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Guest Message by DevFuse

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'Central Locks' stopped working on rear doors only?

Central door locks

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8 replies to this topic

#1 suBowen



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Posted 19 April 2018 - 03:18 PM

I've been living with the problem for a while but I'd like to fix the central locking function of the two rear doors, where do I start?

#2 3Pin


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Posted 19 April 2018 - 04:08 PM

You may want to list year and type of Subaru.  That will get better repsonses. 

#3 suBowen



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Posted 19 April 2018 - 04:40 PM

Good point, year 2007 and Outback 2.5L


#4 3Pin


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Posted 19 April 2018 - 07:03 PM

saw this on another subaru forum.


HI I had been told to check the cables too. There was nothing wrong with the cables at all. The problem (in my case) lays with the small electric motor in the actuator. I took one apart (remember this is not a serviceable component) and cleaned the built up of grease and graphite from the commutator and brushes. So the first issue is how/why the heck is there grease on this part of the motor? No grease or oil should ever be near the graphite brushes. Once this was done and reinstalled, it worked fine. I am really surprised we are the only two owners of this model to have problems.

#5 3Pin


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Posted 19 April 2018 - 07:06 PM

Here is another post of a guy who posted step by step instructions on how to fix the problem if you have excess grease near the brushes.



These tend to go a bit dodgy after a while especially the 5+ year mark. First the door snib becomes really slow to lock/unlock, makes noises, or may not operate at all in either direction.

New actuator is around $200.00+ from dealer it is combined with the doorlock mechanism. It is a sealed, non serviceable assembly.

After reading of someone on LGT opening up his to find the electric motor brushes contaminated with excess grease, I had a go at mine today. What the hell I have nothing to lose but $200.00+ which I would otherwise need to spend anyway icon_wink.gif.

1. Remove door inner panel (numerous DIY all over the net, look it up if you don't know how.

2. Door lock assembly is held on by 3 bolts where the catch is. Undo them and also the locking cable which goes to external door handle.

3. Prise back the big plastic casing, there are 3 anchors you need to unpick, it then just comes off.

4. Undo this one screw then the whole motor casing comes off; manouvre it out carefully.

5. Case is in two halves, separate carefully using a craft knife or similar blade, it comes apart quite easily with moderate pressure.

6. Motor comes out, probably all oily as hell like mine was.

7. Unpick the two metal tabs then open the motor housing. Careful separating this as the magnetic brush parts are fragile. See all the black gunk which is not meant to be there.

8. Clean the shaft around the coils, then with the brush part (white end cap with contacts inside). I sprayed the white end cap part with engine degreaser, gave it a good rinse with water then used hairdryer. It is too fragile to clean by other means.

9. Carefully put motor back together, again paying close care to the brush contacts which must slip over the coils shaft. I used some long 
kebab skewers to get them back on whilst closing up the motor. The tabs can be bent back with a mallet and punch or screwdriver.

10. Clean excess grease out of the motor casing, Mine had heaps, especially around where the worm gear was located. Reinstall motor to casing, then connect it up in the car to ensure you did it properly.

11. Clean two mating surfaces of plastic casing carefully then superglue back together. I used vice clamps to hold it tight whilst it cured.

UPDATE: Superglue came apart, so I have used 2 part epoxy glue this time instead.
12. Reassemble in reverse order, refit into car. Test before refitting door inner panel.

Took me about an hour, now the lock functions as like new icon_biggrin.gif

#6 suBowen



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Posted 28 April 2018 - 06:16 PM

Ok so I read all the other posts and was inspired to explore the possibility of repairing the original motors.


Following the lead of others I split the housings to investigate, the cause of failure was quickly identified as corrosion.  Attached File  Screen Shot 1 corrosion .png   453.22K   13 downloads

Apparently the plastic housing leaked and moisture was allowed to collect until it caused enough corrosion to interfere with the operation of the electric motors in the rear doors.


After lifting the motor out of the plastic housing I carefully pried the two 'lugs' which were 'peened' over to keep the plastic cap in place on the motor. However the plastic cap and armature could not easily be persuaded to be separated from the housing and permanent magnets.

I applied a couple of squirts of 'Blaster' loosening fluid, (WD40 would also work) and let it sit for 20 minutes.


After removing the plastic cap complete with the armature and shaft out of the housing I could see the extent of the water damage. Corrosion had built up and effectively 'welded' the armature in place.

Attached File  Screen Shot 2 Armature.png   212.49K   15 downloads


After checking that the shaft could now turn in the plastic cap I carefully 'sprung' the two brushes back from the shaft and removed the complete shaft / armature assembly.


Gently clean off all the rust residue on both the armature and the inside / outside of the casing housing the permanent magnets,:

Attached File  Screen Shot 3 Inside casing.png   282.21K   12 downloads

Be careful not to disturb any of the wire connections to the surfaces that mate with the brushes when installed using a small wire brush (the brass type is gentler) and contact cleaner.


You will be surprised how well they clean up, afterwards reassemble the motors and test using a 12vdc source and a couple of probes that can fit in the slots provided.

Sorry I forgot to photograph the cleaned up components.


Once you have tested and have the results you like pop the motors back in their plastic housings and close the housings up again, I clamped them closed then taped the two halves together using construction type 'Tuck Take' which I find has a good strong adhesive. The photos show one of the two taped up, the other one was the same but I also used a 'zip tie' wrapped around the girth of the two halves for insurance we shall see which one lasts best.

Attached File  Screen Shot 4 Backside Tuck Tape.png   322.24K   10 downloads

Attached File  Screen Shot 5 Reassembled Tuck Tape.png   571.38K   8 downloads


I should mention that before I reassembled the housings I actually drilled a small hole in the 'bottom' of the plastic housing where the motor sits so that if any water did get in it has a way to drain out again perhaps preventing a build up and avoid the same problem as before.


Happy to report now that the door locks work like new again. :-)


Final word if you want / need replacement motors they are readily available (you just have to wait for delivery lol)


The motor was made by Mabuchi I believe and the part number is FC-280PC-22125-19D.

You can find them on e bay or amazon or search for kysanelectronics.com they are based in California.

Edited by suBowen, 28 April 2018 - 06:24 PM.

#7 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 08:38 AM

are those Mabuchi motors?


just recently read their history on wikipedia.

#8 Subaru Scott

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Posted 29 April 2018 - 09:31 AM

Nice writeup suBowen!

#9 suBowen



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Posted 29 April 2018 - 12:19 PM

Earlier posts suggested that they were Mabuchi motors, any of my research seems to bear that out.

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