Last post on May 22, 2013 at 4:04 PM
You are in the Subaru Legacy & Outback
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Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Wagon
#8407 of 8644 Cat replacement help needed
Dec 14, 2010 (11:13 am)
I have a 2002 Subaru Legacy with 167,000 miles. About a year ago the CEL came on. Drove it fine for about eight months then the car started cutting out when stepping on the gas. I took it to our mechanic and the codes showed P0447 (EVAP vent open) and P0130 (O2 sensor circuit problem B1 S1). I had those problems fixed and the car ran great, only thing is one week later the CEL came on again, this time the P0420 cat inefficiency code showed up. Our mechanic said the cat needed to be replaced and quoted $720.00 parts and $87.00 labor. We're in Montana and I've been checking out replacement cats on rockauto.com and partstrain.com and thinking it would save a whole lot to just do it ourselves.
So my questions are:
1. Does anyone have any experience replacing their cat themselves and have any advice to offer, such as brand that worked out okay, other parts needed besides cat etc.
2. Is it likely to be able to easily replace the cat and get the CEL to stay cleared after?
We are getting ready to sell this car and would like to get this problem fixed and the CEL clear beforehand....thanks for any help you can give us.
#8408 of 8644 Re: Cat replacement help needed [mtgen]
Dec 14, 2010 (2:32 pm)
While it should not be a difficult project, it often turns out to be. The reason is because you're working with the exhaust pipes, which are subjected to high heat. I believe that car has a pair of cats, rather than just one, so you'll likely need to replace both or risk the problem continuing. Since you recently replaced an oxygen sensor (was it just one, or both?), that is not the likely source of the error code (P0420 can be caused by the cat itself or erroneous readings from the oxygen sensors). However, there are also two oxygen sensors - one upstream and one down - so depending on which one was replaced, there could still be an issue there.
As for the cat, you'll need to be patient and have a generous supply of Liquid Wrench or PBlaster on hand for all the sure-to-be-difficult/seized bolts, as well as a few extra parts... just in case! I have not replaced a cat on a Subaru, but you may also need a set of exhaust gaskets for the engine, in the event the pipes need to be separated at that point in order to proceed with the replacement. A Hayne's manual will likely help you out in your effort and guide you through the process.
The price you listed from the shop, though, sounds in line with the price I was quoted for mine.
#8410 of 8644 Re: Cat replacement help needed [mtgen]
Dec 14, 2010 (10:43 pm)
Following up on Wes's comments, one of the two earlier code you got (P0130) was for the front oxygen sensor. When that malfunctioned, driveability was impacted as the cat was likely receiving an overly rich mixture. During that time it could have been overloaded with fuel and it's life shortened. Now the rear is indicating the presence of unburned fuel (P0420). Of course it could be a rear sensor failure, and the cat is maybe still OK. And that is the problem with just going by the codes. Did the shop confirm with an exhaust analysis?
I have to tell you that this is a somewhat dicy situation. These boards are full of complaints from people with older, high mileage vehicles that have gone down this path. They replace the cat and then the rear sensor, and yet still get the return of a P0420 a few weeks after replacing each part. These systems are sensitive, and maybe close to the limit on emissions output, and it can be tough to get them cleaned up after a series of malfunctions as you report. I'm almost tempted to suggest that you make this the dealers/shops problem by getting them to guarantee this repair in writing up front. If they are 100% sure that they have done the diagnostics and know that it is the cat, let them do it and then hold them to their word if the code returns.
Yes, it is more money up front. But if you don't own an air impact and have never done this yourself, you are in for a real treat! At $87, they are only quoting around an hour of labor (my local rates), and I'll bet you are going to be at it for most of the day when you fail to get it apart without damaging a flange or two beyond repair.
Exhaust work is, well, exhausting!
#8411 of 8644 Re: Cat replacement help needed [fibber2]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Dec 15, 2010 (9:29 am)
To diagnose a plugged catalytic converter, you can check intake vacuum or exhaust backpressure. If they haven't done that, they are *guessing* with your wallet.
#8412 of 8644 window off its track?
Dec 24, 2010 (1:19 pm)
We have a 1996 Subaru Legacy Outback with 281K miles and 20 minutes ago, the driver's side window in the front doesn't want to go up. The switch works, but the window only goes up about 20% of the way and it gets stuck. Seems like it's going up at an angle, so is is possible that it "came off its track?" Any idea how much this will cost to fix at the mechanic on Monday OR is there a way to fix it ourselves (neither my husband nor I is very handy or car-knowledgable)? Seems like the motor is not the issue, since the window does go up part of the way and the other 4 windows are okay.
#8413 of 8644 Dealers are quick to dx a bad cat
Dec 24, 2010 (1:52 pm)
Very expensive repair. Of course, they are not quick to tell you about the emissions warranty that often covers to 100k.
#8414 of 8644 Re: window off its track? [maryp3177]
Dec 25, 2010 (1:58 pm)
Any repair will require removing the inside door panel. If you aren't really mechanically inclined, this probably isn't something you want to attempt. There are a few hidden screws and lots of plastic clips that are now old & brittle and will likely need to be replaced.
#8415 of 8644 Re: window off its track? [maryp3177]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Dec 26, 2010 (7:20 pm)
Getting the door panel off is easy but then it rather depends on what broke in there, as to how much it will cost. If the window regulator busted a weld or some such, then you'd have to replace that and it can add up to a few hours labor. If just a clip or screw came loose and caused the window-channel to mis-align, maybe not so bad then.
#8416 of 8644 Steering angle sensor problem
Jan 13, 2011 (10:21 am)
Subaru Outback 2001. I had just replaced the drive shaft, rear differential bushings and the power steering rack. After I drove home from the dealership repair shop the problem occurred with my left turn. When I was making wide left turn the skidding yellow light came up and my car was stopping and going during the turn.
When I returned my car back to the dealership, they were not sure what was causing this problem and wanted to replace the Steering angle sensor at my expense, but they were not sure if it will cure the problem.
My question is: Could it be that the replacement of the draft shaft and the power steering rack caused the failure of the Steering angle sensor?