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1997 impreza won't start when it is cold out


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19 replies to this topic

#1 amajeff99

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 04:23 AM

I have been having strange problems with my 1997 Impreza outback sport. it started with the idle being high (1300 rpm) some times, so I took it to the dealer the car did not have a problem code so they told me they would clear the computer and have it relearn it’s settings, this seemed to fix the high idle problem. Weeks passed, I drove my car home from work no problems, the next morning after a massive rain and all of a sudden my car would not start it was 3 in the morning and about 50 degrees out , so I figured something got wet, went to work (with my wife's car) came home it was about 70 degrees out and hoped in the Impreza it started right up. Today it is dry but about 50 degrees at 3am in the morning it will not start it just cranks and cranks not a sign of ignition. Please Help?

#2 grossgary

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 04:55 AM

at first i'd guess a battery or more likely the battery terminals. are your battery terminals in good shape? if it's cranking over that good then it sounds like your battery is okay. but good contacts are very important so double check the terminals.

how many miles (km's) on the car? spark plugs and wires can cause intermittent no-start problems. how long since they've been replaced?

check for spark.

#3 amajeff99

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 05:02 AM

at first i'd guess a battery or more likely the battery terminals. are your battery terminals in good shape? if it's cranking over that good then it sounds like your battery is okay. but good contacts are very important so double check the terminals.

how many miles (km's) on the car? spark plugs and wires can cause intermittent no-start problems. how long since they've been replaced?

check for spark.

I have about 103000 miles on the car, I know I should have changed the wires but I have not. though I ran my hand along them with the engin on and did't get a shock, I also hit the wires with some wire dryer. do you think the no start is related to the idle problem I was having earlyer.

#4 grossgary

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 05:04 AM

don't know about the idle problem. solve your no-start problem and check into other stuff later. i would suspect spark plugs before wires...so replace them both or just the plugs if there's a reason you can't replace both.

how are the battery terminals? are they corroded? you should not be able to turn the terminals around the battery post by hand. can you?

if you're super unlucky i think a broken timing belt causes a no start in older soobs, i'm guessing the direct ignition soobs aren't much different. they'll just crank and crank and not do anything. only bad this is 1997 is the first year of interference motors so lets hope that's not the problem. if you here a faint slapping sound from the front of the motor while cranking then a belt is broke or off. only takes removing a couple 10mm bolts to pull the cover and have a look at the timing belt.

#5 amajeff99

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 05:14 AM

don't know about the idle problem. solve your no-start problem and check into other stuff later. i would suspect spark plugs before wires...so replace them both or just the plugs if there's a reason you can't replace both.

how are the battery terminals? are they corroded? you should not be able to turn the terminals around the battery post by hand. can you?

if you're super unlucky i think a broken timing belt causes a no start in older soobs, i'm guessing the direct ignition soobs aren't much different. they'll just crank and crank and not do anything. only bad this is 1997 is the first year of interference motors so lets hope that's not the problem. if you here a faint slapping sound from the front of the motor while cranking then a belt is broke or off. only takes removing a couple 10mm bolts to pull the cover and have a look at the timing belt.

The battery posts are clean and tight the motor cranks very strong, just no ignition I don’t thinks it’s the timing belt because when it started after the temp got above 70 it ran just fine, I mean a little rough at first but it smoothed out and ran fine quickly after the initial roughness, I figured It was a result of flooding the engine earlier in the day.

#6 amajeff99

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 05:38 AM

The battery posts are clean and tight the motor cranks very strong, just no ignition I don’t thinks it’s the timing belt because when it started after the temp got above 70 it ran just fine, I mean a little rough at first but it smoothed out and ran fine quickly after the initial roughness, I figured It was a result of flooding the engine earlier in the day.

could the temp effect the spark plug wires and the potential for them the leak voltage. also thank you guy for all the help. I see alot about temp sensors could that be part of the problem?

#7 nipper

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 08:34 AM

It is time for a tuneup. 100K on a set of wires is a long time, as it is a very hostile atmosphere.

If you really wants to check, do the lightning test ....

get a kite, a key ....:lol:


Actually get the garden hose or water spray bottle out after dark. pop the hood start the car and look for sparks. Then with a gentle spray wet the wires while the car is running and see if it has any stray sparks.
Everything degrades with age. The internal resistance of the wires go up as the cables get brittel. Insulators crack and dry out.

nipper

#8 amajeff99

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 08:55 AM

It is time for a tuneup. 100K on a set of wires is a long time, as it is a very hostile atmosphere.

If you really wants to check, do the lightning test ....

get a kite, a key ....:lol:


Actually get the garden hose or water spray bottle out after dark. pop the hood start the car and look for sparks. Then with a gentle spray wet the wires while the car is running and see if it has any stray sparks.
Everything degrades with age. The internal resistance of the wires go up as the cables get brittel. Insulators crack and dry out.

nipper

it only seem to not want to start when it is cold out. that is why I shy away form it being the wires I know I need to replace them, buT I have a feeling it will not help.

#9 nipper

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 09:06 AM

Assuming the car cranks when cold, the car needs every little bit of help it can get when it starts cold. The fuel system, igniton and starting system work as a team, and weakness in any one of them can make things very hard on the engine.
Add dirty or old battery cables, that will make for a slow crank and a big voltage drop. This the car may be able to handle normally . Now throw in old wires and or plugs that need even MORE electrical current to fire off under the best of circumstances, being starved for juice. A dirty fuel filter and air cleaner restrciting the fuel part of the mix. Any and all of these things can add up.
What happens is the car wont start.

You really have to look at a cold start as a team aproach and not an indivdual system.

nipper

#10 amajeff99

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 09:32 AM

Assuming the car cranks when cold, the car needs every little bit of help it can get when it starts cold. The fuel system, igniton and starting system work as a team, and weakness in any one of them can make things very hard on the engine.
Add dirty or old battery cables, that will make for a slow crank and a big voltage drop. This the car may be able to handle normally . Now throw in old wires and or plugs that need even MORE electrical current to fire off under the best of circumstances, being starved for juice. A dirty fuel filter and air cleaner restrciting the fuel part of the mix. Any and all of these things can add up.
What happens is the car wont start.

You really have to look at a cold start as a team aproach and not an indivdual system.

nipper

thanks. here is some more infor,the air filter is a k&n filter charger which I just cleaned. the plugs are platinum rated for 100,000 k with only 50,000 k on them. the fule filter and pvc valve were just changed. I filled up at a place out of need were the fule might be suspect but as it starts when warm out i think it is ok so that leaves me with the wires or coolant temp sensor. I think the battery is relativly new also, by the way thanks a bunch you are a great help in helping me crack this nut.

#11 nipper

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 09:44 AM

100K sparkplugs are under ideal conditions (labratory) Dont automatically write them off as bieng ok.
Another thing you may be able to do is rent or borrow a battyer load tester. Use it first thing on a cold morning, Test the battery for load, and see how much its drawing down when you crank the engine.

good luck

nipper

#12 amajeff99

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 09:56 AM

100K sparkplugs are under ideal conditions (labratory) Dont automatically write them off as bieng ok.
Another thing you may be able to do is rent or borrow a battyer load tester. Use it first thing on a cold morning, Test the battery for load, and see how much its drawing down when you crank the engine.

good luck

nipper

It cranks over very strong, is that not a good indicator of a good battery or can it crank good and still be bad? I do not have acess to a load tester. some one suggested that the coolant temp sensor was the culprit due to it happening only when it is below 50 degrees. again thanks for your time.

#13 nipper

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 10:01 AM

strong crank is good, sounds like then it may be the sensor



nipper

#14 amajeff99

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 10:04 AM

strong crank is good, sounds like then it may be the sensor



nipper

thanks for all your help, I am going to give the sensor a try. I will let you know how I make out. thanks for all your help this forum is great.

#15 amajeff99

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 02:25 PM

thanks for all your help, I am going to give the sensor a try. I will let you know how I make out. thanks for all your help this forum is great.

no joy with the coolant temp sensor. i sprayed either into he air chamber it started then ran rough very rough if I held the petal all the way to the floor it would start but would run very rough
I replaced the fuel filter and spark plugs just cause so now I have a car that is tuned up but does not run.

#16 Cougar

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 04:22 PM

Since you sprayed starter fluid into the intake and that made the engine fire this means you have a fuel problem. The fact that your starter works well means the charging system and battery are most likely fine. There may be a problem with either of them (though I doubt it) but it is not causing the starting problem.

There may be a problem with the plug wires also since the engine is running rough and it may be due to the wires age. Since the wires are over 100k miles old it would be good to replace those with new ones and I would get OEM ones from the parts department or order them from a Subaru parts discount website. It would be nice to know what each of the old plugs looked like as you removed them and check from signs of a problem. If they all looked about the same then things may be ok with the ignition wiring though they still should be changed due to age.

Another problem may be with the fuel injector or the wiring to it. You may also have broken one of the timing belts and the engine is only running on one side. A compression check would sort that out.

#17 nipper

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 06:27 PM

There really isnt alot of stuff on the ECU or fuel injection. I am going to make a blind guess here, that since it is repetative at 50 degrees, something is going open when it shouldnt be.
You said you replaced the engine temp sensor, I am going to assume that the one for the ECU you replaced and not for the temp gauge. im not usre if its one sensor that does double duty or two individual sensors.
What else can keep the car from starting.
A TPS with a hairline crack. Before you do anythng on a cold morning (i know morning cold and i have you useing a meter) make sure there is continuity across all three terminals, also manually move the throttle to make sure the values change. I dont know the values, but there whould be no dead spots.
a bad crank or cam angle sensor, again with some sort of internal problem that when they get cold they go open.
I am not sure what happens if your airflow meter goes bad, I think the car would start but run poorly.

any thoughts?

nipper

#18 cookie

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 07:51 PM

I have heard of reoiling fouling Maf sensors or stuff like the TPS. Never had the problem myself because I don't use oiled filters for this reason. Check fuel pressure if possible after the filter.

#19 amajeff99

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 03:07 PM

I have heard of reoiling fouling Maf sensors or stuff like the TPS. Never had the problem myself because I don't use oiled filters for this reason. Check fuel pressure if possible after the filter.

turns out it is the fuel pump I had to take it to the dealer, the said it should be fixed in a couple of days and that the fuel pumps usually do not go on these cars. but with 106000 thousand miles i guess you have to expect this to happen once in a while.http://www.ultimates...reply&p=355136#

#20 Cougar

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 04:39 PM

Thanks for the update.




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