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Subaru Legacy/Outback "Check Engine" Light Problems



  • issue started on 1/27, car still under warranty at 35,290 miles. Dealer replaced entire dashboard and all gauges, resetting odometer to 0. After 3 days problem back again where car would not start, had to be towed. This time dealer replaced engine control module. Car ran fine for 1 day and again cruise started to flash. Made it to dealer where they have no idea what is wrong. Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions

    Want the vehicle fixed so I can get rid of it in favor of something more reliable especially since warranty is about to run out
  • Has the dealer checked the cartalytic converter?
  • jajjaj Posts: 55
    What year is your vehicle? I had a 2005 with that very recurring problem. Turned out it was a software issue. After several trips to the dealer they finally got it right. Fortunately for me, the car was still under warranty at the time. You might want to try a different dealer and see if they suggest a software update/refresh. Good luck.
  • this just started on my 2007 Outback last night. Hope it's a quick fix...
  • bz8bz8 Posts: 2
    Did you ever get a definitive answer on your check engine light issue. I'm having the same issue. First the dealer said that it was misfire and the fuel injectors needed to be replaced, when I questioned that they said maybe a bad tank of gas, that wasn't the problem. Then they replaced the intake manifold gasket - that wasn't the problem. Then they told me the gap in the spark plugs was too great. They replaced them - my car is hesitating (stalling feeling when I press the gas) and now it feels like it's slipping (like tires slipping ice then engaging.
  • bz8bz8 Posts: 2
    I have been having the same problem. Also my vehicle is sluggish on acceleration, then it is fine once going. I brought it the the dealership (what a joke) they have no idea. They said it registers a misfire, but don't know what to do. They first said it was that my fuel injectors had to be replaced, then bad tank of gas, then intake manifold gasket (replaced - didn't fix problem), then they said the gap in my spark plugs was off (replaced). Still not running right.
  • All car manufacturers switched to OBD II in '96. Any vehicle made before '96 is OBD I. off the top of my head I don't know where you can pick up an OBD I scanner
  • I have a '00 legacy. I've got an interesting problem, my check engine light will come on for a while (couple hours to a couple of days) then go off for a while. Any ideas on what could cause this issue.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Pretty much any intermittent trouble code. The only way to know for sure is to pick up an OBD II scanner (they are fairly cheap these days), scan it, then clear the codes. Once you have the codes, someone here can probably point you in the right direction or at least give you some additional pointers!
  • patb1227patb1227 Posts: 5
    I have had the same problem for almost 2 years--my catalytic converters are going out and I had someone suggest the oxygen sensor-I don't get a decent reading when I take it into the garage--car runs fine - I just put up with the intermittent light and so far so good-180000 miles on this car and I will drive as long as I can-Love it-wish they were still making the Outback Wagons like they did in 2002-I don't like the SUV styling of the new ones.
  • patb1227patb1227 Posts: 5
    Does anyone have a suggestion for air conditioning unit? I have had 2 new compressors installed and a new compressor sensor but the air conditioner will only run when the car is cold and turns to hot air after I have driven a few miles. Doesn't need freon. Heater works great.
  • littlemo1littlemo1 Posts: 1
    First time poster with little car sense. I have read through many of the posts. Bought used 2008 Subaru 3 months ago from non-Subaru dealer and had 39,000 miles so no warranty. Did great until yesterday- sudden loss of cruise and then in evening when easier to see dashboard- saw flashing CEL and flashing cruise light. Also feels like not as powerful at times when driving. Have had bad experiences with local Subaru service dept. with previous Subaru I drove to 127,000 miles so worried less about no warranty. Have a mechanic I really like. But given all I have read- should I go to the Subaru dealer or to my trusted mechanic first and let him know some of the suggestions you folks have made? (e.g. check electrical wiring -have already made sure gas cap closed well). No wet weather previous 48 hours. I have not gone anywhere to get code read (didn't even know I could until reading here) Thanks everyone!
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Take it to your trusted mechanic. Could have been a misfire or a blip in one of the speed sensors. A quick readout with a code reader should tell you. Once you clear the code, your cruise will come back. They do that to annoy the driver into getting the CEL checked out. ;)
  • lauraannelauraanne Posts: 1
    edited September 2011
    Just got back from the dealer -- check engine light, brake light, traction control light and cruise control light all came on. Dealer said that the computer was registering a piston misfire, but there was no actual hardware problem. This is a software only problem, and Subaru needs to put out a patch to fix the software. No ETA specified for this fix, so in the meantime, it's okay to drive unless the check engine light starts to flash. A flashing check engine light means that another problem has registered. In the case of a flashing check engine light, get it checked out.

    I was told this is happening to both Outbacks and Forresters -- I have a new 2011 Outback. Started happening on mine at 107 miles.
  • Same thing here. 2011 Outback has 230 miles on it and was purchased 1 week ago. Mechanic did a "system reset." Got on the freeway and within 1 minute from leaving the dealer all lights that you mentioned in addition to AT Temp light were all back on. We were back to the dealer within 5 minutes. Have a loaner car for the evening. My gut says the mechanic and Subaru of America are clueless on how to resolve the issue. To say the least, not happy at all.
  • Two weeks ago my check engine light and cruise control came on and was blinking. I thought I got air in my gas line because the low fuel warning light came on right before and I did some research and it was a common thing. So I reset it by unhooking the battery cables and tapped the brake three times. It has came on a few times after that but my research said this was a possibility until all the air was ran out. Today a whining noise is coming from the engine when I accelerate. I haven't experienced any loss of power or fluids far. But I parked it as soon as I noticed the noise. I'm afraid it might be the Turbo. It has 77K miles. Any suggestions would help. Thanks
  • What does an "emission control system problem" consist of?? =/
  • I have a 98' Subaru Legacy GT with 270K miles. About 8 months ago my car overheated while sitting in traffic. When I squeezed on the tubing a gurgling noise happened like it was clogged. So I took it to a terrible mechanic to have the radiator flushed. Which they ended up breaking the radiator so I replaced it with an aftermarket one. Drove fine for about a month then suddenly overheated again. Thought it was the thermostat sticking so I replaced it. Ran fine for a week then suddenly overheated again. Noticed that there was air in the system so I let it out to the best of my abilities. Now when idling runs fine until I try to drive it then suddenly overheats but cools down when I stop and idle. I think it's something simple but am out of ideas.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Are all of these problems on the same car? If so, you have an aftermarket turbo on your Legacy?

    The problem with your overheating is either head gaskets or water pump....
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,732
    Nah, I think she's going thru Subi Hell right now with a 2005+ turbo (77k miles?) and a 1998 with 200+k miles.

    The older one sure does sound like a HG problem given the air in the system, although checking the water pump is still a good idea.

    Subiegirl - an emission systems problem is a rather broad brush description of every component and software that helps the engine run right and clean. Computer, fuel injectors, vapor recovery, airflow measurement, spark plugs - the whole works.
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