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Subaru Legacy/Outback "Check Engine" Light Problems



  • golinegoline Posts: 9
    Thanks for the tip....yes, it's been reset, but when it is ocurring during the inspection timeframe, you have to drive it some miles before the computer will accept the inspection. In NYS we have an annual inspection. What I'm really concerned about is the safety issue as there is a slight odor of fuel inside the car. We've had 2 smoke tests and using those results done those repairs to no avail. Everything's been tightened and closely inspected for cracks, leaking fuel, etc. It seems to come back on when I go on a longer trip than usual....over 50 miles or so. Just going back and forth to town (12 miles each way) doesn't seem to do it.
  • mikemasmikemas Posts: 6
    Please help on my 2002 Outback Sedan check engine does not turn on when i switch the ignetion on. It did not pass Smog yesterday because of CEL issue. Can somebody please advise.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Could be as simple as a bad bulb. Not easy to access, unfortunately.
  • mikemasmikemas Posts: 6
    Any other idea? the car run's great, i drove this car to LA last friday just got home early today. The car don't have any leakage at all, i did not feel anything about miss-firing.

    Thank you

  • mikemasmikemas Posts: 6
    Hello all,
    Again please help!!!!!!!! My 2002 Subaru outback sedan check engine light does not turn on when i turn the egnition on. The car run great, i did not feel anything about miss-firing no leakage for oil or any flued under the engine. the only problem that i have is it wont pass smog. Please advise.


  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Search on Scoobymods to see if anyone has instructions for taking the dash apart. Your problem is way too specific to find someone who can answer you.
  • dswissdswiss Posts: 11
    perhaps someone disabled it on purpose (like to sell the car to an unsuspecting buyer).
  • jemtecjemtec Posts: 40
    I know this thread is ancient, but I had to make a comment.
    The 1995 Subaru IS OBD-II compliant.
    Obviously the Person at Advance isnt aware that some cars made prior to 1996 (the official year ALL manufactures had to be OBD-II compliant) were OBD-II compliant before that mandatory year.
    Seeings how I myself own a 95 Subaru Legacy, and own a OBD-II reader, I can vouch that it indeed is OBD-II compliant.
    If you see the person again at Advance (provided this person is still working there) and tell them of this fact.
    Giving bad info to customers is a good way to make things way harder than they should be.
    Coming from an Autoparts store as a manager for 7 years, these kind of mistakes happen all the time with all the changes made.
    Small and large.
  • I've posted earlier on this thread.... then got side tracked. My 05 Legacy had a CEL several months ago - $300 later, had a new 'post convertor' sensor on, and all is well... for two weeks, when it happened again. After discussing it here, I took it to an Advance Auto Parts store, where they kindly did an OBDII scan - got the codes as follows.

    O2 sensor
    Circuit Low volts
    (Bank 1 Sensor 1)


    Post Catalyst
    'fuel Trim Bank 1
    System too Rich

    I read a manual - found the 'upstream' sensor and harness - difficult lil' bugger to reach. What I'm wondering now - is it the sensor ? Or is my cat convertor shot? It only has 21,000 miles on it. Any tips greatly appreciated!
  • My '03 Legasy has set a P0507. I have already cleaned the throttle body and IAC. The CEL is on intermitantly now. I have never seen the idle speed hang too high. I priced an IAC at $300 ouch! Is there anything else that will set that code? I have checked for vacuum leaks, none, fuel trims are at 0 long and short, and I've checked for throttle cable misadjustment all ok. The car runs perfect and only has 63000 miles.It is a manual trans car by the way.
  • kks5kks5 Posts: 1
    I have gotten this code - well so many times that I cannot count - over the past 5 to 7 years on my 2001 Legacy wagon. I am not willing to spend the money to get a new Cat system, so I tried putting in a fuel line cleaner in. About a half a tank later it went off. I went to a different gas station and it was fine, but when I went back to the place that I filled up prior to the first time the light was back on after a quarter of a tank same code. So it seems to me, atleast with my car, it is quality of fuel.
  • i had the same problem with my nissan xterra 2003. 2 codes P0328/P0420. already got knock sensor replaced. now the check engine light is back. really hate to pay 2k more to replace catalytic converter. i will check what's the current code.
  • new to the forum, anyways i've got a 2.5 GT 1998 legacy that just recently began having the hazard lights, the dashboard, radio all start blinking when the car is off. I noticed that while this off the same clicking noise it makes off is also occuring while the car is running. the check engine light had been on, i had recently changed all the spark plugs, spark plug wire, and cooling system. The car runs fine with the check engine light on. I feel this is something to do with another aspect of the electronics system. any ideas??? i pulled the battery and put her to sleep for the night. thanks for any help!
  • to clarify post #137 the check engine light is off now that everything is blinking. sorry, thanks
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I wonder if it could be an alarm or remote keyless system malfunction? Change the battery on the key fob, perhaps?
  • Bobny57

    If you've still got te 2005 XT - you need to be very careful about the turbo. I have a 2005 Outback XT with 67K. I've been very good about changing oil and my turbo has now blown out. It's been in the shop for the last few days and I don't have a complete diagnosis yet, but I'm sure that it will be very expensive. Apparently there is a mesh screen in the banjo bolt that's in the turbo clogs and starves the engine of oil and bang - you've got a dead turbo on your hands. Looks like Subaru knows about the problem but hasn't been informing it's owners. Maybe this screen can be cleaned - if so it will save you much hassle. Just wanted you to be aware. I'll probably be posting more about my situation soon. :sick:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think peaty has a mod for that on scoobymods, FWIW.
  • This car has about 50,000 miles and I have owned it since new and had it dealer maintained. The CEL came on recently, and apart from now running rough for a few minutes when starting from cold it runs reasonably well. I take it into the dealer on Nov. 6, and having read all the horror stories about trial and error part replacement in order to get the light turned off, does anyone have advice as to how I can avoid this happening to me.

    Any ideas as to what may be the problem.
  • if it's cat/con before 100,000 Subaru should replace it. Mine blew at 102,000 and they wouldn't touch it. My closest Subaru dealer is a snake so that's the last place I'll ever take it or buy from.
  • My 2001 Outback had check engine light on for some time. It ended up being the O2 sensor. Much cheaper than a catalytic converter.
  • I have a 2003 Outback with the 2.5L engine with 90k miles. At 75k the head gasket blew and based on other posts this issue is not uncommon. Now at 90k the engine keeps overheating when I go above 45 mph. I've had the radiator, water pump and thermostat changed based on my mechanics advice. Even after changing all these parts the engine is still overheating. The mechanic was stumped and called in Subaru and they said that they have seen some cases like this and that the engine is shot and needs to be replaced. I've never heard anything like this, the car idles and runs fine at slow speeds but once I start to cruise at speeds over 45 mph the engine will overheat. Has anyone else heard of a similar case?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    If the engine overheated badly, it can happen. The heads can get warped.

    If it's not severe, they may be able to machine the heads so they're flat and true again.

    This would be the case for any alloy block (as opposed to heavy cast iron).
  • Subaru did pay for the turbo. I had to pay for the labor. Since the turbo failed, I did have some metal shavings in the engine that left some scratches. But the dealer felt that I didn't have to do a major engine overhaul. The car is running great right now, but I fear that the catalytic converter will go next or something else. I've got 67K miles on this car...I was thinking I should probably replace the car in the spring -but I really don't want to. What are your thoughts?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    It will probably be fine if the dealer thinks so, but if it makes you worry about it all the time, then go ahead and trade it in, because it's not worth the stress.
  • Hi all,

    I posted this in another thread, but I've got an update and wondered what some of you thought.

    About 3 weeks ago, my "Check Engine" light came on in my 1997 Subaru Legacy. The day after the light came on, my temperature gauge in the car started slowly climbing, as if the car was overheating after 20 mins of driving. I turned on the heat and the temperature gauge went back to normal. I took it to have the code read, and it threw the P1502 code, which is for a radiator fan function problem. However, the temp. sensor and both the fans are functioning properly. I've checked the fluids, I don't seem to be having any leakage, and I just had the car tested for hydrocarbons in the cooling system and it came back clean.

    The car is fine on long drives and on the freeway but starts to overheat when I’m idling or in stop-and-go traffic. I was concerned that this might be a head gasket issue, but all the posts I've read about HGs have the car overheating at higher temps. Any thoughts? A friend suggested a flush, so I'm going to try that next. I'm loathe to take it in and rack up $$$ while someone digs around trying to figure out what the issue is.

  • doggrandmadoggrandma IowaPosts: 144
    Do you live in an area where you have to buy fuel with ethanol? When I stopped using that and went back to "real" gas, our cars are performing much better and getting better gas mileage.

    Wonder when this ethanol boondoggle will end. Probably not until all our engines are destroyed. :(
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 10,925
    It's a shame, really. What a waste of corn.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • Thank you Cindy for the warning about the turbo. My experience after six years and 36,000 miles has been extremely positive and I'm going to hold my subie until it reaches at least 100,000 miles.
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