SUBARUPictures of how I fixed the tail and illumination relay on the Subaru Legacy Outback.


My wife said her instrument cluster lights kept going out. Intermittently, when she drove at night with the headlights on, the speedo, tachometer, and what else, fuel gauge? would go dark. Then she could cycle the headlights on and off a time or two and the instrument lights would turn on again.

The interweb forum FaceTweets said the tail lights would also go off because the instruments and tail lights are controlled by the same relay, the "Tail and Illumination Relay." I think it is a bad idea for my wife to drive at night with no lights, so I better find that relay.

But first, lets pay some bills:

  1. The factory service manual says these relays are very possibly in a fuse box on the left in the driver side footwell.

  2. There's the middle trim off. Two screws on the bottom and some clips along the top held it on.

  3. Where be the fusebox?

  4. In the drivers footwell on the left wall behind the multi colored tangle of wires, there be a fuse box.

  5. I see three relays at the top of the fuse box.

  6. Left trim pop rivet thinger popped out.

  7. The trim around the door sill popped up.
    pop trim

  8. These clip points under the trim in the door sill are old and brittle and will break if you jam a screwdriver in there and yoink on them. Possibly.
    clip points

  9. I undid the small, easily lost, and hard to reach nuts that hold in the fuse box and pulled it down to see the three relays.
    three relays

  10. Hand holds three relays.

  11. Three relays out. Two nuts out.

  12. My nuts in my hand.

  13. The relays slip out easily. There is no clip holding them into the fusebox. So there was no need to pull out the fusebox. Did you already pull out the fusebox? Ha ha.

  14. I checked the relays with an ohm meter and a PSU battery. All three relays sound good and have almost no resistance. So why the problem?

  15. I think it was the curse of the dead frog I found under the door sill trim. I gave the frog bones to a neighbor kid, and, with this proper burial, the spirit was appeased.

  16. Can you see the printing here? On the left is the R-Def, or rear defrost. In the middle is Tail-Illum...something. That is the tail and illumination relay. On the right you can see it is the... Can't see anything. Probably something unimportant like the brakes.

    I switched the relay from the rear def to the tail and illum slot and vice versa. Who cares if the rear defog intermittently goes out. I think.

    I may have disabled the brakes.

    fusebox labels

  17. This is a useless picture that I also took. I crawled under there and took it, the least you can do is freakin look at it. LOOK AT IT!

  18. Next I sold out to make 02ยข so I can fulfill my lifelong dream of owning a 1986 944 with blown head gaskets.

    But no minivans!

  19. Then I finished my beer.

For legal reasons you should not try anything you see on this website.
Comments are suspended due to tons of spam.

Donate to Charity

If this site has helped you, or even if it hasn't, please help care for abused and neglected children by making a donation to The Valley of the Moon Children's Home. That's right, abused and neglected children. Visit their website and try not to cry, you cold hearted bastard. Their site talks about how they achieved their goals and built a new home, but that was years ago. They still need cash to take care of all the kids there. Breaks my heart and pisses me off.

Think: Cars are expensive, powerful, and heavy.   Before I start work, I face the possibility that I will destroy my vehicle, my own life, and innocent pedestrians' lives.   If anyone messes with a 4000 lb machine capable of 100 mph, these are real possibilities.   If I get in over my head, I call a professional mechanic.   The information on this website is provided only for entertainment purposes, and it is not intended as advice on how to service a vehicle.   For all you know I made this up.   Don`t believe everything you read on the internet.

Disclaimer: The technical information in these documents is provided without any warranty whatsoever and at no cost.   All information is in general terms and is not meant to apply to your particular situation, be current at the time you read it, or even be correct in the first place.   Improperly maintained vehicles can lead to serious injury, death, or unavoidable accidents. The author is not responsible for any errors on this site, and does not make any claim at all about the validity, safety, or veracity of the information contained on this website. Any work you choose to do or not to do on your vehicle is done at your own risk. The information on this site is not intended to serve as a replacement for professional advice, professional workmanship, dealer service, union labor, or psychological counseling.   The author disclaims any and all liability directly or indirectly arising from the application or use of any information or idea contained on this or any other web site.   By opening this page, you agree to never sue anyone ever or allow anyone to be sued on your behalf.   The appropriate professional should be consulted regarding your specific condition. does not take responsibility for the information posted on other sites to which it links.

Copyright (c) 2007-2018 BeerGarage.Com.  All rights reserved.
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional

Written in Notepad2 and KWrite.
Last modified: 11/25/2014