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I have a new (5 weeks) H6-3.0 2004 Outback which to my ear seems a bit rough on cold startup. The engine revs up and down and idles somewhat roughly. Once I get underway, the roughness disappears. Is this normal for this engine?

I like the car, by the way. I had a 2000 2.5 Outback before and this has a lot more pep and is much smoother running
 

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I have the same situation. My '04 H6 does the same thing. When I start it when it is cold, despite the outside temperature, it idles roughly for about 30 seconds or so. It is rather annoying. I have tried all different types and grades of gas. I can't figure out what is causing this.

Kurt
 

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What sort of ambient temperatures are you talking about? I notice a little roughness when the airconditioner is turned off even with the engine fully warmed.
 

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My '02 H6 has some similar idling symptoms...i don't mean to sound like a subie mechanic, but i believe it is "normal"

Mine seems to do it more if i have driven it hard the day before coinciding with cold starts.
 

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H6-3.0 idle speed hunting

My 2003 base model Outback H6-3.0 has always "hunted" for it's idle speed, upon startup. Not a rhythmic pulsing, but a sort of random casting about for an idle speed. And, IMO, too low of an idle speed when cold. But not a serious problem enough to worry about.

Now (at about 37K miles) the problem has gotten worse, in that upon startup, I get a regular pulsing variation in the idle speed, in about a 1 second interval, of about 100-150 RPM magnitude. I've also started experiencing periodic and random "hesitation" while driving down the road. Feels like it let's go for a fraction of a second, then catches again. But the cold idle speed is higher/better now. (Go figure.....modern electronics.)

I had reported the initial hunting problem a couple times, but did nothing about having it fixed. A Subaru mechanic even recommended that I let them remove the PCM, and let them send it back to the factory for updating and calibrating. Even had gotten factory approval to do so.

Now that the problem is worse, I'm going ahead and letting them do the computer fixes. They want the car for 3+ days, but since I bought the extended warrantee, I get a free loaner. The car goes in in a couple days. We'll see how things go when it comes back. I'm also told that there are other "fixes" included in the reprogramming, without any specific details.

I'll report how it all turns out.

hw in Wisconsin
 

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Well, four days later and the computer is back in the car and I'm on the road again.

The re-programming seems to make the car run better. The dramatic surging is gone, and the pulsing of the idle speed is mostly gone. In general, no pulsing, but on the odd occasion it still does it. Oh, well....

The best thing about the experience--instead of having to pay for it because I waited until after the basic warranty expired and I moved into the extended warranty with a deductible--was that it was covered under the 8/80 portion of the original warranty, not the 3/36. It only cost me for the gas in the loaner car!

The car does start better in the cold, and the idle speed is better during cold starts. And no more hunting for idle speed. Since I'm now in the extended warranty period, and the 8/80 continues. I'll see how this unfolds over time.
 

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wilsonhp, I am glad to hear that the problem is largely fixed and that it didn't cost you much. I imagine that the idle should train itself over a little time and smooth out, if not take it back again.

Cheers,
Karl
 

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Just an FYI, any part of the fuel managment system (however remote) falls under the mandatory emmissions warrenty (8/80). I'm glad to here that they did some good for you.
 

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