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97 legacy Brighton starter delay


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19 replies to this topic

#1 mikaleda

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:23 PM

I did try a search for this and couldn't find anything like this.
1997 legacy Brighton 2.2 auto awd
I went out this morning to start this car and move it and when I turned the key to start it nothing happened no click nothing. After a few tries it finally worked battery wasn't low once it started turning over it was strong. Occasionally it will also delay for a couple seconds between when you turn the key and the starter engages. I think it is a relay, my DIY Manuel says a little bit about a relay that the starter goes through but is very vague about the relay and where it is
Does anyone know where this relay is or is there something else it could be.

#2 porcupine73

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 03:04 PM

There is no relay. It goes through the park/neutral switch, ignition key, and then to the starter solenoid.

Most common causes are worn/pitted starter contacts.

Soobs of this era also for whatever reason sometimes develop issues in the park/neutral switch circuit, so try shifting to neutral or jiggling the shifter handle while holding the key in start if it does it.

On my '96 Legacy Brighton it did this really weird thing where it slow cranked like the timing belt was broken. It turns out it was the park/neutral switch, it wasn't fully pulling in the starter solenoid for some reason, too much resistance I guess. I bypassed it with a pushbutton.

#3 mikaleda

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 04:41 PM

I tried switching from park to neutral and wiggling the shifter didn't seem to do anything if it is the starter or cylinoid I have a spare. I'll check the contacts later when it warms up

#4 Cougar

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 09:43 AM

I think the relay the manual was referring to is the starter solenoid. Usually when the solenoid contacts go bad and need to be replaced you can hear the single click from the solenoid closing but since the contacts to the starter motor are bad you don't get the motor to turn on. The no click action usually means the inhibit switch is not working which prevents voltage to get to the solenoid lead when in the START mode. Checking the voltage on the solenoid lead while the problem is occurring will show if power is getting to the solenoid lead or not.

#5 mikaleda

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:30 AM

I really hate these DIY Manuels they are useless for the most part. I have another starter and cylinoid that is good I'll try swapping them out and see what happens. Since it is twelve degrees outside right now I am not going to mess with it unless it just plain goes out.
That is another thing it only seems to mess up when it is cold out but it will do it if the engine is warm or not more when the engine is cold though. It is probably the cylinoid going out or it just needs the contacts cleaned as mentioned before.

Edited by mikaleda, 09 December 2012 - 10:35 AM.


#6 Cougar

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 10:45 AM

I suggest you test things before swapping it out. You may find out the trouble is really with the inhibit switch.

#7 mikaleda

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 12:35 PM

I will test it before I replace it just in case.

#8 porcupine73

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 12:45 PM

I normally keep an already made up 'jumper wire' in my soobs with a spade terminal on one end that will plug onto the starter, and then a fuse on the other end. So in an emergency I can at least try connecting the jumper to the starter and touching batt + to see if it cranks. You can start it this way with the key in run but for some reason sometimes you have to open the throttle a little bit (easy on the cable throttle just twist it while under the hood).

#9 mikaleda

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 12:49 PM

I normally keep an already made up 'jumper wire' in my soobs with a spade terminal on one end that will plug onto the starter, and then a fuse on the other end. So in an emergency I can at least try connecting the jumper to the starter and touching batt + to see if it cranks. You can start it this way with the key in run but for some reason sometimes you have to open the throttle a little bit (easy on the cable throttle just twist it while under the hood).


In the old days I would keep two runs of wire one for the coil and the other for the starter old school hot wiring :-p worked great on my 67 chev

#10 mikaleda

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 11:55 AM

Okay today it finally wouldn't start so I got out my remote starter and hooked it up and it started cranking instantly so I am pretty sure that the switch is just not getting enough power to cylinoid so I am going to rewire with a relay and see if that fixes it.

Also I did try wiggling the shifter and changing from park to neutral it didn't make a difference

Edited by mikaleda, 19 February 2013 - 11:57 AM.


#11 Cougar

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:49 AM

You most likely have a bad inhibit switch causing the trouble. Bypassing it will work but I don't recommend doing that.



#12 mikaleda

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:36 AM

I wasn't planing on bypassing it I was planning on using the wire that powers the cylinoid to power a small relay to maximize power going to the cylinoid switch. I don't think it is the inhibit switch since it only seems to do it if the car has sat for a few days and I know that the battery is weak but I tested it with a multi meter when it wouldn't start it was at 12.4 weak but it should have started

#13 Cougar

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:25 PM

It is possible the connection problem you are having isn't with the inhibit switch and it is with something else in the starter circuit but that is the most likely culprit. Testing of the inhibit switch with just a simple test light probe will tell you if the trouble is there or with something else before or after the switch. Even though adding a relay may cut the current demand enough to make things work through the faulty connection point, the bad power connection could get bad enough that even the added relay won't work either. It is just a way to work around the problem an not really address it, and it may still leave you stranded later on.



#14 mikaleda

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:56 PM

Okay how do I access the inhibit switch? Better safe than sorry.

#15 Cougar

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:26 PM

Look for a gray 12 pin connector near the top center of the transmission. The switch should tie to it and it might be near the shifter, on top of the transmission.



#16 mikaleda

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:42 PM

Cool thank you for the info

#17 mikaleda

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 05:07 PM

Okay I found a gray 13 pin connector that conects to the shifter mechanism on the trans but everything is connected together. Is there a couple of pins on this connecter that I can get a reading from?

#18 Cougar

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:18 PM

My info shows that blu/red wire going to pin 12 supplies power through the switch while in the Park position to a red/yel wire on pin 11 that ties to the solenoid. If there is a security system installed then it gets a little more complicated.



#19 mikaleda

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:33 PM

No security system it's the most basic model subaru sold in that year. Thank you for the info again :grin: much appreciated

#20 porcupine73

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:22 PM

I was going to replace the switch on mine but the limited access with the exhaust in the way made me just bypass it. Mine eventually got so bad that sometimes I would have to hold the key in start and keep moving the shifter from park to neutral really fast until it would finally crank. I put in a heavy duty pushbutton from NAPA with a fuse off batt +, to the pushbutton, then to the starter solenoid. It's been working great so far. Maybe not the best idea to bypass the neutral safety, but I'm the only vehicle driver so I don't have to explain how it works except when I go in for inspection. On mine I think the ECU thinks it is always in gear, it does slightly funny things with the idle.






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