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Guest Message by DevFuse

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What is this mystery switch?

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8 replies to this topic

#1 andreww


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Posted 17 November 2003 - 07:21 PM


I bought a 98 Forester S 4EAT this last summer, and I've enjoyed this forum and the proliferation of similar such sites dedicated to these enjoyable vehicles. It's my first subaru after years of volkswagens, which are also blessed with active online discussion boards.

Today, just by chance, I found something in my car that doesn't make sense. Along the bottom lip of the dash, right under the steering wheel, there is a small switch-type device. It is a push-type switch, but does not seem to be a two-position switch, such as for turning something on and off. Instead, it's sprung, and you can hold it in, but there's no click. There are wires running out of it, but they join a forest of other wires up there, and I'm not enough of a contortionist to trace it. It has a sort of hood around it so you can't easily push it accidentally. I see no description of this in my owner's manual. At first, I thought it might be an override switch to let you turn on the fog lights without the rest of the lights, but unless it's broken, that isn't what it does. Needless to say, I've tried to push it (both while stopped and while driving) and nothing happens.

So what is/was it? A time machine? An Spy Hunter oil slick generator?



#2 frag


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Posted 17 November 2003 - 07:24 PM

Maybe a remnant of a former (disconnected) anti theft device.
I have something resembling what you describe in my car. But ii's still working.

#3 Suzam


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Posted 17 November 2003 - 07:27 PM

Somebody needs to confirm this but...

My guess is that it could be a by-pass switch for an aftermarket alarm system. If your remote stops working or you set it off by mistake you can hold in the button while starting the car with your key.

#4 AK-Brando


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Posted 17 November 2003 - 07:45 PM

No idea since I've never had a Forester, but here is my guess. On my Nissan I have an "override" switch to start the truck without pushing in the clutch. It could be something similar to that. An override for the manual tranny version of the Forester.
Like I said, I'm guessing here and really have no basis in fact on this! :-\

#5 paladin_w


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Posted 17 November 2003 - 08:11 PM

Do believe I know what that one is, I have one on my 97 OBW, it should *maybe* be the switch that resets your keyless entry/alarm system. I If you ever take your battery out, or disconnect the posts that button can be pushed to reset the system so it won't think someone is trying to steal it/or reset the door locks. and that also can program subaru remotes to work with your system. Hope that helps, and that is my best guess by the description and location.

#6 alias20035


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Posted 17 November 2003 - 11:51 PM

Any switch down there is aftermarket. Since it is protected it may have been a remote car starter button. Are there any red lights or extra holes on the dash or doors?

The Subaru keyless system "never" forgets remote codes. I have had batteries disconnected for weeks and the remotes still work when reconnected. The Subaru keyless system accepts four remote codes, either 4 different remotes or 1 remote repeated 4 times. To program the steps are something like this (varies with model/year):

1. with all doors closed turn the ignition key to "on" and then "off" (do not start)
2. open the driver's door
3. turn the key from off to on 10 times quickly (in like 14 seconds or so)
4. the horn will honk a few times to indicate that it is in programming mode
5. press a remote button (lock)
6. the horm will honk to confirm the remote
7. press lock button on remote 2, 3, & 4 (or repeat 4 times with on remote, or twice with 2 remotes)

Some of the Subaru systems require you to start from the beginning of the remote programming cycle for each remote, other allow you to program all 4 at once.

#7 wahoo


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Posted 18 November 2003 - 01:03 PM

Paladin_W was right--it's the factory keyless entry programming button, not an aftermarket switch.

Subarus with the "code alarm" keyless entry all have that switch somewhere hidden under the dash.

The vehicles with that system are:
Impreza 1996-2001
Legacy 1995-1999
Forester 1998-2000

For a small diagram of the button location and instructions on how to program the keyless entry to it, go here:
http://www.cars101.c...html#code alarm

#8 andreww


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Posted 18 November 2003 - 01:17 PM

Thanks, folks.

I see, now, that there is, indeed, a separate document in the folder that contains the manual that goes over the keyless entry system.

So much for my theory that it was a smokescreen installed by the secret agent that formerly owned my car...


#9 frag


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Posted 18 November 2003 - 01:58 PM

Dont feel bad. It could have been the ejection seat button...

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