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No start '96 Legacy


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34 replies to this topic

#1 porcupine73

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 01:43 PM

Hmmm....went to start the '96 Legacy Brighton auto trans 2.2L this morning. It sounded normal the first couple engine revolutions at first, but it didn't start. Then it sounded like the starter wasn't completely engaging. But then on subsequent attempts, it definitely sounds like the engine is cranking, but it doesn't sound like there is much resistance, like it is spinning faster or more freely than normal.

So I'm guessing maybe the timing belt broke or something went wrong in there. I replaced the timing belt maybe 5 years ago or so, and it has maybe 40k miles on the belt.

It's raining out so hopefully I can winch her into the garage somehow to take a look.

#2 davebugs

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 01:50 PM

Sounds like the belt.

Pull both timing belt cover ends off to get a better idea. Only 3 10mm bolts on each.

That should tell you if broken. Or is it jumped time if you line up both cam hash marks.

#3 johnceggleston

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 02:04 PM

you probably only need one cover removed to confirm the belt is loose. it's going to be slack.

i would try and go out in the rain and spray some pblaster on the cam cover bolts today. give it overnight to work. if they haven't been off recently the nut end embedded in the plastic will twist out and bust it up.

#4 grossgary

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 03:49 PM

+1 on timing belt.

ebay timing kits FTW.

#5 porcupine73

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 04:50 PM

Thanks for the help! Well I got her bumper pushed into the garage, and got the LH cover off. The timing belt isn't broken and it feels tight. Whether the timing is off I haven't checked yet but will be checking it later tonight.

Fortunately I used tons of antiseize when I replaced the timing belt a few years back so these bolts aren't putting up much of a fight.

I think I will try cranking the starter again while watching the crank and make sure the engine is actually turning. It sounded like it was but it sounded like it was spinning faster than normal and didn't have much resistance.

I checked for codes but there were none reported.

#6 grossgary

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 05:11 PM

weird. :popcorn: hopefully something simple.

this has the old style two piece tensioner right?

i've turned them over before and had them sound different/faster but those were with bent valves.

#7 davebugs

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 05:26 PM

I recently started a thread about a 95 that simply jumped time.

Wasn't able to tell until I took BOTH sides TB covers off. No bad cogs on the belt - weird.

I guessed that whover did the last belt forgot to slide the tensioner left before tightening up the 2 bolts.

I had my friend ask the garage where it was towed to take off the R side TB cover because it's the easiest and they got back to me that it was tight and did rotate - and they were correct. When I took off the L TB cover I knew what the job for the day would be...

Good luck.

I've got some 96 Impreza 2.2 heads here that may go on Ebay tonight or tomorrow. If you need then hollar. They may be one of the last things I list since I don't really wanna ship them.

#8 porcupine73

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 06:30 PM

Hm ok, so I jumped the starter with a wire, and it is cranking, but it looks like maybe it is cranking very slowly? I tried to take a video of it but not sure how well it turned out:

I can't really hear it in the video, but when under the hood, the starter sound doesn't sound normal. It sounds strange somehow.

I'm not sure if that crank speed is normal or not since I've never really watched it under the hood. If you can tell from the video let me know? I will try to compare to another Subaru now.

Battery voltage is 12.4V. Voltage at the terminals when cranking is about 11.3V.

#9 porcupine73

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 07:32 PM

I compared the crank speed to '00obw and it seems about the same. Always thought it cranked much faster than that but having never watched it esp in a no start, now I know!

Well I got both the side timing belt covers off, and the hash marks on the cam sprockets line up exactly with the marks on the backs of the timing belt covers.

When it cranks, it does not sound right. It doesn't have that chuck chuck chuck sound like compression in each cylinder. It seems too 'free wheeling'.

Now I'm not sure what to check next?

Take the middle timing belt cover off to see if the belt is off maybe at the crank sprocket?

Or maybe do a compression test? Though it would take as long to do that was get the middle timing belt cover off.

#10 davebugs

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 07:35 PM

If both cam sprocket line up that's be rare for the crank to jump but the cams be in alignment.

I'd do a ccompression sheck I guess because it's simpler. Really one cylinder on each side should give you a very good idea. Much simpler than pulling the rad fans and getting the harmonic balancer off - not that in the end that may be what it takes.

#11 porcupine73

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 08:34 PM

Ok thanks! Do that rad fans have to come out to get the crank pulley off? I know I did take them out when I did the timing belt, but wasn't sure if there is enough clearance to slide it off without taking out the fans?


It will probably be Monday before I get to do any more on it. I think I have a cheapie Harbor Freight compression tester somewhere but I've never tried it. I could put new spark plugs in while I'm at it!

When I went to start it this morning, the first couple revolutions it sounded normal while cranking, then it was like something let loose and now it doesn't sound right when cranking and doesn't start.

#12 davebugs

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 08:45 PM

I pull the fans. Put cardboard behind the radiator because you likely will accidentally hit and bend some fins.

If the fan bolts break you gotta pull the rad which sucks because mostly of the lower ATF line. And it just became a bigger, more annoying job.

You may be able to do a timing belt job without pulling the fans. But Id think it'd take a while and there would be no skin left on your hands.

#13 porcupine73

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 05:57 PM

Thanks for the info.

I noticed that both the marks on the timing belt are one tooth off to the right on the cam sprockets on both sides. The notches in the cam sprockets line up exactly with the belt cover notches on both sides though. Does that mean anything? It seems like if it did jump a tooth or two on the crank sprocket that might happen?

Can you tell the crank position from the crank pulley? I can see a dash line on the pulley, but I can't tell for sure what it would or supposed to line up with? There appears to be some degree indication on the timing belt cover that looks like it starts at 10 degrees?

#14 davebugs

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 06:39 PM

2 things. The cam sprocket hash mark outta match up "dead nuts" with the timing belt back cover notch.

And it's very hard to see, but there is a hash mark on one of the 3(IIR) tabs on the back of the cogged piece that goes over the crankshaft behind the harmonic balancer. It matches up to a hash mark you'll see basically under the crank sensor.

#15 porcupine73

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 08:15 PM

Well I pulled the rest of it apart, the radiator fans out, crankshaft pulley off, center cover off. Then the suspense while I checked the timing was pretty intense....but dang it the timing was dead on.

So I figured hm why not give it a try. So I put the crank pulley back on and tightened it a little bit, and whirled it over.

Son of a gun if it didn't start up. Now it did give p0120 because I forgot I had unhooked the TPS while jamming a big bar in the flywheel while loosening the crank pulley bolt.

So now I'm not sure what to think. After I started it a couple times, I then left the key out and jumped the starter wire. Now when it is cranking, it sounds normal.

So what could have caused that? Is maybe one of the accessories that did it? Or maybe the starter is flaky? Something did not sound right before when it was cranking but would not start. Now it cranks fine and starts fine.

#16 davebugs

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 08:57 PM

Intermittent is the worse kind of problem!

I likely have a used/tested good starter if you'd like to go that route.

But if you think it's the starter I'd check all the related wiring for corrosion first.

After that you're just throwing parts at it until it does a hard fail.

#17 porcupine73

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 10:12 PM

Thanks for the help.

Hm yah I'm not sure what to do next. Problems like this don't usually 'fix themselves' and it will probably act up when I'm trying to leave work, but right on, besides just replacing some likely suspects there probably isn't much I can do until it fails and stays failed.

I went back and checked my records....timing belt I replaced in fall 2007. Actually at that time, I also replaced the starter with a Subaru genuine reman. So that could be a culprit. When it was cranking, it just did not sound right. Of course right now I have the accessory belts off, so maybe an accessory was loading it down too much.

#18 davebugs

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 10:17 PM

Yep check the tensioner pulleys and AC and PS pulleys while you can spin them by hand.

#19 grossgary

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 12:33 AM

awesome it wasn't the belt and started, i think!?

crank or cam angle sensor? could one of those fail and allow it to turn over but not fire properly (causing a no start and strange sound)?

normally it would/should cause a check engine light but i have seen a handful of failed sensors not give a check engine light - it's been awhile but actually one of those sensors i believe i've seen that happen to before - causing starting issues but no check engine light.

i can mail you one of each to test if you want? i have a 97 EJ22 and gobs of EJ25's which are probably the same.

#20 davebugs

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 07:09 AM

I guess first clarification is abotu the sound. At the start I thought you were saying the speed was different (meaning timing belt).

Crank and no start occasionally with no code I've had be crank sensor several times.

The crank sensor can become it's own project. If you have any thought about removing it start soaking it down. That bugger often disintegrates when trying to be removed.

#21 porcupine73

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 10:01 AM

Thanks for the help, and thanks for the offers to send parts! :)

When jumping the starter wire without the key in the ignition, I'm assuming it does not inject fuel or run the spark?

I put the alt / ps belt back on and tried cranking, and it cranked fine and sounded normal. Alt, ps, a/c, and a/c idler all seem smooth and rotate smoothly even when I really press on them hard while turning.

The sound while cranking was different when it wouldn't start. I don't know exactly how to describe it, but you know that normal chuck chuck chuck sound, well it was not making that sound when it wouldn't start. The crank was turning just fine, but it sounded like it didn't have much resistance. And the starter itself just didn't seem to sound normal either. It had almost a gear on gear metal whiny sound to it.

When it wouldn't start, the rotation of the crank was almost continuous. Now that it will start, when I watch the crank while jumping the starter, it almost is like move, stop, move, stop, move, stop. Not quite stopping but slowing down. And the sound is completely normal now, plus it starts, and the starter sounds normal.

I replaced the crank sensor a few years back, I did get a code for that, but that was a bad one because it made it stall out in traffic a couple times.

Based on the weird cranking and starter sound when it wouldn't start I'm leaning towards starter now? (Weird cranking even without key in ignition, just jumping starter with wire). That is a Subaru genuine reman about 5 years old in there, but I know reman parts, even genuine, sometimes don't always have long lifespans.

Edited by porcupine73, 02 January 2012 - 10:34 AM.


#22 porcupine73

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 09:16 PM

Well....replaced the starter with a Subaru reman today. Cleaned up the grounds. Replaced the timing belt since I already had it torn apart and the one in there is 5 years old and this one has 60k /60 mo. intervals. Also replaced cam position sensor since its original and now I will have a (used) spare.

Got everything hooked up, hit the key, and what do I get? A good sounding click from the solenoid, but no cranking! So I let off the key for a second, hit it again, and then she fires up.

Crank speed seems faster than it was before, seems nice and strong. Restarted half a dozen times or so and it seems to be good, so far. Hopefully the problem stays away.

Though I do have to say....putting in the genuine reman and just getting a click on the first key turn does not really instill confidence.

#23 davebugs

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 09:26 PM

Yep. Double check the hot wire stuff too. A lot of times if you undo the nut up by the positive battery terminal there is lots of crap hiding there. ALso the solenoid hot wire to the ignition switch.

Sometimes you can see how crappy the wire under the red cover is.

Because it certainly does still sound like something electrical is going on.

Perhaps Cougar is alive and well and has specific recommendations. I lack sophisticated electrical knowledge (and kinda like it that way).

#24 porcupine73

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:23 PM

Hmmm.....well so far it seems to be OK, as in it hasn't let me down yet, but has two things that happen...
96 Legacy Brighton, AT, 130k miles

1. When I turn the key to start, once in a while the start doesn't crank. When this happens, if I have the door open, I can hear a pretty good click, which I am guessing is the solenoid. The starter I just put a genuine reman in there but of course that doesn't mean it isn't flaky.

If I turn the key again, or sometimes even just keep holding the key, it will then crank eventually. I haven't been able to get it to not crank long enough to mess around with it. I haven't checked the hot and ground wires themselves yet though I did clean up the connections and applied kopr-shield.

2. The idle has been a little funny when cold. Like sitting at a stop light, you can feel it stumble a little bit. Not much but noticeable. I don't remember it doing this before. Once its warmed up, this goes away. I just did a thorough induction and IACV cleaning tonight to see if that helps. Plus are NGK copper about 12k miles old, wires are genuine wires about 5 years old.

Another detail....this fall, the vehicle would not crank at all in park. So I had been putting it in neutral to start it. That seemed to go away after a while and it would crank in park again. So maybe something is flaky there. I remember reading on here about an interposing relay mod, that sometimes on the older soobs the circuit through the key for the starter solenoid doesn't seem to be able to pass enough current, so the interposing relay right off the battery is added.

Edited by porcupine73, 11 January 2012 - 08:26 PM.


#25 johnceggleston

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 10:35 PM

add a starter relay at the starter. it will correct the problem and it is cheap. the flow of electricity at the solenoid coming through the ignition circuit. adding a relay will give a very short run straight from the battery to the relay and then to the starter solenoid.

i did this to my 97 outback 5 years ago and i have not had a no start since.

search for "starterrelayfix" or starterrelay .

i found the thread but some how witht the new format the quoted info is white or gray and you can't read it unless you highlight it so i copied it here and change the color below.

see #3 below.

although the original post was for old gen cars, i followed it for my 97OBW and have had no starter trouble since. my car info: 12/05 i bought a 97 OBW w/ 98k miles, added starter relay a year later. the car now has 138k miles and i have had no starter problems since i added the relay.

thanks skip for the original post, 2003. (at some point someone helped me by posting a diagram, but i think some of that stuff has been lost. i'm just glad the thread has not been lost.)



QUOTE from 2003:

There are currently several active posts on starter engagement problems.
I thought this may be of interest. (Please note, this article only refers to 1989 and earlier Subarus, newer Loyales MTs may have a clutch interrupt switch, see ** below)

First to dispel info given in reference to any relays involved.
There are none, repeat no relays come on a factory equipped car. As will be seen it is a reliable fix to add one, but there is no relay used for starter engagement.

The ignition switch, when in the start position, feeds battery voltage directly to the starter solenoid unless the vehicle has an automatic transmission. In this case, there is an inhibitor switch in the console which only allows the control voltage to reach the starter solenoid in the park or neutral position. Just a switch no relay.
(Note: Some may argue the starter solenoid is a relay, in an operational sense they are correct, in semantics -- I will refer to it as the factory does.)

**Newer Loyales may have a clutch pedal switch. This switch located up under the dash in the path of the pedal swing arm, is depressed and thus in a "closed" position, when the clutch pedal is in a fully depressed state.

If when you turn the ignition switch to the start position the starter fails to engage -
A) It is possible that a battery cable or it's connection is dirty, loose, or corroded - thus creating high resistance.
Here is a quick test.
Hold the ignition in the start position for five seconds. Open the hood and place your hand on all battery connections and cable ends to feel for a warm connection. IF the starter has engaged and there is some current passing through a connection with high resistance - heat will be generated. Green colored or other "odd looking" connections are always suspects.
B) It is possible that the starter solenoid internal contacts have burned and are not making full contact. While holding the ignition switch in the start position a sharp "rap" on the solenoid may jar the contacts into a closed position allowing the starter to engage.
If this is the case you can elect to repair/replace the contacts or replace the solenoid/starter.
C) If the above tests prove unsatisfactory, it is likely the ignition switch itself has problems. The starter solenoid needs a fair amount of current to energize. This puts the contacts in the ignition switch under duress. To test this, connect a "jumper" wire from the positive battery terminal to the small spade connector located on the starter solenoid. One will have to remove the factory connector before "jumping" the solenoid.
(Please make sure car is in neutral or Park before doing this test)
If the jumper wire allows the starter to engage, there are several fixes that can be employed.

1) Replace ignition switch - labor and $$ intensive, beyond the scope of this article.

2) Install a "Never Fail" button/ switch. This button (momentary switch) is wired to feed the control voltage to the starter solenoid, thus bypassing the ignition switch. A "make shift" solution at best. It will work and is a simple matter of wiring.
to wit:
a) Get a 10 amp momentary switch from the source of your choosing.
Find a suitable mounting point for said switch. Most dashes have several "blanks" to choose from, or mount it under the dash as a secret switch.
B) you will need a "feed voltage source".
You could
i) probe your fuse panel for an ignition switched "hot fuse".
ii) run a fused connection directly to the battery
iii) place a tap on the main ignition feed connector under the steering col. Since you will be running this voltage to the starter and through the bulkhead (firewall) a fused source should be used.
This "feeder" is connected to one side of the procured switch.
c) The other side of the switch is wired to the small spade connector on the starter solenoid. The proper method is to splice solder the wire to the existing wire, but some may stuff it under the female connector and slide the spade back in place. Please use a grommet or other form of protection when passing the wire through the bulkhead.

These connection methods will allow the use of the normal ignition switch start position but when it fails the "Never Fail" button is used. If you choose to simply put a female spade connector on this wire and plug it on to the starter solenoid, the "Never Fail" will be the only way to get the car to start.

3) The best method, in my admittedly feeble mind, is the addition
of a "start relay". This relay supplements the ignition switch and requires no "Never Fail" folderol (like in a case where some one borrows the car and you forget to tell them about the "Never Fail")
The relay is controlled by the ignition switch and it in turn feeds the current necessary for starter solenoid engagement.
An "auxiliary lighting" relay is a good choice, but any 12Vdc 10 amp relay will suffice. I mount mine under the hood and in the general location of the starter. This allows use of the factory female connector and simplifies getting a fused battery feed voltage.
Here is the wiring of said relay.

original thread:

http://www.ultimates....t=starterrelay




Edited by johnceggleston, 11 January 2012 - 10:42 PM.





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