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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks, thanks for all the info I've read here to date. I have a new issue with my 98 that I need some info on. My engine that was pretty quiet for the 260 k miles on it has developed some strange noises. Without too much detail I have to say it sounds like perhaps a timing issue.. too much advance. Came on all of a sudden and noticed at startup. Today when I got on the freeway and exceeded 60 or so (about 2350 RPM's ) the check engine light started flashing. Previously the light would come on for a week or so then go off for weeks and reappear. Seemed like it liked to flash 4 times mostly but at times flashed more. It stopped flashing when I got off the freeway and kept it under 60. (but stayed on) I did have a replacement head installed about 4k miles ago. Knock sensor? (don't even know where it is) Some kinda sensor???? Thanks for any input.
 

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2014 OBW 3.6R Limited, 1997 OBW 2.5L Auto (sold, but not forgotten), and 1991 Ford F150
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You need to get the codes read and post them here. The codes are in the format Pxxxx, i.e. P1234. Without codes, we're just flying blind. Depending on your location, you may be able to get them read for free at an auto parts store (Autozone, Oreillys, etc). Consider adding a code reader to your toolkit ... basic ones run about $40-50.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have an advance auto close by and I think they read the codes. Was weird that for ever the light would just come on and just stay on. When it started flashing I was really alarmed!
 

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OBW H6 VDC, Tribeca, XT6
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yes advanced auto, auto zone, and others read the codes for free. make sure to get the exact codes and not what they tell you the problem is.

flashing check engine light means something like multiple cylinder misfire - or any condition that can be harmful to the catalytic converter, it's not unheard of but doesn't necessarily mean catastrophic heart failure either...but you are wise to get right on it, drive easier, and not run it like that.

How old are the plugs/wires?

What brand plugs/wires?

Have the timing belt pulleys/tensioner ever been replaced?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Plug wires new about 3000 miles, 3 months ago. What brand I cant say, I had a guy replace a cracked head at that time. He also charged me for a belt tension er, I had replaced the timing belt about 2000 miles prior to the leaking head issue. I'm thinking I should check the timing marks perhaps????
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well just got out of the garage, (my feet are still freezing) I pulled the side timing covers and saw the marks on the four cam pulleys seem to be in line, only thing is there is no mark on the crank pulley. Should I pull the pulley and remaining cover to check on the crank cog alignment? Should I just slap it back together and have the codes read???
 

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Subarus of that vintage are picky about plug wires- OEM or bust. This could be the whole problem, so don't panic yet.

Verifying timing is nice but probably not totally necessary. Get the codes read out.
 

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2014 OBW 3.6R Limited, 1997 OBW 2.5L Auto (sold, but not forgotten), and 1991 Ford F150
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The timing mark is on the crank sprocket, which is behind the crank pulley and the center cover. The only way to see it is to remove those two items. It's not a huge job if you have the tools and the know-how ... but I'd get the codes read first.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well the deed is done, timing marks are good everything is all back together. Funny when I started her up it sounded like my old engine. After a couple of minutes and accelerations the noise seemed to come bake again. I was fiddling with the wiring on the knock sensor while working on it today, the wire appeared to have been repaired/shrunk wrapped etc. Apparently the monkeys who pulled the motor when changing the head simply cut the knock sensor wire and then repaired it. Any way I did call the advance auto local to me and will have the codes read tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok, got my codes read and as advised asked for the codes not just the possible associated problems and remedies. The codes were, PO301 and PO420. The dude read what the analyzer said were problems and remedies but I'll leave it up to you guys to give me some suggestions. Have to say the dash flashing like a Christmas tree doesn't bother as much as the bad sounds emanating from my engine!
 

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There are lots of problems with many aftermarket plugs and wires. I am running NGK wires and plugs with no issues. P0420 could be from running lean or rich due to a bad injector, which could also cause the misfire in cylinder 1, which is code p0301. That could also cause nasty engine noise. A cheep start is to run some injector cleaner and see if that clears anything, ad go from there. Other possibilities off the top of my head, bad o2 sensor, stuck valve(possible and not unheard of after head replacements), fouled plug from a bad injector, or just a bad plug period. If you are willing to check timing, then pull the plug on cylinder 1 and check it out. Just my two cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Dunavan I'll check the plug in # 1 cylinder and try running some injector cleaner. Trying the easy/cheap stuff first makes sense specially when the temp this morning is -2F.
 
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