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'97 Legacy will not start


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34 replies to this topic

#1 Mikevan10

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 07:47 AM

Have not posted here in a while but am back to the well seeking your support.

1997 Legacy Wagon
2.2 liter
Manual trans
Normally aspirated
About 260,000 miles

Car was, and has been, running fine. No issues. No MIL for over a year.

Took it out to run some errands last Wednesday. Drove about 10 miles to first stop. No problems. Car sat for about 10 minutes. Came out. Started and ran fine. Made two other similar stops (drove about a mile between stops). No problems. Made another stop (Home Depot). Car sat for about 15 minutes. Came out. Car started but as soon as I pulled from parking spot it stumbled. I pushed in the clutch to try to "catch" it but could not. It sputtered a couple of seconds and died. When I tried to restart, it cranks fine and "tries" to start. I get maybe one cough or two and nothing. Tried repeatedly to start it but I got maybe a cough at best. I poked around under the hood and looked for any loose electrical connectors. Jiggled all that I saw. Also looked for any disconnected vacuum hoses. I had changed out the second calalytic converter a week ago and had disconnedted the oxygen sensors that straddled the first cat at that time. So I made sure to check and see that these connectors were still together. Seemed fine.

Left car sitting in the Home Depot parking lot since Wednesday. I will go back over today and I assume I will be towing it home. Anything I can check (looking for a miracle) before I hire a towing company for about $75.00?

Troubleshooting suggestions guys?

I'll be in touch!

Thank you!!

Mike V.

#2 1-3-2-4

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 07:56 AM

Did you check the fuel pressure?

#3 derfster

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 08:16 AM

sup guy ive gota 97 lagacy 2.5 gt thats doing the same thing but with some blinking lights and sillinoids.

But might try checking your ignition modual on the firewall with an ohm meter if you dont have any fuel pressure that is.

#4 SuBrat84

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 08:30 AM

Sounds like out of gas / bad fuel pump to me. I would disconnect the fuel line pre-filter, try to start it, and see if you're getting fuel pumping up there.. it's POSSIBLE but unlikely that the fuel filter is clogged up. If fuel is pumping to and through the filter you need to check for sparklies. Good luck.

#5 Mikevan10

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 09:04 AM

Thanks for the comments!

Yeah, I was thinking fuel flow too. I do not have a fuel pressure gage but I can disconnect the line preferably at the outlet of the fuel filter and see if fuel is pumped when the ignition is turned on.

The gas tank is about 3/4 full.

Just did some checking. Looks like my towing bill will be over 100 bucks. Hoping it's my fuel pump fuse....

Thanks again,
Mike

#6 Mikevan10

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 01:39 PM

OK, here is the update:

On Saturday afternoon I went over to the Home Depot where my '97 Legacy sat since last Wednesday. It started right up! No indication of any problem. Drove it home (15 miles) with no indication of any kind of any problem. On Sunday, my wife drove it back and forth to her work (about 3 miles each way). No problems. This morning, my wife went to drive the car and it would not start. Cranks over fine but makes no sign of actually firing.

Suggestions?

#7 OB99W

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 02:19 PM

[...]Suggestions?

Try to determine whether there's lack of spark or lack of fuel. Once you know that, we can make further suggestions.

#8 djmark7

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 02:49 PM

listen for the fuel pump when you turn the key

#9 mikec03

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 03:14 PM

I had the same problem with my 95 subaru. I eventually towed it home. I checked the potential of the electrical problem by squirting some starting fluid into the intake. It ran fine for 30 sec. So that eliminated the electrical problem in my opinion. [I understand the danger of doing this but it's an easy test and I didn't repeat it] Even then I wasn't convinced that it was a gas problem until I went to the hardware and fitted a polyethylene hose to the gas line with a clamp and into a duck taped coke bottle. No gas when I cranked it.

So I went and got a fuel pump assembly from the local junk yard and installed it. Problem solved. Lots of gas into the coke bottle when I cranked it.

Hope your problem is as easily solved although it took me a few days.

#10 salve7

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 03:20 PM

Just a random suggestion but if you have to pay over $80 for a tow you should just call AAA and sign up for one of their packages. I got the the plus package for $99 and it will let me have 3 tows/ service within 200 miles. I got it when I bought an old Land Rover and didn't want to pay $150 to tow it to my house. You can activate and use it in the same day. I am not affiliated with AAA but hate to pay huge tow bills. Hope this helps someone, since I own Rovers I know a thing or two about tow bills :0

#11 twhb

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 03:23 PM

OK, here is the update:

On Saturday afternoon I went over to the Home Depot where my '97 Legacy sat since last Wednesday. It started right up! No indication of any problem. Drove it home (15 miles) with no indication of any kind of any problem. On Sunday, my wife drove it back and forth to her work (about 3 miles each way). No problems. This morning, my wife went to drive the car and it would not start. Cranks over fine but makes no sign of actually firing.

Suggestions?


My Subaru XT has the same symptoms. I looked over all the systems including changing out the ECM and Distributor. I had the local dealer's mechanic look it over (2 hours of labor cost) and he could not find a problem. Of course he could not start it on a regular basis. I noticed yesterday, when trying to start it that the fuel pump seems to have a surging sound. I am wondering if the fuel pump can act erratically?:banana:

#12 Mikevan10

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 03:56 PM

Mikec03 - Was your problem eratic? In other words, did the car start and run perfectly at times and at other times it would not start?

Salve7 - Why do you ask me about combustion gasses in the coolant?


I hope to get a chance to check for fuel flow tonight (if it decides NOT to start, that is).

Thanks again,
Mike v.

#13 mikec03

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 08:51 PM

Mikevan10

No, my fuel pump just failed and stayed failed. It's tough if the problem is intermitent.

#14 SuBrat84

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 09:22 PM

It is REALLY REALLY hard to hear the fuel pump in this car because it is in the tank etc etc. It definitely sounds to me like you having a "dying but not quite dead" fuel pump.. I know it's an expensive thing to throw money at.. Do you know if it's ever been replaced? With your miles I'd say it's about due to die anyway... Next time it's doing the 'wont start' thing.. try flicking your key to the 'on' position for 3-5 seconds then all the way off, then back 'on'; 5 or 6 times before you try to 'start' it. If this helps it start I would be 99% sure it's the pump.

#15 Mikevan10

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 09:26 AM

We may be onto something. When I went down to the Home Depot on Saturday I did listen closely when I turned the key to the "on" position and I did hear the fuel pump run for 2 or 3 seconds. Subsequently, the engine started (much to my surprise). As I said, the car then ran and restarted just fine for a day or so. Then, yesterday, it would not start.

This morning as I was heading out the door to work, I took a second to see if I still heard the fuel pump. I turned the key to the "on" position and could hear NOTHING! I went aheadd and tried to start the engine to no avail. So it sounds like those of you who suspected that mu fuel was not being pumped get a +1!

Next I have to figure out if it is the pump itself or something in the pump electrical circuit. I think we can rule out the fuse so I guess that leaves wiring and, assuming there is one, the fuel pump relay. Correct?

#16 OB99W

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 09:53 AM

[...]Next I have to figure out if it is the pump itself or something in the pump electrical circuit. I think we can rule out the fuse so I guess that leaves wiring and, assuming there is one, the fuel pump relay. Correct?

Yes, there is a fuel pump relay, controlled by the ECU, switching the power to the fuel pump. The ECU and connections directly at it are rarely a problem. Corroded connections elsewhere (especially at the rear) probably occur at least as often as failed pumps. In particular, the ground connection for the pump is a suspect.

#17 Mikevan10

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 10:21 AM

Thanks OB99. I will look at the wiring.

Can someone clue me in as to where the fuel pump relay is located?

Mike V.

#18 OB99W

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 01:10 PM

Thanks OB99. I will look at the wiring.

You're welcome.


Can someone clue me in as to where the fuel pump relay is located?

You have to pull the lower dash panel, drop the TCU, remove the lower pillar trim, drop the fuse box and remove the bracket.

If you don't already have the service manual, get this:
http://www.main.expe...997_Legacy_FSM/

#19 Mikevan10

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 11:25 AM

Thanks again. I do have a factory manual but I did not find where they tell/show you physically where the relay is. The only thing I found (so far) is the wiring harness layout drawing which suggests it is near the "Main Relay" which I know I can access without removing or disassembling anything. Should I find the fuel pump relay in the same vicinity?

#20 Mikevan10

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 11:32 AM

I also have a dumb(er) question: What is the "TCU"?

Thanks again.

#21 OB99W

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 12:08 PM

Thanks again. I do have a factory manual but I did not find where they tell/show you physically where the relay is. The only thing I found (so far) is the wiring harness layout drawing which suggests it is near the "Main Relay" which I know I can access without removing or disassembling anything. Should I find the fuel pump relay in the same vicinity?

I also have a dumb(er) question: What is the "TCU"?

Thanks again.

I'm the one who's feeling dumb right now. I just reread your first post of this thread, and realized that you have a manual trans. The TCU (Transmission Control Unit) is the computer for an automatic. Sorry, that changes things.

The fuel pump relay should be on the same bracket as the main relay, right above it. If we're both looking at the same service manual, try section 2-7, page 32 or so.

#22 Mikevan10

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 05:22 PM

Found it! Page 31 of section 2-7. I need to get more familiar with navigating these manuals...

I will keep you advised of my progress. Very busy now and it gets dark (and cold) so early these days. May not get to it until the weekend.

Thanks!!

Mike V.

#23 1-3-2-4

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 06:08 PM

It is REALLY REALLY hard to hear the fuel pump in this car because it is in the tank etc etc. It definitely sounds to me like you having a "dying but not quite dead" fuel pump.. I know it's an expensive thing to throw money at.. Do you know if it's ever been replaced? With your miles I'd say it's about due to die anyway... Next time it's doing the 'wont start' thing.. try flicking your key to the 'on' position for 3-5 seconds then all the way off, then back 'on'; 5 or 6 times before you try to 'start' it. If this helps it start I would be 99% sure it's the pump.

Dont you hate when it gets dark early now

#24 Mikevan10

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:35 PM

OK guys, sorry to interupt your highjack, but I got a chance to troubleshoot today:

With a voltmeter across the fuel pump connector pins, I get 12 volts for about 2 seconds EVERY time the key is switched from off to on. If I connect the plug back to the fuel pump, it USUALLY does not come on when you turn the key from off to on. However, if I tap on the fuel pump access cover and then turn the key on, it often will run the pump.

Sounds like a dodgy pump to me. What do you think? Does this definitely mean replacement or is there anything that I can "repair" on the pump itself?

If I have to replace the pump, is there a recomended replacement unit? Searching online, it looks like there are many options...

Thanks!

Mike V.

#25 SuBrat84

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:42 PM

Sounds like a dodgy pump. Your "tapping" on it is allowing the brushes to make contact, temporarily, but it sounds like they are done for. I don't know what pumps are compatible.. you might give a junk yard a shot.. the ones around my parts will usually do a fuel pump for 20-30 dollars.. if you can find a 96-99 with the 2.5 dohc with under 150k that might be your best bet for a cheap fix.




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