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Discussion Starter #1
My son's 98 Outback died after getting off the freeway. Will crank and fire intermittently but not start. Car is 150 miles away so I had it towed to his house and went over.

After getting it towed home I found that there was no spark on 3 and 4. Also was getting a PO336 code (Crank Sensor) Compression good ruled out plug wires etc.

swapped out coils no change. checked continuity from coils to ignitor. All good No pulse on the blue wire (#3,and #4) when cranking from the ignitor. Pulse on red wire. (#1, and #2)

swapped out Crank and Camshaft sensors one at a time. No change.

Went to pick and pull and tore sensors, ignitor and ECU from a 98 Forester that I found. No change with different ECU or ignitor/sensors it does not have any errors. Started to try and trace wires from ignitor to ECU but ran out of weekend.

Am going back this weekend. Plan is to check/bypass the wiring from ECU to ignitor and Crank sensor but I have questions.

1: I am assumed that a Forester ECU would be close enough, (it plugs straight in to the harness, same engine) to at least rule out the existing ECU. But should I find another one for testing ? Am not sure my assumption was correct. (It seems they rarely fail) Should I go back to the pick and pull and clip the harness connector to compare? I read that all EJ25D ECUs are the same but maybe the Forester has something different going on with it? Cannot find any data on this. I cannot get the different ECU to report the P0366 code however. Think just writing this down I will go get another ECU to try.

2: If the car is fine on 2 cylinders would it not kind of run? I do notice that when cranking it will try and fire but then backfire almost like it has bad timing and I will see a pulse on the timing light. What is up with that? One theory I have is that the wiring to the crank sensor is just bad and the ECU is just getting crappy signals or the firing circuit in the ECU is just borked.

Anyone have any ideas? I wil definitely follow up with a report on what this ends up being but at the moment my money is on the ECU or gradual deterioation of the Crank sensor circuit or one of the wires from the ignitor to the ECU.

My son's girlfriend has been driving the car. She said that it seemed to have a little less power lately. Thanks for telling me Ms Millenial.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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did you check cam/crank timing? maybe it slipped a tooth

If there is a separate igniter, I agree it's a possibility.

a 98 could easily have had wires and a bad coil, but I think you eliminated the coil possibility(and waste spark usually does cause loss of odd/even pairs) , will the wires swap to the other cylinders?

any oil on the plugwire boots?

My money is with timing or valve issues but.....?
 

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You know more than I do at this point. But I would wonder why the crank sensor output would affect only 3 and 4? Same question with engine mechanics.

I would pursue the wiring from the ECU to the engine room. I wonder if one event could have damaged wiring for both the sensor and the igniter? Either that or one **** of a coincidence.
 

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I think ECUs compare crank signals to cam signals and can set a DTC if they are 'off' from each other - may be year dependent though?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is why it is great to have forums it generates ideas. I did swap plug wires around, using both the timing light and an old plug to confirm that there is no HT voltage from the coil on 3 and 4 It will be easy to check the timing to rule out a belt slip but I will be surprised if that is the issue as I can't see why I would not see any pulse out of the ignitor on the blue wire? Would it not be there but in a different place? No oil in wells. Engine has less than 90k on it and was a professional build. Kicking myself for not checking timing guess I am too easily impressed with computers. But garbage in garbage out as they say. Will add that to the list. I have read that sometimes the 336 code can show up randomly due to low cranking power so it may be a red herring I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It was the timing belt jumping. Both driver's side intake and exhaust cams off by about 3 teeth. Am going to fix and hope no valve issues on that head. Got sidetracked by no spark on 3 ane 4. Kudos to 1 lucky texan. You called it. Thanks!
 

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it's rare but I sometimes guess correctly lol!

be sure to check all the idlers, the toothed one frequently seizes or pukes its bearings.

you may need a new tensioner. If the old one has allowed timing to jump because it's weak, get a new one.

is you car a 2.5 liter? if so, you dodged a bullet! Interference engine and you came close to having bent valves.

you might try reading here about timing belt SYSTEM service. never do a belt slap, the idlers and tensioners cause more problems than quality belts.

a 98 would likely also benefit from having a new water pump, cam and crank seals might be good too. Some folks pull the oil pump off and reseal the back plate.

search for some of those issues and if the car has value to you and you plan to keep it in tip-top shape, avoid cheap timing belt kits. Get Japanese bearings and OE or Mitsuboshi belt.
 

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It was the timing belt jumping. Both driver's side intake and exhaust cams off by about 3 teeth. Am going to fix and hope no valve issues on that head. Got sidetracked by no spark on 3 ane 4. Kudos to 1 lucky texan. You called it. Thanks!
is this a impreza outback sport with a 2.2

or a legacy outback with a EJ25D.? (some of those get swapped to a EJ22, with EGR if you hunt one down)

if you need to buy a timing belt kit, make it a aisin,
(last of the good aftermarket ones, = all japanese made. ...not chinese junk in a nice box).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You called it again. Am planning on replacing all the pulleys, water pump and doing the cam seals. figure I will do that and see if it runs well. If not I will be pulling the engine to do the heads. Fingers crossed. Getting quality Japanese bits of course. It is a 2.5 liter. I thought of grabbing a used pulley and putting it all back together to make sure the head is good but I will have to do the work anyway so may as well get the new bits. Only thing is I would have to re-use the tensioner if I have to pull the heads.
 

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textbook reason why folks on the forums are always harping about doing a proper timing belt service - the danged idlers are the worst and the toothed one is the devil.

hope your valves are OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So this car is at about 80k since an engine rebuild. I do not know now if they actually replaced the pulleys back then but I assume so. I had planned on doing the service this summer at my shop. Bummer. I was able to remove the side covers to inspect the belts before diving deeper. Will continue the saga as I move ahead.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It seems like the valves on the driver's side are bent. When I installed the belt with replacement pulleys and re-timed the engine would only run on the passenger side cylinders. (cam sprockets did not slip on this side) So cylinders 1 and 3 seem good 2 and 4 bad. This is different from the original issue of no spark on 3 and 4. Pulling the spark plug wires for the driver's side made no difference. Borrowed a truck and trailer and transported the 150 miles to my shop. Engine will come out and I will inspect heads. More to come.
 

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is that engine DOHC?

you should consider installing turbo gaskets or multi-layer steel SixStar, Cometic or w'ever.- do a search for info
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes it is a DOHC. Have already ordered the six star gaskets, seals, rear oil baffle etc. While the engine is out I plan to do everything I can. I will do shocks and anything else needed on the oily side of the car. Thanks for the tips though.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Engine is out. heads back from the machine shop with new valves, seats and guides. Valves were not visibly bent but compressed air and liquid bubbled up past them. Am replacing all seals /o-rings/ baffle plates etc. One thing I should have paid attention to is the fact that it would appear that valve lash shims are close to unobtanium nowadays. If I had know I would have had the shop grind the top of the valves to get me to spec. Shop lent me a shim kit but I can tell already that they are too thick. Local dealer has a limited selection at a cool $17.50 each. Good news is I only have 5 valves that are out of spec I guess all about .004 too tight. Anyone have thoughts on sanding them? Have read that 200 grit then 400 to finish on a glass plate works ok.
 

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One guy on the forums sands/grinds the shims down.
 

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Ending up ordering shims by part number from subaruparts online. Just did shocks while waiting. I would recommend not using a home spring compressor kit for the front shocks not enough coil access to get them compressed enough without distortion. doing diffs and tranny fluid and going through all the suspension bushings etc. There is light at the end of this tunnel and I do not think it is a train. I really had to question whether this car was worth all the work and I concluded that if I can get another 100k out of it then it is money and time well spent as I will know the car really well.
 

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Car is back on the road. One thing to watch for is when doing the baffle plate upgrade to ensure that you put a small amount of fuji-bond on both the plate and the block. I did a small smear on the block side and I got an oil drip. Had to pull the engine out to fix it. That was not needed. Fortunately it only take minutes to pull a recently installed engine. Ok 120 minutes.
 
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