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Outback Legacy 1997
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just started my car and barely made it to the first light. The check engine light was blinking at first and then came on. The starter has been buggy/slow for a few days and now it barely runs or accelerates.

I had an oil change and tune up few weeks ago and all seemed fine and was running great after.

Battery? I'm afraid to drive it to the nearest auto parts store to get a diagnosis as I might get stuck on the road.

Any advise? I can't afford a mechanic so I will be fixing it myself once I figure out what the issue is. Hoping to get some advise here.
 

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Premium Member
03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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18,114 Posts
do you have a friend that coyld help you in any way?

one with a scanner to read the code(s)

or one that can help you take the battery in for testing?
 

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Outback Legacy 1997
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I have a friend that has that tool. Where could I get the battery tested at and how much does that cost?
 

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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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1,525 Posts
Most any auto parts store will test your battery for free ... if it fails, they want to sell you a new one.

If it turns out your alternator is bad, I would be very leery of auto parts store replacements ... they are not known for quality in any case, but with our cars they seem to be especially bad. You can get a rebuilt one from Subaru for a reasonable price, but you might have to allow for shipping time.

What is the year/model of your car?
 

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Outback Legacy 1997
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the advise!

It is Outback Legacy 1997. So I only need a voltage meter to test the alternator and battery myself?
 

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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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1,525 Posts
With the engine off, a charged battery will measure about 12.5 volts +/-.

With the engine running at idle speed, the alternator output should read about 14 volts +/-.

Make sure the battery cable connectors and battery posts are clean and tight and the battery cells have enough water to cover the lead plates.
 

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Outback Legacy 1997
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I just ran the diagnostics tool and got error code P0300

It looks like there are a whole number of possible causes since this is a generic error code: OBD-II Trouble Code: P0300 Random/Multiple Cylinder Misfire Detected

Is it possible that somebody could have messed with my fuel tank? I have an angry neighbor situation at hand and he is a suspect. I know it sounds crazy but I would not put it past him for messing with my car.
 

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Meh.
I has wagons.
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12,323 Posts
How old are your plugs?
Plug wires?
Miles on vehicle?
 

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Outback Legacy 1997
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I'm not sure about the plugs or wires. They look pretty new to me. The mileage is 175,000.

I was thinking about trying to make it to a place like Pep Boys tomorrow. Would I be better off buying new plugs and installing them myself? Problem is I need to get to work with it soon..
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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18,114 Posts
post your city and maybe someone can recommend a shop that might be a little better than PepBpoys.

everyone has car trouble and a boss should be sympathetic if you miss a day or are late/have odd hours due to catching a ride with someone else.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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7,355 Posts
You do not test a charging system with the car off at idle, sort of a usless test. You test it at max output with max load. In a car that is EVERYTHING on and the engine above 1800 rpm. The voltage at the battery should be 13.5 volts at that point.

With a random misfire code I would start with a full tuneup, plugs wires filters PCV valve. Inspect the plugs for condition to get an idea what is going on

Spark Plug Analysis
 

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Outback Legacy 1997
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, don't think the boss will like this as I just started the job and have only been there for 3 days. Need to get this fixed asap.

I'm pretty sure the issue is my fuel pump. I will do more diagnostics tomorrow. Yes, shop or inexpensive mechanics recommendations would be great. I'm in Boynton Beach, FL.
 

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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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1,525 Posts
You test it at max output with max load. In a car that is EVERYTHING on and the engine above 1800 rpm. The voltage at the battery should be 13.5 volts at that point.
The method you describe is used for measuring amperage output of the alternator. Voltage is typically checked at idle or maybe a fast idle and ideally it will be in the range of 13.8 to 14.2 volts.
 

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Outback Legacy 1997
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I was thinking I should replace my fuel filter just in case.. I understand that I need to de-pressurize the gas system first, correct? How do I do this? Remove fuse? Should I also disconnect the battery?
 

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Outback Legacy 1997
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Discussion Starter #16
Hi Subiesailor,

Do you think they messed up the plugs during my oil change? The other things that were done were changing oil and air filter, plus adding coolant and whatever else was part of the tune-up. It was done at Jiffy Lube about 2 weeks ago.
 

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Outback Legacy 1997
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Could anyone please advise how to de-pressurize the gas system on this model? Which fuse to disconnect? Should I disconnect battery - cable also? Thanks for any advise! I need to get this baby back on the road asap.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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15,483 Posts
The fuse for the fuel pump is in the fuse box behind the lower cover left of the steering wheel. Don't recall at the moment which fuse it is but it's labeled on the cover. Pull it, start the car and run it until it dies. Then crank for 2 seconds. After changing the filter reinstall the fuse and turn the key on for 2 sec then off and on again to prime the fuel rails before trying to start it.

If your battery is old, over 3, and you still have the issue, replace it.
 

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Outback Legacy 1997
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49 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Thanks cardoc! I read another post saying there is no fuse on older models 95-97 and that the best way to depressurize would be to disconnect battery and remove gas cap..
 

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Hi Subiesailor,

Do you think they messed up the plugs during my oil change? The other things that were done were changing oil and air filter, plus adding coolant and whatever else was part of the tune-up. It was done at Jiffy Lube about 2 weeks ago.
Jiffy service isn't a tune up. Possible they knocked a vacume line loose when changing the air filter.

But that wouldn't give you a misfire code. Or I should say in normal cases it doesn't generally cause a misfire code. Does not sound like a battery issue.

Either fuel or electrical related
 
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