Question about 1990 Subaru Legacy

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Check engine light stays on 1990 Subaru Legacy

When the check engine light is on it runs fine. If the light is not on when started, the engine races to about 3000 rpm and will only reduce to about 1500. Sometimes when driving with the light on (normal believe it or not) the light will go out and you can actually feel the increase in engine speed. If the car is started with the light out and the engine is at increases rpms, it sometimes will come back on and work fine within a few seconds and other times will stay at increased rpms untill the car is stopped and restarted again. The car has been to the local Subaru Dealership about 6 times this year but they have been unable to find any codes to clear. I have actual pictures of the instrument cluster showing 3000 rpm 5 mph and a foot on the brake.

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  • jcoud Jun 03, 2009

    The TPS and IAC have already been replaced.

  • jcoud Jun 03, 2009

    The Subaru Dealership has checked for codes but nothing was showing. They said to correct the problem it would have to be doing it at the time but so far, it has been working fine when there.

  • jcoud Jun 03, 2009

    cannot understand what this has to do with the check engine light especially when it can happen while driving down the road.

  • jcoud Jun 04, 2009

    A different ECM was insatlled about 2 months ago and did not correct the problem.

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5 Answers

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  • Master
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Usually that means there is a fluid down low like tranmission fluid or brake fuild or any fluid but if they are full then I suggest you take the car to the dealer to check it out.
My guess is the oxygen sensor or a loose gas cap.Its an emissions thing get it scanned as it may affect your fuel economy

check engine low oil, not charging will make it come on. more than likely a sensor smog stuff take it to the shop and have plug it in to see what codes come up or buy a code sensor plug it in see what wrong for yourself the book it comes with should tell you how to reset check engine light

You can go to Auto-zone they do this check for free its no use wasting thousands of dollars if u havent solved the problem..... i recommend autozone....
also Check The Vehicle Speed Sensors.

The Legacy has 2 Vehicle Speed Sensors (VSS): VSS1 is located inside of the transaxle; VSS2 is located in the combination meter assembly.

VSS1

  1. Disconnect the electrical harness from the transaxle.
  2. Connect an ohmmeter across the transaxle's electrical harness terminals 9 and 16.
  3. The resistance should be 450-650 ohms.
  4. After testing, reconnect the electrical harness.
VSS2
  1. Remove the instrument cluster from the instrument panel.
  2. Disconnect the electrical connectors and the speedometer cable from the instrument cluster.
  3. Connect an ohmmeter or continuity tester across the combination meter terminals 7 and 11.
  4. Insert a small screwdriver in the speedometer cable drive socket.
  5. Rotate the speedometer drive and note the continuity across the VSS terminal. Continuity should turn ON/OFF 4 times per speedometer drive revolution.

good luck have a nice day

Posted on Jun 04, 2009

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  • Master
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Ok, this can be very troublesome at times. these issue are quite unique in there own way. the symptoms you are experiencing is the result of a faulty ECU. This is Incorporated within the ECM module. you will need to replace this device asap. it is the main reason for these erratic actions that your vehicle is experiencing. The ECU/ECM is malfunctioning.

You must know that, this is a dealer part and, you will need ot order the ECU(ECM) from your local dealership. they will then install it and program it as well.

Posted on Jun 03, 2009

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Hi

Have you checked the mat, it could be holding the pedal down or the throttle sensor on the pedal could be defective. If that's not the case then it's caused by the throttle body sticking a little bit open and not shutting the whole way. Also, get the CVT checked as it can also casue this issue, CVT Speed Sensor faulty, improperly mounted or faulty wiring.

Please do accept this solution and revert for further assistance.

Thanks
Rylee

Posted on Jun 03, 2009

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Your car has entered a fail safe mode. During normal vehicle operation, the ECU controls fuel, spark and emission systems. In the event of a sensor failure or inconsistency, the unit switches to "Fail-Safe" mode. In this mode, certain sensor and output parameters become "fixed," allowing limited vehicle operation. In most cases, the "Check Engine" lamp is illuminated and trouble codes are recorded in ECU long term memory. These alert the operator that a system requires attention and guides the technician toward the failed system.
So, the next thing to do is to pull the codes from the computer and see what they are. Then we can start "real" troubleshooting. You will need a scanner to do that. Or ask somebody with one.

Posted on Jun 03, 2009

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  • Subaru Master
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I would suggest you replace the Throttle position sensor (TPS) and the idle speed control valve, (IAC) after u do this disconnect the battery for 5 min's
These are the only two things that i have seen cause this problem.

Posted on Jun 03, 2009

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