Intermittent Left Turn Signal Subaru Outback 2000
I have seen a few reports of readers having intermittent turn signal issues with their Subaru. Usually it is the left turn signal on the 2000-2004 Subaru Outback models.
The symptoms are a fast clicking sound, about twice the speed of the normal turn signal relay clicking sound. Also the turn signals do not flash when this fast clicking occurs.
I have had this issue occur on my own personal 2000 Subaru Outback. I considered this repair to be high priority because thinking your left turn signal is one when it is actually not on can be very dangerous for both you and other drivers.
First Obtain a Replacement Turn Stalk
The solution was to replace the turn signal stalk. I suspected the stalk because when the fast turn signal relay click occurred, if I cancelled the signal and then signaled again, then it would usually work.
The replacement is actually fairly easy. I will outline the steps below to replace the Subaru turn signal stalk switch assembly.
First, a replacement stalk will be needed. After having looked at the old stalk assembly, it looks like it might be possible to open the plastic case by pushing in the plastic locks with a small screwdriver, and then clean the contacts inside. However, since I already had a new stalk on hand, I simply replaced the unit with the new stalk.
Replacement Subaru Turn Signal Switch Assembly Sources
Subaru Dealer: I obtained my replacement stalk from a Subaru dealer selling parts online since I had some extra Subaru bucks available. The part number was 83118FC030. The list price is USD$114, though it can be found online usually for about USD$85.
This turn signal stalk switch assembly (part # 83118FC030) will fit many late 1990’s and early 2000’s Subaru vehicles, including Forester and Impreza from 1998 to 2004, Subaru Legacy and Outback from 2000 to 2004, and the Subaru Baja from 2003 to 2006 (Baja production ceased around 2006 unfortunately). This problem does not seem to be reported often on used Subaru WRX’s.
Some aftermarket parts that are often listed to use in place of 83118FC030 are OE PRO Part # SM1116, STANDARD MOTOR PRODUCTS Part # CBS1112, AIRTEX / WELLS Part # 1S2440. However, since, the price is nearly the same as the genuine part, many people opt to purchase the genuine part instead. Similar parts may be available from RockAuto, Autozone, and other sources.
Replacing Subaru Outback Turn Signal Stalk
The replacement is fairly simple. There is a two piece plastic shroud over the steering column. Underneath, there is single recessed slotted head screw that holds the two shrouds together. Remove this screw. Now the bottom shroud can be removed with a little coaxing. It kind of clips into the top shroud.
NOTE: Service manuals will often suggest disconnecting the battery and waiting at least one minute before doing any type of service on anything in the steering column. This suggestion is because of the airbag module in the steering column. The same suggestion normally applies when working on bumpers or near any yellow wire (yellow shrouded wire is normally related to the airbag system). Considering the cost of Subaru airbag module replacement, the battery disconnection warning is probably worthwhile. However it also tends to make the ECU reset, which may result in poor performance until it relearns its parameters.
There are two slotted head (I suspect actually JIS slotted) screws that secure the top shroud to the steering column. The passenger side screw is a bit obscured, but when looking from directly underneath it is fairly easy to see.
Then remove the top shroud. Now on the turn signal stalk, unplug the white electrical connector. Squeeze the locking tab on the connector and pull down.
Now remove the two small slotted Subaru JIS screws that secure the turn signal stalk to the steering column. The old switch assembly will then slide right out. Then slide the new stalk in place. The stalk has a small tab that gets pushed in as the steering wheel turns to activate the cancel feature of the turn signal switch.
Place the two slotted screws back in place and plug in the electrical connector. I like to apply a small amount of electrical contact grease on the pins of the new switch before plugging it back in. A small amount of connector lube reduces the force necessary to plug in the connector and reduces wear on the pins. Though hopefully this switch would not need to be replaced more than once.
Then replace the upper shroud, reinstalling the two screws that hold it to the steering column. Next clip the lower shroud back into place and reinstall the single slotted screw that holds it to the upper shroud.
Testing the New Subaru Turn Signal Stalk Assembly
Now give it a test. Make sure the left turn signal and right turn signal function properly. Also verify that the parking lamp, headlamp (both high and low beam) and flash to pass features all work properly. Also verify the dimmer function for dash illumination is working properly.
Congratulations! Now your Subaru turn signal switch is functioning properly and safely again.
Related problems on this vehicle include the Subaru power window switch, especially when going up on the driver side.
About the Author
This article was written by Lewis Werner. It was first published December 17, 2012. If you have questions about the article, please click here to view the author's contact information including e-mail address, telephone number and mailing address.