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Ok, my 17 year old son has a 2001 outback with the 3.0 and approximately 201k miles on it. It’s been a great vehicle for months. Earlier this week he was driving at approximately 30mph and the car just died after sputtering a bit. The RPMs were bouncing from close to zero to about 1500. I was thinking fuel filter as soon as I received the call. Fuel filter was swapped out with no luck. Last night I replaced the fuel pump and battery since we killed that with all of the cranking. The car will cold start after sitting all night but dies after about 20-30 seconds of idling. Has anyone experienced a similar issue or have a step 4 for us to try? No check engine light at this time and daddy is running out of money to spend on the Outback.
 

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How's the maintenance on it? Correct spark plugs in good condition?

Plug a decent code reader in and see if there are any pending codes (which would not illuminate the light). Then look at the coolant temperature and make sure it's correct, and fuel trims to look for signs of difficulty there.

There's a big thread stuck to the top of the list in this section about the fuel pump oring and cap. These can fail, and are a bit harder to diagnose.
 

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How's the maintenance on it? Correct spark plugs in good condition?

Plug a decent code reader in and see if there are any pending codes (which would not illuminate the light). Then look at the coolant temperature and make sure it's correct, and fuel trims to look for signs of difficulty there.

There's a big thread stuck to the top of the list in this section about the fuel pump oring and cap. These can fail, and are a bit harder to diagnose.
Thanks for the response. The car maintenance has been solid. I haven’t replaced the spark plugs yet. The ability to cold start has led me to believe spark is fine. We tried a good code reader last night. It was unable to connect with the cars cpu. Mechanic thought it was possibly due to the dead battery. We had the car hooked to my vehicle with jumper cables. Will be trying the code reader again tonight.
 

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4, Gen 2 H6's: 2001 LLBean, 2002 LLBean, 2002 VDC, 2003 Plain...I love the H6's!
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One of my 2002 3.0s recently had a cracked exhaust manifold gasket that bled hot exhaust air onto one of the O2 sensors (I cannot recall left, or right side of the engine), which gave the sensor bad information. The result was the car would start, idle terribly, and die as soon as the accelerator was pressed. A $12 set of exhaust manifold gaskets was the fix. GL
 

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Replaced the battery? Would it no longer hold a charge? Seems like an expensive solution.
The fact that it sputtered to death points to fuel. Definitely check the o-ring solution.
 

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Replaced the battery? Would it no longer hold a charge? Seems like an expensive solution.
The fact that it sputtered to death points to fuel. Definitely check the o-ring solution.
Battery was going bad anyway. It was on the short list of needed to replace soon items.
 

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I
Was that the complete assembly, or just the pump motor; and, new part(s) or recycled? As noted in post #2, that generation has a common problem with an o-ring and cap. https://www.subaruoutback.org/threads/symptoms-of-fuel-pump-o-ring-problem.41182/
I only replaced the pump itself. The assembly seemed fine. I was just thinking lack of fuel + 201k miles and my son constantly running on empty was a good place to start. I’ll definately look into the o ring. Thanks for the info!
 

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The ability to cold start has led me to believe spark is fine.
Not necessarily. If you don't know the type and age of the plugs, spend the $40 on a set, soon.

But, don't spend a penny until you can get a code reader connected to it. Does the check engine light come on when you first turn the key on (engine not running)? Maybe you've got a wiring gremlin keeping the ECU from powering up.
 

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I had a mechanic come over this weekend. Code reader was able to connect and did not find any codes. We completely removed the aftermarket remote start system to illuminate that. Car still did not start. It looks like fuel is not getting to the filter. If we disconnect the hose line into the filter we get fuel while cranking. When we connect all the hoses try to start and then remove the hoses again, all the lines are completely dry. Fuel pump, fuel filter and battery are all we have replaced so far.
 

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If we disconnect the hose line into the filter we get fuel while cranking. When we connect all the hoses try to start and then remove the hoses again, all the lines are completely dry.
The injectors need fuel at significant pressure. Fuel flow from a disconnected hose is at close to zero pressure. When the cap/o-ring fail, it's usually not a case of no flow; rather it's that fuel is leaking past the o-ring, and that causes the pressure to be much lower than needed. I guess in a worst-case scenario, the o-ring could move out altogether, or the cap come off, in which case probably no fuel would flow to the engine area.

Borrow a fuel pressure tester (auto parts stores often lend them out with only a deposit required), and check the pressure at the fuel filter in the engine compartment. I believe the 2001 spec is 30-34 psi with the engine running.
 

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With the code reader connected, watch the live data and see if you get an rpm signal while cranking. Look at the coolant temperature and make sure it makes sense. Then look at fuel trims to see if it's trying to correct for something.

I don't follow your fuel test, but it's not definitive. Is the pump running? Did you check the pump Oring?
 
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