12th Apr 2017, 05:30

UPDATE: In Dec. of 2016 this Subaru developed an odd electrical issue. It began to run very rough. When the ignition key was switched to the RUN position, electrical solenoids, injectors, fans and fuel pump would clitter clatter, click and whir. The tach needle would flutter and the check engine light would flicker on and off in no particular pattern. The motor would take a very long time to fire up, and when it did start to run, the RPMs were either very low or really high.

I took it to the same mechanic who did the preventive maintenance, but the OBD-1 code reader did not give him very good clues to go by. He told me that he could spend hours trying to hunt down the issue. He charges $100/hr.

I learned that OBD-1 computers are not very smart. They don't do a good job of communicating. So when an error or issue comes up, the OBD-1 can only give limited clues. In this case it said the Idle Air Control Valve was bad. So we replaced the entire unit. The problem continued. I swapped ECUs. First I installed an ECU pulled from the wrecking yard. The problem did not go away. So I installed my brother's ECU from the same exact year and model Legacy wagon. Still the problem continued, so I knew my ECU was OK. I checked all the solenoids, and every sensor I tested for ohms resistance. I also checked all the grounds, including the grounds in the harness.

I spent about 3 weeks after work and on the weekends trying to solve this issue and revive my wagon. But I never did locate the issue. As far as I could tell, a sensor or portion of the wire loom shorted out and was back feeding electricity into the system. The ECU was constantly checking to see if all its parts were there.

Sadly I sold the car for $300 to a hopeful guy who had the extra time and energy it would take to get this wagon back on its feet.

As for me, I loved this wagon. But the next vehicle I buy is going to have the OBD-2 system. The OBD-2 system does a better job and communicating what is wrong. It's not fool proof, but it is leaps and bounds better than OBD-1. So for those of you who might be thinking about a first gen Legacy, I say go for it. Mine suffered from an unusual issue. Most Subi's just keep trucking. However you might consider getting an OBD-2 machine if you rely on a mechanic to do repairs.

Thanks for reading.

12th Apr 2017, 17:29

I heard of battery acid doing this on a different brand. Dripped right on top of it. Big dealer bill.