Wheel falls off stalling 1998 Subaru Outback

First of all, thanks SO much for all the thoughtful ideas and
suggestions on my original posted issue. I am game to try any
mechanical work myself (grew up helping dad hook mufflers up with coat
hangers, etc.). The hubby found an MAF on eBay for $25. But before we
even came up with a real plan, a new and rather dramatic turn of
Original sob story from Nov. 6th:
[1998 Subaru Outback stalls at traffic lights after driving 30 miles]
This just started a couple of weeks ago. The car seems fine when
driving locally, but when my husband drives it to work, or home again,
it starts acting up. He drives about 30 miles on the highway. At
either end, he has a fair amount of stop and go traffic. Most days
now, the car will stall out while he's stopped at a light.
Fortunately, it starts right up again.
We've taken it to 2 different mechanics who cannot find anything wrong
with it. Our own trusted mechanic ran all the computer diagnostics and
said the code came up suggesting replacement of the Mass Airflow
Sensor, but he didn't feel at all confident that would solve the
problem. And it would cost $500.
The Outback has about 150k miles on it. Oh, this is my husband's
description of the stalling process:
"Usually when it stalls ALL the lights come on. But sometimes just
the yellow "AT Oil Temp" light flashes for a bit. What I've also
noticed is a sound coming from the front, passenger side as the car's
slowing down, kind of like the noise a flat tire would make, or if
there was something caught in the wheel."
[Bizarre update 11/10]
Yesterday, my husband was driving home from work and the noise he'd
heard before (as car was about to stall) got worse and worse. He said
it sounded like the engine was about to fall out! He put the flashers
on and drove very slowly home to our mechanic. The mechanic said that
five wheel studs were broken off and it was a miracle the tire didn't
fall off while he was driving.
Mechanic is currently fixing the tire while the whole family carpools
grumpily in the mini van.
But how can this be a coincidence?!? Obviously the intake system
didn't cause the tire to fall off... the loosening tire couldn't cause
the car to stall, surely?!? But the noise of the tire is what my
husband was hearing each time the car was about to stall!
(Steve, I don't know for sure which engine it has, but I've been very
disappointed in its fuel consumption. It often gets less than 20mpg
driving around town.)
Thanks in advance for brilliant explanations.
Reply to
latitude xt
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maybe someone was interrupted trying to steal rims, or 'someone' (did you loan the car to a kid?) tagged a curb HARD or ????
It seems unlikely the issues are related - not impossible I guess, but, unless some type of impact knocked some cable loose or ??? most likely just a coincidence.
Reply to
1 Lucky Texan
Unless the vibration of the loose wheel caused the knock sensor to retard the timing enough to stall the engine ---- Stranger thinks have happened and the knocking noise has been there for a while, right????
Reply to
Hi Emily!
Wow. Really embarrassing (to say the least) to have a wheel fall off . . . Have you had the wheels/tires serviced lately? About the only thing I can think of that would cause that would be if the lug nuts were improperly torqued (75 - 80 ft.lb) after a service. (Or if they were deliberately loosened.)
I really hate to point fingers, but I have absolutely caught unscrupulous mechanics attempting to generate "repeat business" by playing games under the hood.
Loosening the lug nuts, tho . . . that could potentially be fatal. To the driver/passengers as well as to bystanders. You wouldn't believe how far a wheel will roll if it's set free at highway speeds; 1/2 mile or more _anyway_. Glad this incident ended safely.
I'll have to go with the consensus regarding the stalling problem. While I suppose your Soobie might have been trying to protect you from the loose wheel by stalling at every opportunity, it seems unlikely :-) OTOH, "demon" vehicles _do_ exist; ask anyone who has owned a bunch of different rides over the years.
Do return and let us know how things work out.
ByeBye! S.
Steve Jernigan KG0MB Laboratory Manager Microelectronics Research University of Colorado (719) 262-3101
Reply to
Well, we'll see. I'm trading cars with my husband, so he'll get the Honda Odyssey for his long commute and I'll take the Subaru on my much shorter commute, as of tomorrow morning. I drive 15 minutes to take the kids to school, then 25 minutes work, although not at highway speeds in the morning rush. I'll watch and listen like a hawk for weird sounds and performance. In the evening I just have 12 minutes home again.
The RF wheel got fixed today, of course. BTW, all 4 tires are new within the last year, but no work on the wheels other than that. I don't seriously think anyone would have tampered with the wheel (naive, eh?). On the other hand, it is possible that someone hit a curb with some oomph, as embarrassing as that is to admit.
No doubt I'll be back for more advice soon. I'm kinda looking forward to installing an eBay MAF with just a Phillips head screwdriver. Sounds exciting! Thanks again, all.
Reply to
latitude xt
Wondering if it could be related to that nasty wheel bearing issue and maybe placing strain on those studs/luggs over time?! I think it is possible someone hitting something, or even someone hitting the tire and tweaking things. The stalling bit?!.....you got me (??) all the best to you and yours!
Reply to
By far the most likely (and common) is the nuts were not properly torqued when the new tires were put on, and they slowly loosened off. Often it happens much more quickly - but have seen wheel nuts drop off six months after a tire change.
Reply to
Someone on another forum had a very similar stalling problem. Replaced a lot of parts and nothing solved it until the front O2 sensor was replaced. In one of your postings you stated the fuel economy sucked. A bad O2 sensor would cause this. If both sensors are original, probably won't hurt to replace both.
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