Subaru WRX 2002 Digital Clock Fix

Over the last month, the digital clock in my car started to go out. I knew it must be a bad connection because it would work intermittently.

Then a few weeks ago, it stopped working all together. I decided I would try to fix it myself. Thanks to, I was able to figure out how to get the clock out of the dashboard.

First, I removed the facing around the radio. Then the top piece with the vents and the hazard switch. To do that, I pull out the cup holder and unscrewed the two Phillips screws inside on both sides.

I know it seems like you could skip taking the facing off but I would suggest doing it. I made the mistake of trying to take the vent cover off first and wasted 15 minutes putting it back on before going forward. Others, have reported being able to do it without problem.

The facing around the radio has four clips, one on each corner. I was not worried about scratching the surface and just used a butter knife. A good suggestion was to use a flat screwdriver wrapped in electrical tape and slowly pry at the corners until the facing pops free.

Then, I removed the plug from the hazard switch and radio using my fingers. I took out the clock module. With a flat screwdriver, I had to press firmly on the clips in the front of the clock pod until it pops up. It took some time to look at how the clips were angled into the plastic and bit of jiggling while pushing on the clips. Eventually it popped off. At this point, I was able to disconnect the plug from the clock. Then pull the four clips off the plastic molding and bring the unit inside to inspect the issue.

Note: If you decide to fix your clock, make sure not to lose the buttons for the hour, minute, and second. A rubber and plastic piece connect with the main board.

Now that I had the module inside I searched online and found reports of issues with resister 510. Here is a picture showing where the break occurs. It appears this happens frequently on all Subaru’s. I’m not too upset because this is the only part on my 02 WRX that has failed out of warranty.

I pulled out my fine pointed solider iron and got the connection fixed up. I did not see any other problems so I put it back together.

Final Result!

50 thoughts on “Subaru WRX 2002 Digital Clock Fix

  1. Motorhead brother, I have a baby swing that is too fast. Perhaps I should have you pull apart the motor and see if you can figure out when you visit. I have two extra motors, compliments of the crappy Evenflo company. All 3 work at only a concussion-inducing speed.

  2. I,m very impressed! you saved so much money doing it yourself!I bet you would like to do puzzles!Its the same thing! Way to go!!

  3. Had exactly the same problem. Just today. The clock quit working. I was in the middle of changing the cabin air filter and I initially thought that I yanked on the wiring harness bundle and screwed it up. But after reading how shitty these Subaru digital clocks are, I ripped the dash apart and looked at mine. Same problem. Clock quits working, and that 510 resisistor is flapping in the wind.

    I have an Impreza Outback Sport from 2002. Getting the dash ripped apart is a MAJOR bitch. Huge pain in the ass to get the clock itselfe out. In haste, I fucked up the dash. Need to be more gentle.

    Now I just need to solder it and we’re square. Kind of pisses me off that this is such a common problem. This is probably the 300th post I’ve read on the subject, and there’s probably 10,000 times as many people who just fix it without saying anything. Pain in the ass!

  4. My clock died in my 02 WRX and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it. A Google/i-club search got me to your blog post, and I re-soldered the exact spot you said to, and it fixed it! You’ve restored my faith in the internet. Thank you!

  5. I had just bought a 02 wrx and saw that the clock had stopped working so i popped up the dash took about the clock and saw that the same 510 resister was “tombstoned” as a fellow employee of mine told me so after reading this i am going to solider it and hopefully have the same result as you. Very Helpful! Thanks!



  7. Thanks, ever since i have purchased my Subaru the clock has never worked, it did go on and off at times but never stayed on for more than a week. I will have to check mine out to see if that is the same problem.

  8. Jason

    This worked for me too. THANKS!

    To remove the panel holding the clock from the dashboard I used a putty knife (about 1.5″ wide blade) working on front clips first (after removing both the radio and vent trims). Slide the putty knife in from both sides near the front of the panel and lever up. They pop up. Then angle the panel backwards al little andpush up on the back clips from underneath with a screw driver. These pop too but take a fair bit of pressure. I also needed to solder both ends of the resistor 510.

  9. This worked! However you do not need to tear the whole dash apart to get to the clock. Just carefully remove the clock surround with a butterknife or thin screwdriver. There are six points (clips) to be aware of, two towards the front of the car, two towards the back and one one each side. The main thing is to pull up on the surround and work it easy or you may damage the dash..

  10. oops! i did not see Stewarts comment. there was no need for me to comment…sorry folks. But I did save a bit more than Jake did. I was going to just replace mine ($60) at a scooby dealer.

  11. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!! I had the same intermintant problem, then nothing. The sodering worked like a charm!! The Dealer wanted $200 to replace the clock (you know, labor and all). And Alex is right. You just need to pull the clock panel, not the whole dash. I had purchased a $5.00 downloadable WRX manual and it’s been worth every penny.

  12. You guys are outstanding. I have a Forester and the same clock problem. follow the instructions from you guys I got mine fixed without any problems. My clock sits on the roof below the map lights just behind the top of the windshield. Taking it off was not hard at all because if you looks closely you can see two small indentations one on each side along the upper edge of the plastic face plate. Just use something that can fit in the slots and sturdy enough to ply the whole unit out. The rest is a cinch. A word of caution. When you solder the 510 resister/capacitor make it sits squarely because if any part touches the retangular border (metal) it will not work. Again, thanks guys. I am sure Subaru hopes the other 10,000 suffering subaru owners to know about this!

  13. I have the same clock problem, however, I tried to solder by myself, and ruined the entire unit. ((I made the mistake of setting it incorrectly, and ruining a few of the other components)) Are there any suggested places to buy a new clock??

  14. Hi Jason,

    I am yet another person who had the same problem and found your fix online here…it worked perfectly! I just wanted to add a note about the front two clips. Mine seemed almost impossible to get off, I tried prying with a screwdriver and everything. In the end I just pulled really hard, so hard in fact that when it finally gave way I thought to myself “I’ll be surprised if nothing broke” and sure enough I was surprised. Anyhow thanks for the help, my clock is back to normal.



  15. Thanks you so much! I’ve had an on/off working clock in my Forester for a year. It only took me 10 mins to strip it out, re-solder R510 and re-fit it. Works perfectly now!

  16. Thanks again for the info. My clock has gone out as well and this fix is perfect! I had even replaced the battery thinking that was the culprit (it wasn’t but it still needed replacing anyways) and the clock still isn’t working.

    This will make a good weekend project. Thanks for the fix!

  17. Yep, another happy customer. Problem was exactly as you stated. I pulled only the shroud around the vents, no need to do the one down around the stereo/heater controls. I think you could probably do it without even pulling the one around the vents, but it was nice to be able to see how those clips hook in there. Beware you do have to ream up on that cover pretty hard to get it to break loose. But in the end it worked great, thanks again…

  18. Great write up! Thanks!

    A couple things that might I might add to help people with this fix:

    1. Removing the front vent section. The clip on the lower left is a small white one.. Just pull it straight out. There’s no need to remove the hazard button. With some strong tugging it should come right out.

    2. When pulling the clock section out, just pull hard on the plastic, I found it easier to pull the back section as they are white clips and they came out easily. The front 2 clips are molded black plastic and I found it was useful to use a butterknife to force them back slightly while pulling.

    Thanks again! Great write up!

  19. Thanks, I had the same problem but I had to fix the same resistor in the other side instead. Many thanks!

  20. Thanks for posting this! Mine was the same problem in a 2002 Subaru Forester, fixed it – took longer to heat up the soldering iron.

  21. On mine both the back side of r510 was cracked and one of the r300s had a crack too. I would recommend resoldering both sides of all three major resistors just to be safe.

  22. After ordering a replacement upper center console to replace the clock, finding that it did not include the clock (was just the plastic shroud) I was very relieved to find this post. I had exactly the same problem as described here! What was said here is accurate – you don’t need to remove anything besides the shroud with a butter knife (pull really hard on the front 2 clips using your fingers though):

    “This worked! However you do not need to tear the whole dash apart to get to the clock. Just carefully remove the clock surround with a butterknife or thin screwdriver. There are six points (clips) to be aware of, two towards the front of the car, two towards the back and one one each side. The main thing is to pull up on the surround and work it easy or you may damage the dash..”

  23. Thanks you. This worked for me and saved me from ordering a new clock. I took off the shroud around the radio, pulled the cup tray, and the vent shroud. I think one could pull the “upper center console” without doing this but removing them let me get to the two clips from above and below. Re-soldered the 510 resistor and it seems to be working.

  24. Excellent. I had this exact problem on my 51 plate WRX. Took me less than an hour to fix. Many thanks for posting the fix and the great pictures.

  25. Many thanks, I only soldered the easy side at first…no luck….although both sides looked good i thought what the hey and took out the whole resistor, which was the biggest pain trying to get back on. After a burn to my finger and with the help of tweezers it was finally resoldered to the board and SUCCESS!! :-D
    All this done at 12:30am!

  26. this post is was very helpful didnt know what the hell was going on one day its working the next its not 02 subie gonna take it apart and solder tomorrow if everyone had the same problem with the resistor pretty sure i will to

  27. Brilliant my Forester clock is now working. 5 min with a narrow point soldering iron to both ends of 501 did the trick. Do not try soldering components this size with anything other than a fine tip and the minimum touch of tip and extra solder.

  28. This worked excellent on an 02 Impreza 2.5RS. You have brought my faith back in the internet. Excellent, well explained and thought-out tutorial. This repair cost me a total of $5 for a soldering iron at harbor freight tools.

    Notes on my install:
    1. I only removed the vent bezel cover (you only really need to do it to see the clips for the clock cover)

    2. I Used a narrow (1.5″) putty knife wrapped in electrical tape to ‘pop out’ the clock dash cover.

    3. After trying the front clips for about 10 mins, the back clips came out almost effortlessly with my wrapped putty knife. So i would suggest prying open the back (closest to the windshield) first.

    4.I had to solder both the 510 and 300 resistors (so check them both). And keep track of the little buttons that pop out when taking the clock out of the bezel cover. I almost lost one.

    But 5/5 post, and thanks for saving me from having to buy a new clock from the subie dealer.

  29. Thanks Man! Just saved myself 60 bux. Went to Radio Shack..bought an 8 dollar soldering iron and followed your instructions. Fantastic!!!

  30. Just fixed same problem with my 02 WRX here in Australia saving $200+ for what turned out to be a 10 minute fix.

  31. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I really missed the clock in my 2002 Subaru Outback Sport. This fix worked beautifully and I am sooooo happy to have it working again.

  32. This DIY was soooo helpful! I got my clock to work but it crapped out again…at least now I know what the problem is. I just have to re-solder the resistor. All my connections were broken. Both for R510 and one for R300 so better check all 3.
    I didn’t have to take off the facing around the radio or the vents I just got a putty knife and wrapped it with electrical tape then I pried the back (windshield side) of the clock panel first (easier side) then when you do the front pull it straight up. You will need a little bit of force when you do this.
    Thanks so much!!!

  33. Thank you for your advice. I had the same problem with the clock in my wife’s 1999 Forrester GT and it was a break in the circuit board near the 510 register exactly as shown in your photo. Thanks again it saved me a lot of money.

  34. Had the same problem with my Outback Wagon. (Non-WRX model) It’s apparently a problem with several other Subaru Models also, as this clock type/design/model was used in other variants of Subaru cars also. I am a Design and Failure Analysis Engineer and an it looks to me like it’s a case of the new ‘lead free’ type solders breaking down under mechanical stress with age. I say this as I looked at the break on R510 under a 200x inspection microscope and I noted what appears to be PCB flexing at that corner of the board where when R510 is located when the Hour and Minute buttons were depressed, which will be done atleast 2x per year when we switch from EST to DST and visa-versa. The placement of the clock itself lends itself to people likely pressing the buttons a bit harder than usual, coupled with the rather flimsy snap-clips which hold the clock in place, heat/cold of seasons etc..etc.. Hopefully Subaru’s design engineers have noted this and added some ‘float’ or mechanical cushioning to the board, and moved some components away from corners and mounting areas. :)

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