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Old 07-10-2019, 12:20 AM   #1
Kenword
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Member#: 504011
Join Date: Jul 2019
Outback Sport Technical Service Bulletin wanted

I recently bought my first Subaru ever, a 1999 Impreza Outback Sport. One of the first things I found was a big crack in the big black plastic chamber on the back of the engine where some models have the air filter. How do you break that ? I wondered. I recently subscribed to ALLDATAdiy and found a reference to Technical Service Bulletin 11-59-00 which was issued back in February 2000 and is about some kind of problem that led to broken air cleaner chambers, but the information is very limited. Does anyone out there have any details about what bulletin 11-59-00 was all about? It mentions installing a second air filter, which my car does not have, and an updated ECU, which I don't know how to check. I want to learn all I can so I can see if my car was ever fixed properly. I have tried to find the TSB but only find brief summaries of it, and offers to buy it. Anything you can give is greatly appreciated.
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Last edited by Kenword; 07-10-2019 at 12:21 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 07-10-2019, 07:29 AM   #2
Blktrax
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Member#: 220971
Join Date: Aug 2009
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: West, NC
Vehicle:
2002 WRX 223K Mi.

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Lets be clear first, a TSB is not a Recall. TSB's are only covered 3/36 as part of New car warranty only. Anything beyond that, if a part fails or is damaged ect, is not something Subaru will pay for. I only state this as many don't know the difference between the two.

According to the document & depending on VIN range (need your complete VIN to check if it falls in the range if it was needed at all, and if it was ever performed).

There will be 2 air filters, one out at the fender before the MAF and a second filter inside the air chamber going into the throttle body.

The ECM update is to prevent a backfire with partial throttle when cold starting. the Potential Backfire could damaged the air chamber causing it to crack, then resulting in poor/no start. (personal note - on a fuel injected any vehicle, pressing the throttle to start us usually a result of lack of maintenance, failing fuel system, bad temp sensors, or some other issue with the vehicle unless in severe cold climates were a block or oil heaters would be needed.)

Air Chamber Filter part# 16546AA070 - IF it's needed in this application.
Regular filter Part#16546AA020

I strongly do not recommend anything other than Subaru OEM filter, as they are Reinforced with metal around the outer edge of the filter, all cheap aftermarket filters will collapse allowing air around the filter, along with K&N type filters do nothing but drain your wallet.
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:45 PM   #3
Kenword
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Wow, I am impressed ! That was just the kind of information I was looking for Blktrax. I was worried no one on the forum would know anything about a TSB that old. I have been a mechanic for most of my life, and I found the information on ALLDATAdiy confusing, especially the recommendation to install a second air filter. I have never heard of any vehicle running TWO air filters, and I wonder what the purpose is. My car has the filter at the fender near the MAF, and the large chamber has just a spacer that is like an air filter gasket without the filter. Interestingly, my owners manual says CA spec cars did have the filter behind the engine. It's hard to believe my car back fired hard enough to break the filter box. The front half is cracked along its entire length and two of the metal clips that hold the two halves together snapped off. Some hack then tried to seal the crack with black goo and used a drywall screw to hold the halves together.

So what to do to fix it. The TSB is for 1999 Legacy, Impreza, and Forester. Apparently all Impreza wagons built before VIN XG809977 need the air filter. My car is XG809504, just a few hundred cars before the update. It then seems to say that all vehicles need the new ecu with just the exception of a few Foresters. I find the TSB's format to be needlessly confusing, but I think I understand it.

Obviously my car never got the second filter, so I should check the ecu. I sure hope the upgrade is in there as all my searches say it is discontinued, and apparently cost over $400 when it was available. Would I be OK running the outdated ecu as long as I never touch the throttle when starting? The car runs great with whatever ecu it has and I don't want to replace it if I don't have to.

Adding an air filter is no big deal, so that leaves the air filter box itself. The assembly new from SubaruPartsDeal is about $107 plus shipping. I can likely get the box for a fraction of that at a local wrecking yard, but they don 't have the right year Impreza. They do have same year or similar Foresters with an filter box that is real close but not quite the same. I think the Foresters all have 2.5 engines. The Forester box looks like it would drop right in. The main difference is that the Forester has the air filter in the box and draws unfiltered air from the fender area, so the intake tubing and connection are slightly different. I would of course have to use the tubing that came with my car to accommodate the MAF. They also have a different location for one of the cylinder head breather hoses, though I think my existing hose could be re-routed to work. The question of course is weather or not changing the filter box would affect my EFI. I know EFI systems don't like modifications to intake or exhaust parts. I have found another wrecking yard that specializes in Subaru, so I'll be contacting them soon to see if they have a closer match. As before, any advice is greatly appreciated.

Last edited by Kenword; 07-10-2019 at 12:55 PM. Reason: added details for clarification
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Old 07-10-2019, 01:11 PM   #4
Blktrax
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Member#: 220971
Join Date: Aug 2009
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: West, NC
Vehicle:
2002 WRX 223K Mi.

Default

There was a recall done WWG-90 on your car June18/2004 to replace the MAF

Thatís the only warranty claim on that VIN, so for sure the TSB was not done under warranty.

The ECM software is just a software update, not a replacement on the unit.

Likely the difference in air boxes is going to be noise as that air chamber is basically a resonator.

Last edited by Blktrax; 07-10-2019 at 01:17 PM.
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Old 07-10-2019, 04:40 PM   #5
Kenword
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Member#: 504011
Join Date: Jul 2019
Outback Sport ECU update

First I would like to thank Blktrax again for his wealth of information. He must have access to some kind of maintenance database for my car. Dealer mechanic or service writer maybe? Very impressive, and much appreciated.

I did take the time to check the ECU in my car. As far as I can tell it has not been touched which is no surprise since Subaru conveniently buried it behind the carpet below the glove box. The unit installed is part number 22611 AE511, while the recommended upgrade is part number 22611 AE513. That might not mean much though as Blktrax describes the update as a software update and not replacement of the unit. I wonder if there's someone out there who could scan my ECU and tell which version the software actually is and update it for me?

Updated or not, the car runs well and I don't think I have any reason to worry about the ECU. If I understand the service bulletin correctly, the ECU upgrade was only to be done if someone complained about an exploding air box, and if understand Blktrax correctly that was only a problem if someone had the throttle pressed while starting the car while it was cold. So far I've had no problems starting my car regardless of the temperature. I live in Minnesota so some day I'll have to start the car in extreme cold, but I plan to install an engine heater so that shouldn't be a problem.

So, it looks like I be installing a new air box chamber and I might as well stick in an extra air filter as Subaru recommended. I wonder what the second filter actually does? My guess is it would absorb the force of a backfire and protect the air box. If nothing else, I should have the cleanest air around
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