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Guest Message by DevFuse

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2001 H6 Outback whines but doesn't crank/doesn't start

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6 replies to this topic

#1 yarikoptic


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Posted 03 October 2017 - 04:57 PM

My wife told me today that "car does not drive, smoke is coming from above the left rear wheel", "yesterday it drove just fine", ... so I ended up enjoying her company at my work office.


Came home, tried to start -- I thought first initial ones were almost like cranking, after a few I could smell some gas (I think not exhaust) smell, from the tail pipe there was a light white smoke slowly raising up/out.  Did few gentle taps on the starter (in the back of the engine, nearby the AT dip stick)... no change.    Wify on my question said that "it started" in the morning, but I wouldn't be too positive about that - although since she says that smoke was coming from the back, might as well has happened but then "died".


Here is a video with sound from an attempt now: 


I checked on OBD-II - seems to be no codes.


Almost never had to deal with ignition (besides changing spark plugs etc), primarily only mechanics, so not sure how to approach the problem:

Is it a starter? not quite sure if that is the whole picture if it indeed did start in the morning (note: night/morning outide temperature was about 41F, day > 70F)

Could engine just seize may be? (unlikely I guess, but who knows given that 3 months back wify managed to drive it around for probably 10 minutes while coolant all was boiling out (hose ripped open) and car kept dying).


edit 1: FWIW my wify stated that :

  • car did start this morning, but refused to go backward (need to get back first, sightly up the hill)
  • in previous days she felt some gas (or exhaust, she isn't sure) smell when starting

So it is indeed probably not just a starter :-/


Not yet quite sure on how to diagnoze the beast - any ideas are welcome!

Edited by yarikoptic, 03 October 2017 - 06:23 PM.

#2 Fairtax4me



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Posted 03 October 2017 - 09:59 PM

Can't see the vid on mobile but fast whine when cranking is either starter not engaging flywheel or cranking but no compression > Broken timing chain.

Smoke/vapor from the tail pipe would lend to a broken chain.

#3 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 10:58 PM

kinda odd symptoms but, what fair said ^^^^^ fits quite well.



could there have been a situation where she started the car, turned it off , then fairly soon tried a to re-start it? That could flood the car., prevent starting, and smell like fuel. Holding the gas pedal down on the floor while cranking is the clear flood signal for the car's computer - you could try that.


but the prvious overheating event sounds severe - could be lubrication was compromised leading to excessive wear and that could have led to the current issue.

#4 yarikoptic


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Posted 03 October 2017 - 11:29 PM

Thanks!  I dared to think about the timing chain -- after all it is a chain! and it drove "fine" day before, and according to wify it first started "fine".  But indeed with current cool downs at night, and prior overheating, may be it indeed gave up -- will check where the heck it is in this beast and either it is possible to pick at it.

Overheating -- yeah, didn't expect anything good to happen from that. but replace the hose, filled up with coolant and it worked just fine for 3 months, did not notice any overheating  etc but indeed some systems could have been compromised by then.

#5 CNY_Dave


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Posted 04 October 2017 - 12:04 PM

If it gets flooded and gas washes oil off the cylinder walls, it will crank frighteningly fast.


I had this happen once, after moving the car a few feet on a cold-ish day, hours later it acted like it had zero compression.

I had to crank for quite awhile with the gas floored.

#6 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 09:09 AM

how's the H6 ?

#7 yarikoptic


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Posted 20 October 2017 - 10:30 AM

The patient is stable... although not breathing yet ;)  camshaft measurements (from ECU) were strange, like there was a short somewhere at first but then cleared (could it get stuck?).  More details in https://forums.nasio...1#post45358322 


today I will place camshaft sensor back, engage fuel pump and give it another try.  then will check with oscilloscope where the patient has any "pulse"

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