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Subaru Legacy/Outback "Check Engine" Light Problems



  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Have the belt tension checked. Wonder if the new water pump is creating more drag on the engine?

    You're using the same viscosity oil, right, not thicker?
  • No this increase in fuel usage started last winter at about 75K. At first I thought it was due to the cold but then we purcahsed an 09 Outback with the same 2.5 liter motor and it gets the higher mileage. The 08 is our second car now so I don't want to sink a ton of $$ into it. It runs great, I use Mobil 1 in both and have been for 20+ years. Also the trans and front/rear differentials are flushed and filled every 30K
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    Have you put on a new set of tires...before 75K perhaps?

    And have you checked the exhaust system for a crimp or large dent in the pipe?

    I suppose a really bad tank(s) of gas could have partially plugged the cat.

    Could a brake be dragging? Check the parking brake also.

    Dirty air cleaner?
  • Thanks, I have a feeling it's the tires which were replaced last Fall and that's when the mileage dropped. I may swap tires from the 08 to the 09 and see if that's the problem. Guess I should have stayed with the original Bridgestone Potenza's, I got a good deal on 4 Dunlop Signature tires installed for $520.00 at Mavis Discount Tire.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    A perhaps similar Dunlop tire , SP60, is rated poor for rolling resistance by CU.
  • Well just last week the engine light went on and flashing cruise control button. I have been told that the 2nd piston is off a bit. So far we have put into that car another $4,000. So are we throwing good money way for bad? Is the car saveable? Do I have a faulty cruise control? Can this be fixed, or does one have to put in a whole new motor? Pity my dream car- -turned out like this.
  • I was told it has something to do with the 2nd cylinder. I'm beginning to think the only real way to fix it is to drive the car into the dealership & tell them put in a new motor. Sad to say- since my engine light comes on with the flashing cruise control and I have not even had the car a year yet. I know why the guy traded it in for a newer car. I'm sure the dealership knew about the car's problems- before selling it to me in what they called mint condition.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Is it under some sort of warranty?

    Shame on the dealer if they knew....

    The blinking light is merely a warning light - but blinking does mean you should park it immediately and call a tow truck.

    It's hard to say what's wrong, though. If you don't trust that dealer then I would not go back there again to fix it. Good luck.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,000
    edited December 2010
    If this is a recurring thing, the best thing you can do at this point is get your own code reader! That way, whenever this happens, you can pull the code(s) yourself and reset the light. If the CEL is not flashing, it is not an immediate, emergency situation. The cruise light flashing merely indicates that the cruise system is disabled. If the ABS warning illuminates, that indicates the ABS system is disabled. (the combination of all three will occur, for example, if the car detects a wheel sensor problem).

    "Something to do with the 2nd cylinder" does not tell you much, so rather than dump good money after it, I would monitor it for a while with the help of the code reader. Perhaps, with some time, luck, and knowledge, you can pinpoint the issue and resolve it efficiently.

    By the way, what exactly is the car? Year, model, transmission, etc?
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • yasuyasu Posts: 7
    I left a note for my local mechanic when I dropped it off for inspection. He wasn't home. I told him I was desperate and to try your battery thing. He called a friend of his that knew CEL's. Apparently this guy did this for a living. He only worked on CEL's. He found a couple of wires that were not attached. Don't know where as I did not talk to him directly. I was convinced at this time that it was electrical. I guess wires qualify for that! Anyway, six years and thousands of dollars later, I have a car with the light off! Knock on wood that this was the problem all the time. The car is good for another year. For the amount of money that I have invested in this car I plan to try and get 500,000 miles out of it. I thank everyone for all of their advice and information.
  • 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: 11,000
    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!
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • 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: 11,000
    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. ;)
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • 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: 11,000
    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....
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,777
    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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