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Old 12-27-2002, 10:14 AM   #1
BlueTDimly
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Default Car shuts off while driving (post for a friend)

This is a post for a relative who has a Subie, hopefully someone can help, because it's baffled the normally invaluable Subaru service departments of several dealerships.

She has a 93 Legacy "25th anniversary edition", auto 4 cylinder, with about 105K miles.

First symptoms were that the car would "stick" at about 2k RPM while driving, gas pedal wouldn't do anything, then (eventually) RPMS would spike and car would get more gas. No noises noticed, although she said that she did notice the steering wheel start to vibrate or shimmy.

Now what will happen is that while she is driving the car, it will shut off while driving. This means that it loses all power, engine power and any electrics in the car also go out. She also loses her brakes, I assume she means that the power brakes are no longer functioning, possibly also the brake booster. She says the pedal will go to the floor.

When she pulls over to the side of the road, she can sometimes get the car started again. However, it has started to not even be able to be restarted after it has stopped.

The mechanic has checked out the fuel pressure (OK) and "some other things" which she wasn't sure of.

Does this sound like an obvious problem in a particular area?

Thanks for any help...
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Old 12-27-2002, 11:38 PM   #2
kturner
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Hmmm. Steering shimmy is usually wheel balance. The rpm thing sounds like a sticky throttle cable or throttle body butterfly. You should be able to see them work smoothly in the throttle body. Did or can the throttle cable slip off the cam? Think about anything that changed recently - like even getting a new stereo put in or getting something else "fixed." That could be related. Does it show a CEL? If so, that code would help. Otherwise, without high-tech diagnostic skills, if it were my car, I'd go the major tune up route first. Check/change all the easy stuff first. Change the air filter, spark plugs/wires, fuel filter, pcv and any other routine consumables. I'm ignorant on this, but if it has a distributor cap & rotor change them but it probably doesn't. Replace all the vacuum lines, these can crack and cause fits. Check the electrical connections including grounds. Make sure the leads on the ignition module are clean & tight. Does jiggling the key in the run position cause it to stall? Get new gas. Sometimes carbon can build up in the intake and cause stalling problems. This can be cleaned out professionally or there are some DIY threads here. If none of that works, it starts to get more expensive and you might want to check with a pro - not a dealership. The computer, mass air flow sensor or ignition module could have an itermittent fault, afaik, the only check for those is try a replacement (get a used one). The fuel pump could be pooping out but that's been checked, maybe it's got an intermittent electrical fault. Well, to answer your actual question, clearly I have no idea of an obvious problem area. The engine needs fuel, air and spark in all the right mix to run. There is a problem with at least one of those components. Good luck.
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Old 12-28-2002, 12:38 PM   #3
Legacy777
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Ten bucks says it's the MAF.

I had a similar problem. It was intermittant. I would be driving around and the car would just loose all power. I could sometimes could keep it from dieing by poppin it into neutral and revvin the piss out of it.

I had this intermittant problem for over a year. I suspected it was the MAF. But I was not goin to shell out 300 bucks for a new MAF without knowing that was the problem.

I would try and check the codes. See what is in there. Go to my page. www.surrealmirage.com/subaru I have directions on how to pull the codes on the OBD1 computers and what they are.

Josh
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Old 12-30-2002, 10:09 AM   #4
BlueTDimly
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legacy777 - yeah the MAF would make a lot of sense, I will suggest that to her and see whether the mechanic can easily replace it. The "mechanic" has had the car for over three months, IMHO he is an idiot or doesn't care about fixing the car.

kturner - good idea about checking the throttle body and other "tune up" stuff, I have no idea how much, if any, tune up stuff has been done before on this car, probably good preventative maintenance anyway. The mechanic had suggested putting in a new ECU, but if that is not it (which is probably not the case) they want my friend to pay for the new ECU (>$700).

Thanks for the great advice, will keep updated. If it were my car, I would have checked for a lot of this obvious stuff before posting

Peter
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Old 12-30-2002, 11:25 AM   #5
Legacy777
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Let us know how things go.

Josh
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