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My hubby bought me an 02 Outback 4 weeks ago. Has 190K on it. Ran great for 100 miles then CEL and Autozone said code was a catalytic converter. This weekend the Battery and Brake light came on together. Researched and suggested alternator. I pulled into autozone and they said my battery was bad, since it was 3 yrs old I replaced it so they could test alternator. They said the alternator was going out so I replaced that and put on new terminals as well. Then it started randomly hesitating for a second. The car bumps and the rpm drops down and then comes back up so fast you almost cant see it. It will stall occasionally and it seems random, even with acceleration. I figured it was time to replace the CAT and took it to my local muffler shop. They said it looks great and isnt the issue. They ran it for codes and said it didnt have a code for the Cat anymore. Still hesitating and CEL. Went to a different autozone and got these two codes: P0604 Powertrain Control Module Random Access Memory and P1518 Starter Circuit Low Input. Im so confused. The stalling started immediately after we replaced the alternator, battery and terminals. Help?
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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rebuilt alternators are notoriously bad - and if your 02 is an H6, almost a guarantee you have the wrong alternator as well.

also, change or have a mod change your user name - too many folks want to harvest email addresses for spam purposes.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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AutoZone, which I refer to as AutoCrap, sells crap parts. The alternator is most likely causing issues. Dito their battery. I've tested batteries on their shelf and they've tested bad or really low amp output. (It was a scenario where the salesman kept telling me their batteries were good, so I went down to the closest store with him and showed him different.) It could also be that you have a poor ground connection from the battery, or the positive terminal on the alternator. The PCM code and ignition code is related to poor current flow from the battery/charging system.

Get yourself a good battery, make sure the cables are tight, good grounds and also lose the AutoCrap alternator. I doubt your original alternator was bad if the your original battery was poor, but that alternator is probably gone by now and we'll never know. I just speak from experience with their parts and how the employees are trained. Could also be that the sales guy didn't test it proper and got you buy the useless parts. Here's how they work and are trained: You come in an get a scan of the codes, they punch it up in their computer and get a list of possible causes for the code and then sell you the part(s) that pop up on the list. These guys know absolutely nothing about how to diagnose a problem or how the electrical systems work on vehicles in correlation with the computer management. But its easier to sell you a possibility than just say, "I don't know. Maybe you should take it to an experienced diagnostician to be sure of the problem.".

In California, Auto Zone can not give you a free scan and sell you parts based on codes. This is because of the very reason stated above. They do not diagnose and repair and therefore have no right place to tell customers that a specific part replacement will fix the problem.
 
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