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Old 01-22-2005, 10:35 PM   #1
erikkellison
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Outback Sport Car dying instead of idling ('97 OBS)

Okay,
So I searched for some concrete information on this, but have found none so far. So here's the deal:
My car starts fine, but after the initial revup by the engine, it is unable to maintain the RPMs (which just drop like a rock until the car dies). I am able to keep the car running with extra gas, but if I let it drop below 500 RPMs, it will die. I got a CEL earlier today (which is still on), but I have no idea how to see which error message it is without spending $100 to have some dealership "diagnose" the problem. Also, the car is less responsive to the accelerator, which results in sluggish performance but more of a smooth transition between gears (kind of like putting a more luxury-oriented clutch, I guess). So I assume that the CEL is indicative of the idle drop to dying problem, but I don't know how to fix it.
So, anyone know what this is and how I fix it by tomorrow midday? I have somewhere I need to be, and I don't want this problem to leave me on the side of the road. If it's okay to drive, I'm willing to wait a while in order to save money on parts (I'm pretty sure I can install whatever is required myself).
There has been speculation that it is the O2 sensor, but I just don't know enough, and am seeking help of the initiated. Let me know if you have any questions, and I will help you help me Thanks in advance!
Erik
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Old 01-22-2005, 11:48 PM   #2
erikkellison
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So, here's an update that may help you geniuses out there (unlike myself).
I recently replaced the fuel filter in my car, and took the gas cap off to relieve fuel pressure so the hoses didn't spew fuel everywhere when disconnected (at least it makes sense to me). Well, I forgot to put the gas cap back on (this all took place maybe 2 days ago). I just found the gas cap a few blocks away on the side of the road, and put it in. I then drove my car in hopes that this would be an immediate fix to the problem. Apparently not, because the car is still dying. So, I currently have my battery unplugged in order to reset the ECU, and in hopes reset whatever the car adjusted with the gas cap missing. I am hoping that once I reconnect it, the car will run normally. Is this feasible, or did I screw something up? I'll keep y'all posted.
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Old 01-23-2005, 12:10 AM   #3
erikkellison
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Okay, so final update, and I will leave this post so others can learn from my mistakes.
I continued to inspect the engine, figuring something was wrong, mostly with the air delivery to the engine, or possibly fuel, but it just didn't seem like a fuel delivery problem because I could give the car gas and keep it going (I did think that this was keeping the car running on a lean mixture though). So, after more inspection, I finally found a large hose that runs from the engine to the pipe that connects the air filter to the large air chamber near the back center of the engine. It was disconnected, and I reconnected it, reset the ECU again, and voila! The car works perfectly. Seems like a combination of disconnected tube and no pressure in fuel tank. Mission accomplished though. Thanks NASIOC forum for giving me a productive place to think for myself
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Old 01-23-2005, 01:56 AM   #4
erikkellison
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I just finished a ~100 mile drive now that I fixed my car, but the CEL is still on. Probably unrelated to my gas cap/air hose dilemma, but if anyone has any ideas, shoot them my way. Or, if anyone has any ideas of a cheap way to get my CEL diagnosed, let me know. Do you think a shop that I do business with regularly will do it for free, or is it the kind of service that mechanics always make money on?
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Old 01-23-2005, 12:14 PM   #5
jason3814
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If there is an Aotuzone parts store near you they will diagnose a CEL for free and reset it. I just did this today with my wifes 03 olds van. Give them a call and see if they will be able to do yours?
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Old 01-24-2005, 02:35 AM   #6
erikkellison
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Sweet, thanks for the heads up! I don't think we have AutoZone, but we do have Schucks, which may do the same. Also, there's Napa.
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Old 01-24-2005, 03:52 AM   #7
Storm
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Man, for awhile there....you were really talking to yourself weren't you?

Glad you got it figured out!


Jay Storm
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Old 01-24-2005, 12:15 PM   #8
suby53
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hey man i know just what your talking about. Same thing happened to me a couple weeks ago. What i did is pull out the idle air control valve and clean it with some valvoline throttle body cleaner. What this does is allow the two sliders in the IAC to move freely because it allows air to bypass the TB so it will idle without help. You can also adjust your idle by adjusting the IAC.
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Old 01-24-2005, 03:52 PM   #9
erikkellison
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Okay, so here's the semi-new deal. I went to my shop today to have the CEL checked. They diagnosed it as P0320, or something like that, can't remember the words that went with it. Anyhow, it was basically the message that said "your gas cap isn't tight enough, or is not on." So, having told the guy at the shop the story about taking it off for fuel filter installation, and forgetting to reinstall it, he said that it all makes perfect sense. The problem is, he charged me over $60 for THAT!! So there was nothing wrong with the car anymore, and he didn't do anything to fix it, and yet, charged that much. Lame.
Also, tell me your opinions on this pricing. I have a squeaky belt (the inner of the two belts), and he wants $60 to replace it. I also have a slightly bad timing belt tension adjuster, and he wants $340 to replace that. Is it just me, or are those some inflated prices? I can get the timing belt tension adjuster for $90, and a good new belt for less than $20. I know there is some work to remove the belts, and even more for removing the timing belt cover and belt in order to replace the tension adjuster, and some to readjust timing, but seriously, $290 of work? I have half a mind to employ some friends to help me with the job who have all the tools required for these jobs, and just do it without the shop at all.
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Old 01-26-2005, 03:21 AM   #10
erikkellison
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So does anyone have any opinions on what it should cost to replace a timing belt tensioner? I have a buddy with knowledge and the equipment necessary for the job (or so I think... all we need is a timing gun, right?). Is this a feasible project to undertake? My mechanic said "no," but he sort of has a vested interest in telling me "no." Any opinions from anyone who has replaced this dreaded part that causes that infernal diesel-like sound? Also, do I need the whole timing belt tensioner assembly, or is just a repalcement roller sufficient? I have found the appropriate parts on www.thepartsbin.com, or so I think.
Advice on which part and the feasibility of doing this with some experienced help would be much appreciated!
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Old 02-17-2005, 06:23 PM   #11
Hola
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In case you have a CEL in the future I believe that Wal-Mart sells an OBD-II reader for about $100. If you save yourself just two trips to the $60 guy you will come out ahead by $20. You can then look up the code in any Chilton or Haynes (I recommend Haynes) manual to see what it means.
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