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93' Legacy LS Sedan Engine Repair Problem

1993 Legacy LS Engine

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6 replies to this topic

#1 SumGaiWidUhSubie

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 12:27 AM

I am new to this forum as of today, and I would like some  feedback from what I wish would be a decent forum post (with hopefully correct tags):

 

My 93' Subaru Legacy LS Sedan 4spd Auto. has been with me for ~3-4 years. It was bought used 260k. Long story, I had driven on the engine with out oil ironically on my way to an oil check up. It was unbeknownst to me that the engines oil was low, but I knew I was due for a check up. Anyway, engine died completely, no rescuing it (in my opinion) based on financial incapability and not a general car person anyway to know if it was fixable. Bought a new engine from an auto junkyard, working CORE. No problems, 105k miles 800 dollars for engine, 500 for install.

 

Took it back to mechanic after install because old radiator had a crack in it same day of pick up. Figured he must have messed up and some sort of air pocket split the radiator (which was plastic). Got a new radiator for 50 dollars installed, all metal because mechanic said it was better. One day later I notice the idle is too low for OEM standards which is 700 (+-) 100rpm. It idled rough and I had multiple people tell me things ranging from cleaning the intake to a fuel pump gone bad. Take it back down to him under the impression that the idle timing belt was off. He redid it for free under warranty.

 

Picked it up, it was running fine now, no problems... except the idle was too damn high; over the 1000 rpm mark, not even close to 700 (+-) 100rpm. I figure at least its running better than before. ~2-3 days later I have a check engine light come on, never happened ever before with the old engine so this is new to me. The day after, it goes away, I figure maybe some sort of sensor went off for a bit. Not sure, not a general car person. Same day now check engine light was on, I drove it on the highway at highway speeds 50-60mph. I got off the highway, had a low idle again, engine was rumbling the car and I was idling rough. The car had problems going into first gear, kept jumping the rpm's from 2000 to almost stall and hovered around 2500 when trying to get out of first gear. I had to accelerate to get it into second and going.

 

Take it back down to mechanic, tells me that he couldn't recreate the problems that I had before after running highway speeds and that it was okay to pick it up. I had my doubts but I said fine and picked it up. ~2 days later my family is driving my car for their needs. They have the same problems I do, and we approximate that the distance traveled in the vehicle from home to past a good 100+ miles away was a source of the problem. They pull in the drive way and the radiator is smoking. We sit and wait for the radiator to cool down, pop off the cap and let it cool down more to fill up the thing. We notice that the overflow container is fill to over capacity full of radiator coolant. About 15-25 mins later it bubbles back down into the radiator and I figured it was an air pocket of some sort, not sure and as of now it still remains undetermined professionally.

 

Another two days go by, another problem arises with the engine it may seem. The car did not over heat like it did before when my family drove it and brought it back home smoking, rather it's rpm's were at it again whilst the check engine light remained on. So far, as of right now during this post, the car is having a tough time starting up and after ward the rpm's do the same thing it did before except its almost gets to the point where it wants to shut off wherein I have to switch it into neutral and keep my foot on the accelerator to keep it from stalling or falling below the OEM idle.

 

We were then TOLD and I repeat TOLD, not professionally checked, by that mechanic that he thinks the Fuel injection system on the car (which I believe is the 16 point one) needs to be cleaned out? I am looking for a definite opinion on this as I've listed the whole story behind the vehicles maintenance for a reason. I felt it necessary to give these details to those who need them as to add up the problems on the car and what may have caused them.

 

Please do not think we are lazy or mistreat our vehicles, after all we buy our "new" cars used. We are not in anyway always financially capable to do vehicle repairs, and so far this was one of the largest of them all for us to do totaling around 1550 for buying, installing, and buying a new radiator. :unsure:


Edited by SumGaiWidUhSubie, 02 July 2014 - 12:31 AM.


#2 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 07:55 AM

I have a few concerns along these lines; incorrect thermostat may have been installed, IAC hose could have been loose, knock sensor could be bad, idle was incorrectly set too high, the OBD system needs to be read for the check engine light, the used engine you bought may have had bad headgaskets.... there are several failure scenarios we could follow here.

 

you are fighting a lot of variables/unknowns. best approach at this point requires the car be properly diagnosed. I'm not convinced your present mechanic can do this but really don't know.

 

consider a new thread asking for a shop recommendation near your city.



#3 Fairtax4me

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 11:26 AM

I think you need a new mechanic.

The idle problem was likely due to a loose vacuum hose or dirty Idle speed control valve.
What it sound like he's done to correct that is to adjust the throttle stop screw on the throttle body, and this is not the proper method to correct idle speed on a Subaru. The throttle stop screw should never need to be touched.
Adjusting this screw moves the throttle position sensor out of range, causing the ECU to think the throttle plate is being held open all the time, which causes idle problems as well as power problems.

There are plenty of good Subaru mechanics in Washington. As Texan said, start a new thread asking for recommendations.

#4 SumGaiWidUhSubie

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 04:54 PM

I have a few concerns along these lines; incorrect thermostat may have been installed, IAC hose could have been loose, knock sensor could be bad, idle was incorrectly set too high, the OBD system needs to be read for the check engine light, the used engine you bought may have had bad headgaskets.... there are several failure scenarios we could follow here.

 

you are fighting a lot of variables/unknowns. best approach at this point requires the car be properly diagnosed. I'm not convinced your present mechanic can do this but really don't know.

 

consider a new thread asking for a shop recommendation near your city.

 

 

I think you need a new mechanic.

The idle problem was likely due to a loose vacuum hose or dirty Idle speed control valve.
What it sound like he's done to correct that is to adjust the throttle stop screw on the throttle body, and this is not the proper method to correct idle speed on a Subaru. The throttle stop screw should never need to be touched.
Adjusting this screw moves the throttle position sensor out of range, causing the ECU to think the throttle plate is being held open all the time, which causes idle problems as well as power problems.

There are plenty of good Subaru mechanics in Washington. As Texan said, start a new thread asking for recommendations.

I appreciate both of your inputs here on my thread. If it is alright with you both, I would like to continue to keep this thread open, BUT, if this is a bad idea then let me know and I'll close it as soon as I can. I would like to see more answers here but it seems that I may need to go to a professional Subaru shop as previously stated. Thank you for your time and trouble.



#5 Fairtax4me

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 05:56 PM

Nah, they don't close threads here unless people get feisty.

Do you have any tools? You can check quite a few things on your own.
Might even be able to get it back to normal without having to pay someone if you're up for some tinkering.

#6 SumGaiWidUhSubie

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 02:00 AM

Nah, they don't close threads here unless people get feisty.

Do you have any tools? You can check quite a few things on your own.
Might even be able to get it back to normal without having to pay someone if you're up for some tinkering.

Yes indeed I do actually. Although I'm not sure they would be the correct tools for a vehicle, as far fetched as that may sound. By that I mean I do believe they would obviously would work on the car, I just don't have anything specific for car tools.



#7 heartless

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 08:52 AM

there are very few "car specific" items that you would ever need for basic maintenance on your car.

 

a basic set of metric wrenches, metric socket set, screwdrivers and pliers will do just fine for working on a Subaru. they do not need to be expensive either.

If you work on cars for a living, then yes, it makes sense to purchase higher quality tools, but for the general DIYer, it isnt necessary.

 

I have a Stanley 3/8" drive socket set that I bought years ago for under $30 (was purchased in an emergency situation - was out of town and needed a socket set asap) - has both metric and SAE sizes in a plastic case that holds everything nice and neat - each piece snaps in so they dont fall out when I pick it up. I use the heck out of that set on a regular basis - working on cars, lawnmower, bike, installing new porch railing, whatever i need a socket set for. I have more than gotten my money's worth out of that set (did that when I was able to fix the problem the set was purchased for - a loose crank bolt), and it continues to perform just fine more than a dozen years later.







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