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Discussion Starter #1
I have a '99 Impreza Outback Sport that just rolled over 200k miles (200,009 currently). It has a 2.2L engine and I believe it is the EJ222 Flavor, however I cannot find any markings confirming the difference. The engine stamp just says EJ22.

Also I know it has a valve cover gasket leak on all four cylinders. They all have oil on the spark plug boot. This doesn't concern me much as it's been like that for the last 75,000 miles.

It's also got an oil leak that has the underbody coated in oil, but I can't find the source, and that's been existent for the last 35k miles. This is also causing another not totally concerning problem that the engine will lightly smoke for about 60 seconds after the car is parked.

The above two problems are something that I know I need to address soon, but I haven't had the time to take the engine out to do the work, or the money to pay a shop to do it for me.

The real problem is below.

It's gotten cold where I live and for the first few weeks the car was running fine. Suddenly it started acting weird, if I started it, it suddenly didn't want to make power if it was cold. The engine would just bog down and sound really "throaty" like it was pushing a huge load. It got to the point where I couldn't get the car to move at all until the engine was completely warm, and I had to get the RPMs up to about 1,500 and shift into gear to get it to move. After it started moving normally all was fine, I could stop, shut the engine off and let it cool slightly before restarting it and all would be good.

My original thought, and based on the suggestions of others was something was wrong with the transmission. So I replaced all the fluids, filter, drove, then replaced again. Didn't make a difference.

Took it to the local dealer to change the differential fluid because the car started stuttering when cornering, and it had gotten sub-zero and I don't have a heated garage. I also couldn't find the the front differential fill point/dipstick for the life of me. There was only a drain plug. In the engine compartment there was only the ATF dipstick and engine fill and dipstick. The mechanic came back and said that he took it for a drive and said it sounded and felt like I had a plugged catalytic converter. This was without telling him about the problem beforehand, just taking it for the fluid change. Regardless, the fluid change didn't help.

I just got done changing the catalytic converter out with a bosal 096-195 the car doesn't have the throaty sound anymore which is better, but it still has the same behavior, I'm not sure if this is due to me not having reset the ecu after the cat change or not, but this is getting beyond frustrating.

Other symptoms that appeared when the non-existent power when cold problem started are as follows:

Pulsing idle (When warm pulses between 550 and 600 RPM, quickly. It did this before but was very subtle, now it's very noticeable when listening to the engine.)

Frequent downshifts on hills that never required one before.

Horrible mileage (Most likely relating to the above problem.)

Finally not sure if it's related or not, but I noticed the hint of it tonight, if I have a load on the engine, there's almost a slight hissing/squeaking/whine not sure which it sounds more like, but it's higher pitched.


Anyway if you made it through all of that any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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2005 OBW 2.5L, 1989 Subaru Justy, RIP Blu
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Idle Air Control Valve is a possability, but when was the last time it had a full tune up.

Make sure your tires match and are properly inflated, as you are getting the beginings of TB. Any CEL on the dash?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Idle Air Control Valve is a possability, but when was the last time it had a full tune up.

Make sure your tires match and are properly inflated, as you are getting the beginings of TB. Any CEL on the dash?
The only CEL it's been throwing for the month before the issue came up was a P0440. I'd just clear it out, and it took longer to turn on each time. It normally happen after I filled the tank.

And quick question, what is TB?

Side note, I'm trying to determine if this might be a vacuum issue, but my intake manifold pressure freeze frame seems a bit high for that to be an issue. 17.17 inHg, this was also a week or so before the problem started so I'm not sure if a leak has developed since then.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'd like to think it might be torque bind, but it stops as soon as the engine is warm and the car is moving normally.
 

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After you fill the tank is pointing to an EVAP issue. Are you overfilling your tank. That will cause this as liquid fuel gets in a system made for fuel vapors. Can be a bad charcoal canister, couple of other things.
 

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Is your temp gauge where it supposed to be?

Have you plugged in a scanner to see if your engine temp sensor ofr the ECU is operaiting properly?

WHat happens with the AC on?

Are all the vac lines on the air intake connected?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Temp gauge stubbornly sits at halfway between cold and hot at normal operating temps, and the last freeze frame I have stored says 204.8 F which seems to be right in the ballpark of where it should be.

I don't have a scanner to pull live data, any ideas on where I could rent or buy one?

I haven't actually tried the AC. What would I expect to change?

As far as I can tell all of my vacuum lines are correctly connected. When I disconnected my front O2 sensor when I changed the cats out I knocked a line off something that looked similar to a wastegate, but I put the line back on after I put everything back together. It seemed really loose though and really stiff/brittle.
 

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See if autozone has one the can rent/borrow. Would be interesting to see if it works well on the way up.

The IACV is affected by AC operation. It controls the idle speed. It can be a cause of idel surging and doing other odd things.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
For the heck of it I tried the the AT code trick to see if my transmission was throwing any codes, I got a nice 2 blink per second no code light.

While I was out there I noticed that the car is taking off slightly faster, once it's warm it takes off v. having to fight it to get it initially moving.

The AC did not affect the idle, at first it seemed to amplify the issue, but then after turning it off, nothing changed.

I also noticed that the engine has more power in the low RPM range, after it hesitates. If I gradually accelerate everything is fine, if I try to accelerate quickly, maybe a sudden 15-25% throttle, it hesitates for a second and sound really throaty, and I thought I might have heard a slight whine but I'm not sure.

I guess that's what happens when it's cold, it hesitates, but never really recovers to provide power. If you let off the gas it takes about 5 seconds to recover a normal idle, but until then its really stuttery.

I'm not sure if I'm really contributing helpful info or not so let me know any additional tests I can try.

I have to wait until tomorrow for Autozone or O'Rileys to open, they closed about an hour ago. Then I'll try the scan tool.
 

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Well the mileage is right for a IACV, at the very least you can try cleaninng it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm going to go get a new IACV gasket, and I'm going to ask in they have a scan tool I can barrow. What would I be looking for on the scan tool?
 

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I'm going to go get a new IACV gasket, and I'm going to ask in they have a scan tool I can barrow. What would I be looking for on the scan tool?
If you have to ask, it won't do you any good to look at data. There are several things to look at the will tell you where the problem is. You have to know what each sensor does and how it reacts to changes. Without knowing this, its pointless for you to try to read it. Now, it you could record the data and post it, that's something different.

Have you checked for vacuum leaks? Sure sounds like a vacuum leak. Especially the "hissing". Dead give away. Any air entering the intake tube or engine after the MAF is considered a leak since it will alter the actual to reported data sent to the ECM.

And, you should concern yourself with the oil filled spark plug tubes along with trying to get a steady idle and power.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I took out the IACV, looks like I got luckish on the gasket, but I have one on order anyway.



Should I clean that out at all?

Second the top half, it doesn't look too teriably dirty but since it's out why not...

 

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Discussion Starter #15
Cleaned the top half, looks much better, and there was a fair amount of gunk in it.



I'm moderately concerned with the yellow residue that started spreading from my pile of cotton....

 

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Discussion Starter #17
Well I got the gasket and put the IACV back together...

Idle is now buttery smooth upon initial start up, and once the engine is warm.

When cold if I make any throttle movement (gear shift, tap the throttle, etc.) the engine starts pulsing again.

Checked for vacuum leaks, none to be found, and the whistle is absent as well.

It seems like there's something wrong with the fuel management system. When it's cold and I try to add gas, it bogs down and acts like the mix is way too rich/partially flooding the engine. Once it's warm, if I try to give more than 25% throttle, it hesitates and bogs down like when it's cold, for about 2 seconds then get's up and goes. Even when it does go, it just doesn't seem like it's giving all the power it should be.

I put in a new tank of ethanol free gas, and a bit of prestone complete fuel system cleaner to see if that helps.

Any other suggestions?
 

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One, stop using the Prestone junk.

Two, put a set of plugs and wires on it. You ought to change the valve covers and grommets while you're at it. And this smoking for a minute after start, is it out the tailpipe? If so, there is a high likelihood that a lot of oil deposits are gathering on the valves due to leaking valve seals. BAD on a boxer. It will lodge valves open since the 90' position of the head allows for the oil to bake to the exhaust valves when you shut it off. After replacing the plugs, run a can of Sea Foam through an intake vacuum port to clean the intake and valves. If its been doing the smoking for 30k or so, its about the time enough is built up to lodge one or two open and it may get to where you won't be able to start it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The smoking comes from directly under the engine, on the y-pipe for the exhaust.

It normally smokes lightly for about 30 seconds once the exhaust system gets hot, after that nothing until about a minute after the engine is stopped, then another 30 second light smoking, then nothing. This behavior has been going on for about 20k miles, so it seems in the ballpark for what you're describing.

Just did a new set of wires as soon as this problem started about a month ago, so those should be just fine...

New plugs were about 10k miles ago, but it doesn't hurt to do them again.

Valve seals don't seem like too large of a project for the moment, so I should be able to take care of that one as well, just need a warmer weekend than single digit temps.

Finally, someone suggested that I may be looking at worn valve guides, how much of a pain would those be to replace?
 

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If the plugs are fairly new, pull and clean, check the gap and reinstall.

If its smoking from under the car it's an engine oil leak. Out the tailpipe would be an internal leak.

Valve guides or seals mean head removal and a trip to the machine shop.

Valve cover gaskets and grommets could be your oil leak onto the Y pipe. Could also be a different gasket on the engine.
 
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