Rough running, occasional los of power, all 4 cylnders have misfire code - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums

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Old 10-16-2008, 09:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Rough running, occasional los of power, all 4 cylnders have misfire code

Hello again,

Unfortunately, I am posting as an original poster this time, not in response. So here is my issue:
Dimples: a 2002 OBW manual with 75k miles
I have had an intermittent issue for the past month where there is a rough idle, occasional shudder and lag off the line and it has stalled occasionally after coming to a stop and returns to idle.

I pulled the battery terminals and cleared the CEL to just see if it would come back. I did the seafoam treatment through the PCV and one through the tank.

Driving down the road the check engine light came back after a few weeks.

I stopped by the local auto store and pulled the CEL. 4 codes-
PO301, PO302, PO303, PO304 -misfire on all 4 cylinders.
subaru CEL Codes

So, do you think front O2 sensor or start with plugs and wires? I did the plugs and wires about 12k ago (used OEM wires from online subaru dealer but not sure about the plugs).

I also see after searching it could be the knock sensor, crank sensor, or a multitude of other issues.

I don't want to just start throwing $$ into parts, but I don't know where to start. I am going to pull the plugs and see what they look like.

Suggestions are way welcome.
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Old 10-17-2008, 12:04 AM   #2 (permalink)
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what do you mean the check engine light came back
was it always on???
spark plugs and wires are difficult on these flat-4 engines
are the wires in the right order???
and the wires connected to the plugs are straight and snap into place???
i've gotten rubber gromets from spark plug sockets stuck on the plug and one wire would not fit in all the way
dentist mirror and a scalpel

yah i wouldn't drive the subby until its running properly
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Old 10-17-2008, 12:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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"it came back" = I had the studder thing and the check engine light came on for the first time while I was driving the return leg of a bicycle trip with 4 people in the car. The car was bucking pretty bad by the time we pulled into the parking lot. During the drive home, there was intermittent power loss while on cruise control.

The next day I put a can of seafoam through the PCV, one into the tank and pulled the battery terminals to re-set the ECU after the seafoam treatment. The check engine light went away. Shortly after this, the problem started to return but no check engine light for about 250 miles. Yesterday, while driving down the highway the light came on with out much of a hesitation (compared to what I have experienced in the past). I took him to get his codes read and found that all 4 cylinders has the misfire code.

Like I said, the new plugs/wires have about 12K on them and ran ok until recently.

Sometimes when I am accelerating, it doesn't make a difference if I am at 15% throttle or 80% - I get the same bog for a few seconds before the power and throttle response comes back. Usually, when this happens, I step on the gas - but that might just be putting fuel into my cats

I just need to get it working before winter as my garage is not heated and working on cars is much more fun above freezing.

I think I am going to start by removing all the plugs, checking the wires and connections. If the plugs look good and the wires seem fine (can you have them tested?) Should I look at replacing the front O2 sensor? That is $70 vs $220 for the TPS. Or could it be an electrical problem before the current gets to the plugs and wires?
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Old 10-17-2008, 12:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If the wires are in the wrong order the car would barely run at all.

First you have to start with a basic tuenup,as you have all the symptons of fouled plugs. Misfire is telling you something.

YOu need to do plugs (subaru recomened type), ignition wires (from subaru), fuel filter, PCV valve and air filter.

O2 sesnor is a silly thing to look at fault for when the ECU is telling you have a misfire.

Plugs can look good,and still be bad, If your going through all that trouble replace them. If the bottom of the wires are soaked in oil, you need to get the valve cover gasket kit from subaru, and that should cure the problem. either way start with a tuneup.


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Old 10-17-2008, 01:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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looks like I have some wrenching to do. I'll let yall know how it works out. Thanks again nipper.
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Old 10-17-2008, 02:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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my first thought is that the fuel filter is partially clogged and the cleaner disolved part of the obstruction and cleared it enough to run ok for awhile.

unless the entire coil pack, all the wires, and or all the plugs went bad at the same time, i'd look at fuel delivery first. filter first if that doesn't do it check the fuel pressure.
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Old 10-17-2008, 08:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Right a plugged fuel filter could cause misfire on all cylinders too, esp when you're trying to really get on the throttle. Since it is all cylinders I"d maybe be checking out the connections in the ignition system too. This diagram is from the previous gen but i think it is close. For the previous gen anyway there was a note that F27 could loosen up and cause intermittent ground loss at the ECU for driving the ignitor.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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When you changed the plugs, did you gap them?

I have dealt with many ignition issues where the owner of the vehicle changed the plugs, gapped them with a feeler gauge, and then experienced misfires. In all cases it was due to an oversized gap. Probably caused by gapping the plugs with a feeler gauge - this will ALWAYS give you an oversized gap. Either leave the gap as-is, or use a sparkplug gapper. (My preference is to leave them as-is due to reliability concerns - an extra .005" gap isn't going to gain you anything.)
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I did not do the fuel filter at the last tuneup. Do I need to get it from the dealer or can I go with a Purlator from the local parts store: filter The dealer is about 20 miles farther away.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Hm yes maybe checking the plugs would be good idea. Also soobs seem to like ngk plugs and sometimes misfire others.

I think the purolator is ok. I have used one in the past. That sort of maintenance item I try to place an order or two per year from a subaru dealer who sells parts online to get best price, i.e. order air filter, pcv valve, fuel filter, anything else needed all at once.
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