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2008 Outback 3.0 with P0021 error code


retep130

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Hi guys, I have a P0021 error code that I cant seem to get rid of. Car is a 3.0R 2008 Outback with 200,000km. It is bank 2 Camshaft Position 'A' Timing Over Advance, the common solutions to this error seem to be to remove the banjo filters feeding the VVT solenoid, replace the oil, and replace the VVT solenoid at the front of the car. So far I have done all of these things, but the problem still returns. I have compared all the solenoids, including the 2 at the back of the heads and they all move in the same manner, including the old solenoid which I replaced. The car has become slightly harder to start compared to several months ago, like 2 seconds starting time instead of 0.5s start, and when driving along when it is cold it can stall if you take your foot completely off the accelerator, and the rpm wanders plus or minus 300rpm with your foot in a static position. Still has plenty of power when you put your foot down though.

The banjo bolt filter was not clogged at all. I have also checked the MAF sensor and given it a slight clean, as well as the throttle plate, as I have heard they can cause some rpm wandering issues. The oil was not due for replacement but I still did it just in case, there was no debris in it. The car doesnt have any unusual noises and the fuel consumption has not changed much/at all. Seeing as its at 200,000. I have changed sparkplugs, accessory belt and tensioners, and air filter reasonably recently, but didnt notice any great difference. Actually I had a oil changing business change my transmission and diff oils, I then went away on a long trip and the problem happened very soon after that, maybe they damaged something

I have read many forum posts, where the person either solves the problem with one of the main solutions, or their problem seems super hard to figure out, although luckily I dont have a turbo to worry about

What else could it be?

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  • Admin

Have you reset the ECU after trying these fixes?

 

I'm not super familiar with the H6’s but on the GT’s you can swap the OCV’s between sides. If the same, you should give that a go and see if the fault remains the same or swaps to bank 1.

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Are you completely sure you swapped the one on bank 2?

Do you have a tactrix cable? Might need that to do some logging including ocv duty and advance degree which when overlayed shows if one is truly causing issues.

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bank 2 is passenger side (in NZ) and the P0021 error relates to the solenoid at the front of the engine I understand, correct me if I am wrong

 

I dont have a tactrix cable, where do people normally get them around here?

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How do I see the parts for sale section? I want some sweet 16x7 5x100 +30 rims but they are so hard to find. My outback is lifted 1" with all terrains, but has +53 at the moment and would so much cooler with good offset wheels

Edited by retep130
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  • 4 weeks later...

I havent yet received the aliexpress tactrix cable, but I have fitted a new solenoid to the drivers side, which in theory should be a P0011 error. At the moment it appears the problem has gone away, so seems like drivers side solenoid was bad, and made passengers side act badly to compensate? So if you are going to replace them, best to do both at once. They are pretty cheap from rockauto to NZ. I will still test the solenoids once the cable arrives to see how they look

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  • 2 weeks later...

Problem came back again with P0021 + now P0011, and my tactrix arrived, so I was checking out the tactrix with battery on, without engine running, and the radio died, then car wouldn't start. I instantly thought my aliexpress tactrix had bricked my car, but alas, it appears it was a dying battery. So I have now replaced the battery as it was reading low, alternator appears to be charging correctly. Will continue to monitor...

 

Aliexpress tactrix was amazing though, jesus you can do everything with that, although I found information is not straight forward for myself as a non car hacker. ECUflash and romraider are the 2 programs I think you want. I didn't do any logging yet, or make any changes, just checked stuff out. Seems legit though

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OK, still not fixed. This is super frustrating. The car now has a new battery, but starting is hard, some times, you need to stop and redo the key input to get it to start. And I have had P0021 error show up one more time. I will put the tactrix cable into the car and see about doing some logging this weekend, otherwise going to have to take the car into subaru

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Do some logging to compare the ocv duty against cam angle. That's the next best step to take. 

Should be able to see them follow each other, or you'll see the angle sitting advanced without needing as much duty as the other side.

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I did some logging, there is virtually no vvt advance angle on either bank, maximum was 2 degrees, but both the same. OCV duty cycles were the same and changed value from around 10% to 55%. I think a mechanic is the next port of call, I'm all out of ideas. Winger sublabs in east tamaki?

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Mechanic is probably the best bet at this point. Could try cranking the car over with the lines removed from the OCV’s to see if any oil is actually flowing through them.

 

@sleepr was having some issues that replacing the cam wheels helped with. Don't think it applies to your issue in the same way though. 

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Yea my issues were avcs being intermittent and not respecting the target table. Which came down to the cam pulleys, apparently it is common practice to replace the cam pulleys when rebuilding a engine. I didn't change mine when my first engine ran BEB and I didn't have the screen filters, so def some metal would've gone through it. You can rebuild them however, but its a process.

 

Here is a link on how to: https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2713834

 

Also the avcs doesn't work when the engine is cold. The coolant temp/oil temp will need to be > 70-80 degrees. So I would suggest warming up the vehicle and then taking it for a drive and log and see if the avcs behaves.

 

Edited by sleepr
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  • 1 month later...
On 11/07/2019 at 4:40 PM, sleepr said:

Yea my issues were avcs being intermittent and not respecting the target table. Which came down to the cam pulleys, apparently it is common practice to replace the cam pulleys when rebuilding a engine. I didn't change mine when my first engine ran BEB and I didn't have the screen filters, so def some metal would've gone through it. You can rebuild them however, but its a process.

 

Here is a link on how to: https://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2713834

 

Also the avcs doesn't work when the engine is cold. The coolant temp/oil temp will need to be > 70-80 degrees. So I would suggest warming up the vehicle and then taking it for a drive and log and see if the avcs behaves.

 

 

 

I feel like this 'how to' is missing some bits, like how to get them out of the engine in the first place...

 

Anyway, update is that I have taken the car to winger greenlane twice now, for a total of $750, and the lights have now come back on again. First time cost $200 where they told me the rear solenoids (no relation to my error codes) were sticky so cleaned them, inspected a bunch of things and that was it. Second $550 they changed the oil as they told me I had fitted hte wrong grade of oil, 5w40 instead of 5w30 and drove it twice... and it came back less than a week later. I have done a bunch of research and I cant find anything that says 5w40 gives trouble, but many people seem to run it. But anyway, I have now booked it in again, for the 7th of October, these guys really need to get more service ability if they are always this damn overloaded, its garbage. Winger east tamaki was even worse for booking time.

 

I'm not particularily interested in spending lots more money at this point on an 11 year old car with 200k on the clock, so will start doing more research on fixing the problem myself.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have just dropped the car off the what I think will be the last time, if they dont fix it this time I will take it elsewhere. I had a quick chat to the mechanic who worked on the car as the stupid middleman of a receptionist wasnt there, and he mentioned that P0021 and P0011 codes related to the oil solenoids at the back of the engine, near the firewall. I know this is incorrect, and have just rechecked my research to confirm it. So lets see what they say this time. Winger Greenlane, what a bunch of wallies

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On 7/10/2019 at 5:26 PM, retep130 said:

they wanted $900 or 6 hours labour to remove the oil lines feeding the solenoids and clean them out, with no idea on future issues if it wasnt solved. I will have to sort this out myself

Hey any luck

I have been avoiding winger purely for the above..... Expensive! 👎

Edited by ACE3.0R
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I will look at cleaning out the lines this weekend myself, but I doubt anything will come of it. I removed one of the banjo filter previously and it was clean, as to be expected.

 

also, been a long time since I used a mechanic, but $150/ hour charge out rate is f***ing wild.

Edited by retep130
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OK, so I had a look at this. I did a bunch more reading and didnt find out anything that revealed an immediate answer. I decided to log my vvt angles, interestingly when I first tried logging I was getting 0 or maybe up to 3-4 degrees movement on each cam, which I thought was not correct. I thought maybe in its limp mode it may have disabled the VVT and it turned out to be correct, so I reset the ECU to remove the error codes, then the VVT started working where I could actually log it via romraider.

 

What it showed was the original error of the LH bank playing funny games and lagging behind the RH cam. So I switched over the OCV solenoids, even though both are new, just to check, and same results. So at this point its either a clogged pipe causing slow oil feed or the AVCS is not working properly. So as per what subaru were going to do, I removed the external pipe this morning to inspect it, I did not expect anything TBH, as its a single pipe with no restrictions in it, and I was proven correct, no blockages anywhere. When I removed the pipe 50mm or so oil came out so I put a clean oil pan below it to catch the oil, I didnt really look in the oil pan but something caught my eye in the sun, and that was a bunch of fine, non metallic material. Uh ohhhh. Interesting I didnt see it when I did my oil change, and subaru didnt see it when they changed the oil, but anyway, doesnt matter now.

 

So I pulled the plugs and did a compression test, 5 cylinders where from 155-175psi and one cylinder was 135 psi, and 4 of the 6 plugs were a little bit oily (less than 10,000km old too). I changed over the cam angle sensors to see if anything changed, although I think there are different error codes when a bad sensor is detected. I then took it for another drive and logged what happened, the VVT angles were much closer, although im not sure why, could be that I disloged something, or the sensor was playing up a little bit, but still not completely solved. Ideally I would have changed only one thing at a time, but I dont have that much patience.

 

Anyway, my current theory is that at some point the engine has run out of oil, and a bearing, probably on the low psi cylinder has started disintegrating, but was caught before the engine was blown up, that put a bunch of fine debris into the motor which has by chance gotten into the LH AVCS unit which makes it move slower/erratically. So now the bearing is slowly dissappearing and putting more debris into the engine which is what I found today. Solution is really that the engine needs to come out and be rebuilt with new bearings, and everything cleaned of fine debris including both AVCS units. I could replace/repair the laggy AVCS unit but it wouldnt solve the debris getting into it straight away and repeating the problem. Any other ideas?

 

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I just checked the pre inspection report I got done on the car a bit over a year ago. Cylinder 6, which is now 135psi was almost 175 psi and was one of the higher readings. And when I removed the banjo filter a few months ago there was no debris in it. The engine never ran out of oil or leaked during my ownership, so not sure what may have caused this s***

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