Subaru Forester 2003...Anyone else have this problem-engine suddenly dies?

70

Asked by May 06, 2015 at 11:49 AM about the 2003 Subaru Forester

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Check Engine light on response OBDII Code "PO519 SUBARU" pointed to faulty Idle Air Control Valve, Vacuum leak, Idle Control Valve harness open or shorted, Idle Control circuit connection as the possible solutions to this issue. Subaru Forester 2003. The engine suddenly and completely died as I turned a corner on a road out in the desert - no power, brakes, and super stiff to turn. Started up again immediately, but the check engine lights went on.  Suddenly died and the check engine light came on. It was paved, not steep, but I had just driven over a 100 yards of gravel road. It happened again going downhill on an extreme grade, curvy mountain pass after I downshifted to second and pulled over at a cutout to let vehicles pass. The check engine light stayed on long enough to check the problem on his OBD (In the mountains far away from my home). The local mechanic said it was a complex layer of possible issues, even serpentine belt. But he was so unclear and it was very expensive and maybe it wouldn't correct the problem, he said. He did clean out the Idle control valve. The check engine light is off now most of the time. Does come on after I drive for long periods of time. I'm afraid this issue will happen again in a very dangerous circumstance, yet I am also not willing to believe a problem "maybe" could be fixed by  a multitude of things. Thank you for your replies. PS Mileage 153,000.

5 Answers

5,975

I have an 03 and 04 forester and I've not had this issue yet. Have you checked subaruforester.org or NASIOC yet? I didn't think the IAC's were very expensive for these.. like 30 bucks range? IAC's do go bad and will either stick open and make you look like an idiot at red lights because the engine is revving and idling and revving and idling out of your control. Or it will stick shut and turn off the engine because of a lack of air. Additionally, if you unplug your IAC (some older cars you can and it will still run) but the ECU needs the input and will turn off. I am not a tech nor engineer, so I can't explain the design there, electrically or mechanically or other. However, you might try some circuit cleaner (dissipates extremely rapidly with low residue) that you can pick up at auto zone / advance / other and clean that connector. Maybe you just have a weak/dirty connection. The best thing to do is start cheap/simple and work your way up. I'd also suggest a cheap ebay manual (e-version, buy, get the code, download the manual) or research google images to trace that wiring loom to see if it is near anything that could pinch/cut one of those wires. Additionally, you could check the resistance per wire if you know where the next connector is and your multimeter reaches. "vacuum leak" sounds interesting.. is that AT the IAC or just a vacuum leak in general? I think the IAC is a very small piece with two internal holes with a spring loaded valve, basically. Older vehicles used hoses. Unless the gasket is flawed. You could try turning on your car and spraying some of that cleaner on the matting edges and see if the idle raises. Additionally, you'll want to make sure that there is not a vacuum leak in the intake tubing because your sensors at the front end are inputing one value and your IAC may be trying to offset the leak? Like the mechanic said, potentially there are a lot of variables. Cheap and simple first.

Best Answer
5,975

and like you said at the end.. it's not fixed by many things, but fixed by one of many things.

70

Thank you so much, Walth. This is very helpful and clear. I will print out and study it some more, eventually get back here. Starting with simple first. Thanks again. I think the sticking shut and dying is more the case. Oxygen at higher altitudes could affect the "mountain pass" incident; and the gravel dust the other "desert road" . I like learning this and working on it as best I can to be informed before I talk again to a mechanic. It's a girl thing, really - try to get myself up to speed so I can talk intelligently with a mechanic and help solve the issue. Only fair on both sides. So thanks, again, so very much.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
5,975

Glad to help. Kudos to you for getting into all the lingo and getting your hands dirty. I'll be here and get notifications to replies. Also, check rockauto.com for discounted parts and then compare to ebay, etc. RA is great if you are getting multiple things from the same distribution center / same shipping route. You can figure out interchange parts on RA as well. A huge favorite of mine!! tootles

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
70

Thanks for the reply. Appreciate your support.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Your Answer

Add photo

Related Questions

  • Subaru died suddenly 3 answers

    Dear Car Gurus, Hi! I hope you all are having a nice day. I was too, till my car suddenly make a screeching noise and just died on the road. It sounded like I drove over some garbage thrown on the r...

    2003 Subaru Forester XS

    -

    Maintenance & Repair

  • Has anybody had problems with excessive oil consumption in the 2015 Subaru Forester? 368 answers

    I would like to buy a 2015 Subaru Forester in the next few months, but I'm concerned about the excessive oil consumption I keep reading about in older models and I know a class action lawsuit was file...

    2015 Subaru Forester 2.5i

    -

    Maintenance & Repair

  • SUBARU FORESTER vs ? 5 answers

    I'm in the market, unfortunately, for a new car, (my Sequoia nearly killed myself and daughter due to an unknown frame rot- whole different story)- anyway, he was advised Forester was the way to go,...

    Subaru Forester

    -

    Maintenance & Repair

  • Why does Subaru have a reputation for building reliable cars? 204 answers

    I recently became aware that my 2001 Forester has a leaking head gasket and a bad wheel bearing. Although the vehicle is 12 years old, it has only 95,000 miles and has been meticulously cared for (I ...

    2001 Subaru Forester S

    -

    Maintenance & Repair

  • SUBARU FORESTER vs ?? 4 answers

    I'm in the market, unfortunately, for a new car, (my Sequoia nearly killed myself and daughter due to an unknown frame rot- whole different story)- anyway, he was advised Forester was the way to go,...

    Subaru Forester

    -

    Shopping & Pricing

Forester

Looking for a Used Forester in your area?

CarGurus has 22,778 nationwide Forester listings starting at $1,499.

ZIP:

Search Subaru Forester Questions

Subaru Forester Experts

#1 Nick Eidemiller
Nick Eidemiller
Reputation 3,510
#2 walth
walth
Reputation 2,820
#3 lifeson34
lifeson34
Reputation 2,460
View All

Related Models For Sale

Used Subaru Outback
299 Great Deals out of 29,744 listings starting at $1,200
Used Honda CR-V
813 Great Deals out of 59,357 listings starting at $1,200
Used Toyota RAV4
640 Great Deals out of 61,978 listings starting at $2,450
Used Subaru Impreza
176 Great Deals out of 13,338 listings starting at $1,817
Used Subaru Legacy
206 Great Deals out of 16,085 listings starting at $1,300
Used Subaru Impreza WRX
38 Great Deals out of 1,140 listings starting at $1,500
Used Toyota 4Runner
320 Great Deals out of 20,548 listings starting at $2,295
Used Toyota Highlander
481 Great Deals out of 25,067 listings starting at $1,500
Used Ford Escape
1,110 Great Deals out of 90,469 listings starting at $1,295
Used Toyota Tacoma
616 Great Deals out of 35,102 listings starting at $2,155
Used Subaru Impreza WRX STi
29 Great Deals out of 584 listings starting at $9,000

Used Cars For Sale

2017 Subaru Forester For Sale
14,622 listings starting at $20,970
2016 Subaru Forester For Sale
46 Great Deals out of 1,323 listings starting at $16,999
2015 Subaru Forester For Sale
63 Great Deals out of 1,737 listings starting at $12,491
2014 Subaru Forester For Sale
47 Great Deals out of 1,506 listings starting at $7,900
2013 Subaru Forester For Sale
11 Great Deals out of 352 listings starting at $8,821