2003 Subaru outback/misfires and backfires when accelerating

My 2003 Subaru Outback (118,000 highway miles) has been missing and backfiring when I accelerate, whether from a stop or when driving. I have taken it into the dealer 3 times with no luck. They have changed the points, replaced the gaskets around the points, replaced the fuel filter… nothing has helped. It’s obvious they can’t figure out what the problem is. It seems to me that those symptoms should be indicative of something fairly specific - am I expecting too much? Any ideas?

Thanks, Maureen

Don’t know much about the Subaru, but does it still have points? Thought that by that year every car already had electronic ignitions.

If it does have points, it should also have a capacitor to these points and this is what could be bad. Had that same problem on a MGB that I had and it was the new capacitor that I had replaced. Replaced it and the porblem was gone.

First off, is the Check Engine Light on? If so, drop by a local AutoZone, Checkers Auto, Advance, etc. and have them pull the codes. They will do this for you free. Post any results back here. This should be your first step.
One would have hoped they would have scanned this vehicle, but…(see below)

I would also sincerely hope there’s a misinterpretation of what is being done here because your car does not even have “points” and I have no idea what “gaskets around the points” are.
Subarus have not had contact point ignition systems for close to 30 years.

No, Ed, Subarus are like every other modern vehicle on the road in that they do not have ignition points. Either the OP needs to improve her listening skills or the dealership likes to use meaningless double-talk when they don’t know how to resolve a problem.

OP–You did not mention anything about the state of this car’s maintenance. If the spark plugs were never replaced, this would be the first place to start, as that maintenance procedure is LONG overdue. You also didn’t mention whether the Check Engine Light is illuminated. With the symptoms that you describe, it would be hard to imagine that the CEL is not illuminated.

Please post back with a summary of the “major” maintenance procedures that you have had done on this car (i.e.–spark plugs, timing belt, etc.) and we can go from there. But, when all is said and done, you will need to go somewhere other than this clueless (and possibly double-talking) dealership for repair.