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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
https://i.imgur.com/ZWmRW32.jpg Keys in hand, door open, radio and clock still on.

Been happening off and on for a few weeks. Wiring is completely stock, no "car off radio on" mods or anything. First time it happened I put some Tri Flow on the key and cycled the car on and off and it worked. Now it only turns off when it wants to. Headlights and taillights are staying lit as well. Anyone else ever have something like this?
 

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First time it happened I put some Tri Flow on the key and cycled the car on and off and it worked. Now it only turns off when it wants to. Headlights and taillights are staying lit as well. Anyone else ever have something like this?
You probably know what the problem is already... the Tri-flow gummed up the ignition switch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You probably know what the problem is already... the Tri-flow gummed up the ignition switch.
My understanding was that Tri-Flow wouldn't gum up the works whereas WD-40 would. Was it just a coincidence that it turned off successfully after I tried Tri-Flow for the first time?
 

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My understanding was that Tri-Flow wouldn't gum up the works whereas WD-40 would. Was it just a coincidence that it turned off successfully after I tried Tri-Flow for the first time?
As with any lubricant, it takes a few cycles of the mechanism for the lubricant to work through all of the parts as many of the parts have very tight tolerances. So, no it wasn't a coincidence really but just how it works.

Locks are a different animal when it comes to lubrication. Many lubricant which works great on most things aren't recommended for locks. I'm assuming that you are using the Tri-Flow Superior Lubricant that contains oil with PTFE suspended in the oil. The problem is the oil. Oil is not recommended for locks as it attracts and holds dirt/dust. If it was PTFE by itself or in a solvent based carrier that completely evaporates on the surface, then it should be fine. In addition, the lock was probably initially lubricated with powered graphite (the default go to product for lock lubrication). The oil and the graphite may have mixed together causing a slick goo rather than a true lubricant. That goo maybe gumming up your works.

As for WD-40, regardless of what people say, it's not a lubricant and should never be confused for a lubricant. It's mostly solvents used for cleaning and displacing water.
 

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The Tri-Flow vs WD-40 argument is a sideline, as the initial problem was before Tri-Flow was applied. Usually what electrical/electronic parts require is "contact cleaner".
 

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The Tri-Flow vs WD-40 argument is a sideline, as the initial problem was before Tri-Flow was applied. Usually what electrical/electronic parts require is "contact cleaner".
It depends if the mechanism is now gummed up holding the microswitch in place or delaying the mechanism. The initial problem may have also been mechanical that the mechanism was 'sticky' causing the single occurrence of this happening and had nothing to do with the actual electronics of the part. Besides, most switches these days are completely sealed units (compared to a few decades ago) due to the manufacturing process and the need to submerge these parts assemblies in solvents to clean off any residual flux from the soldering process and then coating them with an conformal coating to protect the components and traces from the environment (which is particularly useful in cars). These sealed switches won't let any contact cleaner to get into the switch. However, the contact cleaner might be useful in that the solvents may clean off the mechanical parts which are sticking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
With all that said, what's my next move? Where's the microswitch that could be causing it?

Actually, if we step back, what part of the car is responsible for detecting when the key is removed and relaying that to the rest? I don't really know what parts I really actually need to be looking at here, if they're in the lock cylinder, if they're on the switch...
 

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With all that said, what's my next move? Where's the microswitch that could be causing it?

Actually, if we step back, what part of the car is responsible for detecting when the key is removed and relaying that to the rest? I don't really know what parts I really actually need to be looking at here, if they're in the lock cylinder, if they're on the switch...
In theory, the ignition switch assembly should be the first when it comes to turning everything on - ie insert and turn the key, power turns on... turn the key off, and everything should be off. Here's a link to the Subaru parts webpage which shows an exploded diagram of what baldwin8 posted - https://parts.subaru.com/a/Subaru_2...EY-LESS-ENTRY-13MY-14MY/G33-580-01.html#83132.

As you can see by the diagram, the Key lock assembly - ignition is inserted into ignition steering lock assembly. The key lock assembly is purely mechanical with no electrical connections but probably operates a lever to push the ignition switch assembly to the proper position. It's possible that the key lock assembly is sticking and holding the lever at the accessory position.

Question - the radio, clock and headlights don't 'turn on' by themselves do they? In other words, they just have an issue of turning off?

If that's the case, you can try removing the plastic trim to the steering column which should give you access ignition switch assembly. You can do two things at this point - keep disassembling OR try tapping the ignition switch assembly when the issue happens (ie. the lights/radio/clock stay on) to see if the tapping causes the power to turn off. If it does, then you can be pretty darn sure that something in that assembly is at fault. You can continue the disassembly and disconnect the wiring harness from the ignition switch assembly and use a multimeter to check the contacts according to the following diagram from the service manual -
Capture.JPG

You can try moving the key around to see if the switch functions as it is supposed to - ie no continuity when in the Lock position. If there are issues, you can further disassemble the part to remove the key lock assembly and try the continuity test on the switch again to see moving it by hand has the same result (ie. failure to turn off). If it doesn't, then the fault may lie with the key lock assembly. You can try washing it out with carb cleaner or straight contact cleaner (not contact conditioner as many of those will leave a film) and reassemble and test. If the test works fine, re-lubricate and retest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks a lot for the detailed response. We have the steering column cover off for now to, just as you suggested, try bashing it into shape when the issue comes up.

I did notice that there's that red car shaped light with a key on it that lights up when the car is off and the key is in. Inserting and removing that key is detected perfectly by that system, just a side note.

My thought this afternoon when I had it all apart was to try and remove the key lock cylinder and see what was up in that hole, if I could see in there. Check for obstructions or malfunctions. I couldn't actually get that far, I can't actually see how the plugs for the switch come out, it seems like a weird connector and it's in such a tight space if it's not totally pulled apart.

The radio, clock, headlights never turn themselves on in any way that I would consider odd. Seems to be working as intended that way.
 

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Thanks a lot for the detailed response. We have the steering column cover off for now to, just as you suggested, try bashing it into shape when the issue comes up.

I did notice that there's that red car shaped light with a key on it that lights up when the car is off and the key is in. Inserting and removing that key is detected perfectly by that system, just a side note.

My thought this afternoon when I had it all apart was to try and remove the key lock cylinder and see what was up in that hole, if I could see in there. Check for obstructions or malfunctions. I couldn't actually get that far, I can't actually see how the plugs for the switch come out, it seems like a weird connector and it's in such a tight space if it's not totally pulled apart.
Most car connectors a bit weird. From the picture provided by baldwin8, there seems like a locking tab on the connector on the key side which needs to be pushed in towards the wires before the connector will release.

The radio, clock, headlights never turn themselves on in any way that I would consider odd. Seems to be working as intended that way.
Actually, that's not odd. A bad electrical switch may have issues with both on --> off and off --> on as it will have contact issues (ie either sticking or dirty contacts or both). On the other hand, a sticky lever typically has issues in one direction - ie trouble releasing or trouble catching.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So now that you've mentioned it... this morning - for the first time I've noticed - when I plugged the negative terminal on the battery back in so I could get to work, the headlights, clock, and radio all turned themselves on before I put the key in. Where does that lead us?
 

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Do you normally unplug the negative terminal on the battery? Or are you doing it just incase the lights do come on in the middle of the night?

As where does it leave us? It depends on what you find over the next few days of testing. It may be that the ignition switch assembly is bad OR it might be that the lock assembly didn't completely disengage which may have caused the switch to turn on and off through the night. Did you try tapping the switch assembly when you saw it happen this morning?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm unplugging the battery now because when I got home Sunday night, put the car in the garage, turned the headlights off, got up and went to work and the car started no problem. Followed the same process when I got to work and I needed a jump to get home.

Tapping the assembly didn't seem to do anything last night.
 

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I'm unplugging the battery now because when I got home Sunday night, put the car in the garage, turned the headlights off, got up and went to work and the car started no problem. Followed the same process when I got to work and I needed a jump to get home.

Tapping the assembly didn't seem to do anything last night.
You should get a battery disconnect switch which is installed on your negative terminal between the car and the battery until you get this figured out. That way, you can quickly disconnect the battery.
 

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https://i.imgur.com/ZWmRW32.jpg Keys in hand, door open, radio and clock still on.Been happening off and on for a few weeks. Wiring is completely stock, no "car off radio on" mods or anything. First time it happened I put some Tri Flow on the key and cycled the car on and off and it worked. Now it only turns off when it wants to. Headlights and taillights are staying lit as well. Anyone else ever have something like this?
Does any of the controls on the radio work?I ask because I had something similar happen with my '02 Impreza OBS.I turned off the engine,removed the key and the radio kept on playing.I couldn't change the station,adjust the volume or turn it off.So I said "ok,I'll fix you."I removed the fuse for the radio and it KEPT ON PLAYING! How on earth does anything electric continue to function without the fuse?I then unhooked the negative battery cable which turned it off and it stayed off when I hooked the battery back up.That car had been hit in the drivers door and front fender.The driver must have died at the wheel and thus that car was possessed.
 

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Keys in hand, door open, radio and clock still on.

Been happening off and on for a few weeks. Wiring is completely stock, no "car off radio on" mods or anything. First time it happened I put some Tri Flow on the key and cycled the car on and off and it worked. Now it only turns off when it wants to. Headlights and taillights are staying lit as well. Anyone else ever have something like this?
I wonder if you could find the solution.. I have the same issue with my 2018 crosstrek.
 
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