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Guest Message by DevFuse

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wierd starter issue

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11 replies to this topic

#1 Meeky Moose

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 09:28 AM

so this is the 3rd new starter.. still does the same thing...


once in awhile it will start,  once in awhile it will click like the starter is bad.    its got new battery, new cables, gets 11.9v to the ignition wire that connects to the starter when the key is turned to start.


when it clicks like the starter is bad,   i can take a jumper wire straight from the battery to the starter ignition wire and it will start, everytime.


whats the difference of getting 12v from the ignition wire, or a jumper wire,  would that .3v difference be whats causing the no start?


now keep in mind  when it clicks, if your holding your hand on the starter, you can feel the drive clunking and not engaging..

also you can whack it with a rubber mallet a couple times and it'll crank..

and its totally random,  it'll start 20 times in a row with no problem, then click.. once its jumped, or beat on, it'll start fine for another 10-20 times, then click...


ohh  84 ea81 wagon

Edited by Meeky Moose, 24 July 2013 - 09:29 AM.

#2 naru


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Posted 24 July 2013 - 09:58 AM

11.9 w/the wire connected or disconnected?


Auto or manual?

#3 idosubaru


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Posted 24 July 2013 - 09:59 AM

nice testing - you've nailed it.  there's enough voltage drop from the battery to the ignition to render the starter useless.  it probably is measuring volts but not carrying enough amps when needed due to corrossion, a connection, etc.  since you already know the jumper points - you've jumped it yourself - fee some appropriate new wire to the ignition.


it's kind of like jumping a car - you can often get power/voltage to the vehicle when initially hooked up to the jumper cables.  everything turns on - then as soon as you go to turn the key everything goes dead.  i've had that happen like 100 times.   initial contact and voltage are good but drawing the large amps foils the compromised connection.


i've heard of folks installing a relay as well - so the ignition triggers the relay which has new/higher quality wire from the battery to the starter or something like that.  properly fused if rewquired of course.

#4 Meeky Moose

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 10:10 AM

well i guess 30 year old wireing in the car could have too much resistance to carry the correct amps..   that would make sense..     i think it'll be easier installing a relay in the engine bay. 


ignition wire to relay, new wire from battery to relay, new wire to starter from relay, and ground.   the ignition will trip the relay which won't take alot of power to do, the relay will do the rest.. 


by george i think we got it :)


thanks for the mental jumpstart gary :) 

#5 man on the moon

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 12:53 PM

I'll wager money it's not on the hot end of your wiring, but the ground end. If memory serves, the starter grounds to a spot on the motor head, same side (driver side) as the starter. It's a big, thick cable that is black with a red stripe. Bolted to the motor with a 12 or 14mm bolt that is about half-inch long, or so. I moved mine to the spot where the heater core pipe is bolted in the back there for easier access.

When you jump it from the battery, you are providing a secondary ground that closes the circuit (and you can do it without jumping the hot part of the circuit, even). I don't know if you just need to tighten the bolt or replace the end of the cable, but I think that your problem lies somewhere in that connection.

#6 Cougar


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Posted 24 July 2013 - 07:30 PM

Since you have eliminated the starter as possible trouble it does appear that there is just enough resistance in the ignition wire to the starter solenoid wire that it keeps the solenoid from pulling all the way in and close the solenoid contacts so the starter motor can turn on. I would check the inhibit switch to see if that is causing the voltage drop.


Another possibility for the trouble could be with the main battery wire to the starter. Check the voltage on the wire at the end going to the starter and make sure that voltage is above 10.8 volts while trying to start the engine. If it is below that then make sure the battery end is above that voltage also. If the voltage at the starter end is low then the cable has a problem internally and it needs to be replaced.

#7 Meeky Moose

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 11:29 PM

thanks for the ideas..  i wired in a relay.  using the ignition wire as the exciter for the relay instead of for the starter.   starts everytime now... 


i have multiple extra grounds under the hood, i also replaced both original battery cables with new 4ga cables, that fixed a charging issue i had awhile back.

#8 silverhelme


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Posted 25 July 2013 - 10:25 AM

I did the relay on my Brat 15 years ago when I had the same problems as you. I based it off of an old trick for GM starters using a Ford relay but a standard 30 amp relay will work also. I tend to do it to all my old Subarus just because and have never had a starter fail since.

#9 ivans imports

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 10:33 AM

ditch the aluminum +starter cable were not very good put a good copper one on should fix it up and a heavy ground wire to -block

#10 Gloyale


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Posted 25 July 2013 - 11:28 AM

subaru ignition switches get weak.  poor contact cant conduct enough amps.


add a relay, or a direct pushbutton.


or better yet, a relay triggered by a pushbutton.

#11 Meeky Moose

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 09:38 PM

ditch the aluminum +starter cable were not very good put a good copper one on should fix it up and a heavy ground wire to -block


that was done a long time ago,  i have 3 extra ground points, with 8ga wire, and new 4ga copper battery battery cables..

#12 ticoregon



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Posted 06 March 2014 - 06:41 PM

Hi there...


I'm dealing with this issue right now with my 93 Loyale. I don't know much about cars but I would like try fixing this myself. It would be so helpful to see pictures....if you guys have any and could share with me, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

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