I've recently gotten a 2001 Outback Limited Sedan [2.5L AWD, no turbo], and the Cigarette lighter just stopped working. I was right in the middle of inflating my mini-spare with a so-called "Truck-Air" tire compressor. It's just bigger and faster and works better than the micro mini ones you see everywhere. Problem is, it also draws more juice, and I have to run it for 1.5 min. then "rest" for 5, then another 1.5 mins. If I run it longer, the lighter socket fails (yeah, I'm an idiot for forgetting to rest the circuit.
HOWEVER, The fuse at the fuse box is ok. I found no burned fuses at the dash fuse box at all.
This issue also happened with my '94 legacy 2.2. using the same air compressor. Under a minute duty cycle, it worked fine over and over, but after about 1.75 minutes it stopped and the lighter was dead.
My Subaru mechanic guru at the time said something to the effect of "generally, over-drawing the lighter in the non-outback legacies often burns out a wire at the back of the lighter, something 'it's a basic repair', but one that takes considerable time to get at from behind the lighter unit, and he didn't recommend I spend my hard-earned money on it.
I did as he suggested & simply added a 3 way accessory adapter and wired it in using a 'piggyback fuse adapter' to an existing 20 amp circuit that wasn't overloaded or critical to anything [airbags etc]. It worked fine. It was easy to get to the front AND behind the box to access the wires. NOT SO in the 2001 Outback.
The redesign from '94 to 2001 seems to be intended to make it completely impossible to easily work on any of the wiring [just pull and check mini-fuses] and I can't use the piggyback fuse tap, since the front of the fuse box is butted directly up against the coin tray. There's no room.
After realizing that I'd have to take apart much of the dash [neck arthritis] to even get to the back of the fuse box, I decided to try one of those "unused" connectors that one finds hanging about under the dash [NOT the code readers etc]. Usually the loose ones are for options you didn't get, or for other models with the same basic harness. I found 12 volts at one lead, cut stripped it and connected a pigtail 'split off' the wire. I reattached everything and checked for power, and when I did the horn honked for just a nano-second. Didn't think much of it.
Looking back, I think [just my luck] I split off what is probably the 'unused' car alarm wiring [I have no car alarm], since everything tested fine for power and ground, BUT when I plugged my ipod charger in to the accessory adapter the car horn started sounding continuously.
There HAS to be a better, smarter, easier way to do this.
Are there other fuses or relays that could have fried under the load from the air compressor causing only the cig lighter in the car to fail?
Everything else in the car works, and all fuses at the box test good. I'd REALLY like to repair the orig. cig lighter, but only IF I don't have to disassemble the entire console and half of the dash, trashing my arthritic neck in the process. Any ideas? I have the Haynes manual for the car, but I've had so many 2.2L Legacies (5) which were easier to work on, I'm a fish out of water here.
Suggestions? I don't see any help in the Haynes manual.