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'99 Outback with 2.2 engine emissions failure


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18 replies to this topic

#1 ThosL

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 11:03 AM

I just had Candlewood Valley Motors do an inspection test on my Outback and the technician said that the car would need a new computer because the car's computer is for a 2.5 and a 2.2 was installed a few years ago.  My registration in Connecticut has about a week and a half before it expires and requires emissions pass or a waiver after spending $850 or a low income waiver.  

 

Any one have recommendations on this problem?

 

Thanks.



#2 Gloyale

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 11:41 AM

96 Outback MT computer would be for a 2.2

 

Or you could likely use a regular Legacy computer for a 2.2

 

No real reason for it to NEED to be changed other than the stupid rule about check engine lights.  I'm assuming that you have the CEL for EGR and that's why it's failing?

 

Otherwise, if you have an EGR equipped 2.2 there is no reason to change it. No CEL = no reason to change.


Edited by Gloyale, 14 June 2013 - 11:42 AM.


#3 86BRATMAN

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 12:28 PM

Did you bring up the fact that you had the engine swap done?  Thats pretty much the only way he should have known the difference.  Unless he is a subaru buff.



#4 ThosL

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 01:35 PM

The technician owns a newer Subaru himself and yes I did mention the engine change.  I went down to the DMV and asked what my options were; so I spoke with the state who said I was in violation of federal anti-tampering laws; so I asked how I would get into compliance, he said that I needed to have the right computer for the engine to move forward.  So I will probably contact F and S in Roxbury, also Leblancs in New Milford has used Subies...



#5 johnceggleston

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 01:42 PM

if you don't have a CEL, i would go to a different shop, and not mention the engine swap. i have never heard of a swapped ej22 failing an emissions test for any reason other than a CEL. the ej22 will run within emissions standards on the ej25 computer.

even if or especially if they put a ''sniffer'' in the tail pipe.

 

swapping computers is going to be tricky.

the computer MUST match the wiring in the car, (not the engine) or you will get codes for stuff that does not exist.

and i know there were some changes in 98, not sure if there were other changes in 99 outbacks.

so if you HAVE to swap the computer, i would look for a 98 ej22 car.

 

but if you have a CEL for EGR, the computer swap is not going to fix it.

there is a fix, work around, but if the inspector identified the engine swap on his own, he will likely see the workaround as well.


Edited by johnceggleston, 14 June 2013 - 01:48 PM.


#6 ThosL

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 02:48 PM

OK, I will try to do that and hope the next inspection garage does not have a red flag on this car; the mistake is mentioning engine changes.  The last time I ran it through inspection was Southworth testing facility which went out of business; they had said that I would pass if one of the problems was adressed as the code for the CAT converter and the MAF sensor was coming up and I had a mechanic do what they needed to do on the MAF sensor; the one CAT converter unit that is showing malfunction is not cheap if I had to replace it. 



#7 hankosolder2

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 05:17 PM

There's a cheat you can use to get around the catalytic converter code-- It involves screwing the REAR oxygen sensor into two drilled out spark plug non-foulers (it's a threaded metal sleeve which happens to be the same size as oygen sensors.) It holds the sensor out of the exhaust stream a bit reducing its sensitivity. You will not be able to get an honest garage to do this job for you, so you'll have to DIY or find someone who will do it as a side job. Search the forum for spark plug non fouler or code P0420 and you'll find the info you need.  As long as the car is not showing a check engine light, you should probably pass. It would be wise to 'dirty up' the non foulers so they don't look shiny and new and catch an inspectors eyes if they put the car up on the rack for the inspection. 



#8 ThosL

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 07:09 PM

I might consider doing that if I thought it would do any good. 

 

The reason they failed it was for what they called "OBD communication failure"; they did not charge for the test.

 

The state of Connecticut has very onerous burdens on vehicle owners; a couple years ago a driver pulled in front of me, her insurance should have covered the body damage which I had repaired as cheaply as possible, and as quickly as it could be done.  But the state insisted on many tests to satisfy their regulatory requirements, I ended up having over $500 out of pocket on the repair because I wanted to save the vehicle.

 

I don't know if they have red flagged the vehicle now that I have confessed there was an engine swap.  


Edited by ThosL, 14 June 2013 - 07:10 PM.


#9 johnceggleston

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 07:32 PM

I don't know if they have red flagged the vehicle now that I have confessed there was an engine swap.

 

probably not, but the only way to find out is to go and try.

if it is flagged you are in trouble. (sell it in a no inspection state.)

if it isn;t flagged, you pass. happy motoring.

 

let us know what happens.


Edited by johnceggleston, 14 June 2013 - 07:34 PM.


#10 grossgary

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 12:30 AM

*** repair the issues (we can help) and have it inspected somewhere else.

 

start a thread here for each issue like "MAF sensor check engine light XYZ01" and post the actual code from the computer (not what someone tells you it is, give the numbers).

 

never mention an engine swap, there's no point.  there's probably 10,000 federal laws/restrictions broken by people on this forum. emissions equipment, engine swaps, light intensity, safety items, disabling of ABS, custom exhaust (you can buy on ebay), O2 delete and bypass (also availlable on ebay), "test pipes", "off road only" lights and equipment, SRS delete..and on and on.  i'm scared, the FED is no doubt going to shut down every auto forum for their rampant promotion of federal violations.

 

the car should be simply repaired first - if it has a check engine light then don't get it inspected until that's fixed.

 

a "communication error" means the swap wasn't done properly or something else is wrong....that's not normal nor an artifact of the swap...maybe incorrect/improper work during the swap, but not because of it.  this one might be tough as it's nearly unheard of and not something that typically happens....will be hard to track. but i'd start a thread and give some details into what engine was swapped, who did it, etc.

 

the P0420 code (the cat converter code no doubt) does not require replacing the converter.  but you'll need to listen to help from here because you won't find a competent mechanic to diagnosis...other than simply covering it up with a new conveter $$$$ .

 

same with MAF code - it simply needs repaired.


Edited by grossgary, 15 June 2013 - 12:31 AM.


#11 ThosL

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 07:05 AM

Thanks for the advice.  When I had it inspected last year at another station, they hooked it up, it showed codes, I went back to J and J and tried to get them to remedy the problem.  I did not want to spend $$$.  I let the problem go because registration was this summer.  If the Candlewood Motors heard about the swap before the test and decided to not really test the emissions, then maybe I can work on the core issue after another emission test.  It's Saturday and emissions is probably a M-F business.  



#12 ThosL

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 08:44 AM

I actually found a shop open today and had them retest the Subaru.

 

It came up with:

 

PO106 Manifold absolute pressure performance

 

PO420 Catalyst system below threshold

 

P1143 Manufacturer controlled fuel and air metering.

 

The technician said that if $840 or more of emissions work is done on it by a certified shop, then I can get a waiver.  Any recommendations for a mechanic who could fix these problem reasonably in Western CT?



#13 ThosL

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 10:05 AM

I stopped at J and J in New Milford with the test results and he said that there is no way around the cat converter issue which is the front unit and would cost $500 installed for an after market unit; used units are illegal to install.  

 

On the MAF sensor, I already had him put in two of those and they shorted out, so that remains the biggest problem according to J and J. 



#14 MilesFox

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 10:14 AM

This pains me to read this as it looks like you should either move to another state, or continually trade in for a new car. Would one become a felon for trying to keep a 20 year old car alive?



#15 ThosL

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 10:29 AM

This pains me to read this as it looks like you should either move to another state, or continually trade in for a new car. Would one become a felon for trying to keep a 20 year old car alive?

Well, the regulators drove me out of the tree business for advertising for tree improvement without a license; in CT you can cut trees down, but cannot prune them without an arborist license, basically a monopolistic law to aid the big boys and drive out the small landscape and tree people elsewhere.  My customers were happy, the state said I was turned in by a couple of "licensed" arborists who apparently wanted me in trouble.  Only relevant insofar as this state has abdicated common sense and is one reason they are in worse economic shape than any other.

 

J and J said they would put in the front cat converter for around $100; I don't know if those are available in this vehicle for less than the $400 they quoted.  The MAF sensor is the big issue.

 

They do emissions inspections differently for older vehicles, and I would probably pass with that type, as the engine runs like a top.  Or I could register the vehicle in another state like Vermont or NH, but that might attract other issues. 


Edited by ThosL, 15 June 2013 - 10:31 AM.


#16 ThosL

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 07:30 AM

I ordered the cat converter from discount catalytic converters for around $170, mechanic wants $100 to install.  The other unit is OK.  Once I get that done I will try to get the other issues nailed down through the mechanic. 



#17 johnceggleston

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 11:21 AM

i can't believe no one has said,

 

STOP, WAIT, it's not the cat converter.

replace the front o2 sensor with a subaru unit or a VERY VERY HIGH quality alternative.

this will likely cure the p0420.

you may also need to replace the rear sensor, but it can be a generic item.

 

subaru cats are very high quality and rarely fail.

they often last the life of the car.

o2 sensors get old and don't work as well as they should before they actually fail.

besides, are you going to put a 10? yr old o2 sensor back in a new cat??

try the o2 sensor first.

 

DO NOT replace the cats.

if you do you will just be doing it again in a few years.

 

another that might help is to run some seafoam through the intake manifold.

 

the p0420 is the easy one, concentrate on the others.

 

good luck.


Edited by johnceggleston, 19 June 2013 - 11:22 AM.


#18 grossgary

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 12:49 PM

***WOAH, slow down - this is all wrong.  return the converter.

 

FIX THESE TWO CODES FIRST:

PO106 Manifold absolute pressure performance

P1143 Manufacturer controlled fuel and air metering

 

Once those are fixed - there's a high chance the P0420 code will go away. They may be causing the P0420 code.

And you very well may get the P0420 even with a new converter if your fueling/manifold pressure data is compromised.

 

i'd return the cheap aftermarket if you can - it's likely to throw a code now or in a year anyway.  they're far inferior in quality from the subaru unit.  and as JCE just mentioned it's not your catalytic converter, it is fine.  there's a $5 fix for it as well, remove the rear oxygen sensor, install this spacer and then reinstall the oxygen sensor, it's done all the time:

http://www.ebay.com/...043f90d&vxp=mtr

 

as a matter of fact - i'm not just saying that - i'll buy it from you because I know it's not bad.  PM me and i'll paypal or mail payment.

 

unfortunately you won't find a mechanic to properly diagnose the P0420 issue.  it's easier for them to charge $100's of dollars to consumers that don't know anything.

 

if you want to see what an experienced Subaru mechanic that owns/works in a shop does with P0420, here's how it's done:

http://www.subaruout...p0420-diag.html



#19 ThosL

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 01:38 PM

Thanks for the advice on the cat. but what I saw was that there is a fix but that mechanics do not want to do it because of the law;  I went to F and S in Roxbury today that has hundreds of junk Subarus in their yard and was able to diagnose the MAF/MAP sensor problem, so now there are no problem codes, no check engine light.  I will put it through emissions at the next logical time.






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