Last post on Mar 07, 2013 at 11:38 AM
You are in the Subaru Legacy & Outback
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Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Wagon
#168 of 406 Check Engine Light..Again.. for Five Years
Jan 26, 2010 (5:49 pm)
I have had oxygen sensors replaced..both catylitic(spelling) replaced and this Subaru mechanic says they look like they have never been replaced and they were.. that is how I found out that this Subaru(2002) Outback has two. Every year I have to do something to the car to get it to pass inspection. I often smell a burning smell when I get out of the car and also what smells like antifreeze during the time I am driving it. Any information about these conditions and their successful conclusion would be appreciated. After reading everything on here I am very discouraged that I will get an answer. This car has been a financial nightmare for me. Any information is greatly appreciated.
#169 of 406 Re: Check Engine Light..Again.. for Five Years [yasu]
Jan 26, 2010 (6:33 pm)
There are so many reasons that trigger repetitive oxygen sensor and cat codes, and unfortunately some of them actually have nothing to do with failures of these components. The system looks for the most likely offender, but it can easily be tricked. Someday soon I will write up a little piece on the subject. Promise...
You mentioned smelling antifreeze. On a hunch, but take a look at this post and my description that follows:
jbur1, "Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions" #18529, 23 Jan 2010 1:49 pm
If you smell antifreeze, and it is leaking internally as well as externally, it probably isn't doing a lot of good for your cats or sensors. *Maybe* there is a connection?
#170 of 406 2001 Subaru Outback with Check Engine Light
Jan 27, 2010 (11:05 am)
I'm reading through the thread, but can't find anyone with my same issue. The CEL light has been coming on most of the time over the past week. The only problem I noticed prior to this development was that my winshield wash pump no longer seems to be working well - the liquid doesn't shoot out much at all (and yes - the resevoir is full!)
Any chance these are related?
I'm planning on taking it to the dealer unless someone has a good idea that I can try at home. I'm decent with cars - but haven't run into this problem before.
#171 of 406 Re: 2001 Subaru Outback with Check Engine Light [haljordan1]
Jan 27, 2010 (12:56 pm)
I'm afraid not. OBD-II is for monitoring engine performance that impacts emissions compliance. Anything that would push the emissions to 1.5X or so of the EPA certification will log a code & trigger the light. While the manufacturer does play a role in selecting sensors and the test methodology, you can be sure that windshield washer performance was not part of the monitoring plan!
I'm constantly getting car wax into the nozzles, degrading the flow. The opening is pretty big, so try going at it with a needle or a stripped length of fine electric wire.
#172 of 406 Re: 2001 Subaru Outback with Check Engine Light [fibber2]
Jan 28, 2010 (10:31 am)
If it's below freezing, you may have old fluid in there that no longer has its antifreeze capability. That's happened to me before.
#173 of 406 Re: 2001 Subaru Outback with Check Engine Light [ateixeira]
Jan 29, 2010 (5:25 pm)
Thank you for the responses. I took the car to the dealer, and it was an oxygen sensor that was causing the CEL. They replaced it and its now off. Paid ~230 parts/labor
The wiper issue was plain stupid me. Ran out. I thought I had just filled it - I will check for cracks.
#174 of 406 Re: 2001 Subaru Outback with Check Engine Light [haljordan1]
Jan 29, 2010 (6:20 pm)
The OEM Oxygen Sensor is around $100 for the front, $135 for the rear. Add in an hour or so for reading the code and scoping the sensor output. Good diagnostics include making sure that this is really the cause, and not something that is simply fingering it as the cause! Change the sensor, rescope to be sure it works, then test drive and read the codes again to be sure that it hasn't logged a new pending code that will throw a CEL two days from now.
Add it up, and I'd say you are north of 2 bills!
#175 of 406 CEL Catalytic Converter
Jan 30, 2010 (11:13 am)
I have a 2002 Outback and the check engine light has been on for a couple of years now. This year, my mechanic said that it will no longer pass emissions testing and I have to resolve the issue. His code pointed to the catalytic converter, but he said that I need to have the dealer do it because he's replaced a bunch of them and the CEL comes back on. After reading the thread above, I'm reluctant to pay $1200 to replace the catalytic converter if that is not really the problem. How will I know before spending the money? And is this a common problem? Thanks.
#176 of 406 Re: CEL Catalytic Converter [frogzone]
Jan 30, 2010 (2:53 pm)
I could write a book on this subject, but don't have time to elaborate today. Basically, I personally don't like simple code readers because they tell you little, leaving you to guess what to fix. A computer scanner gives you snapshot data of the events logged at the same time surrounding the throwing of the code. Plus OBD realtime monitoring under operating conditions (plotting RPM, load, temps, throttle position, front and rear O2 sensor output voltage, etc.) provide solid data that can pinpoint the probable cause of fault. Finally, the dealer can tap directly into the O2 sensor wiring and scope the output to confirm that the wiring back to the ECM is OK. It could be an ECM mental problem, an oxygen sensor issue, an inefficient cat, or even something as simple as a temperature sensor calibration that is allowing the system to switch from open loop to closed loop too early and logging a code before the cat is fully warmed up.
Your local mechanic is smart. Without the proper tools, he can only begin changing things and hope for the best. You'll pay more at the dealer, but they then have to warranty their work.
#177 of 406 Re: 2001 Subaru Outback with Check Engine Light [haljordan1]
Jan 30, 2010 (3:00 pm)
All things considered both issues are resolved and you spent a lot less than I expected, so call it good.