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No start: crank, crank, crank, stop


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20 replies to this topic

#1 grossgary

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 01:44 PM

Daily driver XT6 was running fine now it won't fire.

Engine cranks over a few times then just stops.
New starter/solenoid and battery/jumper cables made no difference.
Engine turns over fine by hand, timing belts are good.

Once it stops I can let the key go, then try to start again and it does the exact same thing....crank, crank, crank....stop.

Is there a relay or the ignition switch that could cause the starter to quit turning over?

Edited by grossgary, 09 January 2011 - 01:46 PM.


#2 zacyork

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 02:07 PM

how long are you cranking it? does it slowly stop cranking or straight quit? have you checked your basics for crank but no start like spark/fuel? i dont know of a system that purposely stops cranking. you might have a bad ignition switch. you could bypass the ignition swith with a remote or push button directly to the starter. see if that allows it to keep cranking. just make sure you still have your key in the run possition so you still get spark and injector pulse. hopefully that helps a little.

#3 kanurys

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 02:27 PM

Even better, don't crank it to test the ignition switch. Just unplug the harness under the dash and hook up a multi meter. Then test all key positions for continuity. Jiggle the key in each position to try to get it to fail.

If it passes, then do the check mentioned above. Just work your way through the system starting with the switch. Sometimes the multimeter will read a good connection, but when you pass large amounts of current through the circuit, a bad connection can just act like a resistor and not allow proper voltage/current to pass. This is why both tests described above together will be definitive. You can do the same thing with the relay (starter relay), or swap in another.

#4 NorthWet

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 02:35 PM

My 88 FSM (XT6 diagram) shows nothing in the electrical path between the ST terminal on the ignition switch and the starter solenoid. It does show a tap to the ecu, but that seems to me to be just letting the ECU know that the starter circuit is actuated.

Otherwise, don't have a clue...

Gary, does it matter how quickly you release/turn to the start position?

#5 grossgary

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 02:37 PM

to test can I put the key in the run position and give the starter 12 volts - will that cause it to start? then pull it off as soon as it fires so the starter doesn't keep turning?

it cranks fine, sounds like it's going to start or close....then slows/stops quickly even if i hold the key all the way turned. have to turn off the key, then try again - and it'll turn over again, repeatable every time.

i figured spark/fuel shouldn't matter since regardless of those it should keep turning and not just stop flat on it's face. that's strange to me.

it had been doing this for about a month - but it would usually fire, so it's been a downward trend so to speak, whatever it is, is getting worse.

#6 grossgary

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 02:39 PM

Gary, does it matter how quickly you release/turn to the start position?

thanks for checking NW. i can release it and try to start it again right away and it turns right over again...a few times, then stops. seems strange. doesn't seem to matter how long i wait.

i was thinking it was hydrolocking but it turns over fine by hand and turns over immediately and easily if i release/try again too.

maybe the starter has a bad ground or power supply?

can i run jumper cables from the positive terminal battery to the positive terminal of the starter (or negative to negative) to bypass the wiring? i did that once like 10 years ago and it ended up being a bad ground wire, but in that case i think the thing wouldn't start at all.

#7 kanurys

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 02:46 PM

I'd work down the line of ignition stuff and start ruling out switch, then hot wire the relay for the starter because you're messing with less power. Then if it's the same do the jumper cable thing. It kind of sounds like a failing starter relay or starter (as it heats up it fails, then cools down quickly and does it all over again).

#8 grossgary

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 02:49 PM

I'd work down the line of ignition stuff and start ruling out switch, then hot wire the relay for the starter because you're messing with less power. Then if it's the same do the jumper cable thing. It kind of sounds like a failing starter relay or starter (as it heats up it fails, then cools down quickly and does it all over again).

thanks. replaced starter/solenoid with a new one and same exact symptoms so i don't think that's it.

i would think the switches would test fine since they work every time? just an uneducated guess, i've never messed with ignition stuff....so that makes it a little more intimidating to test the plugs since i'm not sure what i'm looking for. though i have multimeter and know how to use it.

so there's usually one relay involved in this starting gig? i guess no one knows where it's located in XT's? is it a relay for the starter, solenoid, or both? i can find it in the FSM later.

i'll see what i can find out tomorrow. probably start with relay, try to test ignition and maybe jumper cables.

thanks folks.

#9 NorthWet

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 03:09 PM

Yes, you can run cables straight to the starter; I would do both pos and neg cables. Some years ago I also had a bad ground cable to the starter on an EA82T... drove me nuts until I found it.

#10 987687

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 03:29 PM

to test can I put the key in the run position and give the starter 12 volts - will that cause it to start? then pull it off as soon as it fires so the starter doesn't keep turning?


Yep. Just give 12v to the little wire going into the solenoid. Just make damn sure the transmission is in neutral! Don't want to run yourself over :eek:

#11 WoodsWagon

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 05:25 PM

Sounds a lot like the ignition switch is overheating and opening the connection. You could chase it down by doing voltage drop tests with the circuit in the crank postion and seeing where the connection is lost. The circuit has to be loaded to show a failure, so voltage drop testing is the only way of definitively tracking it down.

Test jumper wires straight to the spade terminal on the starter soleniod, that will let you isolate the high current vs the control circuit (battery cables vs ignition switch/wires).

The 6 pin plug between the dash wiring and the ignition switch at the base of the column can burn up sometimes too, so that would be a good place to check.

#12 987687

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 05:27 PM

I was having ignition switch issues similar to this on an outback. Same switch and same plug as a loyale, actually. I just plugged a spare ignition switch into the plug and it worked right, immediately telling me the switch was bad.

#13 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 06:26 PM

The crank circuit is really simple - there's nothing in it except on automatic's where the shifter interrupts the signal to the solenoid if it's in gear. Later EA82's and possibly the XT6 probably also have clutch interlock switches on the pedal assembly that do the same thing. I seem to recall that being a Loyale thing and since the XT6 was being made through those years I wouldn't doubt it also having that feature. I know the Legacy's all do.

It could be a battery cable connection - either at the starter or at the battery. Something may be getting hot and then opening up if the contact is weak..... have you tried using a jumper wire to to solenoid spade terminal directly? That would bypass the crank circuit and tell you if the problem is amperage related in the crank circuit or something in the battery cables or starter....

GD

#14 zacyork

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 09:54 PM

It could be a battery cable connection - either at the starter or at the battery. Something may be getting hot and then opening up if the contact is weak..... have you tried using a jumper wire to to solenoid spade terminal directly? That would bypass the crank circuit and tell you if the problem is amperage related in the crank circuit or something in the battery cables or starter....GD


+1 using a remote start would shed light on this definitely.

#15 grossgary

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 11:26 PM

key in run position.....then 12 volts to the starter spade terminal - those two things should start it? (car in neutral, yes!)

GD - this XT6 doesn't have a clutch defeat, though i'm pretty sure some do, maybe the later ones? somehow i forget.

#16 kanurys

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 12:00 AM

It could be a battery cable connection - either at the starter or at the battery. Something may be getting hot and then opening up if the contact is weak..... have you tried using a jumper wire to to solenoid spade terminal directly? That would bypass the crank circuit and tell you if the problem is amperage related in the crank circuit or something in the battery cables or starter....

GD


That's exactly what I was thinking/suggesting. I guess it could be any of the heavy gauge cable terminals from the battery or starter or the ignition switch or the starter relay/solenoid. There is really only one other place to look and that is the fuse circuit, but that rarely fails. Maybe throw another fuse in there for sh1ts and giggles. Hot wiring it should get closer to isolating the problem...

#17 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 12:39 AM

key in run position.....then 12 volts to the starter spade terminal - those two things should start it? (car in neutral, yes!)


Yep - that's exactly what you do. I use a good 12 AWG wire with an aligator clip on one end and female spade on the other. Hook the spade to the starter and then touch the other end to the battery +. If that starts it no problem then you have narrowed your problem down to the crank circuit.

GD - this XT6 doesn't have a clutch defeat, though i'm pretty sure some do, maybe the later ones? somehow i forget.


Ah - well if that's the case then there's not much to the crank circuit at all. The ignition switch itself (seperate from the lock) and then the wireing harness as well as all the connectors that the circuit runs through as it snakes it's way to the starter. Lots of areas for amperage capacity loss.

If it does end up being the old crank circuit amperage loss problem - installing a relay tripped by the damaged circuit that applies fully battery voltage to the starter spade terminal will cure the problem. I've had to do that on a couple EA82's and even one '91 Legacy now. Subaru should have built them with a crank relay to begin with instead of running all that current through the poor key switch.

GD

Edited by GeneralDisorder, 10 January 2011 - 12:41 AM.


#18 rumblee

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 08:35 AM

I vote for wiring issue as well, but never rule out a new starter just because it is new. I have seen quite a few new starters that never worked.

#19 ellets

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 11:13 AM

This is terrible. I get a picture of a guy trying to out run his subie and yelling stop.
Seriously I had a similar problem and it was the starter solenoid. It took 3 rebuilt starters to get a good one.

#20 grossgary

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 12:07 PM

Seriously I had a similar problem and it was the starter solenoid. It took 3 rebuilt starters to get a good one.

doubt that's the problem here. to coincidental for the original 20 year old starter and the new rebuilt to have the exact same symptoms, they'd have to vary a little. i've never seen one fail like this, too odd of a failure to happen twice i'd think. hopefully i'm wrong, i hate wiring! :banghead:

#21 Cougar

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 02:32 AM

As others have stated this trouble is most likely due to a bad connection to power somewhere. Check the fusible links for a bad connection. If they are ok then check the wire connections to the ignition switch for any signs of burning. You may also want to check the battery to chassis ground wire.

Since you have a meter you should be able to monitor the voltage on the starter solenoid wire as you try to start the engine. You will most likely be able to see the voltage drop off if the trouble is within the ignition circuit wiring.




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