Weird Electrical Problem...
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This is a discussion on Weird Electrical Problem... within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Ok, I was wondering if anyone would like to try to wrap their brains around this issue I'm having. The ...

  1. #1
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    Weird Electrical Problem...

    Ok, I was wondering if anyone would like to try to wrap their brains around this issue I'm having.

    The car is a 2003 Subaru WRX.

    Problem: Yesterday, I met some friends for lunch. Up until that point the car was working perfectly, not even a hint of any sort of electrical issue. No stuttering or oddball behavior. When I went back to my car after lunch, I couldn't start it.

    Here's the oddness. The key does nothing. The car has power, and whatever detects the key in the ignition starts dinging. However there is no response to turning the key. No accessories power up, nothing ignition related (fuel pump, windows, status lights on dash, etc.) powers up either. The car behaves exactly as if all I did was slide the key into the slot and never turned it.


    What I've done:
    Checked fuses. Any fuses ignition related check out. Plus this doesn't explain the lack of accessories. Other items that don't require the key work fine (parking lights, interior lights, etc.)

    Pulled the igntion switch. I was getting some odd results with my multimeter when I checked the ignition switch. So I pulled it and double checked. The results were inconsistent. Sometimes the switch would connect the proper leads, other times it wouldn't. And some times I'd see cross-talk between the IGN and ACC curcuit. So, thinking that was my problem, I cut the switch from its harness and tried to "hotwire" the car directly. No good, same exact behaviour; No Accessories, no ignition, no starter.

    So I'm at my wits end. If I can't get this at least diagnosed by Monday, I'm going to have to take it to a shop. And considering it's electrical, I'll probably have to take it to a dealership.

    So any ideas would be a great help.

    Thank you

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  3. #2
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    I would check if switch for "clutch in" is working.
    '02 WRX 4EAT, 311,000KMs/194,500Miles, Sold. Best car I ever had. '09 STi stage 1, hope this one will be good too...

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrxdrvr View Post
    I would check if switch for "clutch in" is working.
    That wouldn't prevent the accessories from working.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Draco-REX View Post
    That wouldn't prevent the accessories from working.
    Oops, misread after "car has power"...Then, other then putting a battery charger on I don't know.
    '02 WRX 4EAT, 311,000KMs/194,500Miles, Sold. Best car I ever had. '09 STi stage 1, hope this one will be good too...

  6. #5
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    I'm going to point out the simple. Did you check the battery or try jumping it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trainrex View Post
    I'm going to point out the simple. Did you check the battery or try jumping it?
    No, because everything that doesn't depend on the key works perfectly..

    However, I've found out what the problem IS, just not WHERE..

    When I was checking the ignition switch I assumed that one of the leads was Ground. And when I checked it against the body it checked out as a ground. So I didn't question that.

    But I've been thinking about this (really, I can't stop ) and I realized that if the common wire was a ground, then how in the hell is anything going to get power?? So I got the wiring diagrams and began tracing..

    Bingo, that ground isn't a ground! I traced the wiring in the diagrams back and found the fuse for that line. I pulled the fuse (SBF-4) in the engine compartment and, as someone suggested, it was blown but didn't look like it. So it probably blew when that wire grounded out.

    Now, I have to find out where that wire goes and how it possibly got grounded. I checked that wire at the ignition switch (now just loose ends) against the chassis with my multimeter and the connection was still there. So the issues is AFTER the fuse.

    Now to narrow it down further...

    This makes me wonder if there is a chafing issue other impreza owners might need to check into...

  8. #7
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    Jr is working!!

    Believe it or not, it turned out to be that fuse. This has been a pretty educational experience. :P But what's weird is that the fuse didn't blow. It fatigued! But I have a spare just in case, but Jr runs and all the accessories work. So I'm happy.

    I simultaneously feel dumb and happy about going through all that. I have a much greater understandng of my car's wiring, and really, with the information I had at the time, I felt I made the right decisions. What I didn't do, is do the diagnostics in the right order.

    And in my defense, the fuse was labeled SBF-4. :P

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