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A recent burned out bulb in the seat heater switch of my 02 OBW made me balk at the $43 CDN dealer price a new switch, especially when the switch still worked, but the night illumination bulb was burned out.

Another thread here listed the Radio Shack micro bulb #7219 as a exact replacement. (It was!) Here's how the centre console comes out and the repair was made.

 

Simply pull up the woodgrain surround of the gear shift at the back with your fingers. It will pop up releasing 4 spring clips, 2 down each side, but BE CAREFUL not to lift it more than half an inch doing so! The front arms of the wood grain surround that go up both sides of the front of the dash below the radio, have thin plastic pins that are inserted into that front dash. The woodgrain surround must be gently pulled towards the rear of the car to release the spring clips. The plastic pins can be broken off very easily. Now 2 screws are revealed at the front of the gear shift, and lifting the lid of the centre arm rest reveals 2 more to remove. Lift up this centre section of the console that holds the drink cups, reach underneath and press the side clips that hold the wiring connectors to the seat heater switches, and remove the entire centre console. The switches can now be easily pushed out.

Holding the switch upright (so no internal parts could spring out or get dislodged before I saw where they are located, I used a small thin bladed screwdriver to pry out the BOTTOM of the switch that has the wiring harness blade connectors on it. When the bottom dropped out, there was a white centre section that had copper spring contacts just floating around on top of the bottom section. This thin white block had a white vertical pointer, that fits into a set of fingers that extend down from the rocker switch in the top of the switch. (Obviously the pointer must be positioned to fit between the fingers upon reassembly.) Coming up from the bottom of the switch base that was just removed, the blades rise above the white centre switch contact assembly and have 2 rubber light shield/sockets for the illumination bulb and the seat heater on bulb. The rubber sockets and bulbs just slide right off of the blades. Using a magnifying glass and toothpick or dental pick, unwind the bulb pigtails to remove the burned out bulb, and replace same with a new bulb. Put the bulb and socket assembly back onto the blades, and before you put everything back together, test the bulb using long pigtail wires from your battery. If it lights, reassemble the whole switch, and again before you install it in the car, plug the switch into your wiring harness connector, turn on the ignition and lights and see if it works. If so...put the car back together. It worked for me. Total cost was $2.99 CDN plus tax for 2 bulbs and an hour of my time. Hope this helps somebody out.

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Thanks for this description. I'll file it away for future reference.

 

All I need on my Forester now, is some way for the heater-switch to cancel itself after a predetermined time, or to reset when the ignition goes off. Mine stays on (annoyingly) until physically switched off.

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Forester2002s,

 

I know what you mean, but you'll need to add a timer control to the circuit to cancel the seat heaters after a preset time. As well, you'll need to change your switch. As it is now you throw the switch to one side and it stays on high, off or low. You'll need a micro switch that momentarily lights up the timer control and then the switch returns to the off position on its own. Unless you're into electronics, I'll bet it will be almost more trouble than its worth. If you decide to tackle it someday, and have some success, we'd sure like to hear about it!

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All I need on my Forester now, is some way for the heater-switch to cancel itself after a predetermined time, or to reset when the ignition goes off. Mine stays on (annoyingly) until physically switched off.
It would be pretty easy to do with something like this...

 

http://www.electrodepot.com/a4123.htm

 

You need a different time interval and hopefully a cheaper price, but you get the idea. You may want a more robust secondary relay to actually drive the heater(s).

 

Of course, there are a million other ways to do it as well.

 

EDIT: You would also need two momentary pushbuttons, one for stop and one for start.

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99obw,

 

You've done your homework! Nice to know that there are people out there with the expertise to solve just about any problem. But OUCH, the switch costs $99 !

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This back-lighting bulb replacement method also works on 97-99 OBW LTD seat heater switches, emergency flasher switch, outside mirror heat switch, cruise control switch and fog lamp switch. For all of these, when the back-lighting bulb fails, Subaru is more than happy to sell the entire switch only, not the bulb & socket assy. Working in a well-lit area, you will need a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers to install the new bulb in the existing micro-socket. On 97-99 OBW, the micro-sockets for these back-lighting bulbs are hidden under a foil shield that "peels" off (gently!!) from the switch assy.

 

A recent burned out bulb in the seat heater switch of my 02 OBW made me balk at the $43 CDN dealer price a new switch, especially when the switch still worked, but the night illumination bulb was burned out.

Another thread here listed the Radio Shack micro bulb #7219 as a exact replacement. (It was!) Here's how the centre console comes out and the repair was made.

 

Simply pull up the woodgrain surround of the gear shift at the back with your fingers. It will pop up releasing 4 spring clips, 2 down each side, but BE CAREFUL not to lift it more than half an inch doing so! The front arms of the wood grain surround that go up both sides of the front of the dash below the radio, have thin plastic pins that are inserted into that front dash. The woodgrain surround must be gently pulled towards the rear of the car to release the spring clips. The plastic pins can be broken off very easily. Now 2 screws are revealed at the front of the gear shift, and lifting the lid of the centre arm rest reveals 2 more to remove. Lift up this centre section of the console that holds the drink cups, reach underneath and press the side clips that hold the wiring connectors to the seat heater switches, and remove the entire centre console. The switches can now be easily pushed out.

Holding the switch upright (so no internal parts could spring out or get dislodged before I saw where they are located, I used a small thin bladed screwdriver to pry out the BOTTOM of the switch that has the wiring harness blade connectors on it. When the bottom dropped out, there was a white centre section that had copper spring contacts just floating around on top of the bottom section. This thin white block had a white vertical pointer, that fits into a set of fingers that extend down from the rocker switch in the top of the switch. (Obviously the pointer must be positioned to fit between the fingers upon reassembly.) Coming up from the bottom of the switch base that was just removed, the blades rise above the white centre switch contact assembly and have 2 rubber light shield/sockets for the illumination bulb and the seat heater on bulb. The rubber sockets and bulbs just slide right off of the blades. Using a magnifying glass and toothpick or dental pick, unwind the bulb pigtails to remove the burned out bulb, and replace same with a new bulb. Put the bulb and socket assembly back onto the blades, and before you put everything back together, test the bulb using long pigtail wires from your battery. If it lights, reassemble the whole switch, and again before you install it in the car, plug the switch into your wiring harness connector, turn on the ignition and lights and see if it works. If so...put the car back together. It worked for me. Total cost was $2.99 CDN plus tax for 2 bulbs and an hour of my time. Hope this helps somebody out.

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99obw,

 

You've done your homework! Nice to know that there are people out there with the expertise to solve just about any problem. But OUCH, the switch costs $99 !

That was the first thing I found. Given enough time I could probably find an affordable relay. If folks are seriously interested let me know and I will look. I can ask the component engineer at work, he will know who makes them. ;)

 

I would love to "intervalize" the rear wipers in both vehicles, so this thread has further sparked my curiosity in the area of adjustable timer relays.

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OK, now you guys have me wondering. . .

Are the "rear defroster" and "Cruise control" switches (found to the left of the column) in a '92 Legacy L wagon backlit? what about the buttons for the tape player (I know the first three are, but what about the rest? the ones that select the stations and the tape functions)?

 

If they are backlit, are they the same bulb listed above, or are they a different size?

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I've had the heater/AC control panel of my old 97 OBW apart to replace burned out bulbs, and found that in some cases separate bulbs are used to illuminate certain knobs, and that sometimes one bulb lights up a clear plastic stick that runs behind a series of buttons to light them all at the same time. I guess the easiest way to tell, is if you have one switch's light source burned out, or several all at the same time. Its best to get the unit out of the dash, and check it while its still plugged into its harness. I wouldn't buy any bulbs until then. Hope this helps out. Good luck!

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D'oh! Now I have to excuse NOT to fix my wifes heated seat switch! Oh-yhea, its cold in the garage.:grin: That should give me a little more time to get my projects done first! NO, seriously, thanks for the write up, that's a service to everyone! Kurt

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