95 subaru legacy with intermittent engine stop


I am the proud owner of a 1995 Subaru Legacy wagon with the 2.2 litre fuel injected engine with about 190000 miles. For the last 3 months, the engine has stopped totally at random and infrequent intervals. If I am idling at a light, the engine dies, and i can immediately restart it. If the same occurs while driving, it of course lags, then restarts. I am concerned about the danger this may cause if trying to accelerate into traffic. Any thoughts?


I’ll start the ball rolling.

Probably the reason nobody else has tried this one is because there are a plethora of possibilities. Lots of things could make you lose spark, and a bunch of others could make you lose fuel. Either would produce these symptoms.

When was the last time you had a thorough tuneup with new wires and all new filters?


At 190K miles, there are MANY possible causes for your problem. Have you had the car looked at by a mechanic? Is the Check Engine light on?

I’m glad to hear you have 190K, because my '96 Legacy (with the same 2.2 litre engine), now has a little less than 110K, and I’d like to think I can keep driving it for many more years.

If you could provide a bit more information perhaps someone could come up with a suggestion, but what you’ve given us to work with is not really very much.


Filters, wires, etc are fresh. I am more than a little anal when it comes to vehicle maintanence. The effect strikes me as a dead short which lasts less than 2 seconds so far. I would expect a fuel loss to be a little slower in the shutdown of the engine, and wires, unless simultaneous, would leave me running on 2 or 3. I may well have it all wrong. Thanks for your input


This is NOT a cure, but, a generality: in many cars, the ignition module is a prime suspect for this type of behavior. You’ll get a de-merit if you change ANY part reactively. There are tests to be done on all those components. The repair manual tells you how.


I would start the checking by first replacing the fuel pump relay and then the ignition relay.


It depends on the wires. If it’s the wire from the coild (or coil pack) to the distributor, that’ll kill the whole engine. Sometimes if the insulation is shot you can start the engine at night and actually see arcing coming from the wire. But since you’ve changed the wires and filters, the next ignition suspect would be the coil. They can act up when they get heated up.

On the fuel pump, if the pump is putting out insufficent pressure or the pressure regulator is bad, it can result in your symptoms. Fortunately, these items can be readily checked under the hood.

There are numerous other possibilities too, many as simple as a fusible link that’s melted. The metal remains in the insulating jacket (forms bubbles) and, although unusual, can creat an intermittant connection.

I think that since the wires & filters are new I’d probably check the fuel pump pressure and the regulator to eliminate those as suspects and then start looking at the ignition system again. I good heat gun to test thing slike coils can help too.