Monday, May 8, 2017

Adventures with The Great Ethan Allen And Silver Bullet Subie. The Changing of the Oxygen Sensors.

Oxygen sensor location
O2 Sensor removal tool

I have to admit,  this entire thing made me nervous.  Every time I attempt something that has never been done before ( by Me)  on the Subaru, I feel a little apprehension.  I lack the tools and confidence... mostly the tools, to take on projects that are tough or complicated.   If a bolt breaks, or a part is frozen into place,  I'm sunk.... and so is Subie.

I'm not sure what bad looks like, but this might be it.
And so it goes with that pesky O2 Sensor.   Subie has been stalling at key moments when I try to make left turns (usually in front of a very big truck!) and at fuel ups.   Today, however,  he stalled when we got off the highway.   ( something new.   And scary!)  I have been Stalling by putting the O2 sensor replacement on a back burner even though I have the parts have have thoroughly researched the installation process.

So why am I so Chicken?    Couple of things.   One: The part requires I get under the car.   I lack car jacks, so I ended up using cinder blocks for support.  In case you know even less than I do,   these are not the best things to support your car with.   I know this and did it anyway, which makes me a candidate for a Darwin Award if the darn thing came crashing down on top of me.
Compare. Which one looks better?

Old plug left all the "white parts" inside the female Plug.
Then there is the plugs, electronics, breaking the sensor free, and possibility of damaging something that is not broke.   I have done all of these things at one time or another.  Usually because I did not have the proper tool and was attempting a "work around".  (Or was too stupid to know my own limitations.....)

But, Surprisingly! it all worked out.  I managed to prop up the car without squashing myself,  I removed the tire and was able to access the front 02 sensor and break it free.   Easy!

New O2 sensor installed.

The slight hiccup happened when the plug would not fit.   After several choice words,  a minor fit, a sudden downpour of rain, and a grain of sand in my eye,   I finally figured out that the "guts" of the last plug were stuck inside the female end,  preventing the new plug from seating properly.   One needle nose pliers  surgery later and I was back in business.
Time for the back O2 sensor.

Slightly different.  No problem? 

Then there was the rear O2 sensor.   Slightly more challenging to get it loose, but I managed it.  I was a little concerned that the actual parts did not match up identically,  But the NAPA guys says that should not matter. ( we shall see about that.)
At least the "Pig Tails" match.

No "Check Engine" light!
So,  time for a test run,   Reassemble everything, start up Subie, and take it around the block.   Check Engine Light is GONE! YEAH!

In celebration, we head out for a victory Sundae.  And  half way to Kalona, the Check engine light returns.
Ice Cream!

It's Back!  Like a bad rash.... but at least Subie Runs better.
The good news is,  No stalling,  And we have eliminated 5 codes by changing the O2 Sensors.  Only a P0030 Code remains and we may have to hunt that one down later. Maybe I simply have to wiggle the plugs, who knows.   As long as the O2 Sensors have been replaced and Subie runs without stalling,  I'm OK with it.

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