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Old 10-22-2003, 09:19 PM   #1
left footed whooten
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Assault Wagon

Default cylinder 4 misfire....help!

Hi guys, I read all the threads on cylinder misfiring, but i'm still looking for advice. I bought my car a month ago, and the previous owner had installed new plugs and wires. it's a 98 RS with 92, 000 miles on it. When i took it on the highway, i got a blinking CE light in 5th gear going uphill. I live in truckee , CA in the mountains. It stayed solid for a few days then went away. Now, a week later, it starts blinking again, in fifth, and if it shift to fourth, it'll blink in fourth gear, so i get it pulled at autozone: cylinder 4 misfire. It blinks when i shift into 5th at about 65 and start pressing the gas. Then, if i let off the gas, it goes solid. But, I can drive my car on some canyon roads at 65 mph in fourth, without shifting to fifth, it's fine. haven't tried that since yesterday, cause of the repeated blinking CEs. anyway, i checked my plugs and wires to cylinder 4 today and they look new. should i just go ahead and replece the coil pack? seems like if the other stuff is fine, it should be that. i don't want to bring it to a mechanic yet, cause i dont' wanna get screwed. is this indicitive of a head gasket going? like i said, i can pull to redline in all gears, but i haven't tried it in 5th cause the blinking CE light scares me! Just looking for advice, and tonight i'm going to look at the coil pack to see if i see blue sparks arcing or anything. Thanks,
Mark
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Old 10-22-2003, 09:27 PM   #2
Markcjr
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Default wrong name

OOps, I meant to post that under my name, but my roomate was signed on.
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Old 10-22-2003, 10:06 PM   #3
ChosenWon
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Default

a blinking CEL is nothing to mess with. As much as I hate going to the dealers myself, I would sugest taking it in. If it was solid all the time, I would say troubleshoot it.

That being said, if you still want to mess with it yourself, I say replace the plug and switch the wire with another cylinder.

BTW if your wanting to replace the coil pack, I have one. It's off my 2001 RS. Not positive on compatabilty. I replaced mine thinking that was the problem when it turned out to be something else. If you want it let me know via PM or e-mail we can work out pricing later.

good luck.
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Old 10-23-2003, 12:26 AM   #4
Markcjr
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Default misfire

took it on the highway tonight, pulled to redline in all 4 gears, up to 85 mph or so, and no problems whatsoever. but, i know from the past few days, that if i shift to 5th, that the CE will start blinking. maybe it's dealer time. i hate going to them though. the last time they wanted $1000 for what they "thought" would fix my 89' GL wagon. i started at the beginning and found it was just a blown fuse. they came back with, "oh, we thought it was more serious than that".
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Old 10-23-2003, 10:08 AM   #5
ChosenWon
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Default Re: misfire

Quote:
Originally posted by Markcjr
took it on the highway tonight, pulled to redline in all 4 gears, up to 85 mph or so, and no problems whatsoever. but, i know from the past few days, that if i shift to 5th, that the CE will start blinking. maybe it's dealer time. i hate going to them though. the last time they wanted $1000 for what they "thought" would fix my 89' GL wagon. i started at the beginning and found it was just a blown fuse. they came back with, "oh, we thought it was more serious than that".
Believe me Mark, i hear you there. that is why I took the throw-parts-at-it approach to my latest problem. When it got over $200 I figured I did not have much of a choice.

BTW if you have the mullah and a palm/laptop/ or long ass cable, you can get software that will read codes.... Some will not only read codes, but read engine feedback in real time. (this is how I got my problem narrowed down to the o2 sensor) You can even clear your driving history with them. (it stores how you have been driving the vehicle... something manufactureres love to use to void expensive warranty work).
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Old 10-24-2003, 03:09 AM   #6
scoobynation
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Default Re: Re: misfire

Quote:
Originally posted by ChosenWon
Believe me Mark, i hear you there. that is why I took the throw-parts-at-it approach to my latest problem. When it got over $200 I figured I did not have much of a choice.

BTW if you have the mullah and a palm/laptop/ or long ass cable, you can get software that will read codes.... Some will not only read codes, but read engine feedback in real time. (this is how I got my problem narrowed down to the o2 sensor) You can even clear your driving history with them. (it stores how you have been driving the vehicle... something manufactureres love to use to void expensive warranty work).



really,can you tell me more about this...like how do i go about setting this up cuz im really interested on doing this.do you have a guide,checklist,etched in stone ......that would be really cool to do.
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Old 10-24-2003, 08:50 AM   #7
ChosenWon
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Which part? Throwing parts at it, or using the obd2 software?
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Old 10-25-2003, 08:02 AM   #8
tmat3
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A few other things besides bad plugs and wires can cause mifires:

1) Dirty or defective fuel injectors.
2) vacuum leak.
3) defective fuel pump and restricted fuel line / filter.

Make sure you have good vacuum by hooking up a vacuum gauge. Make sure fuel pressure is good.
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Old 10-25-2003, 11:07 PM   #9
Patrick Olsen
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Default

I have a PocketLogger for my Palm Pilot www.pocketlogger.com that allows me to datalog stuff, read codes, and clear the CEL. It's pretty fun to play with, but unfortunately Subaru's ECUs apparently use a pretty low data rate (6 samples per sec) so the datalogging isn't as productive as I would like. From what I've gathered on their website a lot of DMS guys use the PocketLogger and see much higher sample rates. Oh well...

As for the misfire, I had a misfire on a single cylinder and it turned out to be a bad exhaust valve. At first it only tripped the CEL (much like you're describing) but eventually (over the course of a couple/few months) I could start to hear something wrong in the exhaust note. The dealer suggested it could be a bad valve, and sure enough... (blurry, but look at the top left valve)


Pat Olsen
'97 Legacy 2.5GT sedan
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Old 10-26-2003, 02:40 AM   #10
Markcjr
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Default misfire

Thanks for the replies guys. Does anyone have any idea why this seem to only happen as soon as i shift to fifth gear?
Patrick, how do i check for a bad exhaust valve? Occasionally, I get a little back fire/ burble from my exhaust. It's like a little rumble, i have the factory stainless steel exhaust with the wtih the Brullen muffler ( or some aftermarket muffler) . it pops and gives a burble especially after i let off the gas in second gear. is this a trait of the muffler, or is this related to a bad exhaust valve. it sounds cool though. regardless, like i said, i can rail the car hard in all gears, until i shift to fifth, and within seconds , even if i shift out of fifth and back to fourth, the check engine light is blinking. i really have no idea what to do. thanks though, and please keep giving info.
mark
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Old 10-26-2003, 09:30 AM   #11
Charlie-III
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Default

To check the valves, a leak down test is best, but a compression test may show it as well.

As to ODBII software, I use the stuff Harrison sells (Houston, TX) which is the adaptor cables and software.
For ~$150.00 shipped I have software that will do ANY OBDII car sold in the US. It is a bit cheaper for model specific.
It also handles realtime logging as well as code reads/resets.
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Old 10-26-2003, 08:28 PM   #12
Markcjr
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Default misfire

Now, it's not just fifth gear setting off the blinking check engine light (cylinder 4 misfire). it happened on my way to work today cruising at 65 mph in fourth. so , i imagine whatever is happening is getting worse? anymore ideas?
mark
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Old 10-26-2003, 11:27 PM   #13
Patrick Olsen
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Default

Mark,

The popping and burbling you're describing sounds like a characteristic of the exhaust/muffler, not a bad exhaust valve.

With mine, it started out as nothing - just the CEL popping on occasionally. Then I started to hear what sounded like a header leak - a tick tick tick that was RPM-dependent. I pulled the header down and put in new gaskets, just to rule that out, but that didn't fix it. While I had the headers off I took a look at the exhaust valves - the guys at the dealer said if there was a bad one I might be able to see it was discolored. No such luck, so the header went back on and it continued to tick.

Eventually it got really bad, to the point the exhaust sounded like ass. This whole time the sound was clearly coming from the front of the car, not something behind me.

Hope that helps...

Pat
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Old 10-27-2003, 06:06 PM   #14
Markcjr
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Default worse

yikes, now it's worse, happening in all gears except first. i'm going to stop driving it after work tonight. i have to really baby it , as in not even go up to 3000 rpm for the CE light to not flash.
how do i check for vaccum leaks, and good fuel pressure?
thanks, mark
ps, i think it's time for me to bring it somewhere, as i can't figure it out.
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Old 10-28-2003, 01:35 AM   #15
scoobynation
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Quote:
Originally posted by ChosenWon
Which part? Throwing parts at it, or using the obd2 software?


yeah the obd2 software....is is there any obd1 software?
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Old 10-28-2003, 02:58 AM   #16
Patrick Olsen
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Default Re: worse

Quote:
Originally posted by Markcjr
how do i check for vaccum leaks, and good fuel pressure?
thanks, mark
Unless you pull the codes again and see misfires on all 4 cylinders, it's not a fuel or vacuum problem. Those would become evident on all 4 cylinders, not just one selectively. The only way a fuel problem would only affect one cylinder is if it's an injector problem.

Quote:
Originally posted by Markcjr
yikes, now it's worse, happening in all gears except first. i'm going to stop driving it after work tonight.
Call me crazy, but I don't think you need to stop driving it for a blinking CEL. I never stopped driving mine, and there were times when it would blink for 5, 10 minutes before it would finally go solid. I could never figure out any sort of rhyme or reason as to why it would blink sometimes and not others. The engine always felt fine, pulled strong to redline, etc. I figured if it was something really bad the car would let me know.

Pat
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Old 10-28-2003, 03:20 AM   #17
spiralsmurf
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i had similar problems when my coilpack died last week. take off the plug wires and see if any of the posts are charred or corroded.
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Old 10-28-2003, 11:21 AM   #18
Markcjr
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Default

well, my coil pack looks fine. no cracks that I can see, and no corrosion on any of the posts, but i'm going to replace it and see what happens. after that , i'll bring it to the dealer.
Pat, you're right on with the light. Then engine feels absolutely fine, and pulls like always, it's just that the blinking light scares me!
I'll fill you in after i put the new coil pack in later.
Thanks again guys,
mark
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Old 10-28-2003, 12:51 PM   #19
spiralsmurf
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its kind of an expensive part just to replace when there is a surefire way to make sure its functioning at least for me. just get a voltmeter/ohmmeter and measure the resistance across the coils. if the posts on the coils are perfect then its not the problem.
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Old 10-28-2003, 06:23 PM   #20
Markcjr
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Default measuring volts

sorry to sound stupid, but how do i measure the resistance on the coils? they look fine (as in no corrosion), but i'm not sure how to do what you're describing.
thanks, mark
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Old 10-28-2003, 09:12 PM   #21
spiralsmurf
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get an ohmeter and check the resistance between 1 and 4 and 2 and 3
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Old 10-28-2003, 09:26 PM   #22
Markcjr
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Default thanks

Thanks for that, i'll do that tomorrow and post the results.
mark
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Old 10-29-2003, 01:06 AM   #23
slaytanic
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Markcjr: Check plugs plug wires. May seem too easy but my 00RS had the same symptoms yours has and it was a broken plug and burnt plug wire.
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Old 10-29-2003, 01:55 AM   #24
Markcjr
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Default plugs

slaytanic: i'll replace the cylinder 4 wire and plug tomorrow. though, their was no sign of corrosion etc...., and they were new a month or two ago from the previous owner, so it seems doubtful. i'd be really happy if that's all it is!
mark
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Old 10-29-2003, 03:16 AM   #25
Markcjr
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Default coil pack

Hi guys....I looked under the hood tonight after work, and i saw blue lights/flashing coming from the front of the coil pack (looked like it was inside the coilpack). I'm assuming (after reading previous posts) this means that the coil pack is fried, or on its way to being fried. I'll wait till I hear from some of you, but I think I'll buy the new one and put it in. Do you think that my wires were damaged from this, or should I just try the new coil pack with the same wires (they're only 2 months old).
Anyway, thanks for all the help, and send any more input my way.
Mark
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