Jump to content


Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, my lurker friend!

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, an unparalleled Subaru community full of the greatest Subaru gurus and modders on the planet! We offer technical information and discussion about all things Subaru, the best and most popular all wheel drive vehicles ever created.

We offer all this information for free to everyone, even lurkers like you! All we ask in return is that you sign up and give back some of what you get out - without our awesome registered users none of this would be possible! Plus, you get way more great stuff as a member! Lurk to lose, participate to WIN*!
  • Say hello and join the conversation
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Get your own profile and make new friends
  • Classifieds with all sorts of Subaru goodies
  • Photo hosting in our gallery
  • Meet other cool people with cool cars
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Make your life more fulfilling and join today! You and your Subaru won't regret it, we guarantee** it.

* The joy of participation and being generally awesome constitutes winning
** Not an actual guarantee, but seriously, you probably won't regret it!

Serving the Subaru Community since May 18th, 1998!

Guest Message by DevFuse
 

Photo
- - - - -

scary electrical issues


  • Please log in to reply
44 replies to this topic

#1 glkiller2

glkiller2

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Central Oregon

Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:33 PM

I'm at the end of my patience with my POS electrical system in my 92 legacy.
Awhile back, couple months it started flashing dash lights for charge and brake,usually it would come on for a second, then go away. next day nothing, day after it might stay on for a minute or two then go out again. this went on for awhile until I got the time to change my alternator as many posts here said that indicated a bad alternator.

So I replace the alternator (Ultima 15573) from oreilly as it was warrantied for life, it lasted a whole 2 years.

NOW when I put the key to on position to start I get this sound that I think is relay chatter, my check engine light flashes and the car won't start. I double checked my connections and tried again, it started, very roughly, something was wierd, but no dash lights.

next morning it does the chatter thing again very briefly, starts drive 30 miles for work, starts no prob goes 30m more to home.

today it chattered really bad and would turn over but not start.

power and grounds seem okay everywhere and I think I've cleaned every connection at least 3 times for battery and grounds.

I'm thinkin ignition relay, but I'm outta my league here.

BTW the post connection on the new alternator was tight and had no movement before, but now I can wiggle it around a little in it's mount.

the good news is I NEVER smelled anything frying, and I do know the smell:)

Any ideas are very appreciated.

#2 danbennett2u

danbennett2u

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 500 posts
  • Longmont CO

Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:43 PM

By "the check engine light flashes" do you mean in a steady speed (as in its throwing you a code) or kind of irregularly?

My experience with chain store alternators has been uniformly bad, regardless of whether it has lifetime warranty or not. I would say oem/junkyard is a better bet when it comes to subaru alternators.

How old is the battery?

#3 glkiller2

glkiller2

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Central Oregon

Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:00 PM

light flashes irregularly, bat is 3 yrs old.

#4 danbennett2u

danbennett2u

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 500 posts
  • Longmont CO

Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:16 PM

I assume you tightened this as well:
"BTW the post connection on the new alternator was tight and had no movement before, but now I can wiggle it around a little in it's mount. "

The strange part to me is the engine turning over but not starting. Otherwise I would point to either the battery or starter... but I am out of ideas. I would take the car to the auto parts store and have them hook up their charging system cart to the car, that can rule out alternator and battery at least. Other than that I have to defer to others on the board.

#5 cal_look_zero

cal_look_zero

    Subaru Nut

  • Members
  • 612 posts
  • Grass Pants, OR

Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:23 PM

I have the same relay chatter on and off in my 97 OBS. Seems to be related to my clutch switch usually; happens if I don't mash the clutch to start the car.

But yes, it's an ignition relay.

#6 glkiller2

glkiller2

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Central Oregon

Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:07 PM

ty

#7 danbennett2u

danbennett2u

    Subaru Fanatic!

  • Members
  • 500 posts
  • Longmont CO

Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:24 PM

I have the same relay chatter on and off in my 97 OBS. Seems to be related to my clutch switch usually; happens if I don't mash the clutch to start the car.

But yes, it's an ignition relay.


In that case the issue would be the safety switch on your clutch pedal right? The clicking relay would be a symptom not the cause. Wonder if that is the same type of thing going on with the OP?

#8 Cougar

Cougar

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 6,340 posts
  • Anchorage

Posted 09 November 2012 - 10:43 PM

I suggest you clean the battery connections using a battery post cleaning brush even if the connections "look ok". Make sure the wire going to the fusible links box and the fusible links are making good connection. The links are in the plastic box mounted on the coolant reservoir.

#9 Fairtax4me

Fairtax4me

    Su bah roo'n

  • Gold Subscribers
  • 8,774 posts
  • Charlottesburg, VA

Posted 09 November 2012 - 10:57 PM

I have the relay buzz when starting my 96 but never have any issues starting, no flashing CEL or other weirdness.

A loose terminal isnt helping anything, you should look into tightening that up. Did you install a lock washer there?

Cranking but no start could mean the main relay is bad, as it supplies power to the fuel pump IIRC.

#10 ivans imports

ivans imports

    1000+ Super USER!

  • Members
  • 2,947 posts
  • lumby bc canada

Posted 10 November 2012 - 11:18 AM

main power feed from batt on + side or fuse box power feed or coroded wires inside the ds fender well a leaky battery will damage the wires right up into the fender is some main power feed coections close to fuse box under hood that are taped up in harness

#11 glkiller2

glkiller2

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Central Oregon

Posted 10 November 2012 - 11:51 AM

ty all so I think I can see my ignition relay, of course in a terrible spot the Battery terminals are very clean, I think I will check over fuse box connections and fenderwell connections before I try to dig that PITA out.

#12 avk

avk

    My Outback is bigger than yours

  • Members
  • 958 posts
  • Somerset County, NJ

Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:49 PM

It's not that hard to reach, after you remove the lower trim panel and reinforcement behind. Make sure you have enough light.

#13 Gloyale

Gloyale

    It's a sickness

  • Members
  • 9,158 posts
  • Corvallis, OR PNW

Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:23 AM

You can also get to it by removing the tray (or cover) to the left of the steering wheel. Then shove your arm straight in there.

#14 avk

avk

    My Outback is bigger than yours

  • Members
  • 958 posts
  • Somerset County, NJ

Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:46 AM

Then shove your arm straight in there.

What if those electrical gremlins bite it off?

#15 ivans imports

ivans imports

    1000+ Super USER!

  • Members
  • 2,947 posts
  • lumby bc canada

Posted 12 November 2012 - 11:56 AM

have you checked the 100 amp main fuse in under hood fuse box the black wire one ?

#16 glkiller2

glkiller2

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Central Oregon

Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:08 PM

Sorry to revive such an old thread but I'm just gettin back to this thing, it's been parked all winter.

 

So I MAY be onto something:

 

The connector at the fenderwell for the engine control, there are two of them but the bottom one I was testing grounds, I found one side (engine) had a good ground, and when disconnected it's female end counterpart had what I would call a weak ground, several ohms of resistance. Hmmm.

So I went under the dash and tested the ground to the ignition relay's coil and it was about the same.

I'll be darned if I can find a ground post under the dash for the computer, relays, and such.

I read this thread which mentions a ground from the ecm carried all the way back to the engine but can't find this on mine.

 

http://www.ultimates...ctrical +issues

 

So where are these ground connections for all this important stuff? Do I have to take the whole dash out to get to it?

 

I'm currently looking over the FSM as best I can.

 

So it seems the grounds in that engine connector do go from ecm and company to motor.

there is a black/yellow, black/red, black/white, and black. 

hard to test connector with battery in vehicle. (I tried to start it since messing with connectors)

 

I think I'm on the right track, it still has these symptoms:

 

key to ON:

Check engine light light flashes intermittently as if a bad connection, as it flashes the fuel pump cycles along with the flashing.

 

key to START:

check engine light acts like it loses power but may flash on for very short periods.

engine cranks over easily, and occasionally, when check engine is on for short period it'll stumble and try to start.

 

the cheap book says that the hots are shared between ignition relay and fuel pump relay. And that the ground for ignition relay is not tide into fuel pump relay.

 

I would think the shared hot right, but I ran a jumper from bat to input and output side of ignition relay and got the same symptoms, so went back to thinking about grounds.

 

The box for the computer shows a good ground but I haven't found the wires for the grounds out of it yet.


Edited by glkiller2, 11 April 2013 - 03:07 PM.


#17 glkiller2

glkiller2

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Central Oregon

Posted 11 April 2013 - 04:30 PM

F It I give up.

 

$200 to the guy who comes to Lapine and fixes it.



#18 Cougar

Cougar

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 6,340 posts
  • Anchorage

Posted 14 April 2013 - 05:24 AM

I have access to my data now so lets see what what we can do to find the trouble here. Earlier, I thought you were working on a Loyale instead of a Legacy.

 

You stated that there seems to be an intermittent power connection causing the trouble so lets find it. My service data shows that there are several sources of power to the ECU that we need to check out. We'll start at points that are easy to check using your meter. Two of the critical points to check are fuses 14 and 15 in the dash panel. Check the voltage on them while trying to crank the engine over and make sure the voltage is steady on them. Use the small slits on top of the fuses to make your measurements. If they are ok then check SBF-2 under the hood and make sure it is ok also. Another thing to check is the fusible link which may be in the panel under the hood. It supplies power to the ignition switch and other areas. Make sure the link is making solid connection.

 

If you think there is a problem with the ground side then stick a pin into one of the ground wires going to the ECU and place jumper wire on the pin going to a known good ground point to see if that changes things.



#19 glkiller2

glkiller2

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Central Oregon

Posted 18 April 2013 - 04:44 PM

so i grudgingly worked on it some more. fun fun

 

I thought what the heck let's try the coolant sensor, unplugged it and it started, ran like crap for about 10 seconds and died (stumbled badly, gave it gas it revved a little then died).

 

I noticed that before that test the CEL wasn't flashing erratically as much as previously tested, but after that test it does it again.

 

I tested for power at the orangeish connector (check connector?) yellow/red wire while cranking and had power steady all through starting test.

 

I may have mispoke on the CEL fuel pump deal earlier, when key turned to on, you can hear the fuel pump run for a sec and the CEL only comes on after the pump turns off, usually when it is flashing erratically the fuel pump is cycling on and off quickly.

 

NOW this may be a game changer:

I was looking around for fuse 14 inside the car and testing again to see if I made any mistakes.

What I found was that the fuse for the EGI slot is good for one.

BUT when the key is turned on, with no fuse in place, I get power to BOTH sides of where the fuse would be in the block.

Furthermore when I touch the bottom contact with my tester, I can hear the fuel pump cycle.

Could this mean I have a bad diode? I assume it's that little black thing sticking out of the harness near the ECU and fuse block. Looks kinda like a blade fuse mount with a black fuse in it, but I doubt it's actually a fuse.

I don't know how to test the diode. or even remove it. 

bizaro stuff

 

Also:

Checked power from ignition relay while cranking, it was fine.

moved ground spot on engine, same results.

 

with connectors connected checked for grounds at ECU, they were fine.


Edited by glkiller2, 18 April 2013 - 05:21 PM.


#20 glkiller2

glkiller2

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Central Oregon

Posted 18 April 2013 - 04:53 PM

main power feed from batt on + side or fuse box power feed or coroded wires inside the ds fender well a leaky battery will damage the wires right up into the fender is some main power feed coections close to fuse box under hood that are taped up in harness

opened the harness up TO where it splits in a few directions and found no connectors, should I go further?

 

have you checked the 100 amp main fuse in under hood fuse box the black wire one ?

yes

 

I assume you tightened this as well:
"BTW the post connection on the new alternator was tight and had no movement before, but now I can wiggle it around a little in it's mount. "

The strange part to me is the engine turning over but not starting. Otherwise I would point to either the battery or starter... but I am out of ideas. I would take the car to the auto parts store and have them hook up their charging system cart to the car, that can rule out alternator and battery at least. Other than that I have to defer to others on the board.

I can't tighten this anymore without breaking it I think. I'ts the stud for the ALT output power, I'm tight on the bolt but the bolt wiggles a little.

Think I traded one bad alternator for another? would it cause these symptoms or just not charge?


Edited by glkiller2, 18 April 2013 - 05:01 PM.


#21 glkiller2

glkiller2

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Central Oregon

Posted 18 April 2013 - 05:55 PM

I tried to pull codes by connecting the black read connectors. I could not spot a pattern at all, I could hear the relay and fuel pump cycling over and over and it (CEL) would flash dimm then bright getting the tach bump every few relay hits. BTW I'm sure it's the fuel pump relay only that's ticking.I held both while it was goin on and the ignition relay is not cycling.

With the connectors together the CEL comes on right away regardless of the fuel pump but seems to lose power intermittently.

Remember I tested power from ignition relay while key was on and it had steady output.

CEL would shut off randomly, come back on, flash once, shut off, stay on, very erratic all while fuel pump and relay are clicking away.

The battery is studly, last charged in November, still cranking the engine. Will have to charge it soon though.

Hey I read the cooling fans are supposed to come on when that connector is together, but mine didn't. If that helps.

Again I did the black connectors, checked wire colors to book and it matched blk/red and red/blk.

I have left the battery disconnected when I'm not working on it it may have lost historic codes by now.

Very concerned about what Ivans Imports said about connections wrapped inside the wire harness where it goes through the fender do I have to rip that whole mess open? again I went up to the multi directional glob:) not into it.


Edited by glkiller2, 18 April 2013 - 06:19 PM.


#22 Cougar

Cougar

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 6,340 posts
  • Anchorage

Posted 18 April 2013 - 06:19 PM

I would be very leery of a connection like that. It could cause a loose connection which would eventually cause the stud to get hot and burn the wiring tied to it. I would replace that alternator.

 

As far as testing the fuses leave them in place and check the voltage. You may be see some backfeeding voltage while the fuse is removed and really it isn't a problem. It does seem strange though. Let us know what the voltage is on fuses 14 and 15. What is the trouble you are having now? Does the engine run at all now?



#23 glkiller2

glkiller2

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Central Oregon

Posted 18 April 2013 - 06:21 PM

how do I find the numbers for the fuses, BTW thanks a bunch for the reply:)



#24 glkiller2

glkiller2

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 89 posts
  • Central Oregon

Posted 18 April 2013 - 06:25 PM

no, engine wont start.



#25 Cougar

Cougar

    Elite Master of the Subaru

  • Members
  • 6,340 posts
  • Anchorage

Posted 18 April 2013 - 06:40 PM

It would be helpful to have a factory service manual to help you with this. If you have an Owner's Manual check that and see if it shows you the numbers.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users