New '03 WRX Wagon Owner needing some help.
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This is a discussion on New '03 WRX Wagon Owner needing some help. within the New Member Hangout forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; I just bought a mostly stock '03 wrx wagon for what I think was a steal from the original owner ...

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    New '03 WRX Wagon Owner needing some help.

    I just bought a mostly stock '03 wrx wagon for what I think was a steal from the original owner with 111k miles. I knew it had some pre-existing conditions but became stumped after searching for answers to my problems online.

    The check engine light ran two codes, P1443 ( by using search function I gather its either possibly loose gas cap or failed vent control solenoid and not worried about it for the time being )
    P0420 ( also used search function and found either a bad catalytic converter or o2 sensor and I find this really needs fixed!)

    As far as the P0420 is concerned I don't have an aftermarket exhaust system and all cats are still installed. So, which is more likely the culprit? Both are a little pricey. I assume the o2 sensor to replace is the rear sensor? Also, the cat is the one just in front of the tranny correct? Should I put an electronic/mechanical fix as seen in some posts found during a search of the forums? I live in Indiana and there are no emissions testing here at all.



    My other issue I have is the tranny makes a growling/grinding sound in all gears. I also searched this and found most people had issues on acceleration or/and decceleration but not both at the same time AND it happens to me while cruising at constant speed. It gets louder the faster I drive and 5th gear seams to be even louder than the first 4. It shifts smoothly into and out of all gears and it feels like the clutch is disengaging completely in between shifts. I checked the tranny dipstick and the fluid looks clear and at the proper level.

    Also, anybody live near Fortville/Pendleton area that could offer a little local help would be fantastic. Don't necessarily need any wrenching done just some advice and maybe a quick look over of the car. Willing to trade services for ice cold beer...

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    Replacing the gas cap did nothing for my p1443 code. Try premium fuel and injector cleaner, after a fuel tank the light went out.

    I doubt you have cat problems at 111k, I have 160K on mine. I'd try the O2 sensor.

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    I think the front o2 sensor is more likely to fail. It can be a pain to remove as well.

    The howling you hear might be due to bushings. Have you changed the transmission and rear diff fluids yet?
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    I have not changed the fluids yet but am in the middle of the process. The rear diff fill plug needed an impact gun to get out and the drain plug is not budging at all. WD-40 is currently soaking in...

    As far as the tranny goes from a little searching I found that there are two drain plugs. One on the bottom of the tranny on what appears to be the pan and one under the bellhousing/clutch housing correct? One 17mm and one 21mm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthtk View Post
    Replacing the gas cap did nothing for my p1443 code. Try premium fuel and injector cleaner, after a fuel tank the light went out.

    I doubt you have cat problems at 111k, I have 160K on mine. I'd try the O2 sensor.
    EDIT: Saw you said the front o2 sensor is likely to fail. Any way to know which o2 sensor failed for sure?

    Also, the tranny isnt maiking a howling sound, more like a grinding sound like gears are rubbing type of sound...
    Last edited by dsmithwc04; 07-01-2012 at 08:34 AM.

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    Could the noise be the throw out bearing?

    Also, has anybody had any problems with a mechanical/electrical fix to the o2 sensor. I don't want to pay $200 for a sensor that might not be broke...


    EDIT: I also noticed the boost maxes out at .5 and should get close to 1. Is this the computer holding boost down because of the P0240?
    Last edited by dsmithwc04; 07-02-2012 at 02:51 PM.

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    This was my plug. Tranny fluid looked good at dipstick but what came out of the tranny was more grey and dark and not the amber color it should have been. There were no chunks even though it looks as if there is. Smeared it on a paper towel and didn't see any small particles at all, just fine metal powder that is to be expected.

    Now comes the next question. I have 2 qts of Redline 75w90 (GL-5 certified) and .7qts of Redline MTL. Except for the obvious 1 qt more fluid needed, would these work? I've heard only use 75w90ns but what is the difference if it says GL-5 certified right on the label?

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    i have an 02 and when im at high rpms and let off the trans kinda whines and makes noise but i think most 02-03's do that. the evap emissions code for me was a little blue T connector that came undone. its around the left corner of the intercooler around there but a little closer to the front of the car. check to make sure all hoses are on there and that can cure your evap code. ill try to find a picture of it

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    Subaru gas cap code blue t connector p0457 image by ryun84 on Photobucket

    theres a picture i found. just check the connections on that blue t connector. worth a shot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zax View Post
    I had very bad experiences with Redline synthetic gear oil. Subaru Extra-S is the best thing that happened to my transmission. I have used it ever since.
    What was your bad experience? Was it with 75w90 or with 75w90ns. I hear that 75w90 redline causes issues but redline 75w90ns is good for subies. Actually, it says "great for transaxles.... including subaru's" where they don't recommend 75w90 as it has a different "slickness to it" that can cause gear chatter, rough shifting, etc... Please let me know if as I'm very curious. The Extra S is only sold by 5 gallon jugs ($188). I think since 75w90ns says subaru transaxle on it I will try it unless that is what you had issues with.

    Ruh Roh, thanks for that pic. I checked that blue tee connection and it looked good. I did notice that when I filled up with gas it only takes a little gas at a time and then filler pump will auto shut off like the tank is full but it really isn't. Does that mean its the evap canister or tubing? Which tubes could cause that?

    BTW: I really like the description "big round thing" on that pic. Very descriptive. LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by dsmithwc04 View Post
    What was your bad experience? Was it with 75w90 or with 75w90ns. I hear that 75w90 redline causes issues but redline 75w90ns is good for subies. Actually, it says "great for transaxles.... including subaru's" where they don't recommend 75w90 as it has a different "slickness to it" that can cause gear chatter, rough shifting, etc... Please let me know if as I'm very curious.
    I used 75w90NS. Caused a LOT of 3rd and 5th gear synchro grind between shifts. After about 1500 miles, I pulled the Redline oil out and replaced it with Uncle Scotty's ****tail (there's a lot of controversy about this blend). I have been using Subaru Extra S ever since. Best transmission fluid out there IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by dsmithwc04 View Post
    The Extra S is only sold by 5 gallon jugs ($188)
    Officially, yes. However, there are some dealerships that will unofficially bottle 1-gallon jugs. You just have to find the right dealership or hookup. PM me and I'll give you the details.
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    Okay, so just to see if fluid would do anything at all I put in some valvoline 75w90 conventional high performance. Drove it for about 50 miles and heard no difference in noise. It is more audible with windows down for sure and sounds like a seized bearing would sound like. I would think maybe throwout bearing but it is louder in 5th than other four gears. It doesn't have a problem going into and out of gears so I don't think its the syncros. Maybe the trans is junk, I don't know... What do you guys think?

    Also, I got on it and noticed it the boost got up to .9 BAR (13 psi) so that is good. I thought maybe the P0420 was somehow related to low boost but I just wasn't getting on it enough past 1st gear.

    BTW: you talked me out of redline 75w90NS. Heard the Valvoline is good on short periods in warm weather so gave it a shot.

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    Are you judging this based off sound alone? My transmission makes all sorts of racket when in gear accelerating and decelerating. It has for 40K miles.
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    Really? It is decently loud in 5th going 65mph+.

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