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Guest Message by DevFuse
 

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No running (tail) lights


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78 replies to this topic

#1 Reason01

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 02:20 AM

Every light works but my running (tail) lights. So driving at night is a problem. An ideas on what could be wrong will be great. The bulbs are fine and the fuses are straight. I talked to 2 Subaru places and they don't know why. We discussed relays but the directional would be out too, but they are fine. Any input would be great, I cant drive my car to and from work at night.

#2 Olnick

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 03:40 AM

PLEASE NOTE: The original post refered to Brake Lights, so responses 2 to 9 addressed that problem!



If all lights except brake lights are working, I'd guess the problem is the brake light switch--it's located at the top of the brake pedal arm, near the hinge.

And, my friend, if your brake lights aren't working you shouldn't be driving anywhere anytime, night or day.

Hope you find the problem. Quickly.

#3 Reason01

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 04:15 AM

I wonder why the "techs" at Subaru didn't say anything about a brake light switch. Is this as easy to replace like a fuse or a relay?

#4 stevetone

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 05:16 AM

The "techs" at Subaru probably didn't tell you because they don't get paid for giving free diagnostic services. Frankly, I don't blame them.

#5 Reason01

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 09:40 AM

The "techs" at Subaru probably didn't tell you because they don't get paid for giving free diagnostic services. Frankly, I don't blame them.


Thanks for the help there big guy..

#6 frag

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 09:50 AM

I replaced that switch on my car a few years ago, so it must be quite easy mechanicaly speaking. The only problem is physical, you must not have too large a tummy to be able to squirm under the dash in order to reach that switch.
To be sure it's the culprit and to see if you can take care of it yourself, try to disconnect the switch near the upper part of the pedal arm (like Olnick wrote) and short the wires. if your brake lights come on, then that's it. Then just buy a new switch - not very costly - that will help you understand what you have to do to replace it. Very intuitive once you've seen the switch.

#7 Reason01

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 09:53 AM

I'm going to go check it out right now. Thanks for the help Olnick and frag!

#8 Olnick

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 11:08 AM

You're welcome. Let us know how it goes.

#9 cookie

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Posted 06 May 2005 - 03:21 PM

because it moves every time you hit the brake. If you have cruise control and it does not work it is often because of a broken or maladjusted brake light switch.

#10 Reason01

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 04:22 PM

OK, I feel real stupid. I don't know why but I said my brakes lights are out. It's the running lights that are out lol. So let me try this again.

I have all my light but the RUNNING (tails) lights. I DO have brake lights. My tails wont light until you hit the brakes. Again I feel stupid for the original post.

#11 wkoepp

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 06:43 PM

That I believe, is normal, at least it is on my '04 Forester.

#12 Olnick

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 11:41 PM

Don't beat up on yourself--we usually learn more from our mistakes than from being absolutely correct all the time. ('Course I wouldn't understand that since I've ALWAYS been absolutely correct!!!)

When did your problem start--or when did you first notice it? Any electrical work or re-wiring or bulb replacement recently? Could the wiring have gotten crossed or two wires shorted somehow?

#13 Reason01

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 01:18 AM

I say it's been like that for 2, 3 weeks at most. No I haven't done anything electrical or anything else for that matter.

#14 KStretch55

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 09:11 AM

How about the front running lights, are they working?

#15 Reason01

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 11:56 AM

How about the front running lights, are they working?


Yea EVERY light works on my car. The 4 tail lights wont light up unless you hit the brake. Other than that the tail end is dark.

#16 cookie

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 12:05 PM

checked for power on both sides, and have checked your manual. The next thing I would do is pull the tailight bulb and see if I had power and ground back there. If I did not have power in the on position at the fuse I would move to the headlight switch and look for power there.
A fuse or bulb is the most common, but I have enven seen someone who did not know you had to turn on his light switch to get power to his tailights. God knows how long he ran around on his running lights with no tail. This is why I say to check the manual.

#17 Olnick

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 12:14 PM

Just checked my Haynes--there's a pretty good schematic (Chapter 12-32). shows TWO fuses, one relay and the light combination switch all affect the tail light circuit.

In the Main Fuse Box (the one under the hood behind the battery) check Fuse 23, it's a 20 amp.

Under the dash, by your left knee, check Fuse 5 (10 amp) and the "Tail Illumination Relay."

After the under-dash fuse box it should be red wires that feed the tail lights, side marker lights and front clearance lights, all basically the same circuit. I don't pretend to be a wiring genius, but those are the places I'd look first.

Good luck.

#18 cookie

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 12:35 PM

if there is a relay that would certainly be suspect too.

#19 Reason01

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 01:30 PM

Where is this "Tail Illumination Relay"? That might be the problem. I can't find my Haynes manual so I'm sort of in the dark.

#20 Olnick

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 03:02 AM

Good question. It's most likely somewhere near the interior fuse box--the one under the dash near your left knee. You never did identify the year/model of your Subaru, so I'm just guessing that they're all pretty much the same layout.

It's a mess of wires, connectors and boxes under there. Look for a mounting board with three small relays in a row across the top. The middle one should be the "Tail Illumination Relay."

Once again . . . good luck!

#21 Reason01

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 03:44 AM

It's a 97 Legacy GT, I have a few places to look for my Haynes manual. If I can't find it I will go buy another. I would like to get an idea of what to look for.

#22 Olnick

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 12:16 AM

Okay, curiosity got the better of me, so I grabbed a flashlight when I got home and crawled under the dash.

When you remove the cover of the interior fuse "box" the board, or backing plate, that the fuses plug into extends higher up--in the direction of the left corner of the windshield (looking from the driver's position.) It's ivory colored plastic in my '95 Legacy.

At the very top of that board is a row of 3 black relays. If Haynes is right, the middle one should be the "Tail Illumination Relay." Could see what looked like a latching mechanism at the base of the relay but couldn't get my fingers in there to release it.

Hope this helps and . . . good luck!

#23 Reason01

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Posted 13 May 2005 - 02:39 AM

Thanks Olnick, I'll try to check it out Friday. I been pretty busy and haven't had the chance to check it out. I'll let you guys know if I find anything out. thanks

#24 Reason01

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 03:17 PM

I just noticed that my license plate lights don't work either. The tail light illumination relay is $100.

#25 cookie

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 03:22 PM

tailight circuit so that makes sense. Before I replaced the relay I would check to see if there is a short that killed it. $100 a pop is pretty expensive to be fooling around with. If you just jumped a power wire with a fuse in it to the tailight circuit you could see if any of the lights were dim. Dim usually equals a short or bad connection. Problems like that are often caused by amatuer attempts to hook up a trailer hitch light system for towing. Check for snap connectors in that area.




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