Question about 1990 Subaru Legacy

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1990 subaru legacy wagon EJ22 motor auto trans

I just bought a 1990 subaru legacy. The prior owner stated it would over heat after about 20 miles of driving. currently the check engine light and ABS lights are lit.

After getting it home, I noticed the car sounds lie its not running on all cylinders.
The entire cooling system was replaced.
When I get on the gas above 3K it cleans up and then idles fine, it will then go back to its clean smooth idle. If the gas is jumped on decently it will again sound like its running on 3 cylinders, until the revs get high.

I not thinking this is a cooling system problem but rather something else. As it seems related to the timing advance wen the gas is jumped on.

I have no OBD1 scanner only an OBD2 one.

Is there a check for the O2 sensor? What ele shoudl I check? This AWD car will hopefully be my daily driver during the winter with our rather robust washington snow season.

Also what do I check on the ABS system light?

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  • Patricia Deardorff Sep 08, 2009

    The oil is clean, plugs are good. The coolant seems to drop out of sight each time the car runs. But no evidence of leaking, nor white smoke.
    No oil in the coolant either.

    The sypmtoms are random, Ive noticed a small knocking sound as well like a bad lifter.

    Ive been reading alot about O2 sensors being a culprit.

    Ill check the Brakes once I can get a chance.

  • Patricia Deardorff Sep 08, 2009

    That was my guess as well, That or bad O2 sensors.

    Ill have to check the ABS system as well as that light is on too like the check engine light.

  • Patricia Deardorff Sep 08, 2009

    The temp gauge works fine, I dont have a hanes manual yet. Where for ease of looking is the temp sensor located?

  • Patricia Deardorff Sep 08, 2009

    I can add a You tube video of the engine if you like if that will help any?

  • Patricia Deardorff Sep 08, 2009

    I can add a You tube video of the engine if you like if that will help any?



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You may have a defective head gasket; this will force hot gases into the cooling jacket, raising the temperature quite quickly. If this is the case, then the bad gaslet will allow some coolant to enter the cylinder and make this one miss until it has heated enough to get rid of the coolant. You should also check the coolant overflow or the radiator and look for oil contamination as well as pulling the dipstick to look for any sign of an emulsion formed by oil and coolant. Let go, this would eventually cause fare more damage to the engine.
You should have a service manual for this car:
Haynes Subaru manual

Posted on Sep 07, 2009

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Make sure the head gasket is not damage, because when an engine is overheated we do not know how much heat the head gasket recived so the easiest way to check that is with the engine cool down like on a morning, open the oil cap, where you add oil to the engine and check if there is no like oil mixed with water also on the engine oil dip stick it will looks the oil like white color and very important if an engine was overheated check the water level every day before you turn the engine on you may check the spark plugs for red color it will tell they need to be replace nad check the tune up in general, now if the head gasket was damaged during the overheat a major engine repair is needed.
you will also need to check the coolant sensor because due overheated may be the reasin why you have the symptom you have.
Now with abs error system is a litle bit more complicated because normally or the most common failure is due dust from brake pads that block the sensor reading to the computer from abs check for loose wire or broken wires thats the most thing you can do without a major ABS scanner

Posted on Sep 07, 2009


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