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2.5 XT Wagon (2.5L 4-cyl. Turbo AWD 5-speed Automatic)
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Discussion Starter #1
I have an 05 Outback with 210,000 miles.

I love this car and need to find someone to work on it.

I have a cose P0303 going off. I think the P0301 is also going off. It was reported to me by the shop that decided it couldn't do the valve adjustment that both cylinders were reporting a misfire.

It is a flashing check engine light, not just a check engine light. This is bad, right?

Other symptoms: 3 years ago I had the entire cooling system replaced. During that time, the engine nearly overheated, I assume now in retrospect causing some damage to the head gasket. (The water pump that someone installed with the timing belt at 130k miles leaked and I didn't know until I started overheating.) I got a new radiator, thermostat, and basically the entire cooling system with hoses were replaced. Because the system wasn't "burped" I went through ANOTHER water pump and was able to tell because I was keeping better tabs on my coolant. That time the shop replaced the water pump for free. All told, this is the 4th water pump that's been on the car.

Currently I am experience no overheating. But I do have a blocked heater core on the passenger side. (This I know because the heater doesn't work on the passenger side.) This is only a probably about 3 days out of the year as I am single and live in Texas. :)

I add oil (about a quart every 1500 miles) but I was told this is common for an engine with this many miles and the turbo.

The guys who checked but couldn't figure out how to adjust the valves said they did a pressure check and it was low.

Is my girl a goner?

I have had various opinions: Spark plugs, valve adjustment needed, ignition coil. One jerk who hand't looked at the car told me it was the head gasket. But signs are pointing to that.

In July I had a used catalytic converter put in. Ever since the gas mileage has been terrible. But I just thought it was because she was getting older.

Any suggestions in Kerrville, TX, Boerne, TX or San Antonio where to go besides the dealership?
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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26,317 Posts
just looking at your old thread:

http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...ems-after-timing-belt-changed-05-outback.html

I linked this from @rasterman about SA, Texas shops.
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...neral-q-s-looking-mechanic-2.html#post3517729


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your car has individual coil on plug, not a group coil pack. (sometimes the individual coil on plugs are called packs though).

these although they continue to be functional the latching mechanism can become weak over time, as such there are many H6 and turbo subarus running around with wire ties and zip ties on them to keep them latched down. loose and they make for a misfire.

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and I think some of the shops you go to don't know a turbo subaru from a ripe turnip,
and other ones want to pile on enough crap on a fake estimate they are out to buy it off you.
(so they can keep it and enjoy it, or resell it).

and has this been misfiring since July ?
http://www.subaruoutback.org/forums...check-engine-light-flashes-then-goes-out.html
 

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2.5 XT Wagon (2.5L 4-cyl. Turbo AWD 5-speed Automatic)
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Discussion Starter #3
I had the catalytic converter replaced back in July! Different issue.

Also in July I hit a deer. Actually the deer hit me. And I took off the driver side door trip and replaced a headlamp. But she still ran great!
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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I had the catalytic converter replaced back in July! Different issue.
flashing check engine light = misfire. (look at your old posts).

I hope they did not toss a perfectly good cat.

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in the end subaru turbos are too much of a maint / problem car for anyone to keep if they are paying a mechanic to maintain them.

(like the 2005-2006 XT and LGTs maybe the biggest problem children the company made from 2000-present,...and all they can do is make paid mechanics rich).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The cat converter was replaced by a shop in Carrolton, TX. They actually work on mostly Subarus. "Auto Science." I had a good experience. If I could make it up there, I would have them fix it again.

I wish I weren't a violinist and had more time to fix this car.
 

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2.5 XT Wagon (2.5L 4-cyl. Turbo AWD 5-speed Automatic)
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Discussion Starter #6
Can you please elaborate on the zip tie solution?

Could it be the ignition coil?
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 3.0 VDC Wag + 2018 2.5 Leg Ltd
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Can you please elaborate on the zip tie solution?

Could it be the ignition coil?
if the coil packs are not physically "clicking" down into place like the rest. this is a solution to a weak fastener /weak spring.

@traildogck might have done it.

and if you don't have time to maintain the car that needs the "MOST" maint. of all, you have to trade it before the thing just blows up on the side of the road and needs a $5000 fix,...and you sell it not running for $1500.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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if the coil packs are not physically "clicking" down into place like the rest. this is a solution to a weak fastener /weak spring.

@traildogck might have done it.
I have done it, several times. The connector is rectangular and the plug portion of the coil that receives is also rectangular. A zip tie round the whole thing when slid into place works well. See the pic of a generic Subaru plug coil. The connection is shown on the top in this pic.

The connector has a little click-tab on it and they commonly get broken when folks are servicing the plugs or valve covers. when the tap breaks the connector will not stay locked in place.

Lately, I have just been replacing the connector, but I have spare wiring harnesses. The zip-tie method with get you by.
 

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2005 OBXT Limited, VF37, STI intake, 5MT
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It is a flashing check engine light, not just a check engine light. This is bad, right?
Correct, this is bad. That means an active misfire.

But I do have a blocked heater core on the passenger side. (This I know because the heater doesn't work on the passenger side.) This is only a probably about 3 days out of the year as I am single and live in Texas. :)
Do you have "dual zone" climate control? (two temperature knobs and digital screen)

The guys who checked but couldn't figure out how to adjust the valves said they did a pressure check and it was low.
I would call into question any shop that couldn't "figure out" how to do a valve adjustment. Or have the means to investigate.

But your XT uses "shimless bucket" style of valve lash adjustment. The lash is measured by removing the valve cover and inspecting each gap as your rotate the engine by hand. This lash (gap) is adjustable, but it is quite a process. Typically, it's a good idea to check at this mileage.

Is my girl a goner?

I have had various opinions: Spark plugs, valve adjustment needed, ignition coil. One jerk who hand't looked at the car told me it was the head gasket. But signs are pointing to that.
At this point, I would call-around (or if someone can suggest a competent shop in your area) and ask for a compression and leak-down test. Ask for the results to be recorded and given to you.

The leak-down test will reveal where (or if) the compression loss/leak is and help point you in the next step. A good shop should also inspect the coils and spark plugs during the compression/leak down test to determine if those are contributing to the issue as well.

I wouldn't write her off yet, but you should start planning for a plan B.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
On a side note to answer the question above: I do have dual zone climate control. Passenger side blows 20 degrees colder than the driver side. I found that someone had taken the cabin air filter out at some point. And so I assume the heater core is clogged for this reason. Dual knobs with two temp settings on each side that has a digital display.

I just checked the ignition coil for cylinder 3 and found that the clip is indeed not clicking. Totally broken.

The coils are beat down. Look to have been there for probably 210,000 miles. I'm gonna change the spark plugs and coils for the passenger side and try to zip tie those clips. And see where that gets me.

At the shop they said that the compression was low. I don't know what kept them from doing the valve adjustment at the shop, but I think they were unsure of parts that were required to be replaced during the process. Their service manual had some extra interior parts that were required to be replaced. I think it was a bit much for them.
 

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2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Discussion Starter #12
Could this really be the problem?
 
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