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Old 12-27-2001, 03:36 AM   #1
sajohnson
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Default WRX CEL's and ECU Reprogramming

See the many posts on this subject in "WRX Check Engine Light Log". In particular code#1443.

It seems that, depending on the dealer, some WRX owners are getting blown off completely while others are getting free loaner vehicles while their ECU is sent to be 'reprogrammed'. My dealer has been good so far but claims there is "no problem" as far as SOA is concerned and no Tech Bulletin. I've had two 1443 CEL's so far and the only work that's been done (other than resetting the CEL) was to clean the Vent Control Solenoid connector and pack it with grease.

WHAT's UP? Is this one of those "hidden recalls". Is there a problem or not?

Why are different vehicles receiving different treatment? I attempted to contact SOA about this issue but did not get a response.

My WRX has also had a stumble on acceleration since it was new and I'm now wondering if it is related to the ECU problem.
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Old 12-27-2001, 01:14 PM   #2
ANZAC_1915
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Is the stumble at 5,000 RPM on WOT?

Check out the WRX CEL thread.
http://www.i-club.com/forums/showthr...threadid=36779

Your dealer just needs to call the SOA tech line and get a clue.

Glenn
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Old 12-27-2001, 03:05 PM   #3
sajohnson
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Default Thank You Glenn

Dealer claimed that the Tech Line offered no info. This was a couple months ago. BS?
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Old 12-27-2001, 04:44 PM   #4
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The fix is pretty well communicated now to dealers, you should perhaps give them a try.

Don't bother calling/mailing SOA, they'll just say "take it to the dealer if you have a concern".

Glenn
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Old 12-27-2001, 05:52 PM   #5
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On a somewhat related matter, my WRX is supposed to be going in to the dealer on Jan 2nd and my ECM is being removed, sent to SOA for "recalibration" and then reinstalled.

I've had 5 P0457 CELs in the last month which was apparently due to a loose "drain valve" which was fixed, but they're telling me the ECM will still need to be recalibrated (sounds like BS to me) but I do keep getting the CEL even after the drain valve leak was detected.

So I'm getting a "recalibrated" ECM from SOA (whatever that means.)

I'm going to call SOA and see if I can get a detailed description of exactly what they believe is wrong, why the ECM needs recalibrating and try and find out if they do anything more to the ECM.

Once I get the car back I'm going to purposefully run the car with the fuel cap off to see if I can trip the code and make sure their "fix" isn't to just disable that code, that's fair game I say.

- Richard

p.s. while it's there I'm thinking they can replace the clutch pressure plates too!
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Old 12-29-2001, 05:42 AM   #6
sajohnson
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Default SOA and Dealer Being Evasive About ECU Reprogramming

I spoke with "Deloria" at SOA and the service manager at Fred. Motor Co. in a conference call today. Basically, they were both evasive but they admitted that *some* WRX's have an ECU problem. They refused to tell me under what circumstances an owner would get his computer reprogrammed. "There may be a service bulletin but it doesn't relate to all WRX's". "The dealer won't mention a tech bulletin to the customer until the customer mentions the proper symptoms". Etc, etc. Deloria did promise to send a e-mail to the "tech support" dept. but said that they may not respond, and if they did it would only be to her. The whole conversation was very strange. I felt like I was talking to politicians--they never really answered my main question: "Why are some WRX owners getting free loaner cars while their ECU's are sent to SOA for "reprogramming", while others are blown off"?

I then called a different local Subaru dealer and spoke with their service manager who seemed like a nice guy. He said they've only been a Subaru dealer for 6 weeks so he's been to a lot of SOA classes. He said there is DEFINITELY a problem with some WRX ECU's--so much so that within 6 months SOA plans to have reprogramming equipment at all their dealerships! He seemed honest and said that not all WRX's need ECU reprogramming and therefore Subaru is keeping quiet--they don't want every WRX owner insisting on an unnecessary reprogram. He said he would be happy to look at mine though and would have no problem sending the ECU in as long as he could cover his butt with SOA.

The bottom line is, I do not like being lied to, or having information withheld from me by any company, let alone one that I have paid $23,000. Most WRX owners are car people. We understand that no vehicle is perfect. We also are capable of understanding that there are problems that may not affect all WRX's. But when information is withheld, when company reps start getting 'cagey', then I start to get suspicious.

Last edited by sajohnson; 12-29-2001 at 05:47 AM.
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Old 12-29-2001, 12:47 PM   #7
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So have you had a CEL?

I doubt your drivability problems relate to the ECU. The things the reflash cures is "errant" CELs, codes that shouldn't have been triggered in the first place.

You didn't answer my question about the stumble: what RPM, what gear, what throttle setting, etc.

Glenn
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Old 12-29-2001, 03:09 PM   #8
sajohnson
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Default CEL's

Yes, I have had two CEL's that were reset at the dealer. Both were code#1443. First time they cleaned the vent control solenoid connector and packed it with dielectric grease. Second time they just reset it. The third CEL self reset.

The stumble is primarily when the enginge is not fully warm under moderate acceleration in 2nd and 3rd gears at approx. 3,500-4,000 rmp and again at 4,500 rpm. It also happens when the engine is fully warmed up though is usually less pronounced.

I will get back to you with more precise details.
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Old 12-30-2001, 02:24 AM   #9
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The hesitation when cold is probably the TGVs (tumble generator valves). This is "normal". Just wait until the car is warm before using too much gas. They are fully open once the car is warm.

Glenn
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Old 12-30-2001, 03:26 AM   #10
Alan
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Has anyone considered that the modified ECU program has been installed in any car that is newer than a certain date. Therefore if your car was made after July or August, perhaps you allready have the latest firmware, so there's no reason to reprogram your ECU.

Subaru did mine after only one P1443 code, but my car was from the first allocation delivered in March.
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Old 12-30-2001, 04:50 AM   #11
Kenneth2000
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I'm with Alan... makes sense...

You know what I think would be cool... all the people who have had CELS, should go back to their original post in the CEL LOG thread, and enter the MFG DAte of their car in the same thread... (the one that shows on the inside of the door)

It could possibly give a reader an idea if there is a certain mfg. date issue for certain problems... etc....

I'll go enter mine tomorrow.....just for the heck of it.....
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Old 12-30-2001, 04:53 AM   #12
sajohnson
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Good suggestion, kenneth2000. Thank you.
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Old 12-30-2001, 12:40 PM   #13
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Yeah, my new car is a much later build date and no CELs at all.

Glenn
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Old 12-31-2001, 10:27 AM   #14
Barry
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Evidently some dealers are reprogramming at their shops. Follow this thread.



http://www.i-club.com/forums/showthr...hreadid=129647

Barry
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Old 01-09-2002, 02:24 AM   #15
sajohnson
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Default ECU reprogram update

I took my WRX into the dealer again on Monday, 1-7-02. The story has changed. After showing them several posts from the "CEL Log" that reported WRX's with CEL's due to code #1443 getting their ECU's reprogrammed, they called the SOA Tech Line again. This time they were told to send my ECU in to be reflashed. They claimed a 48 hour turn-around time. Supposedly, this is an *indication* problem only, as Glen said. In other words, the ECU reports a fault when there is nothing really wrong. The ECU is just too sensitive. Dealer said that an emissions test would show the same readings before and after the reflash. Also, they claim that the reprogramming has nothing to do with ignition timing, fuel delivery or boost and therefore would not affect performance at all, contrary to what some posts state.

Is this what others have been told?
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Old 01-09-2002, 09:01 PM   #16
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That agrees with how mine was dealt with, early allocation, first "1443 CEL" came on out of the blue at about 4000 miles with no drivability or perfomance issues.

I took it to a local dealer (not the one I bought it from by the way- they are too far away) they sent it in for re-programming and I had the car back on the 3rd day.
I fully expect that any cars built after June '01 would have this already fixed.
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Old 01-11-2002, 04:35 PM   #17
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I just got my second CEL, took it to the dealer and was told the ECM needed to be removed and sent to New Jersey to be reprogrammed. They said about 3 days and I would get a rental car while they took care of this.

brian
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Old 01-14-2002, 04:57 PM   #18
Bugsie1
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just got my car back after 5 days, ECM reprogrammed due to reappearing P0457 (Evap Leak)

Well whoopdy-do.... got another CEL after < 200 miles.

I'm meeting with the Regional Rep next Monday (21st Jan)

Seems to me that so far SOA have been more interested in trying the quick fix, on the cheap and at the customers inconvenience than actually taking interest in finding the source of the problem.

- Richard
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Old 01-15-2002, 03:04 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bugsie1
just got my car back after 5 days, ECM reprogrammed due to reappearing P0457 (Evap Leak). Well whoopdy-do.... got another CEL after < 200 miles.
EXACTLY the same thing just happened to me. I just got back from the dealer, and they found that the hose to the charcoal canister (rear passenger side) was loose (not off, but loose). Apparently the hoses are just on nipples and not held on by clamps or anything. The dealer put some plastic ties on, and was going to call the techline to see if there's some sort of trend with them coming off.

Nathan
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Old 01-16-2002, 04:37 AM   #20
Bugsie1
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Quote:
EXACTLY the same thing just happened to me.
Maybe it was even the same guy at SOA that made the decision to have both our ECMs reprogrammed... this kind of poor service makes me sick. I hope they're not still employing this idiot, god knows how many more ECMs have been/will be reprogrammed when it obviously isn't related to this problem and doesn't fix it.

I guess we'll find out soon enough if the poor hose design is the true cause of the recurring P0457 CELs, I'll check mine again and have them tied on this time too, if the code doesn't return then viola!

I'm so used to orange in my dashboard I'll almost miss it when it's gone.

- Richard.
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Old 01-16-2002, 10:30 PM   #21
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The dealer called me this afternoon and said that the Subaru techline had finally returned their call. Subaru said that in addition to putting hose ties on the hoses to the charcoal canister that they should also put them on some vaccum lines (I don't know which ones), which could also trigger the P0457 code if loose.
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Old 02-10-2002, 02:19 AM   #22
sajohnson
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Default Hey Glenn--Another Hesitation Question

OK, I can accept the cold stumble due to the tumble generator valves, but...

I also have the same hesitation when coming out of a slow, typical 90 degree right-hand turn in 2nd gear at 20-25 mph. Nothing radical, simply slowing for the turn, downshift to 2nd, turn, and then accelerate.

What I feel is a 'stumble', maybe 2-3 times, between 2,750 and 3,250 rpm. Throttle at maybe 2/3 open and engine FULLY warm (close to end of 46 mile commute).

Any ideas?
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Old 02-11-2002, 12:37 AM   #23
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Unhappy car problems

sajohnson: this kind of sounds like my cars problem. seems at part throttle in 3,4,and 5th gear i get the same stumble/hesitation...my dealer is stumped. they have had the car since last week thursday, still nothing and when i asked about a loaner...SOA does not allow that..its the only dealer with-in a 3hr drive...now that sucks...will see what they find tomorrow....
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Old 02-11-2002, 12:39 AM   #24
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forgot to ad this but my car is not getting a CEL on this, took the service advisor for a ride and he says there is something there but they have to look..
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Old 02-12-2002, 09:19 AM   #25
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After reading sajohnsonís letter, I felt compelled to share my similar experiences. (I wish I had answers rather than just more questions though)

I have a first allocation wagon whose engine also experiences surging intermittently, (even when fully warm) most noticeable under 2/3 to full throttle between about 3000 and 4500 RPM. In addition, throttle response when starting off from a dead stop seems rather poor, and especially with a sometimes grabby clutch, it is difficult to get started smoothly without what seems to be a lot of clutch slipping with a bit of lug thrown in at full engagement at times.

This situation was particularly agonizing when I took the car on a trip to Durango, Colorado last Spring, and it was nearly impossible to get a smooth start without a long clutch slipping/high rev procedure! I think I understand the concept of low compression + low rpm = turbo lag, but it would be ridiculous to expect a driver (and clutch plate) to tolerate this on a regular basis!

Which brings me finally to the big ECU reprogramming question. In September I had the car in for a CEL, (the dealer found code P1443, Vent Control Solenoid; the ECU was then reset) and was mainly told the computer is very sensitive, and if the problem occurs again, I could bring the car in to have the ECU reprogrammed. They didnít have any answers on the altitude problem, as it couldnít be duplicated in Minnesota.

After a few more CELís (that were tripped by accelerating and cornering with about a quarter tank of gas) that eventually shut off, I brought the car in again. This time they found code P0463, (fuel level sensor voltage high) and said they wouldnít reflash the ECU. Instead, they would have to drop the fuel tank to get at the sensor, and indicated, in effect, theyíd have to disassemble the underside of the car from the end of the transmission back to get the thing out! I didnít really care much for that idea, as under most circumstances, I donít like to have my car worked on by somebody else, and it seemed like pretty severe wrenching for a minor issue. Since they didnít have a rental car available anyway, I politely declined until further incidences of the CEL.

So, now Iím not sure what to do about a car I think isnít running at itís full potential, especially when I canít really be sure if itís the car or just me, and the dealer canít pinpoint any obvious defects! Could it be a bad ECU? Anyone got any suggestions?
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