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99 Subaru Outback Main Wire in Fusebox

Last week my son reported that his 99 Subaru Outback was completely dead?no electrical power to anything. Jumping from another car did nothing. So I suggested (by phone) that he might have a bad battery cable or connection.



An hour later, he called from the car and said he and his wife were on their way home. Cables all looked fine, but when he looked in the underhood fuse box, there was a single short wire that had broken. He spliced the wire with a connector, and the car returned to normal.



I suggested he check with his mechanic and make sure there wasn’t a fusible link that had gone, so now he’d be driving unprotected. He said the mechanic told him not to worry about it.



I’m still curious. I’m surprised there is a wire in he fuse box that carries power for the whole car. Anyone here with a 99 Subie and/or the service manual who can enlighten me?



/Mr Lynn

that fuse is to protect the cars electrical system from an incorrect jump start or short from battery…while it is not “needed” on a temporary basis it is good protection.

check web page http://www.2carpros.com/how_does_it_work/fuse.htm

He didn’t replace a fuse; he repaired a wire in the fuse box.

/Mr Lynn

PS The forum has changed since I was last here. Do we no longer have the option of following threads by e-mail?

It does sound like this is a fusible link that blew out for some reason. While what he did may work, if this was my car I would replace the link with a new one.

Any idea how this “single short wire” broke? Wires don’t break without a reason. This will be hard to follow as your son is not interested in following up,he is as they say “good to go”.

If the item in question looks something like this, then that is a fusible link.
From the pic you cannot see it but there is a “wire” across the top of that item inside the cover. These are technically called a PAL fuse.
http://www.autowirez.co.uk/40-amp-male-pal-fuse-40a-green-c-61-p-1-pr-307.html

There are several of them on every car and they carry most of the current load through the various electrical systems; usually 30 amps and up.
It could be that the link simply gave up due to repeated heating and cooling cycles over the 10 year age of the car rather than there being a short in the wiring. It’s not a rare thing to happen on any car.

The links must be there. If they were not, then in the event of a direct short the entire wiring harness would melt or go up in flames.
(Those links can be purchased at any auto parts house and I would STRONGLY advise that it be replaced rather than take a chance on burning the wiring up with a splice job.)

Thanks for the responses.

Son took the car in to a tire shop for an oil change, and the mechanic there said that the wire itself is a fusible link. It says ‘fusible wire’ on it. It’s not a PAL fuse.

The mechanic said that since he had spliced it with a wire connector, there is no need to replace it. Son could not tell, in the dark, whether the wire had just broken, or had melted.

My guess is that it should be replaced.

/Mr Lynn

PAL fuses are essentially fusible links and yes, some links resemble short lengths of wire.
Personally, I would not want a spliced, jury rigged link in place. It burnt once. When or if it occurs again, the next time other things may burn instead.

Links are cheap and it would be a smart move to replace it. Would one jury rig a circuit breaker in the house if it burnt? Try that and the house may burn down.