HELP: Check engine light on again
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This is a discussion on HELP: Check engine light on again within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; The check engine light of our '01 Forester S comes on today. Last time was late Sep. and the mechanician ...

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    HELP: Check engine light on again

    The check engine light of our '01 Forester S comes on today.

    Last time was late Sep. and the mechanician said it's because of loose gas cap. He tighted the cap and reset it. The light was off for a month before returning again.

    Had the code checked at Autozone and it shows "P0456 small emission leakage". I have not noticed any problems with the cars performance. But both time, the steering was locked before the engine light came on.

    I love my Subaru Forester, but now it has almost 100,000 miles.

    Is there somebody here have any idea what's wrong with the car?
    Since I heard about the notorious head gasket of forester, I am a little worry about this.

    Any comments would be highly appreciated.

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    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    all i have to say is obviously go back and take your gas cap off...than tighten it back on at least 3 clicks...if this is truely your problem than the CEL should go away after i believe two consecutive drive cycles......or you could just get the code cleared.....if the CEL returns after you have done this we will go from there......

    As for the head gaskets....yes unfortunately that is like the center of the era were they did become a problem...as a precaution you could always add a bottle of subaru conditioner to the radiator (little blue bottle they sell at the dealership)....but if you are near 100,000 miles it is time to do your timing belt if not already done....this is an interference engine so any slipping or breaking of the belt could mean costly repairs.....if i were you i would have the dealership look at it (if not a reputable subaru mechanic) and see what they recommend....

    Subarus are phenominal cars and taken care of will last you a very long time....ive got almost 197,000 on my 96 Legacy w/original engine....

    take a look at these two sites.....extremely informative....
    The End Wrench - Information for the Independent Subaru Service Professional (search in the archives section for articles on head gaskets/ timing belts and whatever else you desire)
    Subaru Research: specs, prices, cost, options, all years 2009, 2008...

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    Hi EvoEatr,

    Thanks for the input!

    After reading your post, I did exactly what you said: went back and took the gas cap off...than tightened it back until I heard at least 4 clicks!

    I will keep an eye on the CEL and keep you posted.

    I checked the maintenance records of our forester and found we add the coolant condition since 50,000mile maintenance service. The last time we add the condition is 90,000mile maintenance.

    Since it is near 100,000mile, I am thinking to have the maintenane done soon. Thanks for your suggestions.

    Except the timing belt, is there any other things that you will recommend to change?

    Thanks again!

  5. #4
    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    no problem man....if you have kept up with the dealer recommended service than there shouldnt be that much you should have to do...i know the big services are at the dealers are 30k,60k, 90k, 120k miles.....this includes

    change oil and filter
    change PCV valve
    change rear diff fluid
    chane front diff fluid
    change trans fluid(automatic)
    coolant flush
    change brake fluid
    replace spark plugs
    replace fuel filter
    inspect this and that and the other


    there are a few other minor things im forgetting but as long as you keep up on the recommended service things should be good....and as prob. any mechanic will tell you..when you bring your car in they will def take a look over it and find anything and everything that is wrong and try to sell it to you.....

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    Hi EvoEatr,

    After two days, the CEL is still on.
    So we drive it to a garage where we used to have oil change done.

    The mechanician take a look at it, read the error code and said it is possibly caused by the loose gas cap again. He retightened the gas cap and cleared the engine light. I was told it's not a big deal and don't need to worry about it. He also said it might also be a small leakage in the hose(or the pipe?) and the light will not go away automaticly even if I retighten the gas cap after the CEL was on. IS that true?

    So the mechanician suggest to drive the car back and come back to see him only if the light is on again.

    I would say the mechanician is a very honest guy, not the kind of person who only wants to sell things to you.

    But I just not sure about what's the problem. Why the CEL came on after a few days after I refilled the gas and I am sure I did tighten the gas cap very firmly, heard a few clicks.


    Thanks for your time and help. Any suggestions will be highly appreciated.

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    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    yes that is true if the computer detects the error two driving cycles in a row it will throw the CEL on again....with the age and the miles on the car maybe one of the hoses became cracked or something but before you go digging around obviously do what he says and if it were my car if i didnt see anything wrong during a visual inspection of the EVAP system i would even go as far as buying a new gas cap (which arent expensive at all)....i do however know from what ive seen that the hoses on top of the EVAP canister in the left rear underside of the car (under the bumper kind of) like to become corroded with all the dirt and water and everything under there....
    Last edited by EvoEatr; 10-30-2008 at 05:11 AM.

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    hey folks, im new to this, im a new happy subaru owner (2002 Impreza WRX sportwagon) heres my problem. I have an aftermarket exhaust, and my CEL has come on, and yes i even did the whole gas tank thing (tightening it). And when i got my codes read, it mentioned the O2 sensor. But i am curious, can i unplug the CEL in the dashboard, im buying a Cobb AccessPort, so if anything is REALLY wrong I'll get codes thrown at me anyway. I know subaru WRX's are CEL happy sometime. Any help is much appreciated thank you

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    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    this aftermarket exhaust you got..is it catless?, turbo back?, cat back?....aftermarket up/down pipes? did you retain the stock EGT sensor?if you go unpluggin the CEL or taking the bulb out or whatever you may run into some emissions or State inspection problems down the road...

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    Registered User Very-Rexy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiche87 View Post
    hey folks, im new to this, im a new happy subaru owner (2002 Impreza WRX sportwagon) heres my problem. I have an aftermarket exhaust, and my CEL has come on, and yes i even did the whole gas tank thing (tightening it). And when i got my codes read, it mentioned the O2 sensor. But i am curious, can i unplug the CEL in the dashboard, im buying a Cobb AccessPort, so if anything is REALLY wrong I'll get codes thrown at me anyway. I know subaru WRX's are CEL happy sometime. Any help is much appreciated thank you
    Please make sure you create your OWN thread because this is definitely a threadjack on your part. Please do a search for the information you require. There are tons of threads discussing your very common problem.

    To the OP. Are you taking your vehicle to a Subaru mechanic? If not, you should. EvoEatr is correct, after two drive cycles if the ECU has not picked up the problem it will clear the CEL on it's own. Either your mechanic doesn't know what he's talking about or is lying to you. If you haven't, I would recommend you take the car to a Subaru dealer unless you have the means to track fuel lines and hoses on your own to ensure they are not cracked or leaking.
    Last edited by Very-Rexy; 10-31-2008 at 08:38 PM.
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    Registered User indytruckboy's Avatar
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    First stop tightening the gas cap. Look at it. Does the rubber seal look cracked? If so replace the gas cap. If it doesn't, go to a repair facility that has a Evap. Emmisions smoker. They will find the leak. There is so much going on and so many little valves and solenoids that you cannot find a small leak without one. If you have emissions inspection in your area, you WILL fail for this CEL.
    I work on vehicles that make 650hp and 2400ft/lbs.

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    Thumbs up

    Hi folks, thanks for the reply.

    The garage we went is supposed to be a sports car garage and kind of famous for this. We used to have all maintenance done there. Should I go to dealership to check this problem if it comes back again?

    It has been three days since the mechanician clear the CEL. And the light did not come back again. I even tried to drive it on highway a little bit today about half an hour. And everything looks fine.
    Does that mean that I can have peace of mind?

    According to EvoEatr's suggestion, I am considering to buy a new gas cap. Can I get it at autozone or should I go to dealership? How much will it cost?

    Thanks again for your kindly help.

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    Registered User EvoEatr's Avatar
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    they will prob. charge you more at the dealership for a gas cap but i have seen with some subarus that when you use a "generic" cap from NAPA or something it will actually give you a CEL...i would give it a little longer and if the light doesnt come back on in a few more days i would say your all good.....but with that kind of mileage on the car you can go ahead and replace the cap if you choose....

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    Hi EvoEatr
    Thanks a lot for your help.

    I will keep you posted if CEL comes back (hopefuly it won't)!

    Thanks again!

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    Registered User teflon_jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mizh View Post
    Hi EvoEatr
    Thanks a lot for your help.

    I will keep you posted if CEL comes back (hopefuly it won't)!

    Thanks again!
    Why don't you buy a new gas cap from the dealer? Maybe yours has a leak and tightening it isn't going to help. It's a cheap fix and it can't hurt.
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    Thanks for the suggestion.
    Will get one from the dealer when have the oil changed next time.

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