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2002 Outback, 2.5L SOHC w/ 170k mile
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88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2002 OBW, 2.5 automatic. So, hard start, assumed it was because I was LOW on gas, sputtered when I made it two blocks to Arco low on gas. I bought gas at Arco kind of low. I go to work, hard start there as well. Drive home, talking to the neighbor. Radio turns itself on, could've sworn I'd turned it off. Headlights dim when I have my foot on the brake. The lights that indicate CD 1-6 are flickering on/ off on whether I have my foot on the brake. Internal lights flicker when I use my power door locks. ABS light on, turns on/ off as I cycle through my gear shifter.

Totally dead when I cross my fingers and hope it got me to work this morning. It didn't even try to turn over, heard fuel pump prime.

Now, going to test battery just in case when my ride gets here. Pretty sure it's the alternator, or I picked up a Poltergiest and need to flush the coolant with some holy water.

I can pick up a prostart/ duralast alternator for $150-170 plus taxes and a $50 core charge. Subie dealership wants $295 plus taxes/ core and the dealership is like 60 miles away so I'd be stuck driving a hunk of metal 60 miles to get my core charge back. I am morally opposed to Duralast after I warped rotors after doing a few runs to the mountains and the Grapevine and Altimont pass in one summer. However, my car is 15 and about to go into semi retirement and no longer be my daily driver. Thoughts? Definitely probably the alternator? Crappy house brands?
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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27,054 Posts
@plain OM / @brucep ....= the ghostbusters of all things electrical,...opinion?

any big rain there,...or wild things going on near the under the hood fuse box (spiders, snakes,...corrosion).?

_____

and a big thumbs down on parts store reman'd alternators in general on this board, ...half fixed = half reman'd and sold at top dollar. :frown2:

in my H4 car I have a new american made alternator,..so very similar to the Mitsubishi USA one that came with the car.
(a DB from Tennessee, and I would put one on my more complex H6 car),...I got the name from another member that rebuilds the mildly injured subaru and has bought 6 or more. (no duds).

what is good,= american made (edit, ..found out after posting they sadly moved production or assembly to china,...but still distribute in us)
all new, no core charge, freight included, and they store them in warehouses around the US, so like 2 days to get.

they sell through amazon too.

https://www.dbelectrical.com/produc...orester-impreza-legacy-outback-2000-2006.html
 

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2002 Outback, 2.5L SOHC w/ 170k mile
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88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, I live across the street from and sometimes park in a dirt field, and there is iron heavy red clay splashed all up under my hood/ underbody and has been for years. Pretty sure I lost an AC compressor due to clay. My cat is rather good at mousing and regularly leaves EDM DJs for me to find in the backyard. (Deadmau5 jokes are always good.) Definitely mice in area, no snakes sighted near me. No gnawing damage/ signs of pests under the hood though, just dirty.

I kinda need my car fixed ASAP. I'm only like... an hour late for work I can't get to right now. But tomorrow I can borrow a car, same for the weekend. Monday/ Tuesday is my weekend, though. Wednesday I need my car, though.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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27,054 Posts
@1 Lucky Texan @traildogck @tdelker1 any advice on where to start? (the before mentioned members are off line).

was the key in the off position when the radio possibly turned on?

is this a manual or a automatic?
 

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2002 Outback, 2.5L SOHC w/ 170k mile
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88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was idling, A.C. on due to hot weather here, radio off to talk through the open window. Happened over maybe twenty minutes. Window was very sluggish up, too, now that I think on it. None of them move at the same speed these days, but it was slower than usual.
 

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2002 Outback, 2.5L SOHC w/ 170k mile
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88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
And she's an automatic transmission. Base with cold weather package. It's my very dented, none too pretty baby. 175k on the odometer, had her since 2008, belonged to my grandparents before that. No major problems, fixed the leaky heads in the driveway. No mechanical failure. Only previous problem was with the catalytic converter.
 

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2012 OB , 2017 Impreza
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3,761 Posts
ALWAYS consider an good used alternator from salvage-yard before installing a chinese-rebuilt from a autoparts store.

The autoparts stores may offer a LIFETIME warantee on their alternators... but you may have to install and replace 3 or 4 of them before you find a good one.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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27,054 Posts
ALWAYS consider an good used alternator from salvage-yard before installing a chinese-rebuilt from a autoparts store.

The autoparts stores may offer a LIFETIME warantee on their alternators... but you may have to install and replace 3 or 4 of them before you find a good one.
so,...your subaru clogged vermont knowledge base say:

typical crap replacement alternator,...vs. say wonky battery,..?

(I was thinking crap alternator...but...did not want to pronounce it so,...without the Cartman kind of authority you have).

and one could probably have one of them new DB's off the UPS or Fedex trucks Monday or Tuesday.

 

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Could be the alternator, but before installing a potentially doubtful parts store rebuilt, a few checks might be helpful.

Perhaps start by seeing if the battery can be charged up, and, as indicated, have it tested. If it seems good, then with the charged battery installed, turn the ignition switch to On (not Start) and check to see if the battery/charge warning light is lit in the instrument panel? If not, then the bulb could be faulty, and that would prevent the alternator from working.

If that's good, some measurements of the charging system, such as the battery voltage and the voltage at the alternator output terminal might help narrow down what's happening. In addition, there are voltage tests that can reveal a bad ground which could result in a good alternator not charging the battery. (Do you have a multimeter to make measurements?)
 

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2002 Outback, 2.5L SOHC w/ 170k mile
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88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I do not have a voltmeter, just a lightbulb on a stick that lights up if there's power. I did get a ride finally, and we checked the battery. It was bad, and 3 years old. I took it in, got my 60% warranty replacement at Costco for a grand total of $32 for a new battery for my car. Yay, warranties. Then I slapped that in and drove my car down for a free O'Reilly Auto alternator test. Their test claims bad voltage regulator.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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I know its hot there right now. like 106F

I had a relative that lived in phoenix for a couple years. ...parked outside, he said he could not keep a battery for more then 2.5 years,
(even those with a hot weather label on them)
 

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2002 Outback, 2.5L SOHC w/ 170k mile
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88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My bad battery had acid leaking out one post only visible after removing the terminal clamp and the side was straight up cracked on the plastic housing, likely due to temperature expansion. Most of this summer has had highs of 100+ Fahrenheit(35 Celcius), and it's been a few weeks since we dropped below 70F (21C), even at night. Had a whole week of 110+ (43C) for daily highs.

Pretty bad here, for batteries. A few years ago my positive clamp got stuck, acid everywhere. I had to rip it off with pliars to get it off (the bolt got stuck) and it was all mangled so for the new one I bought this super heavy-duty solid brass, gold-plated, marine grade positive terminal clamp, because 'eff replacing parts more than once.
 
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