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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone, and Thank You ahead of time for all your help. Also I apologize if this thread/post is in the wrong area. It is my first time here.

First of all, let's get this out of the way. I have:

2005 Subaru Outback, 2.5L 4cy Non-Turbo AWD, i-Wagon Outback
H4 EJ253 SOHC Automatic
U5 (Not U6) Catalytic/Exhaust System
---->It has the Barn (Single port/3 Bolt holes gasket, not Cat Face (Dual Port, 3 Bolt Holes Gasket) Exhaust Manifold Gaskets Set-up

VIN --- 4s4 bp61cx 57306049

Hopefully this is plenty of information to go on. :D

A bit of history:

Just recently, within the last 4 months, I had to fix a head gasket leak in both my heads. The infamous one at 120k-ish miles. So a friend of mine, who is a mechanic, and I, working together, fixed up my car. Took about 2 months due to both of use having second jobs and having to wait for parts to show up. For the record, I am not mechanic, but I do work in Auto Parts Stores and have a decent amount knowledge, doing the majority of my own car repairs. However, I am shy of five feet and not weighing much soaking wet and do require help on bigger repairs or things requiring a lift. Hence, my mechanic friend with this five bay shop and if he dies before me, I am raiding said shop!!!

In the end, we ended up doing more than just the head gaskets. Once the engine was apart and out on the floor might as well right? So the Outback has all new gaskets, with the expectation of in-depth gaskets in the engine itself and plenum gaskets (includes rods and main bearings, still originals). New water pump, timing belt, camshaft seals, bearing, and pulleys. New serpentine and secondary belts and nearly every hose I could manage to fine. Transmission flush and change. Coolant flush that went with a new radiator and coolant recovery tank. The entire coolant system had to be replace due to oil getting in the coolant because of the head gasket leak. Maybe not necessary, but I did not want to take any chances. One engine mount on passenger side. Oil Change with filter and new hydraulic filter next to window washer reservoir tank. Heads themselves had the complete resurfacing, service, clean up, and etc, not just the cylinders done. Paid the big bucks for the complete job instead of the basic one. Also has new head bolts and the head gaskets are the SIX STARS version that were so well recommended. New oil pan and new transmission pan. New Coolant Temp, Oil, Camshaft, and Crankshaft Sensors. A tune-up with Spark Plug, Wireset, and Coil Pack (No Fuel Injectors but replace with new O-rings and seals). New Knock Sensor, due to mice chewing on wires. Upgraded majority of lights to LEDs. All New front suspension, the rear just got new struts as everything else was fine. There are some other small things, like the entire under carriage getting a sand blasting and rust proofing to keep it protected, but you probably get the picture here.

To my best efforts, expensive and good name brand part brands, a lot Subaru Originals where possible, were used to replace defective or worn out originals. Nothing was cheap out on, even went with the fancy Subaru coolant instead of going with something universe.

So as you can tell, I am very protective of my baby and willing to spend to keep her running.


Now I know that with such an engine overhaul and breakdown you might fine things to run differently or issues to arise once things are put back together. You hope not but hey, things happen to the best of mechanics. Luckily the only things that seemed to come up was an oil pan leak at the dipstick tube, a small coolant leak on the upper hose that needed tightening after month, and....ruff idling. Dipstick was easy fix, new part and O-rings. The third, not so much and this were my questions come in.


Problem At Hand:

When at a stop sign or light, or simply just letting the car idle in park, the whole vehicle shakes, and I mean SHAKES. Normally, the shake is not constant and by that I do not mean its shake one day and not the other. I mean, when I do the above mentioned, it shakes, eases out for a second, shakes, eases out of a few seconds, and shakes again, and repeat, repeat, and repeat until I accelerate or get at a higher speed of anything but 0 MPH. Something like when the engine relaxes, nodding off, and then perks back up, off and on at idle, being ready to move again down the road. Sorry if that is a weird description, but I am trying not to leave anything out.

If memory serves me well, this car always had a bit of shake to it, mostly like due to the light frame and the fact that turning on the wiper blades made it shake in the rain when on high speeds. Wiper blades go left, car leaned left, blades go right, car leaned right, and so forth. Kind of funny thinking about it. So no biggie then, but now the car just about throws you out of it, and what's happening, is that the RPM Gauge drops to about 500 and the shaking begins. Now there is no skipping, poor shifting of gears, or bad acceleration. Occasionally, if I am braking and the car downshifts and I immediately have to speed up, there is a bit of lung when the engine is confused and hesitates. Seems to only happen in first gear or around 10 MPH like when I am slowing down to turn up my steep driveway, having to brake and then accelerate to get up it within a few short seconds of turning. Fairly certain it was always like that, likely due to the 4 cylinders engine it has, and I think most cars are like, so no oddity there to me. Correct if me, if I am wrong!!

However, mash the accelerator and the car zooms down the road just fine, the shaking stopping as soon as the RPM's get 800 or higher. I believe, the RPM's are supposed to be around 800-1000 at idle, this maybe poor research though.

Fairly certain this was not how the car was before, but I do tend to forget how a car was before and after a repair and fine myself second guessing the random sound or rattle. I become hyper aware of everything. Hopefully I am not alone, and I am sure this is not the case as there is no way this harsh, brain rattling, shaking is normal.

I do have check engine light codes and working at a Auto Parts Store has been helpful in figuring them out. Codes are as followed:

P0301 --- Cylinder 1 Misfire Detected (Pops up about every 3 days now)
P0420 --- Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold Bank 1 (Pops up about every 1-2 weeks) Sad things is, never had a problem before, except a rattle in one of the heat shields on the passenger side Catalytic Convertor. Took the shields off, wrapped the convertor, and now this comes up. Rattle gone...yeppie...replaced with P0420 code...woopie...ohoy... What's the saying, two steps forward, one step back?
And I am sorry, I am better with info than this normally---a code that's reading problems with the Evap Canister Vent Solenoid (Fuel System) (Pops up every month)

None of these codes were showing up before we did the engine work, and the car, every since 2005, has never had a code.

Now the last 2 do not bother me that much, there annoying but no-harming. It is the 1st that is the problem child and I am thinking it has something to do with the shaking mentioned before, and before you ask as to why I am waiting after months of this to seek help outside of my own knowledge base, here is your answer: I have been doing a process of elimination, and with each attempt, had to wait for the codes to populate again and see if the problem was fixed. I am now out of ideas. That and my nearest Subaru Dealership apparently highly frowned on me doing my own car repair, and vividly let me know it, instead of spending triple the amount money with their "certify" mechanics. Needless to say, my pride will not let me ask for help from...them...unless it is my last resort. Seeing how just asking costs $150.00...

This where I hope someone here can give me some new ideas, or simply tell me I am screwed or its is in my head.

Any who...moving on...

So far I have done thus:

1: Replaced the Cylinder 1 Spark Plug (Even though one already there was only few months old)
2: Coil Pack is new-ish, a few months old, and looks fine, brand new. True I have not replaced it to verify 100% it is not the culprit...yet.
3: Wireset is...same as number 2, just read above.
4: Compression Test on all 4 cylinders to prove it was not a poor job done on redoing the head gaskets or the machine shop on the overhaul on the heads themselves. Cylinder 1 is at 90 on the compression test and Cylinder 3 rest right about at 85, and I cannot remember the other two cylinder.
5: Swapped Cylinder 1 and Cylinder 3 fuel injectors. The check engine light still says a Cylinder 1 Misfire.
6: Checked all the connections and properly cleaned and lube them.
7: As mentioned above, a new crankshaft sensor.

Every step has help lessen the ruff idling, making it more tolerable, but has not returned it to where I thought it was before. Still seems harsh. My only rational though is that the ECM is acting up and messing with the pre-adjusted RPM's setting. PLEASE,...tell me I am wrong. Those are not cheap. However, I am bit desperate here.

My mechanic friend tells me that due to the car drive normally, it is just "Thing" and I am being both "paranoid" and "neurotic" as I am normally am about anything that seems off about my car. He laughs when I give him a death glare at those words. In all honesty, yes, I do snap my ear to attention like dog over the slightest unusual squeak my car makes. However, this is annoying...very annoying, and maybe you will say the same thing as my mechanic friend. I will get the biggest 'I told you so' in the world...but whatever.



My Second question, though minor and is mostly cosmetic, comes to a 02 Sensor, that when everything was said and done with the head gasket/Engine overhaul repair, my mechanic friend and I could not figure out how to route back as it original was. Just some advice...take pictures when you being to take engine apart, because two months later and things WILL BE HAZEY!!

The sensor in questions is one of the two 02 Sensors on the passenger (right side sitting in vehicle). I am fairly certain one is routed correctly. The wiring and connector is away from anything hot or moving, so no worries there. Now the second, that sits more toward wheel well, is in a safe spot with no danger, but I know it is not routed correctly. I have pictures, but sadly I am a newbie on how to post them here for you to see what I am talking about. If anyone knows how, please do tell me how and I will provide you with an abundance of poorly light pictures. heh-he.

Never the less, if anyone has a U5 Catalytic/Exhaust System with Barn-Style Exhaust Manifold Gaskets and a camera, pretty please, send me pictures of exactly, inch-by-inch, those two passenger side O2 Sensor Connectors and Wires are routed, clipped, and bolted though the engine compartment. As I said, right now all is good and safe, but is cosmetic thing that is just making me twitch every time I see it. For the life of me, YouTube has every one of the five O2 Sensors but the one I am looking at, with in-depth videos. So, Thank You a million times over if someone can help me out here.


...And just for a third questions, pertaining to the Fuel System Evap Canister Code. I know it is not causing driving problems, much like the P0420 code, but if anyone has any ideas or recommendations or comments, I am all ears. As far as I know, it is the big, expensive, charcoal canister with a leak somewhere toward the fuel tank and gas cap in the rear of the car.


And with that all said and done. I apologize for grammar and spelling error, proof reading only goes so far when you have been typing for an hour and hands are cramping. So please, if you need more or have questions please ask. Thank you for your time and help, and hopefully I can get some answers.
 

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Quick observation

4: Compression Test on all 4 cylinders to prove it was not a poor job done on redoing the head gaskets or the machine shop on the overhaul on the heads themselves. Cylinder 1 is at 90 on the compression test and Cylinder 3 rest right about at 85, and I cannot remember the other two cylinder.
FSM: See attached.

Sure that the cam - crank -cam timing is set correctly?
 

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U5 = unique California / northeast state 2005 with the symmetrical exhaust.
 

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As @plain OM posted, I have a feeling the compression test wasn't done right. Or do you mean 185/190 psi?

Was valve lash checked/adjusted while it was apart?

I would redo the compression test and have a leak-down performed to rule-out any cylinder- or head-based issues.

What brand/part number of plug did you use?

The P0301 is probably contributing to the P0420, so I would solve one and monitor the other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quick observation



FSM: See attached.

Sure that the cam - crank -cam timing is set correctly?

Fairly certain. We had to do it twice as both of us forgot to add camshaft seals,...even with the large bold print saying "No Camshaft Seal" written all over the re-serviced heads. Oh boy, that was embarrassing. We compared multiple manuals, Subaru, and the guide that came with the new timing belt that had premade marks for alignment. So, I think I can safely say that the timing is correct.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
U5 = unique California / northeast state 2005 with the symmetrical exhaust.
Thank you. I knew that bugger was unique, but other than U5, I really could not fine an accurate description. Do you happen to have some pictures of the Oxygen Sensors on it? ...or can provide a good link that does the same?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As @plain OM posted, I have a feeling the compression test wasn't done right. Or do you mean 185/190 psi?

Was valve lash checked/adjusted while it was apart?

I would redo the compression test and have a leak-down performed to rule-out any cylinder- or head-based issues.

What brand/part number of plug did you use?

The P0301 is probably contributing to the P0420, so I would solve one and monitor the other.
No, I mean 90 and 85. Now I have no idea what the official compression is for this vehicle, but I would assume that if the compression was extremely low then the engine would be struggling. No Power. With the exception of the ruff idling/shaking, the engine zooms down that road just fine. Though, after I swapped out fuel injectors to test them, there was a day or so of the engine hesitating when accelerating just after coming to a stop. Almost like a skip, but it went a way and to be honest, I have never had skipping so I would not know what that would feel like 100%. Popped up with Cylinder One Misfire right after.


Now I have not done a leak-down test, and my mechanic friend said he has the means to do that. I will just have to set up a time with him. We can also do a more in-depth compression test too as the engine will be more exposed.


I use the Iridium IX NGK 5464 spark plugs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am sorry to everyone that took that time to post their advice here. I work 12 hour evening shifts for most of the week and come home extremely tired. Needlessly to say, responding back here quickly can be trying. Never the less, I will do my best to respond back quicker.


Thank you again for all your help.
 

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Thank you. I knew that bugger was unique, but other than U5, I really could not fine an accurate description. Do you happen to have some pictures of the Oxygen Sensors on it? ...or can provide a good link that does the same?
I pulled this off a subaru OEM parts site, labeled as "2.5 LITER, W/ CALIFORNIA, 2005, " does not have the many o2 sensors though

have to hunt down one or some pics with a rare 2005 cal spec, (...hard and some of the schematics I ran across were wrong)

 

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I've attached THE Subaru diagram for the 2005 U5 system and marked the O2 locations, for future use...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I pulled this off a subaru OEM parts site, labeled as "2.5 LITER, W/ CALIFORNIA, 2005, " does not have the many o2 sensors though

have to hunt down one or some pics with a rare 2005 cal spec, (...hard and some of the schematics I ran across were wrong)



Yes I know. I have come across the same problem countless times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
On a small note, upon more inspection and testing, I think we have narrow down the ruff shaking idle as a possible vacuum leak around that 1st cylinder.


This is mainly due to the fact that the car shake violently, like a bad skip, just at rest or when you let off the brake and before accelerating. Drove around for hours, and the car never actually shook when accelerating in any situation. The only problem now is trying to find where air is getting in when it is not suppose too. Praying it is not gasket that is not resting correctly and forming a seal. Really do not want to take apart the engine if at all possible.


However, too a previous post, I am sorry I do not know the name of whom, I do think you are right that both P0420 and P0301 engine codes are related. Fixing the supposed problem, the vacuum leak, will hopefully fix both.
 

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I've attached THE Subaru diagram for the 2005 U5 system and marked the O2 locations, for future use...
have to upload that to imgur or similar and link it back.

...until admin sorts out the attachment view problem.
 

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I think the car gods hate me. Every time I try to enlarge the picture you submit it said I am "Forbidden from viewing this server". Do you mind submitting it as an image/picture like Eagle? Thank you.
Here's the link to the diagram, albeit without the locations marked...

Simply, two by the cylinder heads, two under the transmission, one in the "Y" converter. Total 5.

 

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On a small note, upon more inspection and testing, I think we have narrow down the ruff shaking idle as a possible vacuum leak around that 1st cylinder.
Interested in what you find. I have the same year model..still trying to fix the p0420. I can take pictures of the O2 sensors (new/oem) tonight if you're still interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Here's the link to the diagram, albeit without the locations marked...

Simply, two by the cylinder heads, two under the transmission, one in the "Y" converter. Total 5.

Thank you, but I have seen this diagram multiple times. I know I have five, and where they hook up at. What I need are actually pictures that someone has taken of their similar Subaru showing exactly how the connector and wiring wrap around the engine compartment. I am certain that how I have my wiring now is incorrect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Interested in what you find. I have the same year model..still trying to fix the p0420. I can take pictures of the O2 sensors (new/oem) tonight if you're still interested.
I would "LOVE" that so much. I need to see exactly how the oxygen sensor's on the passenger side, engine compartment, wrap around and hooked up. I am certain that one my mine is not routed correctly. After doing all the engine work, we forgot how the wiring routed and just have the O2 Sensor connector zipped away from moving/hot parts.


Thank you, Thank you!
 

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Drivers side near firewall. Goes to middle bung


drivers side near radiator. Goes to Bung nearest the block


passenger side near radiator. Goes to bung neares the block


Passenger side near firewall. Green cable shielding goes to middle bung on passenger bank.



There's a final one under the car. That one is pretty obvious and goes behind the final cat.

I used all oem sensors. Hope this helps.
 
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