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Interesting Starting Problem on my 1997 Legacy GT 2.5 Wagon


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6 replies to this topic

#1 Buckhill

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Posted 06 July 2004 - 10:11 PM

Hello to everyone,

About a month ago I started having a problem starting my Subaru when cold (undriven). When I turned the key, I would just hear a *click* or two, and then it would start up fine. Thought it was just a corroded battery cable clamp, but they were nice and shiny (I cleaned them anyway). It progressively got worse to where it would be up to 10 clicks before it would start. After I started the car, it would start just fine unless I left it unstarted for several hours.

About two weeks ago I took my wagon in for it's 60,000 maintenance/servicing. It's a manual tranny if that matters. I was thinking that it was a starter related issue, and told the dealer to check it out while they had the car for servicing. They were unable to reproduce the starting problem, but thought it was the starter, too. I was going to bring it to them the next week, and leave it overnight, so that it would be difficult to start, and they could figure it out easier.

Here's where it gets interesting. It never gave me a problem starting again (at all), until yesterday. Now it's back to up to 10 clicks before it starts. Why would a regular servicing make the problem completely disappear for two weeks, if it was a starter problem. It sounds like an electrical problem of some sort, am I wrong? Could it be a spark plug wire issue? I know that they did NOT put on a new set of wires with the new spark plugs. Has anyone had this issue before? I couldn't quite find the same thing while reading through the forums...

Thanks for any help or direction on this,
Darin

#2 cookie

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Posted 06 July 2004 - 11:34 PM

They can be cleaned or easily replaced. The dealer and the plug wires have nothing to do with it.
It could also be battery cables or connectors but since you said you serviced them, and starter switches are less common problems.
Look up solenoid contacts in the archives.

#3 Commuter

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Posted 07 July 2004 - 11:53 AM

I was going to suggest the contacts as well. There were quite a few posts on this board about 2 years ago with people having that exact issue with mid 90ish vehicles. We are at a point in time now where the same problem will probably show up in the late 90's vehicles. There was one other post recently, but I don't recall if that was actually the person's problem.

I have a 97 OB. 400k km (as of yesterday). So far, no starter issues (knock wood).

Commuter

#4 Buckhill

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Posted 07 July 2004 - 05:30 PM

Is there a best way to clean the contacts? Is there a solvent or is it best to just clean them with a clean rag?


Thanks

#5 frag

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Posted 07 July 2004 - 07:07 PM

The contacts are cheap. Buy them at a starter rebuilder place. Replace them. You also can buy for not much more the plunger contacts that bridges these two contacts to activate the starter. A few people here only clean the plunger disk, but replace the contacts.
A search on this forum «starter contacs will give you precise info on that topic.

#6 paladin_w

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Posted 08 July 2004 - 07:16 PM

I had a similar problem on my girls pos 98 ford ranger, it would click, or just slowly rotate for a couple of seconds and then start. would not give problems unless it set for a few hours. I still think it something to do with the starter, but had it checkout at autozone and it was good, had the entire system checked out there too on their machine, and it showed a huge amp draw which suggested a minor ground fault somewhere. Unfortunatlly did not find any fault execpt the battery would drop majorly in voltage. I replaced the battery, with a bigger one not that it mattered, and have not had a problem since, seemed like it was a bad cell, or a cell going bad. So ya might want to get your battery checked out or if it is 5 years old or more, might just want to replace it anyway.

#7 Buckhill

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Posted 12 July 2004 - 10:15 PM

Thanks to everyone for the help on this one.

Turned out to be the contacts in the starter. After some work to get the starter out, I opened it up and the contacts were sure enough all chewed up. Just a short trip to the auto electric shop, and $10 later, the GT is up and starting beautifully again.

Now I can wait for the head gasket to blow...

:headbang:




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