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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! New to this forum. Hoping for some insights and advice. Apologies in advance if this is a repeat.

Last year I had a heck of a time getting our 2005 Outback inspected. The mechanic kept telling me to drive it so "codes would clear." I didn't then and continue not to understand what this means. I shouldn't have to drive my car several hundred miles as part of the inspection process! For the last two years, the check engine light, accompanied by a blinking cruise control light (rendering Cruise non-functional) has been on nearly constantly. I can clear it myself, but it comes back within a hundred miles of driving or so. I have spent nearly $2000 at my local shop and the Dealer, neither of whom seem to be able to definitively make it go away. The Dealer told me I needed a new gas cap. That didn't fix it. The O2 sensors have been replaced. Nope. I don't understand why they do not appear to be able to diagnose and remedy this problem and am hoping that the good people here can help me get this figured out.
 

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You should read this site about emissions readiness monitors. Until all the readiness monitors are set, which can take a certain number of drive cycles, your car will fail emissions testing.

emissions readiness monitors

I agree with the above post. What trouble codes are being scanned?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, it finally passed inspection. And then the check engine light promptly came back, The code is P0457, and my mechanic now says that the car needs a new gas tank because the place where a vacuum line connects to it has rotted away. I'm not sure how this was determined, and I'd like to see it for myself (trust but verify). I'm wondering if there's something simpler that might be causing this code. I've seen some posts and videos about the evap canister. How can you inspect/test those? I'd prefer more diagnostics to what seems to be "let's replace THIS thing and see if that fixes it," which is what I seem to be experiencing.
 

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PO457 is an Evap leak (the fuel system vapor side) typically we introduce smoke using an evap smoke machine and look for where the smoke comes out. if your diagnostic technician wont show you its time to find a new technician

ASE Certified Master Technician
 

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Here in Vermont, nearly EVERY vehicle I have ever owned ended up more expensive to pass inspection than it was worth. (I drive my vehicles until they are no longer inspectable..... LOOONNGGG after they are payed for) I LOVED my turbocharged Baja and continued to pay to get it fixed for years.... until the rear subframe was too rusted to weld it again.
 

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Dito smoke introduction.

If you are in an area that rust is an issue, then it is possible that corrosion has damaged a part on the EVAP system. If the canister or any part of it is leaking, it's easily replaced as it sits behind the rear wheel assembly.

If the fuel tank has a leak, it could be the filler pipe, a hose connected to the filler pipe, an EVAP line connected to the top of the tank (which is really connected to the top of the fuel module or the back side of the tank). If they smoked the system and saw smoke from above the tank and it wasn't coming from the rearward side, the easy way to check is to move the rear seat to get access to the fuel modules' covers and look at the top of the modules for leaks. If it's at the module, like a crack or something, then the modules can be replaced without taking the tank down. If it's somewhere else on the tank,then the tank has to be dropped generally to repair the leak. A tank replacement is not a necessity if it's on a component that mounts to the tank. All the solenoids can be checked via SSM, a scan tool that communicates proper with Subarus, or the diagnostic check connector. It may be a failed solenoid or pressure sensor/valve and not really leaking at all. Any decent Subaru technician knows this.

Attached is a diagram and legend of the EVAP system. Standard emissions. U5 slightly different.
EVAP System 2.5L.gif
EVAP System 2.5L Legend.gif
m and
 

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Discussion Starter #8
"Any decent Subaru Technician knows this." I guess I'll have to find one! The dealer just told me to buy a new gas cap, which tells me all they did was read the code and not actually try and find the source of the problem.

I know of a place that works ONLY on Subarus. It's more than a little inconvenient, location-wise, but I think it will be my best bet. My mechanic says the car is in fantastic shape otherwise (except for the paint, which looks like crap for some reason).

Thank you VERY much for the exploded diagram!
 
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