I own a 2000-model-year Subaru Forester. I've experienced this
problem intermittently off and on for a year, and now for the past
6 months, the problem is ALWAYS present. So, I've been hoping
to be able to isolate and fix it myself. Sigh.
So, it's a 5-door...the normal 4 doors as well as the tail/swing-up
door each have their own switch. The 'bad news' is that in the
Subaru Forester design (unlike, say the Honda Accord) all 5 switches
just have a SINGLE red-light indicator on the dash. So, sadly, when
you have the door-is-ajar warning indicator lit up, you never know
a priori which of the 5 doors might be the culprit.
Normally, you might not think that's any problem. You just go around
and open/close each door until the red-idiot lite goes out and bingo,
now you know which door.
Sigh. There's the rub. In my experience, that almost never changed
the symptom...the idiot lite stayed on. I'd go around and manually inspect
and push each of the 5 switches, and they alway looked fine but did
not extinguish the indicator, so my working hypothesis was that it was
NOT a switch-related problem.
But, when I described the problem to the 'expert' at the dealer, he always
said, "No, never heard of this problem before. The circuit design is
simple. There is no central computer-controller or whatever, so one
of your 5 switches has to be the culprit."
So, since the problem was intermittent (i.e. the idiot light would just
go out on its own after 2 to 10 days), I just ignored the problem.
But, now it's been 6 months and the foolish idiot lite is still on. (Of
as a workaround, I have to leave the ceiling switch in the position so that
the dome-lite never is allowed on based on door-ajar-indication. Otherwise,
anytime the red-idiot lite was on, the dome light would ALSO not go OFF
and then the battery would run down.)
And, one day, I also THOUGHT that I had an additional hint that it was
the LEFT-FRONT (driver) door that was the culprit. So, I decided to
work on this problem myself in earnest.
A couple of clips 180-degrees apart hold the switch in. I remove the
rubber protector over the switch, depress the holding clips, and the switch
can be pulled out to expose the 2 wires attached to the switch.
(Just BARELY enough play. Sigh.)
Damn...the wires a SOLDERED onto each lug. Sigh, again. Found
a soldering iron and DE-soldered the wires loose from the switch.
Ah, I thought. Before I even spend money on a new switch, let's just
'workaround' the issue. The idiot-light is still on. So, I attach the two
leads TOGETHER (figuring the red-light will extinguish).
Nope, no such luck. About all I can conclude from all this is that the
problem is NOT in the driver's door switch at all.
Clearly, my knowledge of how to trouble-shoot / fix this problem is
Ideas? What should I try? How do I even figure out whether it's
a door switch problem at all?
Dave [who is clearly stumped]