Mysterious Car Problem

My car is a Subaru Legacy 05. It’s 4 cylinder turbo charged manual as well. Right now, I am having a weird problem. What happens is that I’ll turn on my car, I’ll feel a noticeable tremor/vibration, and then the “check engine” light turns on, the cruise control light starts blinking, and my gas pedal goes limp like the car is turned off.

My solution for about 2 weeks was that I turned my car off and then back on after a few seconds and the problem seemed to resolve itself and it would move again like nothing was wrong except the check engine and cruise control lights were still on. Then after a few car starts, those lights would go away until the car broke again and then the process would repeat.

Recently though, the problem got worse. Now when the car breaks, the clutch also makes strange squeaking noises (almost like grinding noises) when depressed and there is this awful smell that smells kind of like a train/transmission fluid.

A few weeks prior, I also replaced the throttle sensory device to fix this problem, but it seems that it has not worked.

Any ideas?

Throwing parts at it is just going to lighten your wallet. Get the code(s) read. Even if the light goes out, the code remains. Get the code read, format like Pxxxx, and post here for a better analysis.

Okay. I’ll be sure to do that. I probably should’ve done that before… Anyway, I found a post with almost the exact same problem. Think they’re related at all? I was considering printing that discussion and taking it with me to my mechanic’s tomorrow to see if it gives him any ideas:

This is a strange one alright. After looking at some wiring diagrams I am thinking that the ignition switch may be shorting to the START position contacts while in the RUN position. Is it possible the noise you are hearing when the trouble happens is coming from the starter?

That is very possible. My car knowledge is limited, but if that would be near the clutch, then that would make sense. It’s also very possible that I have two problems right now too. The car had 100,000 miles on it already when I bought it off a friend (who kept a flawless maintenance record) so the clutch could very well be worn out too. Overall, when I take this to the mechanic, I think I’m going to ask him to look at the ECU, wiring, and clutch as a start (based on that other discussion page).

I have a similar problem with my 2005 Outback, automatic. I also replaced the TPS and am being advised to replace it again. The codes being thrown are P0122, and a code for the Transmission Control Module and Cruise. Mechanic speculates that the TCM and Cruise codes are just being triggered by the root of the TPS problem. I am unwilling to replace the pedal assembly again without more information. What did you discover with your car?

“check engine” light turns on

That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer. You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code (like P0123) not just their translation into English and post it back here.

What does train transmission fluid smell like?

I Don’t Know, But I Wouldn’t Dare Put My Head Under There To Find Out.
I Think It Smells A Little Like Submarine Transmission fluid.