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Discussion Starter #1
My '97 Legacy Outback is giving me fits...

Last March I had the engine replaced due to an internal crack in the engine. Car ran fine but would overheat with no leaking coolant. All work was done at a Subaru dealer.

Since the engine was replaced, the car has a real problem accelerating. We have a manual 5 speed and when you pull off from a start or try to accelerate at anything less than 4k RPM the car is very jumpy. Feels like there is a miss in the engine.

I have taken the car to two different Subaru dealers with no luck in fixing the problem. The first time the "Cleaned throtle body". On the second visit they replaced the fuel filter. None of these efforts made a difference.

Two weeks ago, I replaced the spark plugs - again with no difference. I took the car to a local shop and they put new plug wires on. This made a difference for my drive in to work but when went out for lunch, the jumpy acceleration was back and still continues.

All the places that have looked at it say the computer gives no indications of problems.

Any ideas from the form?

Thanks!
 

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How about the ignition coil pack? That would do that exactly. And it is an easy replacement. I would do that next. Brian
 

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Actually, I speak from experience. My girlfriend has a '97 outback, and it started doing just that, studdering from a start. It wouldn't always do it, but then it got really bad and stalled a few times. I told her it was the ignition, she was talking to her mom about it, and her mom told her "it couldn't be". Well, they took it in, and it came back with a new coil and new sparkplug wires. Problem fixed, runs great now with just almost 134K miles.



Enouen
 

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Discussion Starter #4
any other ideas?

Thanks for the quick replies. Today I put in a coil pack that I picked up from the dealer yesterday. The test drive immediately after installation shows no improvement. Any other ideas? Here is what has been done so far:

New fuel filter
Clean throtle body
New plugs
New plug wires
New coil pack

Thanks,
Dan
 

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I hate to say it, but you might want to try new plug wires again, or at least check the resistance of the newer ones you have on. If the coil pack was bad, it could have ruined the plug wires. Then when you put the new coil pack in, it was doing the same thing. See if your local Subaru dealer can do a quick check/swap of plug wires?
I can't think of much else. After the new engine was put in, was it running funny from the beginning? Are all the ground points secure? A lot of the sensors that run the engine need to be grounded properly for true readings of engine function. I don't know...Brian
 

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when was the last time you had a tune up?? You might take it in and have it checked out (diagnostic computer).


Enouen
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I was thinking that there may be some kind of grounding problem. I say that not really knowing what I'm talking about or how to test that.

The last time it was in the shop is when the plug wires were replaced. The car ran fine for my ride to work but at lunch the problem returned. Do you think that could indicate the plug wires helped but then the bad coil caused the problem to return?

Three of the items I've listed that have been done were done by an auto shop (2 by different Subaru dealers and 1 by a local shop). Each time they mentioned that the "computer" shows no codes. I was hoping that if it was something tune-up related, the dealer would be able to identify it.

Thanks again for the ideas...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Brian,
Yes, the car has been doing this since the engine was replaced. I did take it back to the dealer that did the replacement and that is when the throtle body was cleaned. After that, I tried another dealer (fluel filter replaced), then a local shop (plug wires).

Dan
 

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chumslinger, like I stated above, I think the new plug wires on the bad coil ran good for a short time. Then you replaced the coil but still had the newere but burned in plug wires. Every time you replace a coil pack on these cars, it seems you should replace the plug wires also. And another thing, get genuine Subaru plug wires, not a local garage's version of what they think will work.
I would get some genuine Subaru plug wires for arounf $28 which isn't bad and do it again. Then check all the grounding points to and from the engine/tranny/chassis. Good luck. Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the help. I will try a new set of plug wires. If driving the car with a bad coil damaged new plug wires, do you think that there is a chance of damaging the new coil with bad plug wires?

Thanks,
Dan
 

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No, I think you can ruin plug wires with a bad coil but can't ruin a coil with bad plug wires. My two cents. Brian
 

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Well,

What happened? Did the new wires solve the problem???

Just curious...

tbert
 

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Similar Problem

Just had a similar problem with my 2000 outback....I took it to the dealer twice and they originally could not detect the problem. I spent money on new cables, plugs, and overall tune up. I had my injection system taken apart and cleaned. Still no improvement. I eventually went back to the dealer and asked to speak to one of their best mechanics. He hooked up the computer and together we went for a test drive. Nothing registered abnormal, but as soon as the car started to hesited he figured out what it was.. It was the O2 sensor or air flow sensor as he called it. As soon as he replaced it the problem went away....The subaru mechanic told me they have been having problems with the O2 sensors not giving off the right readings on the computer and that it should trigger the Check Engine Light to go off but for some reason it was not happening...I hope this info. helps....It drove me crazy for about 1 month and I spent close to $1k before I replaced a part that cost less than $100 bucks......best wishes.....
 

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Discussion Starter #14
wires a no go

sorry for the wait but it's taken a while to get over to the dealer to get the wires. I've put new wires on the car and they made no difference.

I'm now ready to try the air sensor. Looking in my haynes manual I see two O2 sensors and another sensor called a Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF sensor). Do you know which one you had replaced?

Thanks,
Dan
 

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ok , I know for a fact you can' t ruin plug wires with a bad coilpack . Also aftermarket wires are far superior to factory wires. MSD has the best wires on the market with the least amount of resistance and they are 8.8mm thats a thick wire! most factory wires are like 7mm .

Remember the factory is building your car as cheap as possible .your not a Ferrari owner?!

I think the o2 sensor/map sensor would be in the right direction.
 

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MSD wires update correction 9.8mm my bad.
 

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bheinz57 said:
No, I think you can ruin plug wires with a bad coil but can't ruin a coil with bad plug wires. My two cents. Brian
I don't mean to jump in or anything but.. Bad or otherwise open plug wires will cause the ignition coil to work harder. Thus the coil will burn out as it tries to fire more voltage to make the jump through the plug wire and spark plug electrode.
 

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Air flow Sensor

The O2 sensor that gave all the headaches was the Mass Air Flow Sensor that I believe connects right into the catalytic converter.............................
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for the suggestion. I think I will give it one more try with the O2 sensor (before the catalyst I assume?). This car is more and more frustrating to drive. I can't even get 200 miles in a tank and driving up a slight incline in 5th gear I was losing speed and had do downshift.

Thanks again for the help. I'll report back -hopefully good news- after the O2 sensor is installed.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Just to throw out a few suggestions that my brother in law says may be wrong with the car. Doing this to get other opinions of his thoughts...

1. Catalyst may be contaminated. The engine was replaced because the original engine was damaged from driving while overheating (wife, but let's not go there). He said that during the overheating the catalyst could have become fouled and could be clogged causing the condition.

2. Cam timing may be set wrong. I said that the timing is adjusted by the computer. He said that's ignition timing. I should check the cam timing. HUH?

3. May need a valve adjustment. He said when the engine was replaced the valves may not have been set right.

The thing that leads me back to the O2 sensor is that I really think if the problem was one of the items above then one of the 3 shops (2 dealers) the car has been in should have been able to diagnose. If the O2 sensor can fail yet not send a code then that would explain why a mechanic could miss it.

Any thoughts? Thanks again.

Dan
 
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