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Old 10-15-2014, 08:42 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 371082
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Kentucky, USA
2002 Impreza OBS

Default '02 Impreza OBS Not Running Right, Possible Problems?

Hello everyone, I'm still new here so I apologize if this is in the incorrect forum.

So, first off, as the title states I have a 2002 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport that isn't running correctly. I bought it with 17X,XXX miles and it currently has 213,XXX. The car is (unfortunately) and automatic and has been pretty much flawless until this point.

The car had been acting strange, it would run and idle fine but when at low RPM it would shudder, stutter and when throttle would be applied it would lose RPM. The only way to keep it from running like that was to manually downshift and keep the RPMs fairly high. Since this obviously wasn't how the car was supposed to run I took it to a shop since I'm a diesel guy, not too familiar with these engines.

A few hours after I took it to the shop they called me back and told me it was leaking oil around the headgaskets, it needed a tune up and since I didn't know the previous owner or how they maintained the car, I wanted to do the timing belt and water pump too. I gave them the go ahead to fix the car and $2400 later (there was various other things as well) the car is still doing the same thing it was before I took it in.

I've had it back to the shop since I picked it up the first time twice. The first time I picked it up I noticed it was idling rough and from a standstill it would hesitate a little bit (shudder, stutter) and then be fine. I called the shop, explained the situation and they told me sometimes after the engine is pulled it takes a few days for the computer to reset the idle. Okay, makes sense I guess. I took the car in the interstate and got it a little above 4K RPM and the check engine light came on and it started to do the same thing it was doing before. Idle rough, barely move after applying throttle from a standstill.

So, I take it back and explain to them that it is doing the exact same thing I paid them $2400 to fix. They apologize, take the car and call me a few hours later saying they're 99% sure it is fixed. They said the throttle body and a sensor (not sure which one) was dirty so they cleaned them and the car is running fine. I picked the car up (this was yesterday) and start it. It idles perfect, which it didn't the first time, and then I put it in gear and everything is still perfect. It didn't stutter or anything, it drove just like it did when I first bought it.

Fast forward to today, I drove it for about 25 miles on back roads and it did perfect. I then needed to go to the grocery store so I hopped on the interstate where again I ran it up higher in the RPM range. When I came to a stop at the end of my exit the car started to stutter and idle rough. Great. When the light turned green the car barely moved and almost died when I pulled out. I made it to the store parking lot and when I was backing in, the car stalled on me.

I called the shop and I'm bringing it back tomorrow but I figured I'd post here as well. Does anyone have any idea what in the world could be going on? They gave the car a tune up, replaced the spark plugs, replaced the air filter (not sure about fuel filter) and of course the headgaskets, timing belt, water pump and the knock sensor too. The car was running perfect when I got it from them yesterday but it seems like after I took it up high in the RPM range, it started to run rough again.

I'd also like to let it be known that I'm not knocking the shop in any way. They are a well known import shop in Louisville, Ky and we personally know the owner. They've done work on my mother's Lexus GS300 as well as other vehicles and they have always done a very good job at very competitive prices. I'd just like to get some information from people who may have had this issue so I can pass it on to them.

Sorry for the huge wall of text but I think it may help those with the knowledge to help diagnose the issue.

Thank you for any help,

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Old 10-22-2014, 07:54 PM   #2
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 382504
Join Date: Feb 2014

I would start checking MAF sensor, PCV valve and general emission hoses. You might have a buildup and it will mess with RPM and stalling. Hope this helps. I do not think leaking oil or bad gasket will mess with rpm. Leaky stuff will overheat and throw bearing and ring and kill your engine but I think your rpm would be ok.

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Old 10-22-2014, 07:56 PM   #3
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 382504
Join Date: Feb 2014

Also fuel. Make sure you have a flow so pump, filter and anything related, even spark plug and coils and wires.

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