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Hello all! I am new to this forum and am very grateful to anyone who can give me some insight as to what is going on with my car. So here is my issue:

My car is a 2005 Outback with about 158k miles. I have had the car almost a year (November). When I got the car it came with a good Carfax report of what looked to be regular maintenance by the previous (original) owner, so I am the second owner of the car. It is in very good condition and was sold to me with a clean bill of health by the car salesman's mechanic. Had ZERO issues with the car until June when it started running kinda rough and was a bit sluggish and my gas mileage wasn't as good as usual. It didn't give me problems every time I drove it but I knew it was something I would need to get checked out. After 2-3 weeks of occasionally running "rough", my check engine light came on. So I took it in town to O'Reilly and had them hook up the computer reader to see what code it gave. It was misfiring on cylinder 1 and 3. Okay, manageable, start with spark plugs. I got all 4 new (and the factory recommended) plugs and my neighbor changed them for me. The tips on 1 and 3 were burned up. Car ran great immediately and seemed my issue was fixed. The engine light was still on but I did some research and learned that it takes a few start/stop cycles for it to "reset" itself, which it did because after a few days I started it up one afternoon and the light was no longer on. COOL! So my car ran great after that until just a couple weeks ago, I started it up one morning and my engine light came on and it was running rough again. Same thing it was doing before I put in the new plugs. So I took it back in to O'Reilly to check the code again and this time it gave misfire on cylinder 3. Hmmm...So this time I tried to take notice of when it was happening and for how long. It starts fine and might have a bit of rough idle when it is still in park. When I put it in reverse though to back out of my driveway it really starts to "chug" and the same when I put it in drive, so lower rpm=rougher and higher rpm=better. I also noticed that it was having more trouble if I started it in the morning when the dew was still wet (I live in Ohio and we get really heavy dew where I live), or if it had been raining. Later on when the dew dries off it starts up and runs fine. Now I have not been driving it much since it started doing this again a couple weeks ago, I've been driving my truck instead, but this morning I had to go somewhere and sure enough when I started it up it was doing just what I described, and I decided to drive it anyway to see what it would do. I got just up the road from my house (maybe a mile) and it quit doing it and ran fine the rest of the day (nice sunny day here today). So my question to those of you who have had the patience to read through all of this (thank you!) and who have experience with these cars (this is my first Subaru), could it be a moisture issue with the spark plugs?? Where would be a good place for me to look first to fix this and keep it from happening again and again? I really can't afford to take it to a dealership so I am looking for any insight to help me figure out what the issue is and then I can go about finding someone to (reasonably) fix it. Thank y'all so much!
 

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Did they change the ignition coils? My car had similar issues. Changed all coils and plugs with OEM, cleaned Throttle body and injectors, My car runs smooth as silk now. Good luck!!
 

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Did they change the ignition coils? My car had similar issues. Changed all coils and plugs with OEM, cleaned Throttle body and injectors, My car runs smooth as silk now. Good luck!!
No we did not change the coils, only the plugs. At that time I was advised that if changing the plugs didn't fix the issue then my next step would likely be the coils. I was hoping it wouldn't come to that because the coils are about $100 apiece, but if that's what it comes to then I will figure out a way to have it done. Thanks for your input!
 

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No we did not change the coils, only the plugs. At that time I was advised that if changing the plugs didn't fix the issue then my next step would likely be the coils. I was hoping it wouldn't come to that because the coils are about $100 apiece, but if that's what it comes to then I will figure out a way to have it done. Thanks for your input!
Don' do what I did and wait until I got stuck, and got banged over the head buy a repair shop when your away on vacation, with no cars to be rented, and had to uber all over the place!!
 

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Possibly not being driven enough for the alternator to properly charge the battery? Possibly a bad alternator? Possibly a bad battery? Drive the car a lot, not just short trips and if it runs well, that might be it.
 

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Possibly not being driven enough for the alternator to properly charge the battery? Possibly a bad alternator? Possibly a bad battery? Drive the car a lot, not just short trips and if it runs well, that might be it.
I'm fairly certain that is not my issue. I have had alternator issues with other vehicles and they never acted the way this car is. Thanks for your input!
 

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Don' do what I did and wait until I got stuck, and got banged over the head buy a repair shop when your away on vacation, with no cars to be rented, and had to uber all over the place!!
Thanks. I haven't been driving it a whole lot and when I do it is only short trips, and no vacations planned so I'm good there. We did get stranded one time in Kansas when our van broke down and was in the shop for 2 weeks, that was not fun!
 

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well known issues with moisture and dew affecting old plug wires and/or coil pack. The system uses a waste-spark design and misfires of the 1/2 cyls, OR, the 3/4 cyls can be the coil. But, regular issues with a BANK, like 1/3 might be timing belt system, or a ground? or ???

Some folks have used a water-filled spray bottle/plant mister on the plug wires and coil at night, engine running, and caused misfiring and even visible arcing.

also, leaking valve cover gaskets can deposit oil on the plug wire boots and plugs and lead to arcing.

I'd say start with plug wires - OEM is greatly preferred and many folks have reported issues with typical aftermarket parts in the high voltage system,. Hopefully you installed NGK plugs as spec'ed in the manual as that is a 'picky' area as well.

other 'tune-up' items you might consider if you have time/$$ would be knock sensor, especially if low power persists after getting the missing under control (here, cheap ebay units seem to work fine), and/or PCV valve - OEM preferred.
 

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well known issues with moisture and dew affecting old plug wires and/or coil pack. The system uses a waste-spark design and misfires of the odd, OR, the even cylinders can easily be the coil.

Some folks have used a water-filled spray bottle/plant mister on the plug wires and coil at night, engine running, and caused misfiring and even visible arcing.

also, leaking valve cover gaskets can deposit oil on the plug wire boots and plugs and lead to arcing.

I'd say start with plug wires - OEM is greatly preferred and many folks have reported issues with typical aftermarket parts in the jigh voltage syste,. Hopefully you installed NGK plugs as spec'ed in the manual as that is a 'picky' area as well.

other 'tune-up' items you might consider if you have time/$$ would be knock sensor, especially if low power persists after getting the missing under control (here, cheap ebay units seem to work fine), and/or PCV valve - OEM preferred.
THANK YOU..this is helpful!
 
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