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Weird CEL problem I've been having


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7 replies to this topic

#1 lhrocker

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 03:04 PM

I was going thru the search and got some info, but maybe you guys can help me on this. On days when it rains, snows, lots of dew or just plain wet, upon starting my 95 Legacy wagon, it will sputter and feel like it's misfiring. It does this thru about a 2-3 minute warmup. When I put the car into gear and drive it, it drives okay, but every now and then the CEL light comes on.

Now I know that I should have it read, but for the most part, it only happens in the rain, so he next day, if sunny, I will disconnect the battery for 15 minutes and the light will go away.

This past Tuesday, it snowed and it rained on Wednesday and was misty this morning. On Tuesday, It started up like I listed above and decided that I would get the code looked at this weekend. Well, the light was still on when I went to work this morning, but when I started the car at lunchtime, the CEL went away. It was sunny and dry.

My question is when the CEL comes on, should it stay on no matter what? I never drove with the CEL light for more than one day? If the problem did in fact correct itself somehow, where can I start to look/clean/reset?

I know that the best way is to get the codes, but any help is appreciated, as always.

Thanx - Pete

#2 zzzasy

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 03:45 PM

Well I'm not exactly sure how it works on these newer cars, but back in the old days, the symptoms you mentioned would have mostly been a cracked distributor cap that was letting moisture in. Since these newer cars have a different setup, someone else will have to chime in on that one. I do know that some CEL codes are conditional and if the code stays for X drive cycles, then it will set the code and the CEL will remain lit.

The CEL is basically emissions related. So, there is really no reason not to drive the car because the CEL on. Basically, the CEL is just saying its not getting the proper response from some of its sensors and the problem could be very benign.

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#3 Jerry DeMoss

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 05:03 PM

One thing I would suggest checking first is your plug wires,then your coilpack.I had a similar problem on a car I had when it would rain.Here's what I did to diagnose it:On a dry night go spray the spark plug wires and coil pack with water in a spray bottle.See if you can duplicate the symptoms.I did this and I could see arcing from the wires.I replaced the wires and all was well again.Hope that helps you some.Good luck.

#4 blitz

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 05:07 PM

Well yeah, there's no cap to crack, but I'd say rotten plug wires would be a pretty good first guess.

Fire up the engine when it's dark and humid out and take a look under the hood. You'll probably see and hear a spark show when you blip the throttle.

#5 tunered

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 05:11 PM

plud wires will show up better if you have somebody in the car,have them put the car in gear,hold brake and speed the idle up till theres a little load on the engine,ive checked wires at night with no results till i done it this way.

#6 lhrocker

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 05:25 PM

Thanx - I did a plug/wire change in September and this problem started way before then (Feb/March maybe). The wire aren't oem Subaru, so I may try that. Could it be that the plugs aren't tightly connected to the plug? I reseated the wires at the coil pack side.

When I first got the car in 2003, it had 107K and it was a rainy day. As soon as I got home and prepared to go out, the car wouldn't turn over. I called the salesman who came over to look over the car and was stumped. After about 1/2 an hour, it started, so I drove it back to the dealer.

When they looked at it, they said something weird like a cover wasn't put back over the alternator (it was over 2 years ago). He said that he put it back and everything would be fine. I haven't had a problem until last year. It sounds electrical, but who knows.

Maybe I'll replace the plugs and wires and coil pack again. My mileage went down from 27 to 25, but it may just be a winter thing.

Oh well, it's tough cause I live 40 miles from work and only have one car.

Keep the tips coming...

Thanx - Pete

#7 Log1call

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 12:51 AM

it sure sounds like it's moisture related. I'd do as the otherrs suggest and dose it with water. Maybe the coils are faulty, you could wet them too, or the connectors somewhere on the motor but most likely around the ignition.

#8 Cougar

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 11:58 AM

I would suspect a problem with the ignitor coils. You may be able to locate the trouble by spraying water on suspected ignition areas with a spray bottle.




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