My 1998 Subaru Gas Pedal Seemed To Be Going Backwards

Asked by Apr 16, 2013 at 10:57 PM about the 1998 Subaru Forester

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

On the freeway.  Going 60 mph.  I have a clutch.  The gas pedal seemed to start very slowly/incremently going backwards or not maintaining or increasing speed.  When I think back, it had been doing this over the last month or so here and there.  There was a bit of a plastic or electrical burning smell.  I went up the on ramp and the brakes didn't work for a bit.  I turned around and came back down the off ramp.  The car died along the side of the freeway.  My Forester has been great and I have maintained it well.  This is an aberration and I am flumoxed.  I had it towed to the Subaru dealer who said the computer showed nothing and that  I must have had my emergency break on a bit.  I truly do not believe that was the case.  It decided to drive for the dealet - go figure.  He told me to take it home and driver it around and see what it did.  I called my brother,.  He siad to check the battery and put HEET in the gas take to see if water had gotten into the take.  I brought it home, put HEET  in the take.  I hooked it up to the battery charger.  It needed charged - only 2 yrs of a new 84 mo battery.  It drove for 30 minutes and soundly died.  IWhen I started it it made a sound like a bad starter - grinding.  Next time - battery was totally dead.  So, I got a new battery.  Still no life.  
Any ideas?  There was a bit of a small gurgly pump sound that was new in the last month...
I have a feeling it is the fuel pump, filter, maybe the two of those don't show on the computer...

8 Answers

you need a new throttle position sensor~


The decreasing power on the highway could be a clogged fuel filter. Gunk was not allowing full flow at the higher speeds. It could also be a clogged catalytic converter but I would expect a CEL. -- The dead battery could be caused by a dying alternator or a loose belt. Check the voltage with the engine running. It should be around 14.5 volts.


I don't really understand the gas pedal going backwards.. other than literally and it's just odd. Is it hesitation at speed or resistance? Did anything click when it was dying? Any trouble going up hills? Stall at higher speeds? And now that it is not starting, does it click or -do nothing- when you turn the key to start the car (IGN circuit)? Did you have your old battery tested when you replaced it? After the new battery, does the starter turn the engine over? If not, IMO it is either the starter or a weak enough ground from the engine to the body to keep it from turning the engine over. If you hear a click, that is most likely the starter popping the drive gear over to the driveplate. I would like to know more from Judge-roy on the TPS. Tenspeed, I believe the CEL would flash if the cat was clogged/failing/lack of efficiency. Alt should be 13.5-15.5. Start with cheaper/easier tests. Clean your grounds and grease. check fuel pressure from the tank side (not return - already regulated). keep us posted! good luck


In addition to checking the grounds on the battery, make sure you clean both the battery terminals and the cables to make sure there is no corrosion and/or rust on them. This can create a lot of phantom electrical symptoms including not starting.

used to have a throttle cable now it's the throttle position sensor, where man meets machine there's always going to be trouble...this is one choice example of this theory~


Jeff, I'm not referring to the ground on the battery so much as all the grounds around the engine bay. You can check resistance from the battery to the body and see that they probably don't even need to be touched. The same with positive battery to the main feed to the starter. Probably not the issue. Remember that your spark plugs and injectors need consistent power to keep your engine running, not to mention however many other sensors need that same consistent feed to keep the entire system working without shutting down. Yeah, JudgeRoy, I figured that you were pointing to throttle by wire, but It could be either TPS or the gas pedal. I hope to someday look at how one of those gas pedals function internally.. but it is probably not something very simple since there are so many variations in load. Not like a clutch sensor / NSS to close the fuel circuit. There is probably a test with a DMM on the TPS at varying degrees closed/middle/WideOpen. I don't know which pins/circuits are which though. I2IDi Do you have a Service Shop Manual for your sub?

something that might interest you:>>>> y/724364


^Yikes!! He hit a wall at 45 and never thought to put it in neutral. I know that in the heat of the moment when the brakes don't react, most people don't think of neutral/clutch, sadly.

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