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Erratic issues with 2000 Subaru Outback


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23 replies to this topic

#1 farmer

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 06:27 AM

** I'm editting this three weeks after the original posting.  I have put a summation of this problem as well as the solution and the other issues/solutions I have had with my Subie at the end of this thread.  Maybe it'll help someone with theirs.

 

** Another edit aabout a year later.  Maybe someone will fix theirs with this information.  This last couple issues are at the end of my list.

**  Another add/edit - About 8/1/2014 - Water pump

 

I'm working on my car that I bought used a little over a year ago.  It's turning out to be sort of a project car, I guess.

I found a post here from 2006 that described what I have excactly, but I never saw a solution, so I'm trying with this one.

   My Subie Outback sedan with about 205.000 miles runs like a top for about three weeks.  Then, driving along, it runs crappy for about half an hour.

I recently had a purge valve solenoid/circuit code.  I changed the solenoid and the code never came back.  After that part change the car ran even better - runs really well.

   Over the last year or so I have changed the plug wires/NGK plugs (from a misfire code), the engine temp sensor (with a a Subaru part for the ECM not the gauge - this took care of an idle problem), the TPS (to fix erratic acceleration - no code, but took care of it), recent fuel filter and fuel pump (working on the current problem), and map sensor (also guessing on the current problem). Also cleaned the grounds to the engine.  Fuel pressure is right at 44 psi.  Regulator has been changed.

   It acts like it runs low on fuel, but never finally dies.  It always catches and takes off again, then starts missing and dieing out, then catches and goes.  This goes on for about half an hour, sometimes less.  At full throttle I have full power.  After a bout of this, it's fine for about another three weeks

   I had the alternator checked recently for voltage, thinking maybe it was messing up the sensor readings  I got a put out of a little over fifteen volts and thought that must be it.  I found the alternator fuse was missing from the engine compartment fuse box.  I put that back in and the voltage is down to about 14.3 now.

   This is where I'm at now.  Car running great, waiting for it to either keep running great or return to "normal"

 

Open to all suggestions,

Appreciate the help.


Edited by farmer, 03 August 2014 - 12:21 PM.


#2 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 07:50 AM

seems suspiciously like it could be a fuel LEVEL problem. there's a jet pump in the tank that is supposed to move fuel over to the right side. maybe it's partly clogged? Might also be worth inspecting the cap/o-ring on the fuel pump. A coupla of people have found 2.5s with that problem.

 

is it more likely to happen in rain or fog? maybe the coil is arcing?

 

you didn't mention servicing the PCV valve, though I can't really see it being the problem.


Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 29 March 2013 - 07:51 AM.


#3 farmer

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:00 AM

I did the pvc valve.  Doesn't seem to be related to weather conditions or temperature - that sort of thing.  When it acts up I always have full power at full throttle.  I thought about changing the coil. No misfire code at all, now.  I sprayed water over it to check for leakage or arcing and got nothing, but in working on other cars over the years, I know a coil can act up when it gets hot without any outward signs.  Those seem like they didn't switch on and off like this thing does, though.  It goes from great to lousy, then back to great in a fairly short time.

 

What is the deal with the jet pump?  I thought the only one there is the main fuel pump under the seat.

 

This fuel pump has the cap on it.  the new cap that came with the pump didn't fit right, so I used the old one.  That cap could have some sort of leak.  The pressure has always been OK, but I've always checked it with the engine running OK.  It usually messes up in the middle of a trip with no way to put a guage on it.  From experience that type of air leak can cause a problem if it's on the draw side, but this only has a filter, then directly into the pump with the intake completely submerged.

 

I know the pressure in the system won't hold (over nite for instance) and the pump needs a second to pressurize for starting.  Trying to put all this into still having the power at full throttle, though, when it acts up.  If it was fuel volume, I shouldn't get that, but it's not like I hold full throttle very long.  Maybe that cap is losing more fuel on the the output side of the pump than I think.


Edited by farmer, 29 March 2013 - 08:16 AM.


#4 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 08:32 AM

does the problem track with fuel LEVEL? If not, the jetpump is OK. There have been a coupla posts ov er the years of people having fueling issues at low tank levels - stalling when turning or ??? , due to the jet pump (it is some kinda venturi deal using the return flow into the tank to push fluid over to the pump side of the tank) being bad/clogged.

 

I suppose it wouldn't hurt to run some SeaFoam or Techron through a tank of fuel. might be helpful, it isn't expensive.

 

another 'out there' but easy thing to try, pull the Crank Position Sensor and clean it. There have been reports of ferrous 'dust' collecting on it causing occasional misfires.


Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 29 March 2013 - 08:34 AM.


#5 farmer

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:00 AM

No it's not like the fuel level impacting it.  In the middle of an episode, I have filled the tank and no difference. I try to keep the fuel in the tank at half full all the time to help with condensation. 

 

I can do the crank sensor - no problem.  I'll try that today.  The coil keeps coming to mind, too.  I have never checked the resistance on that thing.  Usually you get a different reading on them when they get hot and act up than when they're cold.  I usually don't even mess with checking them since it doesn't seem to be conclusive about a problem.  But some things about this sure brings it to mind.

 

Really appreciate your help and responses



#6 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:15 AM

do I recall there's no CEL? you might scan for pending codes anyway. make a note of the code, clear the system, then, after the next 'episode' , scan for pending codes.



#7 ivans imports

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:23 AM

Front 02 senser have been giving me greif on outback after outback i find that it gos out of range and pulls the feul sestem lean but sets no codes. Surging bucking hesatation good one second bad the next fixes breifly after restart funny smelling exhaust anyway changing the front o2 fixed 4out of 5. Also what plugs did you use and was there any oil on plugwires have been having problems with subarus not liking high resistance plugs eg platnuim irdium ect plian jane ngk v power seem to work best if to high of ohms like to spark down the side instead of thru the middle of plug



#8 farmer

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:32 AM

Texan - CEL - P0420.  I have changed the rear sensor, but nothing else.  That code comes and goes.  I have cleared it and it takes about a couple weeks to return and it always does.  When it's gone and the Subie acts up - no CEL until the P0420 comes back - never right away.

 

Ivans - I used OEM NGKs, but aftermarket wires.  No oil on them.  I have never changed the front sensor or the cataylitic convertors.  I did have an exhaust leak I fixed in front of the convertors but it didn't help.

 

So the front sensor can cause this.  I looked at the trim on it with my scanner and it was always low - below 6 down to 0.  I never checked it while it's acting up.

 

Thanks a lot,  I'll look at those things.  Great car - big head ache.  Appreciate it.


Edited by farmer, 29 March 2013 - 09:35 AM.


#9 ivans imports

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:40 AM

six or more front o2s in last few months the wide band one seems to be more problematic the six plug one some have 4 depends on trany. Thinking winter kills them



#10 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:48 AM

Many people report problems with wires, though some say QUALITY non-ngk wires are OK. hard to say it's the wires at this point.

 

does the problem track with temp? on older models, there have been crank pos. sensors that were intermittent with high temps.



#11 farmer

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 10:24 AM

Nothing really connected to temperatures.  It hasn't been cold here in Iowa this year.  I believe I'll change the front cat sensor, and clean off the crank sensor and see if the problem returns.  It'll be great if this beats it.

 

Thanks a lot to you Texan and Ivans.  Appreciate the help.


Edited by farmer, 29 March 2013 - 05:26 PM.


#12 farmer

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 05:25 PM

Well, I changed the front sensor (lot of fun - rear is a lot easier) and cleaned up the crank sensor.  I'll update when I have news on the fixes.  Hopefully it'll be good news. 

 

Thanks again, much appreciated.



#13 Cougar

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 10:36 AM

Hopefully that will fix you up but if the problem returns you might check the MAF sensor next. Cleaning it might help.



#14 farmer

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 11:44 AM

Thanks Cougar.  I don't know if some of these are different - this is the first I've owned.  What I have on this one is a MAP.  I did change it - more out of guessing.  I didn't have a code to work from.



#15 farmer

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 09:53 PM

Just updating this thread.  I'll give one a week for a couple more times, then a summation so someone with a similar problem won't have to go through all the posts.

 

Right now, about a week later, the Subie is running the best it ever has.  The front cat sensor (suggested by Ivans Imports) was sthe last thing I did.

 

Never had one of the 2.5 H engines before and this one is running better than most of the I-4's rated in the 160 HP range.  I see this is rated at 165 HP and it's doing all of that.  Fingers crossed.

 

Later.


Edited by farmer, 04 April 2013 - 09:54 PM.


#16 Cougar

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 06:37 PM

six or more front o2s in last few months the wide band one seems to be more problematic the six plug one some have 4 depends on trany. Thinking winter kills them

You bring up a possible issue here Ivans Imports, talking about the winter season. Perhaps it is the ethenol mixed in the gas that is used during winter months that is damaging the sensors.



#17 ivans imports

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Posted 09 April 2013 - 09:55 AM

or was water in exhuast and got into senser and froze



#18 farmer

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Posted 12 April 2013 - 10:39 AM

Updating this thread:  2 weeks everything still working great.  Subie running the best it has since replacing the front cat sensor.  The P0420 code is still there.  I can clear it and it returns about every two weeks or 200 miles, but doesn't affect anything that I know of.  I may replace the cats sometime if everything else is working OK.

 

It has ran really well between its acting up spells, but clearly it's doing a lot better than that now.

Been looking at the new Foresters for a family vehicle to run along side this Outback.  I'm interested to see how a new 2.5 runs.  I believe that one is 170 HP - another 5 up.

 

If it makes it another week, this thing will be licked. 

 

Thanks again.


Edited by farmer, 12 April 2013 - 01:29 PM.


#19 farmer

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 08:58 AM

This is the final updating on this thing and also a summing up of my Subie "adventures" to date.  At the end of this posting is the issue I have been fighting.

 

Car is running great.  I thought I'd need an exorcist to fix it but it's doing great with the info I picked up here from Ivans Imports and One Lucky Texan.

 

This is a 2000 Subaru Outback sedan with 205,000 miles and a few issues.  I didn't know the history of the car.  Here is my history with it. :)

 

 

Original Post:

*No dash lights - Module (part# 83023AE01A) went out.  Bypassed the dimming function to get dash lights by grounding the black wire with a white stripe with the module removed.

* Misfire code - replaced plugs with NGKs and afternarket plug wires - Took care of problem and misfire code

* P0420 code - fixed front exhaust leak and changed rear cat sensor - still have the code back every two weeks or so, but doesn't seem to affect anything.

* Acceleration problems (really goofy) - no code - fixed by replacing TPS.  Using live data on scanner I found I couldn't get the TPS into "0" at no thrrottle to "100 %"  at full throttle consisently.  The 100 % may not be necessary, but the no throttle would vary from 0 to 13%.

* Idle problems - no code - fixed by replacing the engine temp sensor with a Subie sensor (has to be Subie - tried aftermarket)  This is the one for the ECM, not the gauge.

* Purge Valve solenoid - Had code (can't remember it) - replaced the solenoid (just back the rear passemger tire with the wire plugged into it.  Took care of the code and the car ran better, but not the big issue I was after.

* PVC valve - no code - no  problem identified with it, just replaced it.

1.  New fuel pump - no code - throwing parts at the present problem

2.  New fuel pump regulator - throwing parts at it.

3.  MAP sensor - no code - just guessing at the current fix

4.  New fuel filter - maintenance, but hoping for a fix.

5.  Checked alternator and found high voltage and thought about replacing the alternator or at least the voltage reg

      but found the alternator fuse missing and in replacing it the voltage came down to about 14.3 (good level). I

      still don't know why it was charging with the fuse out of there or about the difference in voltage by replacing

      it, but it did and didn't make any difference in the running problems with the car.

 

The lasts five listings did not fix anything to the best of my knowledge, although they may have helped with other performance areas that I just didn't know about.

 

The current problem I was working on was sporadic running problems where the car would suddenly start to die, then catch and run a little, then miss, then try to die, then take off.  It would do this for about half an hour or a little less.  After one of these spells, it would run pretty well for about three weeks (which is why I've dragged this thing out - to see if the problem would come back)  Some of the parts I replaced seemed to help the performance during the "good runs", but didn't fix it.  I seemed like a shortage of fuel (but I had full power at full throttle) or possibly a bad coil (never replaced).

 

Ivans Imports suggested the front cat sensor based on his experience with other similar Subies.  I replaced the front cat sensor and the problem has not returned in the past three weeks.  I'm ready to call it fixed with the replacement of the front cat sensor.

 

Thanks a lot Tex and Ivans.  Appreciate it to no end.

 

 

Just added:

** 
Tranny wouldn't go into drive after shifting from reverse or park after
running.  I saw a post where the additive TransX would fix it.  Added
about half a quart and it took care of it.  Apparently there is an "0"
ring or seal that dries out and shrinks.  The TransX helps out the seal.

** 
Flashing AT Oil Temp light. Came on with a hard downshift and stayed on
until restarted.  Then no light for about 40 miles.  Found a P0107 OBD
code for MAP sensor but no AT codes.  Cleaned grounds to engine, cleaned
MAP sensor with carb spray, and worked the wires on the MAP sensor to
fit into the fitting alittle better.  LIght disappeared - All is back to
"normal"

 

'nother addon

 

Gates water pump out at 25K.  I have put it in with the timing belt. 

I was having a noise from the lower front engine.  It turned out the water pump bearing was out and the roller for the pump was cocked a little, tracking the belt off center and striking the front cover for the belt.  Put a more expensive Direct Imports pump back in it.  Will hope it goes for more than 25K.


Edited by farmer, 03 August 2014 - 04:52 PM.


#20 ocei77

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 12:15 PM

Great!

Also great to see a solution for a problem.

Only @ a 1/4 of posters report resolution.

 

O.



#21 Cougar

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 07:38 PM

Thanks for the feedback on the issues.

 

In regards to item 5 about the alternator voltage, I think the fuse that you replaced was for the battery sense voltage for the internal regulator. The alternator doesn't need that fuse to work but the regulator will think that the battery isn't getting a charge and go to full output since the sense voltage will be zero if the fuse is pulled out. When the fuse was inserted the regulator now sees what the battery voltage is at and can adjust accordingly.



#22 farmer

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 07:55 PM

Thanks cougar.  So that's why it dropped the voltage when I replaced it.  I couldn't figure that thing out. 

 

Later


Edited by farmer, 20 April 2013 - 07:57 PM.


#23 unibrook

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 09:38 AM

Ivan beat me to it, but I also would have suggested the front 02 sensor.  My 2001 Forester with 120k on her needs a fresh front 02 sensor every 40k miles, like clockwork.

Re:  PO420: 

Just a couple of data points to toss in for those suffering the
occasional PO420 CEL.  My CEL PO420 has been coming on
about thrice per year lately.  I plug in my CEL Scanner and erase the
code and drive on my merry way.  Since we do limited, mostly city
driving, it can take a while for Emissions Test Ready reset cycle to
complete.....so you can pass inspection.  This month, it took about 189
miles and nearly 3 weeks of driving to get the pending PO420 to turn off
and the Emissions Ready Green Light to appear in my CEL Code Scanner. 
Then it passed inspection no problem.



#24 ivans imports

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 10:09 AM

Have been beating up the 420 codes by runing perium feul seems to help cleanout the catts






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