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Legacy Wagon: No Spark


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I have a very early Legacy Wagon AWD with the EJ22 5speed. Plate says it was manufactured in 1989. I got the car years ago from someone my Dad worked with. It was not running when I got it and it's no cherry. The car was sitting for several years so it needs several perishable parts. Faded paint too but no major rust.

After messing around with it my Dad and I got it to run off of spraying gas right into the intake. We found the fuel pump to be bad so we bought a replacement pump, filter, and we dropped the tank to clean it since it had been sitting for a while. Once we got everything back together, it still doesn't run. Now it gets fuel and has no spark. That was maybe three years ago.

Over the next few years I tried replacing the crank sensor, cleaning ground wires, checking the relays way under the dash, and tracing voltages to the computer. I remember when I was checking computer voltages something didn't read right but I have forgotten what since then. I checked the voltages against what the factory service manuals for 1990 say, but I don't know if the computer is the same for 89 and 90. A lot of cars get refined after the first year. Maybe I am missing something else to check or look for.

It's so strange how it ran and had spark before replacing the fuel pump and within a month it did not run after replacing it. I have been pretty discouraged on fixing it especially with the mess of wires it has under the dash surrounding the computer. I am considering going with a carb and distributor setup I've read about in forums where people swap them into VWs or dune buggies.

This is sort of a last ditch effort to find what's wrong with it before going to a carburetor. I would much rather have the EFI for its benefits and keeping the car original, but I don't want to spend tons of money on it to repair the EFI or get a new computer unless I know for sure it's the culprit.

 

Long and short of it: '89 EJ22 has loses spark after replacing fuel pump and dropping tank. Any ideas why this happened? Anything else to check for as far as a no spark situation? I'd appreciate any help or input to fix this car. Thanks

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,

Late to reply.... I had a '90 that I did a bunch of mods to. It was an Automatic (originally).

 

FWIW, the '90-'91 5-speed models had a different MAF (metal like the '91-'94 Turbos vs. plastic for practially every other '90-'98/'99 Subaru), injectors and IAC (idle air control) valve. And presumably a specific ECU/ECM. If the VIN starts with 'J' it's Japan made, a '4' means USA...which likely doesn't matter much.

 

Did you try to access the stored codes using the Black connectors under the dash?

http://legacycentral.org/library/literature/codes.htm

(Assuming the CEL light comes on with the Key On>Engine Off.)

 

This site's forum is a wealth of knowledge and moderator/owner of the site is one of the most knowledgeable guys on the planet, Josh Columbo: https://bbs.legacycentral.org/

 

He still monitors the site, so ask your question there and give him a day or 2 to respond.

 

I personally am not sure what the fuel tank has to do w/the loss of spark, but there could be a fuel pump relay or other wiring sensor that turns OFF the spark if there's no signal to the ECU.

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Hi,

Late to reply.... I had a '90 that I did a bunch of mods to. It was an Automatic (originally).

 

FWIW, the '90-'91 5-speed models had a different MAF (metal like the '91-'94 Turbos vs. plastic for practially every other '90-'98/'99 Subaru), injectors and IAC (idle air control) valve. And presumably a specific ECU/ECM. If the VIN starts with 'J' it's Japan made, a '4' means USA...which likely doesn't matter much.

 

Did you try to access the stored codes using the Black connectors under the dash?

http://legacycentral.org/library/literature/codes.htm

(Assuming the CEL light comes on with the Key On>Engine Off.)

 

This site's forum is a wealth of knowledge and moderator/owner of the site is one of the most knowledgeable guys on the planet, Josh Columbo: https://bbs.legacycentral.org/

 

He still monitors the site, so ask your question there and give him a day or 2 to respond.

 

I personally am not sure what the fuel tank has to do w/the loss of spark, but there could be a fuel pump relay or other wiring sensor that turns OFF the spark if there's no signal to the ECU.

 

Thanks for the info. As far as the accessing codes, I'm not sure if I ever tried it as the CEL has never come on. It has sat for a vary long time without a battery so I'm not sure if it would even be saved. I can try though, that doesn't sound hard.

Thanks for the link to Legacy Central. I will start searching on there. At a glance, there seems to be a lot of threads troubleshooting nonrunning cars there.

And for the sensors, I'm not sure where else to look. I may just need to start over on tracing the signal for spark and following the troubleshooting in the manual. The fuel system is working. The pump primes and when it turns over it wets the plugs.

 

@doublechaz as for a rollover sensor, I haven't found anywhere that says this car has one. That would be a good place to look though.

 

Thanks

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Sounds like you have a factory service manual, so that will answer if it has one or not. It may be too early of a year to have one, I'm not sure when they got mandated.
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