The Subaru was doing its best to die at the end of this week. First on Thursday it started then stalled in the Rainbow foods parking lot, forcing me to take the bus home (thank you #16 route!) and going with Megan in the Volvo to fetch it. Fortunately it started after sitting for a an hour.
Then on Friday, I smelled a strong raw gas odor when I was on my way to work, and I opened the hood and found gas dripping onto the engine! I looked up information, and I found that Subaru had recalled the 2002-2003 Impreza WRX (the turbo version of our car) for, "fuel seepage during cold start of the engine under extremely cold temperatures." This was due to misaligned and too short fuel lines connected by a too short hose - which was exactly my problem and was what caused it to die on Tursday. So I made an appointment even though Subaru said I wasn't covered by the recall, but they would see what they could do. Meanwhile, the lovely folks on the internet suggested that I simply tighten the clamps holding the hose on since it was so easy to get too. I did in the parking lot, and that fixed it! Yay!
Then, as I pull out of my parking spot, the steering gets really heavy and warning lights start going off all over. It turns out the V-belt tensioner bolt snapped, leaving power steering and the alternator disconnected. This was completely unrelated to the first problem of the day. But I was determined to make it home, and so removed the alternator, got the broken bolt out, walked to the hardware store, bought a new bolt, walked back and put the whole thing together again. I was not going to let that car ruin my day!
So now it is running and starting just fine. I suspect the broken bolt was my fault since I installed the new alternator myself, but I can't be sure. The whole engine was shaking quite badly since 1/2 wasn't getting the right amount of fuel, and that might have had a hand it in too.
I do find it amazing that the entire car can be paralyzed because two small screws were two turns loose each. There is some lesson in that! I plan on completely replacing all the troubled tubing and clamps when the weather warms up.
EDIT: and for future reference and for Google's sake, the recall code and NHTSA Action Number: PE04002 and our car is a 2002 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport