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90 Loyale no spark, died on freeway

electrical timing ignition coil died no spark ECU

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29 replies to this topic

#1 Zekeuyasha

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 07:48 PM

So my car died on the freeway a few days ago. I'm driving along at 65MPH, I have an A/T. I'm at 3600RPM when suddenly the tach drops to zero, I feel a slight lurch (like the engine went from pushing the wheels to the wheels pushing the engine) and the car rolls to a stop. I try to start again but all I get is dry cranking.
I got it towed home and tested the plugs. none of them are getting spark. The coil tested kinda funky so I replaced it. no change. the car still will not start.
It makes the same sound when I unplugged the first plug on the ECU (wires 43-52)
Everything electrical (lights, horn, wipers, radio etc) works with the key in the accessory position AND the on position. I want to get this problem fixed quickly. I refuse to say my car is beyond repair because it happened so suddenly and nothing else is wrong with the engine.

 

 

Attached is a video I took just now describing the situation plus my cranking the engine.

Thanks so much for reading!



#2 man on the moon

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 07:57 PM

Check whether the ECU is throwing a code, and report back what it is blinking at you. It will be a series of long and short blinks. Long blinks have a tens-place value, short ones a ones-place value. Eg three long blinks and three short would be "33". This will tell more than anything else, short of checking whether the timing belts are intact.

Check whether the timing belts are both intact (there are little viewing holes in the cover, just pull the rubber plug out). Poke at the belts with your finger.

 

There are other problems, like a failed rotor; disty problem (sensor?), ...start with the others first.



#3 Zekeuyasha

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 08:11 PM

Thanks a lot man on the moon! It's pretty dark out now so I can't really check anything right this second (I'd love to but I don't have any good lighting, I'll work on this beast all night if I could  :P ) I did not know about the rubber stoppers covering a viewport on the timing cover. 

How would I check for the ECU throwing codes if I don't have an OBDII port? All I have on me is a multimeter. I might be able to find a code reader on the internet however. Like in the video the stop lamp is on, the charge lamp and the brake lamp are both on. Nothing about CEL .

 

I have taken the dist cap off and that looks fine inside. The rotor feels a little chewed up on very end of it where it hits the contacts on its way around but other than that it looks clean, no water in it or anything. 

 

How did the engine sound in the video to you?



#4 mikaleda

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 08:19 PM

You have OBDI you just need to connect the read memory connecters, they should be two single black plugs, plug the together and watch the check engine light blink. I think the connectors are usually either by the drivers side strut tower or under the steering column. The first page of the new gen FAQ sticky has a link on how to read OBDI legacys and imprezas it will tell you how to interpret the flashes and it will give you a list of codes.

Edited by mikaleda, 20 April 2013 - 08:20 PM.


#5 Zekeuyasha

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 08:30 PM

thanks mikaleda, but I have a 90 Loyale, has different things on it. The engine is an EA-82 and I think all of the legacies/imprezas use the EJ series of engine, Would there be any difference between my loyale and a legacy as far as ports and ECUs go? They're not interchangeable I don't think.



#6 man on the moon

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 08:31 PM

No, it's simpler than that. No code reader necessary.

 

If you are plugging and unplugging the wire harnesses from the ECU you are already there, just need to know what to look at. Look at the long edge of the ECU that would be facing the steering wheel if it were bolted up under the dash (I'm assuming you unbolted it). There is a little hole with a red LED in it. The LED will blink codes at you. Crank the engine, then let the key sit in the 'run' position (though it isn't running) and count the blinks.

 

My memory could be faulty, it's been a while since I used the plug thingies.

 

If no codes blink, look under the hood near the starter/coil/firewall. Should be a green and a white set of plugs, unconnected. Connect the green ones together (or is it the white ones? try both). One locks the timing so you can set it. The other puts the ECU in a test sort of mode thing. If you didn't previously get codes, yuo will after connecting the plugs. Just make sure to disconnect them before driving.


Edited by man on the moon, 20 April 2013 - 08:48 PM.


#7 mikaleda

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 08:40 PM

Green connector is for test mode, should still be the same codes, I'm not as familiar with the loyals as the legacys so I would go with man on the moons directions.

#8 zukiru

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 09:18 PM

My money is on the drivers side timing belt. That idler pulley likes to freeze and eat the teeth.

#9 ferox

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 09:19 PM

Check your fuses.



#10 john in KY

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 09:54 PM

Crank engine with the distributor cap off. If the rotor doesn't turn, broken timing belt. 



#11 man on the moon

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 10:10 PM

Crank engine with the distributor cap off. If the rotor doesn't turn, broken timing belt. 

 

This is only true for the driver side belt. You would get a spark if only the passenger side belt is broken, and the distributor would turn. Though I guess since the most prominent concern at the moment is spark, this would work well. Going the other way it would throw a spark, but run roughly or not at all.



#12 Zekeuyasha

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 10:25 PM

I just checked the ECU for codes. There were 2 green connectors under the hood near the brake master cylinder, ignition coil, etc. i plugged those in, cranked the engine and I got 7 quick flashes, a pause, and 7 quick flashes again, then a longer pause and it would then repeat. There is no code 77 and I have no idea what they meant.

 

I unplugged the green connectors again, then cranked and waited. The LED in on the ECU blinked and gave me these codes in this order

11 = crank position sensor / circuit

13 = crank position sensor / circuit

34 = EGR solenoid circuit

 

I got those translations from http://www.troublecodes.net/Subaru/ in the "1988 and later with SPFI" section

EDIT: The same information was posted by USMB member Skip at: http://www.indysworl...l/ecucodes.html

 

Now I need to figure out what caused that. Would a skipped timing belt tooth cause those numbers or would it be more directly related to the crank sensor? (on Loyales I believe the sensor is in the distributor) I know the EGR valve is unrelated to ignition but I'm curious about that now...

 

EGR valve: It's funny about that, because I just rotated my tires and replaced my front brake pads and rotors. My fuel economy shot up from 23 to about 30MPG and the symptoms of a bad EGR is lower fuel economy and no power. Should I look into this?

 

All my fuses and fusible links check out OK


Edited by Zekeuyasha, 20 April 2013 - 10:32 PM.


#13 Mark Humble

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 10:27 PM

In watching your video. it sounded like uneven cranking, as in broken timing belt. The drivers side belt breaks the most often, and its the one that drives the dist. That may be why you have no spark. An easy way to check is to remove the dist. cap and crank the engine and see if the rotor turns. That should be checked first before looking at anything else.

 

Mark



#14 john in KY

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 10:33 PM

This is only true for the driver side belt. You would get a spark if only the passenger side belt is broken, and the distributor would turn. Though I guess since the most prominent concern at the moment is spark, this would work well. Going the other way it would throw a spark, but run roughly or not at all.

The OP stated the engine has no spark. The passenger-side timing belt whether it is broken or not has nothing to do with a no-spark condition. From experience I can attest the engine will run on 2 cylinders when the passenger-side belt breaks. 



#15 NorthWet

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Posted 20 April 2013 - 10:50 PM

Basics:  As mentioned, take off the distributor cap and see if the rotor turns when you crank the engine

           -  If no, then broken distributor-side timing belt.  Replace belt and go.

          -   Otherwise, grab the rotor and see if it will turn or pull off of the distributor shaft.  I am pretty sure that your model uses a 

              screw through the side of the rotor to retain it, and these often back out, allowing the rotor to move out of position.

 

ECU codes on a non-starting engine can be more misleading than useful.



#16 TomRhere

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 05:09 AM

You will get codes 11 and 13 anytime you do a code reading.
In test mode to read the codes, the engine is not running. ECU doesn't see any signal from the crank sensor, so it sets those codes.

Code 34 is for the EGR vacuum solenoid/wiring. Not the EGR valve itself.

As said, pull the outer Timing belt covers, check for broken belt, missing teeth. Especially on the drivers side belt, as that cam drives the distributor.

#17 Gloyale

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 11:38 AM

Code 7 is a model identifier.  It means there are no codes present.

 

You have a broken timing belt.



#18 scoobiedubie

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 01:54 PM

If it was an 86, I would be looking to install another distributor after determining that the left side timing belt was not broken.  I also would be checking the black wire in the fusible link box for brittleness or breakage.  I would also be changing the capacitor on the coil.  I would also be checking the hot wire to the alternator for breakage or brittleness.  That is the wire that is attached with a nut.  I would also be checking the wire from the coil to the distributor cap.  I would be checking that coil wire copper contact ends for corrosion.  I would also be checking the distributor cap for cracks.  I would scrape the corrosion off of the distributor cap points.  I would lightly sand the copper end of the rotor.  I would make sure that no wires became disconnected inside of the distributor and that they all were installed properly onto the tabs.  I would check the timing.  I would be removing a plug to see whether the tip is covered in gas.  I would see whether the radio works without static.



#19 Gloyale

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 04:12 PM

If it was an 86, I would be looking to install another distributor after determining that the left side timing belt was not broken.  I also would be checking the black wire in the fusible link box for brittleness or breakage.  I would also be changing the capacitor on the coil.  I would also be checking the hot wire to the alternator for breakage or brittleness.  That is the wire that is attached with a nut.  I would also be checking the wire from the coil to the distributor cap.  I would be checking that coil wire copper contact ends for corrosion.  I would also be checking the distributor cap for cracks.  I would scrape the corrosion off of the distributor cap points.  I would lightly sand the copper end of the rotor.  I would make sure that no wires became disconnected inside of the distributor and that they all were installed properly onto the tabs.  I would check the timing.  I would be removing a plug to see whether the tip is covered in gas.  I would see whether the radio works without static.

 

He has not determined that the belt isn't broken.

 

And why on;y if it was an 86?  almost everything you stated would be applicable to any EA82.

 

Again.....this will be wasted time because he has either a broken t-belt or lost the rotor screw.  My bet is on the t-belt as ussually there is some spark and backfireing if just  the rotor is spinng free.



#20 Zekeuyasha

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 04:30 PM

Yeah scoobiedude, we've been diagnosing my problem on the thread for a while now.

 

Which leads me to the next point: Thank you all for helping me, I greatly appreciate the help! USMB saved my rump roast yet again. 

It was the driver side timing belt that let go. So the distributor was not spinning, the crank angle sensor was not picking up rotation so it didn't send a spark.

 

Shout-outs to: Man on the moon, mikaleda, zukiru, John in KY (lol on the running on 2 cylniders bit), Gloyale, NorthWet, Mark Humble, TomRhere. Skip and co. for the code translations and MilesFox for his "Art of Subaru Maintenance" videos that walked through engine and transmission removal, seals, timing belts and a tranny swap.

 

Thank you!

 

XmzgJaf.jpg

 

P. S. I'd count this as strike against Roulunds Rubber timing belts. This one was replaced before. This isn't OEM and that means its less than 45,000 miles old. 


Edited by Zekeuyasha, 21 April 2013 - 04:55 PM.


#21 man on the moon

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 09:36 PM

The good news (aside from now knowing the problem) is that belt kits are relatively cheap. Get a kit, not just the belts. Replace the tensioners, even if they were done just 45k ago. If the belt went, the tensioners are probably sh*t too.

 

A quick search (top right of this page) will bring up a dozen or more threads discussing many various aspects of replacing the belts, including how to set the timing.



#22 scoobiedubie

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 01:03 PM

He has not determined that the belt isn't broken.

 

And why on;y if it was an 86?  almost everything you stated would be applicable to any EA82.

 

Again.....this will be wasted time because he has either a broken t-belt or lost the rotor screw.  My bet is on the t-belt as ussually there is some spark and backfireing if just  the rotor is spinng free.

Gloyale,  If you reread my reply, it was clearly stated that it was for what I might do, "if I had already determined that the left side timing belt was not broken".  I am not suggesting that the timing belt is not broken.  I also do not own a 90 model year loyale, and am unfamiliar with the differences between the 90 and my 86 GL10.  It is not my responsibility to know those differences, nor what modifications someone has done to his vehicle.  As far as your opinion that my sharing of knowledge about how I might approach a similar situation that has happened to me many times, and Zek wasting his time by either reading about it and/or looking at his vehicle as a form of preventive maintenance, I am troubled by the tone of your entire reply.  You appear to be in attack mode, which is completely uncalled for and inappropriate for this message board.  In the future, I will just report you instead of spending my time explaining all this.



#23 mikaleda

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 01:17 PM

Hey scoobie dude please do not get upset with me, I'm just an observer. I think gloyal was just pointing out that your post was a little hard to understand, like gloyal said why an 86? I don't think gloyal's intent was to attack you, just to try and make your post more clear and point out the belt is the first place to look.

Edited by mikaleda, 22 April 2013 - 01:18 PM.


#24 rdweninger

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 03:47 PM

Hey everyone... play nice.  I've been working with email (and online posts) since 1989.  Heck... I practically invented it.   So I will say this... ANY tone that you read into a message is YOUR OWN tone.    It is absolutely ridiculous to say "I don't like your tone"...scoobiedubie.  Now relax and smoke your dubie... I mean 'medication'.

I for one, appreciate GLoyales's direct responses to questions asked.  Thank you, for that.



#25 Zekeuyasha

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:58 AM

I think this topic can be closed, actually.







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