'98 Outback Legacy Electrical - the car stops dead! - problem.

Discussion in 'Subaru Legacy' started by Michael Hudson, Jul 9, 2007.

  1. Hello there. I've a '98 Outback Legacy with 200+ G's on it in total,
    about 70 G's on the present engine. When we bought the car about six
    months ago (from friends, for two-grand) the Check Engine light had
    been on and the car went through oil like it was going out of style.
    Which it is. In any event, our friends allowed as how the CE light had
    been on since they put the new(er) engine in and the guy who put it in
    said not to worry about it, it had to do with the engine being
    slightly bigger than the original. Or something. The car ran well
    until about a month ago when it died on the highway while, naturally,
    my wife was driving it. We got it to a Subaru dealership who
    diagnosed the problem as as a bad alternator. We changed the
    alternator (and the CE light went out, interestingly) which was groovy
    for about two weeks, when the car commenced to not starting. Took it
    to our guy who kept it for about four days and could find nothing
    wrong. Started and ran fine for him. Back to us this Friday last.
    Took it fishing Saturday AM, no problem. When it was time to get the
    car to load the canoe, however, she's a no go. No cranking, no dash
    lights, no dome light when you open the door, no radio display. Pushed
    it backwards, nothing. Pushed it a bit further backwards and then
    forwards again to attempt a jump start. Nada, zip, zilch, bupkis.
    Left the car at the boat landing while friends and family rescued us
    and went back to the landing about four hours later and it started up
    just fine. It died completely, however, after driving it about a
    mile. Our mechanic says that it's probably a problem in the wiring
    harness and, short of checking each and every wire, he's at a loss as
    to what to do.

    Does anybody have a thought on this, aside from checking each and
    every wire?

    Thanks in advance,

    Michael Hudson
    Michael Hudson, Jul 9, 2007
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  2. Michael Hudson

    .._.. Guest

    Yeah, some advice.

    Post the name of the retard that told you a CEL light is "normal" after an
    engine replacement so the rest of us can avoid him.

    If it stops dead, then starts later electrical wiring is probably the

    Take it to someone who knows Subarus and knows what they are doing, not
    Bubba's bait and car repair shop.
    .._.., Jul 9, 2007
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  3. The Subaru dealership said it was the alternator, which it wasn't.
    Hence my predicament.

    Michael Hudson, Jul 9, 2007
  4. It probably *was* the alternator at first. If it was putting out bad
    voltages, that would explain some of the wires elsewhere in the system
    burning out.

    That happened to me, years ago. The alternator went bad, and when I
    replaced it, the right headlight and the tail lights stopped working
    (I ran a line directly to the bulbs from the cigarette lighter to fix
    that one) -- and you had to leave the blower fan on all the time,
    because if it died suddenly, it meant you also had no brake lights and
    had to kick the fusebox until it came back on.
    L. Ross Raszewski, Jul 9, 2007
  5. Michael Hudson

    Todd H. Guest

    Seems like you should be within a limited warranty on that alternator

    What is the CEL code?
    Todd H., Jul 9, 2007
  6. I've no idea what the code is/was, Todd. Like I said, the light had
    been on, apparently, for many thousands of miles before I bought it.
    And the new alternator checks out as fine, I'm told (If y'all haven't
    sussed it out yet, I'm a moron when it comes to car repair. Not
    unlike Blanche Dubois, I rely on the kindness of strangers.). And the
    car's been to three places so far... an award-winning auto-tech
    instructor (who said that the alternator was putting out ever-so-
    slightly fewer volts or amps or whatever it is that they put out and
    therefore didn't think that was the immediate culprit... he voted for
    a wiring issue that he didn't have time to look for), a Subaru
    dealership who said it was the alternator, and a third, independent
    but well established mechanic in the Subaru realm (you can't swing a
    cat around here without hitting a Subaru).

    Michael Hudson, Jul 9, 2007
  7. Michael Hudson

    johninKY Guest

    I'm thinking the electrical problem is not that much of a problem. You
    could always start diagnosing the problem when nothing seems to work.
    Good time to test the battery. If the battery checks out good then
    eliminate it and the alternator. Since those 2 components are good, move
    on down the cicuit. Do you have current flow in and out of the
    fuse/circuit breaker panel? Check for voltage at the ignition switch.

    Or just for jollys really inspect both the battery terminals and cables.
    Check both the + and _ cables. Seems to me since nothing inside the car
    works then the problem is probably with the battery cables.

    This car also has a bunch of grounding straps all over it. Engine
    recently replaced? Good chance one or more were overlooked.
    johninKY, Jul 9, 2007
  8. Thanks, John. I'ma print this out and give it to My Guy.

    Michael Hudson, Jul 9, 2007
  9. Michael Hudson

    nobody > Guest

    Post your location. Most of us regulars have found or know of good
    independent local shops specializing in Subarus. There's also huge
    differences in dealerships as well.
    nobody >, Jul 11, 2007
  10. Hey! My Guy seems to have found a fuseable link, whatever that is,
    that was loose and an unattached something or other in the wiring
    harness that he thinks may have been overlooked when the alternator
    was changed. In any event, it's running now like it did before, which
    is to say that it runs. And oddly enough, the CEL is back on. Ah,

    Thanks for the two cents worth, everybody. It was appreciated.

    And since Nobody asked, I'm in southeastern Vermont.

    Happy Motoring,

    Michael Hudson, Jul 11, 2007
  11. I'll do just that, Todd, and thanks. I'm sure I'll be posting again
    about this chariot before long!

    Michael Hudson, Jul 11, 2007
  12. Michael Hudson

    Todd H. Guest

    Just a high current fuse.
    Good. Yeah, a loose fusible link would cause some problems--it's
    basically the "master" fuse for the entire electrical system.
    Get the code read, and write it down for your next post. :)
    Subaru country!
    Todd H., Jul 11, 2007
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