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2010 Outback 2.5
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone

I've been at this about a week now, and have been spending hours each day searching this (and other) pages to help myself out and avoid redundancy, but I am running out of time to get this car running, so I'm posting all of what I've done so far to see if anyone can tell me what I'm missing. So, here goes:

2003 OB automatic, 2.5 liter, 179,000 miles, bought in 2007 with 130,xxx miles and has run fine most of that time, aside from replacing a clicking front shaft.

Last Friday, it very suddenly started gasping and stalling, rough idle then quit.
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12/28: tried starting - would sometimes sputter, rough idle, quit - other times would start up like fine, run for 3-10 seconds, then quit. It would idle at 1,800, drop to 15, then 10, then quit. Checked vacuum hoses, didn't find leaks, checked and changed air filter. (BTW oil and filter changed a few weeks ago) 2 pending codes: P0301 + P0303. (misfire on 1 and 3) battery ran low - put on charger and called it a day.
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12/30: had hopes of getting it to the shop - no go. Now 3 fault codes:
fault 1: N/A (what the heck could that be?)
fault 2: P0303 (again)
fault 3: P0304 (new, and no 0301 like before?)
Pulled plug wires - oil on the boots - tomorrow's work cut out for me.
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12/31: installed new valve gasket set, plugs and wires.
Runs OK with foot on gas at 2-3k rpm, let to idle, dies.
Read up on cleaning MAF - realized this one has MAP, not MAF.
Read up on IACV cleaning. Pulled it, cleaned it, re-installed it. Didn't seem stuck. (is there a way to test these with a multi-meter?)
Symptoms the same. (Advance auto guy said the coil couldn't be bad if it would run fine with foot on the gas - has spark for sure. Hope that's true 'cause you can't "test" these coil packs - secondary yes, primary, no.)
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1/1: Removed and cleaned EGR valve. Was coated in carbon, stuck slightly open. Q-tips and solvent and elbow grease, and the plunger was moving smoothly and sealing tightly. (this it the electronically controlled EGR, not vacuum controlled. Is there a way to test these with a multi-meter? it's a 6 pin configuration.) Started rough, but when I put my foot on accelerator, and held it at 2.5-3K rpm, seemed fine. Let off the pedal, and it started to idle normally (like it was re-learning the idle) this went on for 10-15 minutes. Thought the problem was solved, started putting tools away, then it died again. CEL came on - 1 code, 1 pending code.
Code: N/A (again, what could this be?)
Pending code: P0130 P (upstream o2 sensor circuit - connected to 1/4 work?)
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1/3: Cleared codes. Started and same symptoms. Then wouldn't start at all, mostly - cranking and "trying" for a second or 2, then cranking slower without signs of life. Suspect fuel pump? hear it running for a few seconds when I turn the key to on, as usual - pump does not sound different than usual. Just in case, changed fuel filter. no improvement, no codes.
Pulled cam position sensor. resistance = 2k ohms: norm is 1-4K.
Pulled Crankshaft position sensor. Resistance = 1.9-2k ohms. Same norm (?)
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1/4: Pulled coil pack - tested with multi-meter.
Primary resistance was giving infinite readings - learned later that you can't test primary resistance on these (about MY 2000 up for a while) secondary resistance between 1+2, 3+4 about 12k ohms - normal is between 10.8-14.7 according to Chiltons.
Concerned about the pending code P0130P from a few days ago: code didn't return, but still concerned about front o2 sensor. Wire connector was dirty with grease - pulled connector and tested for resistance on the 2 black wires, which should be the heater. (?) I read that normal is about 12k ohms, and if it reads high or infinite, the o2 sensor is bad. Mine rated 0: no resistance at all, implying a short. Not sure if the short is in the wire harness or the o2 sensor. The inside of the connector looks clean, but the wires coming out of the connector were greasy - there's no clamp on the CV boot, and it threw grease around, including on the wires. I sprayed the connector and wires with carb cleaner and will let it dry out overnight, then re test tomorrow. If it still shows no resistance, I assume that means I need a new o2 sensor - can someone please confirm or deny that?
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That's what I've done so far - any of you amazing specialists have suggestions about what I should try next? I'm wondering if I should buy a fuel pressure gauge to see if the pump is getting weak. Any suggestion about what to test/try next would be greatly appreciated!
 

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2010 Outback 2.5
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Discussion Starter #2
Forgot to mention the last few times I cranked it, it was just spinning and not catching - then several times I sprayed carb cleaner into the PCV opening in the throttle body - then it would start right up, run fine for several seconds, then sputter and die again. I did change the fuel filter - could this mean the fuel pump is ready to give up the ghost?
 

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Saturday update: after cleaning out the upstream o2 sensor wire harness, the 2 black wires (heater) still showed short/no resistance. Since I had a pending P0130 a few days ago, I thought it prudent to put in a new upstream o2 sensor. Back to the drawing board - started on the first try, acted normal for 3-5 seconds, then died. Pulled and tested the TPS - the TPS report is normal. (Tested resistance middle to upper contact, then middle to lower. Resistance increased when moving the tab with one pair, decreased with the other, no spikes, all smooth.) ready to re-install TPS tomorrow. I think the only other thing I didn't test is the fuel pressure, other than that, I guess I have a bad IAC? I still wish there was a multi-meter test I could do before hoping for the best and buying another $400 part.
 

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Sure the large hose that goes from the IAC to the air intake is secure?

If you have to replace it, I'd get one from the junkyard, clean it up and get a new gasket. Save you more than $300 that way. It's not a very complicated unit.

O.
 

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Not resolved yet

Got too busy, and couldn't round up a timing light - my new one is coming in the mail today, so we'll see - - - -
 

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Back to work

I ran out of time in the winter, so no updates for a few months. Just put a new battery in it and we're back where i left off. If I spray carb cleaner into the PCV opening on the throttle body, it will start right up and run fine for a few seconds, then the slow idle/sputtering, then dies.

Before I start to dig in to the fuel pump, can anyone confirm or deny: if the coil pack/ignitor was bad, would it run well on carb cleaner, then quit? That seems like the last question to answer to be sure it's a fuel problem not a spark problem. Can anyone give me a strong yes or no to this?

Thank you all for any further insight!
 

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2002 Outback
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It certainly sounds like fuel starvation. I would check fuel pressure and volume delivery (although I'm not sure if the manual has a spec on the latter). The pump is fairly easy to get to but sometimes the nuts holding on the flange get corroded so you may want to check and soak them with some penetrating oil for a day or two. If memory serves, access to the pump flange (bolted to top of fuel tank) is under the rear deck just behind rear seat back. There is a piece of molded foam that is removed to get to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
PROGRESS!! I pulled the fuel pump assembly out and sure enough, the cap is crooked, the O-ring is pushing through.


Can you get a replacement cap and gasket? I'd rather not spend over 300 for a whole new assembly if possible..
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have heard of people repairing that cap by having it welded. I am likely the worst welder on the planet so I may see if I can find a shop nearby tomorrow. I am also toying with the idea of getting a new gasket and repairing/reinforcing the cap and seal with JB weld - anyone tried that?
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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I have heard of people repairing that cap by having it welded. I am likely the worst welder on the planet so I may see if I can find a shop nearby tomorrow. I am also toying with the idea of getting a new gasket and repairing/reinforcing the cap and seal with JB weld - anyone tried that?
You know what happens when you try to rig a repair? You end up spending more than you did on your rigging.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Success! The beast is alive!

Cardoc: your point is well taken, though I have had the isolated success with "outside the box" (IE looks stupid but works) repairs on other things. Your advise to avoid the JB weld "solution" I'm sure is sound. Thanks.

1 Lucky, thanks for your input too. Several of you guys suggested inspecting the fuel pump assembly well before I had the time to get around to doing it this week.

OK, so here's what happened: I pulled the pump assembly, and sure enough, one of the 3 retaining tabs was cracked and the gasket was peeking out. (It wasn't the large tab with the grounding plug, it was one of the other two smaller ones)

I took the cap to a local welder, and he welded it back in to position. Charged me a whopping 2 bucks. I put a light coating of 5-W20 on the o-ring (it didn't look damaged or distorted) and put the pump assembly back together, put back in all the stuff I had removed over the last 8 months and fired it up. I have only driven a few miles so far, but it seems that all is well. There is some noise in the brake system due to rust/sitting idle for several months, but it seems to be driving OK now.

Any hints on quieting the brakes down now?

Thank you all so much for following this thread. Does anyone have an overstock of the o-rings for this cap for a 2.5 liter 4 cylinder? I'd like to get an extra in case my OE one fails in the near future.

Also, I "overtightened" one of the retaining bolts/studs that hold the pump assembly in place - will it stay in place with only 11 of 12 bolts tightened down?

I am just grateful an relieved that after 8 months fighting this thing that it's finally running again. I am open and receptive to any further suggestions, comments or advice that any of you care to provide.

Best wishes and thanks again! -Joe
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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if the brakes are still noisy after a coupla days, you could try a quick bedding-in . Something like 2-3 hard decels from 40 or 50 down to 5mph. Then immediately do 2-3 from 60 down to 5mph. Then drive for 15 minutes or more without stopping to cool down. NOTE; do this in a safe place where there is no chance you have to stop at a light or intersection with your brake pedal clamping the hot pads onto the hot rotors! (If you find you absolutely must stop, hold the car with the handbrake and/or try to drift forward every half second.) I use a very low traffic frontage road with 'u-turn', turnarounds under the freeway - on Sunday mornings. After checking for activity/cops first. Of course, other problems could cause brake noise, depends a lot on pad material, rust, usage, temperature, etc. Guide pins and pad back-plates may need some lube.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey 1 Lucky Texan - thanks for the advice about the brakes. I'll give that a try tomorrow.

Open question: is it a bad idea to re-use the O-ring on this fuel pump assembly if you got the cap welded? Again, the o-ring didn't look damaged or torn - it looks like some folks re-used them after they got the cap welded, and I am just wondering if i should expect the re-used O-ring to fail soon or if it should be OK now that the cap is welded.

I sure have learned a lot of details in this process so far - thank you all for the comments and suggestions! -Joe
 

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personally, I probably would trust the o-ring more than the welded cap - but you do what you have. $2 is a lot less that $50-$60 w'ever the new larger cap costs now. If the o-ring isn't stiff, cut or too swollen to fit, it probably will be fine. just a guess on my part.

this issue should really get a sticky. Info is so spread around and it comes up a few times every coupla months.
 
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