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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Soon after I purchased my Ascent in December 2019, I made some modifications/additions:

1. A set of Hella horns. (Because, to me, the factory horns are inadequate) I installed them in a manner that uses the factory horn circuit to trigger an additional 12-volt relay which provides power to the added horns. This ensures that the factory horn circuit doesn’t carry any additional current load from the added horns. Of course, the relay coil circuit as well as the power to the added horns are fused for safety.

2. A 5-volt USB power source that draws 12ma when idle and a max of 1.25 amps @ 12 volts. It it always on.

(Both the horns and the USB power source are fed from Add-a-circuit Fuse TAP Adapters – the horns from the fuse/relay box under the hood and the USB power source from the fuse/relay box in the lower, left instrument panel.)

3. LED Headlight Bulbs. The bulbs I used were not CANBus ready but have not shown any flickering, etc., during use.

4. I replaced the OEM battery. As you are aware, there has been a lot of issues with the OEM batteries. After mine went dead a few times, I purchased an Odyssey Extreme Series Battery (34R-PC1500T) and when I made you (Subaru) aware of it, they kindly sent me a check reimbursing me for the cost of the battery.

So, these items were installed and for close to a year have worked perfectly with no ill effects that were obvious to me.

A few days ago, my front door locks stopped working automatically. They can be locked manually with the Lock Lever. They can be unlocked with the Lock Lever or by pulling the interior door handle. They will not lock or unlock using the key fob or by pulling the exterior door handle when the fob is present. They will not respond to the power door locking switch. All other door locks work as usual.

Recently, I took the Ascent to my purchasing dealer, Jim Burke Subaru in Birmingham, Alabama. After 90 minutes, I was told that the modifications/additions I had made were likely the cause of the door lock issue. I was further told that if I wanted them to work on the car, I would have to return it to factory/stock/OEM condition. Of course, I explained that these items had been working perfectly for close to a year and the locks had only failed a few days ago. He reiterated that the car would have to be returned to stock condition before they would work on it.

He provided me with a list of Diagnostic Trouble Codes that were present on the car. Admittedly, there were quite a few (including one really strange one - B2253 Damaging a Coil due to the Electric Current to the Speaker Coil). However, none of them had tripped the Check Engine light at any time. Plus, according to him, there was no way to tell when the car generated any of the DTCs. So, as far as I know, they may have been on the car when I took possession of it (Had a couple hundred miles on it - it came from a dealer in another state). Or they may have occurred during a reprogramming of the ECU not long after we bought it. Also, I don't know how many may have been generated simply from changing the battery.

I know that cars these days are very complex, have sensors from one end to the other, and have numerous systems on them that constantly interact with each other. But, while I am not a trained Subaru technician, I find it hard to believe that the modifications I made have anything to do with the front door locks. Especially since the mods have worked well for most of 2020.

I was told that all DTCs were cleared from the ECU by the dealer. After a 45-mile drive home, I plugged an OBDII scanner into the Ascent. Even though all my evil modifications were still in place, not a single DTC had been generated.

I contacted SOA via email and I was completely stunned with their response: The Subaru retailer has provided the correct information. In order to properly diagnose the concern they would have to return the vehicle back to factory stock. I understand the your concern was not presented until some time after the modifications, but the modifications can show symptoms right away or over time. For this reason Subaru of America does not recommend modifications or after market parts as they can compromise the safety and or performance of the vehicle. I apologize that we are not in a position to provide any different information or assistance that has already been provided by the retailer.

If very simple additions such as horns or headlight bulbs "can compromise the safety and or performance of the vehicle" then Subaru has a real problem.

I know I've read in this forum where people have added LED headlight bulbs, subwoofers, 2-way radios, and a myriad other electrical accessories to their 19/20/21 Ascent. Has anyone else run in to an issue like this where they simply refused to work on a "modified" vehicle?

Thanks in advance for any insight.
 

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Most OBD2 scanners will not read trouble codes beyond the generic ones. The generic ones all start with P. So unless you have an advanced scanner you will not be able to see the trouble code you are looking for.
 

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I was under the impression the dealer/Subaru had to prove the modifications caused the issue, thus voiding the warranty claim for that issue

The dealer should refuse to work on the vehicle, after all if warranty doesn't cover it you pay them, they make money.

It seems like the dealer should diagnose the issue, and if they find your modifications broke the door locks then they bill you. Otherwise, if they find a door lock part failed Subaru pays the bill.

Unless I am missing something....
 

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How hard is it to just disconnect the horns and put the OEM bulbs back in? Not very. Play their game and move forward with the warranty claim.

BTW, I did the same mods you did; Hella horns operated by the horn circuit to trip a relay, aftermarket LED bulbs to replace the stock Halogen (I have the Premium), upgraded battery paid for by SOA. I also added lights in the rear that tie in to the little light circuit back there. Being LED and just .2 amps, I did not operate them via relay. They are much less current than the stock bulb they replaced. I also swapped out all the interior lights using a kit off eBay. Almost forgot; I added the factory fog lights and an aftermarket hitch along with an aftermarket trailer wiring harness.
I have had at least two warranty claims satisfied; brakes and oil leak. No one said a word about my mods.
 

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I'd start with checking your keyfob battery, and then yanking the LED lights.
 

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i'm with @SkiPro3. if the accessories are just fuse taps and not vital to daily operation, just unplug them for a diagnosis. I've had a set of air horns installed for about 2 years now. The main difference being they're powered from the battery terminals via a relay activated by the horn circuit, all fused. I also have LED headlights on my premium, as do many others so I doubt thats related. I was thinking fob battery as well until you said the lock button inside the vehicle doesn't work either. Couldn't hurt to replace the battery anyway just to eliminate possibilities. Best of luck!
 

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Most OBD2 scanners will not read trouble codes beyond the generic ones. The generic ones all start with P. So unless you have an advanced scanner you will not be able to see the trouble code you are looking for.
"P" codes are "Powertrain" codes and you're right that most low-buck scanners read only the Powertrain codes that are universal to all manufacturers. The ones noted in this thread are "B" codes (or "Body" codes) and these are often manufacturer-specific and MANY in number (there are 10^4 combinations of them!).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My intention at this point is to disconnect the horns and USB power supply, reinstall the oem bulbs, and take it back to them.

Have to look around for a more advanced scanner just to be sure.
 

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Autel make some pretty decent scanners -- and you can find them at various price ranges. I have one that was about 200 bucks and it looks at various systems within the vehicle (AWD, airbags, body control, etc.), but I couldn't say whether some of the Subaru-specific body errors would be noted. But Autel is a pretty well-known brand for nicer DIY scanners and pro level scanners.
 

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My intention at this point is to disconnect the horns and USB power supply, reinstall the oem bulbs, and take it back to them.

Have to look around for a more advanced scanner just to be sure.
I have an auto repair shop that scans using a very sophisticated scanner. He doesn't charge me, but I always tip him $20 for his trouble. Might want to ask around. Start at an auto parts store. Some can read codes too or at least refer you to an independent repair shop that can scan these sorts of codes.
 

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Just throwing this out there... Are the Add-a-Circuit adapters oriented in the correct direction that truly makes the added circuit independent? If they are installed the other way around then the added circuit may be drawing from the original fuse. Maybe that could have possibly thrown a DTC under certain conditons?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The Add a Circuit taps are installed per their instructions.

Does anyone know of a code scanner that will read ALL the codes on the Ascent?
 
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