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Subaru Legacy/Outback "Check Engine" Light Problems



  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Could be an injector on that cylinder.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You already did the 3 things I was going to suggest, so I'm stumped.
  • I haven't read everything in detail here yet but...

    one subaru owner I knew who had this was told the gas cap, hosing and emission cannisters connected to the fuel filler, were defective. Once those items were serviced, his check engine light problems went away.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Except that those problems would not give you a misfire in a particular cylinder. Those items would effect the evap system or another code related to the emission control area of the car.

  • dswissdswiss Posts: 11
    What you're saying is that both Subaru dealers I went to have incompetent mechanics. You might have a point! ;)
  • Been down your path with a recurring CEL spitting out engine misfire on 3 and 4 with no noticeable loss of performance (98 Outback with 2.5l manual). Problem has been intermittent since about 80K miles (now 134K, with a rebuilt engine at 120K - typical head gasket failure) After checking/replacing wires, plugs, coil I just tried some heavy duty add to the gas injector cleaner. Light went off after about 100 miles, and is still off after 500 miles.
    Advice to anyone with a similar problem....swap the fuel injectors with each other and see if the codes change before replacing all that electrical stuff (unless, of course, it's tune-up time anyway).
    BTW I own Toyotas and Hondas with similar/more mileage, and none have ever turned on the CEL. My POS Subaru does it routinely.
  • Okay, I bought a 2002 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport at the end of Oct, 2007. It now has 21,000 miles on it. The check engine light came on last night. Took it to the dealer for scheduled oil change today the want $130 just to scan it. Is that a reasonable price, even before they fix anything? Car drives fine. Doesn't get the mileage reported though, and I drive semi grannyish. It sounds like the check engine light is an issue. The dealer did say it was probably a smog/emissions deal that would need to be fixed. So, should I try and get out of this car ASAP?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    No, the $130 sounds like a rip off to me, if all they are doing is reading out the code(s). You could buy your own reader for that and have it on hand for the next time the light illuminates.

    At this point, it is too early to tell if you should look to dump the car. Super low miles for the year, so it could potentially be a good buy for you. Give it some time, and proceed with repairs cautiously. Throwing sensors at the car to solve a tripped code is not a good course of action. ;)
  • Thanks, I'll see who else I can get to scan/look at the car. Fun car to drive, park it anywhere and don't worry about getting stuck up at pasture.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,391
    Reading the codes is terribly easy - takes about 30 seconds. You could then take it to a shop with codes in hand. If the shop then wanted to run a full diagnostics on it to pinpoint the problem, it might be warranted if it saves replacing sensors and making several repeat visits to the shop.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Most shops will charge 1 hr labor to read codes. So it should be closer to $90 to read the code.

    However since your car is a 2002 w/21k miles if it is in fact an emissions problem, it will be covered under the 8/80k emissions warranty.

    My guess is that it may be the gas cap tightening thing, so give it a few days before panicing.

  • dswissdswiss Posts: 11
    Thats about how long the catalytic converter lasted on my Legacy. By 80,000 mi I was on my third one - all paid by Subaru. After that YOU will have to pay for it, but until then, keep having it fixed at their cost!
    good luck.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I'd buy a scanner.

    I got an Actron model for $99. I've used it a couple of times, plus a couple of times for friends.

    At $130 per use, it's paid for itself more than 5 times already.
  • Hey, I bought the harbor freight OBDII with CAN for my 1999 Subaru legacy outback wagon which occasionally throws misfire cyl 4 CELs.

    This Code reader works well, cost <$40 USD and helps you figure out right away what the problem is. It also prevents having to stop at autozone to have them read/reset codes.
  • Okay, I posted here before about my check engine light, and the dealer wanting $130 just to scan it. I unplugged my cell phone charge thing from the cigarette more check engine light. Waiting to see if it comes back on.
  • Wow if that's it what a lucky fix!
  • So far so good, no check engine light. Whew, I hope this is the answer. lol
    Thanks, for all the help on ideas. I am buying a scanner deal. There's a Harbor Freight tools here. Going to go check it out.
  • Hello there. I happened across your post and you just might be the only person who can help. I have a 1995 Subaru Legacy and the Check Engine Light has come on. I've gone to Advance Auto and have been told they can only read 1997 to current and the best price I received to have a mechanic read the code is $80. I really do not want to pay $80 for something that might be a $20 fix. I am in the Maryland area and was wondering if your scanner is able to read the code for a 1995 Subaru Legacy.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, let's see, I have this model, pictured here:

    It is an OBDII reader. There was OBD version I.

    Does anyone know when Subaru switched, and if an OBDII scanner will read codes from earlier models?

    I know that my Miata, for instance, is OBD v1, but it's a 1993.

    Maybe check to see if the port is the same on your 95 Legacy? Let me know. It's under the dash board near the driver's left knee.

    Edit: this is what the plug looks like:

  • Now my check engine light is on. It may be off when I start the car again. Doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. It's off as often as it's on. Just weird.
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