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2008 Outback 2.5
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966 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just received this today.
Service Program WQD-40: Front Catalytic Converter Replacement & Engine Control Module Reprogramming

Dear Subaru Owner:

We would like to thank you for your selection of a 2008-2009 model year Subaru Legacy, Outback or Forester vehicle equipped with a 2.5 Liter engine and a California Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) system. At Subaru, we take pride in our products and are committed to your continued satisfaction.

Subaru has determined that the efficiency of your vehicle’s front catalytic converter may degrade over time. If the catalytic converter efficiency degrades beyond an acceptable level, your vehicle may be releasing air pollutants that exceed California standards. To correct this condition, Subaru will replace the front catalytic converter and reprogram the Engine Control Module software logic to improve management of the catalytic converter. This software change will not adversely affect fuel economy or the performance of your vehicle.

WHAT WE ARE ASKING YOU TO DO PROMPTLY

We ask that you schedule an appointment with your Subaru Dealer as soon as possible to have your vehicle’s front catalytic converter replaced and Engine Control Module software reprogrammed. Doing so will help ensure your vehicle’s full protection under the emission warranty as failure to do so may be considered a lack of proper maintenance. This will take approximately 1 hour to complete. However, it may be necessary for you to leave your car longer on the day of your appointment to allow your dealer flexibility in scheduling. Your Subaru dealer will perform this modification at no cost to you.

CALIFORNIA REGISTERED OWNERS

The California Air Resources Board requires that emission related campaigns be completed prior to California’s vehicle registration renewal process; without this repair, you will not be able to register your vehicle during your next annual registration. Upon completion of this campaign, your California dealer will complete and provide you a “Proof of Correction Certificate.” If required, present the certificate to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (the “DMV”) when renewing your California registration as proof of campaign completion. If the DMV does not request the certificate, we recommend that you keep it for your records.

In addition, the State of California requires that every vehicle must pass an emission test (SMOG Check) every two years and before it is sold. Without the service we are providing at no charge, your vehicle may not pass this test.
The last recall was forced on me by CA DMV not allowing renewal of registration until I got the ECM reflashed. There were no problems as described by the TSB and after the flash, my mileage went down by 10% :28:. If I were a "black helicopter" type, I'd say Subaru did the initial programming in order to pass EPA mileage requirements, then required the reflash to fix the "tweak". But all in all, I've been pretty satisfied with my OBW (except for all the cheap plastic parts breaking everywhere). Oh well, this time I'll be an obedient owner and call the Subaru dealer, baaaa.
 

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2008 Subaru Outback PZEV,2010 Impreza 2.5i
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538 Posts
Any idea if this applies to the turbo model as well?
I doubt as the recall is only for 2008-2009 PZEV model. As far as I understand, turbo model does not have PZEV emission control system. I do not think that any previous and current Subaru turbo models are rated as PZEV models. It looks to me that this recall may be limited to PZEV vehicles in California and states that accept CA emission standards, and, may not be for all PZEV vehicles. I do own 2008 PZEV vehicle, but, I did not receive such a recall notice.
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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12,385 Posts
Are you allowed to remove the converter before going in for the recall? I'd love a couple of those old converters. LOL
 

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2008 Outback 2.5
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966 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Some folks will do that for you whether you ask for the "removal service" or not.
 

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2008 Outback 2.5
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966 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Well, I had the converter replaced today. About 2 hours in the shop. The service rep said they used to have to check first, then set up a 2nd appointment when SOA sent the replacement kit. Now they just send a bunch over to them in anticipation of needing to be replaced.

This must be costing someone a lot of money.
 

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I have a 2010 Outback 2.5i with PZEV emissions. Last week I experienced a sudden loss in power. I went to pull out into traffic and the car responded very slowly, very scary as I nearly was hit. No check engine light came on. I had it towed into my mechanic who at first figured it was a fuel issue. He replaced the fuel pump which didn't solve the problem. He then realized when someone revved the engine very little exhaust was coming out. He then did some more checking and realized both cats on a 5 year old car were clogged. This particular recall was performed on this car but it was never listed as a recall for the outback, so I wonder if the recall screwed up my car.After doing some research I realized the pzev emmissions has a 15 year/150k warranty. Awesome, right? Nope. Because the state I live in doesn't require the California emissions, I am out of luck and the cost of an exhaust system, as the warranty doesnt apply to my car. Basically a big eff u from Subaru. Which as a single Mom, I don't have extra money lying around for a car part that SHOULD last nearly the life of the car, if not the entire life. This is my third Subaru, and I dont think I will buy another. loved my 99 legacy sedan with the 2.2 motor, bought a 98 Outback with head gasket issues (which actually served me better), and now this issue.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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16,201 Posts
A sudden...loss of power...really wouldn't be a CC issue. If you think about it, a clog, like a sink drain...happens over time. Slowly, an usually isn't noticed. I suspect we need more symptoms and more info. the description given about "very little exhaust"...sounds very subjective...no data. The car will throw a CAT code...P0420 early...well before a real CAT issue.

If it was a CAT issue...you would have a code. Classic second opinion needed. We need to dig deeper on this one.
 

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Uh it's the cats I have no idea why a code didn't trip..but I saw the crap that was clogging them. I did notice a few days before it got really bad that the car lacked output...I bought fuel injector cleaner, put it in with my fill up. I should also add, two months ago the car was given a tune up and the timing belt and water pump were both changed out at that time.
 

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Also, if you're implying my mechanic is somehow ripping me off, you would be wrong. He is a family friend and excellent mechanic. Yes he was wrong about the fuel pump but it made sense because of no code. Also, he charges me for parts only at only a small mark up over his cost.

A few years ago the exhaust on my 98 Outback rusted and needed to be replaced. First place o went to for an estimate told me in needed a new front cat. I told them that it didn't, just to quote me the cost to fix rusted out exhaust pipe. They wouldn't, so I left, got a second opinion and nope I didn't need a cat on that car, just some new pipes. . The problem on the 2010 is the cats , perhaps a design problem.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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I wasn't implying anything. Second OP are always good. I enjoy a good debate from my best craftsmen friends...challenge or no.

But it just seems usual. So something else must be wrong with the car...to cause the CAT issue...and the cel system might not be functioning properly. Has the car been in a flood, been stolen..had any modifications done in the past...even a remote start or stereo.

Straight up "clogged Cats" on a 2010...doesn't scan. There are missing pieces here. Unless it has 1/2 a million miles.
 

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I agree it seems very unusual. If the exhaust system is not working right a code should have tripped. He took the exhaust apart and used a camera to look at the cats. I purchased the car in October 2013, according car fax report, it was never in a flood etc. No there have been no modifications, the radio is original and to the best of my knowledge never stolen. It is a little on the high milage side at 103k. Up until now the car has been been great. The only thing I wonder is if a previous owner tried to use flex fuel in it. The PZEV emmissions tag has a leaf as do some of the cars that can use flex fuel, which could confuse some people. I have never used flex fuel but if a previous owner did, maybe it could have screwed up the the cats?
 

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I try not to go ricey
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False, from what I understood from the Subaru tech and my primitive diagnosis it CAN happen overnight. Case in point: One evening while leaving my work parking lot, I notice a bit of rattling coming from the undercarriage, Perhaps it was happening the entire drive home but I only realized again it when I pulled into my driveway. The next morning, much of the same but was MUCH worse and noticed a bit of hesitation as I drove down the street. Then, a major loss in power and the same type of feeling as running out of gas. Luckily I was only a couple miles from home and limped back at less than 5mph while sputtering the entire time. I barely made it and then called a tow truck to have it driven to the dealership.

After the inspection and repair, the tech told me BOTH cats were destroyed from the inside and "chunks" were preventing backflow, hence the lack of power and "choking". Sounds like the cats finally failed at once perhaps like a huge glob of mucous being freed from your nasal passages after a bout of allergies. Got it back and instantly felt a performance re-gain, and better gas mileage by about 2-3mpg.

I am back here because I think it is happening again. Same symptoms: slight loss of power, decreased MPG, check engine, traction lights on, flashing cruise light. Same codes too.

"BAD SWEAR WORD HERE".

15
 

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My 2008 Outback is in need of a catalytic converter - per service done on Nov 18 - I was told part was on order. After 3 weeks I called only to be told part in on back order until July 2017 - that is ridiculous. It is all related to WQD-40 - so now check engine light is on all the time. Not understanding how there can be a nation wide part shortage - whatever happened to safety stock?
 
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