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Bonzo

Problem with '97 Subaru Legacy 2.2 wagon.

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So the other day my friend calls me up and starts talking about how her Subaru is doing something really odd and that she THINKS she can make it to Portland from Eugene. So my first thought is, wow, this must be pretty messed up. She makes it to Portland and takes me on a test drive...

 

We head to Vancouver from my place (10-15 minute drive on the freeway) and nothing happens. Im on the edge of my seat, mainly just waiting for noting to happen so i can call her a retard. Well, i was wrong. In this order...

 

-Headlights start dimming and then going back to full brightness and then pretty much go out.

-ABS light comes on

-Speedo & tach peg to zero

-Battery light comes on

-check engine light comes on same time

 

The car keeps running, but i guess, if you were to use anything electric, such as a turn signal, the car would die mid roll. Even when we pulled to a stop it died just because the idle was horrid.

 

Now(while still driving), She could press the clutch back in and then let it back out and when it grabbed the gauges would shoot back up to where they needed to be. Then, after a moment or two, go through the whole process again fairly quickly depending on how long you left the clutch in for. She did this a quarter of the way home from Eugene. =[

 

Now, if she lets it run until it dies, the car wont start again because the battery is drained, so it needed to be jumped.

 

If you let the car sit in neutral for like 20 minutes it charges the battery enough to let make a run for about 15 minutes.

 

Here is the kicker, it it stays under 2K it lasts way longer than above. Running it at 3K makes the problem kick in way faster.

 

She had replaced the battery...a week ago i want to say and it killed itself over the span of 3 days. Ive had the car at my place for 2 days and started it every morning. I just checked it right now and it had a slightly slow crank(for all i know its normal for it) but fired up almost instantly.

 

I really dont think its a short anymore, but after a little reading it seems that MAF sensors are a huge problem on these cars and then the alternator seems like a problem, even though she said she had it tested at 3 different places and it checked out clean. Thoughts?

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Alternator bad. Replace with a "good" unit...

Such as a dealer reman or a Delphi. Bosch had a bad run some time ago, I don't use 'em now, as they failed way to often. If you get the Shuck's or Autozone lifetime warranty part, know that you will be changing it every six months for a lifetime. Just my $.02...

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I ran a voltage test, got 14.5V so it was being provided the amount of voltage it needed.

 

I ran a voltage drop test from the BAT terminal and it was under .2V so im not sure now. but everything points to the alternator. im wondering if the indicator light is shorted out.

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Check for AC voltage... If its too high that is not good. (0.5 or higher) Also try to check the alternator when the car is acting up, Alt. output may be intermittent. If light in bash for the battery is burned out, alternator will not charge.

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The dash displays the little 'battery' image. so i guess it cant be burned out.

 

Do i check the Ac voltage the same way as the DC voltage drop test?

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OKay so with the engine running and lights on i check the battery and it reads 13.5V. shouldnt it still be at 14 something?

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I've lived through this before and am not an electrical wiz.

 

It was an alternator (both times).

 

If you had posted what town/state you are in perhaps someone close has a good used one. I usually keep about a half dozen.

 

If it's intermittent taking it off and taking it to have tested may give you an answer, maybe not.

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OKay so with the engine running and lights on i check the battery and it reads 13.5V. shouldnt it still be at 14 something?
Yes it should. Your alternator is bad and the battery has lost some of its charge. Rev the engine while you're checking the voltage. It's fairly low at idle but should be around 14.5 at 2000 rpm. It shouldn't increase past that voltage at 3000 rpm. Edited by edrach

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