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Stalled at speed, won't restart


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#1 mrCharlie

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 10:46 AM

99 Legacy GT 2.5 5mt, 199,200. Worked fine on my 50-mile commute yesterday morning in the cold and snow, worked fine at lunch. Started normally in the evening, was okay for the first mile of start/stop on city streets. When I turned on to the highway entrance ramp, I heard some noise that sounded a bit like the brake rubbing or the tire hitting the snow in the wheel well. The car seemed to accelerate on to the highway without any problems, but as soon as I got up to speed (on an uphill) I very rapidly lost power, pulled to the side of the road, and the engine stopped. It cranked, though it seemed like it was slow after catching, but wouldn't restart. I rolled back to level ground (and off the highway), tried it several more times, but couldn't get the car to start. I keep a code scanner in my trunk, but it indicated nothing other than the usual P0420 (catalyst efficiency).

I checked over the car, and nothing seemed out of place. Fluids were all okay, electrical accessories seemed to work as normal. I called AAA and had the car towed 50 miles to my usual indie Subie mechanic, which is near my house. This all happened after hours, and I still haven't been able to get in touch with the mechanic. I am kind of afraid they might still be closed for the holidays, which is definitely going to complicate everything for me. (Mechanic does okay work, prices are great, but they haven't proven themselves especially reliable for me).

Anyway, since I'm stuck waiting until I hear from the mechanic, I'd like to see if anyone on here has any ideas of what could be going on with the car. All that I can think of is water in the gas. It only got up to around 20 yesterday, and I had just under 1/4 tank of gas. It's supposed to get above freezing tomorrow, so I think I'll stop by and give it a try tomorrow and see what happens. If it does work, is there any way to be sure that was the problem? What can I do to fix it? Other ideas from those who are smarter than me?

Recent events with the car include an oil change two days ago (level looked okay, didn't notice low pressure light). I've also noticed the engine seems to be getting kind of loud (assorted groans and ticks, never consistently. Lots of noise in the morning), but that might have been pre oil change (old had about 9000 miles on it). Engine does use oil, top up every second or third fill up (have been experimenting with heavier synthetics, since I have a very long commute and don't want to change it every month- it also used dino when I used it). If it helps, my full maintenance log at http://spreadsheets....K-HqjMaIA&gid=0

Thanks!

#2 porcupine73

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 11:08 AM

Timing belt may have snapped.

#3 EVOthis

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 11:09 AM

i had pretty much the same exact problem with my 96' 2.2 legacy with 185,000 on it and i was cruising up a hill and lost all power (no MIL and would crank its rump roast off)....for me i found out my timing belt slipped....thank god that it is not an interference engine. In all hopes it will be an inexpensive problem...Good Luck!:)

#4 Skip

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 11:10 AM

Mr. Charlie, sir,

Please for the sake of our older readers (like me)

When typing long passages
please use the "enter" key more often.

No offense to you, but some of us old farts have
a tuff time reading even with the large font selected.

As far as you problem, very nice job on the spread sheet!!!

We all should use a similar system. Most excellent, sir.

I did not see the idler pulleys mentioned when the timing belt was done.

Your H20 in the gas theory may have merit also.

Funny noises can cause calamity.

#5 nipper

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 11:30 AM

I'm going with a timing belt idler or tensioner had failed. This may be major engine damage if the valves hit the pistons. If this si the case, have them all replaced, and replace the water pump while you are at it.

good luck.

#6 WAWalker

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 02:57 PM

Timing belt was replaced ~50k miles ago..............if water pump tensioner and idlers were not replaced then or anytime over the ~200k mile life of the car, there is a good possibility of a failure in that area.

The 2.5 DOHC engine is an interferance engine. If the timing belt broke or jumped time most likely valves are bent.

I have seen quite a few alternators go bad on Subarus but never turn the battery light on. So you can drive untill the battery goes dead without knowing the alternator is not charging. This happened to me on my personal car, alternator did make noise before the car died. So this is another possibility.

Worse case senario..................a 200k mile engine, infrequent oil changes, could = engine is shot.

Pull outer timing belt covers, check alignment of cam sprockets. At this point if there is idler, water pump or tensioner failure you should be able to tell.......................If all is good.

Check the battery. See if the bearings in the alternator are seized up. If car cranks OK, but will not start with a fresh or fully charged battery................

Check spark and fuel.

I listed checking timing belt first to avoid cranking the engine anymore in the case that maybe the timing belt jumped but valve damage has not occured.

#7 mrCharlie

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 03:43 PM

Thanks for the help and advice. I have no way to know if the idlers and water pump were replaced with the timing belt. The car definitely seems to have suffered at the hands of previous owners, so it wouldn't surprise me if they weren't done correctly, or if it wasn't really done at all.

I'm going to wait until the mechanic takes a look at the car before I really start to worry, but it seems like the feedback on here is pretty unanimous. I've had this weird feeling the last few weeks my car might be on its way out. Maybe with a bit of luck it will turn out to be something stupid like water in the gas. I'll keep this thread updated on what I find out, I know it really helps for people troubleshooting.

The next issue is...if it is the timing belt, I have to decide if it's worth fixing. It's got a ton of miles on it, which wasn't a problem when I bought it. I only drove 5 miles to work, and had lots of time in the evenings to fix anything that went wrong. Now I drive 50 miles to work, and don't have the time to fix anything myself.

I'm also getting rust in a few places, notably on the fender behind the filler tube, bottom of the driver door, and along the top of the windshield. I'm only averaging 22-24 MPG on the highway lately, and it goes through a lot of oil. So I don't see much of a future with the car, and I can't really see that I would get back the cost of fixing the engine if I fixed it and sold it. What do you guys think?

#8 WAWalker

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 04:43 PM

In my experiance it is hard to sell a car with rust and 200k + on the clock.

As far as fixing it and keeping it................would need more info to comment.

#9 Gloyale

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 08:43 PM

I would think that a 99 2.5 GT would be worth fixing. Out here in Oregon it would be unheard of to scrap a car like that for a timing belt. It would also be unheard of for it to have rust. But still, the rust can't be that bad. And besides, cars are consumable, you will never get you're money BACK, you can only expect to get you're moneys WORTH. I say you should fix it.

#10 tcspeer

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 09:19 PM

I think fuel pump, you did say it restarted once is that correct?

#11 mrCharlie

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 12:49 PM

Thanks for the help and advice everyone!

No, I haven't been able to restart it at all since it initially stopped. Not really even a hint of restarting, just cranking. I'll try it again this evening.

As for the fix or replace (if it was the timing belt), I definately have some mixed feelings.

The car drove fairly well, but was starting to feel like it needs struts (getting bouncy) and the steering still doesn't feel right, like the JY steering rack I had installed isn't all that great. Some other issues too, like one of the connections on the radiator being cracked and leaky, probably needs an O2 sensor, and a bent rim that makes the steering wheel vibrate at speed. And the before-mentioned rust, which seems like it will need some attention before it gets out of hand. Plus some annoying but livable things, like a pitted windshield and headlights, and a drivers window that doesn't seal well.

Obviously there are a ton of miles on everything, which makes me worry that I could install a rebuild engine only to have the transmission fail, or need a clutch, or whatever else I'm not thinking of.

There is also a lot right with the car, like new and good tires, interior comfortable and in nice shape, AWD system that seems solid. It's also still winter and having AWD would be nice for a few more months.

I really like the car, but I'm guessing replacing the engine will be kind of pricey, and getting other issues sorted out will be pretty expensive as well. I do have a lot into the car already, and would hate to not get (as mentioned) as much as I can out of what I've already put in. And a rebuilt engine would certainly take care of the oil consumption, and might help with the MPG.

:confused:

This will, of course, really only matter when I have a diagnosis from the mechanic of what actually went wrong.

#12 mrCharlie

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Posted 08 January 2008 - 09:38 AM

You guys were correct. The timing belt failed. I was glad to have been prepared for the news once I heard from the mechanic, it would have come as quite the shock otherwise.

I'm not sure exactly what failed with it (I talked to the mechanic briefly.) The belt was supposedly replaced about 50k ago by the person I bought it from. I would guess the lesson to be learned here is not to trust that the previous owner did what they said without a receipt, or at least not to trust that they did the work correctly. He could have said the belt was done, and not have been dishonest by not replacing the pulleys, water pump, etc.

It looks like the next step, as I determined by looking through the board and suggested by the mechanic, is to install a 2.2 in the car. The old engine used oil, so I don't think it's worth bothering with. The 2.2 should also (from what I can determine) get better gas mileage, which addresses one of the biggest reasons I was considering selling the car. As long as everything is good with the new engine, I'll look into fixing the rust in a few months so I can get a few more years out of the car.

I should be getting an estimate today from the mechanic, who also suggests replacing the clutch while we have the engine out. He is looking for a good junkyard engine for it. Do you guys agree that is probably better than going for a rebuilt? What is a reasonable amount for all of this to cost?

Thanks again!

#13 johnceggleston

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Posted 09 January 2008 - 04:01 PM

You guys were correct. The timing belt failed. I was glad to have been prepared for the news once I heard from the mechanic, it would have come as quite the shock otherwise.

I'm not sure exactly what failed with it (I talked to the mechanic briefly.) The belt was supposedly replaced about 50k ago by the person I bought it from. I would guess the lesson to be learned here is not to trust that the previous owner did what they said without a receipt, or at least not to trust that they did the work correctly. He could have said the belt was done, and not have been dishonest by not replacing the pulleys, water pump, etc.

It looks like the next step, as I determined by looking through the board and suggested by the mechanic, is to install a 2.2 in the car. The old engine used oil, so I don't think it's worth bothering with. The 2.2 should also (from what I can determine) get better gas mileage, which addresses one of the biggest reasons I was considering selling the car. As long as everything is good with the new engine, I'll look into fixing the rust in a few months so I can get a few more years out of the car.

I should be getting an estimate today from the mechanic, who also suggests replacing the clutch while we have the engine out. He is looking for a good junkyard engine for it. Do you guys agree that is probably better than going for a rebuilt? What is a reasonable amount for all of this to cost?

Thanks again!



i don't recall the details of your car, # of miles etc., but if you put in a 2.2L, there are a couple of things you should do and clutch makes sense unless you know how old it is.

the seperator plate on the back side, clutch side, of the block is another. the plastic ones leak after a while, and the part is pretty cheap. oil seals are another, crank, oil pump, and both cam shaft seals.

if you want a 100k trouble free engine, do all the seals, pulleys, pumps and t-belt when you install the engine.

if the 2.2L engine is a 97 or later, you should replace the timing belt and noisey idler pulleys and water pump, again, unless you know how many miles are on them.

if the replacement engine is 95 or 96, you can wait on the pump, belt and pulleys. engines from these years are non-interferrence and a belt or pulley failure will not hurt the engine, head or valves, it will just leave you stranded. (call a tow truck.) doing it before you install the engine may get you a labor bargain, but spending the money later might suit you better right now.

try looking here for used engines, www.car-part.com; sort your search by distance. a 500$ engine nearby is the same cost as a 350$ engine that cost 150$ to ship.

good luck.

#14 mrCharlie

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 09:00 PM

Well, here's what killed my engine:

Posted Image

That idler pulley also explains why things were getting so loud up front.

I ended up having the mechanic put a 108k 95 2.2 in the car. They found the engine, checked it over thoroughly, completely resealed it and did a full tuneup plus timing belt. They also put a clutch in while they had the engine out (which it needed), and radiator, which it also needed. It also seems like he fixed a few other little things that didn't make it on the bill, which I always appreciate.

Total bill came to $2900, with $700 of that being labor. Expensive, but seems reasonable for everything. And now I have a great, solid car that should last at least another 100k.

So far, the 2.2 feels great. It doesn't feel like I lost much power, but i think having a nice new clutch helps that (other wouldn't always grab right away). The only time I notice less power is on the highway, where it seems like I have to shift it a little more. Not a big deal though. I'll be driving to Chicago next week, so I hope to get a good idea of the gas mileage improvement then. I'll update when I do.

#15 tcspeer

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 09:18 PM

If I remember correct, the 95 will have a little less horse power then your old 99. The reason being on the 97 and newer interference engine the pistons was coned up in the center for the extra power, this is why the pistons can hit the valves when something goes wrong.

I would rather have less horsepower and the non interference engine. The spocket pully that got your engine is the same one that got mine a few years back.

#16 WAWalker

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 10:43 AM

Glad to hear you have your car back on the road.

#17 Gloyale

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 01:37 PM

I'm not sure exactly what failed with it (I talked to the mechanic briefly.) The belt was supposedly replaced about 50k ago by the person I bought it from. I would guess the lesson to be learned here is not to trust that the previous owner did what they said without a receipt, or at least not to trust that they did the work correctly.


Well belt intervals are 50-60k miles, so it WAS time to replace it.

I would have rebuilt the 2.5. If you did have any chance of getting "your're money out of it" it was BECAUsE it was a GT model. I say was because now you have Neutered it and relagated it to being a standard ole' legacy.

But it is you're car, if you are happy, I'm happy for you.

The only thing I don't get is $2100 for parts.

Used 2.2, gaskets, seals, belts, park plugs and wires, and a clutch huh? I can't get that to add up to $2100 unless the engine was $1500, which is WAAAAAY to much for a used 2.2, you could have got a CCR longblock 2.5 for close to that.

I think they just inflated parts cost to cover the extra labor. Cause $700 actually sounds low for for all that work.

#18 nipper

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 02:00 PM

Well belt intervals are 50-60k miles, so it WAS time to replace it.

I would have rebuilt the 2.5. If you did have any chance of getting "your're money out of it" it was BECAUsE it was a GT model. I say was because now you have Neutered it and relagated it to being a standard ole' legacy.

But it is you're car, if you are happy, I'm happy for you.

The only thing I don't get is $2100 for parts.

Used 2.2, gaskets, seals, belts, park plugs and wires, and a clutch huh? I can't get that to add up to $2100 unless the engine was $1500, which is WAAAAAY to much for a used 2.2, you could have got a CCR longblock 2.5 for close to that.

I think they just inflated parts cost to cover the extra labor. Cause $700 actually sounds low for for all that work.


Agreed, Its no longer a GT now.

1995 135 HP and 140 Ftlbs
1999 142 HP and 149 Ftlbs

You should pick up about 3 mpg.
Youll notice the differnce in the hills. When i Went form a 2.2L legacy to a 2.5L outback, it was like night and day climbing hills.

good luck

And remember NOW you have a 60K interval fro timing belts.


nipper

#19 WAWalker

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 02:50 PM

Well belt intervals are 50-60k miles, so it WAS time to replace it.


It WAS a GT = 2.5 DOHC = 105k mile timing belt replacement interval.


The only thing I don't get is $2100 for parts.

Used 2.2, gaskets, seals, belts, park plugs and wires, and a clutch huh? I can't get that to add up to $2100


Full tune-up should = air and fuel filter also.
He said that the radiator was replaced.

And buy the way $2900 total bill - $700 labor doesn't = $2100 in parts:)

Profitable shops do NOT give parts away @ cost. Parts sales is a retail business.
Just with the parts I see listed, I can easily come up with well over $500, not including the engine.

$700 Labor may be a little low. Mark up on the 100k + mileage engine my have been a little high. So it is a wash.

$2900 IMO is right is the ball park, when you are paying a repair shop to do the work.

Enjoy your car mrCharlie:burnout:

#20 Gloyale

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 10:35 PM

It WAS a GT = 2.5 DOHC = 105k mile timing belt replacement interval.


I wouldn't ever run any timing belt beyond 60k miles, espescially on an interference engine.

And buy the way $2900 total bill - $700 labor doesn't = $2100 in parts:)


Agreed, my bad math. But then $2200 in parts is even worse

Profitable shops do NOT give parts away @ cost. Parts sales is a retail business.


I know. I mark up my parts a bit for the cost of finding and getting them. But remember, We shops get wholesale, or at least discounted pricing from most suppliers. So really the customer shouldn't be paying much more for parts from me than they would from the autoparts store direct now should they?

Just with the parts I see listed, I can easily come up with well over $500, not including the engine.


Even if all the other stuff cost $800, that still leaves a $1400 , used engine.

A 2.2 shouldn't cost more than $600-$800.

But again, the labor seems low, so yes I agree it's close to a wash.

#21 johnceggleston

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 04:22 PM

because now you have Neutered it and relagated it to being a standard ole' legacy.


actually it's worse than a regular ole legacy, it has a 4.44 final drive (like the outback, not the 4.11 like the legacy) now coupled to the 2.2L engine and smaller GT tires like the legacy.

so it will be 'quicker' than a legacy, but the fuel economy will not be the same because of the final drive and tires. largewr tires would put it in the same power arena as an outback with a 2.2L engine . (of course larger tires require outback struts).

i'd be tempted to try a regular legacy TCU in it just to see. some one here is bound to have a spare you could borrow. if it helps, buy it , if not send it back.

off topic: want to make your outback drive like a GT, put on smaller tires and a GT TCU.




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