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Old 07-21-2006, 07:46 PM   #1
juckstapose
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Default My Mechanic is Scratching His Head - Please Help!

Okay, so my car is running really bad. Basically when I start it up, it runs pretty well until it's warmed up and on the highway and then it starts stumbling and hesitating pretty badly. If I get stuck in traffic and have to start and stop, it runs so badly that it wants to stall almost every time I start.

I took it to my shop and they replaced the injectors. That didn't solve the problem, but the data does look better now. He also tried replacing other stuff that he could return if it didn't work, including the coil pack, MAP and O2's. If the fuel return line is pinched off, the car runs much better (or at leasts idles better, I didn't drive it like that). He doesn't know where else to go with it other than the fuel pressure regulator, which he doesn't want to replace at this point and put me out more cash if it doesn't work. He also says that he doesn't have the diagnostic stuff necessary to fully diagnose the problem, meaning tht he needs stuff that only Subaru has.

I am looking for two kinds of advice here. A) any suggestions on what could be the problem, that he/we are not thinking of and B) do I go to the stealership and have them take a crook, I mean look. There is an excellent shop about 1.5 hours away, but it's not totally convenient to get to right now for obvious reasons. Oh, and I am in Baltimore, so any possible suggestions for a more experienced wrench that is a little closer would be helpful.

Sorry for the long post... I am happy providing more info!

Also, I should say that the data revealed that the car was essentially running too rich and then too lean in rapid but random order.

And, duh for me, it's a 2000 RS.
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Last edited by juckstapose; 07-21-2006 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 07-21-2006, 07:53 PM   #2
damonmlime
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oversensitive coolant temp sensor? I've never had one go bad on a sube (and I dont know if it would even affect anything)Maybe you could try to change that. I'm sure you've done fuel filter and all that stuff, right?
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:01 PM   #3
SOLUTION
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Is there a CEL light on? That is a classic front O2 sensor problem.... A bad knock sensor could also be the issue.
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:01 PM   #4
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Check vacume hoses, sparkplug wires, air filter, fuel filter,
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
oversensitive coolant temp sensor? I've never had one go bad on a sube (and I dont know if it would even affect anything)Maybe you could try to change that. I'm sure you've done fuel filter and all that stuff, right?
Checked - good idea, that was my thought as well.

Quote:
Is there a CEL light on? That is a classic front O2 sensor problem.... A bad knock sensor could also be the issue.
Also thought it may be O2, but he replaced all (I think there are only two). Don't know if he checked the knock sensor, but I would imagine that he did. I will remind him about that on Monday.

Quote:
Check vacume hoses, sparkplug wires, air filter, fuel filter,
Checked, replaced, replaced, replaced (just had 60K service).

Keep it coming, please, I am in quite a bind here!
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:10 PM   #6
SCOOBY2.5RS
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Maby the spart plug wires are getting old and getting grounded against the engine block! sounds simple, but it just might be it!
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:25 PM   #7
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do we have a schrader valve on our fuel lines? I'm at work so I can't go out and look, but if your car does, check fuel pressure. You said it yourself, when the return line is pinched(creating a restriction which would increase line pressure) it idles better.
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:40 PM   #8
juckstapose
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Forgive my ignorance, but I have no idea what a schrader valve is. Anybody else want to weigh in on this one?
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Old 07-21-2006, 09:53 PM   #9
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no schraders on subes, must use inline pressure guage.


it sounds like the front 02 (know as the a/f sensor to the dealer) is bad. the thing is, if it is bad, or the wires as posted above (good thinking btw) are grounding out, which is very likely due to problem occuring when hot, would set a code and the cel will illuminate. in the case of the wires it may even blink if the missfire is bad enough to damage the cats. pinching off the return line is compensating for a lean condition, which is tricking it into working better. an exhaust leak before the front sensor can also cause this, causes sample dilution at the sensor.

but anyway rule of thumb on subes:

happens cold it's injectors or valve clearance
happens hot or under a load it's secondary ignition breakdown
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:02 PM   #10
juckstapose
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrinderAK
no schraders on subes, must use inline pressure guage.


it sounds like the front 02 (know as the a/f sensor to the dealer) is bad. the thing is, if it is bad, or the wires as posted above (good thinking btw) are grounding out, which is very likely due to problem occuring when hot, would set a code and the cel will illuminate. in the case of the wires it may even blink if the missfire is bad enough to damage the cats. pinching off the return line is compensating for a lean condition, which is tricking it into working better. an exhaust leak before the front sensor can also cause this, causes sample dilution at the sensor.

but anyway rule of thumb on subes:

happens cold it's injectors or valve clearance
happens hot or under a load it's secondary ignition breakdown
Good info and ideas there. My mechanic replaced the o2's (and then took them out because they didn't solve the problem). The wires are also brand new as of last week or so. I am not sure that he tried checking for exhaust leaks. Is there any simple way to do that? I could try it tomorrow if there is. I had also considered this possibility, but it just seemed too simple

I am glad that you mentioned CEL's because that also reminds me - I have had misfire codes in all 4 cylinders.

Can you elaborate on "secondary ignition breakdown"?

Thanks for all of the great responses, guys and gals, keep it coming!
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:03 PM   #11
Tim Sanderson
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the 2000 rs does not have a schrader valve to monitor fuel pressure(juckstapose, it looks like a tire valve stem).

How long has it been having these issues?
How many miles are on the car?
You did not answer whether your check engine light is on or not, is it?
Is this an automatic or manual transmission?

Answer all of these questions please.
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:21 PM   #12
juckstapose
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Sanderson
the 2000 rs does not have a schrader valve to monitor fuel pressure(juckstapose, it looks like a tire valve stem).

How long has it been having these issues?
How many miles are on the car?
You did not answer whether your check engine light is on or not, is it?
Is this an automatic or manual transmission?

Answer all of these questions please.

Officially, the car has been having bad issues for a couple or few weeks.
65K-ish.
CEL is not on now because it has been cleared twice. I have had simultaneous codes for all four cylinder misfires
Oh, and it's manual, thank you for asking.

I think that this problem has been brewing for awhile. I feel like the car has been hesitating on the low end and getting worse slowly, until one day - BAM! Seems like it got really bad overnight. It started out almost like turbo lag, now it's like the car is run by an intricate system of bizarre, mischevious, little gnomes.
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:22 PM   #13
gtwagon941
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As of today my stumbling, rough idle and poor running car was fixed. I replaced the alternator. sounds very strange, but after trying basically everything the original poster tried I had the alternator tested today. Under any sort of load it was below 12V.

Replaced the alternator and so far sooooo good. Smooth idle and no hic-ups or stumbling.

If the coal pack and/or ECU isn't getting enough voltage it won't run properly, which helps to explain why I had a permanant CEL (P301 and P303, usually).

.02

Jared
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Old 07-21-2006, 11:05 PM   #14
Patrick Olsen
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From what you've said so far it does seem like the fuel pressure regulator is a possible cause. I think I've got an extra in my garage, or you could go to Crazy Ray's U-pull-it and find one. I go to the one in Jessup, MD (a bit SW of Baltimore) and I know they have a couple BD/BG Legacys - basically the same engine so the FPR is probably the same.
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Old 07-21-2006, 11:18 PM   #15
yarrgh
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From the symptoms, it does sound more mechanical than electrical(alternator being mech). Mechanical problems(things wearing out from movement) tend to slowly wear out then fail whereas electrical systems tend to fail w/o warning(wire shorting out)
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Old 07-21-2006, 11:29 PM   #16
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So you call dealerships crooks, but the guy that doesn't know what he is doing, spending all of your money throwing parts on the car isn't? I work at a dealership and I've seen this way to many times. People think they are saving money by taking it to "Bob's fix-it-all" and end up spending twice as much there than at the dealership.

So I'm going to go with option B and take it to the dealership. Factory trained certified technicians know more than shadetree mechanics and most interweb technicians. I'm pretty sure they will have the problem figured out within 1.5-2 hours tops.
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Old 07-22-2006, 10:32 AM   #17
juckstapose
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Quote:
From what you've said so far it does seem like the fuel pressure regulator is a possible cause. I think I've got an extra in my garage, or you could go to Crazy Ray's U-pull-it and find one. I go to the one in Jessup, MD (a bit SW of Baltimore) and I know they have a couple BD/BG Legacys - basically the same engine so the FPR is probably the same.
I had pondered going to Crazy Ray's. I have never been to a junk yard before though. Sounds like it should be a pretty easy fix if it is the fuel pressure regulator. Any tips, Patrick?
Quote:
So you call dealerships crooks, but the guy that doesn't know what he is doing, spending all of your money throwing parts on the car isn't? I work at a dealership and I've seen this way to many times. People think they are saving money by taking it to "Bob's fix-it-all" and end up spending twice as much there than at the dealership.
I have also thought about this angle. I have been through 3 of the 5 service departments that are local to Baltimore for warranty stuff. I hated 2 of the 3 that I have been to. The third is where I will go if I do wind up going that route. I understand what you are saying, but I have seen many people get taken through the cleaners and then sold new cars at dealerships. I definately DO NOT think that they are all that way, it's just that I don't have one that I completely trust in the area. The fact that the dealerships have way more know-how than my shadetree cuts both ways - that's all I am saying

I am thinking about the alternator, could you tell me more about your symptoms gtwagon?
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Old 07-22-2006, 02:35 PM   #18
Patrick Olsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juckstapose
I had pondered going to Crazy Ray's. I have never been to a junk yard before though. Sounds like it should be a pretty easy fix if it is the fuel pressure regulator. Any tips, Patrick?
I was just at the Jessup one again today. They've got about a 1/2 dozen BD/BG cars, plus a couple/few GC/GF Imprezas. You pay $1 to get into the yard, go find what you want, pull it apart (bring your own tools), and then pay for it on your way out. A FPR would probably cost you $10-15 would be my guess. You could also get an alternator (a couple of the cars still have complete engines in them), probably $20-30 for that I would guess. Might be more. If I were going to replace an alternator, though, I'd be inclined to get one from the dealer (or one of the Subaru dealers that sells stuff at lower prices online) or maybe a reman one from Advance or Autozone or whatever, just so I'd have a warranty on it.

All of the imports at the Jessup Crazy Ray's are back and to the right. So you come through the office (where you pay) and walk straight down the dirt track. GM cars will be on your left, Ford cars on your right. You'll cross over a little bridge and find all the SUVs/pickups on your left, and the imports are on your right. Once you've turned right to face into the import section, all the way back in the far left corner, up against a fence, is a white BG Outback. Past the section of trees right in the middle at the back is a maroon BD Legacy. Also back by those trees, towards the right is a white '96 2.5GT wagon (with the right side propped up about 4' off the ground, someone must've taken the tranny but I think it still had an engine in it). The 2.5GT obviously has a 2.5L in it, and I think the Outback wagon should be a 2.5L, but the rest I think are just 2.2Ls, so I don't know if the FPR would be right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solbey11
So you call dealerships crooks, but the guy that doesn't know what he is doing, spending all of your money throwing parts on the car isn't?
I could be wrong, but since he said the guy was trying stuff that he could take back off if it didn't fix it, it seems to me he's not paying for all the parts being used to troubleshoot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solbey11
I work at a dealership and I've seen this way to many times. People think they are saving money by taking it to "Bob's fix-it-all" and end up spending twice as much there than at the dealership.

So I'm going to go with option B and take it to the dealership. Factory trained certified technicians know more than shadetree mechanics and most interweb technicians. I'm pretty sure they will have the problem figured out within 1.5-2 hours tops.
I've had too many bad experiences with dealerships to really believe that. Ford, Mercedes, Subaru, Volvo, Mitsubishi all over the country - FL, CT, MD, HI - it's always the same BS. When I think back now to what I used to pay to have stuff done to my car (before I started learning to do things myself) I shudder.

Pat

Last edited by Patrick Olsen; 07-22-2006 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 07-22-2006, 05:12 PM   #19
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^^^ I know there are bad dealerships out there and a lot of times I forget that. But I can honestly say I have never intentionally ripped anybody off where I work. One bad experience from one customer may cost us many customers, so I do whatever I can to be honest and make things right. But the one thing that annoys me the most are peoples personal mechanics. I guess they don't think we do general service work, so they always come to us for warranty only. Then when we tell them about all the things their mechanic isn't doing, they get mad at us??? We are the experts, not their universal mechanic.
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Old 07-22-2006, 09:11 PM   #20
juckstapose
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Thanks for the response. I pulled out my manual and tried some troubleshooting of my own. I was unsuccessful, so I bit the bullet and took it to the dealer after my friend mentioned test driving cars for herself. (I love test driving, actually, who doesn't?) Jones Junction up in Bel Air treated me really well, as I suspected they might. They were very friendly and accomodating. Their deprtment was open until 8:00 on a Saturday (good to know next time I need weekend parts). They took my car back pretty quickly and had an answer in about 1.25 hours. MAF sensor - $252.51 later, my car ran fine all the way home. It is still not revving right, but that's not what I complained about and is probably a separate, and at this point negligable, issue anyway.

On the new car - $310/month for the special edition OBS - not bad for her, she was at $274 for her '04 Golf with 0% APR. Purchase price was $19,600 - I wish I had researched a little better before going, but it was spur of the moment.

Anyway, all is well that seems to end well. Thanks again for the Crazy Ray's info, I would still like to go - even if it is just to look for side view mirrors for another friend's Volkswagen. Did you happen to see any 98-06 VW's there?

Oh, and I am a she, not a he
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Old 07-22-2006, 10:52 PM   #21
Patrick Olsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juckstapose
Oh, and I am a she, not a he
Ohhhh, snap! Are you hot? Single? Do you like men in uniform?

Seems weird to me that the CELs you had were for misfires, but then the dealer diagnosed that the MAF was bad. But, if it's running right... I guess they were right.

Pat
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Old 07-23-2006, 08:59 AM   #22
solbey11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juckstapose
Thanks for the response. I pulled out my manual and tried some troubleshooting of my own. I was unsuccessful, so I bit the bullet and took it to the dealer after my friend mentioned test driving cars for herself. (I love test driving, actually, who doesn't?) Jones Junction up in Bel Air treated me really well, as I suspected they might. They were very friendly and accomodating. Their deprtment was open until 8:00 on a Saturday (good to know next time I need weekend parts). They took my car back pretty quickly and had an answer in about 1.25 hours. MAF sensor - $252.51 later, my car ran fine all the way home. It is still not revving right, but that's not what I complained about and is probably a separate, and at this point negligable, issue anyway.
I told you they would find it! The only thing I'm wondering though is you said they put a MAF in it and you have a 2000 RS. Only the 98-99's were MAF based. The 00-01's were MAP cars.
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Old 07-23-2006, 06:10 PM   #23
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Quote:
The only thing I'm wondering though is you said they put a MAF in it and you have a 2000 RS. Only the 98-99's were MAF based. The 00-01's were MAP cars.
Ah, thank you for your correction. I knew MAP, but looked in my manual to reference what the repair order said and got MAF because it's for pre-MAP Legacy's.

And, no, Pat, I am not single... what is it about men who love cars loving women who love cars, anyway? I thought it was weird that the MAP sensor was the problem as well, but, hey I am no tech and don't have any fancy computers other than my collection of Macs

Thanks everybody for all of your help and input - the good thing is that I can now say that my car is in excellent shape otherwise, since my mechanic checked pretty much everything. Don't know why they didn't test the MAP sensor manually though since we talked about it, but all's well that ends well.
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Old 07-23-2006, 09:03 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Olsen
I've had too many bad experiences with dealerships to really believe that. Ford, Mercedes, Subaru, Volvo, Mitsubishi all over the country - FL, CT, MD, HI - it's always the same BS. When I think back now to what I used to pay to have stuff done to my car (before I started learning to do things myself) I shudder.

Pat
QFT
I was having stalling issues after warm up while stopped. Took it to the dealer......bad IAC that'll be $800 please. They called me and asked if I wanted it fixed, but never gave me a price over the phone. I told them to keep the car because it wasn't worth that much money. After some back and forth they agree to take the part off and only charge me for the diagnostic fee. I get the car back with the "faulty" part and no more stalling.

I now do all my own work and get most parts from the local pull-a-part. Hell, I bought a TB with IAC for less than $30 and the dealer list prce for the IAC alone is $600.
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