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Old 07-06-2008, 07:10 PM   #1
mr.pessimist
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Default Can't get the CEL to reset

Yesterday the 'check engine' light came on. I took it to the auto parts store and they checked the code: "misfire cyl. 4". I'm not exactly sure why it's misfiring since I haven't done anything to the car really. I changed the spark plugs a few months ago but that's all I've really done. I have not gotten a CEL since I changed the plugs. Anyway, I want to clear the CEL to see if it happens again, but I can't seem to do it. I've tried disconnecting the negative battery cable and pumping the brakes but that didn't work. I then connected the "green" plugs together (by steering column) and the CEL blinked rapidly then I held the gas pedal down. I then started the car and drove around the neighborhood at 20+ MPH and came back. Shut engine off. Unplugged the green connectors and started the car again only to see the CEL on still.

I'm going to pull the spark plug and look at it, but I'd still like to reset the CEL.

Advice?
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Old 07-06-2008, 07:44 PM   #2
Chi_San
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Pull your negative battery cable and let it sit overnight.
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Old 07-07-2008, 01:50 AM   #3
mr.pessimist
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Already tried that and it didn't work. Man this sucks. I've read through just about every posting on NASIOC about this code and it doesn't seem like anyone knows what to do besides overhaul the engine.

Any suggestions on what I can do before I take it into the service center?

I'm already going to have a friend drive his outback over and swap ignition cables. I've already checked grounds and piping everything seems totally fine.
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Old 07-07-2008, 01:59 AM   #4
bobjr94
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If it keeps coming on then the problem is still there and will not clear. A missfire will cause the check engine light to flash, as it could cause immediate engine damage or damage to the catalytic converter. Coming on as you give more throttle could mean an ignition problem. Also bad or plugged injector could cause a cylinder misfire or vacuum leak. It is unlikely you need a engine rebuild, a quick check with a compression gauge will tell if you the engine has mechanical problems.
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Old 07-07-2008, 02:25 AM   #5
Chi_San
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I'd suggest doing a tune up if you haven't already. Plugs, wires, air filter, check your MAP/MAF for obvious problems, fuel filter, and then, if you're still getting a misfire, take it to a repair shop. They can put it on a 'scope and tell if you have a bad coil pack.

I seriously doubt you could hurt a catalytic converter by driving with a bad plug. You would have to pump a LOT of excess fuel into the cat over an extended period of time to ruin it.

I would hold off on a compression test until you've done a basic tune up, as a tune up will cure most misfire problems pretty efficiently.
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Old 07-07-2008, 02:34 AM   #6
mr.pessimist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobjr94 View Post
Coming on as you give more throttle could mean an ignition problem.
Does the CEL operate in 'real-time'. In otherwords, if the problem some how went away during engine operation the light would just turn off? I was under the impression that any problem would trigger it and it would stay on until it was cleared. But then again I've heard people say that it turns on and off.
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Old 07-07-2008, 01:28 PM   #7
Flowmastered87GL
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The code reader that pulls the code is also able to reset the code. so go back to the autoparts store and have them pull it again, then delete the code after they tell you what it was.
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:06 PM   #8
mr.pessimist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chi_San View Post
I'd suggest doing a tune up if you haven't already. Plugs, wires, air filter, check your MAP/MAF for obvious problems, fuel filter, and then, if you're still getting a misfire, take it to a repair shop. They can put it on a 'scope and tell if you have a bad coil pack.

I seriously doubt you could hurt a catalytic converter by driving with a bad plug. You would have to pump a LOT of excess fuel into the cat over an extended period of time to ruin it.

I would hold off on a compression test until you've done a basic tune up, as a tune up will cure most misfire problems pretty efficiently.
I changed the plugs 3,000 miles ago and I changed the fuel filter about 30,000 ago. I know it's probably time for the fuel filter but wouldn't I be getting misfires (or engine no start) on all cylinders if there was a fuel filter issue or coil pack issue? Air filter is fine I checked that. Could be a bad plug or bad wire, which is why I'm testing those out tonight.

My biggest concern is that I've been experiencing very intermittent engine knock for the past 2 years. So now I'm worried that the knock could have contributed to this. I'm worried about a burnt valve, or piston rings, or piston. This makes me want to try compression test or leak-down. But I want to eliminate the cheap tune-up options first.
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:39 PM   #9
subeman90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flowmastered87GL View Post
The code reader that pulls the code is also able to reset the code. so go back to the autoparts store and have them pull it again, then delete the code after they tell you what it was.
most places won't do this (atleast around here) that is why everone calls me to "kill their light"
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.pessimist View Post
I changed the plugs 3,000 miles ago and I changed the fuel filter about 30,000 ago. I know it's probably time for the fuel filter but wouldn't I be getting misfires (or engine no start) on all cylinders if there was a fuel filter issue or coil pack issue? Air filter is fine I checked that. Could be a bad plug or bad wire, which is why I'm testing those out tonight.

My biggest concern is that I've been experiencing very intermittent engine knock for the past 2 years. So now I'm worried that the knock could have contributed to this. I'm worried about a burnt valve, or piston rings, or piston. This makes me want to try compression test or leak-down. But I want to eliminate the cheap tune-up options first.
Two things come to mine. First, is that you put in plugs that your car doesn't like. I have a DOHC engine that doesn't like copper plugs, it runs like crap when I use them. Your SOHC motor should like the copper plugs, my SOHC motor ran happily on them. If you used Iridium, or something similar, you might remedy this by switching to copper plugs.

Second. Cylinder #4 runs slightly lean, due to how the Subaru fuel rails are setup. If you have a low fuel pressure, that's the first cylinder that will show problems. Running lean for an extended period of time can break things.
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:26 PM   #11
mr.pessimist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chi_San View Post
Two things come to mine. First, is that you put in plugs that your car doesn't like. I have a DOHC engine that doesn't like copper plugs, it runs like crap when I use them. Your SOHC motor should like the copper plugs, my SOHC motor ran happily on them. If you used Iridium, or something similar, you might remedy this by switching to copper plugs.

Second. Cylinder #4 runs slightly lean, due to how the Subaru fuel rails are setup. If you have a low fuel pressure, that's the first cylinder that will show problems. Running lean for an extended period of time can break things.
I'm running the recommended NGK plugs just as I had before. I've been thinking about it more and it seems like its a fuel injector issue. The car has always run a little rough and I've had the knock issue regardless if I was using the old plugs then or the new ones now. I'm looking at things that would cause problems over an extended period of time that would gradually get worse. Maybe the wires, but more so I think it would be injector issues. Another hint: If the Baja has been sitting for a while (like a week) when I start it up it runs rougher than normal. In fact, I just got back from a week trip last month where the Baja had been sitting and when I started it the engine was shaking the whole car (misfiring) but no CEL. Could a lean condition (bad injector) also create the engine knock I've noticed before? I can't help but think the two are related.
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