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· Registered
97' Outback Sport
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72 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok this is the deal, its a 97 OBS with 211k on the clock, runs like a champ almost all the time, I think I figured always runs great when its dry and only sometimes when its wet.

It started last winter, i was on a 3 hour road trip around hour 2 the car started sputering without a check engine light. it started slowly though a hicup ever min or so , then it just gets worse and worse until it got to a point where it would barely idle (finally a check engine light came on). I pulled into a parking lot and looked under the hood, i knew there was an autozone down the street if i could limp it there i might be able to figure out what is going on. But i needed to find out how to get it there. So I start tinkering with wires and checking to see how it run and such.

Finally I disconnected the battery for a few min, reconnected and it ran well, so i got excited and jumped in to head to autozone. I was a 10 mile drive to autozone, it didn't skip once in the ten miles and the CEL had gone away. So I kept driving past the autozone and around 30 miles past AZ it started the whole thing again. so i pulled off disconnected the bat for a little bit (10 min or so) and made it the rest of the way without any problem.

This series of events happened randomly through out the winter and each time i disconnected the bat for a short period of time and usually it would run as it should for the rest of the trip.

The only time I ever get a CEL is when it skips so bad that it has a hard time idleing.

The car had around 200k on the clock when all this started and ive put another 11k since then with this stop and fix routine. Its made countless 8 hour trips without a problem.

I have looked under the hood and under the car for exposed wire that would cause this to be affected by water, but that doesn't explain disconnecting the battery to fix it and drive in the same conditions and for it to run correctly afterwards.

I appologize with the long post but I feel its valuble information to describe my situation, if you guys can help it would be appreciated before i start throwing parts at it.

Thanks,
Pete
 

· (860)
2001 2.5RSTi Coupe
Joined
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1,198 Posts
dude, im having this same exact problem right now, literally, i went to go visit my parents, i got like 2 miles down the road, then massive sputtering like a misfire, no cel, no nothing. no apparent problems, this is the second time my car has ever done this in the past 2 months.

reading your post was like reading the past 20 minutes of my life, word for word....from what ive searched, it sounds like it might be the front 02 sensor....anyone else have any input?
 

· (860)
2001 2.5RSTi Coupe
Joined
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1,198 Posts
this morning the roads were a little wet, but the last time it happened it was dry out.....i replaced my front 02 sensor a couple hours ago and the car seems to be running fine now...cost me about 100 bucks for the sensor and took 5 minutes to replace
 

· (860)
2001 2.5RSTi Coupe
Joined
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1,198 Posts
maybe somebody can chime in with some help

i replaced my front o2 sensor 3 weeks ago, and it ran fine until now

i left work, and after about 2 miles, sputtering and more sputtering, it was bad this time....i had to get home so i rode it out for a while, and it seemed to go away.

one thing i did notice though, it rained today, and it was wet out when it was sputtering....as i got more toward dry roads, thats when it got better...im stumped.

this is so hard to diagnose because it does it so rarely and when it DOES do it, it doesnt even throw a code!



another thing i noticed this morning, and this has been happening from time to time as well... ill be driving, cruising on the highway, and then all of a sudden the car just shuts off pretty much....no throttle response, nothing. i let the clutch out, put it back in gear and start it on the fly by letting the clutch engage and it starts up fine and drives fine after that too
 

· \m/(-_-)\m/
03 350z for now
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683 Posts
I've only owned pre-OBDII cars in the past, but when something like that happens, it's usually a cracked distributor cap/rotor that's letting moisture in (on pre obd2 cars that is). To me, It sounds like an electrical problem.
One time my bf had an issue when we were coming back from the beach and his 240sx started sputtering and shaking and it was a healthy engine so we were confused. Turned out, a section of the wiring harness fell off its clip and starting touching the radiator fan. Scary stuff.. and a good thing we caught it right away. I'd start snooping around for cracked wires, cracked coil pack, etc.

IMO, either of you should keep a scanner in the car so when it does throw that code for that short window of time... check to see what it is and maybe go from there. That's my best guess.

Do you two have grounding kits on your Subies? I hear that they are poorly grounded from the factory so something like this happening on higher mileage cars can't be so uncommon...
 

· Registered
05 rs 04 wrx 05 sti all black
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2,025 Posts
How long have you went since changing your spark plug wires? They may look fine but they break down internally after awhile and will arc out onto the block. They are also more prone to arcing out when it is humid or wet.
 

· Premium Member
2001 A.W. L
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16,492 Posts
i would have to agree its the wires... Put some WD40 in your car, when it happens again spray it on the wires, wait a couple minutes, if its better than i would say its the wires
 

· (860)
2001 2.5RSTi Coupe
Joined
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1,198 Posts
thats what i initially thought, so i went out, bought plugs and wires, but it still happened...then i replaced the coil.....still happened, thats when i swapped out that front o2 sensor aaaand.....it still happened.

it does it about once every three or four weeks, so it makes it very difficult to pinpoint the problem. i thought it might have been the rain, but i drove it the other day in a downpour and it ran perfect
 

· needs more cowbell
95L, 07 2.5i, R6
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12,639 Posts
Go to a REALLY dark location (absolutely no lighting) and open your hood with the engine running. Try and see if there is any arcing. If not, wiggle your crank and cam sensor wires to see if they're cracked.(the engine should act up) My crank sensor wire was cracked almost all of the way through the wire, I noticed way back when doing some maintenance. I also had a similar problem after washing my engine once. Since you changed your spark plugs and wires, that eliminates the other idea I had. If your crank and cam sensor wires check out, I'd consider the ignitor. Find one from a member here that you can borrow. One of my friends let me borrow an extra one to diagnose my car, but I sent it back.
 
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