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Old 03-30-2003, 03:55 PM   #1
Mapplex
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Join Date: Jun 2002
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1997 Impreza L
hunter green

Default Three breakdowns in a week. what's going on?

FIRST BREAKDOWN:
Last week on my way to work my 97 Impreza L started to 'hiccup' -- the engine would lose power for just a split second. I thought it might be a pocket of bad gas or something. A few minutes later it got worse and then the car just stalled and I pulled over on the side of the road. I had 1/4 tank of gas at the time.
My attempts to restart the engine failed. The engine would idle horribly and then stall. So I called a tow truck and got it towed to a nearby gas station where I did nothing more than fill the tank with gas. It started fine. Everything seemed normal. The tow-truck driver put in some dry gas and set me on my way. That cost me a little over $50. The car ran like normal.

SECOND BREAKDOWN:
The next day (40 miles later), the same problem came up only this time it was worse. It would just crank and refuse to start, or it would start up, idle horribly and then stall. So far, no CEL came on. I called the tow-truck again and took it to a repair shop. They said my MAF sensor needed to be replaced. I asked if they were pretty sure that was the cause of my problem. They said it was almost certainly the MAF sensor and that everything else looked ok. I authorized the repair and picked up my car two hours later. That cost me $488.
The car ran like normal with one exception:
when i started the car, the rpms were high (between 2-3k) but then would sharply drop down to normal idle a few seconds later. I didn't think much of this because I know the idle can be high at first just to warm up the car (though I've never seen it around 2-3k) But the car ran fine, and I thought my troubles were over.

THIRD BREAKDOWN:
The next day, I started it up and left it idling for a minute. Suddenly the idle became very loud and the whole car was shaking. At this point the CEL came on. I shut it down. When I started it up again, the idle went up to near 3k for a few seconds and would drop sharply sometimes causing the car to stall. When it did not stall, the idle would be low and rough. The car would vibrate noticably and the engine would be much louder than normal.
I called the shop and explained what happened. They sent a tow truck and I politely explained the problem and showed him what was happening. I was assured the shop would call me. After two days of taking the bus to school and walking to work, I still had not heard from them. I called them last Friday and they said Saturday morning it'd be fixed. I paid them a visit today (Sunday) and it's still not fixed. The only thing the work order said was "needs new idle air control motor"

So that's where I'm at right now. The car has always been stock and running smoothly until this. I'm a college student with a part time job so I can't afford to have them replace things left and right hoping for a fix. Could the new MAF lead to a contaminated or damaged IAC valve/motor? Did the MAF sensor even have to be replaced in the first place? I'm starting to get really upset not having my car for so long and I feel like I'm at the mercy of whatever the shop decides to charge me. For 488 bucks, I expect a problem to be fixed, not made worse.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks
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Last edited by Mapplex; 03-30-2003 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 03-30-2003, 09:45 PM   #2
Matt
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Default

Hmmm...

Seems like a lot of money for a MAF. It could be the IAC, but I'd just replace the PCV valve, plugs--the stuff with normal maintenance. Also, ever had problems with the crank angle sensor?

I had some similar problems with my '95 Impreza and it had some of the same problems, but not the odd idle.

Best of luck getting it sorted.
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Old 03-30-2003, 09:47 PM   #3
Matt
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I also forgot to add....you can take it to Autozone for a free OBD scan for your CE. You may want to ask a local garage or Subaru dealer just for a scan too.
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Old 03-30-2003, 10:34 PM   #4
Mapplex
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Default

Thanks for the reply. I've never had crank angle sensor problems. I'm assuming the CEL light that came on indicated IAC system problems. Yes $488 bucks is ALOT for a remanufactured MAF. the part alone was $335. I think a brand new OEM MAF cost that much.

The closest autozone is in the next state. I've driven there before to get a code pulled but it's not very convenient.
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Old 03-31-2003, 04:14 PM   #5
Mapplex
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Just an update- I got the car towed back home and I'm going to look at the idle air control valve and see if it can be cleaned. Is there anything I should be aware of before cleaning/replacing the iac valve on this vehicle? I hear replacing it is a pretty straightforward process but one can never be too careful.
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Old 03-31-2003, 07:05 PM   #6
North Ursalia
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Pull off the IAC valve and blast it out with carb clean, let is sit a minute, and do it again. Set it on the bench to dry. Reinstall. See how things run- that era is famous for bad IAC valves, though it's usually just gummed up and dirty, not actually broken .


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Old 03-31-2003, 09:24 PM   #7
meZoom!
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IAC valves can be expensive. This guy I talked to yesterday had one go bad on his Lexus. He said he had to shut down his engine at every red light and stop sign because it just revved at 4000RPM the whole time and at that rpm, the car just keeps lurching forward no matter what (brakes basically don't hold the car still).
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Old 03-31-2003, 09:26 PM   #8
ImpSP
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I Had the exact same problem in my impreza 95 L. It turned out to be a bad water temperature sensor that was causing the rpm's to jump around during idle and sometimes die.
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Old 04-04-2003, 11:20 AM   #9
Mapplex
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hunter green

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I took out the IAC, soaked it in carb cleaner, wiped out all the gunk with q-tips, let it dry, and reatached everything. started her up and the problem has dissapeared! Idle is perfect now and the CEL is no longer on. Thanks everyone!
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