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check engine light advice needed


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28 replies to this topic

#1 subegrl

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 06:30 PM

01 Forester 114,000 miles.

The check engine light came on, last month. I figured it was the 02 sensors (again). I went to the dealer. The tech told me that the 02 sensors were OK and that he had had good luck with flashing the ECU, but if the check engine light came back on then I need a new catalyst, and quoted me $500 for the new catalyst.

A few weeks go by, and then today the check engine light is on again. What I want to know is:

Is there any other thing I can do except get a new catalyst
and
Is $500 a reasonable charge for this procedure
and
Do I need to let the dealer do it or is it something I can get my mechanic to do?

Thanks!

#2 mattocs

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 06:35 PM

As long as your mechanic will give a warrenty on his/her work, then that would be fine. I'd go whereever it was cheapest.

#3 subegrl

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 06:51 PM

what kind of price do you think I should expect? Is it hard to replace the catalyst or is it a simple thing to pull one part/s out and replace them?

#4 frag

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 07:07 PM

what kind of price do you think I should expect? Is it hard to replace the catalyst or is it a simple thing to pull one part/s out and replace them?


It's a simple replace-a-part repair but I would get a second opinion if I were you. Subies cats dont go bad very often and particularly after only a few years.

#5 hawksoob

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 07:16 PM

Are O2 sensor and catalyst the only options? Couldn't be a misfire, knock sensor, IAC sensor, etc.?

Made a trip to AutoZone and had them check the code for free?

#6 subegrl

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 07:18 PM

Really? Hmmmm. I wish it wasn't the dealer saying it's so. I'm not sure my mechanic would 'know better'. He's a good, honest mechanic but he's not a 'subie expert'. AFAIK there aren't any here where I live.
I guess I could ask him to check the code and see what he thinks before I fork out $500 to the dealer.



It's a simple replace-a-part repair but I would get a second opinion if I were you. Subies cats dont go bad very often and particularly after only a few years.



#7 hawksoob

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 07:36 PM

Really? Hmmmm. I wish it wasn't the dealer saying it's so. I'm not sure my mechanic would 'know better'. He's a good, honest mechanic but he's not a 'subie expert'. AFAIK there aren't any here where I live.
I guess I could ask him to check the code and see what he thinks before I fork out $500 to the dealer.


Would stink to shell out $500 for a new cat when all that was needed was a $40 knock sensor ... or worse yet, a few squirts from a $2.98 can of throttle body cleaner into the TB.

FWIW, the girlfriend's VW Cabrio threw a CEL last summer. AutoZone's device read "IAC Solenoid" and something else ominous sounding ["expensive"] ... on a hunch, I sprayed her throttle body with some Carb/TB cleaner and replaced the air filter... CEL went away and has yet to come back after 6+ months.

Little, cheap things first.

#8 cookie

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Posted 06 March 2005 - 10:38 PM

I am not sure how it works back there but some items in the emissions system are covered fairly long term here in CA.

#9 photo2001

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:14 AM

I have had the check engine light come on in my 2000 Forester many times. The first time it happened I had the 02 sensor replaced under the recall. The light came on again a few days later. I have since found that when I fill up the tank, and don't 'top it off', make sure to crank the gas cap 3 or 4 clicks, the light doesn't come on as often. When it does I ignore it, but I'm not saying that's the best thing for everyone to do. One time I mentioned to the Subaru service manager and he said it's probably a part at the bottom of the gas tank that would mean removing the gas tank, replacing the part, umpteen hundreds of dollars..riiiiight. When I told him I had the extended warranty he seemed to change his tune, funny huh? :rolleyes:

#10 ballitch

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 02:39 AM

i say go to autozone and get the codes for free, then tell us the code numbers and one of us can hunt it down and tell you what it means, and if the stealership is F.O.S. thats what i would do, dont pay $500 unless you are SURE that the problem will be fixed.



~Josh~

#11 subegrl

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 09:39 AM

That is what I am going to do - go to Autozone and then tell y'all the codes.
Awesome help, guys and gals!Posted Image

#12 subegrl

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 12:21 PM

OK got the code - its P0420, catalyst efficiency lowered.

Recommendations?

#13 frag

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 12:53 PM

OK got the code - its P0420, catalyst efficiency lowered.

Recommendations?


Factory Service Manual for 1996 (I suspect the procedure is still the same) advise to check the exhaust system upstream of the catalysts. « Check for gas leaks or air suction caused by loose or dislocated nuts and bolts, and open holes at exhaust pipes. Check the following positions: between cylinder head and front exhaust pipe; between front exhaust pipe and front catalytic converter.»
If no exhaust system fault is detected, then..«1) Separate rear catalytic converter from rear exhaust pipe. If there is damage at rear face of rear catalyst, replace front and rear catalytic converter.» If no damage there, «2) remove front catalytic converter. If there is damage at rear face or front face oa front catalyst, replace front catalytic converter. » If none of these, then...
Hope that will help your mechanic.

#14 subegrl

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 04:52 PM

Question - why would the catalyst go bad? Is that an indicator of something else being wrong?

In the last year I've replaced the fuel filter, timing belt, water pump, spark plugs, spark plug wires, 02 sensors, etc. etc.

The car runs fine.

Also I found out that my mechanic doesn't do catalyst replacements (they do not do it where he works).
Apparently this is something done at muffler shops, I assume because it involves emissions work?
How much do you think is reasonable to charge to change a catalyst?

#15 frag

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 05:53 PM

Question - why would the catalyst go bad? Is that an indicator of something else being wrong?

In the last year I've replaced the fuel filter, timing belt, water pump, spark plugs, spark plug wires, 02 sensors, etc. etc.

The car runs fine.

Also I found out that my mechanic doesn't do catalyst replacements (they do not do it where he works).
Apparently this is something done at muffler shops, I assume because it involves emissions work?
How much do you think is reasonable to charge to change a catalyst?


I would have the exhaust system checked for leaks before looking at replacing the Catalyst. I'm not an expert on catalytic converters but mine has been working flawlessly for 10 years. I think the main reason for early catalyst failure is either an overly (much) rich fuel mixture situation or a mechanical accident (striking a rock or something).
Is your exhaust system a little noisier than it was originaly?

#16 subegrl

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 06:02 PM

I would have the exhaust system checked for leaks before looking at replacing the Catalyst. I'm not an expert on catalytic converters but mine has been working flawlessly for 10 years. I think the main reason for early catalyst failure is either an overly (much) rich fuel mixture situation or a mechanical accident (striking a rock or something).

OK I will have them look for leaks.

Is your exhaust system a little noisier than it was originaly?


Not that I've noticed.

Thank you for your advice. I've got the number of a recommended muffler shop near my house that I'm going to take it too and see what they say.

#17 SevenSisters

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 06:07 PM

:headbang: :headbang: http://www.epa.gov/o...arranties.htm#1

#18 subegrl

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 06:36 PM

Cool on the warranty info, but I suspect I'm out of the range. 114,000.

#19 subegrl

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 11:59 AM

The saga continues...

I called a recommended muffler shop this morning. The guy at first couldn't find a converter. Then he called me back and said he found a remanufactured one for $450. plus shipping. ouch.

So I went onto 1stsubaruparts.com and found this under exhaust system, converter:
All - 2.5 liter sohc00-02 $324.78 $233.84 Posted Image Posted Image



of course there is a possiblity that I am looking at the wrong part. I am not that knowledgeable about cars, though the Internet is helping me learn.

Anyway, it is looking like the dealer price is not too bad after all.

Ideas?

#20 TheBrian

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 12:07 PM

Universal catalytic converter. Have a muffler shop weld it into place.
If you don't need to comply with CA-emissions, you can get a universal for somewhere around $70.

#21 subegrl

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 03:27 PM

Hmmm. I dunno - universal converter - I don't want to be pennywise and poundfoolish.

I want another 100,000 miles outta this subie!

Seriously I'm leaning towards dealer. sigh.

#22 subegrl

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 06:57 PM

I have a question, may be stupid, but here goes...
Is there just one converter on a 2001 forester or are there more than one?

#23 sea#3

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 03:19 AM

I have a question, may be stupid, but here goes...
Is there just one converter on a 2001 forester or are there more than one?

There are two , there is one just where the two pipes come together , just below the right side axle shaft and the second one is just behind the rear trany mount
SEA#3

#24 Forester_Ranger

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 03:49 AM

Yeah you have 2 cats. But the question is. If one is bad. Which One? I don't know how you can really tell if they are bad or good. You may end up replacing both at $300-500 each. I am real curious though if your check engine stays off after replacing the cats. keep us posted. I've been getting the 0420 code on my 98 Forester and currently have 120,000 miles. I've been getting the code for over a year. I recently bought my own scan tool and get the code about once a week. I've looked over my exhaust system and can't find any holes. And my cats are beat up from off-roading but are intack. I'm thinking of deleating my Cats altogether.

#25 subegrl

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 08:22 AM

Are the two cats identical parts? Reason I'm asking is 1stsubaruparts.com only sells the front one. There's nothing listed under 'rear'. So I wondered if the part for front and rear are identical.

Anyway, last night the CEL went back out, so now what?

I was thinking of asking a mechanic to remove the 02 sensors and see if they are fouled.




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