement process with three fingers of my right hand, after many patient attempts. Next time I will install a port on that side but access is still limited. 

Training a small child with skinny arms might be the answer.

Somewhere there is a sadistic engineer chuckling in his sleep every time he thinks of his creation.

If I had known about this beforehand, I would avoid this car simply because of this terrible design flaw. 


Edited by michaelbteam, 04 February 2015 - 09:49 AM.


#6 Fairtax4me

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 01:16 PM

Be glad you didn't buy a Saab.
On the 9-3 the headlamp housing removed from the vehicle to replace the bulb. The front bumper has to be removed in order to remove the headlamp housing.

#7 wlblakeshaw

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 10:58 AM

Yesterday I replaced the low beams on my 2011 Outback. While a little confined (well, maybe a lot), it wasn't nearly as horrible of an experience that I figured (based on reading user experiences on several forums). As long as you properly fold back the fender lining, you can get decent access to the bulb housings. I would say I have normal size hands. And while there isn't enough room to see what you're doing while you're hand is in the way, it was easy enough to feel for what you needed. The passenger side was a little more difficult because I'm right handed.

I do agree you shouldn't have to peel back the wheel well lining just to replace low beam lights, but it wasn't as bad as I was led to believe. And I'm very glad I didn't pay someone to do it. All in all, I'd say I spent under an hour doing both sides.

I installed the Sylvania Silverstar Ultra's, so hopefully I won't be doing this again for a long time (after which time I'll probably have forgotten how to do everything).

 

I would advise giving it a try if you need to replace your bulbs. I'm not mechanically inclined at all, so I figure if I can do this, pretty much anyone can.



#8 Fairtax4me

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 04:48 PM

installed the Sylvania Silverstar Ultra's, so hopefully I won't be doing this again for a long time (after which time I'll probably have forgotten how to do everything).


Only if "a long time" means 6 months. Silverstars are notorious for burning out all the time.

#9 Rooster2

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 06:57 PM

Yesterday I replaced the low beams on my 2011 Outback. While a little confined (well, maybe a lot), it wasn't nearly as horrible of an experience that I figured (based on reading user experiences on several forums). As long as you properly fold back the fender lining, you can get decent access to the bulb housings. I would say I have normal size hands. And while there isn't enough room to see what you're doing while you're hand is in the way, it was easy enough to feel for what you needed. The passenger side was a little more difficult because I'm right handed.

I do agree you shouldn't have to peel back the wheel well lining just to replace low beam lights, but it wasn't as bad as I was led to believe. And I'm very glad I didn't pay someone to do it. All in all, I'd say I spent under an hour doing both sides.

I installed the Sylvania Silverstar Ultra's, so hopefully I won't be doing this again for a long time (after which time I'll probably have forgotten how to do everything).

 

I would advise giving it a try if you need to replace your bulbs. I'm not mechanically inclined at all, so I figure if I can do this, pretty much anyone can.

Hope you have learned that the glass envelope of the light should not be touched with your fingers. Just a small amount of skin oil can cause the bulb glass to over heat, reducing the life of the bulb.



#10 sirtokesalot

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 09:07 PM

the way we change these at work is through the inner fender. turn the wheel all he way to the left then u can go to the passenger wheel and pop out the push clips holding it in place. once u have the clips out u can pull the plastic inner fender back enough to stick your arm in there and get to the bulb. its a tricky thing to do because you cant see what your doing at the same time as your arm is in there. there should be a cap that twists tot he left to take off once it stops turning u pull it out. then i believe it is a clip style bulb so there will most likely be a wire clip over the bulb holding it on.unplug the wires from the bulb before undoing the clip. one side of the clip sticks up and out a bit u push it back and either down or up then let it come back out and release the bulb reverse to install.






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