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3 2001 Outbacks, 2 AT, 1 MT. 1 2006 Outback AT, 2000 Outback AT, 2008 Outback Sport MT
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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, about a week ago I acquired another 2001 Outback Wagon 2.5 M/T for very little money. S/he has 152k and I got it from the original owner. It's in reasonable shape, but was the victim of repair work by people who just didn't understand Subaru's, or the concept of torque, proper fitting parts, reattachment of main battery grounds, inspecting their work, etc. The car came with all the service records, but it's more like an indictment than an asset. Over the weekend I replaced spark plugs, valve cover gaskets, and timing belt (all original :rolleyes:).

Another problem I was aware of was the CEL. After reading through the FreeSSM thread, I installed the program and ordered a VAG-COM cable, which arrived today. I went out and read the car's ECU, and the only code in it was P0052, HO2S Heater Control Circuit High, Bank2 Sensor1. All fine and dandy, but the code is for an H6 engine, as the H4 has but one bank. A Subaru bulletin, 11-92-08, says it's the bank2 A/F sensor, or front O2 sensor. Again, fine, but I (should) have only 1 bank on this car. I reset the code and it immediately came back when I started the car. I'm going to tear into the wiring over the weekend, but has anyone else seen coding like this?

JP
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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You sure it was 52 and not 32? Maybe the software is getting the data skewed?

I would go with 32 and check the harness to the sensor for cracks or breaks. Check the connection and ECM outputs/inputs for the heater circuit.

Its likely the heater circuit is bad in the sensor. It would be odd if its within the ECM.
 

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2009 Tribeca Now - 2004 Outback EJ259 - Sold
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Hmm that is Odd, Bank 2 would be the drivers side if the vehicle was PZEV EJ259 (Cali Emissions).
The 2.5L did receive separate exhaust banks, it was not just for H6 models.

Can you verify this code with a 2nd scanner?

Your exhaust manifold looks like this correct?


PZEV Model EJ259:
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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I looked at that but Johnny's is an 01. Someone would have had to replace the ECM with an incorrect year model which would cause all kinds of havoc.

That's why I think he may have a software issue. Maybe using the wrong defs.
 

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2009 Tribeca Now - 2004 Outback EJ259 - Sold
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Yeah I thought for a moment a different ECM may have been installed, but like you said, there would be much much more wrong than this.

I would take cardoc's advice, its most likely a P0032.

See if you can get a 2nd scan, not sure why its pulling a P0052.

FreeSSM doesn't really use different definitions, that and it doesn't get updated much.
 

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3 2001 Outbacks, 2 AT, 1 MT. 1 2006 Outback AT, 2000 Outback AT, 2008 Outback Sport MT
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Discussion Starter #6
It was definitely a P0052 which is why it made me think "huh"? I went and read my other '01 and it showed a P0327 knock sensor problem and a P0420. The knock sensor issue is a bad connector that gets lose because the tab broke years ago. The 420...well, it's a 420. I'll follow the P0032 diagnostic in the FSM this weekend and see what I find. With some of the things I've found so far, nothing will surprise me.

The other ethical dilemma now is how to tell the nice lady I bought the car from to take her new Outback to the dealer ONLY!!! Or at least find an anal-retentive mechanic. Among the many problems I found was a bolt for a timing belt idler backed out against the belt cover. The clutch was replaced, do you think all the white caps that hold the rubber shift boot could be reattached? Or how about the lower boot reinstalled properly. I hate to be so critical, but a lot of the silly problems are basic 101 stuff...
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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This is an example of what I try to tell people. Just because the manufacturers name is on a sign out front does not guarantee you will get the car back in pristine condition and all work performed will be exactly the way it should.

They hire techs out of a tech school, pay them flat hourly rates and they learn on the job with your car.

Drive around the back of a dealer parking lot some afternoon and watch the techs leaving. Look at the cars they drive and the poor condition a lot of them are in. If they can't take care of their own, what makes you think they will take care of yours?
 

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1993 Legacy LSi with still functioning Air Suspension, 1999 Outback 2.5L 5MT lab Rat
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See Doc I tend to go the other way, in terms of advice. I have met some exceptional Techs both in and out of the dealer and I suggest at least to start try the dealer, or two. Yes some dealers hire less skilled lower cost workers for some things but by and large have at least 1 highly skilled guy in the shop. The problem with the Blame the Other guy attitude is that You call him Crap, he calls you crap, and in the long run nobody trusts either if you.
I prefer to show them my skills and out skill the other guy, Even if "their Guy" is crap I take the more diplomatic approach of explaining to the customer that maybe this particular problem is not in their guys skill set. If they have their own guy that they trust by all means use him, but if he gets lost I'm a phone call away. I have gotten far more business with that approach.
Most of the Manufacturers Dealers I have worked for actually stayed away from the newly minted 240 day wonder techs Primarily because even at the Dealer level the Manufacturers Name is on the building, and thus to some degree their Company reputation. This is especially true with Imports, Japanese and German, in particular.
I'd suggest and interview process with any professional you wish to Employ, whether it be a Lawyer, Doctor, Plumber, Mechanic or what have you. Ask about specific skills, training etc. that he/she brings to the table, especially if you are experiencing a specific problem.
You'll find good people in and out of the Dealer networks, as well as Independents. The Mechanic that inspired me worked at a Texaco Station, back when there were Service Stations not Grocery Stations that sell Gas.
 

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'14 3.6R Outback
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See Doc I tend to go the other way, in terms of advice. I have met some exceptional Techs both in and out of the dealer and I suggest at least to start try the dealer, or two. Yes some dealers hire less skilled lower cost workers for some things but by and large have at least 1 highly skilled guy in the shop. The problem with the Blame the Other guy attitude is that You call him Crap, he calls you crap, and in the long run nobody trusts either if you.
I prefer to show them my skills and out skill the other guy, Even if "their Guy" is crap I take the more diplomatic approach of explaining to the customer that maybe this particular problem is not in their guys skill set. If they have their own guy that they trust by all means use him, but if he gets lost I'm a phone call away. I have gotten far more business with that approach.
Most of the Manufacturers Dealers I have worked for actually stayed away from the newly minted 240 day wonder techs Primarily because even at the Dealer level the Manufacturers Name is on the building, and thus to some degree their Company reputation. This is especially true with Imports, Japanese and German, in particular.
I'd suggest and interview process with any professional you wish to Employ, whether it be a Lawyer, Doctor, Plumber, Mechanic or what have you. Ask about specific skills, training etc. that he/she brings to the table, especially if you are experiencing a specific problem.
You'll find good people in and out of the Dealer networks, as well as Independents. The Mechanic that inspired me worked at a Texaco Station, back when there were Service Stations not Grocery Stations that sell Gas.
I don't think CarDoc meant that at all, but I'm sure he'll speak for himself.

As you surely know a lot of people think they can only go to the dealer simply because they assume the dealer is "the only ones that get training an know stuff about the car."

These people make assumptions without researching any facts, it's laziness really. That want an easy safe route without having to talk to anyone. It seems many of these people will believe anything the dealer tells them and pay outrageous prices and then complain that the whole brand sucks because they spent $1000 on a 30k "tune-up."

I completely agree about interviewing professionals. You need to make sure the person you are hiring is what you need and will do things in your best interest.
 

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Joe, its not that at all. People trust the dealer to have the training and skillset in the service department. I grew up around dealerships, specifically the service departments. They are not what they used to be. Techs used to care about their work and take pride in everything they put their hand on. Now, its get it in, get it out and use shortcuts. They don't have any concern over the effects of their actions. These techs don't take the time needed to keep up with changes and its like a trickle down education of bad information.

What good is it to have "one good tech"? You get an overworked tech and depending on the shop's flow, car's stacking up waiting for the one guy to get to it. Where's the logic? There isn't any. It's for cost control and the attitude at dealerships in recent years is concentrate on profit.

There is a member on this forum that took his car to a dealer to have a problem he believed was transmission related checked. He was told he needed a new transmission. A CVT. Went to another dealer and was told no problem was found. Is this poor skill or extortion?

I understand what you posted. My point is that people have faith and trust they will get a proper repair from trained professionals at the local dealership. Not so. At times, its like visiting Wal Mart for a diagnostic. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying all dealerships are poor. You just have to be careful and check into the credentials of the person who is tearing into your engine. And I see a lot of misdiagnosis and improper or poor repair practice come out of the dealerships.

What happens when the "one good tech" has a day off?
 

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Independent shops are no different. You should look into who is handling the bolts and nuts on your car. You check references with other businesses. I will give you a long list of people for reference if you were to ask. Most of my customers have been referred by people on that list and they have become a part of the list. And they all will gladly talk with anyone.

And I have had many training techs in my shops. I give them instruction, explain the way various systems operate and then I check everything they touch until I am certain the job is completed proper. If they have to do it again, they lose money. No one likes that, but some can't take responsibility and quit early in or I inform them that this is the wrong field for them. I tend to be blunt and straight up. No since beating around the bush. Especially when a person's life is in their hands. If they can't cut it with me, I wouldn't want them going somewhere else and continuing poor practices. I would prefer they find another field.
 

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Unfortunately, it's not just about nuts & bolts anymore. Cardoc and I talked about this briefly before, but I’m coming to believe that the dealership may become the only choice for a number of types of failures in the near future. It’s about system complexity, the availability of diagnostic tools, and access to very thorough documentation on proprietary technology.

There are conference proceedings, white papers, etc., out there that clearly show the trend in warranty issues on newer vehicles heavily dominated by electronics. Software and distributed / networked on-board computer issue made up something like 40% of the warranty costs at one mfgr. Would any independent shop want to take on an image based pattern recognition problem in one of these ‘take control from the driver’ systems like Subaru’s EyeSight? I’ve worked on the development of some of the underlying technology that goes into this stuff, and I wouldn’t!

It’s going to take a new kind of business model to keep the problems in check, with an intensive training program and VERY expensive tools. I wouldn’t be surprised to see tag teams of a mechanic and an electronics tech in the typical dealership service bay of the future. How many independent shops will be able to complete in this game?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
*RANT ALERT*

The auto repair industry (like most industries) is becoming a tangled mess. The technology is evolving faster than many of the small repair shops can keep up. Finding someone that actually gives a crap about the quality of their work is problematic. I don't think anybody goes to work wanting to do bad work, but how invested they are in the outcome at the end of the day remains a mystery.

Prior to going into business with a friend, I worked for three years for a bank servicing ATM's and credit card terminals. From there I landed a job as a field service engineer and worked there for 17 years. I have a LOT of screwdriver time, and I was also meticulous in my work. I always insisted that the correct screws go in the correct hole regardless if the fit fine otherwise. As silly as that sounds, I always paid attention to details. As a result, I had some of the best performing machines in the region. At the other end of the spectrum was the guy that hated climbing behind some equipment to remove a screw or bolt that held a cover on, so he wouldn't re-install them. Once while working on a project with him, he showed me some screws he had just removed, remarked how he hated them, and literally flung them across the room we we're working in. To protect the guilty, I'll say his name was "Spark". Anytime I would go on vacation and he would work in my territory, I would find the screws missing. This became known as "I got Sparked"...

For me, the last time I had someone work on my a car I own was in 1990-something when I had Midas do a front brake job. They told me that it may make a little noise at first, but it was normal. I drove it a couple of miles and went to stop. I heard a "clunk". I called the shop right then (yes, we had cell phones...) and asked if it *that* was normal, and he said yes. I drove another mile and and then "clunk clunk clunk"! The caliper pin wasn't tightened and it fell out and the caliper was hitting the wheel. I pulled over, got out, walked down the road and found the pin, hand tightened it, and went back to Midas. The re-torqued the pins and gave me a card good for three free oil changes. Needless to say, I never let them touch the car again. That car went 256K before the Mrs lost it to a Toyota.

I had a company service van. I took it in to and "authorized" national service vender. It had around 50k on it and needed a brake job. Unfortunately I wasn't involved in the decision, because the service chain told the leasing center it needed new calipers and rotors and wheel bearings. WTF??? It needed pads, but what do you do?

And then there's the repair industry standard that says this job should take "X" hours and we're only going to pay you "X" hours. If it takes you less than "X" hours, you can take on more work, If it takes you more than "X" hours, you get less work. No incentive to cut corners there, huh?

I could go on and on, but I think we all agree that if not doing the work yourself, find a reliable mechanic and honor them!

JP
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update, sorta. I needed spark plugs for the Honda so I asked the counter guy to read the ecu with their scanner. The code they pulled was a P1133, sensor issue bank1 sensor1. So it seems to suggest the A/F sensor is having an issue. I inspected the wiring and connectors and everything looked okay, but I noticed the front and rear sensor connectors were identical, and just to verify this was the case, I plugged one into the other connector. It fit. I swapped them back, but what fault code would the car generate were they switched, say when the clutch was replaced? I can't imagine it would harm anything, but I'm not inclined to find out. I've not torn into the service manual yet, but is there a simple was to insure they are in the correct position? One of the harnesses has a price of white tape attached, but no other discernible markings. Oh the joy!!!

JP
 

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Attached is a wiring diagram for the AF and O2. Notice the wire colors. Typical of Subaru wiring diagrams, the color of the wire may or may not match the diagram. In which case you would connect a scan tool to the car, start it, then while watching the AF and O2 sensor data, unplug one. The one that drops to zero tells which one it goes to.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the information. I tried to compare the wiring with my original "01, but the connectors were different. I'll pull the new Subaru (Honey Badger) in the garage after work tomorrow and look into the wiring colors. I'd do it tonight, but just finished the "American Community Survey" from the Census Bureau and my brain is tired. We can shut down sections of the government, but there's always time for a survey!

JP
 
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