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Subaru Legacy/Outback "Check Engine" Light Problems



  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,268
    Hah! Hey, coming from Alaska, what good am I if I cannot even recognize a block heater.... ;)
  • yasuyasu Posts: 7
    Inspection was due to run out in December, so I took it to my Subaru man.He is completely puzzled after checking everything and soliciting advice from other Subaru gurus. This summer we will replace the whole exhaust system to see if there is a glitch there. I am so down under financially on this car that there is no going back. The good news is that I made the final payment on it last week. In the meantime, I have purchased a 2008 Subaru, not the sport model, although they are very sexy. I am already in love with this car. I am getting 30mpg on the highway..that is why I did not get the sport model..I need the mileage as I travel quite a bit.Driving the Impreza has been sheer joy compared to the Outback. It is like going from a farm tractor to a sports car. However, I am still determined to find out what is wrong with the '02 Outback. It runs excellent and gets good mileage on the highway, but there is that pesky engine light......Thanks again for all the information and advice.
  • golinegoline Posts: 9
    I posted a long time ago about our 99 OB wagon which has had the light on for 3 years now after many attempts at repair! Now our 98 Forester's light is on with the same exhaust code....and we are exhausted financially from trying to fix these problems!

    It's time for a new car and we're looking for another brand. Some people say it's "just the computer", but as it causes the problem at inspection time annually, it's a major pain in the butt.

    I love the cars otherwise and this problem really makes me mad. :mad:
  • bb2010bb2010 Posts: 2
    Can anyone help me with this? This is the first forum I have ever joined so please be patient if I get the format wrong? Just picked up my new Legacy 3.6 limited Saturday at 9:30am. After driving for a bit, the brake seemed to thud when I pressed on it and skip. This morning, after driving around for a while, I had to jam on the brakes and the car stalled out completely. Also after a few hours, the check engine, oil temp, cruise control and brake light warnings all started flashing on the dash at once. Any ideas???? I am having it towed tomorrow, but am very discouraged by this experience. :lemon:
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729
    Yasu (and Goline):

    Do you know the Pxxx code that is failing with this Check Engine Light? It's hard to even guess without knowing more.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729
    Welcome, and sorry to hear that your ownership experience is starting out on a wrong note. I remember the frustration of having my very first new car towed in (2 or maybe 3?? times) during the first week for electrical gremlins. Terrible...

    My first thought when you described the odd brake feeling and the stall that the vacuum booster has a seal failure. The sudden leak into the engine intake can induce a stall. The rest of it? Unknown. Let us know what they say!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Have you driven over any big puddles, i.e. is there any flooding around? I'm wonder if any electricals got wet.

    Let the dealer take care of it. Ask for a loaner given its brand new.

    If your dealer is anything but helpful call 800-SUBARU3 and ask for them to open up a case number to help you out.

    Please keep us posted. Best of luck.
  • We just had the same problem with the check engine light and the flashing cruise control. Did you ever find out what was wrong?
  • yasuyasu Posts: 7
    I never did. Am still determined to do so, but have run out of money. This car has drained me financially.. I have to take a breather. I have had more than several distinguished mechanics and dealers look at it to no avail. I truly am starting to believe it is a conspiracy.. I leave you with this thought... a fool and his money.. of which I now have none.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729
    Once again, what code are you getting? Someone might be able to help you. Complaining without getting specific doesn't help anyone.
  • obwnyc97obwnyc97 Posts: 2
    Having the CEL code is essential to be able to help. It costs nothing to get the code pulled at an auto parts store (Autozone or such). Costco sells a cheap code reader (something like $40 I think) that may be worthwhile because you can determine the code, reset the system and see if the same code is generated after driving a bit.

    I mention this because I had several different emissions related CELs over a six month period. Very hard to figure out what was going on. Gas mileage was OK though idle was a bit rough. I cleaned the air filter, mass flow sensor, checked purge solenoid, etc., etc. and was ready to change O2 sensors, EGR valve and the upstream catalytic converter. Then I systematically reseated every vacuum line. I have not seen a CEL since (over two months now).
  • bb2010bb2010 Posts: 2
    Thanks for the suggestions. The car was towed in on Monday the 22nd, they still have the car as of March 30th with no end in sight. First claimed it might be a wire harness and they replaced that. Now they are talking about transmission issues. I have gone to Subaru of America and had a case number opened. We are discussing options and I will see what is offered. It is a crime when a car acts up as soon as you take possession of it. I keep being told that they have never had this happen before, I am starting to doubt that. I don't want this car anymore, I see a long string of problems down the road if they ever manage to get this one out of the service bay. Ironic that I would have bought a Toyota if they weren't having problems, I was told by so many that Subaru is a great brand. I am expecting them to do the right thing, will let you know. :lemon: :lemon:
  • obwnyc97obwnyc97 Posts: 2
    Re: Cleaning mass airflow sensor

    Make sure the cleaner is non-chlorinated. The chlorinated ones will harden the plastic and allow infiltration into the electronics. They sell "MAF cleaner" -- it's just non-chlorinated carb cleaner .
  • cemcconcemccon Posts: 6
    Yesterday, I was driving along on the highway in my 2009 Outback (approx 21,650 miles) with the cruise control on. All of a sudden, the cruise control disengaged itself, and the check engine light came on and the cruise light started blinking. I thought the problem may have cleared itself after sitting overnight, but the check engine light / blinking cruise light still happened during the morning commute (I commute about 75 miles round-trip per day ... which makes not having a working cruise control VERY MUCH A PAIN IN THE YOU-KNOW-WHAT). You think with all of the technology available today, instead of a generic, generally useless check-engine light, autos would display a problem-specific code (like an ABEND code in a computer program) that you could then look-up to see what the problem is. Since there is not a Subaru dealer in the town I work in, having it serviced is a big pain in the rear. I'll start by re-tightening the gas cap. If that doesn't work, I'll go to the auto parts store to have the code read for free. Pfooey...
  • cemcconcemccon Posts: 6
    Well, I called the dealer, and learned a few things. 1) If the CEL is solid yellow (which mine is), I am not damaging the car by driving it. 2) The CEL will be solid red or flashing for more serious, stop driving and have it towed type of problems. 3) For whatever reason, Subaru has designed their vehicles (recent ones, anyhow) such that the cruise light will blink, and the cruise control system deactivate (I.E., not work at all) while the check engine light is on, irregardless of the seriousness of the issue. I'm going to head over to the auto parts place at lunch to see if they can read and / or clear the CEL for me.
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,729
    The flashing "Cruise" got your attention, didn't it? Yep, that's what it is designed to do. The CEL alerts you to a potentially worsening problem that could disable the vehicle down the road, or at the very least, result in a marked increase in emissions. Yet people will ride around with that pesky light on forever and just ignore it otherwise.
  • cemcconcemccon Posts: 6
    @#$ing gas cap not tight!!! Now, is that REALLYworth a CEL?!?!?!? C'Mon!! Maybe a blinking fuel icon / fuel warning light, but not a CEL. Jeepers.
  • cemcconcemccon Posts: 6
    Yep ... used to just disconnect the CEL or put electrical tape over the thing in the ole 81 Buick Skylark back in the day...
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,600
    edited April 2010
    #$ing gas cap not tight!!! Now, is that REALLYworth a CEL?!?!?!? C'Mon!! Maybe a blinking fuel icon / fuel warning light, but not a CEL. Jeepers.

    Yes it is. The gas cap is part of the emissions system and if it's loose, it's out of EPA specification.

    IMHO, spend $50 on a basic scan tool which can clear the CEL and read them yourself.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I was gonna post the same thing.

    It's not Subaru's idea, they have to comply with OBDII.
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