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2004 Forester X
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, sorry this might be a stupid question but does anyone know if there is process for installing the idle air control valve or is simply plug and play? I need to install a new one on my 2004 Subaru Forester X and my local mechanics want to charge me $400 (part +labor). I know the part costs $320-$360 I don't see how the labor should cost $50-$80. All there is to undo is 2 screws.

Anyways I bought the part myself already and just want to make sure there aren't any added steps like idle relearn or ECU reset. Let me know what you guys think!

Manny
 

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2004 Forester X
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Discussion Starter #5
Yes it looks exactly like it. Thanks!

And the reason I need to replace is because I am having a mysterious hard start problem. For the past three months or so my car will occasionally turn over then instantly die. Unless I give is some gas and rev it up a couple time as soon it turns over it'll stay on without a problem. It doesn't matter if its cold or hot. Runs and drives fine for a couple days then it comes back. I already ruled out fuel and spark due to tests that I ran. After those tests I cleaned the throttle body and IAC valve and seemed to be fine after that. A few weeks later the same problem occurred. I have take to 3 separate mechanics and they told me the same thing; "its most likely the IAC valve but there is no way of knowing until I try replacing it". So here I am biting the bullet.

This was my last resort and hoping it all works out. There is no CEL or stored codes. I have changed my O2 sensors and cat converter (those did throw codes). I did a full tune up (spark plugs, wires, filters, ect). I spent hours looking for vacuum leaks and making sure all my grounds are connected properly. I did a fuel pressure test which showed that everything was normal. I tested my coil pack and that worked properly. I even made sure that all the connection to my ECU were properly secure.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I should also mention that I did take it to shop in another town because I was having the same problem while traveling out of town. Anyways this mechanic told me that I had some faulty connection to my ECU that he had fixed and reconnected properly. He really didn't give me any details (despite me asking plenty of questions). Whatever he did, it did help for a few weeks but then my intermittent starting problem came back. I suspect maybe he did an idle relearn or ECU reset but I really don't know. Every shop I have taken it to after that told me that they are 90% sure its the IAC valve.

If it was (or still is) faulty connection to the ECU would it give me a CEL? Would my problem be more consistent? Would my car even be drivable?

Manny...
 

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2018 X3 M40i / 2016 X3 xDrive35i
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What did you do to rule out fuel? It sounds like a problem with retaining fuel pressure, ie: FPR.

You should be able to test that by consistently turning the key to the on position for several seconds before you try and start it. That will have the fuel pump prime and pressurize the lines after any loss in pressure from a leaky FPR.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I did fuel pleasure test and everything was fine with that. I got my fuel injectors tested and cleaned (also fine). I checked all the lines for any leaks and found nothing. My MPG has been very consistent since I have owned it (2 years). I checked the lines that are directly to the fuel pump and everything was fine. Tested the fuel relays and they work fine. No smell of fuel anywhere. With all that being said its safe to say that I can rule out fuel. Right? Let me know if I am missing anything else to test.
 

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Did you check pressure loss after shutting down and sitting? A leaky FPR may hold pressure fine while running but bleed pressure when off.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The pressure all check out with the car on and off.

So I finally got the IACV but before I install it I want to share this video if what actually happens at start up. Again this is a intermittent start up problem. Doesn't matter if it is cold or warm or empty gas tank or full tank. Completely random. Any last guess before I install this ridiculously expensive part and I can't get a refund.


Towards the end of the video that is me reving the engine. That is the only way I can actually keep my car to turn on.

Manny

 

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Discussion Starter #11
UPDATE - Installed the new IACV yesterday night hoping it would solve all my issues and it seemed to make matters worse. See for you yourself in the video. The car surges on its own at a high RPM pretty aggressively. I was afraid to put in drive or reverse thing it will aggressively jerk on its own. I reinstalled the old IACV I had and it still had issues on its own unless gas was applied.

I plan on taking the new IACV pack to the parts store for a refund unless anyone has any ideas. Defective part? Wiring problem? I am drawing blanks and I am at the point where I am prepping the car to sell or trade. I really want to love this car but I fell like I bought a lemon.

 

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Well the videos definitely wouldn't point towards an Fuel pressure problem like I was describing. If it was good after a reset for a while and then got bad again it sounds like something is being learned which may be sensor related. AFR sensor would have been my first guess but if you said you changed those out it would be really hard to tell.

Do you have an OBDII adapter or anything you could pair with an app like Torque pro to look at some of the critical sensors or learned values that are readable?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't have OBDII adapter but I could definitely look into it. Thanks for the input but like I said I hate to just blindly throw parts (especially expensive parts like the IACV).

I am going to try to drive into my home town (180 miles) to the mechanic I've used for years before I moved. If he cant figure it out I am going to get rid of it. Currently looking at some Mazda 3's.
 

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That's a bummer but I can understand the frustration. It's likely something minor, but troubleshooting it can be tough.

Before you take back the IACV, did you try the idle relearn process? Turn off your speakers.

 

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2004 Forester X
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Discussion Starter #15
I did try it once. I will probably give it a go one last time today. I saw a small difference after the idle relearn. Instead of surging between 1500-2500 RPM like in the video it surged between 1000-2000 RPM. When I went to turn it off and turned it one it went back to surging between 1500-2500 RPM. Maybe it take a couple of relearns or something? I will try out again later tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hard to tell with no code but based on some research I did I am not really experiencing any symptoms of a bad TPS. There is no bucking or surging when driving the car. The only real problem is the starting issue. I will add this though, yesterday I went to do some groceries shopping and noticed a lack of power at low speeds (while finding parking in parking lot). It didn't feel like it wanted to stall but still a lack of power. I just felt less speed with my foot off the brake while the car was in drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
UPDATE - Unfortunately more problems. Still have the rough starts here and there but something new happen today. As I was pulling into my parking space at work in the middle of my turn my steering wheel locked up. The engine stayed on but could not turn the wheel. My cluster start flashing all the lights (CEL/brakes/AT OIL/ Parking/ ect.). I turned the car off then back and light were still flashing and the still stuck. Gave the car some gas and wheel unlocked and the cluster stopped flashing. I then finished parking and the car ran like normal. Turned off the car then back 3 or 4 times and the car started like normal. No CEL or warning signs. Wanted to test drive but had to start my shift for work. At this point I am deathly scared to drive it and would hate for the to happen on the freeway of in the middle of the intersection. I have no idea what happened and I am drawing complete blanks.

95% sure I am just going to get me something different. Heading to the dealer this weekend.
 
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