Here is a summary:
Cars are dumb
Flat engines are SUPER dumb
Whoever decided to start stuffing flat engines in cars SHOULD HAVE RUSTY SCREWS SLOWLY TWISTED UNDER THEIR FINGERNAILS
And yet, I can’t be fully mad because THE MISFIRE IS GONE!
The Outback developed a severe misfire a couple weeks back that would come on whenever I tried to unleash a little extra go-baby-go. Engine would shake and sputter like it was about to die, car would lurch, check engine light would start flashing, but as soon as you got back off the throttle the light would go out and the car would happily proceed as if nothing happened. Talked to a friend at the rally who suggested I start by replacing the plugs. Managed to do the plugs in cylinders 1 and 2 (this requires removing the air intake, air pump, and ducting from the air pump), but even my most creative swearing wasn’t enough to convince the coils in 3 and 4 to clear the frame so I could get to the plugs. Gave up once it started getting dark, buttoned it up, and to my joy and surprise she was her lively self again on the drive home. Still need to hand the car off to someone with better swear words to get the two remaining plugs done, because they’re due, but it’s a massive relief to now know what the problem was and have it fixed (and for cheap).