Good evening everyone,
I picked up a 2000 Outback with 160k miles last weekend to replace my 1999 Legacy that decided to chew itself up, and of course it has now decided to cause me problems of its own. I've spent a few hours reading through previous posts regarding similar issues, but I've had a couple different circumstances that I thought might help narrow down the potential problem and fix.
Sequence of events:
- Saturday - Bought car, drove about 200 miles home with no problems
- Monday - Oil change and alignment
- Tuesday - Around 400 miles of freeway and winding two-lane roads, flat and hilly, no problems
- Wednesday - Out running errands, fine after first stop. After second rough idle and lack of power appears along with CEL. After circling parking lot turn car off, redo gas cap and the problem disappears, CEL included.
- Thursday - Leave early to go skiing, no problems on 100 mile drive up hill. After getting ready to leave, issues return with flashing CEL. Try gas cap multiple times to no avail. Finally poke flap in on about the fifth try, CEL stays solid and car runs fine for drive home. Thought it might be something related to elevation change between my house and the resort.
- Friday - Go to move my car in the driveway, problems are back again. Tried the fuel cap periodically throughout the day with no change. Reset the ECM using the battery/brake method, CEL disappeared but idle/power remain the same. Also smells very rich when I start it.
From what I've been reading on here and elsewhere, it could be any combination the knock sensor, O2 sensor, vacuum hoses, battery/alternator, ignition coil, plugs/wires, PCV valve, fuel filter, fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, grounding wires, and probably something else I've read and forgotten. The answer has also seemed to be varied with cases.
Sorry for the novel, but I figured I'd try to get as much information out as I could off the bat. I have no records except a CarFax from before I bought it, but it states both the alternator and fuel pump have been replaced since 100k miles. The scheduled maintenance also appears to have been completed at a dealer. I'm unfortunately not terribly well equipped at my house for much work.