Last post on Mar 07, 2013 at 10:38 AM
You are in the Subaru Legacy & Outback
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Subaru Legacy, Subaru Outback, Wagon
#44 of 406 Boy, am I glad to see this thread....
Feb 02, 2008 (3:11 pm)
I happen to have a 2005 Legacy wagon, same as one of the posters here - 19,000 miles on the 2.5 engine. The CEL came on, followed by the blinking cruise. I bought my car used (do I still have the power train warranty, or do I 'lose' that since it's used, not through a dealer?). I tried having the OBD II scanner, but maybe the shops' wasn't updated; no codes were read. I've been doing some searching on the net, and one site notes that Subarus use a bit different code - they recommended an OBD II with VAT. I'd be curious - do I need to go that route - but am re-assured some here have had success with the less expensive units.
I bought this car based on what I'd thought was a stellar reputation for the company. Am I confused on that point (I've been reading a lot of folks saying Subaru is famous for 'issues' such as this - I'm not looking for another 'dependent', if ya know what I mean).
I've checked my gas cap; I haven't checked my fuses. I expect I'm wasting my time until I get an OBD II readout - correct?
#45 of 406 Re: Boy, am I glad to see this thread.... [georgejung]
Feb 03, 2008 (9:13 am)
the factory warranty is good regardless of where you purchased it or how many owners it has had. 3/36 bumper to bumper , 5/60 powertrain. yours should still be covered. you will have to go to a dealer for the work though.
#46 of 406 Re: Boy, am I glad to see this thread.... [cptplt]
Feb 03, 2008 (7:39 pm)
Thanks for the info, cptpit. I'll check tomorrow, see when I can get it in for an evaluation.
BTW, I've been reading a lot about different OBD II scanners; most that I've checked on claim that the Subaru needs one that also has VAG (don't know what that stands for, but apparently reads more codes). I have the 2.5 normally aspirated engine; any suggestions on which I should purchase? (It'd be nice to be able to at least get an idea, for future reference, what's wrong before hauling into the dealership.) Thanks.
#47 of 406 Re: Boy, am I glad to see this thread.... [georgejung]
Feb 04, 2008 (12:45 pm)
VAG = Volkwagon Auto Group, maybe?
#48 of 406 CEL Horrors - 2002 Outback Base Wagon
Feb 04, 2008 (7:33 pm)
I'll start off this post by saying that the dealer's service department that I have been using acknowledges that they have never seen a series of Check Engine Light (CEL) problems like the ones they have seen with my vehicle. I'm hoping that that is not simply a diplomatic way of saying I have a lemon (perhaps the only one on the roadways of Colorado).
Let me give a little history of these problems so that I can get your collective thoughts on whether they are all related and symptomatic of a larger or missed problem or simply unfortunate isolated incidents.
My 2002 Outback Wagon is the base model with a standard 4 cyl. engine, automatic transmission. It currently has approx. 93k miles on it.
Back in late 2005, when I had approx. 51k miles on the vehicle, I started getting constant Check Engine lights. The dealer pulled a Code P0420 and started off by replacing a Fuel (or Oxygen) Sensor. (The dealer indicated that these were the same things.) When the CELs persisted approx. 2500 miles later, and the same code reappeared, the dealer replaced the catalytic converter. I went 15k more miles and the problem resurfaced - same code. The dealer cleared the computer and told me to drive on it some more. At 73787 miles, when the CEL and same P0420 code came back, the dealer replaced the same fuel/Oxygen sensor. Then, at 76874 (now February 2007) -- same code came back and the dealer put in a new catalytic converter.
Up to this point, I simply got constant CELs and it did not really affect driving performance in any perceptible way. That changed this past fall, when I noticed that the vehicle would sputter and I would get intermittent engine vibrations, usually at idle or low RPM. Occasionally, the vibrations and sputtering would get more intense and sometimes at higher RPM (e.g. 2k). I also noticed that I would typically see the problems when the weather turned colder and in stop-and-go traffic or at higher altitudes (in the mountains at 9000 feet and above). The CEL would blink for 20-30 seconds and then turn constant.
When I brought the car to the dealer in November with approx. 89k miles, at first they could not pull a code, and simply cleared the computer. The problem reappeared and technicians were able to pull a code: P0302 (cyl. 2 misfire). I was up for my 90K service, so that was done, replacing the spark plugs, and I also had them do a fuel injector flush at their recommendation.
My problems came back in about 2 weeks and less than 2000 miles. This time the technicians pulled a P0420 code. They cleared the computer, told me to drive it some more, but warned that if the code came back I would be due for my fourth catalytic converter.
The same symptoms persisted but when I brought the vehicle back to the dealer in late January, with approx. 93k, the techs pulled a P0302 code (the cyl 2 misfire) again. At their recommendation, I had the ignition coil assembly and ignition wires replaced. Although it was not documented, the technician also told me he did a comprehension test, which came back with normal results. They told me to use better gasoline and drive on it.
The same problems -- engine sputtering/engine vibs, blinking CELs, etc. - came back within a week and less than 200 miles (using the better grade gasoline). The tech who worked on my car confessed that he was not sure whether the new coils and wires would solve the problem but all that the dealer can offer at this point is the recommendation that I continue to drive on it and keep putting in better grades of gasoline. Otherwise, they are out of ideas. (The service manager confessed that he did not think gasoline quality was really the issue.)
So the short questions I have following this long post are these: Are the problems interrelated? Has something been overlooked? (A friend mentioned that loose connections with the air filter may be a culprit.) Any thoughts on what steps to take next?
I would be grateful for any suggestions or advice.
#49 of 406 Re: CEL Horrors - 2002 Outback Base Wagon [tompaine]
Feb 05, 2008 (7:35 am)
ignition coil assembly and ignition wires replaced
I would have tried that sooner. The cat was probably a symptom of unburned fuel making its way past the cylinders that were misfiring.
This case is far beyond my knowledge, but they have to try to find the cause rather than continue treating the symptoms.
#50 of 406 Re: CEL Horrors - 2002 Outback Base Wagon [ateixeira]
Feb 05, 2008 (6:49 pm)
Hmm, seems like it could be a vacum leak, intake manifold gasket leak, intake leak of some kind. That would be my guess at this point.
Motorsports and Modifications Host
#51 of 406 Re: CEL Horrors - 2002 Outback Base Wagon [paisan]
Feb 07, 2008 (7:51 am)
Thanks for all your views to date. These are things that the dealer techs did not mention before. I appreciate your thoughts on this.
#52 of 406 Re: CEL Horrors - 2002 Outback Base Wagon [tompaine]
Feb 08, 2008 (3:07 pm)
Just an update. I looked diligently for enough information on 'which OBD tool does it take' to evaluate my 2005 Legacy wagon (2.5i), without too much success. Seems there are multiple options, and no guarantee which would do the job, with OBDII probably covering most of the emissions questions, but some other scanners dedicated to 'most' (but not all - esp WRX etc) Subarus. My small town, local autoparts stores wouldn't let me 'see' if the scanners they carried would work, without purchase, and they were pretty elementary scanners; from what I'd read, a scanner that allowed updates to the programs, and 'live assessment' of functions, seemed the best approach. So..... I took my car into one mechanic, whos' OBD II wouldn't read the codes. Then tried another - and his worked fine, indicating a bad oxygen sensor (?front one?). $160 plus labor. He suggested I call the nearest Subaru dealer - 150 miles away - to see if the drive train warranty would cover it. I did. It doesn't (though I'm still good on drivetrain to 80,000 miles). Seems the warranty on the sensors ran out about a year ago (I bought this car used - haven't 'needed to know' about the warranty before this!)
Seems I can buy an extended warranty, if I wish - but not for the sensors! ECU covered to 80K too.
So, I'll get this fixed, but I really should learn how to check/change the sensors myself, I suspect - if anyone can recommend an OBD II that they've successively used on a 2.5 engine, I'd love to hear it. And maybe a shop manual - ?Edmunds? - Any thoughts? Thanks.
#53 of 406 Re: CEL Horrors - 2002 Outback Base Wagon [georgejung]
Feb 08, 2008 (4:29 pm)
On the 2005 models, you need to have an OBDII scanner that is CAN compliant. Most manufacturers switched to CAN around 2004, if I recall correctly. I am sure Mike (paisan) can clarify this.
I find Haynes manuals very helpful for maintenance, even very in-depth maintenance, but I am not sure if one is available for a Subaru as new as 2005. Looking on Amazon, there is one for Legacy/Forester 200-2006. Wow; quite a range! I imagine it is good for most of the basic stuff.