('98-'00) Seattle '99 Forester L loss of power while driving - 176k - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
User Tag List

 1Likes
  • 1 Post By mwhybark
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-12-2017, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 14
Car Year: 1999
Car Model: Forester
Transmission: Auto
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Seattle '99 Forester L loss of power while driving - 176k

Hello all. I have previously posted concerning this car here:

Seeking opinions (posted 2011, mileage 169k, seeking opinions on seals and shops, resolution was seals performed by AWD)

and here:

1999 Forester L power and electrical issues and resolution (posted 2014, mileage not noted in post but likely 173k or so, regarding electrical issues, resolved by new alternator)

We are in Seattle and live near Northgate.

I have had some other issues and work performed on the car not posted here. Notably after Scanwest did such a great and reasonably-priced job with the alternator replacement I had them do the 180k service on the car at 175k, and at some point either before or after the alternator replacement but after AWD did the seals I had a cylinder lose pressure while driving on Aurora directly across from the indie shop Maddy's Automotive. I was able to drive the bucking vehicle onto their lot and they fixed the valve overnight. I will be digging out paperwork on that job shortly and will provide more detail on it when I have the info in front of me.

Overall the car is aging gracefully and as can be seen we only put about 1000-1500 miles on it annually. It even passed emissions inspection this most recent time right off the bat for the first time since we have owned it.

On Monday I took it to Carter for an oil change, fluid topoff and an eyeball once-over. They did not report any leaks or oddities, as expected.

Today as I executed a lane change into the clear left turn lane on Aurora in preparation for leaving the arterial the car suddenly lost power for a moment or two and dropped in speed unexpectedly. Traffic was light and I was able to get into the turn lane by gunning the engine after which normal feel returned to the car. The loss of power was fleeting but it felt somewhat as if one of the wheels had lost traction, I think the front right wheel. However it was very brief and felt more like the engine had lost compression for a moment. There was no concurrent shimmy or bucking, which I did experience with the bad valve.

I didn't think anything of it and went about my errands. About an hour later another errand came up and I hopped in the car. The total mileage for the trip was to be about a mile. I had gotten only about 300 yards from my house when a slight shimmy was felt when the car went into idle as I slowed for a stop sign and awaited the car ahead.

As I pulled into traffic, I felt the car responding sluggishly and responded by gunning the engine. At this time I noticed the check engine light illuminate and then intermittently illuminate and turn off. In general, gunning the engine spiked the rpms for a moment and then the car would respond normally for a bit before losing power again. Eventually this evened out and the check engine light stayed off and I made it to my destination with no further difficulty, although the car feels reduced in power and still has a new, slight vibration in idle.

Obviously, the place to start is at the dealer, since this issue seems like it could be from a loose hose. I wanted to drop this out here in case anyone else has any possible thoughts or concerns about a possible more serious issue. I have not looked under the hood yet, as I had some scheduled activities that could not be moved around and wanted to write all of this up first.

I'll follow up with more info on that Maddy's valve job and with whatever I learn from looking around the engine. Thanks for your thoughts.


Last edited by mwhybark; 01-15-2017 at 01:45 PM.
mwhybark is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 14
Car Year: 1999
Car Model: Forester
Transmission: Auto
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Updates.

Visual inspection under the hood did not identify a loose connection, darn it.

Additionally, I was incorrect in specifying that I had a bad valve. The issue was a bad ignition point, one of the spark plugs was not firing. Maddy's replaced the coil pack, ignition wire set, plugs and fuel filter. I think this was prior to the new alternator going in. That ran about $450 total.

I also have had one other major service event on the car I missed above not previously covered in other posts here. In December 2015 we had a very short, quite harsh cold snap that dropped temperatures rapidly from the 50s into the single digits and in the cold morning my radiator failed. I noticed it as soon as I returned from the drive and was able to drive it in to Carter and get it done in a day for about $500.

mwhybark is offline  
post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-01-2017, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 14
Car Year: 1999
Car Model: Forester
Transmission: Auto
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
The loss of power issue occurred again a couple of times in the next few days after the initial issue - the general symptom is a sudden loss of revs. In every case it was manageable by increasing gas to the engine. If at a stop, putting the car in neutral and gunning the engine to idle at a proper idle point or above also would lead to the car resuming normal operation after a few minutes.

The first time the issue occured was in traffic on relatively flat ground. Subequent instances have been always nearly immediately on starting the car after a relatively short time parked, half an hour to forty five minutes, and often with the car in a nose-up position at a stop juncture such as a stop sign from a parking lot on a slight incline or at a stop light.

The issue will also cause the check engine light to flicker at forst and then to start flashing. The flashing stops and the light stays out when the car as the car is driven. The low revs issue is not persistent and when it goes away on these relatively short drives the check engine light also turns off.

When the car is parked the engine smells slightly overheated. The temp gauge on the dash is responsive and the issue appears to resolve after the temp has started to climb. The temp on the drives as reported by the gauge is never higher than 30%.

After the initial issue occurred I carefully inspected the engine for a loose hose or missing cap, checked the oil level, and called the dealer to see what they suggested. I had the car in to Carter just before these issues began occurring for an oil change and fluids inspection and top off.

The service rep I spoke with was rude and sounded harried. He did say that the correct course of action was to pull a code, which was expected to have been thrown and recorded by the engine light behavior. He also brusquely informed me that they had no availability for two weeks, that I should expect to wait about two hours to be seen, and that should the code not produce an attributable issue associated with their maintenance I would be charged their standard diagnostic fee of $130. uh, no.

So I obtained a buddy's code reader and ran it - no code! I kept the reader for a week in case the issue recurred and it never did until yesterday.

Poking around here and elsewhere I did see a couple of somewhat similar reports to mine, associated, unsurprisingly, with more recent Foresters. One of the reports also seemed to associate the loss of revs with an oil change at "the dealer" and to be from a Seattle-based poster. This individual also found the dealer to be argumentative and independently verified that they had overfilled the oil reservoir. On producing photocopied pages from his maintenance manual documenting that overfilling was a non-recommended procedure they grudgingly drained and refilled his oil.

However, he and others experiencing loss of revs due to excess oil were also observing blue smoke and smelling burned oil, something I am not seeing. I am not able to accurately interpret the oil level from my oil stick beyond being able to note that the oil appears clean and new and there is a lot of it - it extends at least up to the highest notch on the indicator stick but I have a difficult time determining where the fill line is and where the liquid stopped on the dip stick.

Yesterday when I got the car home I noticed that there dod not appear to be any visible coolant in the coolant reservoir, which I found surprising as the invoice I have from the dealer indicates that all fluids were topped off.

So I think I am back to tracking down an ODBC reader and keeping it handy. I might call Carter again and be a little more argumentative.
mwhybark is offline  
 
post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 14
Car Year: 1999
Car Model: Forester
Transmission: Auto
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Update and resolution

After not getting any traction here, I just started keeping a log of the issue on my blog.

RESOLUTION: After subsequent power loss and a diagnostic visit to Scanwest on Greenwood, it was suggested that the ignition coil might be failing. The replacement was within warranty horizon, so I took it to the initial shop that replaced it, Maddy's on Aurora, and they verified the issue and replaced the coil without incident.

No further power issues.
bobk25 likes this.
mwhybark is offline  
post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 10:29 PM
Forum Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Pacific NW, USA
Posts: 234
Car Year: 1999
Car Model: "L" - 225,000 mi.
Transmission: AT
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Glad it worked out for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwhybark View Post
Poking around here and elsewhere I did see ... This individual also found the dealer to be argumentative and independently verified that they had overfilled the oil reservoir. On producing photocopied pages from his maintenance manual documenting that overfilling was a non-recommended procedure they grudgingly drained and refilled his oil...
My 1999 Forester always shows/showed the oil level as full++ after a change,
even back when I used to change it myself and knew how much oil I put in.
I've no understanding of why the (factory) dipstick always read high,
but have never experienced a problem that resulted from too much oil.
Owned it since new - at 230,000 now.
UhOh is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

  Subaru Forester Owners Forum > Technical Forums and Vehicle Assistance > Problems, Maintenance, and Warranty

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 

Title goes here

close
video goes here
description goes here. Read Full Story
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome
 


Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1