Check engine light 1998 legacy brighton (need new plugs/wires/distr. rotor and cap?)

Discussion in 'Subaru Legacy' started by stugross, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. stugross

    stugross Guest

    Hi Folks,

    Thanks in advance for any help with this. Friday I drove my car car to
    a train parking lot to leave if for the weekend. When I started it up,
    it ran a higher rpm range than I have noticed it doing before but then
    backed off. I figured that it must just be some sort of warming up
    thing, I live in SF, so I ignored it. Sunday night, when I picked it
    up from the lot, it did the high reving thing again, but then also ran
    really roughly once it backed down, the check engine light didn't go
    off, and it felt really under powered, like it was only running on 3
    cylinders (which would fit with the rough running). This morning when
    I got into it, it did the same high rpm start, but when it backed down,
    it ran smoothly and was not under powered; however, the check engine
    light did stay on. I am thinking, possibly, that it needs new plugs,
    wires and distributer rotor and cap. Not really sure though.


    stugross, Aug 7, 2006
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  2. stugross

    mulder Guest

    You need to get the code read which will point you toward the source
    of the problem, before you go ahead and blindly start replacing parts.
    Autozone will scan it for free in most states, they may not do this in
    CA but you can try. They might just let you borrow the scanner and do
    it yourself. Alternately you can have a local shop pull the code for
    you although they will probably charge you for the diagnostic time. If
    it does come down to that you might as well buy a cheap code reader
    and do it yourself, and then you will have it for the future as well.
    mulder, Aug 7, 2006
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  3. stugross

    Ed P Guest

    You might want to look for a cracked or broken vacuum hose. Air leaking
    in can cause speed idle speed to increase and/or make the engine run
    rough. You should also pull the CEL codes per another response.

    Ed P
    Ed P, Aug 7, 2006
  4. stugross

    stugross Guest

    Cheers, guys. Guess I will hunt down a code reader. Appreciate it.
    stugross, Aug 7, 2006
  5. stugross

    stugross Guest

    Little follow-up if i may: now the check engine light is not coming on
    at all and it is running fine. Two questions: 1) does this fact lead
    anyone to any off the top of the head diagnosises? and will a code
    reader still give me any information if the check engine light is not
    coming on at the time the read is taken?


    stugross, Aug 8, 2006
  6. stugross

    Ed P Guest

    Speaking in general (not specifically Subaru) about CEL problems, if the
    light is not coming on and the car runs OK, you can probably conclude
    that whatever was bothering the commuter cleared up on its own. The
    light comes on when conditions meet criteria that the computer is
    programmed to view as a problem. If the problem conditions go away, the
    light stays OFF, but depending on the nature of the fault, the computer
    may retain fault codes in memory -- at least for a period of time or
    number of ignition ON/OFF cycles. If it is convenient, and especially
    if you can find someone like Autozone to do it for free, get the system
    checked for stored codes and post the results here for comment.

    As a case in point of my previous suggestion to check for vacuum leaks,
    on my '96 Outback it is all too easy when changing the air filter to
    dislodge a hose at the back of the housing. Air leaks cause the engine
    to idle faster as the computer just puts in more fuel to compensate, but
    a vacuum leak may affect some cylinders more than others and thus cause
    the engine to run poorly. Thus, in situations such as yours, it never
    hurts to look under the hood for loose or cracked hoses.

    Ed P
    Ed P, Aug 8, 2006
  7. stugross

    stugross Guest

    Sounds good, Ed. I'll take a look at the hoses and head down to
    autozone tonight to borrow the tester. Results to be posted.

    stugross, Aug 8, 2006
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