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Bad experience, need help


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28 replies to this topic

#1 bastomatic

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 11:56 AM

So i picked up the 89 GL Wagon yesterday and it died on the way home.

Had it towed to a mechanic to check it out, and that adds up to about $1000 worth of parts and labor. He quotes me:

Distributor assembly at $425 for part
Fuel pressure regulator at $225 for part
plus adjust the timing since the distributor has thrown that off.

My options are:

fix it there
tow it to my local mechanic
tow it home and fix it at home.

Opinions? I'm upset because we just bought the car, which was represented as not having any major problems, and here we are. Heck, these fixes may not even be the end of it - I know it needs at the least a front CV boot and clutch soon.

#2 MilesFox

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 12:02 PM

ok. your mechanic is telling you you need a distributor because there is no spark. he is telling you you need a fuel regulator because there is no fuel.

the timing belt is broken, thus not turning the disty, thus no spark thus no fuel

tell him, no, i need a timing belt.

take the car elsewhere and pay for the tow. obviously this mechanic either doesnt know about subarus or is trying to rip you off.

and chances are if he does the timing belt he will forget to rotate the caenk(because there are 2 cams on 2 cylinder banks) and then tell you you have bent valves after charging you more than the car is worth.

its a subaru, not some chevy or ford, dry to stay away from domestic only mechanics if you can

if you want to take a crack at trhe timing belt yourself its really not that difficult with prober instructions
http://www.economysu.../timingbelt.htm
this article is also posted in this message board's repair section.

to verify the timing belt is broken, take off the distributor cap and see if the rotor is turning when you crank the starter

#3 calebz

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 12:04 PM

It is likely that fox is right.

Sounds like it is time to throw down on a craftsman tool set and get prepared to spend a few hours reading the USRM and using the searxh function.

All will be clear after that.


BTW - that is an offensively ridiculous price for the FPR.

#4 MilesFox

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 12:08 PM

really, for that price i would come out there and fix it for you. aside from the traveling i would do the whole job for less tha what he wants for the FPR

#5 bastomatic

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 12:22 PM

I don't think the t-belt is broken, as the car is running now, albeit quite badly. Guy said "fuel pressure is low," not gone. Still, I'm planning on getting a friend and towing it home to fix here. I can get the dist. for $180 and probably a lot less for the FPR as well. I'll bring it home and see what I need to do at that point. As it is, I'll have to pay the stupid tow charge and diagnostic fee just to get it out of hock.

#6 Stevethefolkie

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 12:25 PM

Before you go throwing parts at it - figure out what's wrong. This could be as simple as a clogged fuel filter or dying fuel pump! Tow it home, run some diagnostics and then attack the root problem, don't just try to band-aid symptoms at great expense!

Diagnosis fee? Fugetaboutit - the "mechanic" didn't diagnose anything. The tow fee? Yeah - you do owe that one.

#7 Gloyale

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 12:41 PM

Did he even bother checking for codes? I would think if the Fuel pressure was low, you'd need a pump, not a regulator. At any rate I would run from that mechanic, and find someone who ha Specific subaru GL experience.


He could have actually tested the fuel pressure. So he might be right about that. Or he could be looking at specs for MPFI(IIRC 43 PSI) instead of the SPFI system you have, which only need 22 psi. Could he tell you excactly what the fuel pressure was?

But why did he say you need a new disty? I am doubtful of that one. Espescially given that the car will run. Disty for these are ussually go or no go. Coils do sometimes get weak though. We here on the board are just now working on putting toghether a conclusive tet for these distys. So I doubt the Shop in Michigan tested it with any accuracy.

Bottom line it just doen't sound right to have sudden problem happen that are the reult of BOTH Fuel and Ignition problems. That would be incredibly coincidental.

You really need to find a better mechanic, or get ready to spend some more time here reading.

#8 nipper

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 12:47 PM

The new disty could be the old one is worn. We really cant tell over the net.

None of this you can't do yourself.

First check is to see if the distrubutor is turning when the engine cranks.

I would change the timing belt just because you dont know when it was done last.

Even with a bad fuel pressure regulator, the car should at least idle.

My gut feeling is that the sesnor inside the distrubutor failed (they can do that without warning). When you go to check that, you usually discover the distrubutor shaft is worn. There is probably nothing wrong with the fuel pressure regulator.

I would see if the sensor is working, and just replace that. If the car was running fine before that, it should run fine after that.

But do keep an eye open for a replacement disrubutor.


nipper

#9 Gloyale

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 12:55 PM

I would see if the sensor is working, and just replace that. If the car was running fine before that, it should run fine after that.



The senor works because the car runs. worn disty bushing cause a slight misfire, not a "no run".

IF this turns out to be a electrical issue, My money is on the coil .


But I say if, because someone needs to verify that BOTH timing belts are intact, and properly alinged. This can be done easily by removing the outer end T-belt covers, and checking that the Cam marks are EXCACTLY 180 degrees oppoisite, and that when they are up/down the flywheel lines up on the center of the 3 marks.

#10 dhise

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 12:58 PM

yeah, take it one step at a time. Check the codes first. The next few weekends are busy for me, but after then if you are still having problems it wouldn't be a big hassle to give you a hand. I'm not a mechanic by trade but know enough about these cars now to be dangerous and have some spare parts handy in the garage (including a distributor, coil, and throttle body w/all the stuff that goes with it).

-Doug

#11 bastomatic

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 01:02 PM

All of these are things that ran through my mind. Odd to have 2 unrelated problems happen at the exact same time to cause the car to die. The distributor probably will need replacing in the future, but is not exactly an immediate concern - he said it has too much play so needs replacing because it is throwing timing off.

As for the fuel pressure regulator, well the low fuel pressure could be any number of things and I don't know how he came up with that diagnosis. Will find out more when we go to the shop tonight.

#12 nipper

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 01:02 PM

The senor works because the car runs. worn disty bushing cause a slight misfire, not a "no run".

IF this turns out to be a electrical issue, My money is on the coil .


But I say if, because someone needs to verify that BOTH timing belts are intact, and properly alinged. This can be done easily by removing the outer end T-belt covers, and checking that the Cam marks are EXCACTLY 180 degrees oppoisite, and that when they are up/down the flywheel lines up on the center of the 3 marks.


I had the same symptons ages ago.

Mine ran poorly, did the stall thing for a while, drove me nuts.

I was in the same boat with mine, The sensor failed. The mechanic looked at it (why do cars always break donw on me in january) and said trhe same thing. Failed sensor, worn distrubutor.

COils can fail in odd ways, but its usually an intermitenet thing, like when you only make turns, or once the coil warms up. It can make you bonkers.

Moral of the story ... buy an older car, have an AAA membership for towing :).

goodluck

#13 bastomatic

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 01:20 PM

Can I use a tow dolly safely on this car? It's about 30 miles.

#14 Gloyale

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 01:53 PM

Can I use a tow dolly safely on this car? It's about 30 miles.



It is SPFI so it should be a standard, part time system. In which case, it is fine to tow on a dolly. It is only the "fulltime" AWD systems that need to be on a flatbed(unless the center driveline is removed, then any soob can be towed)

#15 ivantruckman

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 05:31 PM

bastowmatic. i live here im michigan and travel to detroit often. i have three spare engines and access to about 4 other parts subies, is your wagon a 4 wheel drive, or 2 wheel drive, they have two different distys, i have bolth, i have found that here in michigan i dont trust anybody to work on my subies except hodges subaru in ferndale. they worked on my 84 and were very reasonable. kinda far away. pm me and ill call you back. im going to fort wane indiana on monday and will be going thru yipsy, i dont know how you found an 89 wagon near me , i usally get them first, if its a 4x4 , im a hawk on ebay and craigs list for them, i check them sontimes twice a day. aarrgggg you got me.. lol

#16 ivantruckman

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 05:38 PM

wow this thred has more michigan subie owners than ive ever seen
Michigan subie owners unite :headbang: we have no mountains but we got Mud

#17 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 07:25 PM

Fuel pressure should be 21 psi. If it's low it's probably NOT the pressure regulator. They just don't fail. Never seen or heard of such a thing on the SPFI. It could be the pump, or a clogged filter or pickup in the tank. My bet is that he simply doesn't know the proper pressure for the SPFI, or is just making things up.

The distributors rarely fail in these as either - it's an optical crank angle sensor, and they have pin bearings on the shafts - not likely to fail either.

I say you probably have a timing or sensor issue. Have the mechanic pull the codes and verify that the static ignition timing is correct, and then pull the outer belt covers (three bolts each) and make sure both the belts are unbroken, have no stripped teeth, and the valve timing marks are properly aligned. Then go from there.

Incidentally his prices for the parts are ASTRONOMICAL. I wouldn't deal with this shop in any way.

GD

#18 Mikldom

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 08:19 PM

My money on coil..

My car had been running fine over the last two weeks of 1500 miles in that time period and waited until the tail end of a 400 miles all night drive to die on me

It would start some times, run for a bit, and stall out and die.... it acted like disty, and no fuel..

In fact the coil would throw a spark if you ground it with a screw driver and cranked it.

I could see oil inside the stem and upon removal, when shaking it, you could hear oil..

broke down on staten island on monday!!!! diagnosed it on the spot, walked 3 blocks to a parts store, bought the coil (50 bux, ouch!), had to wait almost an hour for it to come, installed it.. fired it back up, and off I went..

500 miles since, and she is still running like a top..

bad coils can make it seem like weird things..

start there first, I would recommend..

/mike

#19 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 08:48 PM

I could see oil inside the stem and upon removal, when shaking it, you could hear oil..


You can always hear oil in them - they are oil filled for cooling puposes. It shouldn't leak though.

start there first, I would recommend..


Test it before replacing it. You test primary and secondary coil resistances.

GD

#20 Bill90Loyale

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 09:14 PM

Here's another idea to add to the list: borrow a high tension spark plug lead from a buddy's car (the wire that runs from the tower on the coil to the distributor) and install it on yours. Fire it up. Run smooth? Just an idea. This lead can go bad without any exterior signs.

#21 DaveT

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 11:11 PM

The oil is also for insulation. It has higher breakdown resistance than air.

#22 nipper

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 11:12 PM

The oil is also for insulation. It has higher breakdown resistance than air.


But even that breaks down with time.

nipper

#23 bastomatic

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 11:13 PM

Ok, got the car towed home and it's in my garage. Whew.

First of all, this is an 89 GL Wagon, 5 spd, with the 4wd. I'm in Lansing Michigan, guess I should update my profile.

I don't trust that mechanic for much, he seemed like he was just throwing out a high number to get me to leave or pay. But some odd things he said concern me. First, he couldn't find timing marks on the engine. Maybe Subie-specific thing he doesn't know.

Second, he said fuel pressure was at 15 psi. Low, but it should still run.

Lastly, this is what concerns me most, he had a hard time diagnosing because the Check Engine Light was off. And the Previous owner said she had her mechanic "reset" the CEL recently, which I'm hoping doesn't mean he cut some wires or blew the light.

Ugh. I'll start fresh tomorrow, any suggestions where to start? Probably buying a repair manual can't hurt, I'm a blind man in the dark on these old Subies.

#24 dhise

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 11:20 PM

You can find the fuel injection parts of the ea82 manual here:

http://ch601.org/engines.htm


-Doug

#25 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 11:21 PM

I don't trust that mechanic for much, he seemed like he was just throwing out a high number to get me to leave or pay. But some odd things he said concern me. First, he couldn't find timing marks on the engine. Maybe Subie-specific thing he doesn't know.


Probably doesn't know squat about Subarus. The timing marks are on every flywheel. You do have to remove a rubber cover to see them. He is probably used to seeing them on the crank pulley.

The valve and ignition timing marks are on the flywheel, and on the cam sprockets.

Second, he said fuel pressure was at 15 psi. Low, but it should still run.


Hard to say how he tested it. Or if his gauge is accurate.

Lastly, this is what concerns me most, he had a hard time diagnosing because the Check Engine Light was off. And the Previous owner said she had her mechanic "reset" the CEL recently, which I'm hoping doesn't mean he cut some wires or blew the light.


Then he has no idea how to run a D-Check, or what connectors to use to put the car in test mode. If he knew that he would also know that the CEL doesn't report anything - all reporting is done through the LED on the side of the ECU under the dash.

Ugh. I'll start fresh tomorrow, any suggestions where to start? Probably buying a repair manual can't hurt, I'm a blind man in the dark on these old Subies.


As I said - timeing - ignition and valve. Go from there.

Buy a haynes manual at least.

GD




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