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hello, I am new to this forum and to Subarus. I just bought a '99 Impreza Outback Sport. It's hard to drive at night because most of the tiny bulbs that light up switches like the cruise control and the backlights for the heater and AC are burned out. While at a wrecking yard for other parts I tried to find bulbs, but almost all of them are burned out. There is supposed to be an old sticky to a thread on  this, but I can't get it to load. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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My 2002 Forester uses tiny incandescent micro-bulbs #7219 (each fitted into a small plastic screw-in fitting).

Radio Shack used to carry these as #272-1092 (is Radio Shack still in business?)

#7219 micro-bulbs are also available on eBay and Amazon.

 

 

Edited by forester2002s

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I'd like to thank forester2002s and djmark7 for their replies. Since I posted my question I found the bulb issue has inspired threads on every Subaru forum there is. I would like to share what I have found to help anyone who follows this thread, especially since there doesn't seem to be any way to access the old FAQ Sticky Compilation any more. The same steps and parts should work on every Impreza and Forester made from '97 through '01. Replacing the bulbs is not difficult in itself as the bulbs simply snap into sockets inside the heater control. The challenge is reaching them. I found pretty good step-by step instructions by LostInPhilly89 on the Subaru Forester.org forum at https://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f85/1998-forester-bscenter-console-light-replacement-59724/ 

As for the bulbs themselves, most people have opted to buy standard replacement lamps rather than the OEM Subaru bulbs. Considering someone is selling an OEM bulb kit on Ebay for $26.45, I don't blame them. While the kit includes the bulb for the AC switch as well as the two cluster illumination bulbs, $26.45 is a Lot to pay for three tiny bulbs. Several sizes have been used, including 2721, 2723, BP37, and 74LL as well as the 7219 forester2002s  suggests.I compared my car's bulbs with  2723s and the size looks identical. According to my research the 2721 and 2723 bulbs are the same physical size, but the 2721s draw about 1.2 watts while 2723s draw about 2.3 watts. That should make the 2723s brighter but hotter than 2721s The BP 37 and 74LL bulbs are rated at 1.26 and 1.4 watts respectively , are slightly thicker than the 2721 by about .5 mm, and some have complained that they don't always fit. I have no idea how any of these bulbs compare to the wattage rating of Subaru bulbs. Some have experimented with LEDs, but the threads I read said it can be difficult to get good results with them because many of the LEDs out there are poor quality. If anyone wants to try them,  any LED designed to replace a 2721 or 2723 bulb should work. One limitation of using standard bulbs is that you won't get the green rubber covers Subaru uses which will change the look of your cluster at night. Out of curiosity I tried to see if I could find them. They are known as light bulb filter caps, or simply light bulb caps, and are available in several sizes and colors from suppliers such as TheToyz.com which sells RC hobby supplies, Speedway Motors.com which sells auto parts, and Jackson Lighting and electrical supply. Most of them are sold in bulk lots of say 10 or more, so buying them for just one car would be rather silly and expensive by the time you pay shipping. If several members got together and bought caps and bulbs in bulk though, making  custom light kits would probably be fairly cheap, and you could use other colors such as red, blue, or yellow. I bought genuine Subaru bulbs from Subaru Parts Deal.com. The Subaru part number is 72351FA001 and they cost $4.21 each for a total of $8.42 plus shipping. That's still quite a bit to pay for tiny bulbs, but when you consider that a pair of Sylvania 2723 long life bulbs cost nearly $6.00 at an auto parts store with tax, the difference in cost is rather small. And while I did have to pay extra for shipping the Subaru bulbs, I bought them as part of a large order I would have placed anyway, so the extra cost to ship them was minimal.

Hopefully this clears up most of the issues I and others have had about Subaru heater lights. As far as I know, my information is accurate for all Imprezas and Foresters made from about 1997 through 2001. Outbacks from similar years are different. Perhaps this post could be made a sticky to replace the old one.

 

 

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I thought I should post a quick update and correction. After reading this through, I realized I made a mistake. When forester 2002s mentioned 7219 micro-bulbs, I somehow assumed he was recommending them for the heater control. He was not. 7219 micro-bulbs are used to light up the push button switches Subaru used for the cruise control, fog lights, rear window wipers and likely other things. Subaru uses two of these bulbs. One is clear and is used to light up the switch so you can find it at night, while the other has an orange cap and lights up when you push the switch so you know when you've turned something on. The clear bulb is known as a T3 12 volt 30 ma, and is available from Subaru as part #83426AA040. The orange bulb is a T3 12 volt 50 ma with Subaru part #83426AA051. These bulbs are much easier to replace than the heater control bulbs. You first remove the offending switch for your dash (they simply snap in and out). Once the switch is out, Look for two tiny plastic disks with screwdriver slots in them. These are bulb bases. Give the base a half turn and the bulb will drop out, except they often get stuck and can be really tough to get out. To get these I grabbed a few push button switches at a local wrecking yard and happened to find a couple with good bulbs. It was a ridiculous amount of work, as I pulled several switches and had to check all the bulbs using a 12 volt battery and jumper wires, but the switches were thrown in for free with some other stuff I bought. I can post pics of the switches and bulbs if anyone's interested.

Edited by Kenword
Fixed some typos

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