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My wife has a 99 Forester with an odd headlight issue.  Sometimes the headlights work normally.  Sometimes they are very dim.  When that happens, the brights indicator is faintly lit.  Sometimes the headlights are out completely. When that happens, the brights indicator is lit normally.

I'm guessing that if it was a known/common problem, I would have found something without having to post this.  I'm also guessing that it's going to amount to tracking down a wiring short, which pretty much tosses me out of the mix.  Hope springs eternal though, so I figured I would ask.

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Try unplugging one headlight at a time when the issue is present. If things become brighter as they should be with one light unplugged, you know the issue is with this light.

 

From here, inspect the globe. If the filament/element looks dodgy, replace the globe and check for normal operation. If not globe, check the relay for that light in the fuse and relay box in the engine bay. If one is dodgy, replace it. To check, individually pull the relays and see if there is a change in the performance of the remaining light. From here I’m no use...

 

Other thing to check are your earth mount points on your wiring harness. Clean and replace any that look dodgy/crusty/rusty.

 

All the best, please report back if issue is resolved ;)

 

Cheers

 

Bennie

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+1 on this being a 'grounding' problem.

If one headlight filament doesn't have a good ground, it may try to find a ground through another route, possibly through another headlight.

Hence the 'dimming' and other 'weirdness'.

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Had that very thing happen on a 02 obw just the other day.   Issue was a bad Ground... (sound familiar ? )  Headlights had been replaced with the china copys...   the low beam ground was bad..  Made all the issues you have happen. I replaced that entire headlight housing with a used one and the problem is gone.

Edited by montana tom

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Had same issue twice. Burned connector on a 2001 Forester. Replace connector with an auto parts store connector and all fine

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Could be a failing hi/lo switch. Definitely check connectors at the bulbs first. That's cheaper/easier than a dimmer switch.

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