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Old 06-29-2005, 12:46 PM   #1
zzzzzzzz
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Member#: 9843
Join Date: Sep 2001
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Portland OR
Exclamation I NEED SERIOUS HELP FROM FELLOW NW'sters! (CEL)

I need serious help with a P0500 and P1540 CEL, which is related to the vehicle speed control. I've had this CEL for over three months now, and I am on my second trip permit, which is expiring 7/14/05. My vehicle tags expired 5/8/05, and unfortunately, Oregon DEQ requires an enhanced emissions test for all '96 and up vehicles.

So here are the knowns: I have a PC installed in the car. Thinking the CEL could be an emi issue or an accidentally added resistance to the speed wire, I disconnected all the power wires to and from the supplies, regulators, and various relays as well as unbundling any wires that was tied into any of the vehicle's own wiring. No go.

I then had Lithia Subaru check out the CEL, and they couldn't visually find anything wrong with the car. No charge since they too couldn't figure it out.

The only thing I can notice is that on the speedometer, when I accelerate from idle, the needle would first pause and jump from 0 to the 5mph mark. After the 5mph mark, the needle moves as expected. Is this normal?

So does the VSS need to be replaced? I've also read that a white plastic cog related to the speed control sometimes strip and need replacing, but again, like the vss, that part is located in the tranny housing. To open the tran housing and have VSS replaced would cost between $200-$300 (2 units of labor to pull apart the tranny, replacement part cost, another CEL diagnostic fee), so I want to be completely sure that this is the root cause before paying for this up front. What are the other potentials here? Also, in the event I can't get the CEL to go away, will Oregon DEQ allow just a sniffer test, instead of an OBD test? Please help.

Thanks.

Matthew
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Old 06-29-2005, 09:06 PM   #2
zzzzzzzz
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Member#: 9843
Join Date: Sep 2001
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Portland OR
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help
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Old 06-30-2005, 02:00 AM   #3
Subie Gal
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Join Date: Sep 1999
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: WA
Vehicle:
1970 FF-1 & '70 Van
02 WRX/01 RS

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i'm sure they checked the speed sensor?
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Old 06-30-2005, 12:13 PM   #4
wrx_driver_2002
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Join Date: Oct 2002
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I had this problem with my car when I put the eclipse radio in. I needed to tap the VSS wire at the ecu, and somehow the splice I used cut all of the strands but one, so resistance was unusually high (32 ohms, and it should be around 0.3 or at least that's what my volt meter measured after I repaird it)
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Old 06-30-2005, 04:56 PM   #5
shinsain
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Wenatchee...WA
Vehicle:
LIKE A
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Not familiar w/ Oregon, is this CEL even going to have an effect on you passing the emissions test?? Its a speed sensor, right? Nothing to do with emissions....?
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Old 06-30-2005, 05:22 PM   #6
wrx_driver_2002
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I know in Washington, if your CEL is on at all, they'll fail you. It doesn't matter what it's for. You could have a CEL for a tail light bulb (just an example... The computers aren't tied into the car THAT much yet) and the WA ST. Emissions would still fail you,
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Old 07-01-2005, 02:58 AM   #7
zzzzzzzz
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Portland OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subie Gal
i'm sure they checked the speed sensor?
They didn't actually check it. They just went through diagnostic pages in their service manual and since the speedometer was working...well....i don't know. But Jamie, from your experience, how often does the speed sensor actually go bad? The price on the speed sensor apparantly costs $249 (new harness required) for an 01 Legacy auto. Is that right?
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Old 07-01-2005, 03:03 AM   #8
zzzzzzzz
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Portland OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shinsain
Not familiar w/ Oregon, is this CEL even going to have an effect on you passing the emissions test?? Its a speed sensor, right? Nothing to do with emissions....?

wrx_driver_2002 is right. Any cel lit and the deq will fail your car. Believe me, I've tried every way around it. I've even tried pulling the cel bulb out, and the deq tech came back w/ the same errors, and a "the cel's light is out probably because it was on so long and it burned out."

I also asked the deq supervisor about taking the standard sniffer test instead of the obd one, and he states it's a federal mandate that all vehicles '96 and up take the obd diagnostics test, so no "sniffer test only" for me.
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Old 07-08-2005, 12:20 PM   #9
zzzzzzzz
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Portland OR
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I got my CEL cleared.

So this is what it took. Went out to Wentworth to fix the problem. I reported to them the car's entire history, the P0500 and P1540 error codes, what I've done to the car. After a couple of hours of the car being in the shop, the service manager calls me and states that the tech concludes, "The VSS is defective and must be replaced". So I said, "Do it." When they called back, I told them to drive the car after the proposed fix for at least 10 miles so the ECU/ECM has enough time to warm up and see and store potential errors. The manager says he's not sure whether his tech has the time to do this, but assures me the problem is corrected. Came back and got the car after shelling out ~$570 for the fix ($249 for VSS + harness, 3 units of labor @ $85 per unit, $38 diagnostic fee, and some other misc charges). I drove the car for about 14 miles and CEL comes on while on my way to DEQ.

Brought the car the very next morning to Wentworth and told him the CEL is back on. Left the car there. After about 4 hours Don (service manager), calls me and says the tech has found a disconnect somewhere on the speed wire between the cluster and ECM. They were able to clear it when they tapped a jumper on the wire. I asked them whether the resistance on that wire was indeed 10ohms or below (as manual states for a potential error) and he says the tech sees infinite resistance. How's this possible? When and how could the wire be open? Wouldn't the speedometer not function at all? Anyways, the guy tells me he will keep the costs down, even though they've now spent three hours doing diagnostics and project another 2 to tie things up.

Came back and paid them the $85. I've now ran the car for 26 miles to work and no CEL. So the problem's fixed.

My question now. Should I try to get the initial $570 reimbursed from Subaru since Wentworth made an incorrect diagnostic and replaced a part that did not need replacing? I know if I ask this of Wentworth they will state the VSS was bad in any case and the CEL was actually the result of two different problems, which I don't believe.

I need advise on this because I feel that I've been cheated $570.
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Old 07-08-2005, 12:39 PM   #10
stiIV
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Port Orchard, WA
Vehicle:
'05 Best e.t. 11.8
Best Trap: 123 MPH

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In no way am I an expert, but my .02 tells me that the shop would easily be able to show that the vss did in fact need to be replaced and you agreed to that work. IMO even though it's not "ethical" the shop will be free and clear (as so often happens ) from having to reimburse you for that part of the job. Sorry about the dent to the wallet
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Old 07-08-2005, 03:04 PM   #11
Noizemaker
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: somewhere on I-5, WA
Vehicle:
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Chrome Orange

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Not to threadjack, but you CAN pass emissions in WA with a CEL. I've done it.

As long as it's not an emissions-equipment code, you can get a waiver.

I passed the OBD test in my turbocharged 99 Neon with the light JURYRIGGED on in the cluster (jumpered because it didn't work in the cluster) shining for a Radiator Fan Relay issue, and I just said it was a "Dealer Code", and they waivered me through. My sheet said "Pass", but everything on it was failing.

Big injectors, rising rate, base fuel pressure 10psi higher than stock, and my system never flashed Fuel System Rich. Wonder how much fuel it really takes to trigger that one on the other car?
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Old 07-09-2005, 01:28 AM   #12
CosmoTheCat
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Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Woolley
Vehicle:
1998 Ram 2500
Green.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zzzzzzzz
I need advise on this because I feel that I've been cheated $570.

It can't hurt to ask. It sounds like they didn't completely test before starting to throw expensive parts and labor at it, and to be honest it hardly ever takes as long as the book says it will when the techs are experienced. I'd first ask for a full refund on that as the problem wasn't with the VSS and they didn't do a full diagnostic, and if they balk I'd then offer to pay parts only - at cost, and have them pay the labor. Start out with the service guy, then work it up the chain but remain polite.
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Old 07-09-2005, 10:44 AM   #13
Subie Gal
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Chapter/Region: NWIC
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Vehicle:
1970 FF-1 & '70 Van
02 WRX/01 RS

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Quote:
disconnect somewhere on the speed wire between the cluster and ECM
what's that i said about the speed sensor

you mean they didnt check that first?

i'd be speaking to the manager if i were you. nicely. politely.
misdiagnosed? $600? yeah. i'd be a little bit upset.

you pay parts, they pick up the labor is NOT unreasonable at all.
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