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1997 Subaru Legacy Outback with a 2.2L swap.
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Discussion Starter #1
First time poster, long time lurker. This forum has been a great help to me in the past but now I need some real help.

My daughter has a 1997 Outback with 180K miles. It is an auto and as we now know it has the 2.2L engine. We bought it and did the standard mechanical repairs (Struts, brakes, axle halves) to bring it back to reliable driving conditions. She lives out of state going to college. And as things normally go it ran great until she actually moved out of state then the problems began.

She had the check engine light come on and it ran rough, barely idled, and would die at stop signs. She took it to the local Subaru dealer and this is where we found out the engine was not original, it was a 2.2L in place of the 2.5L. The dealership at that point quit being much help as "it wasn't oem". That is when I became a member of this forum and started researching the swap, which I now understand is pretty common and has it's benifits. So I swapped her cars, brought the Subbie home and have been tinkering and driving it for about two months.

Here is the issue, I get multiple CEL codes and although they are consistantly the same four, they don't always come on together or in any order that I can tell. I have tested and replaced components with no luck. The codes are as follows:
P0500 Vehicle Speed Sensor A
P1507 Idle Control System Malfunction (Fail Safe)
P1540 Vehicle Speed Sensor Malfunction 2
P0325 Knock Sensor

The P1507 seems to be the one causing the rough idle, but it only happens when decelerating or coasting on a hill or freeway off ramp. Once the ignition is turned off and back on it returns to normal driving conditions, so I suspect it goes into a limp home mode until ignition is reset. I have replaced the Idle Control Valve, and have a good used one as a backup as well. They all test out the same with an ohm's meter.

The P0500 and P1540 is more random but more frequent, but seems to be when driving on the freeway, sometimes with the cruise control engaged. The speedo has never stopped working or showed any signs of failure. The cruise works fine as well. I pulled the instrument cluster and tightened the back screws as suggested on this forum as well but no solution. I have changed the speed sensor on the bell housing and still get the code.

The P0325 is very random, only seen it a couple times and no symtoms to report. I assume the knock sensor is in response to the rough idle from the fail safe mode.

I have a code reader and scanner and my background is that I am a certified Yamaha ATV, Snowmobile, and Marine Tech. I currently work as a tech for a major airline so I can turn a wrench. I say that not to say I am an expert, but to say I am capable of testing and diagnostics. I just need some guidence on what path I need to be going down to find the solution. I figured I would ask the experts for your help.

Thank You in advance for your assistance! :)
 

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Car: 2008 Tribeca, 2010 LGT, Sold: 2005 XT Limited
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2,926 Posts
Hmm... Often a bunch of strange, seemingly unrelated codes can be caused by a low voltage on the battery and/or alternator. Have you checked the battery and the alternator yet?

Tom
 

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Registered
1997 Subaru Legacy Outback with a 2.2L swap.
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2 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Tom for the reply.

I have checked the battery and alternator, both test good. I am thinking it may be a ground issue somewhere which may be causing the error codes but haven't found a issue yet. I have checked multiple connectors but the only loose wire or pin I have found to this point is in the EG sensor, and after the repair I still get the codes.
 
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