Help! Stranded until morning! CEL flashing going uphill, rough idle
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This is a discussion on Help! Stranded until morning! CEL flashing going uphill, rough idle within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; In attempts of going through the Rockies to Aspen tonight, I am stranded about halfway there until a store or ...

  1. #1
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    Help! Stranded until morning! CEL flashing going uphill, rough idle

    In attempts of going through the Rockies to Aspen tonight, I am stranded about halfway there until a store or shop opens in 6 hours. So, I noticed my car start to lag a little bit when going uphill. Even had to take it out of cruise and downshift a few times to get over the hill. About 20-30 minutes later my CEL started flashing. I pulled over and the light went off. I drove it just far enough to make it to the next town, having to pull over one other time in between. I did happen to get gas about 50-60miles before this all happened and wondering if i had tightened the cap well enough. I've had the light come on because of that when I first got the car but can't remember if anything else abnormal happened then.

    I tightened the gas cap, restarted the car and the light was then solid with a rough idle.
    Got back on the road towards the store and it started flashing again. I don't know how long it takes for things to go back to normal if the problem was indeed the gas cap, but read somewhere that it can take up to 20 restarts to reset things. (???) I restarted it about 8 times, somewhat hesitant to start, idled roughly for close to a minute and then started flashing again. Turned it back off, and finally this last time ran it for a couples minutes without it flashing, but still solid. Still rough, but seems like it might be a little bit smoother now. Does this sound like an easy gas cap problem or not so much??

    I know my spark plugs are way past due on being replaced and was told about a year ago that I would probably need coil packs replaced in the near future. Also, any recommendations on spark plugs and/or coil packs? I read up that he iridium and platinum last longer but the coppers are actually better despite how long they last.

    I'm driving a 2003 WRX with 115k miles and the only mods I know of are the MBC and the K&N. Haven't changed anything else since having it. Fully synthetic Oil/oil filter and fuel filter both changed a couple thousand miles ago, air filter cleaned.

    Any quick help/advice would be greatly appreciated! :)

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  3. #2
    Registered User frenziedcage's Avatar
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    What you are experiencing is most likely a misfire, when the CEL is flashing it is going into a protective mode to prevent further damage to the car. When the CEL is flashing you will experience rough idle feeling like the car is bogging down on you and loss of power. When the CEL is not flashing it will be driveable but best thing to do would just be to call a tow truck and tow it back to town. You'll have to diagnose the misfire one by one since it's like finding a needle in a hay stack. It could be fuel related, ignition related as far as the gas cap being loose no that would't causes this significant of a problem.

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    Thanks so much! Luckily there's an Autozone and Subaru right next to each other that I found
    . Now just have to wait four and a half more hours until they open.

  5. #4
    Registered User frenziedcage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chels12118 View Post
    Thanks so much! Luckily there's an Autozone and Subaru right next to each other that I found
    . Now just have to wait four and a half more hours until they open.
    Well that's good news have you done the timing belt yet?

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