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Subaru Outback '03 lugging and smelling

I have an "03 subaru Outback, with 164,000 miles on it. I have had a bad cat convertor for one and a half years, but up until a week ago, the car ran fine. My mechanic(s) said not to fix it until inspection, and then decide whether to ditch the car, or repair it. One week ago, the car was very infrequently lugging and missing, but only for a few seconds. It only for about 6 times, smelled like gas coming out the rear of the car. I don’t know what to do about it. I took it to the mechanic, who said it could be many different things, but not the convertor causing symptoms . He said: fuel injectors, gas coils, plugs, all sorts of stuff. I am concerned now, because I just put a lot of money into it, and would like to keep it, but don’t want to spend tons more on it. I LOVE my subby, but maybe enough is enough? Also the smell.

What’s a girl to do? I am concerned driving it because of the missing.

help, and thanks!!!

Someone should be able to diagnose the misfire for you, and it may be a simple fix like new spark plugs or plug wires. When’s the last time you had those replaced?

Did your mechanic check for stored codes? You can take it to Auto Zone, etc, and they will check for codes for free. If there are any, write down the exact code in P0123 format.

What to do? Pay your mechanic to diagnose and fix it. If he doesn’t want to mess with it, find someone who will. Check the “Mechanics Files” section of this site for a recommended local mechanic.

A plugged up cat can cause these symptoms. They would usually be most noticed at first anyway during acceleration, esp heavy accelerations. Does that correspond? If so, it is probably worth it to ask your mechanic to do a cat back pressure test, which will say “yes” or “no” to this. Another idea is to temporarily remove the cat and see if that solves the problem on a test drive. If it did you’d know for sure a new cat is what you need.

If your mechanic is sure it isn’t the cat, then he’s right, more testing is required. Starting with running the car-computer’s diagnostics and outputting the DTC’s (trouble codes) as mentioned by @jesmed above. Just replacing stuff at random is a possibility, but sometimes you run out of money before you find the symptom. So back to your experienced mechanic for more tests is probably the best bet. If the routine maintenance is behind schedule, now is a good time to bring all that up to date too. That could in fact be the cause of the problem.

@sariglaze…I think @GeorgeSanJose is right. A bad cat will definitely cause the symptoms you are describing. When it plugs up completely the engine will not longer start. Just a heads up.