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Old 08-15-2005, 12:55 PM   #1
Damn Yankee
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Default CEL light going on/off?

My 04 Legacy 35th Sedan (5mt) is driving me nuts. I just turned 20,200 miles yesterday, driving back from Florida.

Here's the thing; in the past month the CEL light has come on, stayed on for a while, and then gone back off.

The first time it happened the car had been sitting in the sun all day and the Outside Temp read 104 F. I started the car and drove away after idling for a few seconds. When I pulled onto the main rd (200yds from parking spot, including waiting 15 seconds for an electronic gate to open) the car bucked hard once and when I looked at the dash the CEL was on. It stayed on for the 8 mile trip home, I tried shutting down for a minute and re-starting, and opening the gas cap and closing again, still on. It was on the next day as well on the way to work, but didn't come back on after I left work.

Yesterday we left Daytona and the Outside Temp read between 99 and 93 for about 400 miles to our second gas stop. When I started the car after fueling (from over 1/4 tank left) the CEL came on and stayed on all the way to the house, and was on again when I ran out to get dinner 10 minutes later.

Any ideas/similar experiences? I have the 100k warranty, so I'm not worried about it getting covered as the car has 0 mods, but if I can't duplicate the problem I'd like to save myself the trip to the dealer and hassle of having them mess with it.

Thanks in Advance...
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Old 08-15-2005, 01:59 PM   #2
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You should pull the code to know what is going on exactly.

The dealer will probably do this anyways so you don't really need to duplicate the problem. Whether or not the CEL light is still on, the code is still stored until erased manually.

Sounds like a faulty O2 sensor to me, but who knows.

fibuz
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Old 08-15-2005, 03:44 PM   #3
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I had a similar exp after I gave my car a tune up, i changed the coil, control module, spark plugs, oil and timing belt, and my CEL came on and off several times in a matter of a montha and a half and it jsut recently in the last month came on and has stayed on with a serious problem that i am still trying to trouble shoot to this day.

I'm not sure what that originial problem was about the CEL and im not even sure if it has anything to do with what i'm facing now, but you asked if anyone has had a similar exp, just my two $.02



~Mike
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Old 08-15-2005, 04:31 PM   #4
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I would bring it to the dealer but if you want to get the code to know what is going on Autozone will pull codes for free. This will at least let you know whats going on prior to going to the dealer.
If the car is in the shop for a while maybe you can drive an interceptor around for a while but I would guess you get enough time in that car as is.

Good luck and post your results for the future
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Old 08-15-2005, 05:01 PM   #5
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Whether the light is on or not, the dealer can pull the code to tell them what to look for. It stores it in memory until it is "erased" by the select monitor. You car should be under warranty, so take it to the dealer. (unless it is a gas cap code, they may charge you for resetting it...)
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Old 08-16-2005, 02:12 AM   #6
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And if it is a gas cap code, ask for a new gas cap.
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Old 08-16-2005, 08:40 AM   #7
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The car kicked a gas cap code once when it was new (like 6mos old) and they didn't charge for resetting it, of course Porter was still working there then too.

It was off yesterday when I left work, and seems to only come on when hot. Guess I'll have to blow a Saturday and go to the stealership. Think they have any 05 LGT Sedans as loaners

I'll keep y'all posted.
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Old 08-16-2005, 11:16 AM   #8
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It could be a bad seal on the gas cap, when it gets hot it doesn't seal as well and the light goes off...

Just a guess.
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Old 08-16-2005, 12:57 PM   #9
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Take It To The Dealer....
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Old 08-16-2005, 09:43 PM   #10
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I was under the mistaken presumption that every Legacy had this issue. I have had it since about 50K miles and I am at 86K now. The first time it occurred, the dealer just told me it was probably the gas cap and advised to remove and tighten. This worked for a while, but now it goes on every fill up. If I take the time to rest the ecu by disconnecting the battery, the cel will stay unlit for the whole tankfull. When I had my tbelt changed at the dealer, they read the code and told me it was the cat. So I am just ignoring it until I can save up some money for the aftermarket cat to match up with the borla header I picked up a few months ago. This car is really a great DD, but the minor things such as the cel and the noisy cabin (wind from passenger window) greatly detract from an otherwise nice car.
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Old 08-16-2005, 10:10 PM   #11
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With the exception of the "bucking" that you mentioned, really sounds like the seal on the gas cap is wonkers, especially in the heat where it isn't sealing as well as it should.

Go to Autozone or PepBoys and buy a replacement cap. Try it and see if it changs anything. If it doesn't, then take it back. If it does, you know where your issue lies.

rsk-wab - Also, interesting that the cat is not working, especially at those low miles. That could also be an 02 sensor or an upstream problem.

pilfflip - Your's sounds like its an engine misfire. Check your plug wire ends for carbon buildup. If you've got that you've typically got one of three things wrong. Bad coilpack, bad plug wire or bad plugs. Don't delay in pulling the code to see what's going on because if it is a misfire and you don't repair it, you can overheat the head/engine/cylinder which can lead to pre-mature HG failure.

And do a search on eBay for OBD II Code Readers. There's plenty of them, they're relatively inexpensive and you can reset your codes easily if there's nothing seriously wrong with the car so you can get rid of that CEL.

Dale
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Old 08-17-2005, 07:05 AM   #12
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That's funny, in the Subaru world 86K miles for a four year old car is low

BTW, I meant "reset" the ecu not "rest" the ecu by disconnecting the battery.

I thought it was the O2 as well until they read the code. Can anyone tell me if the fix on Dale's site (Teague) would work on the Legacy if the CEL is being caused by the cat?
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Old 08-17-2005, 08:57 AM   #13
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well, I guess it's off to the stealership for me. hopefully I'll have a week day off next week so I don't have to burn my saturday.

I'll keep ya posted, thanks for the help!
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsk_wannabe
I was under the mistaken presumption that every Legacy had this issue. I have had it since about 50K miles and I am at 86K now. The first time it occurred, the dealer just told me it was probably the gas cap and advised to remove and tighten. This worked for a while, but now it goes on every fill up. If I take the time to rest the ecu by disconnecting the battery, the cel will stay unlit for the whole tankfull. When I had my tbelt changed at the dealer, they read the code and told me it was the cat. So I am just ignoring it until I can save up some money for the aftermarket cat to match up with the borla header I picked up a few months ago. This car is really a great DD, but the minor things such as the cel and the noisy cabin (wind from passenger window) greatly detract from an otherwise nice car.

Do you have any documentation that the CEL was on before 80,000 miles? The cat convertor is covered by the Federal Emissions Warranty for 80,000 miles. Seeing you kept reseting the light, you never knew what it was on for. If it kept coming on, it was for something other than the gas cap
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Old 08-17-2005, 10:10 AM   #15
RexyGirl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subietonic

Go to Autozone or PepBoys and buy a replacement cap. Try it and see if it changs anything. If it doesn't, then take it back. If it does, you know where your issue lies.


Dale
If it is indeed a gas cap seal problem, the car is covered under warranty. Also, it has been known that aftermarket gas caps don't always seal properly and could continue to throw the gas cap code.

Go to the dealer. Shouldn't take but a few minutes to read the code and see what's wrong. And, if it is something else, (1) you'll be glad you went, and (2) it's under warranty!
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Old 08-17-2005, 12:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexygirl
If it is indeed a gas cap seal problem, the car is covered under warranty. Also, it has been known that aftermarket gas caps don't always seal properly and could continue to throw the gas cap code.

Go to the dealer. Shouldn't take but a few minutes to read the code and see what's wrong. And, if it is something else, (1) you'll be glad you went, and (2) it's under warranty!
great minds think alike. I'm not dropping a dime on this car if it seems even remotely related to a warranty issue.
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Old 08-17-2005, 12:50 PM   #17
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Let us know what you find out when you go. You may even be able to stop by the dealer after work and have them pull the code.

Sent you a PM....
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Old 08-17-2005, 11:00 PM   #18
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Not sure how that happened, but I posted at 7:05 this AM, yet a couple of posts made after mine show up before my last. Anyway, thanks REXYGIRL for the smart suggestion. I do not think I have anything written down. The advice about the gas cap was given to me over the phone. Also, since I have the Borla header, I can just imagine the conversation with the dealer telling me that the header 'caused' the cat to go bad.
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Old 08-18-2005, 01:04 AM   #19
RexyGirl
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It may not be the cat convertor at all, but it is a possibility. It has been known that the oxygen sensors will cause a code for the cat...

I have reset the light when it came on for the cat never to have it return...(crappy gas has been known to cause it too)
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