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Hi + '92 Leggy trouble...


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17 replies to this topic

#1 T.J.

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 01:28 PM

First off I would like to say: Hi, my name is T.J. and I am a Subaruaholic. There, I said it.

My first suby was a Rally Blue Pearl '99 2.5RS. It was sweet having a car that color before half the cars on the road had it (Proteges, Foci, Kias, etc.). It was so reliable and stable in all conditions that we purchased a used, emerald green '92 legacy for my wife to drive around and for me to use skiing, kayaking, and mt. biking. When the WRX was finally introduced here it didn't take long for the RS to get traded in for a PSM '02 WRX Sportwagon. The RS was alot better looking, but I like numbers.;) It has seen a bit of modding and has been the best all around performance/practical car I could imagine.




Now, on to that pesky legacy problem . She's got 140,000 miles on her. Over the last year and a half I have been experiencing an intermittent problem. Occassionally, when I would drive aggesivelly up hill, it would suddenly start to run very rough, lose power, and eventually die. I would turn the key off and check all of my fluids. Everything would look fine. By the time I got back in the car and tried to start it, it would start right up and run fine. Posted Image

Lately, it has become more frequent. To the point where I figured that I could take it into the mechanic w/o having to worry about him not being able to duplicate the problem. Before I took it in I changed the oil and filter (of course), fuel filter (last year), plugs and wires. Still have the problem.

The local mechanic charged me an hour of labor to check it out. He said: fuel pressure was fine, the o2 sensor in the first cat. is faulty, and they think that the 1st cat. is deteriorating. He came to this conclusion because he plugged a pressure sensor in to the exhaust manifold and at idle is seeing about 10psi of pressure. He says about 1psi is normal.

He quoted me $1030.00 to replace the cat. and o2 sensor. Apparently, the cat. (which looks like it is one piece w/ the entire exhaust manifold) cost $700 by itself. I hate to throw that kind of money at a something that may not fix the problem. Posted Image

I have had bad experiences w/ other mechanics in the past so any input or suggestions would be appreciated. Has any one had this problem before?

UPDATE: The mechanic called me and said that they had found a replacement cat that didn't involve replacing the entire manifold. It just welds into place. That dropped the price for the work in half. I told them to go for it. Got the car back the next day and the mechanic said that they noticed a "big" improvement in power after the installation. I asked them if they had checked the pressure again. They said no but that they were confident that it had been fixed. I took the car for a drive and the problem persists.:-\ I do not notice the "big" power gains but it might be harder to induce the stalling problem.


:banghead::banghead::banghead:

Any input apreciated.


Regards, T.J.


P.S. I have never seen a CEL in this car.

#2 Legacy777

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 02:48 PM

Check out my site. It has the procedure on how to pull any codes that may be stored, as well as put the car in a diagnostic check mode.

I had an intermittant problem sort of like what you're describing. It turned out to be a bad MAF sensor. Does the car run horribly all the time, stall, etc?

Try unplugging the MAF sensor and drive around. It'll probably run like crap, but it'd be worth seeing if your particular issues go away. They're about 300 bucks new.

#3 bajavwnsoobnut

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 04:18 PM

Hey there since your in the Portland area (Where at?) might try SIR (superior import repair) inc. if you don't want to fiddle around with it much. The guy that owns the shop is a board member also his s/n is Richierich and he does a reasonable job and can help you with figuring out the problem also. If you want his shop # (or just want to say hi to another "Portlander") just e-mail, PM, or if you have a IM program IM me and I will give you his # for ya and also directions how to get to his shop also.

#4 richierich

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 07:45 PM

The valve are sticking in the heads. I too had a green 92 and when we bought it, anytime we would drive it up 26 to Beaverton it would loose power and die. At the time, all I did was change the oil ever 2000 mile and use Mystery Marvel Oil Additive, took about 6 months but finally the problem slowly went away. We have had a few customer with this problem and we have done top end cleanings. Might also try some additive to the gas system, some of those claim to clean deposits on valves.

If you have any more questions, feel free to give me a call at 503-288-8634

Richie
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#5 T.J.

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Posted 09 October 2004 - 11:02 AM

Thanks Richie! I will definitely give that a try.

Thanks to everyone for the responses!



Later, T.J.

#6 northguy

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Posted 09 October 2004 - 02:51 PM

If it doesn't work out, definitely go see Richie. He's top notch and a straight shooter.

#7 T.J.

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 12:28 AM

Well, I have been using cheveron's valve/injector cleaner frequently ($5 @ Joe's). I also purchased a bottle of the Mystery Marvel fluid that is waiting for an oil change (didn't realize how few miles we put on this car!).

The condition has definitly improved. It occurs much less often and recovers much quicker than before!!

I'll change the oil this weekend. The other Suby needs it anyway.


Later, T.J.

#8 Cougar

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Posted 26 January 2005 - 12:43 AM

IT sounds like the fuel pump is causing this to me, even though the pressure appears ok. I would like to see the numbers while going up the hill. Hopefully the fuel filters have been replaced already.

#9 PacMan

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 06:36 AM

:banana:
FIXED FIXED FIXED FIXED FIXED FIXED !!!!!!!
Oh, by the way, I fixed the problem!!!!
I spent nearly $500 on parts chasing this problem and a couple of hundred hours with my head under the bonnet and the dashboard (yeah, we like the car a lot - when it's running well). After replacing EVERYTHING (MAF sensor, coil pack, Fuel pump, pressure regulator, knock sensor, ECU, putting heaps of valve cleaner through it and a heap of other stuff) I'd run out of ideas and was looking to buy another car. I then decided to build a data logger to monitor the ECU inputs while I was driving the car. This is basically a device that monitored the inputs from the MAF sensor, the oxygen sensor, throttle sensor and also the outputs to the fuel injectors. I also hooked up a fuel pressure guage. It's amazing to watch all the sensors and the ECU at work as the ECU constantly adjusts the fuel mixture for optimal engine performance and efficiency. I found it hard to drive whilst also watching all the lights and displays but, in the end, it paid off. What I found was really bizarre. And I can tell you guys right now "stop swapping parts" because you will NOT fix the problem. Firstly, the problem is a design problem (yes, even Subaru get it wrong sometimes) which is causing the ECU computer to "crash". This is why switching it off and restarting makes the problem "go away". Secondly there is a wiring error in these cars - my wiring diagram does not match the wiring that is actually in the car. If my wiring diagram is wrong then Subaru have two design problems. The problem will show up with different symptoms too. Usually no engine faults are recorded (probably because the ECU has crashed) but if a fault is recorded - Oxygen sensor faults are the usual ones but also knock sensor faults will show as well. Other symptoms are lack of power, misfiring and engine pinging. I'll give you a clue - the engine is running very lean but the ECU computer cannot compensate for this and it cannot work out why. It does seem strange that the problem only seems to appear as these cars get older - the Jideco ignition relay contacts deteriorating definitely play a part in this but the relay is only exacerbating the other underlying problems.
I have DEFINITELY fixed my car and I can actually reproduce the problem at will. However, fixing the problem is not easy unless you're an electronic engineer (lucky for me, I am an electronics engineer, heh, heh, heh).
I'm trying to work out whether I can make a kit of parts to fix the problem which can be easily installed by a handyperson. My current fix is fairly complex and would confuse the heck out of non-nerdy electronic type people. How many people are still interested in getting a fix for this problem?

#10 Skip

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Posted 09 April 2006 - 07:05 AM

You may be an EE but I found it very hard to read your most interesting thread.
This might help some people.

I spent nearly $500 on parts chasing this problem and a couple of hundred hours with my head under the bonnet and the dashboard
(yeah, we like the car a lot - when it's running well).

After replacing EVERYTHING (MAF sensor, coil pack, Fuel pump, pressure regulator, knock sensor, ECU,
putting heaps of valve cleaner through it and a heap of other stuff)
I'd run out of ideas and was looking to buy another car.

I then decided to build a data logger to monitor the ECU inputs while I was driving the car.
This is basically a device that monitored the inputs from the MAF sensor, the oxygen sensor, throttle sensor
and also the outputs to the fuel injectors.

I also hooked up a fuel pressure guage.

It's amazing to watch all the sensors and the ECU at work.
The ECU constantly adjusts the fuel mixture for optimal engine performance and efficiency.
I found it hard to drive whilst also watching all the lights and displays but,
in the end, it paid off.

What I found was really bizarre. And I can tell you guys right now
"stop swapping parts" because you will NOT fix the problem.

Firstly, the problem is a design problem
(yes, even Subaru get it wrong sometimes)
which is causing the ECU computer to "crash".
This is why switching it off and restarting makes the problem "go away".
Secondly there is a wiring error in these cars -
my wiring diagram does not match the wiring that is actually in the car.
If my wiring diagram is wrong then Subaru have two design problems.
The problem will show up with different symptoms too.

Usually no engine faults are recorded (probably because the ECU has crashed)
but if a fault is recorded -
Oxygen sensor faults are the usual ones but
also knock sensor faults will show as well.

Other symptoms are
lack of power,
misfiring and
engine pinging.

I'll give you a clue - the engine is running very lean
but the ECU computer cannot compensate for this
and it cannot work out why.

It does seem strange that the problem only seems to appear as these cars get older -
the Jideco ignition relay contacts deteriorating definitely play a part in this but
the relay is only exacerbating the other underlying problems.

I have DEFINITELY fixed my car
and I can actually reproduce the problem at will.
However, fixing the problem is not easy unless you're an electronic engineer
(lucky for me, I am an electronics engineer, heh, heh, heh).

I'm trying to work out whether I can make a kit of parts to fix the problem
which can be easily installed by a handyperson.
My current fix is fairly complex
and would confuse the heck out of non-nerdy electronic type people.

How many people are still interested in getting a fix for this problem?


This sounds like a very interesting idea.

#11 Legacy777

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 12:13 PM

So what was the fix....?

Also, what wiring is different between the wiring diagram and what the car actually is wired?

#12 cobalt

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 12:54 PM

:banana:
FIXED FIXED FIXED FIXED FIXED FIXED !!!!!!!
Oh, by the way, I fixed the problem!!!!
I spent nearly $500 on parts chasing this problem and a couple of hundred hours with my head under the bonnet and the dashboard (yeah, we like the car a lot - when it's running well). After replacing EVERYTHING (MAF sensor, coil pack, Fuel pump, pressure regulator, knock sensor, ECU, putting heaps of valve cleaner through it and a heap of other stuff) I'd run out of ideas and was looking to buy another car. I then decided to build a data logger to monitor the ECU inputs while I was driving the car. This is basically a device that monitored the inputs from the MAF sensor, the oxygen sensor, throttle sensor and also the outputs to the fuel injectors. I also hooked up a fuel pressure guage. It's amazing to watch all the sensors and the ECU at work as the ECU constantly adjusts the fuel mixture for optimal engine performance and efficiency. I found it hard to drive whilst also watching all the lights and displays but, in the end, it paid off. What I found was really bizarre. And I can tell you guys right now "stop swapping parts" because you will NOT fix the problem. Firstly, the problem is a design problem (yes, even Subaru get it wrong sometimes) which is causing the ECU computer to "crash". This is why switching it off and restarting makes the problem "go away". Secondly there is a wiring error in these cars - my wiring diagram does not match the wiring that is actually in the car. If my wiring diagram is wrong then Subaru have two design problems. The problem will show up with different symptoms too. Usually no engine faults are recorded (probably because the ECU has crashed) but if a fault is recorded - Oxygen sensor faults are the usual ones but also knock sensor faults will show as well. Other symptoms are lack of power, misfiring and engine pinging. I'll give you a clue - the engine is running very lean but the ECU computer cannot compensate for this and it cannot work out why. It does seem strange that the problem only seems to appear as these cars get older - the Jideco ignition relay contacts deteriorating definitely play a part in this but the relay is only exacerbating the other underlying problems.
I have DEFINITELY fixed my car and I can actually reproduce the problem at will. However, fixing the problem is not easy unless you're an electronic engineer (lucky for me, I am an electronics engineer, heh, heh, heh).
I'm trying to work out whether I can make a kit of parts to fix the problem which can be easily installed by a handyperson. My current fix is fairly complex and would confuse the heck out of non-nerdy electronic type people. How many people are still interested in getting a fix for this problem?


:confused: I have only one question TJ, If it is a design fault, Why did it take 140,000 miles to show up?:brow:

#13 Gnuman

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 01:01 PM

:confused: I have only one question TJ, If it is a design fault, Why did it take 140,000 miles to show up?:brow:

Cobalt, you may be wondering that, but I'm wondering if PacMan is actually TJ, or someone with a similar problem.

#14 bajavwnsoobnut

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 02:11 PM

So what was the fix....?

Also, what wiring is different between the wiring diagram and what the car actually is wired?


I am wondering the same thing cause if it is a grey market car it might have a different wiring setup compared to what is from oz or if it is a local car I am wondering if he is looking at a USDM FSM wiring diagram cause from JDM to USDM there is a difference in wiring and such

#15 T.J.

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Posted 10 April 2006 - 08:20 PM

Many of you seem to be wondering why you have never seen PacMan and me in the same room together, but let me assure you that I am not him and he is not me. Lol.

My problem seems to have been fixed by the advice of RichieRich to use valve cleaner in my fuel and Marvels Mystery Oil durning oil changes.

Hope this clears things up, T.J.

#16 PacMan

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Posted 11 April 2006 - 07:47 AM

Thanks for clearing up the identity thing TJ.

Well my last post seems to have lit the "blue touchpaper"!

Firstly, I'd like to give credit to sea#3 for determining that the Jideco relay was a source of problems in this area.

I've now spent many hours upside down under the dashboard of a Subaru and I've got to admire the fault finding tenacity of a person who found this one. I'd be happy to take my car to such a person - they are few and far between down this way. As for "calling ya out" - not so fast buddy!

Secondly, I'd like to point out that I didn't resolve this problem "yesterday" and test it with a "quick blip around the block". I fixed the problem 2 months ago and because it's such an intermittent problem I've done as much testing as possible to ensure that my fix is as close to 100% as possible.

My first fix was to actually modify the guts of the ECU computer so it wasn't so susceptible to "electrical noise". This fixed the problem but I figured that telling the Subaru world to rip out their ECU computer and start hacking at the circuit board was probably going to cause more problems than it fixed.

I then went looking for where the electrical noise was coming from - this is when I discovered the wiring fault.

I then designed the MKII fix which was a combined electrical filter and relay replacement box which plugged into the Jideco Ignition relay socket. This plug-in fix also needed additional changes to the wiring loom under the bonnet (hood) to fix the wiring fault.

I then went and spoke to my local Suby wrecker (a nice guy and very helpful). Together we decided that asking someone to climb under the dashboard and remove the Ignition relay and then plug a cable into the now empty socket would be like asking your mother to replace a gudgeon pin on the Space Shuttle - it wasn't going to happen (but, then, maybe your mother is into that sort of stuff).

Current plan is:- My Suby wrecker is currently cutting a wiring loom out of a wreck and once I've got this loom in my workshop I will be able to work out the easiest place to tap into the wiring to accomplish all these things...
1) Fix the wiring error.
2) Filter the power to the ECU computer
3) Bypass the troublesome Jideco relay.

Once I've figured this out, in the words of that famous Austrian guy (ooops, I meant American guy) "I'll be back".


#17 Legacy777

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Posted 11 April 2006 - 11:25 AM

So....

You're saying the ignition relay has issues. Is this correct?
Did you perform a test yourself to determine this, or did someone recommend that might be the cause?

How did you determine the power going to the ECU needs "filtering"? What test did you perform to see the noise? If you don't mind sharing, I'd also like to know the details as to what exactly you did to modify the ECU to not be as susceptible to "electrical noise".

And again, what wiring error, or difference did you find?

#18 Talasas

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 03:16 AM

So what ended up happening with this?

I hate it when people don't follow up threads, I've stumbled across this several years too late and I'm suffering this same problem and want it bloody well fixed.

What ever happened to PacMan? He just vanished in 2009 by the looks of it.




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