Possible to fix Subaru common SRVD disabled issue without going to the dealer shop? Yes. Here’s the customer’s working experience.
The tutorial here is for sharing purpose. You are at your risk. Credit to Mr. RaySajuuk from subaruoutback.org forum here.
Ok, few weeks ago my car shows me SRVD disabled. I checked the owner’s manual and made an appointment with my dealer last Friday. After 3 hours of waiting, service agent told me that they don’t know what exactly is the problem, but possibly the left sensor is broken, or the bracket is misaligned. Because the technician saw a damage on my rear left bumper. And their diagnostic system (presumably SSM3/4) was unable to communicate with my cars, because my aftermarket LED light bulbs and HID headlights. Hence, they are unable to fix it under my extended warranty.
Therefore, they told me if I was to fix it, I would have to pay $2000-$12,000, and it would take 4 hours to disassemble the rear bumper, and replace the sensor, with additional 3 hours for sensor calibration. And for the calibration part, they have to take my car to a different shop where there is no sunlight. blah blah blah. Yea sure, they seriously think I would believe them with all the BS, and spending $2000-$12,000 to fix it. I mean I’m not an expert on radio frequency, or any of related field. But I highly doubted the part of have to calibrated without sunlight and 3 hours of time. So, I paid the $200 service fee for nothing, and went back home. Think about it, if there’s interference from the sunlight, would the calibration including both sunlight and no sunlight conditions? We don’t just drive the car at night right? Anyway, below is the picture of what their technician claimed, rear left bumper damage.
When I got back home, I used my own VXDIAG VCX interface box and SSM4 2018.01 to access my car. Guess what, I am able to pull out all the information, DTCs without right a way without any problem. The first DTC B14A1 is because I was doing it at the night. As you can see the Blind Spot system did have problem with DTC B2329, with SRVD System fail flag set to fail in the detailed monitor data on the right side of the sensor, the opposite of what dealer was suggested.
Ok, now I have the identified the DTC code is time to Google. After an hour searching about related issues and potential fixes, I got no luck. However, I did found out the Subaru Technical Information System (STIS). I created an account and paid 3 days subscription of $34.95, then searched everything using my VIN number and downloaded everything, the service bulletins, service manuals, etc.
According to the service manual, First step, I need to check the sensor physical condition to make sure the sensor is electronically working, and the bracket is attached firmly and properly to the chassis. After taken out of the rear bumper and close inspection, there is no physical damage to the sensor and bracket is firmly attached.
Next step, following the service manual is sensor alignment. Which require a radar reflector, and some positioning and measuring steps. The radar reflector tool kit number is [SOA321103] with a price tag of $216.61, you can find it on Bosch Automotive Service Solutions website.
Side track, I had to create an aftermarket account to order from the website. I received an email from them the next day after I placed my order. Apparently their system is having a glitch, they didn’t get my payment information. I called them and provide payment information again as instructed in the email. But wired things just kept happening. I checked my bank statement, they charged me for the parts, and refund me right after. First I thought maybe is because i am using an international credit card which was not issued by US banks, with a US billing address. Then I ordered again using my US bank debit card, the thing happened again. Maybe I am not qualified to place an order from them.
At this point, I assume I had no choice but getting the radar reflector somewhere. So I bought it on Amazon, a marine radar reflector. I am assuming that sensor alignment just need a controlled distant with a reflector to bounce the signal back to the sensor to set a base measurement. All but simple mathematic equation. I can do the calculation on any distant, if I have the base measurement by myself too. I received the reflector today, and immediately assembled it and put it on test.
The tricky part is to find the correct position to put the reflector, and because I don’t have space in my garage, and sloped driveway. I have to calculate the height and distant of the reflector relative to my cars position. Thankfully all the numbers I need is on service manual.
After placed the reflector to the right location. I went back to the car where my laptop and interface box is connected. On SSM4, I started alignment process. The process took about 10 seconds and IT WORKED! [I made mistakes during the first few tries. In order for the alignment process to run properly, you have to make sure that your rear gate is closed, and your ignition to ON position, Engine cannot be running. Press ignition button twice with out pressing on the break.]
As instructed on SSM4, I turned off my ignition, and turned back on. Then I ran SSM 4 DTC scan again, the alignment DTC code is no History category, instead of Current. I saved all the DTC information and did a test drive, everything is working fine. Now, I have confirmed everything working as expected. I cleared memory of all the previous DTC code.
At the end, it took me total of 3 hours with to do everything, including positioning and figuring out things. Because I am not skilled mechanic and had no experience on how to fix a car problem like this. It is indeed my very first time doing such thing. Before I started all this, all I have is service manual, some common knowledge of how things works, and Google, that’s it.
Here is the breakdown cost of the necessary equipments and tools:
VCX interface box ~$400
Radar Reflector ~$70
STIS Subscription =$34.95
In Total ~$505
Now think about what dealer told me about the repair process. It will took an experienced mechanic 4 hours to disassemble, replace, reattach the rear bumper, and another 3 hours to calibrate the sensor. With a service price up to $12,000.
Note: VXDIAG Subaru SSM scanner price is down, now it takes $299 only.