Jump to content
Ultimate Subaru Message Board
Brianmitchtay

EA82 Intermittently hard to start. ECU Code 6?

Recommended Posts

Hi Guys, the last two days in a row now I've had a really hard time starting my '87 GL. this morning it took me about 30 minutes of trying, and I finally got it after about 30 seconds with the starter going, and gently feathering the gas pedal juuuust right. It almost started and then stalled a few times before I finally got it. This is something that has happened VERY infrequently while I've owned this car, like four other times in the last 8 months, and now two days in a row. Right now I'm traveling around rural Alaska and so having the car start consistently and correctly is an absolute must.

While I was trying to get it started this morning I took off the kick panel to look at the ECU and see if it was flashing a code that might help me diagnose what's going on here. It flashed a very short blip 6 times, then a pause, and 6 more blips, all very short. By my understanding this means the code is number 6, but my FSM doesn't have a code 6 listed. Anyone know what that might be?

After looking through the forums for similar threads I think my culprit is probably the CTS. Or maybe the fuel injector? There's a very strong gas smell as I'm trying to start it up that makes me feel like it's getting flooded. Though once I get it up and running it runs perfectly fine, and I put a can of seafoam in the gas tank just a few tanks ago so I'm not sure if the injector would be stuck

I'm debating putting in new spark plugs and replacing my fuel filter as well while I'm at it, any thoughts or suggestions on a reliable startup are welcome and appreciated.

Woodsy.thumb.jpg.49aa5bdc8e398a33682cb6eca5e058a0.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

.."if you are only getting short flashes, you have no codes. If you get a long flash at any time, then there is a code stored, "

You aren't reading a code.  Those six short flashes indicate the processor ID.  More information about codes can be found here:

 

 

Edited by Dee2
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, DaveT said:

Test the CTS. 

Then test the injector if the CTS is good.

 

That's exactly my plan Dave! You're always helping me out on here I'm gonna have to figure out a way to buy you a beer or something sometime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright guys, I got the car pulled into the parking lot at a lodge where some friends are working for the summer and it refused to start up again.

Checked the CTS and the resistance was in spec so I ruled that out, next guess was the fuel pump or maybe a clogged filter.

Swapped out the filter for a new one and she fired right up, the old filter was very very clogged and barely had any flow through it, so that's definitely part of it. The engine still stutters a little bit, so I'm going to check the pressure from the fuel pump as soon as I get a chance. I've also got 4000 miles on this oil with seafoam in it, so maybe that's part of it too.

I'm left feeling like maybe I should time my seafoam treatments to be just before I change my oil and my fuel filter.

 

Will post back if I find out anything else

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nope, I believe this model only has one filter. I only see one and the Factory Service Manual only has one marked. This is the single point fuel injection, the fuel pump is by itself in front of the passenger side rear wheel, and the fuel filter is driver's side under the hood. 

I think the carbed model has a fuel filter by the pump but not one under the hood.

Out of curiosity does anyone know what the recommended replacement interval is for these cartridge filters?

Edited by Brianmitchtay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha! just as I felt like I had it solved!

Last night I was camped out by Kenai Lake on a rural road and it took me 45 minutes of cranking and playing with things to get it started this morning. Wah Wah.

Conveniently I already had an appointment with a "Subaru Specialist" in Soldotna this morning, and they were very confident on the phone that they would have no trouble solving the problem.

The "Specialist" says that he's confident that the problem is the CTS even though it puts out the correct resistance value at all temperatures, his reasoning was that everything else "looks good"  he also said that the CTS for this model is no longer available. It's a black, round, two prong plug off a two blade sensor. I also haven't been able to find a sensor that looks the same in my brief search.

IMG_20180618_140452.thumb.jpg.1f186fdd7b62e89fd3e96d9f695ff63c.jpgIMG_20180618_140501.thumb.jpg.c69f818b5f11107e8a2e3fecedacfef8.jpg

It's worth noting that while having a friend turn the key to "on" I couldn't hear the fuel pump pressurizing the fuel system, it is supposed to do that, right? I can hear the pump running when the car is idling. 

If anyone has a spare Coolant Temperature sensor laying around that looks like mine, I'd be happy to buy it off you and pay for shipping just to give it a shot. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it reads the correct resistance at a number of temperatures, and that is read steady, not jumping around, only slowly drifting as it heats or cools, then it is probably good.

If it is jumping around, that's bad, like the bad one I had. 

Yes, the fuel pump should run momentarily when you first turn the key.

I'll add this part to my list of pieces to find replacements for....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, DaveT said:

If it reads the correct resistance at a number of temperatures, and that is read steady, not jumping around, only slowly drifting as it heats or cools, then it is probably good.

If it is jumping around, that's bad, like the bad one I had. 

Yes, the fuel pump should run momentarily when you first turn the key.

I'll add this part to my list of pieces to find replacements for....

Yeah it gives a steady reading that is right in line with the resistance values posted in the FSM, I'm figuring that it's not the sensor that's bad.

Do you know if it could be a fault of the pump that would cause it to not run when the key is turned to on? Or would that more likely be a problem in the circuit where I put the key in the ignition? I've been sleeping in the car and there's been quite a bit of condensation on these rainy nights with the windows barely cracked. So maybe there's some corrosion or something there... I'll try to look into it. Thanks as always Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fuel pump should do a short run, then stop, until cranking.  Once the engine fires, the cutout allows it to continue running, that's for safety in a wreck that kills the engine.

The pump is a DC mo0tor, so it could get intermittent.  I had one do that once.  They are NLA also.  There is a thread on here that discussed alternatives to the OEM / aftermarket replacements that are still available.  I have one on the way, as mentioned in my thread about the new to me running problem.

I haven't had a key switch failure yet. 

I did make a "power cord" for the stock pump from a harness from a car I disassembled, for testing such things.  Apply power with that or test leads, and see if it starts runs normally.

If the IAC valve is dead, or the wire to it is open, it won't idle.  But it will if you feather the gas pedal.

Also, if something happens, that results in a flooded condition, it is very hard to get restarted.  The procedure to clear a flood is to hold the gas pedal most of the way down and crank.  After a while, it will start to try to run, sputter, die, etc.but then finally run.  But have a new battery!  One at the end of it's life may not have enough reserve left.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Next time you have trouble getting the car started, rap on the fuel pump with a screw driver handle to see if that will get you going.  May take more than one try.  If it does, then you know the problem is the fuel pump.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like your fuel pump pressure test idea, and that needs to be T'd in and measure also when running. Not good advice when she wont start in some peoples cases, but is giving signs of pump on  its way out. especially given it has had enough crud through it to clog up your fuel filter. I wonder if just pulling fuel pump and flushing it may help prolong death?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, and where exactly does that CTS go ? I think I have one but it is green and is currently plugging its hole in an unused project - half a world away from you .

 

If CTS was dead, you could possibly use a resistor wheel to feed the computer somewhere within its values , I reckon its fuel pressure. A hammer to pump used to help mine in its last days

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it's the fuel pump (from the hot treatment to get it started) swap it out ASAP. I had one die on me in the middle of an intersection when performing a turn through a set of traffic lights in the Perth suburbs - my brother and I had to get out to push the bloody thing through the intersection on a green light for oncoming traffic. I hope they enjoyed the show...

replacements should be plenty. Any external efi pump will do the job. I've got a 5L V8 efi pump from a VN Holden commodore in my L series. Same size and shape as the last pump and works a treat.  I'm sure there's a commonly available pump like that over your way - you've got a much larger market than us so it shouldn't be too difficult. 

If the parts dude starts batting on about specific flow rates etc, get the make and model of vehicle the pump comes from and go elsewhere! That's what I did ;)

Cheers

Bennie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also the cts - the ea82 MPFI/turbo one should be the same. Solder the wire and plugs on and you're sorted. I also wonder if the EJ cts can be used like this too - would need to compare resistance values and temp readings if possible. 

Cheers

Bennie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would probably snag this. Looks like your plug is different, but like @el_freddo said you should be able to make it work. 

CTS from factory - there's a link.

Sounds like you're having the same issue I was before I swapped my CTS. The swap immediately cleared my issue.

 

Best of luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also - check the wiring to the CTS - put an ohm meter n the wires at the ECU, and wiggle the harness on the engine.  Any variations indicate a cracked wire, and will cause the same kind of random trouble a flakey CTS causes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well today I finally got a chance to plug a fuel pressure gauge into the line and I'm still a little confused.

The FSM says that the Fuel pump's discharge pressure spec on a SPFI is between 36-50psi.

With the fuel pressure gauge T'd in between the fuel filter and the throttle chamber I had the pressure bouncing up to ~25psi when the pump turned on, and falling to about 20 when the pump was off. Here's a video of that if you want to see for some reason    -   I had connected the test mode plugs so the fuel pump would operate intermittently with the key turned on (Otherwise I don't think it runs unless you're cranking or the car is running, if I understand the FSM correctly)

2076738871_FuelPressure.thumb.jpg.10e5afcd54a5179b6e25c51f9f83db5e.jpg

So just looking at this I thought, Ha! my fuel pump isn't pumping hard enough! Problem solved! But then since I had the fuel gauge rented already, and the FSM says a faulty pressure regulator could be the problem for hard cold starts, I decided to look at the procedures for testing the Pressure regulator. Book says to T the gauge into the fuel line that goes to the throttle chamber (So where I already had it) and that at idle the fuel pressure should be regulated to ~21. I disconnected the test plugs and started it up and the fuel pressure at idle was exactly where it was supposed to be. 

So I guess my question is, did I test the pressure from the fuel pump correctly? Should I have T'd in directly after the fuel pump under the car? I didn't have another person there with me so I couldn't exactly race the engine to watch for a change in pressure. It might be worth noting that the only procedure the book gives to check the pump on a SPFI is to hot wire it with 12v and see if it turns on.

I'll be honest it's pretty fun having a car mystery to solve like this since it basically just gives me a reason to play around under the hood and learn new things, but since the GL is my daily driver and also my home for the summer, I'll also be pleased to have this squared away.

For what it's worth I'm pretty confident the CTS isn't the culprit at this point, it always gives the correct resistance reading, even when the car is having trouble starting, but I took the time to test one and pull it off a junk car at a scrap yard here anyway, along with a fuel injector that looks and tests just fine. So if it gets really bad and a new fuel pump doesn't fix it I'll do some soldering and replace those things.

Edited by Brianmitchtay
CTS and injector stuff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Normal pressure with it running, T'ed after the filter, is 21PSI, steady.

You can unplug the wires from the pump, under the car, and wire 12V directly to the pump for testing, if the engine won't stay running.

If you block the output of the pump [only momentarily] the pressure should pop up to 50 PSI.

Block it by pinching the hose after the pressure gauge T with smooth pliers / pad the jaws to avoid damage to the hose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This sounds like it could be a flaky fuel pump relay.  There are several relays on a clip up under the dashboard.  They get old and flaky, and stop working when temperatures hit extremes, or just for fun.  Then they start working again, until next time....

I am not sure how to check it on your car.  There should be some test connectors to connect together.  On the newer Loyales, it is the green ones under the hood by the firewall on the driver's side.  They are the same connectors used to freeze the timing so the distributor can be set correctly.  If you connect them, then turn on the ignition, the ECU cycles all the solenoids and the fuel pump.  You should be able to hear it going on and off, or you can crawl under the car to check it. 

There are at least 3 relays identical to one another under the dashboard.  I believe 2 are for the headlights.  You can swap one of these in to test if it is a bad relay.  It is a royal pain to get to them.

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×