check engine - flashing, rough/sutter

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Dan Langille, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. Dan Langille

    Dan Langille Guest

    This is the first engine problem I've had with my 2001 Legacy stationwagon.

    I've had three days (one a few weeks ago, the other two yesterday and
    today) where the engine seems to stutter at times. When I started the car
    on these three ocassions, the check engine light would flash and the engine
    seemed to stutter or skip... I don't know how to describe it. It sounded
    quite rough.

    The first time, the check engine light started to flash as I drew away from
    a stop sign, two blocks from my house. I pulled over and by the time I'd
    stopped, so had the flashing. All went well until yesterday.

    Yesterday, and today, the check engine light started to flash right after
    starting the car and before leaving the driveway. The engine was also
    quite rough, that stutter/skip was back. After running the engine at about
    3000rpm for 20s, the check engine flashing stopped.

    This problem did not recur the other 4 times I started the car today.
    However, I would occasionally notice a small stutter or skip while
    accelerating at highway speeds.

    I spoke with the dealership after the first incident. They suspected bad
    gas or stuff getting past the fuel filter.

    I'm in Ottawa, the temperatures have been around 3-7C the past two days
    (that's roughly 40F I think).

    What do you think? Fuel? Engine filter? plugs?
    Dan Langille, Dec 15, 2006
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  2. Dan Langille

    mulder Guest

    A flashing check engine light indicates a real-time misfire. It is not
    a good idea to drive the car for any length of time with the light
    flashing as damage to the catalytic converter can occur from unburned
    fuel going through it. The car should be checked by a shop as soon as
    possible to find the cause as there are a number of possibilities
    including the ones you mentioned. Don't just keep driving it.
    mulder, Dec 15, 2006
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  3. Um - you might consider a different mechanic if they didn't ask you to
    bring the car in to have the troublecodes read.

    You don't mention the mileage on the car - but likely it is old enough
    to possibly have 1 or 2 sensors getting old/lazy PLUS maybe have bad
    plugwires/coilpack etc. Seems the instances you mention were soon after
    strating the car. This is when the engine is both cold and possibly has
    condensation under the hood. If the codes comeback as 'just' misfires,
    suspect the wires/coilpack as one possibility. Engine Temp Sensor is
    another. Getting the codes read, the ECU cleared, and any new codes read
    will tell us - or your mechanic - a lot.

    Carl 1 Lucky Texan, Dec 15, 2006
  4. Dan Langille

    Todd H. Guest

    I'd be real interested in what code the check engine light ends up
    being associated with. If the CEL comes on the engine controller
    will give ya a clue about why it's unhappy.

    Can the odbcii code scanners that autozone and the like have read our
    2001's these days?
    Todd H., Dec 15, 2006
  5. Dan Langille

    Dan Langille Guest

    The car has 110,000km on it (roughly 60,000 miles).
    Dan Langille, Dec 15, 2006
  6. Dan Langille

    Dan Langille Guest

    The problem has been fixed.

    The report: SSM MONITOR TESTFAULT CODE P0101 & P0103. MISFIRE #1 & #3

    They replaced the ignition wires and the ignition coil.

    They also mentioned: that the inner spark plug seals and valve cover
    gaskets should be replace ASAP. They mentioned it should have a tune up
    and new plugs. I'll get that done during the next oil change.

    and, FWIW, the alternator drive belt is starting to crack.
    Dan Langille, Dec 15, 2006
    Carl 1 Lucky Texan, Dec 15, 2006
  8. Dan Langille

    Chicobiker Guest

    I had exactly this problem with my 2003 OBS a while ago. My kms would
    have been similar to yours now (just over 100,000kms.) Replaced the
    spark plugs and it made no difference so I took it to the dealer. They
    spent an hour and couldn't find anything, but they did re-grease the
    connection between the ignition wires and the do-hickey on top of the

    Problem almost completely went away after that.

    I still feel a slight sensation of mis-fire whenever I have just filled
    up with gas. Very minor and it goes away within a minute. I have to
    believe that it has something to do with pressure in the tank. Fuel
    pump should probably work better with more gas? A filter problem
    shouldn't depend on the level of gas in the tank?

    Anyway, glad things are better for you. That was pretty dangerous. I
    pulled out of my driveway a couple of times and almost had the car
    stall in front of traffic!

    Chicobiker, Dec 16, 2006
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