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Subaru Outback/Legacy Fuel System

jmott38jmott38 Posts: 5
edited March 2014 in Subaru
My Legacy wagon has 40K miles on it. Saturday, I started it up, smelled kind of oiley exhaust (odd, I thought) and drove to the gas station a couple of miles away. Filled the tank, headed off up an incline.

The car shuddered, jerked violently, lost the ability to accelerate, at which point I pulled over and turned it off. The experience was not unlike the tranny dropping out of my Volvo many years ago.

Dealership mechanics can't figure out what the problem is.

I had heard from a friend that there continue to be problems with moisture getting in the fuel line and from there to the gas filter.

I'd appreciate any thoughts y'all might have - it'd sure be fun to unstump the mechanics!


  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,996
    No codes logged? Easy enough to rule out water in the fuel - add a bottle or two of Heet. If you can get the car started, run it for a few minutes or so to cycle the fuel in the lines. If the car continues to run poorly, then it is not the fuel.

    Can you see any coloration of the exhaust? Blue smoke?
    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: 3,780

    I'll take Wes's advice one step further - buy the Isoheet (isopropyl alcohol) rather than the cheaper Heet (methyl alcohol). I am surprise that they still sell the wood alcohol products for automotive use, given that it is not always compatible with rubber fuel system components.

  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 11,996
    Eech! Yes, the RED bottle! I had forgotten there was two products (yellow bottle = methyl). Thanks for the catch, Steve! :blush: I was not aware of the incompatibility issue, but the Iso-Heet seems to work better with my 3-wheeler so when I do use it on my autos, I use the Iso-Heet.
    2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2008 and 2013 Subaru Forester(s), 1969 Chevrolet C20 Pickup, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250 Pickup
  • jmott38jmott38 Posts: 5
    Hey gents,

    Well, it ended up being bad gas and faulty O2 sensors (they saved a gas sample for me, how kind). On start up, the exhaust wasn't colored, but did smell bad. The dealer replaced the sensors, drained the tank and replaced the filter. Not a cheap deal.

    Thanks for your advice, and I'd appreciate any other comments you might have, especially on "bad gas". In almost 30 years of driving, I've never heard of that one.


  • fibber2fibber2 Mid Hudson Valley, NYPosts: 3,780

    These days, 'bad gas' typically is a high amount of water contamination. A flooded parking lot, or the like, probably allowed melting snow (you are in Upstate NY??) into an underground tank. If your area is running 10% ethanol, it tends to suck up and hold the water. I wonder if you could make a case against the station where you last filled?

  • jmott38jmott38 Posts: 5

    Love that idea, except that I'm over 40, I'm starting a new company and I have tweens - remembering basic hygeine is a challenge! Thanks for the edification on the gas; we did have a lot of rain and melting snow the week before this happened, and I'm sure you're right.


  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    What kind of company are you opening?

  • cmccartcmccart Posts: 9
    Yesterday my 1995 Subaru Legacy's check engine light came on after driving on the highway (65-70mph), turning the engine off while inside daycare to pick up my daughter and then going back out to restart about an hour later. Hubby checked the code...something like "fuel pedal malfunction" (P0120...I think). He reset it and we drove it on the highway and around town afterwards with no repeat of the problem. This morning went on highway to daycare driving (60-65mph) and when I went out to start the car (about 5 min. later) check engine light came on and car would start then sputter and stall out (twice). Let the car sit for 10 min. restarted without applying gas and car started right up without check engine light. It is not evident from the test code explanation, exactly what needs to be done to fix this. Anyone have adivce for us?
  • kate26kate26 Posts: 1
    My 1999 Outback won't accept gas at certain gas stations. When I let it get down to 1/4 tank, the check engine light comes on. When I try to fill it at certain stations, the gas gun clicks off as if it is full and sometimes the gas bubbles at the mouth of my car! I have been successful at fill it at stations with the full black, plastic covers. After the tank is filled, the engine light goes off. I have a friend with a 2000 Outback who has the same problem. Any ideas?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    There must be an issue with the vapor recovery system. When gas goes in, the fumes and air in the gas tank come out into that system. Any leak at all will trigger a check-engine light. I bet the problem is there somewhere.

    The full plastic covers capture those vapors and probably compensate enough that it still works.
This discussion has been closed.