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No running (tail) lights


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78 replies to this topic

#26 frag

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 03:33 PM

I dunno if it's practical, but I would try to find a generic aftermarket relay at a lower cost but able to take the same amp load.

#27 cookie

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 03:38 PM

with heavier components. You have to know how they work to swap them around though. I have used GM horn relays for a lot of uses, and for the big stuff I use a Ford starter relay. That may be a bit of overkill here. Usually if one goes out prematurely there is a reason, so that would be the first thing to find.

#28 Seahag1978

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 07:31 PM

I'm not sure if yours is the same, but my Baja doesn't have automatic running lights in the rear, only in the front and they will only come on when the emergency brake is released. This is a silly question, but did you turn them on at the dash?

#29 richierich

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 08:07 PM

Had this the other day on a customer's car. It was just the fuse, did you replace the fuse? and or check the fuses w/ a tester?, or just visually inspect it, they can be bad without looking bad.

#30 Cougar

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Posted 16 May 2005 - 08:17 PM

I would test the fuse as Richierich suggests. In case you don't know it, there are small test holes in the top of the fuses that you can place a test probe on and check for voltage on both sides of the fuse so you don't even have to pull it out.

It would be nice to know the fuse number that handles the circuit.

#31 Reason01

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 12:57 AM

I used the probe on the tail lights today. Theres no power doing to them until I use the brakes. Now with out being dubbed stupid but what fuse is for the tail lights? I have like 2 0r 3 that to me could be the fuse. Like you said I would like to see if power is going to the fuse. All the fuses LOOK fine and none of them are burnt. I also have those "smart fuses" that have a LED that lights up when the fuse pops. I would like to try a few more things before I dish out $100

#32 Olnick

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 03:17 AM

Check the fuse box cover (the box by your left knee), it has the fuse names printed on it. They are also listed in your owners manual. I think it's #5.

#33 Cougar

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 08:28 AM

Since you have a test probe I would look for power at the relay for the taillights. You could also try jumpering the contacts to see if the lights will work then. If they do, then either the relay contacts are bad (which I doubt), or the control to the relay is not working (which is what I suspect is happening).

#34 rizzo

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 11:04 AM

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.


stupid question... are you talking about your daytime running lights? i am pretty sure only the headlights are on normally unless you turn on the headlight switch and then all the lights come on.

#35 wkoepp

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 12:58 PM

That's what I said earlier on this thread, my '04 Forester came new like that, the running lights on a Subie are a partial illumination of the headlights.Period. I just ignore the running lights until it gets dusk, then switch on the headlights as I have done with every car I've owned that didn't have runnning lights. If you want the tail lights on during the day, merely switch on the parking lights.

#36 Reason01

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 01:38 PM

My parking and running lights stay on. When I turn the car on they come on. I shut the car off they turn off. When the car is on YES they are turned on. That was the first thing I checked. Then I checked all fuse, they look fine. Then I changed all the tail lights. Theres no power going back to the tail lights and the license plate lights. I would like to test the tail light relay but I'm not sure where it is and what it looks like (still cant find my Haynes book).

#37 cookie

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 01:51 PM

certain that's not just a fuse. Richie does it every day so I vote for following his advice.

#38 Reason01

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 02:07 PM

certain that's not just a fuse. Richie does it every day so I vote for following his advice.


I'm leaving for work in a few minutes. So when I go outside I will change the fuse to see if it's a bad one. I'll post up when I get home what happens.

#39 Sweet82

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 02:54 PM

I was getting my Forester safety inspected recently and the inspector said none of the rear lights worked?

I pulled out several of the rear bulbs and put them back in again and everything came back to life?

Have you messed with your bulbs?
It worked for me? (and who knows why?)

Good Luck,
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01 Forester--all lit up again...

#40 Cougar

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 04:03 PM

Well we ran into a bit of fortune. The service manual I purchased some time back is for a '97 Legacy. Here is how power is run:

The power ties to the fuse panel in the engine compartment. The taillight power runs through fuse #23. The power then can go through the relay contacts to FB-26 or bypass the relay to FB-27. It looks like the relays are interchangable if you suspect the relay. Fuse #5 supplies power to the parking switch. I would move the switch back and forth to see if that will help. The output of the relay goes through the switch. The control for the relay is through the lighting switch. Power is applied to the lights through fuse #5 and there is a connector possibly behind the passenger kick panel. The connector may be white and is a 24 pin size. The red wire in pin #11 is the power to the lights.

Since you stated that you have no power then I assume the ground is good and since the brake lights worked then it would seem the ground is ok. It may be good to double check though. You should see very low resistance to ground from the light socket shell.

#41 rizzo

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 07:30 PM

My parking and running lights stay on. When I turn the car on they come on. I shut the car off they turn off. When the car is on YES they are turned on. That was the first thing I checked. Then I checked all fuse, they look fine. Then I changed all the tail lights. Theres no power going back to the tail lights and the license plate lights. I would like to test the tail light relay but I'm not sure where it is and what it looks like (still cant find my Haynes book).


when you turn your headlights on (you have to do this to drive at night so the dashboard lights come on), are the tail lights working?

the tail lights aren't part of the normal daytime running lights (when the headlights and parking lights are turned off). the daytime running lights are just the front headlights dimmed. so under normal circumstances (car on, headlights turned off with the switch), the tail lights and license plate lights should not be on. they only go on when you turn the switch.

one other thing to note (and i assume you already k now this) is that when you put the car in park (i could be wrong about this since mine is a stick), the daytime lights go off (mine go off when i pull the hand brake).

#42 Reason01

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 11:30 PM

when you turn your headlights on (you have to do this to drive at night so the dashboard lights come on), are the tail lights working?

the tail lights aren't part of the normal daytime running lights (when the headlights and parking lights are turned off). the daytime running lights are just the front headlights dimmed. so under normal circumstances (car on, headlights turned off with the switch), the tail lights and license plate lights should not be on. they only go on when you turn the switch.

one other thing to note (and i assume you already k now this) is that when you put the car in park (i could be wrong about this since mine is a stick), the daytime lights go off (mine go off when i pull the hand brake).


Then I guess I dont have daytime running lights. When the lights switch is off it has to other setting. The next click will turn on my parking lights, the last click will turn on the head lights. I never shut off my headlights (and when I'm trying to find the problem they are on.) When my car is in park no, the lights dont turn off. As for dimming headlights (daytime lights) no I dont have them. I have low and high beams that's it.

So heres a quick run through what I tried so far:

-Checked all fuses (plus I have the "smart fuse with the LED that glows when the fuse pops)

-Checked all 4 bulbs and replaced them with new bulbs

-Checked power going to the bulbs, there is nothing at all. The probe reads no power. I have a voltage meter but not sure how to really use it. I tried it and reads nothing.

#43 Cougar

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 12:02 AM

If the tailights turn on when you turn the light switch to the first position and stay on when moved to the second position then I think things are fine with the rear lights. Some cars only turn on the headlights when the DRL are on. The rears do not turn on.

#44 Reason01

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 01:33 AM

If the tailights turn on when you turn the light switch to the first position and stay on when moved to the second position then I think things are fine with the rear lights. Some cars only turn on the headlights when the DRL are on. The rears do not turn on.


My tails don't turn on at all, and I dont have daytime running lights. I had this car for 5 years and I never had a problem like this.

#45 Seahag1978

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 06:39 AM

My tails don't turn on at all, and I dont have daytime running lights. I had this car for 5 years and I never had a problem like this.



I would try switching out that smart fuse with a regular fuse... it could be faulty.

#46 Cougar

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 10:06 AM

Did you read my post #40? Have you tried swapping the relay out in the main fuse panel with one of the others? If that doesn't work you will need to start checking the connections mentioned in the post with a test light.

#47 Reason01

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 03:20 PM

Did you read my post #40? Have you tried swapping the relay out in the main fuse panel with one of the others? If that doesn't work you will need to start checking the connections mentioned in the post with a test light.


Does it look like a large black fuse?

#48 Cougar

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 05:45 PM

The relay should look like a small plastic box. It's the middle one of the three in the main power panel which is in the engine compartment I think.

#49 Olnick

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 06:29 PM

The relay should look like a small plastic box. It's the middle one of the three in the main power panel which is in the engine compartment I think.


Cougar--I think it's the middle one of the three above the interior fuse box. That's if you trust Haynes!

#50 Cougar

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 10:47 PM

You may be right, I'm just going by what my factory service manual shows. I have never actually seen one of the relays myself so I can't say for sure. I also assume the fuse panel is in the engine compartment. This is the main panel not the secondary one which is in the cabin I think. I have more working experience on the pre Legacy models than the newer ones.




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