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2000 Legacy stalls when clutch is depressed


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#1 2000 Legacy

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 12:55 PM

Hi everyone,

I have a 2000 Subaru Legacy, Model "L", 2.5 Liter, 5 speed, 4 door that has almost 202,000 miles on it and I am desperately looking for help. I bought it brand new and have maintained it in accordance with the "Maintenance Booklet". I am not much of a mechanic but have been trying to do the basics.

The problem I'm having is that the car stalls when you come to an intersection, stop sign or light when you depress or push in the clutch and hold it in for a short period of time. It doesn't stall while down-shifting. Other than this the car runs great.

I have noticed that if I let the car warm up for about 10 to 15 minutes that the car doesn't seem to stall as much. However I do notice a burnt smell that I can't pinpoint. I've also noticed that once the car has been run for a while, then shutdown for a few hours and then driven it doesn't seem to stall.

This has been a problem for about the last 20,000 miles or past year and seems to be getting worst as time goes on. The "Check Engine" light is on, the codes are P0301, P0302, P0303 & P0304 all Cylinder misfires. I've cleared the codes in the past but this seems to make it worst, it seems if I leave the codes on the car seems to run better over time.

In preparing this write-up I went through my documentation and noticed at 173,000 and 178,000 miles I had a Check Engine code, P0133 (02 Sensor Ckt Slow to Response Bank 1/Sensor 1). Could that be the problem? Also, which Oxygen Sensor is that? The Haynes book calls the 02 Sensors either "Upstream" or Downstream".

As for maintenance or things done since 178,000 miles I've replaced the oil and filter every 5,000 miles using Penzoil 5W-30 High Mileage. At 180,000 I replaced the Air and Fuel Filters (not factory)and Battery. At 182,000 miles I had a Subaru dealer do a Fuel Induction Service, Replace Spark Plugs and Wires, they also replaced the Coolant/Conditioner and Brake Fluid. At 185,000 miles I replaced the Ignition Coil (not factory). About 500 miles later the car was running horible, I went back to the dealer and they replaced Fuel Injector #1. The car seemed to run better. At 192,000 the Check Engine Light came on, P0304, I cleared it. I went back to the dealer at about 193,000 miles because the car seemed to be stalling more frequently, they replaced the rest of the Fuel Injectors, that didn't work, they replaced the Idle Air Control Motor, that didn't work, they replaced the Air Flow Sensor, that didn't work, they called Subaru of America, they recommended a Engine Management Pinpoint Test to the Main Computer, they tested Voltage and Grounds and found no electronic abnormalties. They then suggested they remove the Cylinder Heads for further diagnostics. I refused becuase of the unknown cost, in fact I had them put the old parts back since they wanted a $1000.00 for things that didn't fix the problem. This still cost me $370.00.

I'm hoping that there is someone out there that can PLEASE help me to solve this stalling problem. Like I said earlier, this has been a great car that runs great.


Thank-you
2000 Legacy in CT

#2 Fairtax4me

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Posted 06 March 2010 - 09:00 PM

One post is quite enough thank you. :rolleyes:

I will give you Kudos for providing past maintenance history. Most people don't do that, even experienced forum users sometimes don't, and it does help in many situations.

I'm not sure how much help I can provide, but a simple vacuum check could provide some answers. Another thing that could help would be freeze frame data of what is going on when those codes are being set. A good diagnostic scanner would be able to show that info.

#3 lmdew

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 07:52 AM

Put an OEM coil back on the car.

Change the coolant Temp Sensor.

Make sure the battery and ground connections are clean and tight.

#4 2000 Legacy

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Posted 07 March 2010 - 03:28 PM

Imdew,

Thanks for the insight, I'll try it and let you know how I make out. It may be a week or so before I get to it but will definetly try a new Coolant Temperature Sensor and check the battery/ground connections. As for the Coil Pack, I still have the original one, is there a way that I can check it to see if it is still good? Thanks again

2000 Legacy



Fairtax4me,

I appologize for the extra post, this sort of thing is new to me and I spazzed out, especillay since I wrote this out once yesterday and got booted out only to have to redo it. I think I spent 3 hours doing this yesterday. Thanks for the kudos. I will also check for vaccuum leaks. You'd think the dealer would have done this.

2000 Legacy

#5 Legacy777

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 01:02 PM

The fact you have misfire codes all the time should be an indication of something. Are they the only codes that are currently stored? Or is the O2 sensor also a current code?

Bank 1, sensor 1 is the front O2 sensor. Bank 1, sensor 2 should be the rear O2 sensor. If you have an active code for the O2 sensor, I'd suggest replacing it. However I don't think it is going to be your problem.

Why did you replace the ignition coil? You mention it is not OEM.


What happens if you come to a stop light or stop sign, quickly move the gear shifter from gear into neutral and then let off of the clutch?

I just can't see any real correlation with stalling and depressing the clutch.

As mentioned, I'd probably go back to the OEM coil.

#6 2000 Legacy

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 06:13 AM

Hi Josh,

Thanks for responding.

Yes, the misfire codes are the only codes currently stored. I have'nt seen the 02 Sensor codes, P0133 since about 178,000 miles or about a year and half ago.

I replaced the ignition coil in the hopes that it would solve the stalling problem. Someone had mentioned that it could be the cuase and it seemed like an easy fix, although it was $100.00. Unfortuneately it was not OEM, I would have had to order it from Subaru and the local auto parts store had this one in stock. I really kick myself for not waiting for the OEM since the price was the same.

As far as coming to a light or stop sign and shifting into neutral then letting off the clutch, that used to work, but it doesn't seem to work that well anymore. It seems the only thing that works is letting it warm up for quite a while and even then it stalls on occasion. However it seems to only happen with the first few stops.

I believe that I still have the original Coil Pack, is there a way to check it? I hate to spend another $100. I did check the ground cable and battery cables last night, they appear to be good. I also located the Coolant Temperature Senor last night as suggested earlier. It doesn't look like it will be that easy to change but will try it next week if time allows.

Thanks again and to everyone who is offering help.

2000 Legacy

#7 Legacy777

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 12:38 PM

I'd definitely would suggest the coolant temp sensor.

Other thing to check is the idle air control valve. I believe on your motor it is a plunger type valve on the throttle body. They can sometimes get gunked up, and not flow the appropriate amount of air. You can remove it and clean the carbon/oil build up from it. That may help.

When you reinstall it and first start up the car, the rpms may race until the IAC valve has a chance to reset it's base position.

Regarding the coil pack, the test procedure and resistance values should be in the factory manual on my server.
http://www.main.expe...00 _Legacy_FSM/

A quick and easy method to test whether the coil pack has any cracks is at night with the engine running, use a spray bottle that sprays a fine mist, and spray the coil pack. Look for any sparks or arching.

#8 DaveT

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 06:11 PM

a simple vacuum check could provide some answers. Another thing that could help would be freeze frame data of what is going on when those codes are being set. A good diagnostic scanner would be able to show that info.


I may be able to help with those.

Are you refering to (temporarily) connecting a vacuum gauge to the intake?

I have a laptop based scanner program - and the cable that connects to a 2001 Forester - an OBDII ECU. I never had a Legacy, but by the year, I'm guessing it might be OBDII also.

The other mention of the idle control valve sounds like a good thing to check also.

#9 DaveT

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 06:13 PM

[QUOTE=2000 Legacy; I think I spent 3 hours doing this
2000 Legacy[/QUOTE]


I've had that happen on forums ocasionally. For long posts, I compose them on my email program, or the like, then copy & past to the forum window.

#10 OB99W

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 06:31 PM

If you decide to use resistance measurements as a means of checking the coil pack, be aware that:

1) A bad coil can sometimes check "good" if resistance is the only basis used.
2) There are sometimes errors in the factory manuals with respect to the coil testing procedure, and a good coil might seem to be bad based on that.

If resistance readings don't match what the manual says, post what you got and we can probably tell you whether there's likely a real problem or not.

#11 Fairtax4me

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 08:14 PM

I may be able to help with those.

Are you refering to (temporarily) connecting a vacuum gauge to the intake?

I have a laptop based scanner program - and the cable that connects to a 2001 Forester - an OBDII ECU. I never had a Legacy, but by the year, I'm guessing it might be OBDII also.

The other mention of the idle control valve sounds like a good thing to check also.


Yeah just a vacuum gauge connected to manifold vacuum. Could also be checked by reading MAP values when the car is running if you have a baseline to compare to.

The only difference in the diagnostic systems between a 2000 and 2001 might be the protocol, but good software should be able to work with either one regardless.

#12 lmdew

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 09:32 PM

I'd just go back to the OEM coil Pack. I don't believe a coil pack will fail when the engine is cold but be OK when its warm.

The non-oem one could cause other problems though. I bet your OEM coil pack is good if the symptoms did not change when you changed the coil.

#13 2000 Legacy

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 05:04 AM

Thanks again "Legacy777", "DaveT" and "OB99W" for all the insight. I still haven't had time to try everyones suggestions but I'm hoping that maybe this coming weekend I might be able too.

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#14 2000 Legacy

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 05:05 AM

Hi everyone,

First I'd like to thank everyone for their advice and time in trying to help me solve my stalling probllem. I spent Saturday replacing the:

- Engine Coolant Temoperature Sensor
- Reinstalled the original Coil Pack
- Checked the ground and Battery Cables
- The Throtle Body looked clean

So now I guess my next move is to do a Vaccum Leak check in the near future. Please continue to respond if you think you can help. Thanks.

#15 2000 Legacy

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 10:54 AM

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that when I installed the new Engine Temperature Sensor and replaced the Coil Pack I disconected the Negative Battery Cable which cleared the Check Engine Light (Misfire Codes), well within a day/50 miles the Check Engine Light came on again. The codes are:

- P0301, Cyl #1 Misfire
- P0304, Cyl #4 Misfire

Thanks again.

#16 Legacy777

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 12:19 PM

Do you know what kind of spark plugs were put in? It may not be a bad idea to pull the plugs to look at them and see how they are wearing and if the gap may need to be adjusted.

#17 wirelessenabled

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 04:18 PM

I had a P0301, Cyl #1 Misfire code set that I chased with coil etc. Turned out that when I had replaced the plugs the one in cylinder #1 was cracked. When hot it would mis-fire.

I realize yours mis-fires when cold but worth a thought. Plugs are cheap and easy to replace. Use OEM NGK.

#18 Legacy777

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 09:25 PM

I realize yours mis-fires when cold but worth a thought. Plugs are cheap and easy to replace. Use OEM NGK.


I'd second that recommendation as well!

#19 DaveT

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 11:59 PM

We connected a vacume gauge to the intake this evening. It read about 16-17. It varied with the roughness. The engine idles rough. Not like one cylender is always skipping, more randomly. And it was warmed up / operating temp. Sometimes smooths out a bit. A code reader showed 0301 & 0304 - missfires on cylender 1 & 4. Didn't find any bad vacuum lines. Cleaned the PCV valve. Noticed that the Idle air valve had been swapped by the dealer repair attempts, which made no difference. I'm surprised by the combo of shotgunning / guessing they did and the nerve to keep charging for all of their guesses! I'm glad I don't pay anyone to fix my cars! But I specialize in the older gens, so I need a little help on this newer version.

We found the MAF sensor, decided to get whatever gasket / oring they use before removing it to check it.

Checked the TPS, it seems to send a signal that varies smoothly with position. It got late, and the absolute reading didn't match what the Haynes and the FSM claim. Not sure what to make of that. If it were way off, I'd expect the ECU to throw a code for it.

My ohmmeter read 517 ohms with closed throttle.

The plugs were replaced by the dealer, (they would use NGK, no?) but if that is still a high likelyhood, we'll try them next time.

Thank you,
Dave

#20 Legacy777

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 11:09 AM

You should have around 19 in of vacuum at sea level.

On the TPS, the absolute measurement isn't that big a deal as long as the number is somewhat close. If you're not getting a CEL for it, it's good.

I'd still recommend replacing the plugs.

#21 Fairtax4me

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 12:42 PM

Does this engine have HLAs?

#22 ShawnW

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 01:23 PM

No they are adjustable rocker arms.

About the only thing I can think of is the Vehicle Speed Sensor is starting to fail. The one in the trans wouldn't necessarily throw a code.

#23 Fairtax4me

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 04:48 PM

So you think maybe the ECU is getting a signal that the car is moving when it really isn't? Otherwise I don't see how the VSS would affect the idle. :confused:

I was thinking maybe the lash adjusters were serviced at some point and were set too tight so the valves on one and four are hanging open enough to leak compression at low rpms, but not enough to cause trouble during acceleration or cruising. Could explain the low/jumpy vacuum reading.

#24 2000 Legacy

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:01 AM

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to send an update on the status of my stalling problem and to say thanks for everyones support/efforts. Last night we replaced the spark plugs with OEM NGK. The plugs that were in there were the same and looked ok, but changed them anyway. We also checked the "resistance values" on each spark plug wire, they checked out to be within specs.

At next weeks "Adult Education Automotive Class" the instructor is going to help me to do a "Manual Compression Test". Are the "Specs & Procedures" for doing this available on-line or on "Legacy777's" Http://www.main.experinencetherave.co...0+_Legacy_FSM/ ? Also, where can I find a cheap "Leak Down Tester" or where I could borrow ?

Thanks
2000 Legacy

#25 Legacy777

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:53 AM

The manual should have info on what the compression specs should be.
http://www.main.expe...00 _Legacy_FSM/

Here's a leakage tester for $60
http://www.tooltopia...ar-clt-2pb.aspx

I got this one for a little more
http://www.tooltopia...tools-5609.aspx




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