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97 Legacy starting problems


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15 replies to this topic

#1 Takami826

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 10:19 AM

Hi, I'm new, not all that mechanically knowledgeable about Legacies, former 70something Subaru DL and former 89 Justy owner... my 97 legacy l now has about 97.5K miles on it, been a dream other than some problems with recalled items and a shady dealer but that's another story for another time...

Sometimes I turn the key and the dash lights up as normal but nothing happens. My heart pounds and I try again, sometimes it'll start right up, other times it takes a try or two, like it's hit a dead spot or something but then it starts and runs fine. The check engine light has also been popping on and off lately -I have no knowledge of how to check for codes or whatever- I'm wondering if the two are related because the check engine light seems to come on and after a rest and start(the last 3 times at least) it just kinda goes off and everything seems fine again.

Is this something common or simple to figure out for those who know these cars? To me this one's still baby and I'd really like to get a few more years out of it -and probably should start learning to fix some easier stuff on my own- but I don't want to be dumping loads of $$$ into repairs all the time.
:boohoo:

thx :)

Jacqui aka Takami826

#2 theotherskip

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 10:30 AM

first thing to check would be the battery terminals. when there is a thick layer of corrosion, it can cause difficulty starting.

if that seems ok, then it probably is the solonoid of the starter goind bad. usually that means just replacing the starter. if you get in a bind where it won't start, you can try having someone tap the solonoid of the starter while you are turning the key. this can sometimes unstick the solonoid, but is a sure sign of more problems to come.

the starting problems are probably unrelated to the check engine light. the check engine light could be coming from the bad starts, but you can't tell for sure unless you get the code scanned (autozone and some other parts stores will do it for free).

#3 frag

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 10:32 AM

Auto trans or manual?

#4 Takami826

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 10:33 AM

automatic

I have to go to autozone today for a gas cap because I'm wondering if that is the problem with the check engine light, I crank it tight to 4-5 clicks but it *seems* coincidental that the past few times I've gotten gas, it comes up, but it's also been when the car starting has been trouble.

I just had a new battery installed a couple months ago and it looked pretty clean (the contacts)... I'll see if Autozone can do that code thing, last time (when the alternator died and was thankfully a recall) the check engine light was on and they couldn't test subarus (about 3 yrs ago)

thx

#5 frag

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 10:50 AM

Autozone is your best bet but if there is a relation between the CEL and your starting problem it could be ...
P0705 - Transmission range sensor circuit malfunction. Problem with the «inhibitor switch» at the shift lever. Try starting with the shift lever at D. If starter turns, you've found the problem. Put your foot on the brake!
or,
P1100 - Starter switch circuit malfunction.

I'm just reading from the service manual...

#6 Takami826

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 11:04 AM

I've seen this Haynes repair manual for the 97 legacy, is it as decent as Chiltons (my bible for my justy)

I took note of the codes you showed, thank you. I'm heading up to AZone now.

#7 frag

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 11:17 AM

It's not Haynes, it's the Subaru service manual for the Legacy. Some call it the FSM. F for Fuji?

#8 nathan

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 12:26 PM

You need to get the check engine light codes checked. Since it's newer than a 95 it is OBDII. The testers are fairly expensive, so go to any service place and they can pull codes, probably less than $50. I have had this problem before, It is most likely your crankshaft position sensor. It is very easy to replace(one bolt, one electrical plug) and only costs about $30. The problem IS related to your engine light however.

#9 theotherskip

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 12:39 PM

FSM = factory service manual, available at http://techinfo.subaru.com .

as for haynes or chiltons, i think that the haynes is much more specific to this particular car. the chilton's that is available covers more years and engines and options, making it more difficult to find what pertains to your particular engine.

#10 frag

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 02:29 PM

Sometimes I turn the key and the dash lights up as normal but nothing happens .



Nathan, if i'm right in reading this litteraly and in tinking this means the starter does'nt turn over, than it cannot be the crank or cam sensor cause a malfunction of those dont prevent the starter from turning but the engine from starting.
But maybe Takami meant otherwise and then you might be right.
Let's wait for him to come back from Autozone ;)

#11 applegump

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 02:51 PM

It could also be the starter contacts.

#12 frag

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 02:59 PM

Yes, but that would mean there's no relation between the starter not turning over and the CEL coming on. Bad solenoïd contacts dont trigger a CEL.
It would be the gas cap then.
Got time to loose this afternoon...
:drunk:

#13 theotherskip

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 03:26 PM

i can't remember if it is subaru that has a silent recall for gas caps going bad? i know i've read of a car manufacturer that will replace a gas cap due to it triggering the CEL. not 100% sure if was subaru, but may be worth asking the dealer.

#14 Takami826

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Posted 05 October 2003 - 03:36 PM

well Autozone found nothing wrong supposedly because the CEL is not coming on now. And, of course, today it's starting fine with no problems. I went to get gas just to check that and made the cap click a zillion times and of course, the CEL didn't come on for that, either. I think it's toying with me.

What I'll do is wait for it to come on again and then take it right to Autozone while the CEL is on, maybe then they can read it for the codes and tell me what's up.


psstt... I'm female :D


And I haven't checked recall items for the Legacy in a couple months, I'll go do that and see if there's something funky about the gas cap. Thx for the info about that.

Meanwhile, off to salivate over the older Subarus people have on this board...

#15 tomeban

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 09:16 AM

I just bought a 96 Legacy Outback(146K mi)and had issues starting and with the security system. I finally reset the security system, bought a new battery, cleaned the cable contacts and the solenoid contacts. The starter seems to work perfectly on the bench, jumping to the battery. The starting problem continued to get worse. The number of times I had to turn the key and just get a click increased until I thought I would have to get towed. I bought a rebuild starter for $100 and the problem is gone.

#16 lmdew

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Posted 21 December 2004 - 08:25 PM

The gas tank is pressurized slightly and the cap should be on. On my 98 it will bring on the CEL, the spouse proved it this last week :>)




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