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97 Legacy, "Not Ready" codes, inspection issue


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13 replies to this topic

#1 swi66

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 05:18 AM

Just picked up a 97 Legacy "Postal" Right hand drive to replace our 98 Legacy postal.
When we went to look at it I turned the key on to make sure the check engine light lit up and then started it and the light went out as it should.
I took it for state inspection where it failed the OBD II test because it showed 4 "Not Ready" codes! You can have 2 with a 97.
I went home and hooked it up to my Snap on scanner. Scanner indicated no failure codes, but indicated that it had 4 "Not Ready" codes.
I drove the car around with scanner attached and in short order 2 of the codes went to Ready mode.
But upon further testing, I discovered that every time I shut the car off, it sends the codes back into "Not ready" mode.

Technically the procedure for inspection requires the car to be off then started for the procedure to be followed. Of course, I had my friend doing the inspection hook up the State OBD II scanner with the motor running and codes in ready mode. He's not supposed to do it that way, but it works.

So my question is...........why is the car clearing the codes? Or resetting the monitors, or whatever it is doing?
Has anyone else had the same problem?
What can I do to fix it right. Is it the computer?
Car does have 184,000 miles on it, but it runs excellent, and other than some body dents and dings is in great shape.

#2 OB99W

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 11:01 AM

Your '97 ''Postal'' is behaving like it has a '96 ECU in it-- perhaps it's an early-production unit. See the links in my posts here: http://www.ultimates...ead.php?t=99635

#3 porcupine73

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 11:28 AM

Yes it does sound like it is resetting the I/M's every time the engine is shut off, which is what the '96's did so the '96s got an emissions I/M readiness exemption letter from Subaru. Sounds like that's what you might need to get.

#4 swi66

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 01:42 PM

In the paperwork I got with the car.
I have found that the previous owner failed emissions last year with the same 4 codes. The receipt was in the paperwork. Also a receipt for a week later passing. I figure that they did the same thing I did, but that does not tell me why?

I did see the other post regarding the 96's, but wonder if they might have changed out the ECU. But how will I know which is the correct one?

#5 subaru360

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 06:44 PM

Postal wagons are strange. Somebody correct me if I am wrong but I think the postal wagons may have been built in Japan, not the US like other Legacys. It may well have been an early model and has the 96 style ECU. Another possibilty is that it is losing battery power to the ECU when the key is off and resetting the monitors.

#6 swi66

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 03:54 AM

Postal wagons are strange. Somebody correct me if I am wrong but I think the postal wagons may have been built in Japan, not the US like other Legacys. It may well have been an early model and has the 96 style ECU. Another possibilty is that it is losing battery power to the ECU when the key is off and resetting the monitors.


As for it being an early production model I beleive it!
Vin # is 4S3BK4954V8300819
Could that be the 819th one made?
The person who bought it new said it was the first 97 "Postal" in the area.

As far as the Postal subarus being made in Japan, that was true of the first Postals, the 91's. By at least 94 they were US assembled.

But if it has the early style ECU, why isnt there documentation so I don't have a problem getting it to pass inspection?

By the way, where is the ECU on one of these.
I tried finding it under the dash, but am not a contortionist, and have back problems. I was thinking of aswapping out the one in my 98 to see if it makes a difference with the one in the 97.

#7 subaru360

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 07:19 AM

The ECU is under the carpet passenger side where your feet rest.

#8 johnceggleston

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 07:30 AM

ecu should be under the carpet passenger side, up near the fire wall.

hold it, that's for a LHD car, not sure about a RHD. but maybe.

#9 swi66

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 08:33 AM

ecu should be under the carpet passenger side, up near the fire wall.

hold it, that's for a LHD car, not sure about a RHD. but maybe.



Thanks, now I feel like an idiot as I was trying to look upside down under the steering column for it...................

Most everything on a RHD is opposite of a LHD car so I will look this weekend for it.

Any "issues" with swapping one from another car?

Like a 98 for a 97?

Both same configuration, same motor, same trans.

#10 subaru360

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 09:01 AM

Swapping the ecu might work. You'd want to see if they have the same emissions package first. Some of the sensors are different. See if they have the canister under the hood or in the back. If both are the same, its a good sign it will work.

#11 4x4_Welder

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 10:44 AM

I thought that if the first digit of the vin is 4, it's made in Japan. If it was made in the US, the first digit would be a 1.
You should have a shop pull the ECM vin, and see if that matches. That will at least tell you if it's original, or a proper swap at the dealership. If the VIN doesn't match, they might be able to reflash it, otherwise it should be replaced with a proper one.

Edited by 4x4_Welder, 04 June 2009 - 10:48 AM.


#12 swi66

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 11:05 AM

Swapping the ecu might work. You'd want to see if they have the same emissions package first. Some of the sensors are different. See if they have the canister under the hood or in the back. If both are the same, its a good sign it will work.



As far as I can tell they are the same, both have that canister in the back.
I do know of another person who has a 97 parts car, but don't know if they will sell me the ECM

#13 swi66

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 11:12 AM

I thought that if the first digit of the vin is 4, it's made in Japan. If it was made in the US, the first digit would be a 1.
You should have a shop pull the ECM vin, and see if that matches. That will at least tell you if it's original, or a proper swap at the dealership. If the VIN doesn't match, they might be able to reflash it, otherwise it should be replaced with a proper one.



I had very BAD experiences with both Subaru dealerships in my area. Enough to keep me from ever buying another new Subaru.
I would not trust them enough to do anything I ask of them.
They did not listen when I told them about problems before, mis-diagnosed other problems, and conned my wife into unneeded work instead of the job I had contacted them to do.
Though I love the cars, my modern driver is now a Prius.
The Subaru's we keep because my wife is still a mail carrier, and that's why we have the RHD Subies.
The 97 we just picked up was from a local letter carrier who got a Post Office provided LLV, and did not need the Subie anymore.
I can do all maintenance, change hubs, halfshafts, brakes, struts and have my own scanner, and an in-ground lift to get underneath.
Electronics though..........scare me a bit.

#14 ron917

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Posted 04 June 2009 - 02:38 PM

I do know of another person who has a 97 parts car, but don't know if they will sell me the ECM


You only need to borrow it long enough to pass inspection.

I would do some more research before swapping in another ECM. The FSM for my '99 shows a lot of differences for RHD. If the wiring harness and connectors are different, it may not work. Worst case, it may fry the new ECM.

Google turned this up, might be helpful:
http://www.onlinefre...lement-pdf.html




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