Monday, May 29, 2017

The Subaru Throttle Body.. Revisited!

Another Adventure with the Great Ethan Allen....  This time with a happy ending!

So the actual story begins a few days ago when Cheryl's parents came to visit.   Subie decided to act up and give us a scare;  forcing us to leave him behind and worry for the remainder of the day about his condition.   Turns out,  we had just fueled up and he had stalled (typical lately)  but I somehow managed to do the "secret handshake"  for Subaru.   ( I'm not 100% positive, but it is not impossible.)

Dying to know?   Here it is:
1) Warm up the engine
2) Turn the ignition switch OFF
3) Turn the ignition switch ON
4) Start the engine
5) Drive the vehicle at speeds greater than 12 MPH
6) Stop the vehicle
7) Depress the brake pedal and move the gear selector to "1"
8) Turn the ignition switch to OFF
9) Turn the ignition switch to ON
10) Move the gear selector to "2"
11) Move the gear selector to "1"
12) Move the gear selector to "2"
13) Move the gear selector to "3"
14) Move the gear selector to "D" 
Now examine the AT Oil Temp light again:
If the light's blinking 4 times a second, then the problem is most likely a power supply or ground problem.
If the light's blinking 2 times a second, then the TCM believes all is normal.
If the light's on solid or not on at all, then there's a problem with the light's circuit.

New Idle Control Switch
I do know in my panicked state, I dropped the switch all the way down to 1st gear instead of park. (I was at a stop light when it happened.)  Had I triggered the flashing "Oil Temp" light?   I will never know...but I checked the oil ( which was fine) and I have not been able to trigger that event again.  I did not know that I should have been counting the blinks,   if that was even significant.

VERY dirty Throttle Body. Engine side.
Regardless!   We had a pretty good time with the folks and when we finally got home, there was a part on the door waiting for us.    The Idle Control sensor that Cheryl had ordered several days ago.  I decided to put it in that night ( only two screws!) and BOOM!   Idle and stalling fixed!

Air side,  Still dirty after my first attempt
However,  I still have a sticky pedal for the gas and I wanted to see if I could clean up that dirty Throttle body.  Today was just the thing!

Idle Valve seat.  Still needs work
I managed to get the darn thing off easy enough. This was quite an achievement for me because I did not break anything. No broken hoses or electrical plugs.  With the throttle Body off,  I was able to see the grime that was causing the sticking.

After an hour of scrubbing and wiping.   Much better!

Q-tips and toothbrush for small areas
All that Carbon build up is a serious problem to get off!   I use the cleaner,  but it only "loosens" the carbon for about 5 seconds before it solidifies again.  I took the better part of the afternoon to do the best job I could.  I had to wipe the crud off with a towel before it dried back on the housing.  Rather time consuming.  Spray spray,  Scrub scrub, wipe wipe.  Repeat.

Idle Valve seat looks better now. 

Buff up Hose mounts
In the end, all those years cleaning weapons in the Army paid off.   I used Q-Tips to get the narrow areas and a toothbrush to loosen up the stubborn parts.  Much better!

New Gasket.  In case I need it.

Hidden Location!
Old and New PVC valve.
The unanswered question is:  " How did it get this dirty to begin with?"  Long story short.   PVC for the oil.   This took a bit of work, but I managed to get the darn thing off.   ( A serious story in itself,  but this post is getting too long.)  Replaced that and the hose that leads to the throttle.  Two jobs done!

But does Subie work?   YES!   No more sticky gas pedal,  No more rough idle.  I would like to think I fixed other problems, but I'm just happy Subie does not have that junk blocking up his airways.  And best of all,   I did it myself with out causing further damage.   As the Doctors say:   Do no harm first.

Now onto the Power-steering hoses ( dry rotted) and maybe the Purge Valve Solenoid. ( if I can find it)    Fixing Subie one small part at a time.   Another adventure success!   Yeah Me!

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