Our 1997 Outback, 2.5L twincam, has started throwing up "check engine"
lights with the error codes just saying it has detected misfiring in
cylinders 2 and 4. No further clues as to cause of misfire. When it is
driven there are occasions when indeed it seems to be weak, but if I really
push it it responds and after I "blow out the gunk" it will work nicely for
a while. If I clear the codes they stay off for a while, I think it is not
supposed to repost them until it has been driven something like 50 miles
with repeated faults, but eventually they come back.
I have looked for any obvious loose hoses, wires, etc., on the left
(driver's view) side, where those cylinders live, as well as searching
around for other possible causes. Before I really take everything apart, are
there any causes that seem to come up frequently with these symptoms? (It
had new timing belts, pumps, seals, etc., not too long back. It had a
compression leak in the head gasket that got fixed, on the other side of the
engine. I cannot find any connection between work done and the present
Hi Bob, Lucky!
On Mon, 23 Nov 2009 10:42:17 -0600, "Robert L. Wilson"
Well, I started to chime in with "Replace the plug wires", but then
you _did_ say "twin cam" . . .
Don't the DOHC motors have the distributed ignition (whatever ya call
it) where there is a separate module for each cylinder? Don' know.
Bob, if it has plug wires, try a new set. Maybe try another coil pack;
sometimes they get weak.
What else might cause that?
Knock sensor going bad? These are easy to replace, and not terribly
expensive at a salvage yard.
You've had the timing belt serviced lately? One tooth off on any of
the pulleys can cause the lack of power symptom (plus poor fuel
economy . . . Been there with an SOHC 2.5l motor).
I would think you'd get a code if you had a flat-out injector failure,
but it might be worthwhile to run a can of injector cleaner thru the
Same thing for the O2 sensor(s); I think you get a code if there are
issues, but maybe not. These are semi-expensive, and kind of a pain to
service. I think the first one controls the EFI.
Maybe clean the AFM if so equipped. At some point, the AFM was
replaced by a MAP based system, but if you have an AFM, it's probably
worth tying to clean it.
This is one of those times where having an OBD-II reader with data
logging capabilities might be useful; see if you can "catch" whatever
air/fuel/ignition glitch is triggering the "misfire" code. Fix that
and you might get your power back, too. I have used an ElmScan tool
with good results, and there is a lot of software available for it;
both commercial, and freeware.
Hope this is enough to get you started.
Steve Jernigan KG0MB
University of Colorado
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