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Old 11-15-2008, 06:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Changing fuel filter in a 1999 Outback, and some other questions

July I got a 1999 subaru outback station wagon. It got good gas mileage in my opinon (23.5 city / 28 hwy average) until a in about september its mileage steadily went down. Now it gets about 15 in the city. Tire pressure isn't low, the oil is good, air filter is very clean, the fuel injectors are clean now, and when I drive i try to save as much gas as I can (never rev the engine or floor it and I don't idle for long periods of time). But for some reason I am getting poor gas mileage so I go to napa and the sugguested changing the fuel filter. I bought one, and I plan on changing it since I don't know the last time it got changed. What I really need are directions to change the fuel filter safely. I was told that it might be pressureized or something like (even though the guy at napa said it was simple) that so I thought I would come on here and ask for help. Also I wanted to ask how hard it was to change a spark plug by yourself (without much experience working on cars), because it seems pretty hard to reach. I heard a bad one might be another possiblity and I wanted to check.

Another thing, when I turn my car on it takes quite a while for the engine to warm up, sometiems it idles at 1500+ for a few minutes, and when I am driving when it is still cold when it switches gears it gives a big lurch. I was looking for some possible explainations. Also I realize this is like 3 topics in one and I apologize.
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Old 11-15-2008, 08:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A stuck open thermostat will give you crap gas mileage and keep the car from warming up quickly.

When was the last time this had a tune up?

Fuel filter is easy, not much fuel will come out when you disconnect the hoses. In fact by the time you get the hoses off (it may be a fight), the pressure will be gone.

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Old 11-15-2008, 09:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I just changed my filter today. Not sure how long it has been either, but it wasn't original. As nipper says, it does take some twisting and pulling. I pulled the "IN" side off first and was surprised by the amount of gas that shot out. I did have some rags and a cup ready, however. Got the other side off easier when I could twist the entire filter.

I have done the plugs. For me it was a challenge, but I got it done. It seemed no matter the combination of sockets and extensions, I was either too long or short. Just not knowing what to expect makes it more difficult. I read on the board about removing the battery and washer tank for the driver side. That is a must. I wasn't sure about how far the plugs were into the block, so I was a little timid in trying to pull the wires. They were hard to get off for me, but they were factory original. I don't have the plug wire puller tool, so I had to pull hard while twisting back and forth. You will definitely want to use a piece of rubber hose as an extension to get the new plugs started to avoid cross threading.

I have enjoyed working on my Subaru since I got it this spring. I have been driving a company car for the past several years, so I haven't needed to work on it. It has been fun getting my hands dirty again. I need to create a post of the work I have done since I got the car. Nothing really counts as a mod, just regular maintenance.

Good luck with the operation.
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Dont forget those PCV valves

I've found the volume of gas not unexpected, but as soon as you get the line off, the pressure (if any) drops instantly, so you wont get any spray.

It is a large volume filter, so expect some spillage.

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Old 11-15-2008, 09:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Just read your post again and thought I should add that I did disconnect the battery and wait for the car to cool before changing the fuel filter. I didn't try the depressurize method.

It's probably a good idea to go ahead and change your plug wires when/if you decide to do the plugs.

How many miles do you have on '99?
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Old 11-26-2008, 07:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by nipper
Dont forget those PCV valves

I've found the volume of gas not unexpected, but as soon as you get the line off, the pressure (if any) drops instantly, so you wont get any spray.

It is a large volume filter, so expect some spillage.

nipper
I hope the PCV valve works cause that's the last thing I'm changing on this car to try to fix the large gas consumption problem that this car has.

If that doesn't work, then I'm just going to take it as is.

I must admit that this low gas mileage is disappointing. At this point, I'd be happy with just at least 20 mpg average.

Andre
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Old 11-26-2008, 08:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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it has around 154,000 miles on it. I havent been able to try to change the fuel filter yet, bad weather and no time/ light. Maybe friday or something.
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Old 11-27-2008, 02:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Increased fuel consumption and higher rpm's after warmup can also be symptoms of a failing oxygen sensor. They generally deteriorate for awhile before you get a CEL (and even then, if you don't get it changed, the CEL will sometimes clear after a few starts, even though the sensor continues to function poorly). I had this problem on my '98 OB, and it disappeared as soon as I replaced the rear sensor. A few months later, I did the front one, too. You can do it easily do it yourself (but keep in mind that it's better to buy the OEM type, so the wires are easily matched.)
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