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Subaru Crew Problems & Solutions



  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    I get static on my car radio (AM stations only) that changes with speed and is more evident when the blower motor is on. Is this an indication of something tied to the misfire?

    Also, the garage that inspected the car says that I am allowed one not ready. I think I am going to focus on the P0420 code. I replaced the upstream O2 sensor. Next payday, I will do the downstream.
  • hammerheadhammerhead Posts: 907
    You're hearing alternator whine and static that varies depending on blower motor speed?

    Bad ground on the radio. Has nothing to do with the misfire.

  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    Phil, I glanced at your profile and saw a 2000 Forester and what looks like high mileage per year.

    P0420 is catalyst efficiency. That's caused by the rear o2 sensor only, never the front, so your front o2 sensor was a waste I'm afraid.

    It's also likely the catalyst itself and not the sensor, if you have a lot of miles. Call some muffler shops and find out how much they want for a new catalyst and installation. Should be around $250-300.
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    Around 200K in March of 2006 I replaced the Cat. In previous post (March of 2009) I explained that some antifreeze got into the cylinders. It is my feeling that the O2 sensors got fouled.

    I can get a Cat off the Internet for about $260. And since I removed the head myself, the Cat is a piece of cake.
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    I see, Phil. I had the heads off my '99 Impreza RS twice, and got quite a bit of antifreeze in the exhaust both times-- some oil, too, but less. No problems with trouble codes or driveability, other than burning off the stuff when firing up the car afterwards.

    I'll concede that my car had much fewer miles, roughly 30k-40k, but I don't think this would harm the oxygen sensors. They could be due for replacement anyway though, of course!

    If you've driven a lot of miles since March 2006, your cat could be bad (again?). Unfortunately, I've seen P0420 caused by misfires and other stuff that really doesn't have much to do with catalyst efficiency, in my personal opinion. So there is some risk that you're going to replace all these things that make logical sense, and still not have your solution.

    What's the answer? I dunno, how much for a complete engine from a salvage yard? ;)
  • phil2000phil2000 New JerseyPosts: 195
    I do not know if you read my posts from the start (Nov 07) that so much junk went through the exhaust with the bad valves. That the sensor needs replacing. I am going to give it a shoot. I need to get the car to appoint that it can be inspected. I have been blessed that I have only gotten pulled over twice for the window sticker(over the pass 18 months).
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    Phil-- nope, sure didn't. But I'm more confident in your path now. :)
  • I was so excited last year when I bought my very first new car, but, ever since 3000 miles I have this god awful rattle when I accelerate low rpm's. I have had it in 4 times. The first 2 times they said they didn't hear it and that I wasn't used to having a subaru. Then I took the mech for a test drive and he said that it wasn't normal. Could be gas or exhaust. The last 2 times they had it for 2 weeks and still now not fixed. They did an engine clean and told me it was a hickup!! Are you joking? I feel like they are giving me the run around, and I shouldn't have this inconsistent noise for a brand new car. It does it in between 20-40, if I let off the gas then lightly press the gas again. It normally does it when its hot or I have been driving around all day. Its spiratic which is why I know something isn't right. If I new this I would have went for a toyota!! My bf just got an impreza 09 hes just about at 3000 and his just too started making the same rattle. Everyone that has heard it outside of the dealership has said it sounds like a valve rattle. Subaru says no, but can't seem to find a problem. All they keep saying is that i need to use Conoco plus gas, and Ive been doing that and its still making the noise.......I want this noise to go away. People look my way when it does it. I feel like I am driving around with a lemon, and the dealership thinks just because Im a girl, I don't know what I am talking about. HELP :confuse:
  • I don't know what the noise is and I appreciate the frustration, but please, before folks start tossing terms like "lemon" around, do a little research into what really constitutes a "lemon" under various state laws.

    In addition to federal law (the Magnuson-Moss warranty act) and the Uniform Commercial Code, there are state "lemon laws." Most state lemon laws specify that a manufacturer must provide a refund or replacement for a defective new vehicle when a substantial defect cannot be fixed in four attempts, a safety defect within two attempts or if the vehicle is out of service for 30 days within the first 12,000 to 18,000 miles or 12 to 24 months.

    I'm sure it's annoying to you. It may be an "anamoly" of certain Subarus. But that doesn't make a car a "lemon." So far we don't even know it's a "defect", let alone a substantial one or a safety defect.

    Sorry if I seem overly technical or unsympathetic, I am not unsympathetic.

    Unfortunately my experience is that virtually no car maker today makes cars that don't have an Achilles heel or 2 or 3. I'm reading about brand new Hondas with all kinds of issues. Our '05 Matrix has gone through 3 belt tensioners, a water pump and a power steering pump in 18 months so I'm certainly not going to assume that a Toyota would do any better than your Subie.

    Good luck figuring it out, I'll be curious to hear if others have the same issue and if anyone has found a cause or fix.
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    I'm not so sure about an Achilles heel, I think you might have been trying to express that no manufacturer or individual car model is perfect.

    About the noise -- Is it detonation? Have you tried premium fuel (91-93 octane)?

    I'm not sure what engine is in your Outback,but I'm guessing that some of them available require premium, or strongly suggest it which is the same as require.
  • ...both actually (Achilles heel & non-perfection) ... for example, as anyone who's owned Audis recently (like me for 12 yrs.) can tell, there are elements of non-perfection in otherwise great driving cars, and there are also Achilles heel type of issues (failing control arms, coil packs, etc.) that still don't make a car a "lemon" per se... just an infuriating car to own. ;) ... or the serially failing belt tensioners in our Toyota Matrix (all under warranty, not costing us $ but they destroy the myth of unfailing Toyota reliability).

  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    >(all under warranty, not costing us $ but they destroy the myth of unfailing Toyota reliability).

    like our new tranny at 45 K in our 06 Sienna! just like in our 95 Windstar and 00 windstar which is why we bought a toyota in 06! at least our 00 venture went 130K with no tranny problems!
  • and I just read yesterday about a TSB on '08 Honda Civics for cracked engine blocks (!) ... at least they are replacing them, but yikes.
  • tim3tim3 Posts: 28

    I appreciate your ideas, but I can eliminate all of them except the fuel pump.

    - My dealer changed out (or should have) the fuel filter at the 90K service though it wouldn't hurt to replace it again just in case.
    - I put a bottle of Techron in every oil change.
    -The dealer found the #3 spark plug wire was "burnt and carbonize" when I took it in two weeks ago and replaced the entire set as a result. It didn't help.

    But here's the weird thing. I did a 3,300 mile road trip last week and the car ran flawlessly. But once I got home and did a lot of around town driving, the bucking returned.

    So, why does it only do it after extensive city driving and not on the highway? It seems like if it were the fuel pump it would do it all the time.

    What do you all think of a computer re-flash? The car is now at 101K.

    Thank you!
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    The major thing that changes between city and highway driving is throttle input, load and heat. Especially heat, in the summer.

    Heat won't affect your fuel pump much, though. How's your coolant temp? Does your engine get hot in town?

    However, you could definitely generate way more load and throttle % in town than on the highway-- assuming you are cruising on relatively flat ground. If you're passing people a lot or driving in the mountains, then that's a different story.
  • tim3tim3 Posts: 28
    Thanks for feedback and interesting observations...I think I understand what you're saying, but it's still pretty unclear to me what the problem could be.

    Since day one, the temp gauge always stays planted in the same spot just below the middle no matter what kind of driving I'm doing.

    But I live in Tucson so it's definitely a hot climate, and the problem is for sure worse in the summer. What could that mean?

    As far as the highway driving, we went from Tucson to northwest Montana with a few side trips up and back. There was plenty of mountain driving on a variety of roads, interstate cruising at speeds between 65 and 80 in 100 degree heat at times, and even 150 miles of some worse off-road driving I've ever done (the car barely made it) and still no issues whatsoever.

    On another forester forum, there was an extensive discussion of a similar problem many people were having and the fixed seemed to be a computer re-flash. The service advisor at my dealer knew of the fix and looked it up, but said it was for later models.

  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILPosts: 694
    But I live in Tucson so it's definitely a hot climate, and the problem is for sure worse in the summer. What could that mean?

    Just an odd thought...I wonder if localized hot spots are causing pre-ignition. The wrong heat range plug used to cause such problems. With emission controlled engines running extra hot to control smog, there is not much margin for error. Even if cooling is ok at cruising speed, water flow might not be quite adequate at low rpm. Just because the temperature gauge is happy doesn't necessarily mean every cylinder is adequately cooled: Note the cooling redesign on the new 3.6 liter versus the 3.0 liter engines to fix that problem so as to permit lower octane fuel. Does substituting 91 or 92 octane fuel fix it?
  • colin_lcolin_l Posts: 591
    Since day one, the temp gauge always stays planted in the same spot just below the middle no matter what kind of driving I'm doing.

    That was my recollection of Subarus, too. I was asking because even though your temp gauge doesn't move, it probably is a 'harder' environment in city driving in the summer than cruising on the highway.

    Your bucking is a little weird. It's a severe problem, but somewhat unusual that it's relatively hard to duplicate. I would think that a Subaru dealer could plug in their OBDII scan tool and generate logs or watch in realtime to aid in the diagnostics. However, going with my original fuel pump theory, fuel pressure is not reported to OBDII. But if you were seeing a lot of knock sensor activity, I think that would be a good clue.

    Regarding what would a re-flash possibly do?

    - It definitely will reset learned tables for timing and fuel, even if they flashed the same code you are currently running. This would be the same as resetting the ECU either with a OBDII tool or by unplugging the battery for 1hr+.

    - They could change the fuel and ignition advance maps, and possibly the knock sensor responsiveness. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but I remember some older Subarus had a hyperactive knock sensor which caused problems until reflashed. (Some owners/hobbyists, however, didn't wait and instead used their own repairs, like a rubber washer under it. That's scary-- don't do it!)

    BTW, I'm not talking out of my butt about the OBDII stuff. :) I have an Accessport for my Evo, and tuned the car with it, read diagnostic logs and realtime performance (while someone else was driving of course). I don't know what capabilities the Subaru dealerships have with their tool, but in general you could do a lot with OBDII monitoring.
  • I have an 08 Impreza 2.5i auto trans, and have had the same problem since the car was nearly new (after 1000 mi, have 14k on the car now). I am sure it is engine ping, some kind of uneven combustion problem. High octane gas makes no difference. Have had it to the dealer three times; they claimed they couldn't replicate the problem (and I do feel I'm being talked down to as a female). I finally called Subaru of America, and I am dealing with the regional rep. My car pings accelerating up a hill, shifting between 2nd and 3rd, 3rd and 4th, pulling away from a dead stop, etc. etc. - and yes it is worse in warm weather. A new car SHOULD NOT be pinging. These are made to run on 87 octane. I encourage you to stick to your story, and get Subaru of America customer service involved if the dealer won't acknowledge a problem.
  • My 2005 Outback Wagon will run very rough for 3-5 miles while traveling on thruway at 70 MPH then it seems to be ok. It happens about once a week. The average mph displays goes to ----(dashes) then appears with approx. 26mpg and slowly increases. Any ideas?
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