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Guest Message by DevFuse

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My 99OB stalled... PART TWO (advice needed badly)

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8 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_remarcable_*

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 10:44 PM

The car was driveable until I replaced the air filter today.

The car will not even get me down the block anymore.

The engine dies whenever RPMs go below 1000 or so and normal driving is difficult at best since with even throttle pressure the RPMs bounce up and down like a pogo stick.

The engine sounds sick and when it doesn't stall it idles at 1600 RPM instead of the usual 500RPM.

Oil is ok, coolant is ok, and I just replaced the air filter with a stock subaru filter from the dealer. After I replaced the filter I unplugged the negative battery cable for one hour then turned the car back on. I got a check engine light. First one ever.

Next I unplugged the negative battery cable again and re-checked all my work on the air filter. The air filter housing is secure and properly installed, the vacuum hose is connected and snug, and nothing is out of place. I waited several hours while I went to a movie then came home and plugged the battery cable back in and started the car.

A) Check Engine light still there
B) RPMs wildly fluctuating
C) white smoke pouring from exhaust which stops then starts apparently at random. After idling for 15 minutes the smoking stopped and I attempted a test drive which was scary.

Talk about unintended acceleration, I nearly put a new garage door in my garage door. When the engine doesn't downright die it tends to LUNGE the car forward then stall.

I have never seen my poor subaru act this way before and I had to push it about a half mile tonight in neutral since everytime I turn the lights on it dies. I guess taking a test drive at midnight is a bad idea.

I have checked the battery terminals (recently cleaned) the battery cables (also recently cleaned) and the alternator output which also looks ok and snug. The car has a half tank of new gas from the gas station I use 99% of the time.

I drove 100 miles today to the subaru dealer (for the air filter) without incident and the car did not stall or act up at all. I'm thinking it may be because I had the lights off during the day.

Tomorrow I am replacing the battery, unless anyone has some other suggestions.

For the Too Long; Didn't Read crew:

1) Engine dies, lights and electronics stay on fine. I have checked the fuses, air filter, and all fluids. Nothing seems amiss to my untrained eye in the engine bay.

2) Before engine dies RPMs fluctuate; they bounce up and down. "Bounce" is the term that best describes what the gauge does while driving or parked. Lots of white smoke from the tailpipe which stopped after awhile when I let it idle for 15 minutes. It smelled like it was running REALLY rich, which sometimes happens after an ECU reset and air filter change. The white smoke is new, so is the CE light.

3) Car idles high but doesn't stall when the lights and electronics are off. Put it in gear, hit the brakes, or turn on the lights and the engine stalls.

1999 Legacy Outback 4EAT
52k miles
2nd fuel filter
Just had the plugs replaced along with a pretty thorough service about a month or so ago. I've put 1000 miles on the car since the service with no problems.

Thanks for any help you folks can give me. I had to come inside and type this otherwise I am quite sure I would need some new body panels along with whatever else is going to need replacing.

I hate it when things don't work.

#2 Guest_Cougar4_*

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 11:30 PM

It sounds like a vacuum problem to me. I would look for a disconnected line somewhere.

Try replacing the PCV valve if the smoke is burning oil fumes. It may be leaking.


#3 Guest_remarcable_*

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 11:42 PM

I thought it was vacuum too... I've talked enough people through air filter/intake replacement work on these message boards to recognize the symptoms, ESPECIALLY after they occur right after work done near vacuum lines.

I rechecked my work twice, once when I was doing it and then a second time when I got the first CE light. The single vacuum line that goes to the intake is snug and I can't feel any air escaping from either end. The PCV valve was replaced with the other service done last month.

I'll take the intake apart again and triple check it. The only thing I did was I cleaned a bunch of sand and oil out of the filter housing when I removed the used amsoil filter. All of the intake tract behind the filter and MAF is squeaky clean without even a hint of dust.

I wonder if the filter box could have a crack in it or seal issue that was covered up with gunk? It would be weird... but I'll check that too before I replace the battery. The battery is 4 years old so I've decided to replace it anyway for peace of mind and to eliminate a potential culprit here.

#4 Guest_Cougar4_*

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 03:37 AM

The PCV valve may be new but I would still try a replacement to see if that will fix the smoke issue. I've seen a new one fail just like you discribe. Your whole problem may clear up with a new valve possibly.


#5 Guest_remarcable_*

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 04:17 AM

Thanks I will replace the PCV valve with the battery in several hours when stores open. It's a cheap part.

#6 Guest_theotherskip_*

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 09:16 AM

quadruple check that all the hoses are attached to the air intake assembly. there are a couple that attach to the bottom. one is in the middle of the pipe between the filter and air intake chamber, and one is on the bottom rear of the air intake chamber (at least on a 97, by memory - mine is in pieces...)

i had one time where i was helping a friend fix her vanagon(e). it was running rough, so we tried doing a tune up with new plugs and wires. after only changing the plugs, it would not idle, and would surge. after looking at the engine for over 2 hours wondering what just changing the plugs could possibly do, we found a hose that had accidentily disconnected from the intake manifold...

#7 Guest_tcspeer_*

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 10:05 AM

I agree with the otherskip, Look and see if that big line is loose it looks more like a water hose than vacuum hose, it's the one that is between the intake and air filter. I left mine off when I changed the temp. sending unit, and it caused problems kinda like you are talking about.

#8 Guest_remarcable_*

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 11:52 AM

Sorry guys that big vacuum line is the first thing I checked, since it was the only line I disconnected when replacing the air filter in the box by the fender.

I checked the PCV valve as they suggest in the Haynes manual, and it operates normally with some vacuum when throttle is applied and a sturdy sounding CLICK when I remove my finger.

THere is a bit of oil on the PCV valve, just enough to darken my finger but not enough to see.

I actually can't afford a new battery right now (oops) so I'm borrowing a trickle charger.

THe engine tries to stall whenever the car is put into gear, especially reverse or drive. Heh.

#9 Guest_remarcable_*

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 02:25 PM

I've tried new PCV, new battery, new air filter, new vacuum line...

I've run out of parts to replace that I can find locally. I had to go to four autozone-type places to find a PCV valve.

On Monday I'm going to have it towed to the shop that recently did work on it. They also operate a towing company, so maybe they'll give me a discount to tow it to their own shop.

I just don't have the time, patience, or experience to go any more in-depth than what I've done so far by myself... so off to the mechanic it goes to put me further in debt.

Thanks for all the advice.

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