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WonkoTheSane

96 Legacy LS, 3 CELs, P0500, P1101, P0130 and other elec. weirdness

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Hello all!

 

This is my first suby, I rescued her cheap from someone who had no clue.. I've been working my way through the issues, I've gotten the broken exhaust and worn out CVs fixed up, now I'm onto electrical gremlins. I'm a Mazda guy by nature, so I'm hoping for some troubleshooting direction with this new toy :)

 

The vitals:

1996 Subaru Legacy LS wagon

135k on the clock

2.2L Engine

Stock & reasonably well maintained as far as I know

 

Problems:

  1. Flashy check engine light - ON!
  2. P0500 - Vehicle Speed Sensor
  3. P0130 - O2 Circuit, Bank 1, Sensor 1
  4. P1101 - Neutral Switch Circuit (Off)
    (The above descriptions are from my code scanner)
  5. The check engine light flashes as soon as you turn the key to ON (no need to crank/turn over the car), even if you pull the battery cable first.
  6. The main radiator fan turns on as soon as you turn the key to ON, and the AC fan (secondary fan?) cycles on and off as soon as the key is turned on.
  7. Fog Lights don't come on with the running lights
  8. Power antenna doesn't work.

 

I went ahead and replaced the upstream O2 sensor with another Bosch unit from Advance, even though these three electrical issues may all be related.

 

I also took cleaned the 4 grounds on the back of the two shock towers, hoping that would do something.

 

I'm not actually sure why I'm getting Neutral switch & speed sensor errors, the car starts up fine (in park or neutral), it seems to know when it's not in either of those two because you can't start it. The speedo seems to be calibrated enough that the cops haven't bothered me. Cruise control works great, too.

 

Most of my other work has been on the exhaust (the flange disintegrated behind the second cat, so I had to weld a new one up).

 

If you have any good ideas which way to start looking, I'd be much obliged!

 

Thanks!

Edited by WonkoTheSane

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Sounds like the test mode plug is connected. Look under the dash for two wires with a green connector. Unplug them if they are connected.

 

Guessing this car has an auto trans? (reference to park/neutral) Search the site for P1101. Sort by relevancy in the advanced search. Lots of info about that here. Same with the P0130, and the P0500. All of those are circuit codes (wiring) so check the harnesses for those items for breaks. Helps to have a multimeter to check for open circuits.

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Fairtax4me & johnceggleston

 

Thanks! I'll dig up the test connector and disconnect it tonight after I get home from work.. You're right about the transmission, Fairtax, it is an Auto. I wasn't finding anything definitive when I searched, but I didn't sort by relevancy, so I'll try that later.

 

Thanks guys!

Edited by WonkoTheSane

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I think there are two speed sensors on the transmission so check that out. Pehaps the one for the ECU is having trouble.

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Unplug the green connector then clear the codes. Wait a day or so then rescan and tell us what comes up.

 

BTW subaru O2 senssors for the front should be OE.

 

 

nipper

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Wow, Fairtax4me, you nailed it :)

 

I disconnected that green plug, and it started up easier, and there's no check engine light at all. It looks like I may not have needed a O2 sensor, oh well :) I took it for a drive to get it all warmed up, it definitely runs better, I'm planning on taking it to work tomorrow to see how she does on a longer commute.

 

nipper - Any reason why an OEM Bosch of the same part number is better than the Advance Bosch of that number?

 

Thanks guys!!

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Any reason why an OEM Bosch of the same part number is better than the Advance Bosch of that number?

 

Thanks guys!!

 

only time will tell.

 

do you still have the old one? iit would be interesting to try it again.

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OE has a tighter spec they must meet, since if the part is bad they get hit with a recall. Bosch really could care less as an aftermarket part.

 

nipper

 

And as stated time will tell.

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The clue to the test connectors being connected is the fans being cycled on and off. I'm not sure why the error codes where there though.

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It's been a few weeks now, and I wanted to update the status of my suby, for anyone who has this problem as well..

 

After I disconnected that test switch, I haven't had as single issue related to any of the random codes.. I even was able to diagnose the only remaining issue, a hot-start problem that occurred when the car was sitting for about 10-20 minutes after being fully warmed up. Thanks to the computer being able to pull a real code, that was fixed with a simple cam angle sensor.

 

For the past two weeks, though, it's been smooooooth sailing.. I've even used the suby to "Plow" the snow at the bottom of the driveway on the way to work :) AWD is pretty fun in the snow.

 

Thanks again to everyone who posted!

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