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Subaru Hesitation Problems
Posted 04 December 2001 - 08:40 AM
I own a 1999 Subaru Legacy Outback - this is actually the second Subaru I have owned, both of which have had the same problem. I bought the first one (an Impreza L 1994) used, and just assumed that I was having problems as the result of buying a used vehicle. However, when my 1999 started acting up at 12,000 (10 Months) I knew then that this was a big problem.
Simply put, I have a major hesitation problem in the engine. It seems to be most tempormental in the rain, but doesn't discrimante the rainy weather only. 1st and 2nd gear are the worst, although 3rd and 4th cause problems also. The RPMs get to about 2000 and then the engine more or less feels like it needs the choke ripped out and then at about 2700 - 3000 the thing takes off like a jet engine. At the moment, I refuse to put my toddler (daughter) in the car, nor will I let my wife drive it. Not being sexist - I just don't think the vehicle is safe to drive.
I cannot seem to get the problem to reproduce itself regularly, hence I have never been able to get the dealership to reproduce while under warranty. Well here I am at 40,000 miles and it has become exponentially worse, I needed to tow it to the dealership...
I have seen information regarding the 1.4 million Subarus recalled in Japan, but I cannot seem to find anything documenting this recall. Also, I understand that there was a Lemon Law hearing in the state of New Hampshire regarding this, but again, was hoping someone may have some insight as to where I can access these records, I believe they would be public. I also understand that numerous people in Connecticut have sued under the Lemon Law over this issue.
I would greatly appreciate any information that you all may be able to provide.
Posted 04 December 2001 - 09:03 AM
I believe there is a TSB on this, but no recall. I think it's time to campaign for a recall with the NHTSA. I'll go hit their website now...
Posted 04 December 2001 - 09:12 AM
My Subaru is a 5 speed manual also, and I have found that the problem seems to be more prevalent in the manuals, although I have found other automatics to have problems as well, such as in the case with your friends...
Waiting to hear from the dealership, will keep posted.
Posted 04 December 2001 - 09:36 AM
I think Subaru may have designed a new knock sensor that's less sensative to correct this problem and I know that there are homebrewed fixes out there, but Subaru should be responsible for correcting this issue on all Subarus that are on the road today.
Posted 04 December 2001 - 10:07 AM
I looked for the 2 TSB numbers that you cited but I was unable to find them in the database, could you provide the links to these.
Here's the latest from the dealership.
Apparently, I had corroded spark plug wires and two pistons were missfiring as a result of corroded cylinder coils. The guy at the dealership actually said to me when I asked him how these parts could be corroded "Well, you see, this car has 40K miles on it, it is rather old."
Excuse me, but this car isn't even 3 years old. Corrosion is a factor of time NOT miles, and since when is 40K old. I have another car with 90K+ that can run circles around my Subaru. Personally, I think the car is junk. They want me to pay for all the repairs. What burns my britches is that the problem began at 12K (10 Months) - so, I guess they are telling me that since this "corrosion" is the problem that this type of wear is normal for a car that is less than a year old.
Because my car is over the 36K they don't think that it should be covered. I have a maitenance record that states that I had them look at it at 28K and of course they couldn't find a problem. That was April 2000, and I brought the car in because of the brake recall (which I might add, that compared to my other car, the Subaru's breaks stink). They are stating that because it has been over a year, that it must not have been a problem. They conveniently seem to be forgetting the numerous calls that I have been making indicating that there is a problem, but if I can't reproduce it - they can't fix it. Not too mention the same problem with my previous Subaru (separate story).
If I hear "We can only fix what we see" one more time, someone is going to get smacked....
Whew, Sorry, venting a bit...
It's really quite a shame, if I didn't have this problem, I would really like the car, and of course the dealership doesn't help the situation much either. I'm actually the type of person that remains quite calm when faced with these issues, but since it is now endangering my daughter (which incidentlly was purchased to be "the family car") and the lack of ethical behavior from the dealership, I'm ready to become the squeeky wheel.
Posted 04 December 2001 - 10:43 AM
I have a 90 Legacy, which was the first year, and I do notice every now and then a slight hesitation, sometimes it's worse then others. But honestly my transmission is such crap I really don't know if it is tranny or engine.
I have replaced the knock sensor with a new one....no real change. The ECU is also the culprit. The knock sensor is only half the problem.
I have tried gary's electrical fix and really did not like how it felt. I've been trying to find acoustical data on different materials, to make sorta an insulating washer between the knock sensor and engine, but have come up short in finding data that is actually helpful.
What I would suggest doing is contacting SOA, you need to blow in their ear now. The dealer obviously does not want to cooperate. You do some talking with them, and the dealer will cooperate if SOA is willing to listen to what you have to say.
I have one further comment to make....some may not like it....but it is how I feel. The early legacies, 90-91 and some others were made in Japan, at fuji heavy industrys' plant. From 92 on or some sorts the legacies were made here in the US. I have more complaints about recalls and problems on the later model legacies then I ever heard about the first gen legacy, and the first gen legacy was the FIRST, they developed it from prototype and so on.....so had to work any bugs out. Subaru has continued to refine the legacy platform, and I understand that they do this and SOA gets the designs an manufacturing specs, all that good stuff. But do the legacies that are made in japan have this much problems? or do we just not hear about them.
Take a look at the impreza's They are made in japan, they have their problems every now and then too, but on a statistical stand point, I hear less complaining about problems with them.
Alright....I guess the bottom line what I'm trying to say is....if America can manufacture and make good quality automobiles, GREAT....I'll buy one. If not...I'll stick with stuff that is made in japan.
Posted 04 December 2001 - 11:01 AM
Here's the TSB info from the NHTSA website:
Service Bulletin Number: 115398
Bulletin Sequence Number: 450
Date of Bulletin: 01/99
NHTSA Item Number: SB604484
CUSTOMER MAY COMPLAIN OF A SLIGHT ENGINE HESITATION ON VEHICLES WITH MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS
2.5L AND 2.2L ENGINES. TT
Year: All years
Service Bulletin Number: 115899
Bulletin Sequence Number: 105
Date of Bulletin: 01/00
NHTSA Item Number: SB610539
Component: FUEL:THROTTLE LINKAGES AND CONTROL
SOME CUSTOMERS MAY COMPLAIN OF SLIGHT HESITATION ON ACCELERATION. *TT
And Josh, I wouldn't be surprised if cars manufactured in the States are of lesser quality. I mean, come on, look at the track record.
Posted 04 December 2001 - 01:08 PM
Posted 04 December 2001 - 02:00 PM
When i drive VERY GENTLY (let the rpm come up to 1100-1200) and release slowly the cluch, The hesitation Shows up in the way up (around 2500-3000 rpm).
BUT - when i give the engine 1500-1700 rpm's and GENTLY release the clutch, It run's like a champ.
I've already cleaned the Air-Sensor (there was alot of dirt on it after 80K k"m) and RESET the ECU - It helped alot but only when the car is cold.
The car has a New set of Spark Plugs (NGK) and New Set of Ignition wires.
On the Other way, Its defenetly ECU/Sensor Problem.
If i've had the same BIG hesitation like other tells, i would have try to Clean the Throttle Position Sensor and Check carfully for the Air-Sensor AND Co2 sensor (A bad one can slow-down ecu "performance" - > hesitation).
Posted 05 December 2001 - 12:47 AM
Curious that there seems to be some link between this and having a manual tranny, at least in terms of frequency. I don't know if my '95 auto does this or not, I have bogging problems tied to my intake, but I've always encountered my 'hesitation' to climbing uphill and having a comparatively wimpy 2.2L 135-HP on a wagon engine.
But I will say this-- I *have* noticed hesitation on our '00 Impreza, which also sports an EJ22 engine (145HP, smaller car, vroooom!) And I do NOT like it one bit. Based on when it's showing up I speculate that it's the ECU overcompensating for my acceleration style, which would explain why it's becoming more frequent. But that's just a hunch.
Posted 05 December 2001 - 01:34 AM
Posted 05 December 2001 - 02:03 AM
I would also describe the feeling that I'm terming hesitation as 'confused.' It's almost like the thing is in a situation where it should downshift, but it changes its mind and doesn't, and while it's figuring out all this you're left at the bottom of a 'dip' that usually accompanies a downshift anyway.
Posted 05 December 2001 - 03:40 AM
After cleaning It, the Transmission Started to shift MUCH better (softer) and there was a huge diffrence in the throttle reaction (even before cleaning, CE light NEVER came on).
I think that this sensor is pritty important to the system and its pritty easy to clean (contacts spray) and could not harm a thing.
This sensor delivers information to the ECU and the TRANNY (especially Automatic's - for Kick-Down's and stuff) and if it has some dirt (coming with the age), it "delaying" the outgoing Value to the computer and the tranny+ecu gets the information LATER then expected, then - the tranny and the engine usually "jerk" alittle and shifting starts developing vibrates.
From my Expirience with these cars, it helped alot - you should at least give it a try and maybe even thank me after that ;-)
Posted 05 December 2001 - 05:27 AM
Posted 05 December 2001 - 07:40 AM
Posted 05 December 2001 - 07:49 AM
Posted 05 December 2001 - 01:23 PM
guess I have a project to tackle too.
Posted 05 December 2001 - 06:40 PM
I know the diff oil hasn't been changed....at least by me....but that **** is like glue.....so don't know if I should or not....I guess i'll check it.....It probably won't hurt to do it. You think it's worth puttin synthetic in it.....this late in it's life....I've got a 151k on the clock. Also I just replaced tranny fluid around april-may....don't know if I should bother with that again.....or possibly use synthetic....I know if you put synthetic in an engine this old, you're askin for problems with seals....could be true with tranny too....the dirt and grime inside is holding it together....hahaha. Don't know if I want to disturb it too much. I was told by my mom's friend, who is a tranny expert, has his own shop. that if you have tranny probs, and get one of those flush thingies, likelyhood that they will be worse afterwards is pretty good. So not sure if I should just stick with what I've used, and get by, until it's time to get it rebuilt or swap in a 5spd
Posted 06 December 2001 - 07:47 AM
Posted 06 December 2001 - 12:51 PM
However, I don't know about the seals shrinking from the metal surfaces when synthetic fluid is added. Though, if you look at what Josh said he wasn't specifying (spelling?) that the old transmission would necessarily leak, just that it would "be worse afterwards." Maybe the flushing causes so much junk to break loose that it starts tearing things up or something.
Posted 06 December 2001 - 04:42 PM
Posted 06 December 2001 - 10:01 PM
If you have an old tranny, you are probably fine changing out the oil in it (I'll stay out of the synthetic argument for the moment). Putting fresh ATF in for old should only be a good thing. However, I would not flush it. I too have had a trusted source tell me to avoid flushing, on any tranny for that matter (in his opinion). You will loosen up crud and varnish etc and if you flush or circulate that into the valve body and some other sensitive parts of your auto tranny, you can kiss it good bye.
The best approach is to not let the crud build up in the first place by performing routine ATF changes on the tranny.
I've read that 90% of transmission failures are due to heat. ATF breaks down at an accelerated rate as temperatures rise. Once you are over a certain temperature, it's breakdown occurs at an exponential rate.
Posted 07 December 2001 - 01:23 AM
Posted 11 December 2001 - 12:08 AM
Took it to the dealer and checked for fault codes and all the rest but could not find a thing. Yet even the mechanic was able to get a 3 - 4 second hesitation before the tranny downshifted. The fluid has been changed every year as I tow a Jayco Pop-Up camping trailer in the summer. Rest of the time the car runs fine and has no hesitation problems.
The comments made by Itzik93 regarding cleaning the throttle position sensor are valid and I think I will try it out. Where is the throttle position sensor located and are any special tools needed to open it? Any info and advice will be appreciated.
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