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Is my 02 Legacy dying?

02legacy misfire CEL 2002 Legacy

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16 replies to this topic

#1 Susysubie

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 10:12 PM

My husband and I took my 02 Legacy wagon to a local Suby dealer to see what it needed to pass PA inspection. (It had passed when we first bought it used a couple of years ago, but we knew it'd need some work this time.)

 

I was really bummed when the service writer told us that, in light of the CEL codes my husband reported reading, the engine is on its way out and it wouldn't even be worth their looking it over!   :o My previous Suby, an '01 RS 2.5 which we bought new and had for about 14 years, had over 300K on it and was still running when we sold it. My Legacy just passed the 200K mark.

 

My question: is there any way to know how long the engine will keep running, and is there anything we can do? It doesn't bode well when the Subie dealer doesn't even want to work on it. Not only do I love my Legacy, but we can't afford a new or even new-used car, right now!

 

Here are the codes: 0301, 0302, 0303, 0304, 0172, 1137, 0457. Any advice would be most appreciated!

 



#2 matt167

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:39 AM

First 5 relate to a random misfire. Probably needs plugs, wires and a new coil at most.. Compression test to be sure first. 1137 relates to a bad o2 sensor, and 457 is something emissions iirc

Edited by matt167, 14 May 2017 - 07:42 AM.


#3 Mike104

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:42 AM

the 30x codes are sparkplugs and wires (NGK plugs OE wires), 0172 is Air Intake Too high (sensor) 1127 is Air Fuel Sensor (Subaru Part only) 0457 is Evaporative Systems code.  

 

none of those should be a big concern except the plugs/wires

 

None of that should be a cause to junk the car.  Find an independant Subaru specialist



#4 matt167

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:46 AM

0172 is bank 1 rich. Relates to a missfire or a bad o2. Actually unpugging the front af sensor ( oxygen ) to force open loop could rule out plugs and wires as a culprit

#5 Susysubie

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:23 AM

0172 is bank 1 rich. Relates to a missfire or a bad o2. Actually unpugging the front af sensor ( oxygen ) to force open loop could rule out plugs and wires as a culprit

Thank you!  Quick question: What will happen if we unplug it? In other words, how will this rule out the plugs/wires?



#6 Susysubie

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:26 AM

the 30x codes are sparkplugs and wires (NGK plugs OE wires), 0172 is Air Intake Too high (sensor) 1127 is Air Fuel Sensor (Subaru Part only) 0457 is Evaporative Systems code.  

 

none of those should be a big concern except the plugs/wires

 

None of that should be a cause to junk the car.  Find an independant Subaru specialist

 

Thanks very much, Mike104! We are in the western PA area. Apart from a Google search, is there a way to search for a Suby specialist in our general area?



#7 Susysubie

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:31 AM

First 5 relate to a random misfire. Probably needs plugs, wires and a new coil at most.. Compression test to be sure first. 1137 relates to a bad o2 sensor, and 457 is something emissions iirc

 

Thanks, Matt167! We will try all that. Hubby says he replaced plugs/wires last summer but will check them again. Compression test is something we haven't done, but will.



#8 idosubaru

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 12:05 PM

Most of the time this kind of stuff isn't a big deal and it just needs proper diagnosis and maintenance.  

 

A friend outside philly was told she needed a new engine (basically same engine as yours in a legacy sedan) due to cylinder misfires (some of the same codes you have), I talked to the shop and they said they tested and it's not worth fixing.  but they didn't do any real diagnosis, I told her to drive it to me and I fixed it for like $100 with new plugs and wires. 

 

***How is it running?  Good or terrible?

 

First 4 codes indicate all 4 cylinders - so this should be (with the limited info you've given) something that affects all 4 cylinders, which are:

 

1.  Clear the codes and see which ones come back first - read them the moment the light comes back on or even check before the light comes on for pending codes.  Which ones come back first?

 

2.  Check the charging system.  Alternator, battery, connections.  Poor elecrical system will result in phantom codes. 

NAPA, Autozone, Advance and others do on car testing for free.  Drive in and let them test it if you can't. 

 

3.  verify the crank pulley isn't separating (draw a line across the face of the pulley and check it a couple times the following weak to see if the line is "broken").  

 

4.  Has the timing belt or pulleys ever been replaced?  It's an interference engine so if any of those fail you'll have a non running blown engine and $$$$ repair.

his is unlikely if the car is running fine. 

 

5.  test or swap in a used ($30) coil pack.  they're a dime a dozen, i probably have one and have thrown them away.  

ebay, www.car-part.com for used ones cheap.

 

The following are less likely since we're talking about all 4 cylinders (although I should know how long those codes have been there, which come back and how fast - but I have to guess with the limited info you've given) - so these aren't likely but they are the most common cause of some of those codes you have if they showed up by themselves. 

 

6.  They need Subaru or NGK or other high quality premium wires and NGK stock plugs.  I've seen brand new wires cause misfires on those engines (more so on those engines than others) from day 1. But I wouldn't expect all 4 to be bad at the same time, so that's why I say it's unlikely based on some assumptions.

 

7.  pull the plugs and check for oil on them - the valve cover spark plug tube gaskets leak and get the plugs wet.  most by this age/mileage have needed replaced already, i've done tons.   

 

Have those spark plug tube gaskets ever been replaced?



#9 idosubaru

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 12:06 PM

Follow up with a response to those first 5 suggestions I gave and I bet we can get somewhere rather easily and for very little money. 



#10 Susysubie

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 06:32 PM

Most of the time this kind of stuff isn't a big deal and it just needs proper diagnosis and maintenance.  

 

A friend outside philly was told she needed a new engine (basically same engine as yours in a legacy sedan) due to cylinder misfires (some of the same codes you have), I talked to the shop and they said they tested and it's not worth fixing.  but they didn't do any real diagnosis, I told her to drive it to me and I fixed it for like $100 with new plugs and wires. 

 

***How is it running?  Good or terrible?

 

First 4 codes indicate all 4 cylinders - so this should be (with the limited info you've given) something that affects all 4 cylinders, which are:

 

1.  Clear the codes and see which ones come back first - read them the moment the light comes back on or even check before the light comes on for pending codes.  Which ones come back first?

 

2.  Check the charging system.  Alternator, battery, connections.  Poor elecrical system will result in phantom codes. 

NAPA, Autozone, Advance and others do on car testing for free.  Drive in and let them test it if you can't. 

 

3.  verify the crank pulley isn't separating (draw a line across the face of the pulley and check it a couple times the following weak to see if the line is "broken").  

 

4.  Has the timing belt or pulleys ever been replaced?  It's an interference engine so if any of those fail you'll have a non running blown engine and $$$$ repair.

his is unlikely if the car is running fine. 

 

5.  test or swap in a used ($30) coil pack.  they're a dime a dozen, i probably have one and have thrown them away.  

ebay, www.car-part.com for used ones cheap.

 

The following are less likely since we're talking about all 4 cylinders (although I should know how long those codes have been there, which come back and how fast - but I have to guess with the limited info you've given) - so these aren't likely but they are the most common cause of some of those codes you have if they showed up by themselves. 

 

6.  They need Subaru or NGK or other high quality premium wires and NGK stock plugs.  I've seen brand new wires cause misfires on those engines (more so on those engines than others) from day 1. But I wouldn't expect all 4 to be bad at the same time, so that's why I say it's unlikely based on some assumptions.

 

7.  pull the plugs and check for oil on them - the valve cover spark plug tube gaskets leak and get the plugs wet.  most by this age/mileage have needed replaced already, i've done tons.   

 

Have those spark plug tube gaskets ever been replaced?

​Thanks so much, Grossgary!

 

The car runs fine--with one, possibly revealing exception: after driving for a few miles/getting warmed up, it occasionally "lurches" (misfires?). I'll be going along at 55-60 mph and the engine will quickly lose and gain power again. There is, rarely, a backfire. Minus the backfire it feels almost like when I was first learning to drive stick and messed up the timing; speaking of which, this is a manual transmission, if that is helpful to know. It's been doing the lurch for a loooong time, which was why my husband replaced the plugs last summer (NGK's). Thad didn't make the lurching stop, though.

 

The timing belt was replaced, as were the head gaskets, before we got the car, but we don't know if the pulleys were replaced with the timing belt.  

 

This all came to a head about a month ago, when I started out one morning and, suddenly, the lurching and backfiring were happening non-stop. At that point, my husband cleaned the MAP sensor. Then, it was drivable again, with much less frequent lurching and no backfiring. After this, I noticed a reduction in power when there's a load on the engine, going uphill for example. Right now, I'm not driving the car much for fear of getting stranded in the middle of nowhere--I'm a free-lance musician and drive a lot of long distances.

 

Other hints of something amiss: the temperature gauge sometimes plummets when it's cold outside--doesn't have to be unusually cold, and, when it plummets, the heat coming out of the vents becomes lukewarm. Coolant level is fine.

 

You asked about electrical: No issues, except that the fog lights both stopped working. We replaced one bulb, which didn't fix it, and used at multimeter to discover that no power is getting to the fogs....Maybe simply a wire somewhere, but thought I'd mention it, just in case.

 

We have never replaced the spark plug tube gaskets. In light of the fact that the lurching is intermittent, is the coil swapping idea worth trying?

 

Our point in taking "Fred" to the dealer (which is the only place that works on Subies up here in the armpit of western PA--about an hour north of Pgh.) was to diagnose so we knew what needed to be fixed. My husband has been a service writer for Nissan and is very familiar with motorcycle engines, and has done a lot of the repairs on our cars, himself. We don't know where to begin with "Fred", however, and the dealer apparently doesn't need our business.

 

I hope I've given you more info to go on, and I really appreciate all your advice. Thanks, again!



#11 idosubaru

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:32 PM

Thanks for the added information - I think you need to check the Oxygen sensor immediately.   
Unplug the electrical connector immediately and see if the symptoms change.  It's not needed for that engine, so it'll run just fine with it disconnected. 

 

Report back what happens.

 

Also - I wasn't asking about electrical problems - I wanted to know about the alternator output.  

Voltage should be checked at the alternator output post and battery terminal while the engine is running.  Takes less than one minute to do. Post results here.

 

And draw/paint a line across the crank pulley to keep an eye out for separation.  



#12 idosubaru

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:33 PM

Thanks for the added information - I think you need to check the Oxygen sensor immediately.   
Unplug the electrical connector immediately and see if the symptoms change.  It's not needed for that engine, so it'll run just fine with it disconnected. 

 

Report back what happens.

 

Also - I wasn't asking about electrical problems - I wanted to know about the alternator output.  

Voltage should be checked at the alternator output post and battery terminal while the engine is running.  Takes less than one minute to do. Post results here.

 

And draw/paint a line across the crank pulley to keep an eye out for separation.  



#13 Susysubie

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:36 AM

Thanks for the added information - I think you need to check the Oxygen sensor immediately.   
Unplug the electrical connector immediately and see if the symptoms change.  It's not needed for that engine, so it'll run just fine with it disconnected. 

 

Report back what happens.

 

Also - I wasn't asking about electrical problems - I wanted to know about the alternator output.  

Voltage should be checked at the alternator output post and battery terminal while the engine is running.  Takes less than one minute to do. Post results here.

 

And draw/paint a line across the crank pulley to keep an eye out for separation.

​Got it! We'll try those things and get back to you. Thanks!



#14 Bushwick

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 12:21 PM

Should always do a full tune-up: plugs (gap correctly), wires, air filter, synthetic oil (yes it's better and worth the extra $15 cost), and if original, replace fuel filter. Battery needs ground disconnected for a bit to reset codes. Take for a drive. If running OK and no check engine lights, run it on the highway for 10-15 minutes in "3" if auto and doing say 60 mph so the engine runs a bit in the revs or leave it in "D" and 70-75.

 

If check engine light reappears at any time AFTER doing ^ the tune-up, go get the code pulled.

 

If the engine isn't running as it should from neglect, it can over time cause issues with O2 sensors, catalytic converter, etc. Always best to rule out the obvious (misfire codes) 1st, then see if that fixes the issues.



#15 kamesama980

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 02:17 PM

You went to the dealership (the place that sells new cars) and asked if your old car was worth fixing (the logical alternative in their eyes being buying a new one from them) and they said you should buy a new one from them and you were surprised?!

 

I can't say they make more money off it but they make it a lot easier, more consistently, and with happier tech's (and really, happier customers) working on new cars under warranty and periodic maintenance. Customers with old cars tend to be either short or stingy with money and like to nitpick suggested work and argue costs. People that are willing to let go of the cash for a new car usually have and are willing to part with more cash to maintain it. (generally) the real pain in the butt customers are like me, guys that have an auto tech degree, used to work in the shop, and have a garage outfitted like a shop in for warranty work, they try to sell all the other junk and get upset when I cut them off and tell them to do the (free) recall work and DON'T top off the fluids, DON'T set the tire pressure, DON'T try to sell me all the other garbage they make money off of.

 

Lots of other good advice here, can't really add more except that your hubby knows more than he thinks. There are fewer differences between the brands and even comparing to an air-cooled bike engine than you'd guess.



#16 Susysubie

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 01:34 PM

Update: Fred the Red lives on! 

 

I meant to do this update a month ago, but have been crazy busy. My husband repaced the O2 sensor and replaced a broken ground wire. That's it--Now it runs like a dream!

 

The only fly in the ointment is the rear axle, which is still making a horrible noise. It gets louder as the car goes faster. We are currently not driving it much because of concerns over what might be causing this. Hubby's out of a job, and we can't afford to even have it looked at, presently. 

 

Anyway, thanks so much for all the help and suggestions! :)  It was definitely *not* dying--at least, not any more than anything else is. :D 



#17 Gloyale

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 02:05 PM

Update: Fred the Red lives on! 

 

I meant to do this update a month ago, but have been crazy busy. My husband repaced the O2 sensor and replaced a broken ground wire. That's it--Now it runs like a dream!

 

The only fly in the ointment is the rear axle, which is still making a horrible noise. It gets louder as the car goes faster. We are currently not driving it much because of concerns over what might be causing this. Hubby's out of a job, and we can't afford to even have it looked at, presently. 

 

Anyway, thanks so much for all the help and suggestions! :)  It was definitely *not* dying--at least, not any more than anything else is. :D

 

Probably a rear wheel bearing.  Which on that model is a bolt on affair.  

 

Bearing is about $100~ and can be replaced with a few hand tools in less than an hour,  Depending on how much rust the car has.







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