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Misfire 1 & 3
Posted 17 April 2004 - 02:26 PM
Car: 1998 Outback bought @ 97k now 100,800. 2.5L.
Runs great no indication of any trouble. First oil change two weeks ago (DIY) cakewalk compared to oil change on my older Jeep.
Problem: Yesterday Check Engine Light came on. No indication of trouble. Not sure if it was at startup on on highway, just looked down, saw it on. Again didn't feel any shudder or stall etc. Still runs fine. Codes (thanks to AutoZone) are P0301 and P0303 (checked today).
I've seen some posts about similar items. I don't have full records on the car but it's in great shape, one owner, trusted dealer etc. I was told to run some injector cleaner around 101k so I'll probably do that now since it may help.
I'm basically looking to see if there is a good plan of attack on this problem. There is a local shop in town that is known for solving mysteries but I'd like to avoid anything serious unless its really a serious problem ;-)
So far I have only wiggled the plugs and wires just to make sure it's nothing obvious... but again there is no physical sign of a problem (stalling, shuddering, rough idle etc... all are fine).
Mileage averages 22 (+/-1) over the two months I've had it.
My instinct is to do a round or two of injector treatments and see if the code will stay gone.
I am suspicious of wire/plug issues simply because I doubt both 1 & 3 went within 14 hours of eachother. Since 1 & 3 have paired injectors (from what I've gathered here) that feels more like the problem.
If any of you have thoughts on this, or experience to pass along, that would be great. And thanks again for a great forum. USMB lives up to its name!
Posted 17 April 2004 - 05:41 PM
Posted 18 April 2004 - 08:11 AM
Posted 18 April 2004 - 08:42 AM
I think I get the point, but what exactly are you looking for when you do that test?
Thanks in advance.
Posted 18 April 2004 - 11:15 AM
Posted 18 April 2004 - 11:23 AM
Posted 18 April 2004 - 11:50 AM
Did the dollar bill trick (good call by the way) so before it was warm, all good. Just the slight flutter but always positive pressure (pushing out).
Once, warm, and idle dropped <1k, ~500 rpm. Started sucking... evenly too, like every other pulse (i.e. with 1 & 3 cyl.) Sometimes clamped onto the pipe so hard almost pulled ole george out of my hand (I need that $ !!)
Big explative with that realization. Just to be sure I did the same thing on my '93 jeep, no dice. Even warm it just fluttered with the hum of the engine.
Looks like I'll be driving that beast for the rest of the weekend.
So I'll call the local shop (good with Subies) and hopefully cut right to the chase since the dollar bill trick suggests valve issues.
Now, if/when they do the job, what else should I have them do.
It'll be close enough to the timing-belt + water pump schedule. That makes sense especially if they have to pull the engine (I can't imagine this car has room for a valve job with the block in place!).
It's an AT so no clutch to swap... any other suggestions.
I just bought a house so I'm not really looking to blow the whole wad... just what makes sense for the sake of not having to do this kind of thing again for a long time.
Thanks again for the help and I'll give an update when there is one.
ps- just so I can bargain well, what should be a reasonable price for work like this. It's my first subie and my first time to the shop so I don't have a baseline for this car. I trust the shop (highly reccommended and known for taking it easy on students with budgets) but its worth a poll
Posted 18 April 2004 - 11:59 AM
Posted 18 April 2004 - 12:05 PM
Posted 18 April 2004 - 05:40 PM
I'll call the shop on monday and see when they can get me in. Never been to the place before but they specialize in subaru, and the other japanese makes.
I'll be sure to have them check compression. I'm willing to bet money on the valves but that doesn't mean I won't make sure that's the problem. Just helps to know what to test first rather than go round and round with it... plugs, wires, injectors, etc. You are sure getting good karma for offering your experience and insight on this one!
True a grand or 1500 is less than a new used car... but the tough spot is that it is a new used car :-)
I got it just over two months ago. Now I'll know to always whip out a dollar bill when I'm shopping cars! I've put about 6k on it so it's entirely possible that it wouldn't have shown this problem yet... but there isn't much to do about that now eh. I feel strange saying it but it's in great shape, tidy, solid and especially for being here in the south, very little rust. It sounds like it's just another victim of the occasional subaru valve gremlin.
As annoying as a valve job can be, it's good to know bottom-ends are solid in this car. Knock on wood this is the only time I have to pull the engine.
Also thanks for the numbers on compression, good to know what I can expect from it at this point. I'll look on the bright side... I just thought it was slower off the line because I went from a 6 (jeep GC) to a 4... with a new head and full compression on half the engine... I could be in for quite a boost!
Posted 18 April 2004 - 08:19 PM
Great insight! Thanks for sharing the info. Do you know the reasons for these valve failures?
Make sure the new, improved head gasket gets installed, as 98 is prone to HG failures.
Posted 19 April 2004 - 09:53 AM
Posted 19 April 2004 - 01:42 PM
I'm less suspicious of the timing belt since AFAIK it is still in its factory-installed location (suggested change at 105k).
The update from today, and driving it to the shop:
Drove in, explained the situation: light on, codes P0301 & P0303. Mentioned story of exhaust valves throwing these codes. Mentioned air being pulled in via exhaust. Got strange look. Was told usually plug wires, safest bet is to clear it and wait. Done. The guy even made me write it in the manual (@ 100956 CEL with P0301 and P0303). So he suggested the conservative approach. No sense in pulling the engine or doing anything else if was just a jiggle in the wires or coil that threw a code one time. Wasn't anywhere near as concerned as I was (made worse by valve replacement fears).
At this point I figure two things:
1) If pete isn't worried, I'm not worried. Plus he clearly isn't willing to rip me off since I made it clear I was suspicious of the valves he had a great opportunity. Not that I would stand for it... think of it as a little test of the shop. If they are willing to just replace a head no questions no tests... then that probably isn't the shop to be at :-)
2) It's due in less than 4k for the recommended valve inspection so even if it is exhaust valves starting to go, I'll be well under the 10k that you ( Buddythedog) got out of it.
So again, thanks for the insight everyone, I'll still keep an eye out for any signs of valve trouble and try to get a look at the coil output. Of course if the light comes back with those codes, I'll let you (and Pete) know.
ps - from the people that scoff at the dollar bill test... what is their justification? I'm a physics grad student so I know pressure and forces pretty well. I know my way around a four stroke engine, and I get the basic ideas. So what else in the car would try to pull air back up the exhaust pipe. That seems wrong no matter what is doing it! Any comments there... I think it's a slick little test... and if this problem turns out to be valves then I'll swear by it in the future.
Posted 19 April 2004 - 02:36 PM
The dealer thought it necessary to scare me with talk of burn't valves before suprising me with the good news. But he did mention the valves are notorious.
Posted 26 April 2004 - 08:51 PM
I was raptured as I was reading this thread! I have the same two codes plus a bonus code P0420. Little history: '95 Legacy wagon, 2.2 engine, 120k miles. For a long time P0303 kept showing up. Did the usuals - coil pack, plugs, wires, etc. Engine would shudder and wanted to stall on my wife many times. She almost got rearended a few times on the hwy. While P0303 was showing up, a second code P0420 (catalyst below threshold) began to pop up. Same symptoms as before. NOw I'm getting P0301 (#1 cyl misfire).
I'll try the dollar bill test. I'm very intrigued! I'll do a leakdown test and a compression test as well. If she fails both tests then perhaps it's time to pull the heads!
Posted 29 April 2004 - 08:46 AM
Hopefully we aren't all in the same expensive-repair boat. How frequently did you get the lights. I reset mine and it's been about 600 miles.
Posted 29 April 2004 - 11:41 AM
If you are going to do this work, I'd say go for a full valve job and change both head gaskets. The HG's are the achilles heel of these engines. Not to scare you, but some have had them done more than once. Mine are now 2 yo with 125,000 km on them. (Knock wood.) It seems the latest incarnation of the head gasket is doing the job.
Another option is to deal it off, cut your losses now.
Another option ($$$) is a rebuilt engine from CCR Inc with a warranty.
I hope you didn't pay a whole lot for the car. I would think that resale values have slipped with all the known issues with the late 90's 2.5L engine. Don't get me wrong, I like my car and will continue to run it for some time, but I didn't expect to have to put a 'new' engine in at 260k km. (My HG's failed, then my bottom end failed.)
Oh... and before you get into all this expense, do make sure that it is not something as simple as plugs, wires, coil pack, etc. HUGE difference in dollars. Worth a bit of money just 'part swapping' if you ask me.
Argh... Just saw page 2 of this thread now. Ok... I see you are sitting pat for the moment. Probably a wise thing.
Posted 29 April 2004 - 03:19 PM
On another quick note, the ignition coiled checked out ok too. I knew they'd be fine since they're only three months old but .....
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