In this video I have a look at a customers Subaru Outback that has a customer complaint that the battery dies after sitting a few weeks. We end up finding the problem pretty fast and I show you a few tips and things to look out for.
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All right folks, we got us a 2011. Subaru Let's get out back. it's got the big two five in it. and uh, the customer complaint is the battery dies over the winter, so apparently this car is over the summer.

Rather, apparently this car is just taking off the road and parked in the garage and plates are surrendered until winter time comes and then it's driven and evidently in that amount of time, the battery goes dead. Now, the customer does state that it's not because it sits for six months out of the year, so we have to give them the benefit of the doubt. Look at it. You towed it down here on a trailer because it's not on the road.

Um, it's not registered or insured or anything. It's sad out here. Overnight started up just fine this morning I brought it in I've pulled the keys I've locked the door so it's sitting like it normally would. Uh, I've left all the doors and everything shut on it.

haven't even really prepared it for a parasitic draw. There's no hood switch on this I Believe, yes, there is one Hood switch. so we'll push that down and now we're going to take and see what the current draw is out of the battery over a given amount of time. I Just use a hood prop to push down the hood switch there and I Have no idea if the hood switch plays any part in the algorithm of modules turning off or not, but we always err on the side of caution: foreign off, hook our negative battery there, hook our other negative lead here, make sure we don't lose contact.

There we go. Now we should have current flowing through our meter, providing the last time we used it, we didn't blow a fuse and let's just see what our current draw is, which we just showed the vehicle off so it's only been off for however long it took to start the video here. two minutes. So we're at 150 milliamps.

We're going to give this some time. We'll give it well, half hour, 20 minutes or so. Come back and check it, and definitely within one hour it should be timed out completely. In the meantime, I'm going to look for some silver bullets through service bulletins and on Identifix because if we can fix it without thinking, by golly, we'll do that.

So let's get some time on the screen here. I'll just put five minutes here 500 milliamps and then we'll just see what this is. Over time. what we go, look for a silver bullet so stand by.

So super is kind of funny. They call it dark currents. How to test for dark current? They call it. um let's see.

yeah there they are so dark current or Pad battery draw. So I guess I haven't heard it? Uh, referred to as that. Uh, Bolton's pretty standard just telling. uh the guys at Subaru how to perform a parasitic draw test.

Uh, good information in it though. Right here? Important? see it tells you. Oh right here. from this point.

So they tell you how to, um, you know how to lock the doors and make sure everything's turned off. allow five minutes for the electrical system to stabilize or go to sleep as they say before proceeding and then they say uh, the Window performance test only 20 minutes from the time the vehicle goes to sleep. So after the five minutes or the El uh, the Elcm testing begins and we'll have effect on your test result. So I believe that Elcm is Subaru's uh, evap monitor so it's going to be their key off evap testing.
Um, so you'll have, uh, perhaps a false positive if for example, the vacuum pump for the Uh EVAP system kicked on I don't remember what that means electronically something monitor? it's it's their EVAP system, but yeah, basically an electric uh vacuum pump back there. But anyhow, I'm going to finish reading through this to see if they have any specs on what normal current draw is and then I'll check back with you guys here in just a minute. I think from the manufacturer that could tell us what the current draw is, but average rule less than 50 milliamp Subaru says uh, maximum allowable dark current is 70 milliamps but then they go on to explain that even if it's below 70, it could still actually be a problem. And their recommendation is it is recommended whenever possible in like a light comparison Vehicle would be used as a benchmark for the vehicle that has reported unusual current draw.

so compare it to something that is known. Good? Uh, so not super helpful. Uh, but their example that they show here the Subaru that they haven't hooked to is drawing 32 milliamps. they don't State Whether or not it's an issue, they're just using it for example.

So they have a very good service bulletin in my opinion. Uh, if you do not know how to check for current draw in our case, we've been here about 10 minutes and we're still at 150. So we have to assume that this vehicle has a problem. One thing I Did notice the car does have an aftermarket remote start even though it says Subaru on it.

it's you know, the factory installed aftermarket one. It's still chopped into the wiring Scotch blocks and all that. so we'll keep that in mind. Uh, we see, we've got some classic extension cord up here.

Uh, not sure what that was hooked to at some point not hooked up anymore, so that's good. Uh, let's start how we always do. and let's go down some of these fuses, see if we can find a fuse that has Uh current being drawn across it by checking the voltage drop across the fuses. and once we find that, hopefully we can track down uh, the said circuit.

So let me get a meter. I Went through all the fuses, So right now it's been, it's been 30 minutes and we're still at 150 milliamps here to see which fuse is drawing current. If we measure voltage drop across fuse, it'll be measured in milliamps excuse me. Very very small milliamps I went across every single fuse.

all of them were at zero except for two. This 30 amp fuse here was measuring like 5 volts. So I'm going to assume that that fuse is blown or it's really really crusty and I can't get a good read on it. So I'm going to pull that fuse.
current draw stayed the same and the fuse must just be open or not open but just very crusty on the top. must be I Was not getting a good reading so our current draw stayed the same. So I'm going to put that fuse back so that one was suspect. I'm gonna try to get a get a reading on it and even though it doesn't matter, we pulled it and found that it doesn't change.

I'm going to try to measure across it again. Yeah, it's just all over the place so it must be just real crusty on top. The other one is is this fourth one down this 25 amp I was getting uh, 2 or 0.2 millivolts across that and there we go. Bingo Bango! there's our fuse So that's the one that's causing us a problem.

Because now look I Removed that fuse and now we're down to a 20 milliamp draw. So whatever this fuse powers, that device is staying on. and I'm going to show you something here that you have to be quite aware of. So I plug it back in and we're back to 150..

I'm going to get rid of this graph and we're going to go into our digital meter. We're gonna go amps internal this way here you can see it better. Okay, and I want to show you on the meter. so this meter here.

hopefully you guys can see that. try to get that where you can see it. Oops, No, we don't want to hold that there fella. So there's that meter.

so that is on the millivolt scale. So when we go on a fuse, let's say let's go on a good fuse here. A fuse that is not drawing current. we should see 0.0000 all zeros if I can get my leads in here.

I've got really sharp leads so I can poke in here good So hopefully you guys can see that. 0.000 and then this fuse that I found that was suspect I probe into that and we have. Let's wait for its City out point Two zero, zero, Zero point two millivolts 0.3 millivolts So that's the type of discrepancy you're looking for. so that means, and of course that's a 25 amp fuse also.

so we have two-tenths of a millivolt so that seems really insignificant. But after going down through every single fuse I Get to the last four fuses I'm gonna check and then we come across this one and then when we pull it, hopefully you guys can see that our current draw disappears. So what's your next step there? Rocco Well, our next step is to find out what this little guy is. Uh, there's people in the comments saying well, yeah, you can do it that way or you can just go through and pull every single fuse and that is true and that's kind of an old school method to do it.

Stick a test light across here uh, no current meter and just start yanking fuses. You can do that. However, you will drive yourself nuts because I don't know what any of these fuses run and you pull that one and stick it back in and all of a sudden everything come back, everything comes back to life and now you're waiting for the vehicle to shut down again. So that's why.
I would advise against just going and just poking and hoping and plucking fuses. just measure voltage drop across them. You'll stop modules from turning on even though this car seems that it it times out quite quickly. so just use your head a little bit there.

Boy, they really make the print on this pretty tiny. Let me go get my glasses so we can see what's going on. All right now we can see the arrows 25 amp. We got a 15, A 15 a 25.

That is the audio fuse. Oh fantastic. What's easy enough? So let me look on a puck diagram and see what that fuse runs. Maybe just the radio? So I look on power distribution they call it fuse number six 25 amp.

It just feeds the radio. That's it. If it has an amplifier, it feeds that. If it has a navigation, it feeds that.

But essentially that fuse just feeds the radio. Cool part is I Spoke with the customer and he enlightened me on a little something. He says that sometimes when he goes out in his garage he'll hear something coming out of the speakers on this car when it's sitting there like a low like static noise. I guess is the way you described it.

So I guess that all makes sense that there is something going on wonky in that radio. Um, whether or not he's gonna opt to put a you know used radio in this. I don't know I checked Wilbert's the newest they have down there as an 08 so we can't just go down and you know, get us a used radio. Uh I don't I don't believe.

So yeah, it looks like 2010, 2011 2012 so maybe like 10 to 12 only probably on that from the crossover chart. So uh, so that would be a waste of time for us. Um, no real sense in pulling it out to unplug it just to find out what we already know. Uh, based on what he's saying with the speakers making noise, I'll let him decide where he wants a pretty use one in it or we end up sticking an aftermarket one in there.

He does. So that's it folks. Hopefully you might have learned a little something I didn't show the process of plucking down every single fuse to measure voltage drop on it, but if you're doing that, just be aware. like I showed in this video, it can be a very small amount, especially the higher current the fuses, the lower the voltage drop is going to be.

You know it's easier for current to flow across those big fuses. So let's say, if that was like a 5 amp fuse, our millivolts might have been like, you know, 1.2 might have been something a little more measurable. So make sure you're paying attention to the scale on your meter and make sure you know it's 0.000 you know, all the way across. And if you got a couple tenths of a millivolt where you have current flowing across that fuse just as we proved here, and uh, hopefully that's of some value for this video.

Anyhow, leave me a valuable comment in the comment section questions, Comments concern: The Entity the Facebook we're not on Tick Tock They're still scumbag out there though. And just remember viewers, if I can do it, you can do it. Thanks for watching foreign.

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