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2012 XT Touring 4EAT
3,751 Posts
I recently purchased my second subaru, an 05 FXT which was an upgrade from my 00 outback. The new one has about 160,000 on the clock but i got it for a great price and the thing is spotless. Unfortunately it popped a CEL while driving on the highway in the rain about two weeks ago. I live at college about 45 mins from home so i only get a chance to work on her during the weekends. The code registered as either faulty MAF censor, cyl. 1 misfire, or a major vacuum leak according to the autozone reader it was all under one code. First i cleaned the MAF, reset the car and it lasted about 50 miles until i took another highway trip and the CEL popped back on going about 80. My following sunday into monday morning was spent replacing the plugs, oil, and pulling the TMIC off just because I like to learn :rock:. It was about 7 degrees outside and the shop was only about 35 when i started so i had this set up keeping me warm.

I also planned to do a compression test but the one i borrowed from autozone was no good. The old plugs were gapped at between 0.048 and 0.051 and looked like this.

I put a fresh set of NGKs gapped at about 0.030. Noticed that the coil pack on the front pass. side had a broken clip that held on the sprk plug harness. I used a piece of aluminum safety wire to hold it secure and ensure it did not separate making sure it could not come in contact with the wires themselves and create a short. The oil drained to about 0.2 qts low however it was about 3000 miles since done the last time. Had Mobile 1 full Syn, i replaced with Castrol full syn 5w-30 and new bosch filter.

I was a bit concerned when i got the TMIC pulled off however and saw this in the Y-pipe.

From my understanding it is just blow by from the turbo, and the amount increases in colder driving conditions. However it seems like a bit more than i would really be comfortable with, it did not seem as though it makes it through the intercooler and into the intake as the intake itself was dry.

I got it all back together, y-pipe cleaned, and cleaned much of the engine bay while is was at it. Drove about 40 miles around town the next day without a hitch and then hop on the highway, go about 5 miles at 80 with the cruise set and then bam, cruise light blinks along with the CEL. Same code as before.

I need some help guys, the car seems to run flawlessly and has plenty of power and torque. Other things that might help is it had a high flow K&N drop in for about 1000 miles before i bought it, and it has a Turbo XS cat back 3" exhaust. Ive looked on here, nasioc, and scooby mods for someone with a similar problem but cant seem to find anything. My next step is to buy a new MAF sensor unless someone has some advice for me. Also planning to pull the plugs in about 1500, take a look at those and get a good compression tester to make sure im not low in any of the 4 cyl. as i hope to upgrade the turbo and intercooler come summertime. Let me know what you guys think and im sorry for posting yet another CEL thread, theres already too many!
Quick comments: your old plugs looked good, and you're not pumping oil. You can do a compression test, but it may not tell you anything. Ditto for pulling the plugs again - they will probably look like spark plugs.

You might switch back to a standard OEM air filter. That's not a bad-mouth on the K&N, but the OEM filters work fine and it's one less variable in the mix. While you're at it, carefully check the molded parts of the intake system. The mounting brackets / snaps can break or crack.

Have you checked your PCV valve? It's a pain to get to it, but it's worth a look. If faulty (doesn't rattle) it should be replaced, but you can clean it thoroughly and reinstall it termporarily to see if that helps.

While you're at it, carefully go over all your vacuum hoses, including the one to the PCV valve. Turbo Foresters have an elaborate vacuum setup which includes some molded OEM hoses. At 160k, these hoses are likely to be suspect. A 'reinforced' rubber hose will make a good vacuum seal almost forever. A non-reinforced hose (like most of the OEM hoses) lose their sealing ability as they become brittle. The fix is to replace them. The brake booster hose has to be OEM - it's molded, two diameters and has a check valve in the hose.

Another poster suggested posting the exact code - good advice. Personally, I would buy an inexpensive OBT-II scanner - about $25. All you need to do is be able to read the codes and clear them. Look on eBay or Amazon. While you're testing things, carry this device along with you.
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