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Guest Message by DevFuse

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'91 Legacy Brake adjustment and Idle adjustment Questions

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11 replies to this topic

#1 Sparkey


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Posted 13 March 2006 - 11:03 PM

Well....I'm the new owner of a '91 Legacy AWD Basket-case-of-a-Sedan.
Thats what I get for $600 right!!!? Anyway. A little info on the car.
Has a terrible ticking sound...coming from passenger side of the block...don't know if it's a valve/lifter or what. I do know that I have a vac. leak from where the cast-iron intake meets the top of the block....
My main problems I would like to fix ASAP are the high Idle (around 1200rpm) - How do I adjust this?? Tried the screw by the accelerator pedal cable...didn't do anything.
Also the brakes feel SUPER spongy...they stop, but seems like you have to mash the pedal all the way to the floor before things start to slow down...also the e-brake has to be almost pointing strait up to hold...I don't have a manual so If anyone could help me out I'm kinda in need here.

#2 stevecd


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Posted 14 March 2006 - 01:26 AM

I’m not sure what the idle problem might be but maybe try a fuel injector cleaner however an adjustment would probably be where the air enters the engine not the pedal, but for your brakes if they feel really mushy usually if you bleed your brakes it will fix it since brake fluid gets worse over time, its pretty easy to do yourself but is also cheap to have someone else do it for you.

#3 edrach


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Posted 14 March 2006 - 08:07 AM

Stevecd has the right idea on the brakes. Also, on the idle. I've had a similar problem with high idle on my '91. There is no idle adjustment...all done by the ECU. However, it's possible that the throttle plate is not closing properly. I resolved a high idle problem with a can of seafoam in a full tank of gas. It's not a immediate fix but by the time I had to refill the tank, the idle was down to normal. The tick is likely a stuck lifter; if the car has been sitting for a long time, it's not uncommon. An oil change and daily use might resolve that. If not, there are other approaches.

#4 Sparkey


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Posted 15 March 2006 - 09:33 PM

Thanks for the advise Ed...
- I think it (the ticking) could be the fact that it sat for awhile and being and the lifter...It seems to come and go...I just changed the oil when I swapped the oil pan...It's weird. I'll see how a few more days driving it goes...
-It seems to have a really strong engine and tranny...It's a shame the thing is kind of a rust bucket. :( Does anyone know if they salt the roads in Montanna?
-As for the idle prob...I'm getting a "check engine" light when I first start it and it goes away after the engine warms up..how do I check the codes?? I'm just wondering if it is the ECU and if so what would people suggest??
-Another thing I noticed last night when I was tinkering with it was that when I pinched one of the vac. hoses - approx 1 inch diameter, swoops down from a splitter valve of sorts near the air intake and goes to an electrical looking thing- that it kicked the idle up really high...then took a few minutes to drop it down...
Thanks again for the help guys!!! Sorry this post is so long.

#5 cookie


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Posted 16 March 2006 - 12:39 AM

If you have a vac leak you will have a high idle.If its too bad the car won't even run.

#6 kimokalihi


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Posted 16 March 2006 - 01:07 AM

Yeah the idle is not right, I have a 90 and it idles at around 700. I'd definately fix that vacuum leak because it can cause all sorts of problems.

You can check the codes without a scanner by looking up underneath the driver side dash. There should be a couple of black connectors that mate together. Hook those up to each other but I wouldn't push them in until they click all the way because it's a major pain in the rump roast to get them apart again since it's really hard to get both hands up there comfortably. You can put them together most of the way right before it clicks and that should be fine and then it's easy to pull apart with one hand. I'm thinking about adding wire to those to make them longer because I have had to check the codes so many times and I probably will in the future as well.

Here's a more detailed page I just found that actually goes a lot deeper than I knew about...


Good luck! I bought my subaru legacy wagon L 90 auto for $400 bucks and have spent like $700 fixing one thing after the next. I'll never buy another subaru unless it's at least a 2004 or newer. But that's what I get for 400 bucks. Thing is, I don't think I can get the money I put it into back if I sell it now...

#7 Sparkey


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Posted 22 March 2006 - 09:58 PM

Ok here's a short update...Been driving the car for 2 weeks now...idle is still high, but the sticking lifter noise has quieted down...except for Monday after sitting all weekend...put some oil tratment in and It's helped alot, put some fuel treatment in and the idle still acts crazy...I know it's the vac leak...Anyone have any hints on how to locate a vac leak...I'm clueless...Thaks!

#8 ra_der


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Posted 23 March 2006 - 07:07 AM

Get a can of starting fluid, (and a fire extinguisher) with the engine running spray short bursts of starter fluid around the manifold and hoses.
Engine will rev when you hit the leak.

#9 trxeslr66


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Posted 23 March 2006 - 09:26 AM

Even though this is an older Legacy, the ECM should still control the idle and if it is high or low it should throw a code. Is your CHECK ENGINE LIGHT lit? To be sure the light functions check if it flashes when you turn the car on. Sometime the bulb burns out or someone takes it out. Use a code reader and see if there are any codes. There are 234573 things that can cause a problematic idle and vaccum leaks are just one of them.

#10 Sparkey


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Posted 26 March 2006 - 03:48 PM

Yeah, the check engine light does come on every once in awhile...I know it's related to the high idle/ vac leak...this is going to be my next repair...Hopefully this week I'll have the time to snoop around and see what I find. Thanks for the advise.

#11 Setright


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Posted 26 March 2006 - 04:21 PM

E-brake: Even if you don't have rear drums for the foot brake, the handbrake will be working on internal drums. Yep, the rotor hub has a drum built into it!

You'll need to remove the disc and rotate the adjuster star-wheel a notch or two. There is an access hole, but given your other problems, opening the rear brakes and examining them would be a good idea,

#12 Gnuman


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Posted 26 March 2006 - 05:20 PM

Sparkey, do not give up on that car just because the previous owner rode it hard and put it up wet. Yeah, there are a few problems right now but they will be fixed in time, and then you can start to really enjoy the car. I also got my car as a derelict, and have put a good bit of cash into repairing/upgrading it. At this point, the car is not for sale. At any price. It would be somewhere between hard and impossable to find a car that would serve me so well with such reliability. Yeah, I just said that.

Find the vac. leak. That will likely go a long way towards fixing the idle. Also check the throttle position switch, as if it is badly aligned, it can cause the ECU to not recognise that you are at idle on the throttle, causing it to not idle the engine. This will also throw a code usually. the other thing to do is spray some carb cleaner down that hose that you found (and pinched) causing the idle to not return even as well as it was. This leads to the Idle Air Control valve, which can get dirty, causing it to react more slowly than it should. Is the valve ticking gone yet? If not you may want to pull the valve covers and clean the Hydraulic Lash Adjusters, or even replace them as needed. Setright is correct on the parking brake, and I would strongly recomend checking all of your brake pads. It sounds like the Previous owner was. . .Ummm. . . less than diligent. . . on maintainance. This means that what you got to start with was a project. What you will have when you have it running right is probably one of the best cars that Subaru has ever produced. They are that good.

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