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Old 06-19-2010, 04:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default OBD Monitors Not Ready -- Help!!!

Hi folks. I recently purchased my first Subaru, a 1996 Outback (red and gray). Love it, except for the fact that I can't pass inspection. The previous owner had reset the computer because of a CEL for a knock sensor malfunction. When I purchased the car, I replaced the knock sensor, and there hasn't been any CEL, but now I am getting incomplete readings on the Catalyst, Oxygen Sensor, and EGR System monitors and so cannot pass NYS inspection. I spoke with several Subaru dealerships and they told me I just have to keep driving it to reset the monitors, but I've already driven it for two months and over 800 miles and the monitors are not clearing. I've now received 3 tickets because I don't have a valid inspection sticker and I don't know what to do. Can anyone help? Has anyone had luck with any specific driving pattern to get the monitors ready on an Outback? Thanks in advance!!!
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Old 06-20-2010, 06:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Catalyst and EVAP are usually the hardest to clear.

I drove 300 miles to clear my BMW, I just kept the scanner hooked up and kept checking it until it cleared.

Search Subaru emissions drive cycle and you get some hits. Here's one .

Subaru recommends the following conditions and drive cycle to get the monitors on its vehicles completed in the shortest amount of time:

1. Make sure the fuel tank is between one-quarter and three-quarters full; half a tank is ideal.

2. Start the engine and immediately drive the vehicle for at least 15 minutes at a speed greater than 50 mph. During the warmup, try to avoid sudden acceleration, hard braking and/or lane changes.

3. Drive the vehicle at a steady 55 mph for three more minutes. During this stage of the drive cycle, it's crucial that you keep throttle angle changes to a minimum.

4. Bring the vehicle hack to the shop, hook up the scan tool and look at the status of the readiness monitors. Repeat the drive cycle, if necessary.

Other than that, for me, varied driving helped. I did it in 15-20 minute cycles, 5 min stop and go to the freeway, 15 minutes at about 65 on the freeway and 5 minutes back to the house.

Did you ask the emissions place if they could give you a temp pass or If all the systems had to be ready ? the article seemed to suggest that they could do it with 2 not ready for pre 2000 cars.
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Old 06-20-2010, 06:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Link to Federal EPA document readiness exceptions (page 5)

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/im/obd/.../420f08009.pdf

Read Appendix D

http://epa.gov/otaq/regs/im/obd/r01015.pdf

1996 Subaru vehicles - Vehicles will clear readiness at key-off. There is no reprogramming available for this line of vehicles. These vehicles should be scanned for MIL illumination without regard to readiness status
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Brain farted on that one, I read it as 98 [his car]. I saw that key off clear thing too for the 1996 but disregarded it.

The Inspection board should know about this, Might be able to fight those tickets based on that too.
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ETC View Post
Brain farted on that one, I read it as 98 [his car]. I saw that key off clear thing too for the 1996 but disregarded it.

The Inspection board should know about this, Might be able to fight those tickets based on that too.
Your comment about pre 2000 vehicles triggered my recollection of reading something (endwrench?) about readiness monitors and some EPA exceptions for some Subaru OBD-II readiness monitors. Google gets all the credit!

Here is another document from NYSDMV that permits two readiness monitors to be "not ready" and still pass IM testing:

http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/broch/c114.pdf
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Apparently we are now talking to ourselves ... he either figured it out and jumped ship or ... forgot that he posted ;]

Maybe useful for someone else though.
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Apparently we are now talking to ourselves ... he either figured it out and jumped ship or ... forgot that he posted ;]

Maybe useful for someone else though.
Hey talking to yourself can be a good thing! Sometimes its the only intelligent conversation around
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Don't worry, I'm still here! My first child was born last week and he has been keeping me busier than the Subaru.

Thanks for all of your replies! NY state allows 2 incomplete monitors for pre-2000 cars, but I had 3 not ready so there was no way to get through inspection without clearing 1 more monitor. Also, NY will give you a one year waiver in this situation, but only if you've spent more than $450 in repairs to the emissions system (not sure where that rule comes from...).

So after calling several more Subaru dealerships, all of which said either to keep driving the car, or that I would need to bring it in so they could look at it (for a charge, of course), I finally found someone who seemed to know what they were talking about -- at Koeppel Subaru in Queens (if I have issues in the future, I will definitely be going to them). A woman in the service department there said I could drive until I'm blue in the face and the monitors will still read incomplete unless I complete the following drive pattern: accelerate to 50 MPH, drive for at least 3 minutes without braking, decelerate to 30 MPH, then accelerate again to 50 MPH, and drive for at least 3 minutes again without braking. If I end up having to brake, then I have to start all over again. I did ask her whether I should then check the OBD before keying off, and she said, it didn't matter, once the monitors are ready they will stay ready -- so I could drive the pattern at night when traffic is lighter and then just bring it to my mechanic the next day (which was good news, because trying to drive at 50 without braking during the day in the middle of Brooklyn sounded like a recipe for disaster!).

Then I read the information posted above about the monitors clearing on key-off and got worried that even if I followed her advice, it might not work unless I tested the OBD while my car was still running. So I decided it would be best to try to complete the drive pattern during the day so I could take it directly to my mechanic (I really do no recommend trying this at home, at least if you live in NYC!).

Anyhow, yesterday I drove the car for about 15 minutes of normal city driving to get to a highway, then accelerated to 50 and drove for 3 minutes without braking, decelerated to 30, then accelerated to 50 and drove for 8 minutes (for good measure) without braking, then decelerated again to 30 (for good measure) and then drove at 50 for 2 minutes before being forced to brake in order to avoid risking my life. Then I drove another 15 minutes of normal city driving to get to my mechanic, LEFT THE CAR RUNNING, and had him check the OBD and ALL MONITORS WERE READY

So, I'm not sure exactly what did the trick, the drive pattern itself, or just driving for a while and then not keying off before running the OBD test, but if anyone has this problem in the future on a 96 I would suggest following the same routine that I did and hopefully you will get a similar result.

Thanks again for all of your*advice! Hopefully I will be able to contest those tickets since it wasn't really my fault. Oh well, now back to my little Oliver...
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Congrats on the kid

Should have turned the key off and checked to see if it still read ok for next time [if you're going to keep it that long]
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Some good info here, the drive cycle worked on my boys 1996 outback legacy wagon. I did the drive cycle with my obd2 code reader hooked up and after the cycle I read it again and all were set. On the way home I stopes at homedepot and when I came out I figured I would double check it. The same 4 monitors that stopes me from getting it inspected were not ready again. So I drove it to 50mph droped to 30 mph and back to 50 mph but did not hold it at any of these speeds for 3 minutes this time and they all were set again. So I guess I will do this sequence and run it over and get it inspected without shutting the car off. Thank you all for this great info.
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