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2004 outback, bucking and lurching AFTER expensive garage bill.

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Hell folks, long time lurker first time poster. Having a heck of a bad week with my much loved outback (2004, 2.5l, Canadian). To keep things clear I will stat at the beginning...

Just before Christmas, the wagon all of a sudden started to stall in neutral, or when I would press the clutch, this seemed to happen randomly when the car was warmed up. The problem went away for about ten days, only to reappear with a vengeance. (Check engine also appeared) so we bit the bullet and took it to a local garage. They said that there were misfire codes and changed the plugs/wires/coils, later in the day they called back and informed me that the problem was still there and that everything associated with the intake was heavily carbonized. So they did and injector cleaning,and cleaned all of the sensors. After that the problem was still present, they said the egr valve was too carbonized and beyond cleaning.

I retrieved the car from them, deciding to find a replacement egr on my own. After removing and cleaning the egr myself (10 min job, was nice and springy after) the car seemed to work perfectly, leading me to believe we had been fleeced...

The next day, leaving the city, everything was fine, until the car warmed up. Now my problem is: around 1-2000 rpm the car kicks and bucks like crazy, once past 2000 rpm the car works fine but a little jerky when giving gas, i re-cleaned the egr thinking maybe it needed further cleaning.

After testing the car again today, same problem, after the engine is good and warm, it struggles and bucks when driving around in first and second gear till you are past 2000 rpm.

After getting a big bill from a garage that didn't fix my problem I am dreading dropping more money at this than I have to. Anyone else have any similar experiences? Or can help me figure out what is going on?

Thx in advance

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I should also add, when I cleaned the erg valve, I noticed a hole in the intake manifold that looks like it is missing something. Can anyone confirm this?

In the pic it is just to the right of the erg valve.post-65742-0-62122500-1484688971_thumb.jpg

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Works  OK cold?

Smooth idle w/warm?

 

Sounds like a vacuum or unmetered air leak to me.

I would put a vacuum gauge on it and check any and all hoses near the intake, airbox and throttle body.

 

EGR valves can be hard to clean so that they seat 100%.

I would expect a non-seating EGR to give a poor warm idle.

 

Probably not it,but,I would check the coolant temperature sensor too.

Ideally,read the engine temp. w/a scanner.

Less ideal,read the sensor resistance w/warm w/a ohmmeter.

 

OR,leave the CTS unplugged and go for a drive.

You will get a check engine light if you don`t already have one.

 

Not sure about the empty bolt hole.

Edited by naru

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What was the list of codes they pulled from the engine computer. If there is one in there for a P0519 for the idle air controller, it probably needs a new neutral safety switch on the side of the transmission. This switch tells the computer when it's in neutral so it activates the idle circuit. If it sees neutral while driving, it'll cause stalling issues because it doesn't know when to kick in the idle circuit.

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Thanks for the advice folks, I should mention that since I cleaned the egr valve the car has no problem idling, really now it's just jumpy as hell at low revs. (1-2k)

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Have codes read and post them here. Many auto parts stores in the US do it for free or buy a cheap scanner off eBay. I've gotten them for $25-$35, great deal. I'll buy cheap ones just to leave in a car, let someone borrow, keep in my laptop case....they're so cheap I don't worry about loosing or breaking them and am very flexible.

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Thanks for all the help folks. I'll do some more checking tomorrow morning. I've used sea foam (or similar products) on bikes in the past. I'll look into it on the car. Any and all suggestions and tips are GREATLY appreciated!

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Since this is a 5 speed, I would suspect the Neutral Switch. All the things you described can be caused by that.

 

Here's a link to the Forester board where I wrote it up years ago:

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f89/neutral-switch-78655/

 

 

COULD also be the EGR. It's an electronic one on yours also. Here's another thread I wrote up. Posted described his problem in thread and I posted reply and link in 2nd answer:

http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f88/intermittent-rough-running-424289/

Edited by ferret

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