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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I’ve been having a problem with my 2003 EJ25 5 speed Outback with starting lately. I got the car in November of 2019 with a head gasket problem, I let it sit until February 2020 and started it up to drive into the garage and it had absolutely no power at all and would barely idle.

I went ahead and replaced the head gaskets (I have done 10 or more of these as I’m a self employed mechanic) and it started up first try super easy no CEL no leaks. After running for about 10 minutes I put it in reverse and slowly let the clutch out and it immediately stalled. It took 3-4 more starting attempts and then started up, drive about 1/2 mile, got to a stop light and after I let the clutch out it stalled and wouldn’t start again. Took about 10 start attempts and then it started. I got a CEL for Crank Sensor and Idle Air Control P0336 and P0519. I replaced the crank sensor and it did the exact same thing. No CEL, ran great until I drove for a little bit and let the clutch out and it stalled. It runs fantastic when it is running but it randomly dies when not in motion. I also checked and the new CPS is about 1,900 ohms and the CEL comes and goes.

Any ideas? TLDR: Rebuilt the engine, keeps stalling randomly, replaced CPS and still acts funky. Runs great when it does start. CEL comes and goes.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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It's cable driven throttle, so your idle control motor is mounted behind the throttle plate. Is it working?
Did you plug the knock sensor in?
Are the grounds on the intake clean and tight?
Is the main ground clean and tight?
Did you nick the crank gear when working on the engine? A small nick or a bent tooth will throw the crank sensor signal off. It will be erratic.
Any water in the connectors? Engine to body connectors or the crank sensor?
Also, the crank signal is matched with the cam sensor signal. This car will throw a CKP sensor code and the problem will be with the cam sensor. Both sensors are the same except the cam sensor has a sleeve added for the bracket it mounts in. The resistance will be the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's cable driven throttle, so your idle control motor is mounted behind the throttle plate. Is it working?
Did you plug the knock sensor in?
Are the grounds on the intake clean and tight?
Is the main ground clean and tight?
Did you nick the crank gear when working on the engine? A small nick or a bent tooth will throw the crank sensor signal off. It will be erratic.
Any water in the connectors? Engine to body connectors or the crank sensor?
Also, the crank signal is matched with the cam sensor signal. This car will throw a CKP sensor code and the problem will be with the cam sensor. Both sensors are the same except the cam sensor has a sleeve added for the bracket it mounts in. The resistance will be the same.
Correct, the idle control motor is behind the throttle plate, it sounds like it is working but I have not actually seen it move, I have been playing yankee swap with the 4 parts cars I have in my yard and swapping the intake idle sensor did nothing. Knock sensor is for sure plugged in and working, I cleaned every single ground and connector and used dielectric grease, I don’t believe the crank gear is nicked or bent as when it is running you can floor it to 6,000 rpms on the road and not miss a single beat, but I have not replaced the gear yet, I did at one time get a cam position sensor code but have not had it come up since. I also tried replacing the neutral sensor in the trans and the coil pack as well as spark plug wires all from running cars.

I’m beginning to think it may be a break or bad connection in the wire harness itself, have any ideas on how I could go about testing that?
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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The grey connector of the engine harness has 4 wires on the outer row that match the cam and crank sensors. Pins 17, 18, 19 and 20. See the diagram below. Yellow and Orange are the crank sensor, Black and White are the cam. Check for continuity in the harness for each wire. If you have continuity, then check for water in the connectors or just dry them out with alcohol and plug it back up.

480959
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I also just tried grabbing a spare cam sensor I had and removed the outer metal sleeve and tried to install it. They are in fact NOT the same sensors, one has a part #1Z25 CPS and the other #1Z26 cam sensor , the ear to hold down the sensor is also a different length and the connector is upside down compared to the CPS
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I ran a continuity check for the CPS and Cam Sensor, all 4 wires checkout good and have constant continuity even when wiggling the plugs around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quick update, I was driving it around and going down the highway at 65 no problem at all, if I pressed the clutch in and let it coast at 65 it would drop down to idle and after a couple seconds stall to nothing, I would let the clutch back out and it would start up basically pull started it without any issues at all. But every single time no matter what gear it is in if I press the clutch in and hold it in it will stall out and have to be pull started to start it again, and it always starts instantly when pulled. The start and battery are also new and the engine spins over very nicely so it’s definitely not a starter/battery issue.
 

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Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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I suspect you have a fuel supply problem. I believe this model can have a problem with the fuel pump “O” ring allowing fuel to leak and fuel pressure to drop (a metal cap in the fuel pump fails)

It might be worthwhile checking this.

Seagrass
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Just wanted to quickly post a final update:

The no start random stalling problem was a multitude of problems. First: The CPS was very intermittent, and when I removed the first one it was seized, and I had to melt the plastic with a torch and mangle the metal collar to get it out. There was a very small piece of metal that had been stuck on the new sensor that was causing it to act funky sometimes, that sensor also broke so I had to buy a new one for about $25. I also took a 3/4” paddle bit and ground it down a bit and cleaned out the hole. A new sensor plus a clean hole fixed that issue.

Second: the neutral switch was causing it to die out randomly and not want to always start as well, that was also around $30. I also just for safe measure disconnected the battery and removed the ECM and cleaned all the connections and used dielectric grease on that as well.

I did throw the parts cannon at it though but most likely it was just the metal hiding on the new CPS and the Neutral sensor being junk.
 
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