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 Head Lice

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NoCoPilot

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PostSubject: Head Lice    Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:07 pm

My left headlight has died three times in the past 2 months.  Two days ago it quit a 4th time.  Yesterday I turned on the ignition and NEITHER headlight was working.

I rattled the wires, checked the fuse, and then ONLY the left one started working.  So this morning I replaced the right lamp element (they're about $15 each but easy to swap) and this time I made sure I used plenty of that contact goo they recommend.  We shall see.

But damn, I can't figure out what's going on here.  I haven't thrown away any of the elements in case it's not the bulb's fault.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:06 am

FIVE times. WTF.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:32 am

Have you considered taking the car to a mechanic?
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:46 am

When you install the lamps, do you touch them with your fingers? That will kill quartz lamps in short order.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:22 am

Yes, and no.

Scheduled for 1:30pm Friday now. It'll probably cost $150 to have them tell me the bulb was out Sad
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:03 pm

Quartz halogen bulbs are great most of the time; mine still work after fifteen years. Since we have had cars with these bulbs, we have had only one bulb go out. But they are fragile when not everything is just right. A lot of vibration or a bad connection can kill them. It sounds as though you have a bad connection if a bulb came back on after rattling the wires. Problems with the alternator/regulator can kill them. Oil from fingers can kill them. Rarely, but it does happen, the aftermarket parts are not identical to the OEM parts, even though the aftermarket maker claims they are.
Be sure and give the mechanic a good history of the problem.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:11 pm

Both headlights are back on. I think I'll rattle the shit out of the wiring, try to find anything fruity, and if I can make them stay on I'll cancel the appointment.

Because, chances are, they won't do anything different.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:40 am

That seems like a hazardous approach. But if you never drive when it's dark, you should be okay.

Which wires are you rattling? The leads that go into the lamp buckets?

Why would you take your car to a mechanic in whom you have no confidence?
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:50 am

Intermittent problems are the hardest to diagnose and hence solve.  I once read a service manual for a piece of electronic equipment that advised "Apply mechanical shock."

I.e., hit the damn thing.

Such is the nature of a lot of electrical problems.


By the way, my Subaru has both headlamps and very bright parking lamps in the bumper. Even without headlamps I can see and be seen.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:15 am

You're certainly right about the difficulty of resolving intermittent problems, whether mechanical, electrical, or even software.

But I am not aware of any electrical or electronic component or circuitry that can be repaired by "hitting the damn thing". Perhaps the bit you remember from the manual was suggesting a method of diagnosis or testing; it certainly would not repair any electrical problems. I don't know where you got the idea that "the nature of a lot of electrical problems" is such that hitting them is an accepted repair method, but that is not correct.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:16 am

Cold solder joints, ever heard of them?
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:26 am

Of course. And they cannot be repaired by hitting the damn equipment. They can only be repaired by fixing the joint.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:31 am

Permanently, sure.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:43 am

Just now:
  • Turned key on, left light out
  • Opened bonnet, rattled wires, light came on
  • Removed plug, smeared contact grease, replugged
  • rattled wires, light stayed on
  • closed bonnet, light went off
  • Reopened bonnet, rattled wires, light came back on
  • plugged and unplugged several times, light stayed on afterward
  • closed bonnet, light stayed on

Who the fuck knows.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:05 pm

Just for fun, Google these three strings:

subaru outback headlights keep burning out

subaru outback headlight recall

subaru outback headlight lawsuit

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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:07 pm

NoCoPilot wrote:
Permanently, sure.

The difference between repair and procrastinate.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:29 pm

_Howard wrote:
Just for fun, Google these three strings:

subaru outback headlights keep burning out
Torque News wrote:
A lawsuit filed against Subaru says 2010-2011 Outback models are experiencing failures of exterior lighting. Is Subaru covering it up?
_Howard wrote:
subaru outback headlight recall
carcomplaints.com wrote:
May 2, 2016 — Subaru Outback headlight problems have caused a proposed class-action lawsuit filed by the owner of a 2011 Subaru Outback.

Subaru Outback owner Kathleen O’Neill filed the lawsuit after allegedly experiencing numerous failures of exterior lighting, especially the headlights. The lawsuit says O’Neill purchased a new 2011 Subaru Outback and by the end of 2011, the left front headlight had failed followed by the right headlight in February 2012.

A dealership replaced both headlights in the new car, but the plaintiff says the headlights continued to fail. According to the lawsuit, exterior lighting failed nine more times causing the plaintiff to pay $317.55. Most of the failures involved headlights, but on some occasions failures included side marker lights, parking lights, license plate lights and turn signal lights.

The lawsuit names the 2010-2011 Outbacks as the cars with exterior lighting that often fails because the lighting systems cause interference with other parts within the lighting assemblies, causing too much voltage in the circuits. The problem is made worst by using the exterior lights in "auto mode," a mode recommended by Subaru.

The plaintiff claims the automaker has known about the lighting problems since 2009 but refuses to inform consumers and continues to conceal the alleged defects.
_Howard wrote:
subaru outback headlight lawsuit
Legalnewsline wrote:
LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) — The federal agency responsible for taking consumer complaints about vehicle defects has recorded roughly 90 complaints about 2010 and 2011 Subaru Outbacks whose exterior lights allegedly fail frequently and prematurely.
My car is a 1998 Forester.  Thanks, though.

The current problem is the first I've had.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:06 am

You went to far too much trouble on your response. The line, "My car is a 1998 Forester." is all that was needed.

For some unknown reason, I thought you had a late-model Outback.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:47 pm

NoCo, I have some support for your "hit the damn thing" solution. It's a very old story. More than fifty years old, in fact.



This is an ARC-27, a UHF transceiver used in aircraft many moons ago. Before my squadron was sent overseas, we conducted close air support training, primarily in the desert outside of at Fallon, Nevada, and in the desert at Chocolate Mountain, near Yuma. We had these radios mounted in the back of Dodge Power Wagons and they took a beating on the rough terrain.

The first time I went out after being assigned to the squadron, the radios were all under-powered and had to be realigned on-site. A miserable job in the back of the Dodge. After that, when I worked on them in the shop, after alignment - which was mechanical - I would lift one end of the radio rack about six inches and drop it on the bench a few times ("hit the damn thing"). This would throw the alignment off if it wasn't just right. There was some play in the oldham couplers which connected adjustable capacitors to the frequency-selection drive train. After a few times realigning the radio, the dropping had no effect. When they were send out to the desert, they were still in alignment after the bouncing around.

So in some cases, "hit the damn thing" is a necessity.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:52 pm

Anything with tubes needs to be hit occasionally. The pins oxidize.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Lice    Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:59 pm

Hitting a device with tubes is an incredibly bad idea - it can damage the grids. Remove and reinsert the tubes if you suspect oxidation. Normally, the sockets are tight enough that you shouldn't have the problem.

In the case of the ARC-27, it had nothing to do with the tubes or oxidation. The problem was purely mechanical.

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