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Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Wagon
#193 of 406 Check engine light on/over heating issue
Mar 15, 2010 (10:29 am)
I have a 1998 Subaru Legacy Outback. It has about 250 000 km on it. Lately I have been having an issue with the coolant system - here is what has happened:
Jan 1 2010: Radiator leaking - I replaced the whole unit with a new one.
Feb 3 2010: Engine was miss firing and would not idle. I noticed a cable was hanging loose under the car. Once I secured the cable back into place - the car operated fine. I am not sure what this cable was - but it was located just in front of the front left tire, just beside the exhaust manifold, just aft of the radiator (perhaps the knock sensor?)
Feb 20: The temperature gauge went to high (after a long drive) - yet the engine was operating normaly, coolant levels normal, temperaure felt fine.
Feb 21: Went to the car in the morning, all the coolant in reserve tank was gone. Went to a mechanic and they could not find any leaks or any problems with the car - the temperature was back to normal.
March 3: Temperature went back to high (after a long drive). Took it to a mechanic and they replaced the temp. gauge.
March 10: Temperature shot up again (after about 60 km) and the mechanic played around with the new temperature gauge - have not had a problem with the temperature since.
March 14: Car started normally, but was surging during acceleration. I went under the car and noticed that the cable (that I referenced earlier) was about 1 mm loose - I pushed it back in and the car operated normally.
My question is: Why is my car continuously over heating? No mechanic nor I can seem to figure out what the problem is. Is there any relation to this sensor cable becoming loose and the enginer over heating? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
#194 of 406 Re: Check engine light on/over heating issue [poyntons]
Mar 15, 2010 (11:30 am)
Could be head gaskets, an issue not uncommon for that year.
Have the mechanic to a compression test on the cylinders.
#195 of 406 Re: Check engine light on/over heating issue [poyntons]
Mar 15, 2010 (2:50 pm)
Sounds like two different problems?
As AJ said, the missing coolant and the temp rise after highway speed are often listed complaints that turn out to be related to a head gasket failure.
The mystery wire and engine performance??? Can you get us a photo so we can see where this is plugged in & routed? Or ask your mechanic what it is? '98 Outback = EJ25 series one (DOHC) engine. Front of the engine just behind the radiator, low, drivers side... cam position sensor, maybe? Knock sensor (at least on later engines) is up top on the block.
#196 of 406 Re: Check engine light on/over heating issue [fibber2]
Mar 15, 2010 (5:02 pm)
No, cam position sensor is on top as well, though it is on the driver side.
Mar 17, 2010 (6:00 am)
Thanks for the help guys,
I managed to get a few pictures of the sensor - remember it is just in front of the front left tire, just aft of the radiator, right of the exhaust manifold (can see that on left of picture) and to the left of the oil pan.
there is 3 pictures at this link
I will get a compression check on the car soon - and let you ppl know the results
#198 of 406 Re: pictures [poyntons]
Mar 17, 2010 (10:39 am)
Oh.... haha! That is not a sensor at all; that is a block heater. If you follow the cord that came unplugged, it should terminate in a three-pronged plug that is not attached to anything.
I find it interesting that your car behaved differently after you reattached it, given its role is strictly for warming the engine block when the car is off.
Maybe there is a grounding issue with the car? It is possible that the cord on the block heater is worn or the end plug is touching metal and makes for a better ground....
#199 of 406 Re: pictures [xwesx]
Mar 17, 2010 (7:29 pm)
Glad you recognized that, Wes. It left me scratching my head, further accelerating my balding condition!
#200 of 406 Re: pictures [fibber2]
Mar 18, 2010 (5:59 am)
Talked to my mechanic, he did indeed confirm it was my block heater - which I almost didn't believe! But apparently it was all just a coincidence about the cord and my engine performance. We unplugged it and drove on it - nothing at all. I think my mechanic thinks I am a little crazy. Anyways, I hope that solves everyone's concerns - I don't want to be responsible for anyone going bald!
My mechanic thinks its the head gasket - so I will just ride the car until the whole thing goes - then drop in a new engine (hopefully).
Both times my car was running funny was on a rainy day (and I thought it was the block heater) - could moisture effect my car in such a way?
#201 of 406 Re: pictures [poyntons]
Mar 18, 2010 (6:42 am)
Moisture can be a huge factor when it comes to electronics, especially high voltage components like the coil pack and wires. A little carbon mixed with water becomes a great second channel conductor. I found a corroded connection between a single plug wire and the pack (located just in front of the air cleaner box) on a rainy day. If things are bad enough, you can sometimes even see the discharge. But even the basic 12v wire connections can give you trouble if they are loose or becoming corroded, and damp days can bring out the worst.
Interesting enough (and my daughter whom I take to school every day commented on it), my '02 pulls the hill just off my driveway the best on a damp, misty morning. It tends to shudder a bit when cold and pushed to climb, yet on a wet day it is smooth and willing. Some people swear by water injection, and I think there might be something to it.
Oh, and thanks for your concern about the ever growing bald spot!
#202 of 406 Re: pictures [fibber2]
Mar 18, 2010 (10:33 am)
You might also consider cleaning the mass airflow sensor (large sensor located just "downstream" of the air filter). When it gets a little dirty/dusty, it can give faulty feedback in wet/damp conditions. They are very easy to clean - just shoot it with carburetor cleaner.