Jump to content


Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, my lurker friend!

Welcome to Ultimate Subaru Message Board, an unparalleled Subaru community full of the greatest Subaru gurus and modders on the planet! We offer technical information and discussion about all things Subaru, the best and most popular all wheel drive vehicles ever created.

We offer all this information for free to everyone, even lurkers like you! All we ask in return is that you sign up and give back some of what you get out - without our awesome registered users none of this would be possible! Plus, you get way more great stuff as a member! Lurk to lose, participate to WIN*!
  • Say hello and join the conversation
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Get your own profile and make new friends
  • Classifieds with all sorts of Subaru goodies
  • Photo hosting in our gallery
  • Meet other cool people with cool cars
Seriously, what are you waiting for? Make your life more fulfilling and join today! You and your Subaru won't regret it, we guarantee** it.

* The joy of participation and being generally awesome constitutes winning
** Not an actual guarantee, but seriously, you probably won't regret it!

Serving the Subaru Community since May 18th, 1998!

Guest Message by DevFuse
 

Photo
- - - - -

1988 Justy Problem. Help Please!


  • Please log in to reply
26 replies to this topic

#1 Gene

Gene

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Dunsmuir, Ca.

Posted 15 June 2006 - 03:46 PM

I have a 1988 5 speed, 4WD Justy that I bought new. It has a little over 100,000 miles on it. It's in great shape and I've taken meticulous care of it, changing oil and filter every 3,000 miles and other regular service. It still runs like new WHEN IT WILL RUN!:(

It may run for 100 miles or 1 mile and then suddenly, it'll just die. You never know when it will do it. It doesn't seem to be an electrical problem because when it quits, the electrics are still on. There's no warning before it dies, it just suddenly goes dead! It can happen at 70 mph or 5 mph. Whether it's cold or when it's hot. It runs strong with no missing, idles fine and no hesitation. It'll just suddenly die and you never know when.:confused: It'll start back up after it dies but it may take 30 seconds or 5 minutes to restart. Of course after it starts, you never know when it will quit again.

I've changed the coil, plugs, plug wires, rotor, distributor cap, fuel filter, everything I can think of. The valves are properly adjusted, (I do them myself), and everything seems in order. I do sometimes hear a "click" under the dash somewhere like a relay opening or closing just before it dies.

I live very rural and there isn't any decent mechanics around here. Awhile back I did take it to a guy who was supposed to be good and he had it for 2 weeks and couldn't get it to die. It ran perfect for him. I know this is one of the worst problems as it's hard to diagnose a problem if it only happens once in awhile.

The closest Subaru dealer is about 2 hours away from me and I don't know if they're any good or not. I would hate to take it there and at $70.00-$80.00 an hour have them spend hours on it and then tell me there's nothing they can find wrong. I also would hate for them to replace a bunch of expensive parts and the problem would resurface. You know how dealers can be nowadays. Like all of us, I'm not made of money and live on a limited budget. I did call them once to ask if they had any ideas for me and all they would tell me was to just bring it in.

So if any of you knowledgeable folks out there might have any ideas for me as to what may be the problem, I would be forever grateful!

#2 nipper

nipper

    Semi Elite Master of the

  • Members
  • 17,631 posts
  • Long Island NY

Posted 15 June 2006 - 03:52 PM

Its electrical in nature. I know a i had a VW of the same vintage that would do this and it was the engine temp sensor for the ECU. Aparently these things can kill a subaru too (and often do). Thats where i would start.
i would replace it for the heck of it and see what happens.

nipper

#3 Gene

Gene

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Dunsmuir, Ca.

Posted 15 June 2006 - 05:22 PM

nipper,
Thanks for the reply. Can you explain to me in in somewhat detail what an engine temperature sensor for an ECU is and where I would locate it on my engine? I'll try it for sure. Thanks again.

Oh yeah, I wanted to say that the only trouble besides this problem I've ever had with the Justy was that it started seriously overheating about 5 years ago. I pulled the radiator and had it pressure tested and looked at and it was fine. After reinstalling the radiator, I then idled the car until it started getting hot and noticed that the radiator fan was not coming on. I ran a wire from the battery to the fan and the fan came on and the car cooled down. I then replaced the radiator fan controller switch that screwed into the manifold and problem solved.

I don't know if this has anything to do with the temp sensor for the ECU but MAYBE!

#4 nipper

nipper

    Semi Elite Master of the

  • Members
  • 17,631 posts
  • Long Island NY

Posted 15 June 2006 - 05:51 PM

nipper,
Thanks for the reply. Can you explain to me in in somewhat detail what an engine temperature sensor for an ECU is and where I would locate it on my engine? I'll try it for sure. Thanks again.





try here
http://subarujusty.p...0.com/index.cgi

before we hunt around a temp unit, is this FI or carbed?

nipper

#5 Gene

Gene

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Dunsmuir, Ca.

Posted 15 June 2006 - 06:25 PM

Hi nipper,
The 1988 Justy has a carb but it is electronically controlled. Your solution regarding the engine temp sensor seemed sound to me. I called the nearest Subaru dealer that I said was 2 hours away and they had one in stock. I went ahead and ordered it and they are going to mail it to me. It was $65.00. I'm so tired of a car that runs perfect but sometimes won't run at all that I'll try anything! I hope this solves the problem but if not, I want to thank you for trying to help me.

#6 nipper

nipper

    Semi Elite Master of the

  • Members
  • 17,631 posts
  • Long Island NY

Posted 15 June 2006 - 06:48 PM

Hi nipper,
The 1988 Justy has a carb but it is electronically controlled. Your solution regarding the engine temp sensor seemed sound to me. I called the nearest Subaru dealer that I said was 2 hours away and they had one in stock. I went ahead and ordered it and they are going to mail it to me. It was $65.00. I'm so tired of a car that runs perfect but sometimes won't run at all that I'll try anything! I hope this solves the problem but if not, I want to thank you for trying to help me.



dont hurt me, i was going to say the fuel pump relay after i realized that there are both carberated and FI justys. I dont think carberated justies had a feed back loop with the ecu, im not sure (need a manual).
When it happens wil the car immediatly restart?

nipper

#7 Gene

Gene

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Dunsmuir, Ca.

Posted 15 June 2006 - 07:00 PM

nipper,
Please don't hurt me! Like I stated above, sometimes it will take 30 seconds to restart and sometimes up to several minutes. What would a fuel pump relay cost?

#8 nipper

nipper

    Semi Elite Master of the

  • Members
  • 17,631 posts
  • Long Island NY

Posted 15 June 2006 - 07:07 PM

nipper,
Please don't hurt me! Like I stated above, sometimes it will take 30 seconds to restart and sometimes up to several minutes.


this is a very simple car. There a couple of things that can kill the fuel. A bad fuel pump relay, or a bad fuel shut off solenoid.

Now is a good time to learn about cars. FOund this on ebay http://cgi.ebay.com/...sspagenameZWDVW

you may want to get one.

I have a few tests you can do but it requires a second person. next time it happens, remove the air cleaner and find the accelerator cable. Pull the cable or push and watch the carb. If there is a stream of fuel its not a fuel problem. If there isnt its an ignition problem.

nipper

#9 Quidam

Quidam

    1000+ Super USER!

  • Members
  • 1,522 posts
  • USA

Posted 15 June 2006 - 10:44 PM

Hi,

Don't know if this will help, here it is. I had a '89 Justy did about the same thing, carb car. It was the ignition module in the distributor and was relativly inexpensive and easy to change.

Doug

I have a 1988 5 speed, 4WD Justy that I bought new. It has a little over 100,000 miles on it. It's in great shape and I've taken meticulous care of it, changing oil and filter every 3,000 miles and other regular service. It still runs like new WHEN IT WILL RUN!:(

It may run for 100 miles or 1 mile and then suddenly, it'll just die. You never know when it will do it. It doesn't seem to be an electrical problem because when it quits, the electrics are still on. There's no warning before it dies, it just suddenly goes dead! It can happen at 70 mph or 5 mph. Whether it's cold or when it's hot. It runs strong with no missing, idles fine and no hesitation. It'll just suddenly die and you never know when.:confused: It'll start back up after it dies but it may take 30 seconds or 5 minutes to restart. Of course after it starts, you never know when it will quit again.

I've changed the coil, plugs, plug wires, rotor, distributor cap, fuel filter, everything I can think of. The valves are properly adjusted, (I do them myself), and everything seems in order. I do sometimes hear a "click" under the dash somewhere like a relay opening or closing just before it dies.

I live very rural and there isn't any decent mechanics around here. Awhile back I did take it to a guy who was supposed to be good and he had it for 2 weeks and couldn't get it to die. It ran perfect for him. I know this is one of the worst problems as it's hard to diagnose a problem if it only happens once in awhile.

The closest Subaru dealer is about 2 hours away from me and I don't know if they're any good or not. I would hate to take it there and at $70.00-$80.00 an hour have them spend hours on it and then tell me there's nothing they can find wrong. I also would hate for them to replace a bunch of expensive parts and the problem would resurface. You know how dealers can be nowadays. Like all of us, I'm not made of money and live on a limited budget. I did call them once to ask if they had any ideas for me and all they would tell me was to just bring it in.

So if any of you knowledgeable folks out there might have any ideas for me as to what may be the problem, I would be forever grateful!



#10 nipper

nipper

    Semi Elite Master of the

  • Members
  • 17,631 posts
  • Long Island NY

Posted 15 June 2006 - 10:49 PM

Hi,

Don't know if this will help, here it is. I had a '89 Justy did about the same thing, carb car. It was the ignition module in the distributor and was relativly inexpensive and easy to change.

Doug


that was going to be a guess, but it seemd like the variation on how often it happened seemed too far apart. I had it go in my GL and it drove me up the wall but it would happen withing a few blocks to a mile, would stutter, miss cough.

nipper

#11 thepenguin

thepenguin

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 35 posts
  • where at again

Posted 15 June 2006 - 10:55 PM

the first thing I would do is the good old shake test take the wiring and shake it and if it cuts off start tracing out what ever you have in your hand if nothing of the sort works look at the connectors and make sure that they are not bent and making poor connectors after that then instead of throwing parts at it start testing things seening if you have signal going to them and back from them. but start with the simple, go from that clicking under the dash. if nothing else works check to make sure you fuse pannel isn't comming apart ran into that with my blazer

#12 Gene

Gene

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Dunsmuir, Ca.

Posted 16 June 2006 - 07:16 PM

Thanks much for all the replies. I was told awhile back that it could be the ignition module but like nipper said, why would it run 100 miles one time with no problems and the next time die in a mile or two?

I've tried the shake the wires thing penguin and I've checked every connector that I could find.

nipper, I guess it is a simple car and I do have the original 1988 Subaru shop manual. I've tried all the tests it showed to do if the car dies. It's a fairly technical manual though. Believe me, compared to my old 1978 Subaru wagon it isn't simple. I guess I'm just a shade tree mechanic but I could fix darn near anything in the old '78 being that it was just a water cooled VW engine. This is also one of those frustrating problems as it only happens when it wants to.:mad:

Also nipper, do you still think the engine temp sensor for the ECU could be the problem? I have one coming and it's too late to stop it as the Subaru dealer that's a couple hours away shipped it to me yesterday? I'll try the fuel test. Thanks.

#13 nipper

nipper

    Semi Elite Master of the

  • Members
  • 17,631 posts
  • Long Island NY

Posted 16 June 2006 - 07:43 PM

Thanks much for all the replies. I was told awhile back that it could be the ignition module but like nipper said, why would it run 100 miles one time with no problems and the next time die in a mile or two?

I've tried the shake the wires thing penguin and I've checked every connector that I could find.

nipper, I guess it is a simple car and I do have the original 1988 Subaru shop manual. I've tried all the tests it showed to do if the car dies. It's a fairly technical manual though. Believe me, compared to my old 1978 Subaru wagon it isn't simple. I guess I'm just a shade tree mechanic but I could fix darn near anything in the old '78 being that it was just a water cooled VW engine. This is also one of those frustrating problems as it only happens when it wants to.:mad:



Also nipper, do you still think the engine temp sensor for the ECU could be the problem? I have one coming and it's too late to stop it as the Subaru dealer that's a couple hours away shipped it to me yesterday? I'll try the fuel test. Thanks.


Do you mean the factory service manual? If your not a technician it can swamp you, you may be better off with a lesser manual to translate.

i can go either way without seeing the way the car dies, does it cut out oor does it putter out?

nipper

#14 Quidam

Quidam

    1000+ Super USER!

  • Members
  • 1,522 posts
  • USA

Posted 16 June 2006 - 10:44 PM

Hey,

That '89 did the same thing. Ran great, stop, etc. Just a thought anyway. Test it.

Doug

Thanks much for all the replies. I was told awhile back that it could be the ignition module but like nipper said, why would it run 100 miles one time with no problems and the next time die in a mile or two?

I've tried the shake the wires thing penguin and I've checked every connector that I could find.

nipper, I guess it is a simple car and I do have the original 1988 Subaru shop manual. I've tried all the tests it showed to do if the car dies. It's a fairly technical manual though. Believe me, compared to my old 1978 Subaru wagon it isn't simple. I guess I'm just a shade tree mechanic but I could fix darn near anything in the old '78 being that it was just a water cooled VW engine. This is also one of those frustrating problems as it only happens when it wants to.:mad:

Also nipper, do you still think the engine temp sensor for the ECU could be the problem? I have one coming and it's too late to stop it as the Subaru dealer that's a couple hours away shipped it to me yesterday? I'll try the fuel test. Thanks.



#15 Gene

Gene

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Dunsmuir, Ca.

Posted 16 June 2006 - 11:20 PM

Yes, it's the factory service manual.

The car just instantly dies. No sputtering, no cutting out, no warning, nothing. It'll be running along just fine and bam! It stops dead in it's tracks. So you don't think the engine temp sensor for the ECU will help?

Quidam,
I'll try anything at this point. Thanks.

#16 nipper

nipper

    Semi Elite Master of the

  • Members
  • 17,631 posts
  • Long Island NY

Posted 16 June 2006 - 11:25 PM

Yes, it's the factory service manual.

The car just instantly dies. No sputtering, no cutting out, no warning, nothing. It'll be running along just fine and bam! It stops dead in it's tracks. So you don't think the engine temp sensor for the ECU will help?

Quidam,
I'll try anything at this point. Thanks.


its the ignitor or the temp sensor. you have the manual, look up the trouble shooting for the fuel system.

nipper

#17 Gene

Gene

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Dunsmuir, Ca.

Posted 17 June 2006 - 01:11 PM

Thanks much. The temp sensor is coming, so I'll try that first. If that doesn't work, I'll try the ignition module. If that doesn't work, I'll drive it off a cliff!:mad:

#18 RONAN

RONAN

    USMB is life!

  • Members
  • 235 posts
  • Cincinnati

Posted 17 June 2006 - 03:09 PM

Ok, go ahead and try the sensor 1st. Now here are some of my problems similar to yours. I resurrected one from the crusher. Until I changed out the (est.) 25ft of vacuum hose going to every component under the hood, mine was giving me similar fits to your ailments. Granted, you mentioned that the car is running and idling fine, there still might be an intermitted leak that occurs. Next, check that the plug wires are not shorting out on the hot air pickup pipe at the front of the engine. Then get a ohm meter and check the carb sensor. Can`t remember off the top of my head what resistance it should show but it seems like 42ohms is good, but make sure by checking your manual. I had one of these fail. Does it happen after you get in a situation of flooring the gas? I have had the linkage to the choke plate sticking in a overtraveled position and eventually shutting me down or causing a horrendous miss. When you start the car and drive, there is a sensor on the firewall that should make a pronounced click after about a mile. This is to release the choke, if this is failing it could cause your problem. Check the fuel tank return lines and make sure they are not clogged. Change out the fuel filter. Verify that your check engine light is working. Pull one of the vacuum lines from one of the sensors under the hood. You can also see if there is a code stored on the ecu for a clue to your mystery. Just some of my frustrations to pass along. Good luck in your hunt...Ronan:banghead:

#19 nipper

nipper

    Semi Elite Master of the

  • Members
  • 17,631 posts
  • Long Island NY

Posted 17 June 2006 - 05:11 PM

Thanks much. The temp sensor is coming, so I'll try that first. If that doesn't work, I'll try the ignition module. If that doesn't work, I'll drive it off a cliff!:mad:


nononono drive it into my driveway :)

nipper

#20 Turbo Brat

Turbo Brat

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts
  • B.C. Canada

Posted 17 June 2006 - 05:28 PM

Try the plug to the dist. the wires break all the time.
Lots of people use a boat trailer type plug in.

#21 Gene

Gene

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Dunsmuir, Ca.

Posted 17 June 2006 - 07:47 PM

RONAN,
That's a good thought. I may change out as much vacuum hose as I can get to. I know that a leaking vacuum hose can play havoc to an engine. The plug wires don't seem to be coming near the hot air pickup pipe and they are new and I criss-crossed them when I installed them to prevent any shorting. I can't remember this happening after flooring it but I can tell you, it will die whether you're flooring it or going a steady 20, 40, or 70 mph. It's an equal opportunity problem.:rolleyes: It'll die at any speed, in any gear, downshifting, upshifting, cold, warm, going uphill, downhill, anything you can think of. When it dies, there's no missing or cutting out or any warning, it just flat stops. It'll idle and run perfect, (I swear this car runs strong from idle to 90 mph!), for 1 mile or 100 miles but you never know when it will die. It's a damn bafflling problem!

I did change the fuel filter and I do hear that click after 1 or 2 miles after taking off when cold. I always wondered what that was! Like I said though, sometimes I hear it just before it quits. Could it be a clue?:confused:

Turbo Brat,
Thanks but I did check that and I replaced the coil and the wire and plug to the coil. I made sure it was getting good contact.

I really appreciate all your help guys and believe me, I've taken good care of this car since I bought it new in 1988. Other than the initial servicing, I've done all my own service including valve adjustments. I'm not a mechanic but I know a little about cars.

I know nipper has told me to get to know cars and that these Justy's are simple. Well, that may be but this problem isn't simple! We all learn by problems that arise and besides, my wife is itching for me to get rid of this car because I can't solve this problem. I'm bound and determined to solve this problem because I love this little car. Like I said, I live very rural and this little car has taken me through many, many white out snowstorms, through icy roads and you name the conditions. I'm DETERMINED to find out what the solution is to this problem!

I'm not rich and I can't spend a ton of money on this but I PROMISE, I'll continue on and if one of you guys had the solution to this problem, I'll send that guy a bottle of his favorite whiskey or rum or whatever or a dinner for two! I mean it! :clap:

#22 oronocova

oronocova

    New User

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 17 posts
  • Gate City

Posted 19 June 2006 - 07:00 PM

Just wanted to add this in light of what happened to me today, and what happened to my uncle in the past. He had a late 80's wagon with a similar problem. That being: it would drive fine most of the time but just die suddenly dead as a door nail. He went through everything electrical like you, then it turned out to be a bad ground from the negative terminal to his transaxle (or whereever yours may be on the block/transaxle.) I called him today and got this story when my justy wouldn't start after I was in a meeting and came out to start it. It clicked then nothing. I went through the fuses, relays, tried jumping it, everything for about 45 minutes. Then finally just cleaned the terminals on the battery and connectors and all was fine. They weren't corroded and were tight, but that was what my problem was. Might not help, but it's worth a try. Oh, and in my uncle's case he ended up running another ground wire and all his issues went away. Me and him both started jumping to more complex conclusions, when it was just something simple. HTH :)

#23 bushbasher

bushbasher

    exhaust fume addict

  • Members
  • 1,707 posts
  • Sooke B.C. Canada

Posted 20 June 2006 - 12:37 AM

Heres my opinion on this:

problems like this are almost always caused by a bad electrical connection somewhere, whether it is inside a piece of electronics or a corroded/broken connector or wire. Have a spark plug socket ready in your car, and next time it dies, quickly pull a plug and check for spark. You will need somebody to turn the car over though, though I guess you could leave the ignition on, and jump the starter manually from the engine bay. Just make sure its in neutral :) I think you can buy those little remote trigger things that hook up to starter motor.

I think this has 100% to do with the ignition system.

Its most likely not fuel, because the carb has a float bowl, which would cause the car to stumble before it dies completely if say the fuel pump was intermittant and the float ran out of fuel. Its not the computer because it is still possible to keep the car running without the computer connected, I've tried it. Its not a vacuum problem because even a huge vacuum leak will still allow a carbed car to run, it will just run badly.

IF YOU GET NO SPARK WHEN IT DIES:

Check the wires going to the hall sensor in the distributor. the wires typically fatigue and break. Wiggle them around/pull on them while its running, it might be the problem.

A bad ground wire could be the problem, but its easy to test. When its not running, get someone to turn it over, and hold a piece of wire from the - terminal of the battery to a cleaned and conducting part of the engine block. If it suddenly runs, theres your problem.

Ignition module could be the case, obviously the only way to test it is to replace it and see.

Theres also a relay I think that puts power to the ignition module. When it dies, use a multi-meter to check that 12v is getting to the ignition module. You say you have the FSM, the pinout should be in there, otherwise you will have to do some detective work.

Edit: Since signatures no longer show, I also have an 88 justy, and have gone through similiar hoops in trying to figure out why my car wouldnt work right. Turned out the carb computer had died, and at nearly the same time the screw holding the disty rotor had fallen out and slightly bent the hall sensor. :lol:

#24 Gene

Gene

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Dunsmuir, Ca.

Posted 29 June 2006 - 06:28 PM

bush,
Thanks for the tips.

Like all things too common nowadays, the dealer sent me the wrong part! I ordered a engine temp sensor for the ECU and they sent me an electric fan control sensor!:mad:

With all due respect to nipper, I don't think this problem is the ETS for the ECU anyway. I'm going to try what Quidam suggested and try the ignition module. That sounds like a good place to start. If only I can get the dealer to send the right part!:eek:

#25 Gene

Gene

    USMB Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Dunsmuir, Ca.

Posted 29 June 2006 - 07:20 PM

Can one of you please tell me exactly where to find the distributor ignition module? I'm sending back the radiator auto fan switch that the dealer sent in error and they're sending out the distributor ignition module. I checked the FSM and I can't find seem to find it's location. Thanks.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users