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Help! My Subaru wont start


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29 replies to this topic

#1 pearson801

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 10:26 AM

Hello everyone im new here and I have a 96 subaru impreza L Auto and when I went to fill up my gas tank when I turned the key my car would not start! The lights all come on on the dash but the car will not turn over! I do hear the fuel pump ingage and one single click but nothing else. Here is what I have done I changed my battery terminals and tested battery I needed a new one tested my starter and it needed a new selinoed replaced that still no dice. so I tested my ignition switch and it tested out ok I even attached a remote switch to my starter and I could get it to turn over that way. What else is there for me to do any ideas please im dying here and my head hurts over this is there an ignition relay or a starter relay and where in blue blazes is it. sorry to drop this as my first post but this is my only car and any help is great:confused:

#2 vincentmoy

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 12:57 PM

Hello everyone im new here and I have a 96 subaru impreza L Auto and when I went to fill up my gas tank when I turned the key my car would not start! The lights all come on on the dash but the car will not turn over! I do hear the fuel pump ingage and one single click but nothing else. Here is what I have done I changed my battery terminals and tested battery I needed a new one tested my starter and it needed a new selinoed replaced that still no dice. so I tested my ignition switch and it tested out ok I even attached a remote switch to my starter and I could get it to turn over that way. What else is there for me to do any ideas please im dying here and my head hurts over this is there an ignition relay or a starter relay and where in blue blazes is it. sorry to drop this as my first post but this is my only car and any help is great:confused:


So it starts fine BEFORE you reach the gas station?

#3 kudd

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 01:01 PM

I don't know much... but we had a similar starting problem turned out had to do with an old remote start set up that had been mostly removed. Any chance you suffer that? Ours (was a 95 Legacy) had a rats nest of wires under the steering column. Got rid of that mess and it worked fine after that.

#4 pearson801

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 02:12 PM

yeah never had a problem until that day at the gas station hm dont think so i dont think there is a remote starter on my car

#5 screwbaru2

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 12:47 AM

Check the fuses inside the passenger compartment. There's a ignition fuse that prevents the plugs from firing. I'm not sure if it shut the fuel pump too, but you definetly won't have spark to the plugs.

#6 johnceggleston

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 07:29 AM

i'm a little lost but ...

the primary fail point in these starters is the starter contacts, they get old worn scorched? and new ones usually fix the problem.

if what you said "I even attached a remote switch to my starter and I could get it to turn over that way" is accurate, i suggest adding a relay at the starter (generic relay from autozone will do, 20 amp?). you can search for the thread here, but basically you disconnect the small wire on the starter and connect it to a relay, and run a new wire from the relay to the starter. then you add a new "FUSED" power wire from the battery to the relay and a new ground from the relay to ground.

once done, the ignition controls / powers / activates the new relay and the new relay sends power from rthe battery to the starter solenoid. (very short wire run with nothing else on the circuit.)

again, most folks replace the contacts and that fixes it. but in my case the relay did it. they say the contacts are easy, but i have memories of springs and things flying out of electric motors and getting lost on the floor and the motor never running again, apparently that isn't a real concern here.

Edited by johnceggleston, 03 April 2009 - 07:33 AM.


#7 pearson801

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 09:07 AM

ok so there is a set of fuses on the passengers side as well? johnceggleston you were saying to disconnect the wire attach that to a relay then the relay to the starter and that might work? yeah I attached a starter button bypassing my ignition switch and I could get it to turn over ill look for a fuse and see if there is a ignition fuse

#8 pearson801

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 11:32 AM

Ok quick question when I try to start in neutral it doesnt start does that rule out the inhibitor switch?

#9 johnceggleston

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 01:52 PM

Ok quick question when I try to start in neutral it doesnt start does that rule out the inhibitor switch?


maybe. did it start with the remote switch??

try the remote switch with the key in the on / run position, gear selector in park then neutral.

Edited by johnceggleston, 03 April 2009 - 01:54 PM.


#10 pearson801

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 03:13 PM

well the remote switch was wired from the battery straight to the the starter the more I read about the added relay the better it sounds what do I need to do that

#11 Cougar

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 03:19 PM

Welcome to forum. Hope you like it here.

You have determined that voltage isn't getting to the starter solenoid via the ignition switch for some reason. If all the fuses are good under the hood and in the dash panels then you should check to see if the ignition switch is passing voltage through the START contacts of the switch. You should use a test light probe to check that since that will be easy to test with. If the ignition switch is ok then you need to check the inhibit switch and see if it is passing the voltage on to the solenoid.

I suggest you purchase a service manual for the car as it would be a big help to you for this and other future trouble you might have. Check out Ebay for some good deals on them.

#12 pearson801

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 03:32 PM

I plan to get a service manual tonight and I somehow never thought of checking the voltage on the little wire that connects to the starter from the ignition switch. The only reason I have ruled out the inhibit switch is because it didnt turn over while in park or in neutral but i need to find out where that is so that I can look into it if the wire is putting off enough voltage if it is not putting off enough then relay here I come. This is the first car I have ever worked on that didnt have a ignition relay. anyone else have Ideas for me and by the way this is the best forum i have been on

#13 forester2002s

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 03:36 PM

well the remote switch was wired from the battery straight to the the starter


Two thoughts:

- Can your remote switch handle the (very) large current that a typical starter-motor needs?

- Have you got 12V at the starter terminals when you try to start? If not, then the problem is in the supply to the starter. If yes, then the problem is in the starter.

#14 pearson801

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 03:46 PM

with the remote start the I had on there I got it to turn over ill do some test with the wires now i have already had the starter tested and it came back with a bad selinoid and i replaced that but not the starter could it still be the starter

#15 johnceggleston

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 04:08 PM

with the remote start the I had on there I got it to turn over ill do some test with the wires now i have already had the starter tested and it came back with a bad selinoid and i replaced that but not the starter could it still be the starter


it's probably the contacts,

but in case it's not... after searching for over 30 minutes i found this regarding the relay (i'll name it starterrelay.fix). i have copied from the original post so i could change the font color, thanks skip for the original post, 2003.

http://www.ultimates...805&postcount=1

There are currently several active posts on starter engagement problems.
I thought this may be of interest. (Please note, this article only refers to 1989 and earlier Subarus, newer Loyales MTs may have a clutch interrupt switch, see ** below)

First to dispel info given in reference to any relays involved.
There are none, repeat no relays come on a factory equipped car. As will be seen it is a reliable fix to add one, but there is no relay used for starter engagement.

The ignition switch, when in the start position, feeds battery voltage directly to the starter solenoid unless the vehicle has an automatic transmission. In this case, there is an inhibitor switch in the console which only allows the control voltage to reach the starter solenoid in the park or neutral position. Just a switch no relay.
(Note: Some may argue the starter solenoid is a relay, in an operational sense they are correct, in semantics -- I will refer to it as the factory does.)

**Newer Loyales may have a clutch pedal switch. This switch located up under the dash in the path of the pedal swing arm, is depressed and thus in a "closed" position, when the clutch pedal is in a fully depressed state.

If when you turn the ignition switch to the start position the starter fails to engage -
A) It is possible that a battery cable or it's connection is dirty, loose, or corroded - thus creating high resistance.
Here is a quick test.
Hold the ignition in the start position for five seconds. Open the hood and place your hand on all battery connections and cable ends to feel for a warm connection. IF the starter has engaged and there is some current passing through a connection with high resistance - heat will be generated. Green colored or other "odd looking" connections are always suspects.
B) It is possible that the starter solenoid internal contacts have burned and are not making full contact. While holding the ignition switch in the start position a sharp "rap" on the solenoid may jar the contacts into a closed position allowing the starter to engage.
If this is the case you can elect to repair/replace the contacts or replace the solenoid/starter.
C) If the above tests prove unsatisfactory, it is likely the ignition switch itself has problems. The starter solenoid needs a fair amount of current to energize. This puts the contacts in the ignition switch under duress. To test this, connect a "jumper" wire from the positive battery terminal to the small spade connector located on the starter solenoid. One will have to remove the factory connector before "jumping" the solenoid.
(Please make sure car is in neutral or Park before doing this test)
If the jumper wire allows the starter to engage, there are several fixes that can be employed.

1) Replace ignition switch - labor and $$ intensive, beyond the scope of this article.

2) Install a "Never Fail" button/ switch. This button (momentary switch) is wired to feed the control voltage to the starter solenoid, thus bypassing the ignition switch. A "make shift" solution at best. It will work and is a simple matter of wiring.
to wit:
a) Get a 10 amp momentary switch from the source of your choosing.
Find a suitable mounting point for said switch. Most dashes have several "blanks" to choose from, or mount it under the dash as a secret switch.
B) you will need a "feed voltage source".
You could
i) probe your fuse panel for an ignition switched "hot fuse".
ii) run a fused connection directly to the battery
iii) place a tap on the main ignition feed connector under the steering col. Since you will be running this voltage to the starter and through the bulkhead (firewall) a fused source should be used.
This "feeder" is connected to one side of the procured switch.
c) The other side of the switch is wired to the small spade connector on the starter solenoid. The proper method is to splice solder the wire to the existing wire, but some may stuff it under the female connector and slide the spade back in place. Please use a grommet or other form of protection when passing the wire through the bulkhead.

These connection methods will allow the use of the normal ignition switch start position but when it fails the "Never Fail" button is used. If you choose to simply put a female spade connector on this wire and plug it on to the starter solenoid, the "Never Fail" will be the only way to get the car to start.

3) The best method, in my admittedly feeble mind, is the addition
of a "start relay". This relay supplements the ignition switch and requires no "Never Fail" folderol (like in a case where some one borrows the car and you forget to tell them about the "Never Fail")
The relay is controlled by the ignition switch and it in turn feeds the current necessary for starter solenoid engagement.
An "auxiliary lighting" relay is a good choice, but any 12Vdc 10 amp relay will suffice. I mount mine under the hood and in the general location of the starter. This allows use of the factory female connector and simplifies getting a fused battery feed voltage.
Here is the wiring of said relay.

Posted Image

Hope this helps and please email me any corrections for any details I may have missed.
neper at westol.com


#16 pearson801

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 04:23 PM

wow hey thanks once again why I think this forum is better then the others i have gone to but I really wish that i could see that picture and i really hope this is the thing that is wrong with it boy do i miss driving my car and it hasnt even been a week

#17 Cougar

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 04:47 PM

In a previous post I thought you stated that you connected a remote starter switch to the solenoid contact and made the starter run. If that is so then the starter is ok. The problem is the ignition voltage isn't getting to the solenoid to turn it on. You need to find out where the bad connection is. The ignition switch, the inhibit switch, or the wiring to the solenoid. The inhibit switch is on top of the transmission I think. There is an ignition relay also but it isn't involved with the starter circuit.

Edited by Cougar, 03 April 2009 - 07:33 PM.


#18 pearson801

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 05:03 PM

so the ignition relay does not effect the starting? Good to know yeah im down to thinking that it is a voltage problem that i will see what is being put out from the ignition switch tonight and if its low put on the relay also I need to get a book so I can see that inhibit switch and I guess test that out

#19 Cougar

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 07:42 PM

If you would like to sign up to the Subaru web site and download service information for a small fee here is a link for you to use.

http://techinfo.suba...ferenceHome.jsp

#20 pearson801

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 09:02 AM

Ok so last night I went and tested the little wire that connects to the spade and it came back with 12 volts so what should my next step be? any takers should I still add the relay? in the mean time im going to clean my grounds because they are all really dirty under thereoh also one last thing when I was checking voltage I put it on the bolt that has the wire that goes from the start to my soelinod and when the key was turned I got no volts at all is this normal please let me know. once again thanks for all the help so far.

#21 Cougar

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 09:38 AM

I assume that the wire that had the spade connector on it is the wire that comes from the ignition to run the solenoid. You stated that the wire had 12 volts on it, which it should have when you move the ignition switch to the start position. You didn't state if the wire was connected to solenoid or not when you made the test and that is important. If you didn't have the wire connected you need to do that test again with it connected. If there is a bad connection in the line you can get a false reading if the circuit was open. If there is a bad connection that voltage will not be there.

You asked about the solenoid wire that runs to the starter. A solenoid is just an electric switch and when that switch closes it makes the connection between the positive battery post and the starter motor so the motor will turn on and crank the engine. So you should have had battery voltage on that wire when the ignition switch is moved to the start position.

Sometimes the main power wire from the battery will get corrodid at the battery end from the acid leeching into it. Over time it can ruin the wire and cause this kind of trouble. I don't think this is your problem though.

#22 johnceggleston

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 09:45 AM

there are 2 wires on a starter, a BIG one that's always hot and comes directly from the battery positive post and a small one that only has power when the key is turned to start. which one are you talking about?

i looked at the legacy wiring diagram in my haynes manual and the power in the small wire, the solenoid, runs from:
battery
fusible link
slow blow fues
ignition switch
auto trans inhibitor switch
starter solenoid

i don't know if the 12 volts at the soleniod means the relay will not help, but the relay, and fused wire and misc, connectors cost ~10.00$. the starter contacts cost about 12.00, i think, if you get them online. you can do the relay today, and see if it works. if not, order the contacts.

do you still have the remote start device. i would think, if you put the key in the on/run position (car in park, brake on) and then activate the remote and it starts, then the relay should help.

try it.

Edited by johnceggleston, 04 April 2009 - 09:56 AM.


#23 Gloyale

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 09:52 AM

There is a starter relay in your impreza, and that would be a place to begin testing. You're current relay may have bad contacts or a poor connection.

It is the older Loyale/GL/DL cars that do not use a relay, but rather direct through the switch power for the solenoid.

Although, I would first suggest cleaning out the contacts on the starter solenoid. Remove the starter, remove the triangular plate on the back of the solenoid, and remove the plunger and contacts. Clean the vrass contacts and the plunger surface. I bend the contact tabs *in* slightly, to get better contact. It all goes back toghether easily.

This has solved any starting issue in an EJ car I have seen. I've on;y ever had to add relays, pushbuttons, to older Loyale/GL cars.

#24 Cougar

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 09:58 AM

Thanks for the info Gloyale. I was not aware that there was a relay in the circuit.

#25 pearson801

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 04:58 PM

so where the hell is this relay I dont know where it is I just finished cleaning all my contacts to the same result and I replaced the selinod when this all started im going out to test the voltage on the spade with the connector attached like I said before the cable that runs from the starter and bolts on to the selinoid had no voltage when i turned the key




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