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2008 outback wagon keeps blowing the tail light fuse.

JA: Have you checked the...
2008 outback wagon keeps blowing the tail light fuse.
JA: Have you checked the bulbs? Have you checked the connection?
Customer: Yes, sockets look clean and put new bulbs in, still keeps blowing fuse after a short time of driving.
JA: Are you fixing your Outback yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: Yes, mainly just checked sockets and bulbs for the tail lights on both sides.
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: No, but thank you.
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
11/16/2017
Mike V.
Mike V., Subaru Technician
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 26,022
Experience: Certified Subaru Technician, factory trained by Subaru.
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Thank you for your question!
My name is ***** ***** give me a moment to review your question and type my reply. Thanks

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Does your outback have a trailer hitch with wiring?

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
No it does not.

Ok, the tail light work off a relay that also should give you dash lights, when the fuse blows, are you also losing your dash lights?

We are going to have to do a bit of testing here. Pretty basic stuff.

Also, has the car been in any kind of accident?

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
The dash lights stay on and it has not been in any accidents.
Customer reply replied 25 days ago
The dash lights stay on and the car has not been in any accidents.

Ok,

So the fuse is blowing when you turn the head lights on or when you are braking?

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
After I turn the head lights on and after a short period of driving.

Ok

If you can, would you remove the license plate light bulbs and test drive the car. Its odd that the tails would go out, but the instrument panel lights don't. They are powered up by the tail and illumination relay.

Do you happen to have an air bag light on when driving?

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Can you tell me what number fuse is popping on you?

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
The head lights continue to work, it is only the 15A fuse. I will go look right now.

Thanks, ***** ***** checking the wiring diagram and there are a few fuses showing up here. Maybe if I know which one it is I can help narrow down the area with the problme.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
I just put a new fuse in. Tail lights are working, it is the 15A fuse located on the third row second one from left side.

Fuse box inside the car?

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
You are correct.

Ok, need a minute to work through the wiring diagram. Please stand by.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
Sure, I have to run back and forth from my garage. I do not have WiFi in the garage. Thanks. I will go and see if the air bag light comes on. be right back.
Customer reply replied 25 days ago
I just started the wagon to check for the air bag light and the tail light fuse blew again.

This fuse supplies power to the front parking lights as well. Through the switch on the steering column. Usually what I find is there is a problem with that switch shorting out. Sometimes due to the roll cable in the steering column for the air bag. Since it also supplies power to the front lights, you might try checking those bulbs as well. If one is blown or there is a problem with the socket it could be causing the fuse to blow out.

Check them out and let me know. This fuse might actually blow more directly without using the headlight switch, but using the parking light switch on the steering column.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
I put a new fuse in, turned on the parking lights and all worked. Should I pull the parking lights in the front off and check those sockets?

Yes, and the bulbs, and if they look good, I would unplug all the sockets and see if it still blows the fuse. If it does, then it's likely that rocker switch which is part of the roll cable. If it doesn't then plug them in one at a time until the fuse blows. Also, make sure you look at the license plate sockets and bulbs. They are on the same circuit.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
OK. That will probably take me a little while to do that. I will just leave this connected while I go to the garage.

No problem, i am here until 7 tonight Eastern time, if I am not on, leave your findings and I will get it when I sign back in in the morning.

Thanks.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
I just noticed that I do not have any license plate lights on when I turn on the head lights or parking lights. I still have tail lights, but I have not started my wife's wagon yet. Thanks.

ah, ok, perhaps you have some blown bulbs or a wiring issue to the plate sockets causing all this grief.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
Neither of the two lights work. I will go and pull the bulbs. Thanks

you're welcome.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
I pulled both bulbs out. The filaments look to be in tact, but the glass does have some dark spots. I will have to run to a auto parts store to get new ones, the socketslook clean. I'll leave this connected and check back with you shortly. Thanks again.

Sounds good and you're really very welcome!

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
I changed both license plate bulbs, but they did not come on when I turned on the head lights. The tail lights are still working but I have not started the car. I do have light tester that I can use as well as a multi-tester.

It sounds like you may have a short in the harness for the license plate lights if they still didn't come on with new bulbs.

This could be what's blowing the fuses on you. I believe if there is a short it might be where the harness comes out of the body and into the hatch if this is a wagon. You may have to open it up there and have a look

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
Where exactly is it located and do I have to pull the head liner down?

Should be a rubber tube coming from the body to the hatch, the wires go through that. you don't have to pull the liner down,just try and get the rubber tube out of the way so you can look at the wires.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
I did pull the side connected to the body out, is there a pull located in the rubber or just wirws?

Should just be the wires running through it.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
When I look inside the rubber housing, thereis the larger washer tube, one large solid black wire and two smaller gage black wires with reddish brown intermittent stripes. The rear window wiper still works.

Isn't there another one? I am showing violet wires to the license plate bulb socket, but a connector somewhere with solid black. This may be the wire for the plate lights. I am trying to get the location of the connectors for you.

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Here is a diagram of the harness. I highlighted where the connector is I was talking about. You can see where it comes out of the body and into the hatch. It's called the door cord, so it could be the larger tube has the wire inside of it.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
The violet wire is on the right side of the lift gate. there is two wires that look like their coating has been brooked. It's tight quarters, but I will try to tape the exposed wires up.

Excellent, I suspect the problem is found :)

i know it' a tight spot my friend.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
It appears that there are about four broken wires in that housing. Is there some way to roll the rubber housing up on itself or do I just have to cut it open and if so what would you suggest to use to close it up again?

I always had to cut it open, repair the wires, then wrap it up with electrical tape. I could never figure out how to get it out of the way enough otherwise.

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
Yeap, that's what I figured. I am going to go work on it for a while. Thanks.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help.
Just Answer does not compensate me for my time and resources, so please rate my answer by using the stars at the top of the page. Payment for your question includes any follow-up questions you may have. Free trials and subscription questions still require ratings.
Thank you so much!

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Customer reply replied 25 days ago
Hello Mr. Mike V.: I was able to get the license plate lights to work again and to have the tail lights stay working after I started the wagon. My wife is happy. of the ten wires in that rubber housing five were cracked with exposed wire and two the violet one to the license plate and the red one with the blue strip were completely broken. What does the red and blue stripe wire do, is it the main power supply? Poor design so many brittle wires with so little room to move. I ended up cutting the accordian part of the rubber tubbing, leaving the two ends that go into the metal areas intact. I threaded an old shoelace through the housing so that I could pull it closer together to have more room to work on the wires. I did tape the cracked wires up, but had to sue wire butts to connnect the violet one and the red and blue stripe one together. Hope it works. Thanks. Will send very good review once I finish putting things back together. It's starting to get cold in my Fargo, ND garage. TY again. D.B. Tacke

I can honestly say I don't know what that wire is for. I don't see it on the light diagram, and that shows me the tail lights and the license plate lights. But that's it, so it could be something else back there.

They need to use different style wire back there for sure. I have seen this happen on more then one, but usually older models.

Glad it's up and running and I would appreciate a good rating.

Really glad I could help, sometimes finding wiring issues over the internet is not a simple task!

Mike V.
Mike V., Subaru Technician
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 26,022
Experience: Certified Subaru Technician, factory trained by Subaru.
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Cary York
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Customer reply replied 21 days ago
I believe the larger red wire is for the rear window defogger. Thanks again. Have a good week. D. B. Tacke

That's quite possible. When only looking at the wiring diagram it will only show the wires for that specific section.

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for the rating!

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Mike V.
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Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 26,022
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