Hello all. I have previously posted concerning this car here:
(posted 2011, mileage 169k, seeking opinions on seals and shops, resolution was seals performed by AWD)
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.