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93 Loyale Hesitates/Rough Idle/Stalls

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First I would like to say hello and thanks. I have been using this forum for years but this is my first post.


I bought this car 2 years ago with close to 200,000 miles. I was told it had a bad MAF but when I got there to test drive it (with an untested junkyard replacement MAF) it had a huge hole in the plastic next to the MAF. I duct taped the hole and tested both MAF and got the same results (crappy but better than before duct tape). The car was throwing solenoid codes that were not MAF related...so I thought maybe she took it to a mechanic that did not understand Subaru's and mis diagnosed the MAF. The guy who said it was the MAF also missed the giant hole in the plastic. How is beyond me, but his credibility went to zero!


So far I replaced: 

- The plastic/rubber housing that the MAF (and most vac hoses) mounts into. (whats that called)

- PCV (new)

- O2 Sensor (new)

- 2 solenoids (EGR and purge control)


- Plugs, wires, d cap (new)

- MAF (junkyard) and cleaned the original

- Fuel Filter (new)


I also tried:

- Seafoam 

- Alcohol and water into vacuum lines

- Alcohol in the fuel

PS... The alternator was brand new. 


First I did all of the above to clear a bunch of codes. The codes returned. I re-replaced both solenoids and IAC again (new, not junk yard this time). Codes are now gone again but the car has no change in performance. NONE. 


The car continued to idle poorly, surges really bad when trying to maintain a slow speed (parking lots), has a hesitation when accelerating (rpms drop when clutch is released...then after a 1-3 second delay it kicks in...it feels almost like a power band kicking in ...but it goes from crap to normal not normal to overdrive). I tried to drive the front wheels up on a curb but could not get the low end power to climb up onto it. When I start it, it usually idles between 1000-1500 sometimes between 2000-3000 and sometimes it fights to stay between 200-1000 or just dies (200-1000 is more common when warm). I have been playing with the throttle cable constantly to keep it from stalling so all of these RPM values may be irrelevant.  I have found cracked vacuum hoses but no matter how many I fix nothing changes.


I also removed several vacuum hoses (on purpose...as a test) but it does not get worse (removed charcoal canister, removed vac hose to pcv...one at a time...no response).  It runs fine at highway speeds, gets pretty good gas mileage and starts instantly on even the coldest nights. 


I am at a loss!

- I suspect a vacuum leak but my heater vents and 4x4 button work properly. Then again, my brakes have been acting up but introducing a major leak does not make it worse?!?!!?!

- Maybe a fuel pump or sock issue.

- Maybe a computer issue caused by playing with the screw on the carb (I read not to do that...it was too late) 

- Maybe I need a new battery (lots of corrosion on one tower)

- Maybe my fuel filter got clogged instantly after replacement.

- Knock sensor? IDK anything about this but it came up in other forums.

- EGR...I can't get it off



Random stuff that might matter:

-  I noticed a hose that does not go anywhere. It is a 1/2 inch hose that sticks through my passenger side firewall. It is about 9" long but does not connect to anything. It is dangling onto my exhaust pipe. Its a foot below the windshield wiper apparatus. 

- Charcoal canister also has a 1/2" hose on the bottom that goes nowhere (I think thats for water... is it not)

- Charcoal canister has 4 nipples on the top. Only 3 have a hose connected, one is capped. If we call the 4 nipples a,b,c,d and c and d come from the riser then its a (If I'm not mistaken thats the one from the gas tank...this seems like it could be bad....No gas vapor odors though).

- The lady I bought it from said she took the belt of the AC compressor

- I keep hearing a clank that I suspect is a broken motor mount

- Has the tick of death


PS I am not a mechanic but can follow directions well enough that I do most of my own work. This is my 7th sub $1000 Subaru and I keep learning. Things like hoses, alternator, oil change, cv joints, and everything I mentioned above are easy for me. I don't have many tools or gadgets (vac or compression test stuff) but I have a muti meter. Things like clutch, tranny, head gasket mean its time to sell. 

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Well, sounds like you're on the right track.


I'm going to assume this is an EA82, SPFI (and that the "carb" reference was the injector pod housing/throttle body?)


It'd check for vacuum leaks around the intake gaskets and throttle body. These are common culprits.

I'd also work the EGR valve with a hand-vacuum pump to ensure that it IS opening and closing (closing is the important part here).


Lastly, I'd check out the coolant temp sensor (located on the thermostat housing, 2 wire pig tail, green connector) and grab resistance readings from cold and hot. Could be playing games with the ECU.


Lastly, if the plugs have been in the car for more than a few days (hours of running), pull them and see what they look like. Should be french-fry golden brown. Black and wet is usually too rich or burning oil or white and powdery is too lean and/or burning coolant.


Report back!


EDIT: What were the codes you were pulling from the ECU?

Edited by 86 Wonder Wedge

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Yeah its an EA82

I have spayed an entire can of starter fluid around everything I can think off and have not noticed an change in idle but the idle is so inconsistent I don't know if I would hear it. I have no experience with the technique but it sounds the same no matter what/where I spray

I'm not positive I know how to use a multi meter in this situation but set at 20k on ohms side I got 2 at start (cold) and .4 after warming up (3 mile drive) and .32 after idling in the driveway for another 5-10 minutes

The codes were 34 35 egr solenoid and purge canister solenoid. I had to replace them both twice but the cel is off now.

I don't have a vacuum pump to test the egr but I pulled a vacuum with my mouth and a fish tank hose and it died instantly. I think that is a sign the egr is ok based on the following quote I found somewhere.

You would know it is functioning properly if there is an RPM drop during idle once the EGR valve opens. You can open it manually and look for a change in RPM. If there is no RPM change its a good indication that the valve's passages are plugged with carbon deposits, and restricting exhaust flow. You may use a vacuum pump to open the valve manually at idle but you siad closing is the important part. I can feel the vacuum pressure on the egr hose at idle. This seems wrong or I'm just confused how the egr works (if a vacuum opens the erg valve and open allows exhaust recycling then it seems that at idle the vacuum pressure in the line should be eliminated)

I lost my spark plug socket and am lazy today so I'll check the plugs tomorrow.

PS. This car passes emissions in Colorado in this condition. It was stalling in the testing lot. I waited till it would idle for a couple minutes (its really unpredictable)and pulled in with my fingers crossed.

Edited by caseyh

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What do you think about my heat and 4x4 working? And the fact that intentionally introduced vacuum leaks don't change anything?

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I am currently chasing a stalling problem around my 90 loyale. Just today I've checked resistance and voltage to every pertinent sensor to stalling, just to find they are all within tolerances. It's driving me crazy. I've just about narrowed it down to a clogging cat or muffler. I'm not sure on this, but who knows. I don't know if this could be your issue if it is passing emissions testing though.

I'm in a similar boat, not a mechanic, but fix what I can.

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Check ALL the hoses AFTER the MAF for cracks, splits or weak connections. This includes all of the PCV hoses and breather tubes that run into the large, black hose from the MAF to the TB. Any air after the MAF is unmetered and is not seen by the ECU.


Also, make sure your rotor screw is tight (I.e the rotor doesn't flop around by hand). If you've got a timing light, hook it up and make sure it's not ignition cutting or something stupid like that either.

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Is it possible for a crack to cause this IF the crack passes the starter fluid test? I've got a coupe small ones but they still appear to be sealing properly. 


 I think your right about the cat and emissions. I had a similar prob on a justy that also passed e test but it was not the cat.  

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So I just put it together that the high idle at startup happens when its cold out side. It warmed up the last few days and it starts up about normal. Is this a clue?

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Wires are newish, plugs are too but probably gummed from all the other symptoms. It does not explain the idle.

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Plugs are not gummed they are white.


I got the egr off, it was not as bad as expected. Cleaned it.


Problem continues.


Idle is all over the place.  Sometimes 3000 sometimes 300. Car runs fine for a day or two then terrible. I had it good and when I went to the mountains it was idling at 3000+ but back home stalls every time. Another trip to the mountains it went from fine to stalls. 


It lunges a lot when trying to maintain a specific speed, and thats worse at low speeds...like parking lots but it can be felt on the highway too..


Possible clues:

My brake light keeps coming on but the brakes still work. They need pumped a bit...or if I take the brake fluid cap off it seems to fix it


I think the heat is sub par


Please Please any ideas

Edited by caseyh

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