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Old 01-10-2006, 01:32 PM   #1
btour99
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Default Strange!! CEL & Battery light on, then off. Need Help!!

2002 WRX - fully stock except for a short throw shifter which has been on there for about a year.

We were on the Tri-State 48 Hour Charity Drive this past weekend, and we were pulling out of a rest area and as I was approaching 70MPH, the car just started to "die". As I pushed the accelerator, the engine felt like it was slowing down. I tried down shifting and hitting the accelerator again, but the same result- the car would slow down each time i hit the gas. As I pulled off to the side of the road, I noticed the engine was actually off with the key in the ON setting. The CEL was on as well as the Battery light. Someone in our group had a OBDII scanner with them and asked if I could drive the car up about 1000ft ahead of me on the road to where they were. I turned the key and the car started up without he CEL or the Battery light.

When they plugged it in, it no showed no red flags and nothing that would have caused something like this in the computer history. All my belts were in place and my engine temperature was normal. We just scratched our heads, I said a prayer, and I made it home the rest of the way without any problems.

Another owner of an 02 WRX on the trip said the same thing happened to his car a couple of years ago, it died and a CEL and Battery light came on, and when he started it back up a few seconds later the lights were off and the problem went away.

Just wondering if anyone of you might know what caused this or if you've had or heard of any similar experiences. Any and all feedback will be greatly appreciated, and let me know if there is any missing information from my description above.

Thanks in advance guys,
Belal
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Last edited by btour99; 01-10-2006 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 01-10-2006, 02:45 PM   #2
Mulder
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The CEL was on because the key was in the "run" position and the engine was not running, this is normal. The same thing happens when you turn the key to start the car and all the warning lights come on, but you just weren't expecting to see those lights when the car stopped. As long as the CEL goes out when the engine is actually running there are no codes stored.
As for why this happened, I can only speculate without having been there but it may have been fuel related, perhaps some bad gas? You might try draining some fuel from the tank using the drain plugs at the bottom and look for any water or other crap in the fuel. If you find any that may well be the cause and you should have the fuel system completely drained and cleaned, and change the filter.
It might have been electrical as well, check all your battery and ground connections for tightness and corrosion.
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Old 01-11-2006, 12:32 PM   #3
btour99
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Thanks for the quick reply.

Bad gas was mentioned as a possible culprit, but no body else had this problem and we all gassed up at the same gas stations during the 48hr Drive. I guess I could have pulled up to an unlucky pump at a gas station, but wouldn't all the 93 gas come from the same source, regardles of which pump you use?

I have already filled up the tank 2 times since this incident just as a result of driving home. Do you think there will still be evidence of bad gas if I drain the fuel to check for water?
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Old 01-11-2006, 01:20 PM   #4
Mulder
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Possibly, water separates out to the bottom of the tank so if there was any in there you should still see it.
OTOH, and something that actually makes water a less likely culprit, is the fact that since MTBE was outlawed in NY and CT ethanol has been used as a substitute. This is sort of like using dry gas every time you fill up (although the concentration is less), so any water would probably be taken care of by the ethanol. Still worth a look though, and it could be something other than water.
I would go over everything under the hood that you can see, in addition to all the electrical connections look at hoses, clamps etc. You might just find something.
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Old 01-11-2006, 03:07 PM   #5
btour99
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Roger that, gonna go out in a little bit and see if I can find anything. And I plan on washing and waxing tomnorrow when its warmer (50's) and sunny, and will have time for a more thorough look around. Thanks again for all the great info and quick replies.
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Old 01-11-2006, 03:24 PM   #6
btour99
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One quick question, is Differential Fluid/oil also known as breaker fluid? I ask because someone suggested swapping out the breaker fluid and I just wanted to make sure I am not misunderstanding. Thanks again.
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Old 01-11-2006, 04:15 PM   #7
Mulder
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What the hell is breaker fluid? I think that may be in the same category as boost fluid-
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Old 01-11-2006, 04:20 PM   #8
supermarkus
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Somebody is pulling your chain
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Old 01-11-2006, 04:52 PM   #9
btour99
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OK, thanks for the info. While on the subject and going by what I describe above, do you think another source for this problem may have been the differential fluid? I should change it anyway, because I am near my 30K maintenance, but do you think this may have been a possible reason my car burped?
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Old 01-11-2006, 05:03 PM   #10
Mulder
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No, absolutely not. How would that make the engine stall? The differential is just a passive unit with gears and bearings, plus a sealed viscous coupled LSD that doesn't even contact the fluid. The only way a diff could stall the car is if it seized, and I assure you if that happened you would know it. Among other things your trip would have been over and the car would have come home on a flatbed.
You could go far longer than 30K without changing the diff fluid and not notice anything. In fact if you look at the Subaru maintenance schedule it does not require a trans or diff fluid change at the 30K intervals, only inspection. Most people do change them and it's not a bad idea, but it isn't officially required.
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