('98-'00) Check engine light!! Pulsing RPM, chugging, uneven acceleration... - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Angry Check engine light!! Pulsing RPM, chugging, uneven acceleration...

Well, got my first check engine light tonight.

For months now, on occasion, the car would "chug", have slightly uneven acceleration, and pulse at idle. It only happened very, very rarely, so it was fine.

The car had 150k service performed last Monday, and they said there were no codes (I assume they pulled pending codes as well.) New spark plugs, fuel filter, the works...

This did not solve the occasional chugging. It's just been getting more and more frequent, but I do not believe the service to be related at all. Tonight, it came to a head. It chugged the whole way home (14 miles or so). It chugged at stoplights, threatening to stop. It ignored the accelerator for a random amount of time, then suddenly surged forward quickly enough to throw me back in my seat and maintained that until I let off. The RPM would slowly drop with my foot in the same position on the gas as the car slowed down, then it would rush forward. The RPM drifted randomly with my foot exactly in the same spot on the accelerator. It pulsed in neutral as well at lights.

I wondered "why weren't there any codes? Why didn't the CEL come on?" Well, just as I pulled in my driveway, it did.

I'm not sure I feel safe driving it to my mechanic unless I have to (5 miles), so what should I check? This is worrying me a lot...

Really, really appreciate any help!
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andycr View Post
Well, got my first check engine light tonight.

For months now, on occasion, the car would "chug", have slightly uneven acceleration, and pulse at idle.

The car had 150k service performed last Monday,

I wondered "why weren't there any codes?

Really, really appreciate any help!
Andy, lately there's been a number of threads similar to yours. All deal with their car acting erratically with no codes thrown, and all had to do with a worn-out pre-cat (Fuel/Air) Oxygen sensors. With that in mind, what's the condition or age of your pre-cat O2 sensor? If it's the original just get rid of it. Good Luck, TonyS
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Okay, they pulled the code and it is indeed the front O2 sensor. What's strange is they're quoting $138 for parts and about $120 for labor (an hour and a half) to put it in. I thought O2 sensors were considerably cheaper and easier to put in than that. Does that sound right, or are they trying to rip me off?

Thanks.
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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As someone that has replaced both sensors by myself let me tell you that it can be easy and it can be hard. The issue is how seized are they to the Cat. I think the quote on the part is a bit high but that's because I only paid $90ish for a Bosch OEM replacement.

Hope that helps you
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Old 03-16-2011, 06:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah, she said she found the part a bit high and lowered it to $100. She also threw in a timing belt check (which it needed badly - had no idea on the state of it). Thanks guys! It seems to be fixed.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hello Sorry for not introducing my self first i will be sure to do that right after this post. Just got my first subaru she's a 98 forester and i am about to be at 150xxx as well and the same thing just happend to me today i wake up to start my car it took a few cranks like it didnt want to start but the same symptoms have happend to me recently as well. as soon as it started today she chugged real hard and through the CEL on i was like nooo i just got you. so i will look into the o2 sensor and definatly will be doing timing belt soon i hear thats a must with these ej25s
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Yes, timing belt is a job that will pay off in the long term, big time.
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