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While back bought son his first car a 1999 Legacy sedan 2.2 (CA emissions apparently), here in Oregon.

It drove seemingly fine for about a month when the first issue popped up. The following is a chronological list of the problems and what has been done tried.

First it started acting on and off like it had a choke on until you hit about 3,000 RPM. To elaborate , from a stop or in motion if below 2800 rpm any more throttle input than less than 1/4 would be useless and not achieve any extra acceleration. Once you hit that RPM mark it would then accelerate just like you would think it should(normal). This while throwing no codes. During this time I changed the fuel filter. The issue persisted and started doing it all the time.

(this all happening in a matter of weeks, with my son not really telling me everything in a timely manner dealing with that issue separately, also he's working, I am working out of town so the car has been driven far too much when it should not have)


So while the acceleration problem turned into a constant issue, the check engine light came on. This time we could get a code. The code was for a misfire on the number two cylinder(drivers side front). With this check engine light on, it is running rough at lower RPM. So not only was there little acceleration up to 2800 RPM it ran like dog doo as well getting there. We put in a new ignition coil. Check the air filters and the one at the throttle body is maybe the worse I have seen with pieces literally missing and crumbling. So car gets parked. When time was available we go get wires, plugs and both filters. I unplug the negative terminal with the hopes that the code will go away. While replacing the plugs the number 4 cylinder (drivers side back) plug was covered in oil so assuming the head gasket leaks?? I have never worked on a Subaru and way out of practice no mechanical work for 15 or more years. The gap on that plug was also at 2mm twice what it should be.


So plugs in, wires on and filters in, car starts and the acceleration problem is gone(the first issue), the rough running problem is gone(the second issue). BUT! :( The check engine light is still on and now have two new issues. The AT oil light is flashing and does not stop ( I don't think hard to drive and stare at light). Have never had an issue with the tranny before it always shifted fine. The tranny has fluid it seems clean and while driving with the light flashing it did not seem to effect shifting with no hard shifts and no long drawn out shifts. So working on the ignition caused some fault with the tranny? That blows my mind but then so does the other issue that started up after replacing the ignition parts. While accelerating, when you hit 3250 RPM a REV limiter kicks in.

Just like a racing REV limiter, it kicks in and there is nothing you can do other than back off the gas. This happens at any acceleration although we did not take it up to any speed higher than about 40 on test drive around the block.


So two issues gone but a check engine light and two new issues popped up. We have limited funds so as much as we can do ourselves is important. Not too mention a 1999 Legacy just doesn't book that much so its only worth putting so much money into.

I will drive it to have the engine light scanned again and see if its the same number 2 cylinder misfire code. I understand from research here that the AT code is separate from the regular scanner and has a different port so might be a bit before I can get that scanned. I will report any additional findings here.


Thanks in advance to anyone who can help an old guy and his kid out.
 

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Quick update, So after reviewing my writing above I thought of something and was retaught an age old lesson of what happens when two people work on the same thing lol. I took apart the air assembly my son put the air assembly back together. So he did not realize there was a plug to plug into the pipping between the two air filters. This sent the computer into safe guarding the engine and limiting revs. So after plugging it in and test driving the rev limit is gone, it seems to run smoothly for a 20 year old engine but the power seems to be lacking maybe by a 1/3 from what it was originally. Could this just be an effect of everything being that the computer may take a bit more than a drive around the block to work out air/fuel? Other than that it seems to be running good.

Still have the mysterious blinking AT oil temp light at start and run, doesn't stop blinking and it does it even when cold. Shifts fine though but because of above mentioned lack of power I cant really put a strain on it and make it shift hard. May try and do it manual through the gears later and see, have errand to run while I leave the negative cable off again hopefully to clear the engine light this time.
 

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trans fluid level is the only one you must check while idling - just a reminder - look around for grounds that may not have been reconnected ot wires that were pinched or connectors with pushed-back pins in them....

on a 2.2, I dunno if oil can get on the plug wire boots, if so, you need to deal with that as it is a potential high voltage short.

knock sensors are frequently bad on older cars - cheap parts from ebay do seem to work well for people and it is an easy job. They can kill power with no codes thrown.

some of your early symptoms seem throttle position sensor -related, and perhaps that issue is still there?

hope others will respond.
 

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Thanks for the response Texan, funny you mention what you do....

So I get back to hook the Neg back up and see if the check engine light is reset.

The AT oil temp light is no longer flashing at start and does not come on at all now. Should I chaulk it down to one of those things? Not worry about it unless it comes on in some fashion again?

The check engine light is not out. So we take it to have the code read again. This time we got extra data the guy did not present to us before(maybe there and not mentioned I don't know). But this time rather than 1 code the guy asks if we just worked on it because it had one code it printed but two others.

The one printed is the same old misfire number 2 cylinder we had before. Now what can cause a misfire when you have replaced coil/wire/plug?

The second code one that did not print was MAF sensor fail. This is explained away by the above mistake of son not plugging in the harness to the sensor. So don't think that is anything to worry about.

The last code which also did not print is knock sensor. this gives me hope as I have run across in my research that it could be the knock sensor but most always were talking about codes and I am not one to replace without codes on a hope it works as money is tight. So the knock sensor is going to be replaced for sure. Having no real knowledge of them I have a question. Is there a chance that after replace it , a code will throw anyways because of worn down engine mounts ect normal wear for a 200k 20 year old car? Or are they good enough to not be tripped up by the change in harmonics from wear and tear? And if so is there a way to by pass the knock sensor?

Thanks to anyone with info.
 

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It's possible for sure it will still register the motor mounts as knock. One of the guys in my tuning group has a built motor and the cams are actually too loud and the knock sensor counts like crazy. Just because it hears them, doesn't mean its going to throw a code.

Make sure you note the orientaion of the sensor when you pull it. It should be set up at 10 o'clock while looking at the firewall. (might have to check that) It puts the wire at a weird angle.
 

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If immediately after an ECU reset the car behaves better , good chance some sensor is the issue. A:F or knock or ???? Because, after reset, the ECU reverts to a factory 'base' set of engine parameters stored in a ROM . It must be started a coupla times and driven to operating temp for a few miles, etc. to collect info from the sensors. If it's power or stability degrades, then either there is a problem 'fooling' a good sensor, or a sensor is bad.
 

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Yea the car was very fast to fell back into it's safe mode of driving. Which was the original problem (no engine light but poor acceleration up to 2800 RPM). Everything else is cleared up.

If possible still looking for answers to the following questions.

Should I ignore the AT Oil Temp light flashing at start the one time? Was it just anomaly?

I take it there is no way to bypass the knock sensor to either determine it's faulty for sure or to just let a car run til it dies?

What else can cause a "number 2 cyl. misfire" code after replacing coil/wires/plugs? Can that be caused by the knock sensor going as well?

And something that has bugged me a bit...the number 2 cyl. plug looked fine but by all indications it was the number 4 cyl plug that was not firing (it was at 2mm and the electrode had bad rounding).
Can the ECM ever put out a code for the wrong cylinder by accident somehow?


Ultimately I am thinking I am faced with the possibility of replacing the knock sensor only to have it tripped again by what ever is wrong with the number 2 cyl. maybe. And also maybe the knock sensor is good and the issue with the number 2 cyl. is the only issue. So before replacing the knock sensor I am trying to determine what else I can do about the misfire code.
 

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While replacing the plugs the number 4 cylinder (drivers side back) plug was covered in oil so assuming the head gasket leaks??
Did you check again if this plug has oiled up since changing it?
 

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knock sensors are pretty cheap and easy to replace on these. even the cheap ones are OK.

however:

what did you replace the ignition coil with? OEM is the best choice, cheap things are JUNK, and the others are just as expensive as OEM. (I would even take a matching one out of a pick and pull, that said "subaru" on it before I took aftermarket).

and what did you replace the plugs/wires with, ...choice is NGK. other things can make problems.

_____

and minor misfires that make 030x type codes that store and don't store can be made by any of the above. ...but a flashing check engine light is a misfire and the car will barely run at that time. ...or just run along slow.

trans problems. are also created by electrical issues. like a weak battery.
if you got a trans problem, you may only have 3rd gear, Reverse, and park. (this is the trans protecting itself).
 

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money and effort will have to be spent.

live data would tell us if the timing has been pulled by the knock sensor - and live data can be very useful for diagnosing many problems so, maybe the best expense right now would be an ELM327 BT adapter and free Torque Lite app on a smartphone.

bad knock sensors may look cracked/corroded. Others here may know the correct resistance reading of a good one but, they may have failure modes that are hard to detect.

but, compared to $75-$100 an hour labor with maybe an $85 minimum diagnostic charge at a shop - plus OEM parts prices, - a $12 knock sensor and maybe 30 minutes of your time don't seem so bad. And, even IF afterwards there is still a problem, well; 1. you have a new knock sensor on your old car, 2. You have a likely good old KS as a spare, 3. You have eliminated one item from the troubleshooting 'stream'.
 

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Did you check again if this plug has oiled up since changing it?
Have not I just did this yesterday. Not really worried about the head gasket leaking at the moment. So long as I have no oil/fuel mixing because of it which I don't. It seems contained only to leaking to the outside and then dripping into the plug socket hole. For a warped head or even a gasket replacement for this car I will let it drive into the ground first, not worth the cost/benefit of paying someone and I have no time to do what's necessary for me to do it myself. If it was a V engine with the head right there on top, maybe, but not this car, nope not gonna do it lol.

knock sensors are pretty cheap and easy to replace on these. even the cheap ones are OK.

however:

what did you replace the ignition coil with? OEM is the best choice, cheap things are JUNK, and the others are just as expensive as OEM. (I would even take a matching one out of a pick and pull, that said "subaru" on it before I took aftermarket).

and what did you replace the plugs/wires with, ...choice is NGK. other things can make problems.

_____

and minor misfires that make 030x type codes that store and don't store can be made by any of the above. ...but a flashing check engine light is a misfire and the car will barely run at that time. ...or just run along slow.

trans problems. are also created by electrical issues. like a weak battery.
if you got a trans problem, you may only have 3rd gear, Reverse, and park. (this is the trans protecting itself).
Having just replaced those parts and it cleared all issues minus the slow acceleration which is obviously caused by the knock sensor putting the ECM into safe mode I should not have to worry about that stuff. But I did research and found coils can be tricky so yea I put in a used coil. But after looking at the condition of the old plugs and the fact the wires were stock 20 year old wires I would bet money my old coil which I kept is still good. I will try that out once I clear up the knock sensor/engine light issue because if the original is still good I would rather have that and keep the other as a spare.

The plugs are NGK I put in but the wires being limited to what was available are not OEM but I did get the best autozone (sadly) sells.

The tranny light was flashing at start so that also indicates an electrical error on prior start I read somewhere. The tranny shifts fine, has fluid that seem clean. So for not just going to consider that one time it flashed was because of all the working on it.

To be clear from all my posts above. The car originally just started running in a type of safe mode with 1/4 acceleration until 2800 RPM then above that it ran at full speed. This at first was on and off but then became all the time. Then later check engine light solid not flashing along with even poorer running it barely would move. The code was misfire number 2 cyl.. Replaced coil/plugs/wires and air filters.. Now it gives same misfire code but added a knock sensor code for the first time. The knock is 120 from Subaru and 80 for a good one from a parts store, you sure the cheap ones work too? I have read that they don't a lot of the time.

So while I am looking for the knock sensor I'm wondering if the two codes (knock and misfire) could be related to a bad knock sensor only. Because if not then replacing the knock sensor is not going to solve anything as I will still have the misfire number 2 cyl. to deal with and presumably knock sensor codes as well since that is what the knock sensor senses or am I missing something in my logic?
But what else causes misfire codes after replacing the plugs/wires/coil? It cant possibly be the wires not being OEM , if they were cheap knock offs I would understand but these are not. Can it?

I am getting close to my budget limit and the car will then have to sit for a while. If you all could only pick one of the two choices which would it be? Replace the knock sensor or replace the wires I just replaced with OEM?
 

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money and effort will have to be spent.

live data would tell us if the timing has been pulled by the knock sensor - and live data can be very useful for diagnosing many problems so, maybe the best expense right now would be an ELM327 BT adapter and free Torque Lite app on a smartphone.

bad knock sensors may look cracked/corroded. Others here may know the correct resistance reading of a good one but, they may have failure modes that are hard to detect.

but, compared to $75-$100 an hour labor with maybe an $85 minimum diagnostic charge at a shop - plus OEM parts prices, - a $12 knock sensor and maybe 30 minutes of your time don't seem so bad. And, even IF afterwards there is still a problem, well; 1. you have a new knock sensor on your old car, 2. You have a likely good old KS as a spare, 3. You have eliminated one item from the troubleshooting 'stream'.
Ok your the second to mention cheap knock sensors so if I can find one that cheap I wont worry about it then. I have been under the impression that cheap ones don't work for Subaru replacement.
 

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replace the knock sensor as you got a knock sensor code.

what wires did autozone sell.

subaru dealers are selling bedlen? (spellling today), so apparently OK.

but, I would buy a set of NGK off amazon or rock auto. if not,....and return the things you got to autozone while you can.

auto parts chain stores seem to like to overcharge on simple things like plugs/wires/o2 sensors.
 

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Have not I just did this yesterday. Not really worried about the head gasket leaking at the moment. So long as I have no oil/fuel mixing because of it which I don't. It seems contained only to leaking to the outside and then dripping into the plug socket hole. For a warped head or even a gasket replacement for this car I will let it drive into the ground first, not worth the cost/benefit of paying someone and I have no time to do what's necessary for me to do it myself.
Reason I asked about the plug oiling up is if that engine has plug tubes like most Subarus, the seals on the plug tubes can weep. Common problem and nothing to do with head gasket. Cheap, easy DYI fix.
 

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Reason I asked about the plug oiling up is if that engine has plug tubes like most Subarus, the seals on the plug tubes can weep. Common problem and nothing to do with head gasket. Cheap, easy DYI fix.
Ahh I did not know that. I will check them after a week and see. By then I should just be able to pull the wire and see the oil on the boot.
My days of working on things was in the 80's & the early 90's on muscle cars and trucks so pretty illiterate when it comes to anything import and/or built after 1975 lol.

Thanks for the info.
 

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Ahh I did not know that. I will check them after a week and see. By then I should just be able to pull the wire and see the oil on the boot.
My days of working on things was in the 80's & the early 90's on muscle cars and trucks so pretty illiterate when it comes to anything import and/or built after 1975 lol.

Thanks for the info.
a EJ222 car like you got there is still pretty simple and reliable though.

use a OEM or aisin timing belt kit on it when its time and it will keep on going forever.
 

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Ok, so got the knock sensor and as I figured because of the existence of the other code it did nothing. After the ecm reset if pretty quickly falls into a kind of acceleration safe mode and the check engine light is still on. And I would bet that the code is still misfire number 2 cyl.

So the big question I have been asking all along, what else can cause a #2 cyl misfire code after you have replaced coil, plugs, wires and knock sensor?????
 

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does #2 plug have any oil on it? = plug o ring seal
(such gets replaced at the same time as valve cover gaskets, sometimes in the same set).
 

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does #2 plug have any oil on it? = plug o ring seal (such gets replaced at the same time as valve cover gaskets, sometimes in the same set).
No the number 2 plug is fine, the old one had no indications it was experiencing problems, no whitishness, not too dark, the electrodes were still squared in corners and it was still at the spec gap.

The only problem was the number 4 cyl plug which is the one that has the oil leaking to the outside either from head gasket or the sleeve. The gap on the old one was at 2mm, the electrode was rounded the plug itself was overly dark but not oily.

Can a bad number 4 cause a number 2 code?

If the timing has been changed by the ECM due to knock sensor or ?? is there a "hard" reset for it to force timing back to OEM?
 

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No the number 2 plug is fine, the old one had no indications it was experiencing problems, no whitishness, not too dark, the electrodes were still squared in corners and it was still at the spec gap.

The only problem was the number 4 cyl plug which is the one that has the oil leaking to the outside either from head gasket or the sleeve. The gap on the old one was at 2mm, the electrode was rounded the plug itself was overly dark but not oily.

Can a bad number 4 cause a number 2 code?

If the timing has been changed by the ECM due to knock sensor or ?? is there a "hard" reset for it to force timing back to OEM?
typically when you change a knock sensor you do it with the battery disconnected. ...and with the battery disconnected for half a hour you loose everything.

so any old code causing misfire troubles is gone,
...and only some new fuel trims, and transmission behavior have to get written. (so a little hunting but no check engine light).
 
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