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1996 Subaru Legacy starting issue


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27 replies to this topic

#1 ThosL

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 07:22 PM

My disabled sister was at the local YMCA again today, came out and the car wouldn't start.  Last week same problem, someone put the jumper cables on last week and it started. The battery is relatively recent from AAA.  The next day AAA made a house call spoke to my sister and said it may be an electrical problem, the tow truck guy said he once worked at a Subaru shop.  

 

Today, same problem the brother's mechanic took her to the YMCA banged on the starter probably with a hammer and it started up.  My sister thinks this is the end of the story, I think she may need a new starter.  What are the best options at this point?  Thanks.



#2 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 09:59 PM

It may need starter solenoid contacts, or it may need a relay to bypass the solenoid circuit. Very typical with these cars.

GD

#3 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 03 October 2017 - 10:59 PM

^^^^ great post



#4 dp213

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Posted 04 October 2017 - 07:41 PM

I had the same issue with my 98. I tried everything. Sometimes it would start if you held the key in the start position for about 5 seconds, sometimes it wouldn't. After new ignition and new starter and same problem, I ran a 10awg wire from the ignition switch to the starter and haven't had an issue since.

#5 ThosL

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 07:16 PM

Thanks for the feedback.  She has been having the problem nearly every day now.  Yesterday at the Y a nice man recommended a mechanic she went to today who replaced one of the battery cables; it failed to start again later.  AAA came when my disabled sister was looking at swimming suits and it didn't start, she does not have a cell phone.  Someone called for her as has happened every time. Hopefully if I run the problems by my mechanic or a guy my brother knows they will get to the bottom of this.



#6 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 10:19 PM

it won't get better.

 

General Disorder is a professional mechanic. Rebuilding the solenoid as he suggested is your best next move.. 


Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 16 October 2017 - 10:21 PM.


#7 Fairtax4me

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 11:08 PM

It may need starter solenoid contacts, or it may need a relay to bypass the solenoid circuit. Very typical with these cars.

GD


That ^^^

#8 Stevo F

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:12 PM

Right after buying our '98 GT, I found you had the hold the key in start for a few seconds if the engine was cold, but no problem if it was warm. The previous had put a junk Autozone starter on it a year earlier, but I ordered a Denso remanufactured starter and have had no problems since.



#9 Subaru Scott

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 11:10 PM

You know, we REALLY need to find the best write-up on the auxiliary relay mod, or make a new one, and STICKY it! How many times have we answered this? It should be the first thing on the welcome page! 

 

Sure, changing the solenoid contacts if they're roasted is a given. But the MAIN PROBLEM is the high resistance of the start circuit, with all the different connections it goes through, and the neutral switch with it's downsized wiring.

 

This is what causes the solenoid to not fully engage and burn the contacts in the first place! 

 

Changing starters, batteries, cables, will sometimes "fix" it for a while because you just gave the system a little boost. 

 

Doing the relay mod, (or just running a #10 wire directly from the ignition switch to the starter) is the only way to permanently cure this forever and done.

 

This can be very tricky to diagnose because 8-10 volts is enough to engage the bendix, and you hear that, thinking that the solenoid is engaging, and go chasing after high-amp circuit problems (contacts, battery, cables). 

 

The catch is the SECOND spring, at the end of the solenoids travel, that keeps the contacts open. If you don't have a full 12 volts, it will clunk, clunk all day long without overcoming the second spring and engaging the contacts.



#10 ThosL

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 05:24 PM

Thanks for the advice; I dropped it off at my mechanic today and they are putting in a rebuilt Bosch from Napa.   I also asked them to check on the flashing check engine light that happens every time when the car is run without being fully warmed up.  



#11 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 10:01 PM

kinda sounds like bad spark plug wires. if they are moist, it takes a while for engine temps to dry them out.



#12 ThosL

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 08:19 AM

A number of mechanics have checked it out, none of them figured it out.  Wires etc. have been changed out. 

 

Every single time it starts up, if you drive right out as soon as you go up a hill it loses power and the CEL flashes, happened to me yesterday on the way to the mechanic.  I asked them to check it out, they said the codes would point in the right direction; unfortunately in many cases the codes don't nail down the cause. 



#13 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 09:30 AM

engine temp sensor may be bad - it's supposed to let the ECU know the engine is cold so it 'chokes' it with xtra fuel.

 

what codes specifically? someone here may be able to make sense of them.



#14 ThosL

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 11:47 AM

I'll have to run it over to Auto Zone to check codes again.  Is the engine temp. sensor an easy fix?

 

Starter issue cost around $200 installed, Bosch rebuilt from Napa.



#15 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 01:13 PM

not sure on a '96 if you have 1 or 2 temp sensors, if 2, the sensor with 2 wires 'could' be bad. newer models use one sensor with a 3 pin connector. Live Data would help narrow that down I think. just guessing right now.
 
 
the sensor is on the cooling crossover on top of the engine.
 
 
here's a '95 DIY;
 
http://lovehorsepowe...id=47&Itemid=63
 
 
I also found this; http://www.subaruout...tback-2-2l.html

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 19 October 2017 - 01:14 PM.


#16 ThosL

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 04:56 PM

not sure on a '96 if you have 1 or 2 temp sensors, if 2, the sensor with 2 wires 'could' be bad. newer models use one sensor with a 3 pin connector. Live Data would help narrow that down I think. just guessing right now.
 
 
the sensor is on the cooling crossover on top of the engine.
 
 
here's a '95 DIY;
 
http://lovehorsepowe...id=47&Itemid=63
 
 
I also found this; http://www.subaruout...tback-2-2l.html

 

Thanks a lot for that information; the next step will be to get the codes which I will try to do later.   It makes perfect sense that it is a sensor; my sister paid for a radiator flush which did nothing for the core problem.   Mechanics may not know how to diagnose these problems.  



#17 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 06:41 PM

well, good mechanics do, they have guidelines for determining if signals from various sensors are within expected ranges and they can look at live data from the car. For instance, if ambient temps are 50-60* overnight, there;s no way the temp sensor should be signaling the ECU that temp is 170* or w'ever first thing in the morning. The car may start, but it may not run well until it DOES warm-up to 170* or w'ever.

 

but, we're not there with the car, and it may be tricky to leave the car overnight, plus minimum charges for diagnostics, blah, blah

 

you SHOULD be able to find a shop that can troubleshoot the issues with the car. I'm just throwing out 1 idea - I could easily be wrong.

 

 

in a new thread, you could post your sister's city asking for a recommendation. maybe someone knows a good indie mech. nearby.



#18 ThosL

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 09:26 PM

We're in the Norwalk, CT area; by the way, I went down to AZ to get the CEL read, and what a crappy ride my sister has and the guy at AZ said it was too late for him to go you.  On the highway, driving around with trying to get power out of it, it was very sporadic, even after the car warmed up fully.  I have no idea what sensor is the issue.

 

A friend of hers called with an Hispanic mechanic who comes to you to work, but you know how that would work out with the language barriers.  


Edited by ThosL, 19 October 2017 - 09:26 PM.


#19 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 11:07 PM

hmmm....so many things could cause power loss. If maintenance has been poor - catch up on that first. Then, scan for codes I guess.

 

knock sensor can kill performance, clogged exhaust, many other things.



#20 ThosL

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 06:50 AM

It was regularly maintained but the sporadic loss of power has stumped a number of garages.



#21 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 07:44 AM

We're in the Norwalk, CT area; by the way, I went down to AZ to get the CEL read, and what a crappy ride my sister has and the guy at AZ said it was too late for him to go you.  On the highway, driving around with trying to get power out of it, it was very sporadic, even after the car warmed up fully.  I have no idea what sensor is the issue.
 
A friend of hers called with an Hispanic mechanic who comes to you to work, but you know how that would work out with the language barriers.

start a new thread with a shop request - it will be seen by more people.

I did a quick look, folks really like East Granby repair for their soobs, but, looks like you are far from there. Near Norwalk, Accurate Auto has a great reputation, seems like they stay busy so, maybe difficult to get an appointment???
 
 
If you or your sister have a smartphone, an elm327 bluetooth adapter should allow you to use Torque Lite app and read CEL codes and live data.
 
like this; https://www.amazon.c...=subaru veepeak

Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 20 October 2017 - 07:50 AM.


#22 ThosL

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 09:30 AM

start a new thread with a shop request - it will be seen by more people.

I did a quick look, folks really like East Granby repair for their soobs, but, looks like you are far from there. Near Norwalk, Accurate Auto has a great reputation, seems like they stay busy so, maybe difficult to get an appointment???
 
 
If you or your sister have a smartphone, an elm327 bluetooth adapter should allow you to use Torque Lite app and read CEL codes and live data.
 
like this; https://www.amazon.c...=subaru veepeak

 

 

My sister went to "Accurate Auto" earlier in the week and they replaced the battery clamp which did nothing to help the starter issue.  I should leave them a snotty review for doing nothing and charging for it.  They reset the check engine light without telling her what the codes were.

 

I called the local Subaru dealer who said they had a $140 diagnostic minimum fee; and a weird one with them, "Garaval", was they said they try to get the customer to give them a maximum repair fee when they drop vehicles off so they know they can go ahead not worrying about unauthorized work.  That is a recipe for abuse, IMO.  


Edited by ThosL, 21 October 2017 - 09:31 AM.


#23 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 04:24 PM

did the car run better after the reset? I ask because, a reset forces the car to use the default 'map' and ignore a:f sensors for a coupla drive cycles. If the car showed NO improvement, that might point to a mechanical issue; blocked exhaust, dropped valves, skipped timing, or ????



#24 ThosL

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 06:09 PM

It actually does run better after the reset, sister said the CEL was off.  She doesn't want to do any more at this point.



#25 GeneralDisorder

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 07:53 PM

If the starter issue is still present, you need a relay mod. It's pretty simple and any decent auto electrical guy could do it in 20 minutes. 

 

Power loss on a 96 is probably coolant temp, mass airflow, or intake leaks.... You need a good general diagnostician that can look at live data, do a volumetric efficiency test, etc. I just had an 07 OBXT that fell on its face under load - adding fuel like crazy. Idled normal, only code was lean bank 1 (a code that, in my experience, a 96 would never throw regardless of fuel trims). A little VE calculations showed the measured airflow to be way off. Ruled out a plugged exhaust, intake leaks, and idle quality was good so..... bad MAF. And problem was solved. Just like that. No codes for the MAF.... You have to know what the data MEANS and learn what its telling you. 

 

South Main Auto repair in Avoca, NY. He's 5 hours away but based on many YouTube videos he knows diag. I'm way too far on the other side of the country or I would solve it for her. 

 

GD


Edited by GeneralDisorder, 22 October 2017 - 07:56 PM.





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