2002 Subaru WRX rough idle/stalling?
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This is a discussion on 2002 Subaru WRX rough idle/stalling? within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; HI all, I have 2002 Subaru WRX 4EAT that has had a rough idle for quite some time. I know ...

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    2002 Subaru WRX rough idle/stalling?

    HI all,
    I have 2002 Subaru WRX 4EAT that has had a rough idle for quite some time. I know they typically idle rough anyway. But this will drop RPM's and almost stalls quite frequently. It has only actually stalled 3 times in the past 2 years.
    Could this be a timing issue?
    Thanks in advance.

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    Registered User Jerembo47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2002BlueWRX4eat View Post
    HI all,
    I have 2002 Subaru WRX 4EAT that has had a rough idle for quite some time. I know they typically idle rough anyway. But this will drop RPM's and almost stalls quite frequently. It has only actually stalled 3 times in the past 2 years.
    Could this be a timing issue?
    Thanks in advance.
    I bought my 02 WRX back in July and it ran really rough too, I thought it was a timing issue. First thing I did was replace my fuel filter, it helped a little. Then I got a tune up. The mechanic said it had the wrong spark plugs. That made a huge difference! Then I replaced the airfilter and now I have a CEL, but it runs great. I would suggest fuel filter or tune up. But im not an expert on the subject.

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    Registered User DorBink's Avatar
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    I agree a rough idle is common, i have an 04. Replaced my fuel filter lately and it helped. I'm going to replace my spark plugs next month, never thought about if that would help with the idle... i'll let you know.

    I've also noticed when the fan kicks on is when I see the RPMs dip a bit. It's just an electric motor making a draw on the power.
    I had the hood up and I saw the fan turn on and heard the engine groan. My friend confirmed it by watching the RPMs.

    Same kinda deal when I have hte AC all the way up in the summer and sitting at a light. Never had a stall though...

    If you are concerned about your timing belt how many miles do you have? and when was the timing belt replaced? (if?)

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    Registered User JUSTINSNUTSWINGER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2002BlueWRX4eat View Post
    HI all,
    I have 2002 Subaru WRX 4EAT that has had a rough idle for quite some time. I know they typically idle rough anyway. But this will drop RPM's and almost stalls quite frequently. It has only actually stalled 3 times in the past 2 years.
    Could this be a timing issue?
    Thanks in advance.
    What does it do in neutral ? Cleaned the MAF ?
    N-swinger

    2000 Escort

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    Quote Originally Posted by pzr2874 View Post
    What does it do in neutral ? Cleaned the MAF ?
    "From a little spark may burst a mighty flame." - Dante
    "The stitch is lost unless the thread is knotted." - Italian proverb

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    Registered User JUSTINSNUTSWINGER's Avatar
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    Sorry... Thanks for pointing that out John...

    I meant while cruising down a hill.... throw it in neutral and see if the RPM's fluctuate....

    I need sleep ...
    N-swinger

    2000 Escort

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    Admiral Ackbar mycologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pzr2874 View Post
    Sorry... Thanks for pointing that out John...

    I meant while cruising down a hill.... throw it in neutral and see if the RPM's fluctuate....

    I need sleep ...
    I didn't even pay attention to the N bit, just agreed with you on the MAF.
    "From a little spark may burst a mighty flame." - Dante
    "The stitch is lost unless the thread is knotted." - Italian proverb

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    Registered User JUSTINSNUTSWINGER's Avatar
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    Weird thing about that.... I NEVER messed with the MAF on an automatic until last month.... The wife's murano was giving me hell.... I took it off, sprayed the hell out of it.... Just like a new car now. And it was giving me hell in all gears and neutral. Who would have thought a $4 bottle of MAF cleaner would save so much money...
    N-swinger

    2000 Escort

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerembo47 View Post
    I bought my 02 WRX back in July and it ran really rough too, I thought it was a timing issue. First thing I did was replace my fuel filter, it helped a little. Then I got a tune up. The mechanic said it had the wrong spark plugs. That made a huge difference! Then I replaced the airfilter and now I have a CEL, but it runs great. I would suggest fuel filter or tune up. But im not an expert on the subject.
    About a year and a half ago I changed the plugs and air filter but I don't believe I replaced the fuel filter though. I will do that this weekend. Both the plugs and air filter didn't fix the issue. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Quote Originally Posted by DorBink View Post
    I agree a rough idle is common, i have an 04. Replaced my fuel filter lately and it helped. I'm going to replace my spark plugs next month, never thought about if that would help with the idle... i'll let you know.

    I've also noticed when the fan kicks on is when I see the RPMs dip a bit. It's just an electric motor making a draw on the power.
    I had the hood up and I saw the fan turn on and heard the engine groan. My friend confirmed it by watching the RPMs.

    Same kinda deal when I have hte AC all the way up in the summer and sitting at a light. Never had a stall though...

    If you are concerned about your timing belt how many miles do you have? and when was the timing belt replaced? (if?)
    The car has 127k on it now. Timing belt, water pump, and all drive belts/pulleys were replace yesterday, but the rough idle is still there. Now the check engine light came on this morning. But that sometimes happens when the BOV goes off in rainy weather.
    I will see if it is off tonight.
    Thanks for the reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by pzr2874 View Post
    What does it do in neutral ? Cleaned the MAF ?
    In neutral it still idles rough...
    I have not cleaned the MAF...is it difficult?
    If it's easy I'll do it tonight.
    I live in Southern CA for a few years with this car and I am sure a lot of stuff got dusty etc.
    Thanks again all for the replies!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2002BlueWRX4eat View Post
    About a year and a half ago I changed the plugs and air filter but I don't believe I replaced the fuel filter though. I will do that this weekend. Both the plugs and air filter didn't fix the issue. Thanks for the suggestion.



    The car has 127k on it now. Timing belt, water pump, and all drive belts/pulleys were replace yesterday, but the rough idle is still there. Now the check engine light came on this morning. But that sometimes happens when the BOV goes off in rainy weather.
    I will see if it is off tonight.
    Thanks for the reply.



    In neutral it still idles rough...
    I have not cleaned the MAF...is it difficult?
    If it's easy I'll do it tonight.
    I live in Southern CA for a few years with this car and I am sure a lot of stuff got dusty etc.
    Thanks again all for the replies!
    How To: Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor Cleaning - IWSTI.com: Subaru WRX STI Forums

    You can just unscrew it though, you don't have to take the airbox apart.

    Remember, the MAF is up in the tube and hard to see. Not the obvious bulb (clean both but don't spray directly or touch them - gentle). Make sure the o-ring seals back up well.
    Last edited by mycologist; 01-28-2010 at 03:00 PM.
    "From a little spark may burst a mighty flame." - Dante
    "The stitch is lost unless the thread is knotted." - Italian proverb

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    Quote Originally Posted by mycologist View Post
    How To: Mass Air Flow (MAF) Sensor Cleaning - IWSTI.com: Subaru WRX STI Forums

    You can just unscrew it though, you don't have to take the airbox apart.

    Remember, the MAF is up in the tube and hard to see. Not the obvious bulb (clean both but don't spray directly or touch them - gentle). Make sure the o-ring seals back up well.
    Thanks, after posting I came across the same article. Just got the stuff, and will clean it tomorrow.
    Also, check engine light WAS still on toniht, but I disconnected neg battery cable, pumped brakes, and re-attached. Light is off.
    Also picked up a fuel filter to try.
    Will let you know how it worked out.
    Thanks for all the suggestions so far!!

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    Admiral Ackbar mycologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2002BlueWRX4eat View Post
    Thanks, after posting I came across the same article. Just got the stuff, and will clean it tomorrow.
    Also, check engine light WAS still on toniht, but I disconnected neg battery cable, pumped brakes, and re-attached. Light is off.
    Also picked up a fuel filter to try.
    Will let you know how it worked out.
    Thanks for all the suggestions so far!!
    What is the CEL - I'm not sure what you meant about the BOV in the rain. You should get the actual code. I think it is still stored in there.
    "From a little spark may burst a mighty flame." - Dante
    "The stitch is lost unless the thread is knotted." - Italian proverb

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    Quote Originally Posted by mycologist View Post
    What is the CEL - I'm not sure what you meant about the BOV in the rain. You should get the actual code. I think it is still stored in there.
    How would I go about checking the code?
    I made a mistake in the previous posting, the BOV throws the AT Oil temp code or something close to that. It hasn't happened in awhile. The CEL would come on when it would stall and then stay on.
    Thanks again

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    Registered User DorBink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2002BlueWRX4eat View Post
    How would I go about checking the code?
    :
    You need an OBDII scanner. The cheapest one at Autozone is like $60. I use mine when ever the engine light comes on, you should get one and post the code.

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    Registered User DorBink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DorBink View Post
    You need an OBDII scanner. The cheapest one at Autozone is like $60. I use mine when ever the engine light comes on, you should get one and post the code.
    Right and the scanner comes with instructions, but it's pretty simple. Plug it in turn your key to power, but don't start and then push Scan on the scanner and then scroll through the codes.

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