Subaru Outback Forums banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I bought my VDC '03 outback from a delightful retired bush pilot -- he kept it garaged and only had 18k on it.

In the short time it took me to get just shy of 20k, I noticed a faint gurgling sound upon start. Seemed to come from the rear. At the usual oil change appt, I asked my then mechanic, a Subaru specific shop, to poke around. They told me the Fuel Pump Assembly was reading very low pressure and required immediate changing. I allowed that to repair to go forward, wondering if it was a mistake when they informed me, "the pump looked pristine, from visual inspection, nothing seemed odd."

This was March 2011.

In Dec 2016, driving surface street speeds, I rounded a corner and the car simply "died". I assumed starter problems, because it would crank but not turn over. Towed to the local dealer and informed, you guessed it, your Fuel Pump Assembly has failed and needs replacing.

Now, for the past week, my CEL has been lighting up for a day, going away for a day. Quick read at parts shop; P0302 -- Cylinder 2 misfire. The only other behavior was a brief, slight rough idle, as if it wanted to bonk. Then CEL would appear, I'd drive to my multiple clients throughout town and 24 hours later, the light would go away. Then one day the VDC light popped on, for no reason. It wouldn't turn off when I depressed the button, only going off when I got it to highway speeds, which is normal but it lighting up abitrarily wasn't normal.

My mechanic is some 50 miles away. I drove there. The light wouldn't come on. The code wasn't showing in any memory. I was told all other measures when driving around were perfect and I should just keep an eye on it.

Well 2 days later, in Friday rush hour traffic, it totally died. This time, at surface street speed, rough non-responsive feel in gas pedal and at same time AT Oil Temp light flickering. I made it to the shoulder. Zero response, no crank, no electrical, barely enough juice to move the windows up 2 inches. Key stuck in ignition as if it were still in drive. The hazard lights could be heard audibly clicking, changing speed to rapid clicks to barely any clicks. No lights visible on exterior though.

Towed back to same dealership that replaced the Fuel Pump Assembly in 2016. The same place that told me, "it is incredibly rare to have to replace these, that the first replacement must have been 2nd tier quality". And today they called to tell me I need to replace the Fuel Pump Assembly a third time.

I feel like the Fuel Pump Assembly is being treated like an air filter. This seems ridiculous and yet I'm being told replacing it first is the only way to determine if anything else is contributing to the issue. To me, it is completely apparent that something else is at play here but I'm having a hard time knowing where to insist that they look. I made the mistake of mentioning that I usually run Ehthanol free but this winter and spring, I didn't have regular access to it. I had put in my first full tank of Ethanol free, just prior to CEL lighting up -- he's trying to tell me I shouldn't use Ethanol free, but that I should be sure to use "quality gas". ????

Any suggestions would be so appreciated. I'm stumped and frustrated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
446 Posts
Agreed with above, it sounds electrical/load based. Either battery/alternator or fpr or evap system. Oem pumps do not fail at that rate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
619 Posts
Sounds like they are using “seat of the pants” diagnostics instead of actually doing a few tests to confirm what the actual problem is.

You are far more patient and forgiving than I am, one mistake is mistake but after three strikes I would be either talking with the shop owner or finding another recommended and trusted repairer.

I agree with the others that your current problem is electrical (not fuel) related and I suspect either a bad battery, battery cable or earth.

Sesgrass
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
866 Posts
Is it possible there is a crimp or obstruction in the fuel line? What if the pump were constantly pushing on a restriction (as to the ongoing problem)? I also agree, for the new twist, sounds like an alternator or battery problem as well. I'd have those checked.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
could be 2 problems, search and read about the cap/o-ring problem on 2nd gen outback fuel pumps.
And what would be the possible 2nd problem? Have searched and read the cap/o-ring problem you mentioned but for this to happen 3 times on 3 new fuel pumps, leads me to think it's something else. Unless there is something that "leads" the fuel assembly to fail regularly at the cap and o-ring. Which I would expect if that were the case, would incite a riot on the forum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
This whole situation is problematic because my preferred, trusted mechanic is many miles away. And yet they looked at it last week, saying everything looked fine, wait for more problems with CEL to diagnose. I can't shake the feeling of how lucky I was this didn't lock up at 70+mph when I drove back and forth to their shop.

The dealer is closer and I feel like at least they have awareness that this is absurd, because it's their shop that replaced this 2 1/2 years ago. Because its on their records, I might have greater success forcing them to look further and is why I'm reaching out to you guys. Don't mean to play the girl card but they do treat me differently and I need to come in with strong knowledge to back-up what I'm insisting on.

Maybe I just need to tow to my old mechanic...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
446 Posts
You can have a fuel pressure gauge installed for $100 prob including a cheap gauge and sending unit. It is a DIY job if you’re inclined. That will give you some data.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,299 Posts
Throw away the garbage aftermarket fuel pump (and starters and alternators) and install an OEM new or used one with uncracked tabs and new viton oring. Unless you want to keep replacing it every 6 days, 6 months, or 6 years - this is exactly what they do. There is no brand, warranty, new/rebuilt that is worth my time besides OEM here.

If they are OEM pumps - verify how they're failing - if the cap orings are pushed out or the cap tabs are cracked. Very common. Replace the cap and oring with a viton oring. Or if it's actually the electrical motor inside the pump failing. Do not just throw it away without checking those points - it literally takes no time or effort at all to look at those with the pump in your hand as you walk to the trash can to throw it away.

If they are OEM pumps that are failing then the wires to the pump need tested.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,299 Posts
AT Oil Temp light flickering. I made it to the shoulder. Zero response, no crank, no electrical, barely enough juice to move the windows up 2 inches. Key stuck in ignition as if it were still in drive. The hazard lights could be heard audibly clicking, changing speed to rapid clicks to barely any clicks. No lights visible on exterior though.

Towed back to same dealership that replaced the Fuel Pump Assembly in 2016. The same place that told me, "it is incredibly rare to have to replace these, that the first replacement must have been 2nd tier quality". And today they called to tell me I need to replace the Fuel Pump Assembly a third time.
That's not possible - the fuel pump doesn't cause loss of electrical. You can completely remove the fuel pump and all the other electrical stuff will work fine....of course the engine won't start/run/drive.

I would guess there might be a problem in communication....mechanic to service advisor to person who called you and getting relayed here...that makes more sense blaming lobsters for lack of rain in the desert.

The details are incomplete, lost in translation, or they made a mistake, or there's multiple issues in which case I would not be replacing the fuel pump first. So either the information is bad or their diagnosis is bad or their prescription is bad.

I would go to the car right now and see if it has power, lights, etc. If it doesn't then the alternator, battery terminals, battery cables and fuse need tested first - all of which can be roughly tested in like 3 minutes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,921 Posts
I have been fixing things for well over 40 years. (even college-trained in maintenance procedures and practices.) In my experience, it is UNLIKELY for the same component to repeatedly fail without some other extenuating circumstance.
Suspect something else is the root cause of the issue.

HINT: Monitor current-draw thru the fuel-pump relay and log into computer as you drive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
85 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
That's not possible - the fuel pump doesn't cause loss of electrical. You can completely remove the fuel pump and all the other electrical stuff will work fine....of course the engine won't start/run/drive.

I would guess there might be a problem in communication....mechanic to service advisor to person who called you and getting relayed here...that makes more sense blaming lobsters for lack of rain in the desert.

The details are incomplete, lost in translation, or they made a mistake, or there's multiple issues in which case I would not be replacing the fuel pump first. So either the information is bad or their diagnosis is bad or their prescription is bad.

I would go to the car right now and see if it has power, lights, etc. If it doesn't then the alternator, battery terminals, battery cables and fuse need tested first - all of which can be roughly tested in like 3 minutes.
Agree totally -- and is what I did, hoping to have the service advisor come with me over to the repair building to talk with the mechanic directly. Then realized that the mechanic who diagnosed is not the same mechanic working on day 2, etc, at this large dealership.

I did check out the vehicle and oddly, there was now enough power to completely roll up the windows and assumably, for them to park it in the manner they did. Could not get a straight answer as to how they started it. So I have put a stop on that fuel pump replacement until other areas can be tested. And will likely have the car moved to my preferred mechanic who is the owner of the shop and who, when I called, had all the same questions and concerns we've all posted here.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
About this Discussion
14 Replies
8 Participants
SPKSEA
Subaru Outback Forums
Welcome to the Subaru Outback Owners Forum, we have tons of information about your Subaru Outback, from a Subaru Outback Wiki to customer reviews.
Full Forum Listing
Top