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Guest Message by DevFuse

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97 Subaru Outback Check Engine light

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13 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_2010Skier_*

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 12:27 AM

My 1997 Outback Wagon had just over 75,000 miles on it when the check engine light went on and wouldn't go off. I was driving about 70 miles per hour on a freeway in the middle of nowhere in 90 degree temps. I pulled off and checked fluid levels and all was fine as was engine temp. I turned off AC and restarted engine. I drove another 100 miles and vehicle seemed to run just fine at 60 - 65 mph. I recently had timing belt, water pump and a seal replaced. Earlier repairs were to brakes and way on back replacing the defective alternator. What could this check engine light issue be?


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Posted 19 July 2003 - 05:09 AM

Gas cap tight?


#3 Guest_hocrest_*

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 05:45 AM

There are places like Autozone that will read it for free...

#4 Guest_Commuter_*

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 10:23 AM

I have the same vehicle and I got my first CEL a few months ago. It was reading as EGR malfunction. In fact, nothing was wrong witht the EGR. There is a little pressure sensor (on automatic transmission cars anyway) that senses manifold vacuum and is an input to the transmission shifting algorythms. As a secondary function, it "looks" for a change in the vacuum readings when the EGR is triggered. This is why I got the EGR code. The only other sympton I had was that I had noticed that the transmission shifts were sometimes slow; a bit less crisp than usual. It was slight, but noticable. That had been going on for several weeks.

Your really need to have the code read. Otherwise, it's pure speculation. It would just be coincidence if it was the same problem as mine. My understanding is that you are (generally) ok to run the car if the light is solid. If it is flashing, it's a more serious problem and you should stop the car and not drive it further.


#5 Guest_2010Skier_*

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 11:48 AM

Thanks for the ideas - at least the "check engine" wasn't flashing. I have checked the gas cap and it was tight. The problem did begin right after I filled the gas tank on a very hot day, mid-way on a long drive. Unfortunately, parking the car overnight in cooler temperatures did not change anything. I am assuming that is normal on the 97 Outback Wagon (manual 5 speed transmission) for both the air bag light and the check engine light to come on for just a couple of seconds when one starts the car - mine has done this since I bought it new. Car runs smoothly and gas mileage was great even with the light on. Sounds like I'll have to go get the diagnostics run to solve the mystery.

#6 Guest_86 subaru_*

Guest_86 subaru_*
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Posted 20 July 2003 - 02:58 PM

we had a 97 outback wagon , the check came on , please make sure the gas cap is tight , about 6-7 clicks after you put it on

#7 Guest_2010Skier_*

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 06:30 PM

Took the vehicle to an independent repair place today and problem was diagnosed as bad ignition wire and misfire on #1 cylinder - might have been taken but popped $200 for replacement of ignition wires. This 97 OB wagon manual 5 speed transmission is beginning to cost me big bucks. It's like it hit 70,000 miles and just about 5 years and it is spending as much time at the mechanics as did my old Toyota Tercel that had 130,000 miles on it. Not sure I'd buy another Subaru.

#8 Guest_86 subaru_*

Guest_86 subaru_*
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Posted 21 July 2003 - 07:18 PM

it seems like the places you are going for repair seem alittle high


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Posted 22 July 2003 - 03:45 AM

I really don't think bad wires and a miss will cause a CEL to show. That light is associated with the emissions stuff. You may have a vapor can that needs changing or a hose/tube off somewhere.


#10 Guest_1 Lucky Texan_*

Guest_1 Lucky Texan_*
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Posted 22 July 2003 - 05:41 AM

My OBW flipped it's CEL again. A day or 2 after a fill up. I'm beginning to suspect that taking 12 or more gallons of gas outta a tank 12-15 feet underground (undoubtedly 68 degrees or so) and throwing it into a closed system at over 100degrees (normal here in Texas this season) is creating too much pressure due to expansion or something for these 'cold weather' beasts.

I know I 'clicked' the cap a dozen times or so. OK so I rounded up to the nearest 25 cents - never had a problem with my Ford doing that or more.

I'd be interested in knowing if this problem is more prevalent in the South and during summer months.

1 Lucky Texan

#11 Guest_Frag_*

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Posted 22 July 2003 - 11:08 AM

A miss in any cylinder can trigger a CEL. There are four different fault codes each one for a particular cylinder.
Apparently the ECU can spot a slight decelaration of the engine after a cylinder fires and interprets this as a miss.
I got one a few months ago on cyl no 2.

#12 Guest_hocrest_*

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Posted 22 July 2003 - 11:28 AM

The codes are;
301 = Cyl 1 misfire
302 = Cyl 2 misfire
303 = Cyl 3 misfire
304 = take a guess...:lol:

I used to have code 303 after I replaced the plugs until I then also changed the wires:)

#13 Guest_2010Skier_*

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Posted 22 July 2003 - 11:54 PM

Thanks for all the ideas. I did pop for the price of labor and parts for new wires at an idendependent repair shop here in Seattle. I think they are pricey but less than the dealer. I've checked Car Talk and may try one of their highly rated ones (alas, they are out in the burbs and inconvenient). CEL is off now but temps here in Seattle have dropped. I do wonder if the CEL sensors are just overly sensitive in hot weather as my engine was purring when I got the reading of a misfire on #1 cylinder. My next vehicle probably needs to be an all-wheel drive mini-van. Not many choices out there and none from Subaru. Any experience or ideas?

#14 Guest_CROSSTBOLT_*

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Posted 23 July 2003 - 01:21 AM

I yield to you guys on the possible causes of a CEL.


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