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flashing check engine light
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Thread: flashing check engine light

  1. #1
    Mapper
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    Default flashing check engine light

    I have a 96 legacy wagon with a 2.2. The check engine light will flash often when I am under a load (up a hill or accellerating) and the car will begin to run very badly and smell like rotten eggs. It may not do it again for an hour or so, but will eventually happen again.
    I love this car. Any advice???

  2. #2
    TSF Top Poster Scorpion8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapper View Post
    ....will begin to run very badly and smell like rotten eggs.
    Sounds like an O2 sensor may be sensing incorrect engine fuel mixture and allowing too much unburned fuel into the catalytic converter. Throttle position sensor perhaps. Does it flash in a discernable repeating sequence? If you have an AutoZone parts place near you they can read out the OBDII code reading for free.
    Last edited by Scorpion8; 12-27-2008 at 01:52 AM.
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  3. #3
    Mapper
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    No real sequence. It usually will begin to run bad, then in about 10 seconds it will start to flash repeatedly. The car will eventually start to run better, usually when I ease up on the gas for a bit, then the light stops flashing. The whole thing lasts for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then it might not happen again for an hour or so.
    It seems to do better on long trips then around town.
    There is an autozone about 100 miles from me. I think I may just buy a scanner on ebay. Seems like it will be useful in the future too.
    Thanks for the insight.

  4. #4
    TSF Top Poster Scorpion8's Avatar
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    Make sure your code reader supports your vehicle. Post-96 vehicles generally had OBD2 with a common D-type plug. Your owner's manual should tell you if it has the plug, and where.

    Does this problem only occur under heavy load like hills, or will it do it on flat runs also? Highway, or around town?
    Retired USN
    94 Subaru Legacy L (RIP); 09 Subaru Forester; 98 Ford Contour GL+; 97 Dodge Ram 1500

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapper View Post
    I have a 96 legacy wagon with a 2.2. The check engine light will flash often when I am under a load (up a hill or accellerating) and the car will begin to run very badly and smell like rotten eggs. It may not do it again for an hour or so, but will eventually happen again.
    I love this car. Any advice???

    Solution= RUN FULLY SYNTHETIC OIL. I have this same car, same engine, same EXACT problem. After a year of research and replacing countless parts I figured out what the problem was.

    This engine has an intermittent problem with the valve guides and the only "fix" with out having a complete valve job done is to run fully synthetic oil. I have put another 50,000 miles on my car since this discovery and still runs fine to this day, now with 272,000miles. The engine will most likely start to leak oil out of every seal, as the synthetic oil cleans deposits around the old seals and then leaks. Mine did this but it keeps the bottom side undercoated, preventing rust. It also only does it when it runs and will only leak/burn 1/2 quart in 3500 miles.

    If the check engine light flashes, shut the engine down as soon as possible. I destroyed my catalytic converter's chemical make up by continuing to drive it when the light was flashing. What happens is the raw fuel makes it into the converter and burns there and damages it, and if you have emmissions laws in your state such as I did, you will have to replace it.

  6. #6
    TSF Top Poster rutech's Avatar
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    Dbrisky is right, whenever the check engine flashes it is telling you that you have a problem with your car that will do damage to your cat. It is a federal emissions thing. I have never herd of running full synthetic to fix that problem, good to know.

  7. #7
    Gardner
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    Default Flashing Check Engine Light

    In the owners manual it says that a flashing check engine light means that there has been a misfire in one of the cylinders. This happened on my car and it was indeed a cylinder misfire. I just put in new plugs and wires so I think its the coils

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gardner View Post
    In the owners manual it says that a flashing check engine light means that there has been a misfire in one of the cylinders. This happened on my car and it was indeed a cylinder misfire. I just put in new plugs and wires so I think its the coils
    You are correct, That is the code that I had. It was a misfire on cylinder two. I changed out the plugs, wires, injector, coil, and did a compression check and everything was ok and none of the parts fixed the problem.

    I believe the misfire comes from the valves sticking and not building proper compression or the combustion cycle not happening the way it should. Believe it or not, synthetic oil fixed the problem. It has not done it in almost two years and 50,000 miles.

    If nothing else it will make a believer out of anyone that is skeptical of synthetic oil and if it is even different from regular oil. It did for me.

  9. #9
    Gardner
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    well that's sweet. Thanks for the info.

  10. #10
    Mapper
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    I am running Mobil 1. I have also changed the plugs/wires/coil. I put on a new knock sensor as well.
    Here is the strange thing....
    Since my original post, I have been driving the car long distances on the highways (150+mile trips). The car runs much better, and during the long trips it runs almost perfect.
    When I run it around town for a while, and especially if it is not warmed up, it runs poorly. Heavy load and hills almost always make it act up.
    Thanks for all the tips. I hope I can find a solution one of these days.

  11. #11
    TSF Top Poster rutech's Avatar
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    Hey mapper, you might want to check your fuel pressure and flow. It needs the most fuel when it is cold and when climbing hills so could be getting a lean missfire. Also make sure your fuel pressure regulator works.

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