View Full Version : Dead Battery = runs rough and check engine

12-07-2009, 07:49 PM
Hello all,

I have a 1999 Forester with 116,000 miles. The car was running just fine before I went on vacation. When I got home and walked up to the car about two weeks later I saw that the door was slightly ajar. It was probably ajar enough to have the dome light come on. And sure enough the battery was stone dead.

So I charged the battery for a while. As soon as I hooked up the charger the four way flashers started flashing even though they should not have been on. I had seen this before and on the previous ocaision a subaru service department had advised me to do the following: 1. disconnect the negative terminal on the battery 2. Insert the key in the ignition and turn it on 3. reconnect the negative terminal. I was told this would reset the computer and the last time it did make the flashing lights go away. So I did it again and it did make the flashing lights stop.

After charging the battery for a while, I started the engine. The check engine light came on and it idled rough. I tried runnin it around town for a while and even after a good warm up it continued to run rough, be seriously down on power, idle rough and check engine light still on.

Since the car was running fine before the dead battery and all these problems now, I figure the two things have to be related, right???? Is there some magic combination like the key and the negative terminal thing? The battery is pretty old and even though it will now start the car no problem it still probably needs replacement. Could that be an issue?

I really do not want to spend a lot of money on this old car but it's what I use to tow the snowmobile trailer and winter is about here. What can i do?

Please help! thank you.

Strut Mcphearson
12-11-2009, 10:44 PM
you need to have your cars computer scanned for the reason your check engine light is on
Have a nice day Strut

Strut Mcphearson
12-11-2009, 10:47 PM
One other thing you can try is leave you battery diconnect for a while then turn your key on and reconnect the battery

12-12-2009, 06:09 PM
One other thing you can try is leave you battery diconnect for a while then turn your key on and reconnect the battery

Thanks for the reply. Tried the key/battery thing. I had tried it before with no luck but realized I had left the negative terminal loose. Tried it again and this time tightened it down properly. Didn't help so unfortunately its off to the shop with it.

I'm getting to be kind of disappointed in this car. We have had it since it was new and about the time it had 100K miles it started acting up and costing a lot of money about once a year. We always see so many ancient beat up subaru's on the road with a zillion miles so we thought that this one had a number of years left in it - particularly since we only drive it about 4K miles a year these days. The brakes are a consistent source of problems, weird electrical problems and more windshields than I have ever put in a car before. Then throw in poor/uneven tire wear. Ours must be a lemon.

12-14-2009, 02:42 PM
Well, ended up taking it to a local shop (not a Subaru Dealer). They checked my battery and said that even though its 4 years old, its still good. Cudos to the shop since I was prepared to buy a new battery and they could have easily sold me one - so I'll take this as a sign of honesty.

What they said it needed to cure the problem was to clean the throttle bodies and other bits of the fuel system. I don't have the invoice in front of me but that's what they said. For this they charged $99.00. And what do you know? Its now running like new and the check engine light is gone. So I assume they must know what they are talking about. Whatever they did, they made it run right, which is what counts. And I know from past experience that our local Subaru dealer would have charged me $100 just to hook it up to their analyzer and clear the codes.

The other thing I had them check was the brakes. They seemed to be taking a lot of effort at the pedal even though it had new pads and rotors turned about 7K miles ago. They inspected the brakes and did not see anything wrong. They said the calipers were getting old and would need to be replaced sooner or later but were good for now. So they put it back together and test drove it and said they appeared to be working properly. When I got it back there seemed to be a noticeable improvement even though they did not do anything. I'm not sure how this could be??? Could something about the act of taking the wheels off and putting them back on that made a difference? Anyway, they did not charge me for the inspection - probably because I was buying a set of 4 tires at the same time and they were already going to have the wheels off for that.

Anyway, I'm happy with my Subaru again! Particularly since the first snowmobile trip of the winter will be this weekend and its the only thing I've got that can tow the snowmobile trailer.