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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Kudos to the diagnoses being posted here...color me impressed.
  • girlcarbuildergirlcarbuilder Posts: 218
    edited May 2011
    Given the information at hand, if this resolves the problem, not a bad price. AT 86K with proper care, you have not broken it in yet!

    Being a side impact that raises more concerns about frame mounts and the mounts on rear suspension axle components. That is because the trailing arm becomes a "crow bar" pushing against each end. Not to mention a possible axle bend.

    Bottom line, if it aligns up after the trailing arm is replaced, count your blessings. You got by cheap! On the other hand, if it was my car, with my knowledge and your lack of tools I would have it fixed also. That price sure beats replacing the car. Let us know how it goes.

    Thanks for the compliment Ateix'.....took a few bang ups on my end to learn! School of "hard knocks" I guess. lol
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    School of "hard knocks" I guess

    Isn't that the course on pre-detonation? :D
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,269
    Hahahaha, AJ.... that was good for a decent laugh!
  • danielldaniell Posts: 128
    edited May 2011
    Follow-up on this - took the car to the dealership and they claim that with the naked eye they cannot see any damage to suspension components. Car has no rust, and original paint can still be seen on suspension components. The mechanic said that usually when suspension components are damaged the paint cracks/peels off. Sounds reasonable, but perhaps not for slight damage.

    The Sears auto alignment printout shows that toe is out of specs for all 4 wheels:

    Front Driver: 1.42 degrees
    Front Passenger: -1.24 degrees
    Rear Driver: -0.65 degrees
    Rear Passenger (this wheel hit the curb): 1.73 degrees

    The desired toe should be around -.04 to +0.16 degrees for all 4 wheels. I am surprised that all wheels are this much off.

    Camber is fine for all wheels except for the wheel that hit the curb, which is just a bit off at +0.4 degrees, should be -2.0 to 0.0. Caster (front wheels only) is fine too.

    The Sears tech said that all this cannot be corrected with an alignment. Going to Firestone this Thursday to get yet another opinion.

  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    the book defines this code as "idle air control performance"....can anyone re-define this?

    The engine died as my wife turned into the drive way...she was between gears downshifting, and it threw the CEL when the engine died. It started right up and has been running fine since. I cleared the code and it hasn't popped up again in the 25 mile morning commute.

    Any ideas?

  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    The idle air control solenoid is standard on most fuel injected vehicles. It's how idling is done.

    The Subaru unit occassionally gets plugged or fails. A while back in this topic, I posted a link to a discussion about it from another forum...

    I think this was it:
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    Colin, thanks for the link! I read about 15 pages of it, then went out and popped the hood...that's not me at all, I've got the 2.5 non-turbo engine and there are no coolant lines going into the area.

    Still, the idea that an MAF or some other valve is dirty is probably the case. I'll need to do some more looking...

  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    edited May 2011
    Well, the most likely is the IAC. Yes-- your underhood looks quite a bit different, lacking the turbocharger and plumbing :) -- but the IAC solenoid is there, and it is probably dirty. The MAF sensor is also fairly fragile and generally has no problems if you use a good air filter and change it appropriately, whereas the IAC is durable but does get some gunk in it due to combustion gasses.

    I would go out and have a look to help ya, but I sold my '99 Impreza 2.5RS a number of years back... it's surely on the intake manifold, probably near the throttlebody. I'm sure Girlcarbuilder can quote chapter and verse. :D
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    this one isn't the old 99 engine either, it's the FJ that has been in many of the Subies for much of the 2000 decade. I didn't see mention of them in the thread. There are some electronic sensors and units in that area, I'll explore them. After 140k, it's about time for something to start acting up.

  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    Uh, nope, that's one thing I am sure of. :) You have the same basic EJ25 in your 2003 Forester 2.5L that I had in my 1999 Impreza 2.5RS. I am pretty sure that in '03 it was MAP sensor only for air metering, whereas my '99 had a MAF sensor.
  • Toe is adjustable on front by screwng in/out tie rod ends most cars. The front wheels appear to have been in a sideways slide as well. Note one + and one - reading. Not concerned with these readings.

    There are usually bolts in the rear with offset washers to adjust the rear. In both cases, there are limits of adjustment. I am concerned on the one rear reading. Hopefully it can be adjusted out or close enough for "government specs."

    My reaction is if Sears can guarantee they can align and show correct readings, let it rip. Dealer shop is correct, but paint does flex to a slight degree. So, you are correct there. Toe would be knocked into the car given the direction of impact. If they can not fix it, the mounts for that lateral link may need to be adjusted in a frame rack. Ouch. Probably 2-4 hours there at a good body shop. Tire wear will be the final judge in the end. If the tires have a good bit of miles, I would take a wait and see how they wear before I did a frame rack after alignment. The other practice I have used on lower annual mileage cars is do the tires rot out first, before the damage ruins them? If they rot out first, don't sweat so much about it.

    See what the other shop says, tell them nothing at first and see what they say. Play dumb blonde time. Personally, I usually use an independent shop for my alignments, one with a good reputation.

    As for a final note, I have a 2010 Toyota Yaris bought at auction for $7600 that took a side hit. It lined up, but the jury is still out on tire wear. She took a side hit in the drivers sides. Good deal for 16.5K miles. Annual planned mileage is 10-15K. Tires will rot off her!
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729
    The EJ25-II in my '02 OBW would be virtually identical to what you have in your Forester. The IAC is mounted on top/side of the throttle body - position does vary with manual vs auto. I don't have a photo hosting site, but could shoot someone a page from the shop manual if that would help.
  • once_for_allonce_for_all Posts: 1,640
    Thanks! I know where it is, thankfully it's easy to get to.

    Just waiting for it to hiccup again....not sure that it wasn't an errant clutching by my wife, or some other passing mis function. If it's dirty, it will act up and throw another code eventually. I completely downloaded all the 2003 Forester pdfs so I'm good to go if I need service/diagnostic procedures.

  • pathtomaxpathtomax Posts: 215
    edited June 2011
    Hello again...just went my 2001 Outback (144,000 miles) was up and running again, the Check Engine Light comes on. As you probably remember, I had the Radiator, Water Pump, and Head Gaskets replaced about 2 months ago.

    They notified me at Subaru that the P0420 code is that the catalytic efficiency is below the threshold. Estimate for repair $1,055.

    So, my questions:
    1.) Can I get this cheaper anywhere else?
    2.) Can I just continue to drive *and feel horrible about hurting the environment*
    3.) Should I just buy a certified 2008/2009!
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    edited June 2011
    You ABSOLUTELY can get a qualified, independent exhaust/muffler shop to do re-do the exhaust from the headers back for far cheaper than $1,055.

    They would use a/an generic catalytic converter(s) and weld up exhaust pipe. They would expend far more skilled labor, but it would cost less.

    -O2 sensor, $75ish (could be as much as $100, could be as little as $40)
    -2.25" (estimated) in/out catalyst, $200ish
    - galvanized exhaust pipe, $100ish
    - generic muffler, $60ish (if necessary)
    - labor, est 3 hrs @ $65/hr, $195ish

    $650 is my bet on a competent, privately owned exhaust shop.

    DO NOT go to Midas, Rapid Muffler, etc. They are largely untrained and they don't care. They're just like the dealerships for the most part, bolting on overpriced OEM made-to-fit parts.

    PS, you might just start with replacing the O2 sensor. It's fairly easy other than they can get stuck, but if you remove while the exhaust is hot they usually come right out. At 144k, such things are not uncommon. The catalyst could be done, too, and that's my assumption above.

    Hope this helps! :shades:
  • Yup, just did this one on the 2003 Impeza. Jacked up whole car onto blocks, dropped the whole exhaust. Dragged it out from under car. Bought new system with new O2 sensors. Assembled new system on ground and then dragged it under and hung it back up. Spent about $500 at and a few hours of my labor. Oh, have antiseize handy for exhaust manifold studs and O2 sensors. Get a new set of exhaust manifold gaskets as well. I prefer not to weld a system. That way I can replace individual components as needed later on.

    I hope you are past head gasket problems, because antifreeze and cats do not get along.

    On the 03, the state of MO forced the repair to finally happen. Something about thou shalt not drive and pollute at the same time or thou shalt not get safety sticker and license! I opt for number 2 until they force me to do something! You get the final call on that one though! 144K? 03 made about 250K. Maybe because it is a highway unit.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,269
    Assuming the cats and oxygen sensors were not fouled by antifreeze, there's a good possibility that there is nothing really wrong with the cats. My car threw that code intermittently for years, yet the emissions inspections never noted any increase in exhaust "pollutants." In fact, the first inspection after that code started throwing actually yielded better results than it did two years earlier!

    Of course, had the CEL been active, they would have failed it for no reason other than that. The nice part was that it would throw the code, I would reset it, and then it would usually be quiet for a week or two before throwing again. That way, I could "get away" without fixing the elusive problem, if it was a problem at all.

    I think you should just keep the code cleared and sally forth as is unless your fuel economy is noticeably poor. If that's the case, then you probably have an issue with the oxygen sensors not giving good feedback.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729
    I’m very much in Wes’s camp on this one. Look in any automotive forum on the web (including this one), and I’ll bet the number one CEL issue out there relates to the rear-most (#2 or #3) oxygen sensor. And unfortunately, many are too willing to plunk down $750-1200 on a quick fix, and wind up back on the boards complaining that the issues returned a few months later.

    A P0420 is as you said - low cat efficiency. Basically, it indicates that the cat cannot burn off all of the remaining fuel in the engine exhaust. But the rear sensor is just a monitor, and nothing more. Unlike the front sensor that actually feeds back to the ECM to adjust fuel mixture, the rear sensor is simply a tattle-tale. You got that code because at some instance in time, the sensor’s voltage output was too high.

    I’m a firm believer in spending a little up front on proper diagnostics, or at least trying the least invasive part swap first, before jumping to replace a cat. The code is an indicator of some type of problem, but what? Was it a one time event, or is this a steady-state problem? Is the cat failing, or just slightly degraded? It the sensor fouled, or just slow to warm up? Is there a wiring problem? An ECU issue?

    What if, as Wes suggested, you cleared the code and kept driving. Would it return, and if so, how soon? Along with the error code there is a report on the activity of around 20 other sensors stored at approximately the same time (within a few hundred milliseconds). This is known as the snapshot or freeze-frame data, and it tells a lot about the conditions that induced the error. These cars use the old ISO protocol, so the data stream isn’t perfect, but, for instance, the log might show that this only happens for the first seconds after transitioning from open to closed loop operation (a warm-up issue). Possible diagnosis – the internal heater on the B1S2 sensor or wiring to it is bad, and the sensor is just a bit slow to come up to temp. Once warm, everything is fine.

    Did the dealer do a real-time scoping of the continuous data output? Is the sensor always out of spec? How about a tailpipe sniffer? Is there lots of unburned fuel, or is it squeaky clean?

    I can get into a lot more detail on this if you are interested. A single code means absolutely nothing unless you have data to go with it. It’s just the beginning of the search, not the end result. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, at least not yet!
  • pathtomaxpathtomax Posts: 215
    Hello everyone,

    Thanks AGAIN for so much help. The CEL has been intermittently going on and off the past week. So, I did a little shopping online and found a good deal (in my eyes).

    They are taking my 2001 Outback Ltd with 145k... and I am getting a 2008 Outback 3.0R LLBean, 36k miles, with Nav (that I didn't actually need).. out the door- $20k.

    I think it was a great deal... Deep Bronze color and LOVE the LL Bean seats too! It comes with winter tires and I complained about how loud they were driving it in they are throwing in brand new tires too.

    Deal...or no Deal.. LOL :)
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